Sorry I haven’t posted in a while but I was busy trying to get some things done, and I was also traveling. I had been wanting to start posting again but kept putting it off until this past week.
Watching the mess in Afghanistan this last week made me reflect back on all that has happened during my time of service.
You see, I retired a year ago from the Air Force after 20 years of service. With the only exception of the first 12 months of my career, we were at war with Iraq and Afghanistan or both at the same time for my entire service. I remember deploying in support of both operations. Operation Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. While I never really considered if they were right or wrong until years later when I finally grew to understand why things are what they are.
When I was younger I wholeheartedly supported Afghanistan, but was skeptical of Iraq. Afghanistan was clear and to the point, overthrow the Taliban and get Bin Laden (The mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks). Iraq was kind of complicated to me. Though Saddam was violating several of the UN Resolutions, there was no clear reason as to why he should be removed and there was no plan as to what should be done once removed. However, being a young Airman, I realized that I was paid to offer any foreign analysis.
As time went on, I realized that one War was enough and the other was unnecessary.
Image above is Saudi 2019
Images below are from Kyrgyzstan 2002
Kyrgyzstan was my first deployment and it was an essential area at the time of the invasion. The base was named Peter J Ganci Air base (Named after a heroic Firefighter who lost his life trying to save others on 9/11). This base was most memorable to me because it was the first time I had ever been outside the country. That was where I realized just how different things were outside the comfort of the US. It was after this trip I made it a point to learn about the countries I visited. I wanted to see how things are. It was an eye opener. I would end up doing 9 trips to the other side of the world and I spent a year in South Korea.
It made me appreciate how easy we really have it back home. Yeah, we have our issues. Politicians trying to change laws for their benefits. Voters posting misinformation online because they are either too lazy or stupid to do the legwork for facts. However, these small items pale in comparison to the real problems that are going on out there.
Countries literally putting people into camps, cultures who won’t let women vote or even dress to their comfort. Govt’s being overthrown by people who believe that they can create a religious utopia but end up becoming 3rd world totalitarianisms.
With that said I am sure someone is sitting here and trying to process what I am writing and asking, “What’s your point Dingus?” I will sum that up now.
Do I believe that we should pull out of Afghanistan? Yes, I do wholeheartedly support it. I have seen people I know that would be killed or come home and not be the same. One of my jobs was Mortuary affairs. I did 22 cases in 3 years and I still remember the faces of the member who passed and the families that I had to sit in front of and explain if they wanted their child/husband/wife/sibling buried or cremated. They will always be with me until the day I die. However, with that said, I do not agree with how the withdrawal was being conducted. In fact that’s why a lot of Vets are upset with the President about this.
While the President deserves the blame for the poor withdrawal, that doesn’t mean his predecessors get a pass either. From President Bush taking his eye off the ball to focus on Iraq. To President Obama plunging us deeper, even after we got Bin Laden (who was in Pakistan by the way). Finally, to President Trump’s inept and naïve negotiations with the Taliban (Yeah, because we should totally rely on an enemy who was just trying to kill us for the last several years to suddenly want to cooperate)
President Biden could have not followed the agreement set by the Trump administration, but guess what? It happened and nothing can change that. Sadly, for the Vets who were in this war, we now have much clearer understanding what the Vietnam generation must’ve felt when their war came to a horrible end. To see a situation spiral out of control and no longer have a goal or an endgame. It does give the feeling of “Was this in vein?” “Was it a waste?” Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question but I can say this. If this war was lost, it wasn’t because of the men and women who bravely served. It was the inept and arrogant politicians who thought they would win this war with words, or that we could try to build nations in our image. They lost the war, not the troops.
To each of them I will add this. I am proud to have served with all of you through these conflicts. You are the best that this country has to offer the word. Even with our internal issues and flaws, you all made me proud to serve.
My only political post hopefully. I will focus more on my other hobbies, travels, and interests. Have a good week. Below I posted some more images for memories
Image on the left was Al Jaber Kuwait 2015 during a Sand storm. Image on the right was UAE in the city of ABU DAHBI in 2005.
These 3 were from Qatar back in April of 2003. This was when Baghdad fell. A little bit of celebration and an opportunity to see some planes.
One thought on “Afghanistan and the “What ifs””
Thank you for your service.
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