A sad anniversary is just a few days away. Saturday, September 11, 2021, is the 20th anniversary of the attacks on America by Islamic Jihadists on September 11, 2001, that resulted in the murder of nearly 3,000 people.
I had tuned into the news upon hearing that a passenger plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York City and then watched in horror as the second plane struck the second tower. I realized then that this was no accident.
As the hours went on and the Pentagon was attacked and some brave passengers sacrificed themselves and forced an airliner down in a Pennsylvania field, it became obvious that we were going to war against somebody.
Within weeks we attacked terror training bases in Afghanistan. We would later invade Iraq, an action at the time I thought was unwise and have not changed my opinion. Over 2,500 U.S. military personnel were killed in Afghanistan. Less mentioned and even less recognized are the 3,846 U. S. civilian contractors killed. Over 20,000 troops were wounded, many maimed for life. CNBC has reported that more than 6.4 TRILLION dollars has been spent on post 9/11 wars in the Middle East and Asia.
As we have seen by the debacle of recent weeks, that war has ended with the result that the Taliban, those who permitted the terror camps in the first place, are back in power and far more formidable than they were in 2001 since some $82,000,000 worth of weapons were left behind along with a number of Americans and a host of pro-American Afghans.
Doubtless, the Russians, Chinese, and Iranians will be interested to get their hands on these high-tech weapons, reverse engineer then for their own weaponry, and devise counter measures against them the next time we meet on the battlefield.
As in Vietnam, while the troops served honorably and bravely, the politicians managed to lose a war that was won. It has been said that the U.S. never lost a battle in Afghanistan. Yet the end result is akin to defeating Germany and Japan and then turning the countries back over to the Nazis and the Japanese military.
The results are predictable — there will be a bloodbath in that nation and the Jihadists will turn their attention back to nefarious schemes to kill our people on our own soil. Our world is more dangerous than it was 20 years ago, and the United States is seen, by friend and foe alike, as weaker than it was 20 years ago.
As 9/11 looms, the question is being, and must be, asked, “What was it all for? Was it worth the sacrifice of blood, lives, and treasure?” What do we tell the Gold Star families? What answer is to be given to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who gave up part of their lives in what they were told was a righteous cause? What is to be said to the service personnel whose lives were forever changed by the horrific wounds and injuries suffered?
What do we say to the families of the contractors who died and barely received a nod for their service? And what to we say to those in Afghanistan who believed us when they were told we would protect them, and then, we did not? What do we say to the Afghan Christian minority that experienced the freedom to worship and now faces slaughter and martyrdom?
The odds are that, officially, we will say very little. In fact, why bother to say anything at all? It was Hillary Clinton, when questioned about the circumstances that led to the death of four Americans in Benghazi, who retorted, “What difference at this point does it make?!” It made a difference then and it makes a difference now.
Already, in Washington, the push is on to forget about the past, and especially the way we betrayed our friends, and concentrate on other “critical” issues — such as climate change, more free money to people who don’t want a job, the proper use of pronouns, and Critical Race Theory. Rome is burning and Nero is playing the fiddle.
[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). During the pandemic, the church is open at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays but is also live streaming at www.ctk.life. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South (www.midsouthdiocese.life) He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]