Many Americans are just too jingoistic to concede the Taliban won this 20-year war. But the way the Taliban presided over America’s humiliating retreat from Kabul last month betrays the truth.
As it happened, here is how I declared the Taliban (and their al-Qaeda hired guns) the winner on 9/11 … 10 years ago:
If you didn’t know better, you’d think the terror alert that has New York City and Washington, DC in virtual lockdown right now is the first there’s been since 9/11. In fact, those alerts have been spooking us with annoying regularity ever since – forcing us to react like puppets on al-Qaeda’s strings to one phony terror threat after another. And the police seem to like nothing more than showing off their big guns along the streets of NYC and DC, acting as if they are soldiers patrolling the streets of Kabul.
Of course, one of these days one of these threats will finally materialize. But I’d bet my life that the big bang will occur not in NYC or here in DC, but in some other area of the United States that government officials seem to think has been inoculated against terrorist attacks.
More to the point, though, given the hundreds of billions Western countries have wasted on post-9/11 security measures (not to mention the lives that have been lost in two stupid wars or the living hell traveling has become), is there any doubt that al-Qaeda has already won the war on terror…?
(“Another 9/11 Terror Alert,” The iPINIONS Journal, September 9, 2011)
I later commented on how America’s military leaders secretly affirmed my declaration in “’The Afghanistan Papers’: US Officials Have Always Known This War Is Unwinnable,” December 11, 2019.
Yet America went on to lose nearly 3,000 soldiers in Afghanistan’s vaunted graveyard of empires, eerily mirroring the nearly 3,000 people al-Qaeda killed on 9/11. It also went on to waste nearly $3 trillion in Afghanistan’s vaunted money pit of corruption, which amounted to trying to build a nation in quicksand. But, here too, the billions in US armaments, airplanes, and vehicles the Taliban are now showing off as the spoils of war make clear who won this war.
Which raises the poignant question: Was this war worth it?
Well, in addition to the lost blood and wasted treasure, the Taliban are now ruling Afghanistan with greater authority and power than they did when the US invaded 20 years ago; despite their protestations, they are providing safe haven not just to al-Qaeda but to ISIS and various other terrorist groups; and the US retreat in defeat has caused such a crisis of confidence in the NATO alliance that major European powers are openly discussing plans for collective security that no longer depends on US leadership.
In fact, not since a seemingly outmatched Israeli army defeated the armies of Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and even Cuba in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 has a military alliance seen such a humiliating defeat as that which the Taliban just handed NATO.
What’s more, anyone who tells you we are safer today than we were on 9/11 has probably had their head buried in the sand since then. Because the myriad way terrorists have forced us to change everything from the way we travel to the way we fortify our public buildings belie that we are safer in any respect.
And don’t get me started on the fact that Western nations spent so much of the past 20 years demonizing even phantom foreign terrorists, they willfully ignored the clear and present dangers real domestic terrorists posed. Here is how I warned about this in “Norway’s Timothy McVeigh Perpetrates National Massacre,” July 23, 2011:
What far too many of us forget is that long before al-Qaeda terrorists struck the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in DC, a good ol’ American boy named Timothy McVeigh struck a government building in Oklahoma. This should have made it painfully clear that, when it comes to terrorism, we have as much to fear from domestic/Christian terrorists as from foreign/Muslim ones.
Well, it seems this domestic form of terrorism has come to Norway. For preliminary reports are that a man as native to Norway as McVeigh was to the USA perpetrated what is being described as that country’s 9/11. …
But let this be a reminder that we do not need al-Qaeda when one of ‘our own’ can visit such devastating terror – the worst gun rampage by a single man in history – upon us.
Meanwhile, former President George W. Bush is not only the man who triggered America’s war in Afghanistan but arguably the one most responsible for bungling it. The latter he did by using claims that Iraq possessed WWDs as a pretext to divert war efforts to avenge the bounty Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein allegedly put on his daddy’s head. (This is clearly not the commentary or forum for history 101 on this fateful topic.)
The point is that Bush is sounding the most persuasive alarm about the need to pay closer attention to the domestic terrorism he spent his entire presidency blithely ignoring. Here is how his 9/11 tribute stood out in this most ironic and improbable way yesterday:
There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols — they are children of the same foul spirit, and it is our continuing duty to confront them.
(The Washington Post, September 11, 2021)
Now that’s a fight worth joining … on the home front.
Given all that, the obvious answer to that question is a resounding, no! The war in Afghanistan was not worth it.
And if you’re a maimed veteran, or worse the relative of a dead one, and you have a warmongering politician, or worse a war-glorifying general, telling you that giving Afghans (especially women and girls) a taste of democratic freedoms only to have it snatched away – as if the last 20 years were all just a friggin’ nightmare – you have my permission to just punch them in the face.
But, apropos of tributes, you are probably aware that former President Trump shunned all formal remembrances. Because this insurrectionist narcissist had to make even this day all about him. And so, being the pusillanimous, gilded-tower grifter that he is, he arranged to MC a boxing match for an extortionate fee as the highlight of his 9/11 day of remembrance.
Of course, truth be told, we all know he did not attend the formal “Ground Zero” ceremony because he feared being upstaged by all the other presidents. This man-child’s insecurity knows no bounds.
Except that public outrage was such that he arranged a one-man show at a nearby fire station instead. But look closely at the typical publicity photos he sent out afterwards.. Because this grinning, sociopathic narcissist is so emotionally ignorant, each shows that it could have been taken at the pay-per-view boxing match he was preparing to attend later. It would be SAD if it were not so pathetic!
That said, I appreciate why the confluence of this war finally ending and this 20th anniversary made special tributes irresistible. But, for future reference, I still feel obliged to end my tribute with this abiding cynical note from “Time to Move On,” September 11, 2021:
I applaud NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for decreeing this week that, henceforth, the area where the Twin Towers were destroyed shall no longer be called ‘Ground Zero.’ Instead, it shall revert to its original name, The World Trade Center.
But I urge him to decree also that, henceforth, the city shall no longer mark this day, every year, by wallowing in the plainly contrived ceremony of tolling bells and reading all names of those who perished.
Not to mention the untenable emotional conflict this imposes on kids – many of whom were either very young or still in their mother’s womb on 9/11. Imagine being cajoled every year into expressing public grief for a parent you never even knew without feeling as though you’re betraying the love you’ve developed for the person your surviving parent married. …
Families directly affected should be left alone to grieve in their own way. But I suspect many of them moved on with their lives long ago and will feel no need to do so.
This 10th anniversary seems a good time for the rest of the country to move on too.