by Taylor MacHenry
Today, I watched in horror and agony as thousands swarmed the Kabul airport hopelessly trying to escape the wrath of the Taliban with their bare-rock tyranny and unbridled cruelty that lies ahead for all Afghan people who did not side with the Muslim extremist rulers. My stomach twisted as I saw Afghan people clinging to the wheel wells of a US Air Force C17 transport aircraft as it taxied to the runway and took off. What happened to those who helplessly clung to the wheel wells and any other surface of the aircraft’s exterior where they could take a handhold?
President Joe Biden denies that this is another American war won by US Warriors but lost by America’s political leaders who lacked the fortitude nor the will to arm and equip the Afghan people and transition to their own defense. A process that takes years and cannot be done in a matter of a few months. It is just like the way that the United States Congress tied the hands of the President and quit and ran from Viet Nam in 1975.
President Gerald R. Ford told me in 1994, when I spent time with him in New York, working on my book, Goodnight Saigon, (Berkley Books, Penguin-Random House, 2005, New York, NY) that the fall of Saigon was the most tragic day of his life. He said, “It was terrible to be President of the United States and sit and watch as America quit and ran.”
No, America should not have gotten ensnared in Afghanistan, just as they should not have gotten ensnared in Viet Nam. Not with the weakness of a Congress of men and women who have no idea of the cost of war, and the horrors that the innocent people caught in the jaws of that war suffer.
When we see our beloved brothers in arms die at our sides; when we see the innocent people caught in that war suffer and get maimed and killed, collateral damage sloughed off no better than flotsam and jetsam in the wake of a war waged by cowards and prosecuted by the valiant who believe their rhetoric, it brands the memories with a hot iron of we who were there to see these things while we fought the war and endure it.
We veterans keep saying, “Never again.” But the fools in Congress and the White House keep doing it. We keep warning that the cost of going to war is not in money but in blood, and not just an enemy’s blood but the blood of the innocent and blood of the loyal. Yet those cautions go ignored when the politicians have a political status to keep, and votes to get.
For those narcissistic wastes of skin who sit in high office, basking in their self-aggrandizing glory, human life and human misery do not affect their souls, because they have no souls.
A nation cannot go to war and still go shopping at the mall, as if there is no war. Going to war means total commitment by the nation, not just the warriors that the nation treats like disposable hired help who matter for nothing. All of the people of the nation that goes to war must put themselves into the effort, share the bleeding. That is, if they desire to win it.
The last war where America totally committed to war was World War II. Every conflict, every military action in which America has stuck its big toe in the water, since World War II has failed.
President George W. Bush should have listened to his father, who warned him sternly against getting America entangled in the nation building that takes place after America quashes an enemy. He should have pounded Afghanistan into submission for the crime that they helped Osama bin Laden and his zealots commit, but instead of remaining in the country, nation building, winning the hearts and minds of the populous, he should have just left them to their misery and the Taliban to continue governing. If the Taliban hosted more terrorists, bomb them again and again and again.
That’s why President George H. W. Bush left the boss thug in charge in Iraq when America blew his armies back to Baghdad when they invaded Kuwait. No nation building. And President father warned President son to leave Iraq alone.
But son did not listen to the wisdom of his father.
Thus, with the ouster of Saddam Hussain, radical zealot armies like ISIS emerged.
Once the blood bath in Kabul ends, as the Taliban exercises its wrath on all those who supported the Americans, filling the gutters with blood, I fully expect to see Afghanistan rise up as the Phoenix of Islamic terror, home base for ISIS and others who live to kill Americans and destroy the Christian nations and the Christians wherever they exist.
Yes, America should have departed Afghanistan long ago, but with an exit strategy that gave the people at least a fighting chance. What President Biden has done is cowardly and cruel. The blood of these people is on him today. It is not just like Viet Nam. No. The North Vietnamese were a nicer bunch.
This is much worse.