♫ Sound of Silence ♫

When I last played this song back in 2020, this was my lead-in:

There is a reason that this one seems appropriate at this time.  A couple of reasons, maybe.  First, the noise of late has been deafening.  I’m talking about the situation here in the U.S.  We have mega fights on three fronts taking place simultaneously:  the November election, the confirmation process for the next Supreme Court justice, and the pandemic.  All three are highly contentious and it feels like there are many key players screeching like banshees.  The next two weeks promise to turn into sheer bedlam.  I, who am nearly deaf anyway, find the slightest noise has become annoying … a car revving its engine, a toilet flushing, the washing machine spinning make me want to scream “shut up!!!”  And so it came to me … I long for the sound of silence.

I played this song in 2018, 2019, and last in 2020 as noted above.  I have only ever played the Simon & Garfunkel version, but yesterday a new member of my blogging family, Erika from Share Your Light, suggested that perhaps the version by ‘Disturbed’ would be fitting for the times.  I had never heard of Disturbed before, but I went, I listened, and I thought, “Yeah, that is pretty apt for the times.”  And then, I discovered that Disturbed had done a 9/11 tribute version of this song.  As many of you are aware, 9/11 is very personal to me and can still bring tears just by the mention, and when I watched this version … wow.  That’s all I can say … wow.  So, I am including both the Disturbed version and the 9/11 tribute version, but I am keeping Simon & Garfunkel’s version on top, for it is and always will be their song.

This song has an interesting history that I wasn’t aware of until tonight, because the last time I played it, I did not include any background trivia.

The song was written by Paul Simon over several months in 1963 and 1964. A studio audition led to the duo signing a record deal with Columbia Records, and the original ‘acoustic’ version of the song was recorded in March 1964 at Columbia Studios in New York City and included on their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.. Released on October 19, 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo disbanding; Simon returned to England, and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University.

In 1965, the song began to attract airplay at radio stations in Boston, Massachusetts, and throughout Florida. The growing airplay led Tom Wilson, the song’s producer, to remix the track, overdubbing electric instruments and drums. This remixed version was released as a single in September 1965. Simon & Garfunkel were not informed of the song’s remix until after its release!

Sounds like grounds for a lawsuit to me, but then … the song hit #1 in late December, so who can complain, right?  Simon & Garfunkel reunited and hastily recorded their second album, which Columbia titled Sounds of Silence in an attempt to capitalize on the song’s success. The remixed single version of the song was included on this follow-up album.

Paul Simon was often compared to Bob Dylan, who was also signed to Columbia Records, and while Simon has acknowledged Dylan’s influence on The Sound Of Silence, he was never trying to measure up to Dylan.  Simon says …

“I tried very hard not to be influenced by him, and that was hard. ‘The Sound Of Silence’, which I wrote when I was 21, I never would have wrote it were it not for Bob Dylan. Never, he was the first guy to come along in a serious way that wasn’t a teen language song. I saw him as a major guy whose work I didn’t want to imitate in the least.”

There is quite a bit more info about this song on Wikipedia and Songfacts, if you’re interested.  Meanwhile …

The Sound of Silence
Simon & Garfunkel
Produced by Tom Wilson

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by
The flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said:
“The words of the prophets are
Written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence.”

Songwriters: Paul Simon
The Sound of Silence lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Imagine ♫

I tend to play this song when … well, when I need to … imagine.  When I need to imagine that there is hope for this world, when I need to believe that humans will eventually find their better side, will begin to care someday, care about others, care about the land, about all living creatures.  Today is the 21st anniversary of the horror that would become known as 9/11.  2,996 people died on that day, more than 400 of them police and firefighters.  Since then, hundreds more rescue workers have lost their lives as a result of the toxicity at Ground Zero. But, we lost more than human lives that day.  We lost … I think that was the day we all came to realize, though even today we would deny it, that “Peace on earth” is a myth that will never be realized.  We came to realize, I think, that … nothing would ever be quite the same again, and that no, it won’t all be okay.  But we want to still believe in hope … I think we must still believe, else … what is the point in it all?  And so, my friends, I give you John Lennon and his view of … a better world … again.

John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today (ah ah ah)

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Songwriters: John Winston Lennon
Imagine lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management

9/11 — Twenty-One Years Ago

“We will never forget” means something.  There are things in our collective history that we will remember until our dying breath.  For me, 9/11 is the most dominant of those things that I will never forget.  I remember exactly where I was standing when my co-worker Rose hollered from about 10 feet away and said, “Hey Jill … they say a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!”  I remember the vivid images we would all see throughout that day and the next and the next.  It would be years before the tears would stop, and even today they sometimes come unbidden when I see an image or read something about that day.  It is shocking to think that the children born on that day are now full-grown adults with jobs, college degrees, and perhaps families of their own.  To me, it still seems like just a little bit ago.

I have written almost every year about that day and the circumstances surrounding it, have written about my own feelings, about what we as a nation should have taken away from what happened.  I think the memories are fading for many, being replaced by the more immediate social and political divides that dominate our news feeds, our lives.  I didn’t want to repeat the words I’ve said nearly every year, but neither could I simply ignore this, the 21st anniversary of the attacks on the United States by terrorists that changed the face of the nation.  Fortuitously, my inbox yesterday included a tribute by Dan Rather that I found moving and reflective of my own thoughts on this day.


21 years later

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

10 September 2022


21 years.

We tend to mark major anniversaries. But why should this year be less important?

It isn’t.

                   And yet I wonder: Is this still a day that stops us in our tracks?

We will never forget where we were when we heard, when we saw, when we cried.

But so much has passed between then and now.

9/11 changed our nation forever.

        But so too have events that followed.

               History marches in only one direction — forward — in lockstep with our lives.

Still, I am drawn back. I know that it will be so for as long as I am here.

That bright, sunny morning — a postcard of a New York day that turned hopelessly dark.

I smell the smoke.

      I hear the screams.

            I see the faces of the perpetually missing in walls of photographs.

                  I touch the void.

I think of the mistakes that preceded 9/11.

                                                                     And the mistakes that followed.

I think of our national goodwill

        and how it was squandered.

               I wonder at a unity

                     that has dissipated to acrimony.

I mourn for those who died that day.

      And those who perished in the wars that followed.

            One of which was a misguided war of choice. The folly of Iraq still haunts us.

What if?

      What if?

            What if?

                  The questions accumulate. We ask despite knowing there are no answers.

Fate can be cruel. And on that day the cruelty left us all altered.

I think especially of those who lost friends and loved ones.

      The personal emptiness they have had to face is greater than our collective grief.

            Let us never forget that.

For the rest of us, we lost a sense of invulnerability.

      How could our mighty nation be thus attacked?

Today the vulnerability of terrorism remains.

But it is crowded with a long list of others.

Our country is precarious.

      We feel exposed.

            At risk.

And it is not only for us as individuals.

      Our national freedoms,

            Our constitutional rights,

                  Our public health,

                        and the very mechanisms of democratic governance are under threat.

                             We yearn for stability

                                   knowing it will be ever elusive.

But strength and resilience are possible.

    We saw that then.

          And we can see it now.

For those of us who were lucky enough to emerge from the tragedy, steady we must be.




To carry on the memory of those who perished

                                                             into the challenges ahead.

Snarky Snippets (Or Mini-Rants?)

Advance warning … I am in a mood tonight, am feeling the sarcasm & snark bubbling to the surface.  I may not be nice tonight, but those at the receiving end of my mood will have surely earned their position there!

This is what they call ‘karma’

You remember Omarosa, right?  Full name Omarosa Onee Manigault Newman, she was once on the former guy’s television show, The Apprentice, but is better known for her brief stint as assistant to the President and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison during the Trump administration.  She lasted less than a year there before then-Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her, claiming “money and integrity issues”, as well as “inappropriate use of company vehicles”.  Translation:  She disagreed with Trump on something.

The following year, 2018, Omrosa wrote a book titled Unhinged, which was highly critical of Trump and his cronies.  With over 5,000 lawsuits filed by or against him in his lifetime, it came as no surprise that he sued Omarosa, alleging that with publication of her book, she had violated a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).  Last September, Donald Trump lost his lawsuit, when the arbiter rejected Trump’s claims, saying the NDA was “overbroad, indefinite, and unreasonable” and that it went “far beyond what would be reasonably expected to protect” Trump’s interests.

The only remaining question was … money.  That question was answered yesterday when the arbitrator said of Omarosa, “Respondent was defending herself in a claim which was extensively litigated for more than three years, against an opponent who undoubtedly commanded far greater resources than did respondent.”  And with that, Donald Trump, aka the former guy, was ordered to pay Ms. Omarosa Manigault Newman the sum of $1.3 million!

Yep, folks … Karma with a capital ‘K’!

The face of the Maga … er, Republican Party

This, my friends, is the man who was once America’s most beloved mayor, the mayor of New York City at the time of the 9/11 tragedy.

Yep, Mayor Rudy Giuliani brought New Yorkers together, instilled calm to the extent possible, went to Ground Zero, shed genuine tears, and earned my respect as well as millions of others in this nation.

But then, he hitched his wagon to the wrong horse and sunk to depths we could not imagine, costing him his reputation and his right to practice law in New York and Washington, D.C.  Yep, the same Rudy Giuliani who scheduled a press conference at a landscaping company in Holmesburg, Pennsylvania a few days after the 2020 election.  He spoke to the press … the ones that bothered to show up … surrounded by bags of manure and gardening equipment, with more lies about election fraud and whatever else was the dish of the day in Trumplandia.  But this latest tops even that.

The show was The Masked Singer, a reality singing competition television series that premiered on Fox on January 2, 2019.  Giuliani sang Bad to the Bone dressed in a costume that at a glance I thought was a quite colourful chicken, but I’m told it was a Jack-in-the-Box costume!  From America’s #1 Mayor to a … Jack-in-the-box in just over 20 years.  Sad.  The host of the show, Nick Cannon, said …

“Well, Mr. Giuliani, with all of the controversy that’s surrounding you right now, I think it surprises us all that you’re here on The Masked Singer.  What made you decide to do this?”

He said he did it to show his granddaughter that it’s okay to have fun and do things that are out of character.  Well, Rudy certainly has done much in the past 20 years that was out of character … or was it?  Apparently, his singing won him no prizes and he was judged the least talented singer of the group that night.  Ahhhh, Rudy … what happened to you?  From hero to zero, as one newscaster said.

French freedom on the chopping block?

We have our share of troubles here in the U.S., troubles that as I have stated in the past few days, could potentially be the death knell for the nation.  But, our next presidential election is two-and-a-half years away, giving us time yet to make some changes, to convince people not to throw away more than two centuries of progress.  France, on the other hand, will decide this coming Sunday whether to keep their democracy under President Emmanuel Macron, or to toss it all and elect a demagogue and authoritarian, Marine LePen.

LePen is a female Trump, only with more base intelligence, knowing when to tone down her rhetoric in order to win votes.  It is highly likely that Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin has skin in this game, as he did in Trump’s election in 2016, and LePen has called concerns that Putin posed a threat to Europe “a big scam.”  Oh really?  I wonder if the people of Ukraine would agree with that?

When she traveled to Russia to meet with Putin, according to Euronews, she said that if elected, she would consider plans to swiftly lift EU sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea. “It’s now the world of Putin, the world of Donald Trump,” she told reporters after the meeting.  Damn, I hope NOT!

In the French election on April 10th, Macron won with 27.8% of the vote as compared to LePen’s 23.1%, forcing a runoff election that will be held this Sunday, April 24th.  Too close for comfort, especially given that supporters of the third highest ranking candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who garnered a significant 22% of the vote, may turn next to LePen for her populist views.  I’m pleased to read that the latest polls have Macron at over 55%, but as we know from our own 2016 experience, the polls can be dead wrong.  Fingers crossed that Macron can once again defeat Ms. LePen, else I fear France will soon be closely allied with Russia and may exit the European Union (EU).

Something To Think About …

Since becoming largely disabled due to a heart condition in early September, one of the things I have been able to do is spend more time reading!  Way back in the day, I used to read 3-4 books of an average 450 pages each, every week.  But then … I began blogging, Donald Trump came on the scene, the clowns took over the country, and my days and nights were suddenly filled with trolling the news and writing 2-3 blog posts every day.  Reading for pleasure took a backseat and I was lucky to read 100 pages a week.  But now, being unable to leave my chair for more than a few minutes at a time, I am once again a voracious reader and have read, on average, 6-7 books every week.

One of the topics that is near and dear to my heart is September 11, 2001.  When I became ill in early September, I had just started working on a 20-year-anniversary post, but never managed to finish it.  I don’t know that I ever will, but among the books I have read over the past three months are a couple of 9/11 books, the most recent being “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11” by Garrett M. Graff.  This book is composed of thousands of personal accounts of that day, from the North and South towers to the Pentagon to the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where flight 93 was brought down by passengers determined to fight back against the hijackers.

As I read those personal accounts of people … thousands of people … firefighters, police officers, government workers and civilians … risking and often losing their own lives in their attempt to help people, I couldn’t help thinking of this country today, some 20 years later.  What a difference!!!

When I was working on my master’s degree, I worked for a professor of Political Science, the late Dr. Joseph Scolnick, at the University of Virginia.  I well remember one paper I helped him research that proposed the most effective way to bring about cohesion within a divided nation was an external threat.  Throughout history, some countries have even manufactured external threats in order to bring their citizenry together.  We saw a prime example of how an external threat brought people together with our own eyes in the hours and days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 when people went out of their way, out of their comfort zone, even in one case buying a brand-new truck and donating it to the rescue efforts!  Shop owners opened their doors and their hearts to the injured, the displaced, and the traumatized.  There were no strangers on that day.  And I wonder …

With the current level of divisiveness in this country today, largely magnified and enhanced by the former guy and his puppets, if we suffered a similar attack, would we rise to the occasion as we did on September 11, 2001?  Or would we remain so politically divided that each side would point the fingers of blame at the other?  Would racism, religious differences and ideological divides keep us from coming together in the interest of humanity?  Would a Republican risk his life to run into a burning building to carry a Democrat out?  Would we, the average people in this nation, pitch in to help in any way we could, or would we find ways to attack and denigrate one group or another?

I have no answers for those questions.  I like to believe that we would, once again, rally to the cause, come together as humans, setting aside our differences, but I find it difficult to believe most days when I see the pure hatred between ethnicities, religions, and political parties.  A year and a half ago, when COVID first hit the U.S. hard, I thought this would be the thing that brought this nation together, the enemy we could all join hands and fight against.  Instead, the pandemic has further divided us over such things as masks, social distancing, legislation, and vaccines.  Even after more than 818,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, we cannot all agree to do what is necessary to protect both ourselves and others, so why would I think we would rush into a burning building to save a stranger?

As I said, I have no answers, but I ask only that you … think about it.


What I’m about to say may earn me no brownie points, but … I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em.  I have been criticized and called on the carpet by one reader for not addressing the 13 U.S. military men and women who were killed last week during a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.  The attack was perpetrated by a branch of daesh, ISIS-K.

Yes, I am deeply saddened by the deaths of these 13 men and women, all of whom were loved and important to many people.  However, another 100+ (numbers are uncertain at this time) or more Afghanis were also killed in the same attack, some of them young children.  How can I write a tribute to the U.S. military dead without also memorializing those innocent Afghani civilians?  Can anyone reading this tell me that the military staff were somehow more important, more valuable people than those Afghanis?  If you can, I would very much like to hear your reasoning.

A life.  No, not all lives are equal in what they produce during their time here on earth.  You have people like Dr. Martin Luther King who did so much good in his short 39 years here on earth, then you have the average John Doe who makes many friends over a lifetime, but his contributions are mainly small, local ones.  Does that make John Doe’s life worth less than MLK’s?  Certainly not to his spouse, children, grandchildren, and the friends he made over the course of his life.  Yes, there is a day set aside every year to honour Dr. King but not John Doe.  But you know John’s family has a special day of remembrance for him.  He was important, too.

When the evacuation from Afghanistan is complete, when final tally is in, I will likely write about all those who died this month, including the 13 soldiers.  But folks, it ain’t over yet.  The Taliban, the U.S., and some 96 other nations have agreed to allow the evacuations to continue past the August 31st deadline.  At least twice in recent days, additional attacks, presumably by ISIS-K, have been thwarted by U.S. drone attacks, the most recent of which killed Afghan children.  As of today, we have no idea what the final tally will be.  The end of the story has yet to be written.

And while I’m on that topic, I will also not point fingers of blame at either President Biden, or any of the former presidents who made mistakes that cost lives in Afghanistan.  There will be a time to assess what we might have done better starting back in 2001, how we might have prevented the deaths of 2,400 U.S. military and countless Afghanis who have been killed over the past 20 years as a result of our occupation of Afghanistan. But first we must finish the task at hand.  There will be plenty of blame to go around, I’m sure, and it must be analyzed, and the entire story told.  In time.  But the blame is far less important that the lessons for the future we must learn from the mistakes of the past. Today, we get as many people out of Afghanistan as we possibly can, bring them to safety, then figure out how best to help them assimilate into our country, our culture.

I am not being heartless.  My heart aches for the families of the men and women who are coming home in body bags, but it also aches for the mother who just lost her child in Kabul, the father who lost his entire family.  A human life is important no matter what clothing covers it, no matter what skin colour, no matter what religious beliefs or lack thereof.

Profit Over People — The “American” Way

Sure, go ahead, blame President Biden.  Blame George W. Bush, blame President Obama, blame the former guy … there’s plenty of blame to spread around.  Blame the military advisors who advised Bush and Obama (the former guy took advise from nobody, believing he actually had a functional brain).  Blame your Aunt Mabel for all I care.  The bottom line is that there was only one winner in the entire U.S.-Afghanistan fiasco:  private military contractors.

If you purchased $10,000 of stock evenly divided among America’s top five defense contractors on September 18, 2001 — the day President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and faithfully reinvested all dividends, it would now be worth $97,295.  Not a bad return on investment, eh?  Defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58 percent during the Afghanistan War.  Those top five biggest defense contractors?

  • Boeing – $8.2 billion profit in 2017
  • Lockheed Martin – $2 billion profit in 2017
  • Raytheon – $2 billion profit in 2017
  • Northrop Grumman – $2 billion profit in 2017
  • General Dynamics – $2.9 billion profit in 2017

People’s lives don’t really matter to the CEOs of these companies whose eyes only light up when they see $$$$$$$$$$.  Not Afghani lives, not U.S. or British lives, only profit matters.

It is right and proper that we leave Afghanistan – we never should have gone there in the first place and for damn sure shouldn’t have stayed 20 years, but … all those lovely profits!  How the withdrawal came about and how it was transacted will be questioned for many hears henceforth and fingers will be pointed, blame will be dispersed, and at the end of the day, nothing will have changed.  The U.S. will not have learned a lesson from this, but will continue to display its extreme arrogance in believing that they have all the best solutions and eventually, perhaps sooner than later, there will be another Afghanistan.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing every single defense contractor in bankruptcy by the end of next year and the U.S. defense budget for new military hardware reduced to zero.  I would far rather my tax dollars be spent helping people with such things as education, food, shelter, job training, than spent on killing machines.  However, mine is a humanitarian viewpoint, or one of a snowflake liberal as I’m often told, who cares more about people and animals than I care about profit and power.

The Media and GOP Revel in Botched Afghan Withdrawal

I’m already sick and damn tired of the media and the radical right blaming President Biden for what is happening in Afghanistan. Their own last two presidents are more culpable than Biden … G.W. Bush made the wrong decision to put boots on the ground there in 2001, and the former guy actually played footsies with the Taliban! Put the blame where it belongs if you must ‘blame’ someone. Our friend Jeff has written a post that precisely reflects my own thoughts. Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The daggers are out – sharpened the past seven months by a media devoid of drama, intrigue, lies, and other wrongdoing they’d grown accustomed to the previous four years. The GOP, eager to pounce, now has some chaos they can hang on President Joe Biden.

Why does it seem that certain people seem to be rooting for failure? Because they are. It’s pretty simple. The media and the GOP have specific reasons for loving every minute of the botched exit from Afghanistan.

We’ve heard, anecdotally, that certain media members haven’t been too happy in recent months. They long for those days when all you had to do was head to Twitter early in the morning to find out what crazy mutterings the disgraced former president was typing into his phone. Ah, there’s my story for today! Oh wait, it’s mid-afternoon, and now he’s gone completely off the rails!

Those were…

View original post 878 more words

Confronting Afghanistan: Day of Darkness

I wrote last week regarding my concerns over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, my fear that the Afghani people will be subjected to harsh treatment by cruel, evil men who respect none, and the concern that the Taliban, once back in power, will retaliate once again against the U.S.  Our friend Quentin at We the Commoners blog has written an excellent analysis of the situation as it stands today.  Thank you, Quentin … great work, as always!

Confronting Afghanistan: Day of Darkness

By Quentin Choy

The scenes in Afghanistan are chilling. As the Taliban slowly conquered regions over the last few weeks, their march on Kabul was imminent.

President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was the correct decision in the long-term, but the devastating short-term consequences we are seeing are haunting.

Following two decades of war in Afghanistan, the U.S is ending the longest war in its history with very little to show for it.

“Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building.  It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland.”

President Joe Biden

Read the rest of Quentin’s post here

Filosofa’s Thoughts …

I haven’t opined on President Biden’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan because I have very mixed thoughts on the subject.  Our presence in Afghanistan for these past two decades has been very costly, both in terms of money and lives.  However … there has never been any doubt that once U.S. troops left, the Taliban would move in swiftly.  We just didn’t realize, I think, how swiftly.

Now, I know this isn’t a topic that is near and dear to most of you at the moment, as we are dealing with our own crises on multiple fronts at the moment:  the pandemic, political chaos, devastating wildfires, racism, and much more.  However, what happens once we leave Afghanistan IS important to us for, I believe, a number of reasons, not the least of which is humanitarianism.

Displaced people in Afghanistan in a makeshift camp

The Taliban has moved in much more quickly than most foreign policy experts expected, and it is now estimated that they control 65% of the country.  A new U.S. military assessment says the national capital, Kabul, could fall to the Taliban in as quickly as a month.  Why should you care?  Two major reasons:

  • The Taliban are brutal terrorists. Already, tens of thousands of ordinary Afghans have had to flee their homes and- hundreds have been killed or injured in recent weeks.  The Taliban are misogynists who will brutalize women.  Their form of justice … well, let me give you an example straight from the horse’s mouth:
    • “In our Sharia it’s clear, for those who have sex and are unmarried, whether it’s a girl or a boy, the punishment is 100 lashes in public. But for anyone who’s married, they have to be stoned to death… For those who steal: if it’s proved, then his hand should be cut off.” – the words of Taliban Judge Haji Badruddin

We claim to be a humanitarian society, to care about people.  Can we care less, or not care at all, simply because the people being brutalized are half a globe away, have different beliefs, and a different skin tone?

  • The second reason you should care is simple. I want you to close your eyes and remember where you were at around 9:00 a.m. on the 11th of September, twenty years ago.  What happened that day was perpetrated by al-Qaeda, who were taught and backed by none other than the Taliban.  It was, in many ways, their hatred for the United States, it was in part retaliation for us spreading our western ways to their very closed society.

Think it can’t happen again?  Oh yes, it can, and my bet is that it will.  The Taliban has even more reason now to hate the U.S. than they had 20 years ago.  My best guess is they are already discussing and planning their revenge for the 20 years we have kept them out of power in Afghanistan.

Make no mistake, I support President Biden’s decision to pull our troops out of Afghanistan, for we could not stay there forever.  But rather my objection is with the timing and implementation.  I think it was done too quickly, rather like ripping the bandage off of a raw wound, and without thought for the future of the people of Afghanistan.  I think we are leaving a country of 39 million people vulnerable and in grave danger.  I do not pretend to be an expert or to know the best way to withdraw from Afghanistan, but I very much fear that the way we have gone about it will have unintended consequences for the people of Afghanistan and ultimately for the people in the U.S.

Taliban members

I was disappointed yesterday to hear President Biden say …

“I do not regret my decision. Afghan leaders have to come together. They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.”

It seemed cold, calloused, unfeeling, uncaring for the fate of humans half a globe away.  Ultimately, he isn’t wrong … the bandage must come off, but there may be a safer way of removing it.