The War in Afghanistan, after 20 long, arduous years, has finally come to end. At least, that’s what President Joe Biden said to Americans during his address to the nation on Tuesday, Aug. 31.
By his own admission, the withdrawal and mass exodus of more than 120,00 U.S. military personnel and civilians, as well as Afghans who have supported the efforts of America, was complicated, challenging – yes, even “messy.”
Americans were ready for this war to be over after the U.S. spent billions of dollars while mourning the deaths of 2,460 men and women of the armed forces and lamenting over hundreds of thousands more injured or maimed – some for life.
Of course, the Afghan people have suffered their own tragedies. And now, in a climate of political uncertainty, most of the nation faces severe impoverishment, food shortages and a collapsed economy that cannot offer enough jobs for people desperately looking for ways to survive.
Biden, in his address, reminded Americans that with the withdrawal deal signed by leaders of the Taliban and his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, he had but two options: honor the deal or renege and send in thousands more soldiers.
When you only have two cards left to play, you’ve got to make a decision. Biden did. Now, as one would expect, the “armchair quarterbacks” from the Republican Party have curtailed their summer break plans to mount a slew of vociferous attacks against the president for the quagmire in which he has left Americans who remain in Afghanistan as well as those Afghans who want nothing more than to leave before the full wrath of the Taliban is unleashed.
So, I wasn’t surprised when Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), one of the GOP’s “rising stars” known for his persistent criticisms of Biden and all things “liberal,” when on a public tirade, describing the President as the worst commander in chief in U.S. history because of how he guided the recent “mismanaged pullout.”
If you ask me, McCarthy probably cares little it all about the smattering of Americans who remain in Afghanistan – some, by the way, who have chosen to stay of their volition. And you certainly cannot convince me that McCarthy or many others really care about those Afghans who may have crossed the line by helping Americans and now fear for their lives.
Trump liked to proclaim, “Make America Great Again.”
I just want to hear something like, “Help All Americans Live Decently Again (or at Last).”
Look, I don’t know what it’s like to live in a country like Afghanistan where women are second-class citizens, the uneducated are only afforded menial, subservient jobs and where religious beliefs and family castes determine one’s future even before they’re born.
What I do know is that Americans in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi should not be faced with circumstances that include struggling to remain alive as temperatures hover near 100 degrees without the following: clean water to drink, power, cell phone service, food, ample supplies of gasoline and a place to live. Thousands remain homeless due to dwellings having been destroyed by floodwaters.
What I do know is that rather than ranting and raving about what’s going on in a country on the other side of the world, we should hear solutions being offered by our political leaders – options that might make life bearable for those who, like the “walking dead,” have only a pocketful of memories and the clothes on their backs to re-mind them of better days before the storm.
Of course, I empathize for all who remain in Afghanistan no matter what their nationality may be. And as I have been taught by my parents, and given my own compassion for all things
If saving human lives – all lives regardless of creed or color – remains of tantamount importance to our political leaders, party affiliation notwithstanding, then the battle cry that we should be hearing now is how to immediately assist the tens of thousands of people in Louisiana and Mississippi who are suffering after the devastation of Hurricane Ida.
Charity begins at home. Let’s stop pontificating and help our fellow Americans make it through the night.