Friday, September 11, 2009

8 years and counting

As the names of those that perished 2920 days ago are once more read aloud, the horror and fear are renewed. Senseless deaths of 2975 are recalled. As a civilized society, we recoil.

The people of the Islamic world have witnessed 8 years of a response to the events of that day. Our leaders have seen fit to take us into Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in a continuing search for something that eludes them. In the wake are left thousands of bodies of American soldiers and countless thousands of lives lost or forever altered of those who have had the misfortune to live in the path of war.

What have we gained? We have learned that our foray into Iraq was without basis or justification. Our efforts in Afghanistan have only produced a sense of growing failure, despite continued escalating troop involvement. We have made limited efforts, and limited inroads in Pakistan. What have we gained?

We have not brought back the 2975. We have not brought peace. We have not brought goodwill. We have not brought answers.

Adding death to death cannot be how we move forward. We who lived through the events of 8 years ago know that our enemies gained no advantage by their actions. All they did was diminish themselves and in the process diminish our world.

I believe that the President understands the futility. He speaks of building up, not tearing down in Afghanistan in particular. It is very hard to be considered a positive force when people see you as an unwanted intruder. It is impossible when they see you as an instrument of death.

8 years later we read off the names of the fallen. If we were to read off the names of those, both friend and foe, who have fallen as a result of the events of 9/11, we would be shaken to our core. We should be.


Jack said...

So close, so close. As I was reading this post I was saying to myself finally I can totally agree with a right on piece of really good writing. That is until I got to the next to last paragraph.
Iraq is Bush's war and his huge blunder. Afghanistan is Obama's war and will prove to be his huge blunder. The only building up has been the troop levels and the body counts on both sides that are beginning to escalate each week. We are an instrument of death for our own young men and women plus the Afghanistanis who will perish with them.
If you didn't blindly idolize Obama the way you do you would have left that paragraph out. He does not understand the futility yet, but when he learns the lessons of the French and Russians, who ran out of Afghanistan with their tails between their legs, he will.

Robert said...

I appreciate that you think I am getting closer.

I do not have 'blind idolatry' for Obama. In fact, if you review many of my pieces they are critical of him and his actions, or failure to act.

I do think he sees the futility of the path taken in the Islamic world in years past. I am concerned that we will not do enough to alter our course but that we will find ourselves in Iraq II in the months and years to come.

I believe he has a much better understanding of the pitfalls then did Bush, but I do not know if he will have the political will to put this understanding into practice.

Robert said...

Very poignant my friend.

Howard M Lippman

Jack said...

If he understands the pitfalls why did he commit so deeply in Afghanistan?
Surely, just like Vietnam, Afghanistan is a lose lose situation.