I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

My expensive mistress, WordPress is harassing me to continue the upgrade to my blog. The more she calls and texts, the less interested I am in continuing the relationship, at that level, anyway. It’s not like there’s someone else; there isn’t, but?? I know that the quality of what I write here is not her problem, but mine, but I’m not sure I want to pay upwards of $50 (more…). She says we need a bigger place, fancier dishes, all kinds of whatnot and I’m a simple person (aha ha ha ha ha ha ha) in fact I’m not a simple person and that’s why I DON’T want to spend more. Maybe I need dog food? Right?

In other news… There isn’t any other than the national news. Biden did a hard thing and, naturally, he’s taking a lot of flak for it. From my station here in the back of beyond, I don’t think there ever would have been a pretty, sweet, easy way out of that debacle. It always seemed very vague to me. How can anyone fight “a war on terrorism” when terrorism can erupt anywhere?

I’ve known quite a few Afghani people, and I’ve written about it at length here. It explains the featured photo. It’s worth reading if you have the time. The bottom line of this blog (maybe three up from the bottom?) is that withdrawing from Afghanistan was, in my opinion, necessary. It would be messy any way it happened. I realized that the reason no president had done it up till now was because the political optics would be/are terrible. I don’t think Biden is concerned about another four years, so he really was the one to do this.

When we pulled out of Viet Nam thousands? Millions? of refugees came to America. It was messy, too. Now American tourists go to Hanoi.

Anyway, right now CARE is raising money to help the refugees and matching every contribution dollar-for-dollar.

16 thoughts on “I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

  1. I completely agree with you Martha. Except for the part about visiting Kabul. I’ve been to Hanoi, think Vietnam a beautiful country, felt welcomed. It was really the French so many Vietnamese I met still held a grudge against. Not sure that the Taliban will embrace us any time soon. But who knows!

    • I’d go to Kabul, definitely. There were Vietnamese refugees living a couple of houses down from me in San Diego in the late 80s. The grandfather (who’d fought against Ho Chi Minh et al.) was badly battle fatigued and every once in a while he’d lose it, emerge from his house and yell, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” jumping up and down waving his fist in the air. His little granddaughters hung out at my house a lot. I loved having that family nearby. I had only been back from South China a short time and their house, their habits, everything made me less homesick. Years and years later I got to teach some Vietnamese international students. That was wonderful. And you are totally right; who knows?

  2. When we first went in there 20 years ago, I knew it was an egregious mistake. Doesn’t anybody study history? American arrogance and the “need” to do something after 9/11 were all over that decision. It was a terrible decision whose repercussions are unfolding as I type.

  3. I agreed with the Invasion of Afghanistan after 9-11. Came close to reenlisting after 9-11.

    I probably would have been even more aggressive. I wouldn’t have depended on Afghans at all in the pursuit of Bin Laden (which is how he got away to Pakistan) and not waste our soldiers on a stupid invasion of Iraq. Once we get Bin Laden and debilitated Al Qaeda, we declare victory and go home. That’s how it should have gone.

    Afghanistan is a graveyard for every empire that ever tried to control it. That can’t be the objective.

    You can’t just let someone do a 9-11 attack and not respond with focused violence. That isn’t how the world works. Religious terrorists don’t care about diplomacy and a law enforcement approach gets laughed at. It encourages them to do it again because from their perspective such an attack makes them powerful on the world stage.

    Al Qaeda was completely immune to any US diplomatic, economic or punitive action short of war. I learned in school that when a bully refuses to stop picking on you, your only recourse is to make them pay a price.

    There are a lot of similarities with Vietnam. I lived thru those days too. A war that seemed interminable. (If you include the French involvement, the war in Vietnam stretched from 1946 to 1974. Prior to that they were fighting the Japanese in WWII. That’s a long period of nearly continuous war.) A corrupt government that lived parasitically on the US presence. A military that didn’t really care who ran the country and melted away the instant we left the country. People who helped the US in good faith because we made promises we would not fulfill, now in mortal danger. Our enemies easily slipped away into countries we were unwilling to invade and received massive support from other powers who only wanted to see the US get a bloody nose.

    But there were differences. 9-11 was an egregious act of war. It was the culmination of many prior attacks on the US that had already killed hundreds.

    We should have left much earlier. We should never have tried to “nation build” or made promises we could not fulfill. But I don’t regret the actual invasion. It was a just war, one of the very few we’ve fought.

    • I have no argument, Fred. I can’t evaluate this other than to say we probably had to go in but once Bin Laden was captured we should have begun our withdrawal. We invented the Taliban, in a way, as a tool to resist the Russian invasion in 1979. It’s a complicated mess and I don’t begin to understand all of it. I’m just — at this moment — very sorry for the Afghan people who are caught in the vice-grip of failed “diplomacy” and whose lives are in danger. it’s a sad, messy situation.

  4. It’s hard to watch as those poor people hang on the US airplanes as they take off from Kabul. Yes, we should have left a while back. I also think Biden had to do it as he has the least to lose politically. There never would have been a good time. I really hope we learn from this in the future.
    Also…hang in there with WP. Stay strong!

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