By Ray Knapp
On just one day in September 2001, 2,792 people lost their lives when the twin towers fell in New York. Also killed were passengers on American Airlines Flight #77 that hit the Pentagon and killed Pentagon employees, as well as all passengers. Also on United Airlines flight # 93 that crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all aboard, was headed for the White House.
That will be a day that will live in infamy and started America’s longest war – going into its 17th year as of 2018 – with no end in sight. President Trump is calling for a build-up of more American troops to put an end to it; Obama did the same thing without accomplishing anything. If Trump gives Nicholson the troops he wants – in my humble opinion (never having gone to the military’s War College) the failed policies of his predecessors will just be repeated, while prolonging a war that will prove endless as long as foreign forces continue to meddle in Afghan affairs.
It seems if America is for anything; Putin is against it. And it also seems that we are afraid to go all out to put a real end to this mid-east war: Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and skirmishes in Africa, because Russia looms as a real military threat that we are unwilling to take on. It really doesn’t boil down to us beating them, or not, but a war between us and Russia would likely cause a domino effect and WW3 would blossom into a world-wide inferno.
As an outsider, looking at the situation, to me, it appears Afghanistan isn’t real to American leaders, much as Vietnam wasn’t to an earlier generation of them. I remember McNamara with his charts and graphs explaining to us ignorant American people that a surge here, or there, would win the war and quickly bring North Vietnam to its knees and the bargaining table. The various surges and bombing raids didn’t work as predicted, but caused the loss of life for a lot of American soldiers. Vietnam has a sophisticated culture with a long and rich history; as does Afghanistan. Vietnam couldn’t be rebuilt in our image, and neither can Afghanistan.
Those in charge now, appear to see Afghanistan filled with backward, uneducated and crooked people, especially their government who commands an inept and somewhat reluctant and cowardly army – who are as likely to shoot an American soldier as they are to shoot at Taliban forces. So what are we to do? One thing we could do is cut our losses and bow out – much as Russia did from their 1979 invasion to their withdrawal in 1992. After that expensive fiasco, I think they would be reluctant to return, and Afghanistan could work out their own differences without interference from either world power.
The war has been going on so long that a majority of American children born on Sept. 11, 2001 are unaware that we are fighting a war in Afghanistan. However, if the draft were reinstituted, regardless of gender, for all 18 year olds; as has been advocated by some in congress, a wake-up call would be sounded and we would be getting out of Afghanistan ASAP. The one thing we can never forget is the cost of war is high. The price tag is not measured only in dollars. It’s measured in the loss of our most valuable asset – the loss of young American lives, as well as the innocents in a war torn country.
Looking at my Easter seals calendar whose donations to it, offers people with disabilities, medical rehabilitation and the opportunity to live up to their physical potential, and participate in their communities. There would have been a lot fewer of these people due to landmines and IEDs if the people in the world would forget power and just live in peace.
The Prince of Peace was put to death by power hungry people on what is known by Christians as Good Friday, but arose on Easter, three days later; leaving instructions on how to live life. It’s about time for people of the world to listen to Him; “The Golden Rule,” and the “Ten Commandments!”