20 years since airplanes smashed into buildings in New York City and Washington DC, another US led disaster has come to a heart-breaking end with helicopters landing on an embassy roof and civilians desperately attempting to get aboard airplanes to escape.
It was always going to end this way. When we, in our collective grief, shock, and rage, decided to respond to a devastating criminal act by launching a global war on terror, we set the stage for the current catastrophe in Afghanistan. The last 20 years only delayed this ending.
A delay that cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Afghanistan alone. A delay that did not spare Afghanistan from Taliban rule. A delay that cost trillions of dollars that could have been spent strengthening our societies’ resiliency against extremist ideologies, of any sort, that lead to terrorism. A delay that has caused unknown harm to our own country’s morale, and morality.
This isn’t just a failure of the Biden administration. To label it as such is to ignore the 20 years of government lies and secrecy, 20 years of “we’re turning the corner,” and 20 years of our own silence, our own willingness to show up for this global war on terror.
In those 20 years of death and destruction, we still have not successfully brought most of the criminals behind the crime of September 11, 2001 to trial. We have only just begun to acknowledge in scattered reports that there are likely more criminals behind that crime that the US government has spent the past two decades diligently protecting.
And we are only just beginning to see what two decades of war, a multi-generational war, will do to our own nation.
Rather than feeling completely helpless…