Shame on us

No matter your political leaning nor whether you believe we should end all “forever wars” or you are a national security hardliner, if you are American, you should be deeply disappointed in your country today. As the American flag at the US Embassy in Kabul comes down under Taliban pressure, as US Army Chinook helicopters shuttle American diplomats to the Kabul Airport as others burn sensitive documents, I am reminded of the shame I felt in 1975, watching the nightly TV, as Americans abandoned Saigon and our embassy (my father gave three years of his life leading troops in combat in Vietnam), or even of the memories of the Iranian takeover of our US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Or how about US Consulate Benghazi?

My cheeks are burning now as I write this blog.

It did not have to come to this. Two administrations were totally outsmarted by a lying Taliban leadership who NEVER intended to follow ANY of the “agreed” upon terms of our American/Taliban agreement. We wanted an exit from this “forever war” more than we cared about our American national interest (to protect America and Americans at home and abroad) or our ability to deter potential other foes based on some semblance of strength and willpower, much less the ability to build future coalitions of allies in times of pending competition or conflict. To say nothing of our reputation as a country that actually cares about human rights and the equality of females and males.

All of that has been badly damaged, if not destroyed.

Well guess what? As I write in my book Marathon War – Leadership in Combat in Afghanistan, we can forget about Afghanistan, but Afghanistan will not forget about us.

We are leaving Afghanistan shamefully, our tail between our legs, but it is NOT OVER. Al Qaeda, Islamic State, and other terror groups are backfilling us, seeking out safe havens to train, plot, and eventually come after America, Americans, our NATO partners, and many others.

It did not have to come to this.

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