Thursday, December 10, 2009


I was 17 when the student radicals took over the U.S. embassy in Iran, an event that so angered me I felt President Carter was within his rights to drop an H-bomb on Tehran, even if it killed all the hostages and just about everybody else. Now, before any of you peaceniks out there get angry, let me say I no longer feel that way. I'm glad that Carter didn't drop an H-bomb, an A-bomb, a neutron bomb, a jellied gasoline bomb, a buzz bomb, or even a cherry bomb on Iran, when it would have been politically advantageous for him to do so. He later won the Nobel Peace Prize both for the Camp David accords, and his efforts to promote peace after he left office. But, as far as I'm concerned, he could have won solely for restraining his inner hawk in his final year of office, even at the cost of re-election.

22 years later, two planes flew into each of the World Trade Center towers, and one flew into the Pentagon, resulting in close to 3000 deaths. I was angry about that, too. In spite of the greater loss of life, or, for that matter, any loss of life (as scary as they seemed at the time, the Iranian hostage-takers of 1979 didn't kill anybody) I didn't want the H-bomb dropped this time. Call it maturity. Still, I felt we had to do something. Those deaths had to be answered. That had to be avenged. Or else they all would have died in vain.

It soon came out that a Middle-Easterner by the name of Osama Bin Laden, and a terrorist organization he headed called Al-Qaeda, were behind the attacks. They were headquartered in Afghanistan. Another group called the Taliban, which ran Afghanistan, wouldn't give the killers up. That was belligerent enough for me. President Bush was well within his rights to declare war on Afghanistan. Barring that, the Taliban. Or at least Al-Qaeda.

Instead, Bush declared war on terrorism. He declared war on a word.

Still, it seemed like a war on Afghanistan. The Taliban were soon toppled from power, and Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were on the run.

Problem was, nobody seemed to run after Bin Laden or Al-Qaeda. And, in a remarkably short time, nobody seemed to care. Not the mainstream media, not the business community, not the political establishment (including the Democratic half of that establishment), and, finally, not even We, The People.

Because we were now going to go to war with Iraq. That would avenge those 3000 deaths on 9/11, even if they were 3000 deaths Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with. The war with Iraq started out well. A statue was toppled. Hussein was caught and hung on live cell phone. But it was a war we didn't seem to know how to end. So far, about 4000 Americans have died in Iraq so that the 3000 dead of 9/11 won't have died in vain.

A week ago, President Obama reminded us again of 9/11. He also reminded us of the original villains of the piece, Bin Laden and Al-Qeada. And he reminded us of their original headquarters, Afghanistan. Except that's not their current headquarters. They're now in Pakistan, something the Pakistanis have recently denied. Wherever they are, maybe on the moon, we're now in Afghanistan, and will be even more in Afghanistan in the next couple of years.

Obama spoke out against the war in Iraq, and, to some, that gives him credibility, or at least cover, in the Afghan buildup. I can only hope he's doing the right thing. People who spoke out for the war in Iraq have been speaking out for a renewed war in Afghanistan, and the President, perhaps coincidentally, seems to be heeding their advice.

Except for the deadline for withdrawal. The hawks are upset about that. I'm not too happy about it either, but for a much different reason. It makes me wonder if this isn't all for show. We just can't seem to get any closure on this thing. This thing being 9/11. 3000 died. And 4000 died in Iraq. We can't let them all die in vain. We have to do something. So lets have a surge in Afghanistan like the one we had in Iraq. Show that we're serious, get the bad guys to back off some, declare Bin Laden dead or irrelevant, declare victory, and then scram.

Hopefully, they can do this without too many more dying for those who died in vain.


  1. Did you happen to see the peace prize acceptance speech? I truly don't know what to make of this man or his policy. Mostly I think it's business as usual inside the the beltway, Then he does something to give me hope that he's not the usual run of politician. I hope he is sincere in his declaration to have troops out of Afghanistanas scheduled. But damn I'm tired of people dying.

  2. Kirk, once again you intimidate me with really tight, solid writing that reflects your keener-than-my-own grasp of most things political.

    I am a lifelong peacenik, so it comforted me to read how you evolved as a human being searching for the right balance.

    I am with Tag. War is wrong. Stop sending our people anywhere to be killed. And, please. If Obama is a damned liar, too, I'm just about done with giving my faith and support to any of them.

    Rock solid, Kirk. I plan to send a link to your post to someone I think will enjoy it and may have something to say in reply, as he has a few feelings about war.

  3. Limes, I don't have a problem with war. I was and am willing to give my life in support of a proper cause or to keep the peace for others. I am againest unneccessary death and destruction. I am sick and tired of the lies that seem to go along with our reasons for causing that death and destruction.

  4. tag, I'm pretty sure we're in the same church. Perhaps different pews. It's wrong to send people away to be killed for reasons other than those stated. How about that?

  5. @Tag--Haven't seen the Nobel speech yet. I really have no illusions about Obama. Voted for him in the Democratic Primary because I preferred him to Hillary. Voted for him in the general election because I preferred him to McCain. Don't regret either vote, probably because I kind of expect to be disappointed by politicians. I don't think Obama has what it takes to buck the military-industrial complex, but then neither do the two politicians I mentioned. Am also tired of people dying.

    @LimesNow--I think we have a mutual intimidation society going on here. Plus you're more prolific. This could have easily been twice as long. I left out a lot of stuff, such as none of the 9/11 hijackers carried an Afghan passport, yet somehow the war on terrorism begins and ends with that country. I'm not a pacifist. I'd like to think I would've been for the U.S. entering World War II had I been alive back then. I just have problems with every war since.

  6. I think we see eye to eye on this. War is wrong.

  7. Againistan. I remember when the Russians invaded Afghanistan. My Olympic hopes shriveled up and died because we boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Interesting that Russia's involvement in Afghanistan brought the troubled giant to its knees. Now we're in there. What's wrong with this picture? Afghanistan has historically been the graveyard of empires. Why do we think we're so different? Arrogance. Pure and simple. Our turn is already up. Look at the money being poured down this rat hole and it's no mystery why the economy is in the hole.

  8. Badge, I'm glad you followed the link to Kirk's. I knew that's EXACTLY what you'd have to say.

    One more time, altogether: war is wrong.

  9. I'm new to your blog, Kirk. I've arrived here via Limes, via Kass, via I can't remember any more, but the train of connections is fascinating and it grows.
    i'm also struck by the reference to Melbourne in your left side bar. Is that from you, or an add from here?

    I'm a Melbournian, that is from Melbourne, Australia. And you are almost the age of my youngest and favorite brother. There the connection ends, but it's good to meet, nevertheless.

  10. @Badger--Thanks for dropping by. Sorry you never made it to the Olympics. The commies got back at us 4 years later by boycotting the LA Olympics, which didn't seem to bother most Americans as it only meant more medals for our side. Whatever works, I guess. The American Empire is already on its' knees. Maybe we'll be brought down to our chins.

    @Elisabeth--Good to meet you, too. You might have been looking at the ad box (which I should get rid of, but I don't want to forfeit the $3.80 I got coming to me) which changes constantly. Those ads are based on whatever appears on the page. I don't recall writing about Australia, but someone in the "List of Blogs" might have, and that could have brought it to the fore. Does your brother wear glasses? If he does, there's another connection.

    @Tag--finally caught Obama's Nobel speech on C-span. I agree with him that there's evil in the world, I just son't know that it exists more in Afghanistan than anywhere else. California Congresswoman Maxine Waters was on Travis Smiley last night, and said they've never found a single terrorist training camp in that country. That doesn't get Bin Laden off the hook. He's as rich as Scrooge McDuck, and probably wired the hijackers enough money to do the deed. Maybe we should declare war on Western Union.

    @Limes--Thanks for the free PR.

  11. Thanks for posting this. I think Obama is making a grave mistake and am sorely disappointed. I fear this will just prolong the slog and not help the Afghans, let alone do anything to quell terrorism or unrest. And it may actually produce unfortunately consequences for the U.S. I supported Obama wholeheartedly in the election but now am losing hope. Unfortunately, maybe no we can't.

  12. Thanks for commenting, Dreamfarm. I think I struck a nerve with this particular post.

  13. I think you did strike a nerve, Kirk. its something we should be talking about. The positive is that conversations like this are going on all over the country.