Many Americans did not want our military invading Afghanistan. We did not want our military to stay in Afghanistan. Many of us hoped our troops would leave Afghanistan. However, the chaotic departure has been one of the most humiliating moments in our nation’s history.
We were all enraged toward those who had any part or interest in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on our nation. This nation was in agreement that Osama Bin Laden and anyone connected to planning the attacks located in any part of the world must be brought to justice. We wanted all leaders and partakers of any and all terror groups eliminated. The attack on the World Trade Center Towers, as well as the other hideous and evil plane attacks that happened that day are forever etched in our minds. The barbaric torture and beheadings of journalists and other evil crimes against humanity fueled America’s passion to do whatever necessary to bring revenge against our attackers.
Sadly, the loss of 2,448 troops in Afghanistan over 20 years was not the answer. Also 3,448 U.S. contractors have been killed. Over 66,000 Afghan military and police have been killed. Over 20,000 of our troops have been wounded.
America spent a trillion dollars setting up military bases and supposedly training the Afghan army how to fight. Yes, we were angry after Sept. 11, 2001, but did it justify killing thousands of our men and women? Did it justify the thousands who were wounded and the thousands more who were mentally wounded? The only people who profited from our 20 years in Afghanistan are the political investors in weapons of war. Large stockholders in any entity that makes weapons or other supplies shipped to Afghanistan are not in favor of the war being over, but they and their families will most likely be forever rich.
We did one poor job of training the Afghan soldiers. The Afghan army ran in fear from the Taliban, many being executed upon their surrender. Twenty years of training went down the drain in several weeks and billions of dollars in weapons were handed over to them. Kabul was taken over hardly without a shot fired from the Taliban.
No, we should never have gone to Afghanistan the way we did. The mission of taking out key leaders of the Taliban and other terrorist groups could have been carried out more covertly. Tragically, we made the Afghanistan army and people dependent on America. Our government has done the same thing to our own nation with welfare. So many Americans are so used to the American government taking care of us and sending out government money that many Americans can no longer take care of themselves. The only thing we taught the Afghan soldiers was that they didn’t have to worry about fighting because the United States was present and would take care of them.
Going there is water under the bridge. We are now forever faced with the tragic way we have left Afghanistan. We crippled them with our money and their dependency on our military. After 20 years our government leaders finally tired of carrying a crippled nation. Knowing these people cannot swim, we threw them out of the boat to sink or swim while a massive number of great white sharks were watching in the near distance.
One thing the Taliban has taught us is that they are very patient. They knew the United States would finally become tired and financially broke and would leave. They have spent years organizing, planning and preparing for this moment and in a few weeks’ time they totally humiliated America.
Many of us never wanted to be there but we didn’t want to leave with the Taliban kicking our butts out the door. The horrific scenes of executions, tortures, rapes, and women treated inhumanely will be graphic and repulsive in the weeks ahead.
We could have left differently. There could have been a plan. We demonstrated that we spent 20 years and really did not train an Army. We did not train or equip the people to care for themselves. We left without any support contingency in place for an obvious inept military and people. We displayed our ignorance and arrogant denial of the Taliban’s preparedness to move forward. As quickly as flipping a light switch America conveyed to Afghanistan that we no longer give a dang.
Will the shame and humiliation of Afghanistan teach our political leaders anything? Are we too arrogant to care? How many years will it take before politicians need another Afghanistan to line their pockets?
May the real true God who we pray to help the people of Afghanistan. At the moment, He is all they have.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is an author and his column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.