The horrible outcome in Afghanistan leaves America severely wounded in terms of its stature and leaves tens of thousands of Americans and Afghanis who worked with America at risk of death. We abandoned our post, abandoned our friends and set the stage for mass killing and the repression of ,many millions of people. What’s more, we dishonored the heroic work of the US military in Afghanistan and to the heroic work of the US military in stopping al Qaeda and ISIS (which nested in Afghanistan).
It isn’t just those in the military who served since 9/11 who will be impacted psychologically by our Saigon-like retreat from Kabul. It is tens of millions of other veterans who know only too well that the selfless work they have done for our nation here and in so many distant lands has not always been honored by their own nation. Several of them have emailed me and called me over the past few days asking me to write something about what is happening.
How could the President of the United States and his team orchestrate such a series of blunders as to script our leaving Afghanistan without pride, without showing loyalty to those Afghans who served alongside us and without sustaining gains in liberty for that nation?
Do we need any other enduring image of our failure than the fact that human remains were found in the wheel wells of a C-17 US cargo plane that was rushed by terrified Afghanis seeking safe passage out of their country? Hundreds made it inside. But some clearly decided to try their luck flying to freedom by hiding in those wheel wells, only to die there, crushed. Such is the symbol of what it means to stand with America for freedom and expect America to stand with you.
And that image won’t be the last seared into the minds of Americans who care about people around the world. If they aren’t censored (and they shouldn’t be) we will be seeing lots of images of wholesale slaughter.
Can this much pain be turned into power? The short answer is, “Yes, of course.” This pain, this evidence of the shortcomings of American leadership, this clear demonstration of something lacking in the character of our government, will lead outraged patriots to, ultimately, demand better and do better. These steps taken back toward fear and cowardice and complicity with evil will lead to a greater number of steps back in the direction of courage and liberty.
Not until we have seen what we have become can we be something else. Something better. Something truer. Something stronger. And, so, we need only keep our eyes open to the scenes unfolding before us, in order to set the stage for better leadership, greater gains in liberty and winning freedom for more and more human beings.
Those who say that America cannot be the police force for the world had better take a long, hard look at Afghanistan over the next several months. Who else than the sons and daughters of liberty will be that police force?
Right now, there are young men and women whose pain at our nation falling to its knees before barbarians will be turned into powerful resolve to lead us forward toward the light. And I would say this to those hoards intent on demonstrating the darkness in their souls: Mind you that Americans always turn pain into power. We do not sleep forever. You will rule for the day and awaken our resolve to defeat you for all time.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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