Mad as Hell…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster

I’m not a violent person by nature but the events of August 26th, 2021 made me want to hit or kick something.

When 13 U-S military service members died in the Afghanistan bombings, it marked the first fatalities in that conflict this year.

re lost 11 troops in all of 2020 yet this event happened while we were ending out involvement in the 20 years since we sent our military to Afghanistan.

This all started for us on September 11th, 2001.

A week later, President George W. Bush received approval of a joint resolution (98-0 in favor {Senate} and 420-1 in favor {House} to take military action against those responsible for the events of 9-11.

On Sunday, October 7th, 2001, as we were sitting in church, dozens of pagers started going off and we learned that U.S. and British forces had begun a bombing campaign in Afghanistan.

“Operation Enduring Freedom” had commenced.

I decided right away I wanted to do something to show I supported our troops in harms way so I started wearing a U.S Flag pin on my right lapel.

I decided I would wear that pin as long as we had our military in harms way.

Twelve days later, the first U.S. ground troops were in Afghanistan.

I never imagined that I would still be wearing that U.S. Flag pin for that same reason 20 years later.

Did you know that “Operation Enduring Freedom” actually concluded on December 31st, 2014?

The mission was to build and maintain pressure inside Afghanistan with the objective to destroy the al Qaeda network and Taliban government.

After 13 years, we switched to “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel” on January 1st, 2015.

All these military operations have these neat, Madison Avenue-like names but the bottom line is, whatever you call them, men and women of the United States were dying supposedly in support of the mission(s).

Did we actually “build and maintain pressure inside Afghanistan, destroying the al Queda network and the Taliban government?”

Did we learn anything after our involvement in Vietnam?

Twenty plus years later, here we are and what has really changed?

Along with our NATO allies, we follow the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the Sikh and Persian empires, Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great who have all tried to move Afghanistan forward.

In our haste to exact revenge for the 9-11 attack on us, we started a military mission that didn’t have an achievable goal.

Remember in August of 1990, President George W. Bush announced “Operation Desert Shield” was commenced to muster the forces to oust the forces of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

That was accomplished and February 28th, 1991 and Iraqi military generals surrendered about a week later.

Mission accomplished…despite the hues and cries from many who said we should continue and get Saddam Hussein while we were already there.

BUT…

That was not the mission.

It was to get Iraq out of Kuwait.

Granted, it only delayed the inevitable, much like when WWII General George S. Patton suggested we turn our attention to the Soviet Union while we had our troops on the ground at the end of the European conflict.

But our mission then was defeat Nazi Germany.

A good lawyer friend of mine says we need to be careful what we commit ourselves to in the “heat of the moment” because we can sometimes wind up with entanglements we never considered.

Now, in years to come, folks, much smarter than me will analyze what we’ve been through and how this ended.

So this all brings me to the present and why I’m mad.

If “Operation Enduring Freedom” ended on 12/31/14, why didn’t we start bringing troops home then?

That was already a 13 year investment (and loss of lives) and yet our leaders just relabeled it, and the “grunts on the ground” keep doing what they’re been doing since 2001.

The folks calling the shots in our nation’s capitol should do like I do when there’s a job to be done at the palatial Foster estate.

We assess the problem, determine a course of action and, if we can’t do it, we hire the “pros” who can and then get out of their way and let them complete the job.

But politicians can’t do that anymore than some of the high-ranking military people in our nation’s capitol.

This is not an indictment on the effort of those “in the field”.

It’s those with brief cases and “spokespeople” sitting behind big desks, worrying about how “this” will play on the news or how the next public opinion poll will look.

I’m all in favor of getting troops out of Afghanistan.

In my opinion, it’s long overdue.

But when more troops die while we’re attempting to come home than died in combat the previous year, that’s a lousy plan.

Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.

This “plan” to bring troops and friends home can’t be what everyone “planned” for.

BUT…

If they did, it’s proven to be a bad one and someone needs to go stand in the corner.

But who in Washington, D.C. is actually going to raise their hand and take responsibility?

I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

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