It's all over but the shouting

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My father used this expression whenever there appeared some situation that appeared insolvable. However, unbeknownst to you and I at the moment, there may be a solution in the future.

Of course, I am referring to the withdrawal of American and other western military and civilian personnel from Afghanistan.

Our local congressman has declared that President Biden is the reincarnation of Prime Minister Chamberlain. He appears to forget that the agreement to remove American forces from Afghanistan came during the administration of President Trump.

Military personnel as well as others bemoan the obvious: American lives and treasure has been spent in what was once thought to be the remarkable turnaround of a nation that has been beset with inherent internal and external problems for centuries.

Thousands of Afghan people worked for America and our allies. Many have already been airlifted out of their native land.

If this all sounds like the quick exit of Americans from Saigon, Vietnam in April 1975, is it similar?

There is no way to tell at present. The British, the Russians, all tried to suppress or change Afghanistan into something resembling their own countries.

While the Taliban appear to be the apparent victors, waiting out the apparent resolve of the Western powers, there are still ways to impose sanctions.

Afghanistan has a long history as a “nation” beset with warlords, drug production and trafficking. The Taliban have carefully navigated their slow and then rapid takeover of provincial capitals. The question will always be: why and how could American and allied trained and supplied Afghan military so quickly “give up” the fight?

In the coming days pundits as well as “real” military and diplomatic experts will give their assessments of what has happened.

But again, as you listen to the talking heads, recall that the August 31 deadline for withdrawal of American forces was negotiated by the Trump administration.

The “shouting” will continue for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, we must take care of the families of military personnel killed and those wounded in this “war.”

And ask ourselves – After 20 years, was it all worth it?


Written by William E. Ellis

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