Guest Commentary: A is for….Afghanistan and America

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By Scott Steward

In remembrance of those that were harmed and killed, I vow to continue to take a knee at the playing of the anthem as a public display of solidarity for those that die at either end of a US made gun, wherever one is fired, and for those who put their bodies on the line to wage peace.

At 40, a privileged citizen with a young family and a job, I was completely aware of my responsibility to own what my country did or did not do. I wrote and protested and consistently stood against the illegal war declared against Iraq.

I was sad to know that not enough Americans had spoken out against the war, most not willing to learn the lessons of Vietnam. I died a little when the Afghan war started on October 2001 and died some more in March of 2003 at the start of the Iraq war. I cried with millions of others for the service men and women and the people of Afghanistan and Iraq that we had failed.

And I had entered 2001 with such hope. As the new millennium approached, our nation’s media and institutions had just learned how to be able to say the words “global warming” (that’s what they called climate change then.) I had just gone “all-in” to start one of California’s first commercial solar PV companies. It was a moment when US leadership seemed to have been cornered and had no choice but to address the international climate crises. And then poof ! The nation found a war squirrel to chase instead.

The Afghan war was a blunder from the start. Afghanistan could have used care and diplomacy to enable their own self-determination after previous decades of war. Afghanistan’s’ population was not armed or interested in being terrorists. Instead of service, we delivered American jingoism and more social and economic displacement.

Of the huge amounts of war money, there was none to pay for a culturally schooled, Farsi speaking, US contingent. “Rag heads”, we raged, after the Twin Towers fell. We reacted by taking out a nation whose entire GDP would barely pay for one US aircraft carrier and whose people had 50 cents a week for health care.

After October 2001 and before the Iraq war, many of us were part of the largest anti-war protests. The world’s largest anti-ware protest took place on September 11th 2002. At least 36 million marched. This expression of democracy, along with federal laws, were trampled with lies (weapons of mass destruction) in the lead up to the Rice and Powell sanctioned war with Iraq that started in March 2003. The Rumsfeld’s and Wolfowitz’s of the world wore, as a badge of honor, the wasted opportunity for the US to be a moral and practical 21st century leader.

The war machine seemed all too prepared. Questions about the 2000 Presidential election haunt. Surely the 527 Florida votes more for Bush would have been overcome by the tens of thousands of black and brown Floridian votes disqualified by the “sunshine” state. What if Gore had been reading that children’s book in that classroom that 9/11 day. Would Gore have paid attention to the warnings from the security department and prevented the terrorist attack? Would war be an option to distract a nation from an unpopular president? Had war been the plan all along?

With the nation again fully engaged in Afghan and Iraq wars, the 40-year alt-right effort had succeeded in routing whatever remained of the hope of a peace centered Age of Aquarius US government (or society). The People’s Park struggles, that made strides during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, were recast as a legacy of ignoble domestic insurrections. With this 20-year war came much more police militarization, incarceration industry expansion and an onslaught of evangelized sociopathic toxic alt-right media.

Such is the wasteland of these last 20 years, where we have endeavored to keep our families firm and our friends from despairing. It has taken all that I am to be positive and hopeful that we shall yet rule by decree of care for each other and for the miracle of our thin layers of fertile soil and breathable atmosphere.

At the close of the Afghan war, we again vow to wage peace.

Scott Steward is a Davis resident

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23 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: A is for….Afghanistan and America”

      1. Keith Olsen

        Up to $90 billion worth of military equipment left behind, 13 more dead U.S. soldiers, 100’s of Americans left behind, untold numbers of loyal to America Afghanis left to suffer at the hands of the Taliban witch hunts, etc…

        All for a photo op for Biden so he could say he ended the war by 8/31.

        Now be honest, if Trump had botched and ended the war the same way Biden did you all would be skewering him.

        1. David Greenwald

          For the first time in his presidency, I thought Biden didn’t handle something well at all. Although I opposed going into Afghanistan and believed it was largely a failure regardless of how we excited, the exit itself left a lot to be desired. On the other hand, it was refreshing that he didn’t run from the decision. He owns it.

        2. Keith Olsen

          For the first time in his presidency, I thought Biden didn’t handle something well at all.

          What, are you blind to our southern border and the mess we’re now are experiencing down there?  Don’t tell me that you think he’s handling that well.

          Biden also learned from General Douglas Macarthur’s admonition to John F Kennedy to “Never fight a land war in Asia.”
          After Johnson, Nixon,  Reagan, both Bush’s, Obama and Trump were all involved in misadventures of military interventions in Asia we now have a president who has learned the lessons of history and hopefully will not repeat them.

          LMAO, you do know that Biden voted in favor of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

          Heck, he’s been around long enough that he may have also voted for the Civil War.

        3. Keith Olsen

          Might be helpful if you identify whose quotes are whose.

          You know the top quote is your’s, the bottom one is Ron Glick’s comment from below.  I condensed them into one post because some of us are strictly held to the 5 comment limit.

          I’m not counting this as a comment towards my 5.

        4. Keith Olsen

          For the first time in his presidency, I thought Biden didn’t handle something well at all.

          Well according to this recent Zogby poll 1 in 5 of Biden’s voters wish they could take back their vote.  It looks like the populace doesn’t agree with you, and this poll was taken before Biden botched the pullout.

          The Zogby Poll®: One-fifth of likely voters and Democrats regret voting for Biden

          https://zogbyanalytics.com/news/1035-the-zogby-poll-one-fifth-of-likely-voters-and-democrats-regret-voting-for-biden

  1. Ron Glick

    What hasn’t sunk in yet is what Biden is doing by getting out of Afghanistan. Instead of wasting money  on military contractors like Haliburton or Blackwater in far off places he is going to give dental, hearing and vision services to seniors, child support payments to children and feed the poor here at home. His platform could be summarized as “butter not guns” or “build back butter.”

    Biden learned from Johnson who tried to do the Great Society at home and the Vietnam War abroad. We were told we could do both “Guns and Butter.” Biden is going to do the butter part while reducing the guns part.

    Biden also learned from General Douglas Macarthur’s admonition to John F Kennedy to “Never fight a land war in Asia.”

    After Johnson, Nixon,  Reagan, both Bush’s, Obama and Trump were all involved in misadventures of military interventions in Asia we now have a president who has learned the lessons of history and hopefully will not repeat them.

  2. Ron Glick

    “LMAO, you do know that Biden voted in favor of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

    I can’t remember if I supported going into Afghanistan. I think I was resigned to it.

    Iraq is another story. Still, being President is different than being Senator. One is Commander in Chief the other provides advice and consent.

    As for Biden and the border, when was the border not a mess? Certainly taking babies from their mothers was a horrific mess.

     

    “Up to $90 billion worth of military equipment left behind, 13 more dead U.S. soldiers, 100’s of Americans left behind, untold numbers of loyal to America Afghanis left to suffer at the hands of the Taliban witch hunts, etc…”

    The Taliban are our new allies in the region. Trump negotiated with them and Biden will honor that agreement. So far the Taliban have honored it as well. You don’t make peace with your friends.

    We spent trillions propping up the failed government we put in power, leaving behind billions worth of weapons we gave to that failed government. That it fell faster than anticipated or losing those weapons to the Taliban could have been prevented how?

    We lost 13 young soldiers getting out. Aren’t you surprised that we didn’t lose more? Of the hundreds of American’s left behind they are still getting out. A final accounting is not yet in.

    Afghans left to suffer… We got over 100,000 out. After the fall of Saigon people fled Vietnam for decades. You have some expectation that this should have gone perfectly?

    “Now be honest, if Trump had botched and ended the war the same way Biden did you all would be skewering him.”

    Trump botched abandoning the Kurds in Syria and he deserved to be criticized for it. Trump left the final pullout of Afghanistan until after the election when he wouldn’t oversee it if he lost or wouldn’t have to face the voters again if he won.

  3. Alan Miller

    This piece is really hard to follow; a bunch of thoughts scattered in time and space held together by the silver strands of concussive memory.  However, I’ll endevour on this:

    With the nation again fully engaged in Afghan and Iraq wars, the 40-year alt-right effort . . .

    I was at an Obama rally in San Francisco in 2007.  He promised to take the troops out of Iraq and the crowd cheered – then he promised to re-deploy them in Afghanistan where they were truly needed.  No booing, but a smattering of uncomfortable applause.  And that is what Obama did – ramped the Afghan war way the F up.  Is Obama part of your ‘alt-right’ effort?  This ongoing middle-east wars were not only alt-right promoted, but oft by quite leftie leaders and movers and shakers.  What purpose does it serve to lie about this, other than the petty sake of smearing the right?

      . . . had succeeded in routing whatever remained of the hope of a peace centered Age of Aquarius US government (or society).

    Huh?

    The People’s Park struggles, that made strides during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, were recast as a legacy of ignoble domestic insurrections.

    Recast by whom, where?  You mean the right never approved of them?  Yeah, always, no recasting, just how opposites see things differently and write their own narratives.

    With this 20-year war came much more police militarization, incarceration industry expansion and an onslaught of evangelized sociopathic toxic alt-right media.

    True, but don’t forgot the parallel rise of evangelized sociopathic toxic alt-left media.  The problem is “evangelized sociopathic toxic”, not the side.

    Such is the wasteland of these last 20 years, where we have endeavored to keep our families firm and our friends from despairing . . . At the close of the Afghan war, we again vow to wage peace.

    Who is this “we” of which you speak?

    “Rag heads”, we raged, after the Twin Towers fell.

    I assume that’s a different “we” . . .

    And nice of you to actually mention the Twin Towers, if not who felled them.  I share much of your outrage in the many blundered U.S. responses to 9/11.  But I don’t share you not mentioning the U.S. didn’t fell it’s own towers (well, plenty think we did – but that’s another matter for a mental health blog), or that only the alt-right is responsible.  The issue isn’t who is more or less at fault, the issue is that everyone shares in the blame – and the biggest lie is ignoring the faults of one’s own side due to unfettered and undeserved loyalty.

      1. Keith Olsen

        But as someone stated above:

        The Taliban are our new allies in the region. Trump negotiated with them and Biden will honor that agreement. So far the Taliban have honored it as well. You don’t make peace with your friends.

        With allies like that…

        Who else thinks that in a short time down the road that we’re going to be paying ransoms to the Taliban in order to free Americans and Afghanis who supported us?

    1. Ron Oertel

      And the other 37% are “sure” of it.  🙂

      But I’d like to know why Americans (non-soliders) were still there in the first place, given that the withdrawal was announced so far in advance.

      Are they contractors for the military?

  4. Keith Olsen

    Biden crowing about drone strike:

    “I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.
    “The strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person in the heinous attack and make them pay,” the statement continued.
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/aug/28/biden-isis-k-strike-wont-be-last/

    Who was reportedly  killed:

    Times reporting has identified the driver as Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a U.S. aid group. The evidence, including extensive interviews with family members, co-workers and witnesses, suggests that his travels that day actually involved transporting colleagues to and from work. And an analysis of video feeds showed that what the military may have seen was Ahmadi and a colleague loading canisters of water into his trunk to bring home to his family.
    While the U.S. military said the drone strike might have killed three civilians, Times reporting shows that it killed 10, including seven children, in a dense residential block.
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/times-investigation-us-drone-strike-140449695.html

     

     

     

  5. Keith Olsen

    What Biden said on Aug. 18 about troop withdrawal in Afghanistan:

    STEPHANOPOULOS: But your top military advisors warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops.
    BIDEN: No, they didn’t. It was split. Tha– that wasn’t true. That wasn’t true.
    STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn’t tell you that they wanted troops to stay?
    BIDEN: No. Not at — not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn’t argue against that.
    STEPHANOPOULOS: So no one told — your military advisors did not tell you, “No, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It’s been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that”?
    BIDEN: No. No one said that to me that I can recall.

    What came out in today’s hearings that shows that Biden lied:

    Top generals told lawmakers Tuesday that they previously recommended keeping around 2,500 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan, contradicting earlier statements by President Biden that no one had advised him against a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country last month.
    In sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both said they assessed as early as last fall that an accelerated withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan would likely cause the Western-backed Afghan government and military to collapse. While both generals declined to comment on their specific recommendations to the president, they indicated that their personal views on how many U.S. troops should remain in Afghanistan were communicated to then-President Donald Trump as well as to Biden.
    https://www.aol.com/top-generals-said-advised-keeping-191000672.html

    1. Ron Oertel

      Top generals told lawmakers Tuesday that they previously recommended keeping around 2,500 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan, contradicting earlier statements by President Biden that no one had advised him against a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country last month.

      Could be that he doesn’t “remember”.

      While both generals declined to comment on their specific recommendations to the president, they indicated that their personal views on how many U.S. troops should remain in Afghanistan were communicated to then-President Donald Trump as well as to Biden.

      As I recall, Trump said that he knows more than most generals.

      In any case, 2,500 troops is probably not enough to ensure security for the entire country.

      I read somewhere that (Kabul?) is now safer (from criminals), as a result of the Taliban takeover.  But, I suspect that progressives (and most people) would have concerns about “how” they ensure that.

      Maybe David should run some repetitive, daily articles regarding this:

      https://www.businessinsider.com/taliban-to-bring-back-executions-cutting-off-hands-as-punishment-2021-9

      But hey, at least they’re not doing it in a stadium, anymore. Sounds like it used to be similar to the Roman Coliseum.

      In any case, drivers probably better-ensure that their vehicle registration is up-to-date, at least. And whatever else they tell you to do.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Yeah, I realized that I misspelled “Colosseum”.  Hopefully, I did not (also) misspell “misspell”.

        I’m not sure what the punishment would be for any of that, but I’d rather not find out.

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