With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on
the United States. And war is what they got. - George W. Bush
The September 11th attacks of 2001 were hideous. They made decent people all over the world share a collective intake of breath. How could those bastards kill so many innocent people as well as throwing away their own lives? It was all so terrible and so shocking. There hadn't been anything like that before. America the Beautiful was traumatised from sea to shining sea.
When somebody assaults you, breaks into your home, hurts a member of your family or steals your car it is natural to want revenge. An eye for an eye. It's written in the DNA of human beings.
Consequently, George W. Bush, spurred on by the US military and powerful Republicans looked for an enemy who would pay the price of what happened that fateful September morning. Trouble was that the enemy did not hail from nor represent any particular country. They were just a bunch of horrible men united in their corrupt interpretation of The Qur'an, Islam's holy book.
Some would argue that if any country deserved to suffer payback time it would have been Saudi Arabia and not Afghanistan. However, American sights were soon set firmly on Afghanistan because there was evidence that the killers had undertaken training there.
What was America getting itself into and what were they hoping to achieve in Afghanistan? In the quest for revenge the mission was never made clear. Great Britain and other western allies hung on to America's coat tails and played their own smaller parts in this so-called war on terror. Revenge would be sweet, wouldn't it?
Twenty years later as America and its allies effectively pull out of Afghanistan, it all becomes clearer. An estimated $2.261 trillion was the financial cost and between 171,000 and 174,000 people died including some 47,000 Afghan civilians. America lost 2,442 military personnel and 3,846 US contractors. The Afghan army and police force lost over 66,000 people. It is a very terrible toll - especially when we recall that just 2996 people died in the attacks on September 11th 2001.
As America, Britain and the rest slip away from Afghanistan with politicians and military spokespeople creatively and rather desperately describing what was "achieved", The Taliban marches on reclaiming towns and villages and mountains, their Islamic fundamentalism effectively strengthened by the unwanted foreign occupation they fought against for two costly decades.
The youngest British soldier to die in the Afghan war was eighteen year old William Aldridge back in 2009. His mother Lucy said recently, "I'd like to see with my own eyes, what did we achieve? What was the sacrifice for? Because it's too high a price to pay."
In the meantime, Afghanistan's painful saga continues.
The US wouldn't have retaliated on Saudi Arabia, because they are "allies", meaning Saudi has oil and uses it as a form of control. The whole thing was a fiasco and we learned once again that politicans have their own agenda and that the first casualty of war is truth. The second casualty is women and children, followed closely by infrastructure and stability. The last casualty is hope.ReplyDelete
Wise words Pixie Lily. When will we ever learn?Delete
At times I realise I communicate with those above my station. This is one such time. You nailed it with a clear and brilliant summary, and of course my country's forces were there too for who knows why.ReplyDelete
Like Britain, your government was also hanging onto America's coat tails. A show of unity against The Devil.Delete
P.S. I am not above your station Andrew. What is your station anyway? Newport or Newmarket perhaps?
Wrong side of town. I am a south of the river person.Delete
All we did, honestly, was prolong the agony of those people. The 'government' here has been lining their pockets with the foreign aid intended to assist the people. Meanwhile the have been quietly pulling the Taliban back intogovernment positions of power. Google the butcher of kabul. You will see it yourself. We achieved nothing there. My heart breaks for the women who got a glimpse of a new world. And now it is gone.ReplyDelete
Didn't Bush, Blair and the rest learn anything from history?Delete
No, of course not - they were politicians, and we all know that they close their eyes to the mistakes they make. Particularly when it comes at the cost of human life.Delete
I share your cynicism Carol.Delete
We have are so fortunate to live in such a relatively peaceful and stable part of the world. All the tragedies and conflicts - almost of all time - are not of the making of ordinary people.ReplyDelete
But it is ordinary people who die in conflicts - rarely those who are responsible for making the wars.Delete
I'm not sure if you know who Richard Engle is on that side of the pond but he is a foreign news correspondent for NBC and has written a number of excellent books on this subject. In essence, we (America) have been getting into wars that we don't fully grasp the political and religious dynamics and thus have only achieved making things generally worse in these regions. I see that with Afghanistan. Like you said, the anti-American sentiment will now make the Taliban or whatever new form it takes only that much more potent and thus this problem will be around for another generation or two instead of ending with my generation.ReplyDelete
It's like they walk into some predictable situations wearing blindfolds. Thanks for the Richard Engle pointer Ed.Delete
We are so powerless and our governments sells weapons to fund wars and conflicts.ReplyDelete
They tend to do these things in secret with no reference to the people. I believe that this is called Democracy!Delete
Wasn't only Afghanistan where the West interfered where it shouldn't have.ReplyDelete
I think about Chile and how Thatcher made a point of sheltering General Pinochet. He was backed by the USA.Delete
No doubt that sometime in the future these horrific figures will be judged to be a conflict well won and not the misguided unjustified interference it was.ReplyDelete
They/we haven't learned yet and are unlikely to do so in future. The mistake is repeated time and time again - only the battleground changes.
I wonder who writes the history books. History is often about interpretation rather than absolute truth.Delete
Ed is right; we walk into these situations with little or no knowledge of culture, history, religion or any of the other dynamics, thinking that we can impose our will by military might. That has proven ineffective and costly OVER and OVER.ReplyDelete
It is quite easy to go into a maze. Harder to get out.Delete
The Afghan saga started long before 2001. Weren't the Russians in Afghanistan?ReplyDelete
And in the nineteenth century the British were there too. It is not a land that lends itself to being tamed.Delete
Yes they were, Red.ReplyDelete
Humanity has a long history of pointless, painful conflicts where the people who decide to go to war are far separated from the ones who suffer the losses.ReplyDelete
I applaud the way you said that Kylie.Delete