Remembering 9/11 and Biden's debacle

We usually associate anniversaries with happy occasions: the date of the start of a romance, a wedding, the birth of a company or country.  Celebrations abound — parties, dances, company picnics, bands, parades, fireworks, specialty cocktails, and special cakes. 

Then there are the other events — the death of a loved one, an accident, corporate bankruptcy, natural disasters such as hurricanes.  These events are seared in our hearts, annually marked, not with jubilation, but with longing, sadness, even despair. 

Eclipsing both ends of this emotional spectrum are the catastrophic events that bind not just a family or a company, or a community, but a nation.  Wars do that.  9/11 did that.

9/11 was perpetrated by Islamic extremists who did the unthinkable.  They hijacked planes and used them to bring down New York's Twin Towers and attempted to destroy the Pentagon and other unknown D.C. targets.

Everyone cognizant and alive remembers where he was on 9/11.  In the aftermath, the people of the United States exhibited a love for country not seen in decades.  American flags waved from houses, skyscrapers, construction sites, and cars.  People were kinder, friendlier.  The lives of those killed were honored and mourned.  Then-President Bush swore revenge.  That revenge was focused on the terrorist group al-Qaeda, based in Afghanistan.

Bush's mission was to ferret out the terrorists, believed to have returned to Afghanistan.  However, many of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, a fact that elicited some debate. 

The United States did root out al-Qaeda in Afghanistan — but didn't depart.  Instead, it was decided that the United States military should stay in a futile attempt to build a new country and culture steeped in democracy, not tribal infighting.  The attempt failed.

America is twenty years post 9/11 — twenty years in Afghanistan, over two thousand military personnel dead, and billions of United States dollars spent.  What did America get in exchange?  Nothing!  Now President Biden, incomprehensibly, after his ignominious retreat from Afghanistan with Americans and allies abandoned behind enemy lines, is talking about our Afghanistan partners.  Something is terribly wrong with this picture.  Whether traitorous or just plain corrupt, Biden has betrayed twenty years of sacrifice, the dead and maimed sacrificed for nothing, taxpayer billions up in smoke, and billions more in cash and weapons in enemy hands.

We are not celebrating a twenty-year anniversary — a word horrifically misused.  Rather, we are commemorating a national tragedy that twenty years later lives on.

Image: Cliff via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.