Afghanistan: What Was the Point?

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by Marie Hawthorne

Enough people in real life have asked my opinion about what’s going on in Afghanistan that I figured I’d write an article about it. You may wonder why people ask my opinion. After all, I’m just some mom. I’m not a vet.

Afghanistan has dominated my adult life.  

I was in college on September 11, 2001. Within the week, my brother, closest in age to me, had enlisted. Not long after, my best friend from high school enlisted. I started dating a National Guardsman in the fall of 2002. For the rest of 2003 and 2004, he kept getting called up to go to Afghanistan. Then the orders would get canceled-it was nerve-wracking. 

Even though we were kids and hadn’t known each other for more than a year and a half, we decided to get married. We figured we could use the BAH, and we could move in together whenever he got back.  

My husband never got sent overseas, but my brother and friend did. 

My husband just did training in the States for 15 months. It was disruptive but could have been worse. I had a good job working in oil and gas. We decided to start a family because the threat of going overseas was always hanging over our heads.  

My brother and best friend did get sent overseas multiple times. My best from high school did two tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. I won’t say anything about the more recent ones. My brother did his first Afghanistan tour in 2006-2007. When he came back, I saw him at our parents’ for Easter. Then he came out to visit me right before his second deployment. We talked a lot about Afghanistan. 

I was the last family member to see my brother alive.

I am hesitant to go into much detail about what he did over there. My brother spoke Pashto and worked extensively with Afghan civilians and the Afghan military.  

He had Afghan friends, though he would qualify that with, “As much as you can be friends with people that are that different.” He was continually baffled by some of their cultural habits. He said a considerable percentage (maybe half) of the girls in many villages would be crippled. Not due to some congenital disability. It was because busting the arms of girls that seemed too motivated to read or work hard was normal.

Everyone’s heard of Malala, right? Shot in the head for encouraging girls to read. She is not atypical. As if making it difficult or impossible for a significant percentage of the population to be productive wasn’t enough.

Afghans had other cultural taboos against work.

My brother told me about a frustrating incident trying to hire a young man. He was quite familiar with the wages in the area. However, this young man wanted an exorbitant sum because he had twenty-seven people he needed to support. My brother knew he didn’t have that many children and said to tell him another one.

The young Afghan man explained that he needed to support his wife and kids, plus his parents, brothers, and their wives and children. He said that usually, only the youngest boy worked. My brother told him he was out of luck, and if his dad and brothers needed money, they could come and get jobs too.  

My brother would say their values were just completely different.  

Many of my friends have spent time over there, and they all say the same thing: Afghans don’t value comfort and security the same way Westerners do. My brother wasn’t entirely critical, nor am I. I do think Westerners are too hung up on our creature comforts. But a lot of what makes Western society function is the knowledge that most of us would still prefer safety and predictability over fighting about insults from generations ago. 

Afghan society isn’t like that.

Many of them don’t like the Taliban. But that doesn’t mean they all want to be a modern, democratic nation, either. I remember my brother saying that they were Stone Age people. That was how they wanted it. My brother found it absurd that politicians thought they could make the Afghan people change.  

My brother may have complained about working with the Afghans sometimes (well, a lot). However, he would have been appalled at the people left behind and thrown under the bus. I know I am.

And yet, I’m not sure how else it was going to end.

It’s becoming clear now what my brother talked about such a long time ago. The government we propped up, the Afghan soldiers we trained, were never going to stand independently. Was this going to become another permanent station, like Germany and South Korea? What was the plan? Most Americans, I think, understood getting bin Laden. I was happy when that happened. It felt like we had reached the end. But the apparent lack of an exit plan, or at least the lack of clarity about the long-term goals, I found unsettling.

At the end of July, Gen. Milley said the Afghan security forces have the capacity and capabilities needed to fight and defend their country. He added, “A Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is not a foregone conclusion.” 

Less than a month later, on August 18, he said, “There was nothing I saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days.” 

Either Milley is frighteningly incompetent or lying.

Neither would surprise me. Twenty years ago, I trusted military officers wholeheartedly. Since then, they have lost that trust. I met a lot of military brass after my brother died. Some of them I liked a lot, on a personal level. 

There was a one-star that sobbed throughout most of the ceremonies. He obviously cared. Even then, I remember hearing some of my relatives saying he would never get promoted again because he wasn’t enough of a politician.  

The higher ranks are all politicians. Even the lower-ranking officers, I wouldn’t believe about many things. I have seen them tell straight-faced lies about matters great and small. People have to understand, anything coming from the military is so scripted and vetted. They say what they think you should hear. Any relation to the truth is purely incidental. I like many officers and am incredibly grateful for them. But, I don’t believe most of what they say.

I was actually interviewed for a book after my brother died.

There was some military author that wanted to do a Lone Survivor-type story about my brother. I didn’t want to do the interview. My parents tricked me into it. They got my permission immediately after a 16-hour drive when I wasn’t thinking straight. I was pretty rude to the interviewer, and the book never happened. He had some narrative already in mind and seemed like he wanted anecdotes from my parents and me that fit into the story he wanted to tell. 

I didn’t play nice. I am not interested in turning the memory of my brother into someone’s make-believe character.

This whole Afghanistan ordeal has deeply unsettled me.

Partially because I miss my brother and wanted to see what he died for, a Taliban-free Afghanistan, become a reality. But the mess overseas is disturbing on a higher level too. If we abandon our allies so readily, what message does that send to Russia and China? (Countries far more powerful than these smaller terrorist groups.) What must be running through the minds of the Taiwanese?

If we are willing to dump hundreds of billions (probably trillions) of dollars, and thousands of lives, into a project and then cut and run, who would be willing to ally themselves with us in the future? 

I know I wouldn’t.  

I don’t know how the powers that be expect to attract young soldiers.

My whole family is military, but I’d have difficulty encouraging my sons to sign up. Our soldiers deserve better than this. They deserve clear-cut missions that have the emotional backing of a majority of the American public. That way, when soldiers get injured or killed, they will not be treated as people suffering due to some personal choice. Instead, people will treat these soldiers as heroes that took one for the team.

Right now, most of the soldiers and family members I know feel used. Soldiers dumped their lives into the mission in Afghanistan. Family members had pieces of their hearts overseas for the sake of the mission. 

And for what? My brother’s dead. Most of the people he devoted his life to will probably be dead soon if they aren’t already. Why? 

What’s the point? What’s the f***ing point?

I’ve got a veteran friend in town who lives next door to another veteran, a helicopter pilot who lost many friends over there. The pilot has been drinking on his porch for days, saying, “What’s the point? What’s the fucking point?”

My brother got killed in 2008. I was seven months pregnant with my second child at the time. I also had a toddler. My then-husband was working full-time at a hospital and also in graduate school part-time. I had been working part-time from home but quit when my brother got killed. I was overwhelmed.  

“It’s NOT far away…”

I grew up in the suburbs and lived in the suburbs when my brother got killed. The suburban mom world is its own strange thing. After my brother died, I couldn’t talk about his death. But I remember going on about Afghanistan at some get-together. It might have been a birthday party or something, and hearing, “Who cares about Afghanistan? It’s so far away!”

At the time, I was just stunned. I’m the kind of person who thinks of the perfect thing to say five hours after it needs to be said. But what I thought later was, “My brother died in Afghanistan. It’s not far away; it’s in my house.”

I’ve met a few sensitive, supportive people over the years. But on the whole, the responses I got from people were primarily indifferent to negative. The overwhelming majority of people thought along the lines of, well, that’s what happens when you’re involved with the military. No gratitude, no sense of responsibility.  

Americans are incapable of dealing with grief, therefore incapable of dealing with reality. 

When we see something horrible, we (for the most part) want to sweep it under the rug. We don’t want to sit with people that are struggling. Many of us don’t want to ask ourselves, “Were there choices I could have made that would have changed this? Am I a part of this pain, this grief, in some way?”

Yes, most of us are. 

We’re part of a vast, interconnected global supply chain. When we want to do business globally, that means getting our hands dirty all over the world. I’ve known many people over the years that think being “anti-war” absolves them of all responsibility for what goes on in places like Afghanistan. Unless they live like the Amish, I don’t want to hear it. 

People wonder why I got into prepping and why I live the way I do.

There are a lot of different kinds of preppers out there. The most common stereotype is just the person who stocks up on all sorts of crazy gear. But some preppers try to have a simpler lifestyle, so they are not so dependent on the grid. More people than ever seem to want to step back from the craziness.

It’s not going “backward” to the pioneer days. It’s going forward to having a little more control over our own lives. An attempt to put some distance between ourselves and The Machine. If we are skilled enough, it’s making our corner of the world more beautiful and productive. That way, the soldiers that fight have something precious to come home to.

I do see many people trying to make real changes in their own lives. But I also know many people stuck in their ruts, self-absorbed, smug, and who see themselves at the top of the world.

Well, Rome was at the top of the world too. Rome lasted 1000 years before it fell. I don’t think we will.

After my brother died, I felt like I had to garden.

It felt like a subconscious command. Part of me knew the way I felt was kind of crazy. However, the other part, driven to get out of the suburbs and learn to be more self-sufficient, couldn’t stop. I felt torn in two until Covid brought all kinds of shortages. Now, after almost ten years of producing much of my own food and becoming vastly more capable around the farm, I have no regrets.

I almost wonder sometimes if my brother, after he died, was somehow trying to warn me. I know that sounds crazy.

So, what do I think about Afghanistan?

The people who know me know that Afghanistan took my brother and, by extension, my ability to “just be normal” for a while. That eventually cost me my marriage, which cost me my financial stability, as I had been an at-home mom. It also cost me my respectability. I had to leave the church in which I had been raised after my marriage ended.  

Afghanistan took my brother. 

It took a massive piece of my parents’ hearts. They had found a great deal of comfort in thinking he had died for a noble cause. Now his Afghan friends are getting killed, and again, what’s the point? If handing Afghanistan over to the Taliban was ever an acceptable option, why spend twenty years wasting the lives of Americans and Afghans?

Religion is the only way I can kind of make sense of some of this.

I believe that what matters for each soldier is how they made their own little choices each day. I hope the powers responsible for this mess of bloodshed and half-truths are held accountable, if not in this world, then in the next. The people on the ground, the men and women, getting wounded and killed, were not the drivers of this madness.  

Artyom Borovik’s The Hidden War is an excellent book about the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. In the edition I have, Borovik added correspondence he’d received after writing about Afghanistan. One of the letters was from a doctor, T.I. Kuznetsova, who had treated many veterans.

The doctor wrote, “Artem, the war was indeed an evil gamble, but the lads died heroically, they were convinced that they were defending the Fatherland. . . We await your essays on the young men who loved their Homeland deeply, there, so far away.”

Sacrifices made…for what?

We Americans have good men and women that died over there too. I don’t doubt for a moment most of them loved the United States deeply. I have to believe that somehow, somewhere, there is Something that saw and appreciated their sacrifices and loved them back.

Otherwise, like the pilot says, what’s the point? What’s the fucking point?

About Marie

Marie Hawthorne is a native Midwesterner who has been quietly creating a simpler life with her family since 2008.
Afghanistan: What Was the Point?
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65 Responses

  1. Marie, thank you for telling your story. That took an incredible amount of courage, and I honor that courage. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your many losses, and know that you’re not alone. I believe that a great many people in this country are questioning a great many of the things we once held dear. We’re seeing betrayal and ineptitude in our institutions top to bottom, and are wondering what to do about it. Some of us have chosen, like you, to live simpler lifestyles in preparation for inevitable changes. Hang in there, and know that you’re not alone.

  2. Thanks Marie. Read every meaningful word. Lost my uncle in Operation Market Garden in WWII and cousin Jimmy Martin in Blackhawk Down. I was a medic in Vietnam where we also abandoned after 15 years after murdering 58,000 of us for nothing. My wife’s father was a POW in Sanbostel, a sub-camp of Belsen death camp where he witnessed 20,000 Jews machine-gunned 3 days before the British liberated the camp. I no longer support serving in any military unless it is sanctioned by our heavenly Father and His Son. Governments killed 262,000,000 totally innocent non-combatants in the 100 years of of the 20th century. That’s called “demicide”. Presently, nations, cabals, puppet-masters and the media are hell-bent on killing 90% of the 7.5 billion humans on earth to comply with the Georgia Guide Stones. I will defend my family and friends but not any government.

    1. Thank you for your service. This is a true statement Sir. I think most wars are money makers for the rich. I don’t feel the same way about this nation because I have learned too much. God is not happy with this nation either.

  3. This war was all based on a blatant lie anyway.
    A war for 20 years based on an admitted lie by the heads of state who sent our people to war and had no skin in the game themselves.
    Psychopaths!
    War criminals!
    It’s only heads of state that want a war. They should be forced to go themselves and send their sons and daughters to fight. Whoever wins takes all.
    That’s how they did it in ancient times. That’s actually how they did it only 200 years ago.
    We are led nowadays by incompetent, corrupt, craven lil cowards.
    If they had to go to war themselves and send their own children the war would be over before it started.
    Now that’s social justic!
    Where are all the woke liberals when you need them?

    1. Exactly. The foundation for the last 20 years of absolute failure is The Big Lie, the lie we will be, once again, acknowledging here in a couple of weeks.

  4. We should have been out of Afghanistan a long time ago. Then the trump admin a) “brokered” a one-sided deal, never mind the Afghan government and b) could have started evacuating the Afghans and Americans AT THAT TIME. But xenophobia won out and still hampers the mission today. I commend the Utah and other governors for offering to take in evacuees.
    The amount of money spent over 20 years would have gone a long way to fixing the crumbling infrastructure of the US. Instead, we just lined the pockets of contractors, lost lives, and still need to step up to the plate to care for our veterans from every war/conflict.

  5. I was so tired of people, military or not, telling me that we have to fight “them” over there so they don’t come over “here.” Note: our border is open. What the #@&%!

    I, too, came from a military family. My dad was deployed a lot rendering him pretty ineffective in my life. My brother was a Marine. Any talk of questioning orders was immediately squashed. My uncle landed on Normandy during the invasion; his cousin was on the Bataan death march. We knew sacrifice from the cradle.

    But now? That train of thought totally offends me. Die over there so it’s not brought here? And then just up and leave with thousands of people’s lives on the line? I doubt if we will get them out with the leadership (if you can call it that) we have now. What was the fucking point? Why did so many leave arms, legs, eyes, skin there so it’s not brought here?

    Every member of congress, the CEOs of the military industrial complex, and most presidents including advisors have blood on their hands. God will ultimately judge them.

    I, too, am from a midwestern town and live a simple life. Just remember, dear Marie, that although your church kicked you in the teeth, God has not. He blesses you abundantly with your family and friends. And there are many, many who agree with you.

  6. I’m sorry for your loss. There is little consolation to be had in the majority of Americans waking to the fact that their “leaders” were willing to turn what should have been a short punitive expedition into an industry that wasted thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars, not to mention tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Afghan lives, many innocent, to plunder both the American people and the Afghanis to enrich themselves and their hangers-on.

    If more Americans wake to the reality that has been exposed by the retreat from Afghanistan and set themselves to work to peacefully put an end to the current regime ruling the US, the loss of your brother and thousands of other brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers will not be wasted. They served honorably to the benefit of people who have shown they have no honor and no legitimacy to continue to rule.

  7. Once you realize that taxation and regulatory fees are supported by the super predator class to steal the wealth of the majority and redistribute the money to their special interest corporation using the government contracting system, you are now officially awake. They use campaign contributions to put those people in power that are willing to guaranty they get the government contracts. Clever but highly devious and why we have over 150 different taxes and regulatory fees on every human activity they can think of. It has always been about the oil and poppies and why both the Soviets and then NATO and UN went in there. You’ll some see the Taliban, as they did before, provide the poppy farmers with reasons and incentives to grow food or other crops instead of the opium poppies. Opium is an important product for both dentistry and medicine but since they have finally synthesized it, it may no longer be worth the costs. Anytime you help the powerful special interests, you risk getting hung out to dry if and when they pull the plug on any of their operations as those still in Afghanistan are experiencing.

  8. There never really was a point. Bush43 made a huge mistake and we’ve suffered human and economic loss from Day One. He used Iraq and Afghanistan as an excuse for the incompetency of our Intel agencies.
    In September, 1996, with the military help of Pakistan, and the financial support of Saudi Arabia, the Taliban won their ‘civil war’ and took control of Afghanistan’s government. The USA had no right or obligation to go in and remove them…Taliban are Afghanis and Afghanistan is their country. Not ours! While it may be true that the Taliban are mostly radical, crazy Islamic nutjobs, it is not the responsibility of the USA to determine who should control Afghanistan. Our nation and the members of our military were lied to and made to believe ours was a just cause.

  9. The point was to give our government’s corporate military subsidiaries a test site and market for their war weapons, in order to improve production and development. They have since seen fit to abandon all their equipment, leaving it to Taliban to give it all a more rigorous, comprehensive test, using both Americans and Afghanis for targets.

    Query: Doesn’t HeII need more Leftists pretty soon?

  10. The fact that the author flatly states she has lost all trust in the “top brass” is one of the many reasons they will NEVER EVER get my sons.

    I love my country
    I love my sons more than peanut butter loves jelly
    I do not trust “our” government at all

  11. This was a nicely written very personal article, and I’m sure it tells the story and thoughts of perhaps millions of people, and not just Americans, and certainly not just this war.

    The question is, “what was the point?”.

    This is a sentiment after all these wars. There are many lenses available to view “the point”.

    The people in government who started the war have stated reasons why they did this. Being sensible politically savvy people, we realize these reasons may be been false or overstated, or perhaps there were unstated reasons. WE DON’T KNOW if the Bushs, Cheneys, Clintons and Obamas view the war as a success. I have my opinion about this.

    Likewise, without regard to the persons in this story, many people go to war for their own reasons, often to help their career or postwar social standing, or to seek adventure, or to live a life different than whatever options lay ahead at the time, or even to escape life as it is. In this case, the point would have to be measured by each individual in question, and not even their loved ones. We all spend the capital of life in some manner, and sometimes it doesn’t work out and sometimes it works out swimmingly, but we know this going in.

    Finally, some wars, even this one, come with varying levels of coercion, including a draft. A man becomes a slave of others, fighting their battles, and his life is not his own. Some cultures value this, I abhor it. The point of a man’s life becomes wholly subservient to the cause of the war and how he fulfills the role becomes the point. It seems to be through this lens that the author is viewing this war. In an overly simplistic world, there are, by definition, soldiers who have fought for the bad guy, spending their life energy killing good guys, fighting for a cause they don’t believe in and maybe even abhor. The point of a man’s life becomes the point of the Bushs, Cheneys, and Hitlers who started it.

    I want to make an anti-war, anti-government, anti-politician rant here, It is more than justified. At the end of the day– for the little people, the soldiers, civilians, children, the moms–THERE IS NO POINT. We can read the stories they tell after WW1, Germans after WW2, Americans after Vietnam. The jingoism and nationalism are a lie, and a soldier’s honor is weak tea compared to a life lived fully. Most people in all countries just want to be left alone, and at the end of all these wars everyone asks this same question, they say “never again” and then do it again one generation later. The ONLY justifiable war is a defensive war, and you better not goad the other side into attacking you, (this is you, FDR).

    I’m sorry for anyone who bought into their lies, and one point we can take away from something like this is to not trust these duplicitous mother…..s ever again.

  12. The point was to keep the CIA Running Drugs, Arms & facilitating Child Sex Trafficking just like every day since Vietnam & keeping the Corrupt Pentagram & ALL the Demonic Traitor Generals & Evil Defense Corporations making Hundreds of Billions on Military budgets where the GAO can’t find 45% of where the money was spent over at least the last 30+ years but hey Kennedy tried to STOP them after Eisenhower Warned him & look what happened to him & remember Reagan was Almost killed by George Bush League Sr & changed his tune After that. Welcome to The Disunited States of Unamericunts run by DEMONIC HEATHEN TRAITOR GENERALS & EVIL CORPORATIONS.

  13. Thank you Marie for your writing about Afghanistan and how so many died there, fighting for what they believed; freedom and prosperity for the people there. I am so sorry that you lost your beloved brother in that war, you obviously love him deeply. All that the US soldiers have done and that your brother did is not lost, was not in vain, it’s recorded and kept in God’s books. They did their part, stepped in at that time in history, in that time of great need and opportunity to contribute to the change in people’s lives and the nation’s destiny over there. They died doing right. And that is a great comfort for all of us, we can only do our part, stand on our watch post when it’s our turn. Everyone answers for his/her own deeds, so will the people who contributed to the collapse of Afghanistan into the hands of those beasts. Be blessed and be at peace, your brother will for ever live in your heart, and his memory is blessed!

  14. Mrs. Hawthorne, others have posted relevant thoughts on the matter, but allow me to extend my sympathies for the loss of your brother years ago. Two immutable truths I have learned from studying history:
    1. Limited wars are never meant to be won, they are only meant to serve the desires of the ruling elite.
    2. “Nation Building” only works if the people are enough like you in the first place and/or are sufficiently softened up. For example, Japan was already somewhat westernized prior to WW2, and were battered from the war.

    Why Afghanistan? Because the powers that be needed to LOOK like they were seeking retribution without rocking the boat of the people actually behind it (Saudi Arabia). Moreover, just like Viet Nam, the men on the ground were fighting to win, while the administration was busy pleasing “allies” and feeding the military-industrial complex. Meanwhile the Intelligence Community had their own goals coughPOPPIEScough which focused upon more funding and more power.

    Here is something else to consider: the original president who got us into Afghanistan, George W. Bush, was actively trying to “fix” things his father wanted him to. (Bush Jr.’s cabinet was filled with cronies of his father, which facilitated this.) Bush Sr., as Head of the CIA and later in the White House, actively supported, supplied and funded the Afghans against the Soviets. We created a power vacuum in Iraq (which Daesh was more than happy to exploit) for what?… to please daddy Bush and the M-I Complex.

    1. A good analysis! War s are all about power, advancing political goals, securing trade (war materials….) building export industries….and so on. Geographical location plays a part, where is your country located…it may be between two super powers or next door to a big bully….yeah..like tiny Finland is next to a huge Russia…not much choice in that situation…the bully plays…you dance…

  15. Boy I’m concerned. Somewhere along the line someone has forgotten that Military bases are there for operational effectiveness. We are quickly filling up our military bases across Europe with Afghan refugees. 10,000 at Ramstein, 2000 at Grafenweier, 2000 at Kaiserslautern, and similar numbers in Italy, Spain, Kosovo, Albania, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Doha.

    We are so focused on evacuating Afghanistan, we have forgotten that these bases are no longer able to respond to kinetic activity elsewhere on the planet!

    If I were China, I’d wait until the end of September and invade Taiwan! There would be little we could do about it.

  16. Dear Marie,

    Thanks for your heartfelt article. I was the last of my family to see and speak to my youngest of three little sisters, before she died.

    Ron Paul on Afghanistan, U.S. House Floor, 03/17/11…
    https://youtu.be/GrHm4phj5RQ

    Take care,

    Dave

  17. Lithium and other precious minerals. Thats why china has jumped in with the taliban. they want the minerals too

  18. marie, let me say reading your story is so sad, my heart cries for you, and all the others who have given their lives or pieces of themselves to fight this war or any other we’ve had in this life. to me war is useless, unforgivable, stupid, absurd, unnecessary, bitter, destructive and divisive, and doesnt EVER solve anything! it causes so much heartache and pain, that never heals, for anyone…..God bless every single person who has served, either lost their life or given part of it, to protect what they believed in, and for the lives and freedoms we have today, but seems it is only a bit longer we’ll have those freedoms fought so hard for…..yes, “whats the point”? is the question now. I’m in my 70s, and everything thats happening now, I too ask that question….whats the point of anything now? our America, and the world, is being managed, coerced, forced, etc by some real idiots, demons, whatever, cant think of a word to describe them right now…..to do things that go against everything we believe in and hold dear….mandates for shots, masks, our lives are being manipulated and destroyed, our supply lines disrupted, people being killed at the drop of a pin, no laws, no enforcement of our laws, total disregard for anything or anyone! its scary and getting worse, what can we do, who is there to stop this evil taking place? sure people knew giving up in afghanistan would permit the downfall and the takeover, but we should’ve been outa there long time ago, but who’ve thought the afghans were so stupid? your brother had good insight into their lifestyle, customs etc. I learned some things I didnt know about it. but too bad our “so called intelligent military” didnt realize that or if they did, didnt convince our political idiots that afghans didnt want to be a democracy…..well, my heart goes out to you and others who have and are suffering thru this mess still, reliving again, and all of us having to face America’s downfall, because its coming, quickly, viciously, and we wont know what hit us. no matter how prepared we all think we are, it wont be enough, it wont be a piece of cake, nor a walk in the park. what we have seen so far is nothing to what is coming soon. I am praying constant that those who need to get out of afghanistan do so, our military can finally get themselves out; but who knows with the number coming out, the number coming in at the southern border of us, what kind of hell we’re dealing with…..they are NOT being vetted, they will be using our resources, WE are having mask and vaccine mandates, lockdowns, etc. but yet they all can come here without these…..we are being overrun, wont be able to sustain all the people coming into this country now…..and apparently NO ONE can stop our demise……well God bless those who served, I know they’re hearts are hurting with this mess. take care everyone, stay well, stay safe, and pray, a lot.

  19. YOU voters keep voting for the same failed politicians and their failed policies over, and over, and over again. So you want to cast blame look in the mirror.

    1. What about those who didn’t vote but lost loved ones anyway? What about those who didn’t vote for the person who sent our soldiers to war but lost loved ones anyway? Using your “logic”, if you didn’t do something to stop it, then YOU look in the mirror too.

  20. I remember quite clearly how the war in Afghanistan started. After 9/11, I spent a lot of time listening to the radio, trying to understand what had just happened. I remember Bush made a speech shortly afterwards that included the famous words “war on terror”, and I remember all the commentators saying afterwards: “What the hell is ‘war on terror’? What does that mean? You can declare war on a country, how do you declare war on terror?” It didn’t take long after that to start war on Afghanistan. To this day, I’m convinced that the real reason the war on Afghanistan was started was that some speechwriter thought that “war on terror” sounded like a nice turn of phrase, and after he said it, Bush felt he had to declare war on some country, and asked the Pentagon which country would be justified to attack after 9/11. There was never a good, well-thought-out reason.

    1. Why must you be so insulting? You can dispute the facts but you cannot dispute emotion. Grant others kindness and you’ll get a lot further.

      1. Daisy I learned a long time ago that you just can’t fix stupid. Too many “keyboard commandos” out there these days. We all need to be kinder to our fellow brothers and sisters. The world is hard enough to get through. Showing a little kindness is always needed.

  21. Sorry for your loss, and thank you for your brother service. Your brother like many others allowed us a little more time before what is inevitable. While talking with the neighbor a few months back we figured this Administration would do exactly what what they did. Pull out without a plan. But in reality it probably was the plan. To destabilize the Middle East. Of course some of the players in this Administration Weir key in the Benghazi incident. But this is about a new world order. And the Taliban, Al-Qaeda will be the main players in some of the horrors about to be played out around the world. Genocide on a mass scale. This is about implementing the Beast system. The one world political and monetary system. I guess one could say it’s going by the book. I have been prepping for over 50 years based on what that book teaches. Very little surprises me and I just shrug and think we’re only at the beginning. life is about to be upended foremost. Especially in the US. Much as I despise the groping hair sniffer. What follows will be much worse. And just like Germany in World War II people we’ll just stand with gaped staring into the Bliss.

  22. You are incredibly brave and authentic. Your brother’s life is valued as are all those who keep us safe. We can never repay them for their service, and many for their sacrifice. Most of us are reeling as we try to cope with current dire circumstances. I believe your brother is continuing to use his voice through you as you advocate for being prepared. We can adapt. We can choose the battles that align with our values. Praying for discernment, leadership, healing, and grace.

  23. I am a veteran of Vietnam, and yes we too did not have a clear cut mission. First it was Search and Clear, that devolved into Sear and Destroy. In July 1965 President Johnson announced he was sending the First Cavalry Division (Air Mobile) to Vietnam to support the Government of South Vietnam, (pure BS). He had told General Westmoreland as well as several others that he was not going to be the first President to loose a Nation to the Communist. I did not get all of the facts on this until about a year ago. I served in Nam and truthfully believed that we were helping the Vietnamese People in 1965-1966, I believed in my Government and that it would never lie to We the People, today I know that our Politician will lie their sorry Arse off to further their hold on Power which is what it is all about, POWER nothing else. We had a good man not long ago not a politician and his winning the White House terrified the Professional Politicians of both Political Parties so he had to loose in 2020. Oh he is too crude, he doesn’t suck up to the professionals by doing what they say, his language is not that of the Professional Politicians he talks back to the Communist in North Korea and the CCP he can’t be trusted not to kiss up to the Professional Politician.
    So let us remember Saigon/Kabul and the abandonment of the people of these two nations and the Parallels between how we ran in both City’s.

  24. Creedence clear water revival ( I ain’t no senator’s son ) how the words fit so well . Their sons never go off to war! I’ve been gardening for 30 years and brings lots of peace now our Men And Women getting shot at. In my opinion we don’t need other countries and every war is always about money.

    1. Every war is always about money. And power.
      America’s most decorated military hero up to his time was General Smedley Butler. He wrote “War is a Racket,” available free online. Read it, Marie and all others asking her question.
      In our time, these monsters are being exposed, and some of the greatest heroes are in the military. Facing the ugly truth is your contribution to the great victory that is coming.

  25. That was a very touching remembrance and evaluation of our extended mission in Afghanistan and your brother ultimate sacrifice. I have long felt we should have gotten out of there but correctly not like the poorly planned result we see unfolding. There was no way that country would ever have accepted the ANG that we propped up long term. The fail was a foregone conclusion that even a layman like myself foresaw. So if an idiot like myself could see it coming, one has to ask how the supposedly deep thinkers and TPTB could not also see it. Another fail and another lesson from history ( see Vietnam, Soviet presence in late 80’s , etc ) that we did not learn from, or even worse willfully ignored. The upside is your brother clearly was motivated by concern for his fellow citizens and at the time Afghan allies. The downside is his effort and life were squandered in large measure by the ineptitude of our government. I doubt we will ever get the real point. God bless your family.

  26. I wish someone would ask that war criminal Bush Jr. what the point was? Nobody will ask him that as he runs around living his life. He’s being protected by the fake news because he was a globalist just like them. Winning their hearts and minds was a futile goal. You can’t be an invading force and win the subjects hearts and minds. Nation building? We could have just sent them 2 trillion dollars and asked them to build schools and roads without going to war. It was a stupid war from the get go. We could have stayed home and used that 2 trillion to fix our roads, social security, and whatever else was needed.

  27. Marie,

    Thank you for you and your family’s sacrifice. I know this article must have been hard to write, but I hope it has been helpful to write your thoughts down and get them sorted out.

    I am a retired Air Force veteran. I served many different administrations and did so apolitically. A soldier, sailor, airman or marine is conditioned to act on orders and not question them. In return, I always expected for the government to provide support and back me up when needed. So, it disgusts me to hear President Biden actually say in his new conference, “What interest do we have in Afghanistan now?” After 20 years of sending our best and brightest there to defend it to their death I believe we have a significant interest not to turn our backs and abandon Afghanistan. We may not want to expend the effort to continue defending the country from the Taliban, but I think it is a mistake to just surrender our assets in a country with such a strategic location as Afghanistan. Plus we have been a stabilizing force holding the peace between Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Biden thinks he is showing his compassionate side by caving to the Taliban, while I think all he is accomplishing is embolding everyone who wants to do us harm. We have kept China from invading Taiwan with our show of strength. I fear this will change very soon as a result of Biden’s lack of “interest in Afghanistan.”

    1. Good comment but there is just this one thing, opium is the only asset we had in Afghanistan. I am glad we are finally leaving.

  28. I remember Vietnam… I have also had friends and relatives killed in battle…I watched members of our family go to war…… some came back….. some didn’t…

    I remember the 911…I remember finding that those over there were the source of much hatred for USA…. I also found that we were the source of a lot of that hatred.….then we got involved in that sandbox… lives were lost and national treasure was squandered…now we have left that sandbox…

    now I ask this question….. if they hated us so much that they gave us 911… and they have had 20 years to prefect their hatred… and we have given then 20 years more ammunition of hatred…. and now they have had all restraint removed… how long will it be before we have another 911 …. or we have a New York or Chicago…. or or or or …. St. louis….or L.A…..??

    so NOW we have even more reason to be weary of “them” ….

    are we ready for a long winter night of constantly looking over our shoulder…??

    are we ready to live ready to be put back into 1860’s ….??

    suggestions:
    tend a simple garden… work your own land… eat your own bread…. enjoy life as much as you can…. love G-d, respect family, enjoy simple music.. read some good books… love freedom…. stand ready by constantly watching the horizon for ‘incoming’…

    I served in the Army, and I stand by my service…. many times we asked ourselves ‘why’ but we never got an answer, other than ‘because’,
    ….that was in 1965-1068

  29. What a powerful and personal article Marie. You express what many of us feel, especially those of us with military family members and/or friends.

    My only comfort in all this *bs is that one day the SOMETHING you mention – for me it’s the One and Only God who somehow, for some reason has a plan for us – will bring justice.

    Thank you for YOUR service by way of being a close friend and confidant to your brother and your military friends. Please pass on to your parents that their sacrifice is acknowledged and appreciated. :'(

    Again, your article speaks for many of us. Your brother would be so incredibly proud of you. He will never be forgotten. Much Love.

  30. My heart is breaking for all of Afghanistan. Our pullout has created damage across the entire spectrum of that country, our military and national leadership. I also lament the loss of your brother and all those who gave up the most valuable thing they had for what now appears as nothing. However, there was a point which the average person does not understand. Like Vietnam, the point was to make money for the military industrial complex. The “fat cats” are swimming in dough at the cost of American, NATO, and Afghan lives, plus enormous amounts of our tax dollars. Like you I pray for justice for all those involved on the ground in Afghanistan. I trust Almighty God to make it swift and sure at the right time.

  31. My view, as if it mattered, is that after Bin Laden was killed, that’s it, we need to go. If the Afghans give a rip about their country,then let them deal with it. What you say about the Officer Corps is exactly that. I know, I was military back in the day. Just you wait and see what happens when,not if, we gotta fight the Chinese over Taiwan, if we even bother. There will be a blood bath. As for Ed. You are one miserable unhappy, lonely, s.o.b.

  32. This may or may not get printed. I have been banned by Ford “approved” company site for joking how they won’t stop pollution till our cars exhaust strawberry fumes. Yeah, can you imagine that?

    But anyway, the reason we went there for nothing because we didn’t go in there to WIN. When you fight the enemy there is only one way to win.

    It’s like AC said, you invade, you kill their leaders, and you convert the rest to Christianity. We never bothered to really do that. We played nice and that is why you REALLY went there for nothing.

    We left the 75,000 Taliban soldiers alive.

  33. That’s what I’ve been thinking, what was the point? I won’t get into the politics of it all as it now doesn’t change the hurting. I’m in a group online and two veterans decided they had enough and couldn’t take it anymore and ended each other’s pain. I know many vets hurting badly over this. Trying to reach out and support our local vets as much as we can in lockdown.
    Prayers for all !!

  34. Powerful…I did 7 deployments overseas and I can definitely say, “what is the f&$king point.” It’s not the guys on the ground that are the issue. It’s the generals and of course ALL of the politicians right or left.
    It’s indescribable the disappointment I have felt over 4 of my buddies getting blown up for nothing! Freaking horrible story that still pisses me off and makes me cry every year on the anniversary. Never will forget the radio call and the QRF getting rolled out. All for naught….
    Yes taking a step back from the machine…as far as we can..I’d step further back, but I need the job.
    Put my better half through absolute hell after the last deployment….that’s when she said the last deployment broke me. Zero help from Uncle Sugar…my faith, my church and my wife allowed me to pick myself up and dust myself off. It took years.
    Your Brother kept the faith and so have you! Semper Fi!
    Let me know if you ever need help taking the last hill!

  35. Marie, my heart hurts for you and your family. I was thinking about and praying for our service members and their families this morning and some of what you shared was in my thoughts as I prayed. What has been allowed to happen has to feel like a betrayal to many. I have no words to express how deeply sorry I am for your brother’s death while serving our country. My husband was a career soldier. And I know your brother, as my husband did, served with honor. I wouldn’t pretend to know the pain and anguish you are feeling, but please know my prayers are with you.

  36. I’ve read through all the comments, and there are some things that need said. First, Marie, I concur that you writing this must have been a certain kind of pain. I understand. What I am going to write next most likely will not be well received by many here.

    I have spent the last 19 years of my life in this war. Iraq, Afghanistan, stations in between. And I have been watching the last 19 years of my life go up in flames. But I can tell you the point. And I can tell you why you garden.

    The point is this: Afghanistan is the second most important piece of strategic territory in the world. Now, that discounts waterways (which is a separate discussion), but it is the second MOST important piece of land in the world. The first is the country of Georgia. This is because it is the literal cross-roads between East and West. It is trade, it is resources, it is real politik, and as a result, it is war. As some have said here, the why is not always transparent. As some have also referenced, Vietnam is viewed similarly now- a war my father and other family fought it for what seemed a pointless aim. In order for the “why” to make sense, one needs must go back hundreds, almost thousands of years. To empires long dead, and their leaders with them.

    Almost the entire West and North of Afghanistan speak Dari- it is a dialect of Persian. Persia is Iran (give or take a couple of areas). They are not Pashtun, they are not Hindi, they are not a nationality that exists. Like the majority of the world, the lines on the map count for shit. Their culture, values, way of doing things are stone age. My husband and I were in country at the same time for 14 months- we watch family groups who had been in the same village for hundreds of years, intermarried, co-dependent, start shooting at each other over water. Water. I used to tell my men that negotiation in Afghanistan happens at the end of a gun. At the same time, the nation is wealthy. One only has to look at the plan China has for its “On Belt, One Road” https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-massive-belt-and-road-initiative to see what, and how and why. The Russians wanted Afghanistan to keep both the Chinese and the Wester-influenced India (post- Partition) at bay. Afghanistan is not, and has never been, meant to be conquered. But the attempt is always made. It’s made because of it’s strategic location, and because the people are poor. We invaded to keep the Russians and Chinese out, and to put the Iranians on the defensive, as well as to provide security regionally to India, Singapore, Malaysia, and our other strategic partners in the Indo-Pac. Marie, I lost men in that war, I watched my friends die, and what I described above is why. It’s not a great “why”, but its a why.

    All wars can be described this way. In the West, we track back to Germany and the Nazis because it was the perfect fight. A moral war with a clear, but expensive outcome. I wonder how many here really understand how close the West came to losing. We pay almost no attention to the North African theater, the Middle Eastern theater, the Pacific theater (past Pearl Harbor and vagaries of Midway, Okinawa and Bataan). We make movies about the European theater because we believe that we conquered ourselves. The few films that record the Pacific are horrendous and few and realistic and not oft watched. Our teachers teach us that, as part of our national myth, the Japanese were “evil” because of course they were. Look at them. But the Germans? Oh no, we have to show that we will not submit to what they are, that’s too close to home.

    Since the war of 1812, every proper war this nation has engaged is has happened some place else. That is by design. And it has led to a false sense of security in being surrounded by either friends or weak enemies and oceans. Since Congress established a standing army, men and women have volunteered or been voluntold that they will go. There is integrity in what we’ve done. Personal, national, necessary. To paraphrase Tennyson, ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die.

    Some of the other comments below refer to “questioning orders”. I would posit that the reason we have part the the current Afghanistan problem on our hands is precisely because the President’s order is legal. There is no requirement for orders to be wise or well thought out. Only legal. the other thing that I would address is that this isn’t 43’s fault- and it wasn’t his fathers. You can pin that tail on the asses that are Cheney and Rumsfeld. And President Trump got handed a set of negotiations started by President Obama- and came up with one hell of plan, that President Biden decided to blow past. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

    In war, we have ROEs- Rules of Engagement. And those ROEs have to be commensurate with LOAC- the Law of Armed Conflict. You see, war does have rules. It has laws. There are things we are NOT allowed to do. Dying is not among them. Having sat at the table multiple times during LOAC violation hearings, I can tell you that, at the end of the day, all war is crime. Because it steals those we love from us. But war is not, in itself, illegal. There are only three species who conduct offensive warfare- violence without provocation- humans, ants, and chimpanzees. Once you read it, it offers a different kind of perspective.

    Now, I promised I could tell you why you garden. Because gardening is creation. It’s life. Yes, its food, its survivability, but more importantly, its beautiful fulfilling growth. Bless you, Marie, for your bravery, and for being among the cursed who carry this burden. My mother always said the Lord never gives you more than you can handle- I just wish he wouldn’t trust me so [email protected]#ing much some times.

    1. As an aside, I would offer the same as Matt in O.K. And I will tell you also that I have a brother. Everyone who goes to war has his own reasons. I go because I was built for it. And because my brother wasn’t, and I don’t want him to ever have to. Sometimes we do things for reasons we never say out loud, even to ourselves.

      On almost every military station that has a memorial, they always quote Isaiha 6: 8, ” And the Lord said, whom shall I send, and who dhall go for us? And Isaiha said, here I am Lord. Send me.” The problem is no one reads past 6:8. If you read all the way to 6:13, Isaiah asks, ” Oh Lord, how long? And the Lord answered, until it is done.”

  37. Marie, thank you so much for sharing this. You are a courageous brave woman and you are not alone. My deepest condolences for your loss. I am praying for you and your family, that God will comfort you and continue to guide you.

  38. Wow.
    Marie, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I’m so sorry you lost your brother. I, for one, do appreciate his sacrifice and yours as well.
    My prayers for you and your family, that you may find some degree of peace. Prayers also for the other brave men and women in our armed forces wherever they are, and for their families and friends.

  39. I probably can’t tell you anything you don’t already know.
    We are all dealing with it for reasons. The anger, hurt and confusion are real.
    There were positives in it although not many depending on who you are and where you are.
    I’m willing to talk to you offline if you need. Reach out to Daisy and she’ll reach me.

  40. Sorry for your loss but when you serve in the military in a terrorist state like the US Swamp, you are living a real world Russian roulette everyday in the field.

    The US IS. THE. BAD. GUY! When you come to this logical conclusion based on history, serving is a mercenary contract. Those who serve should know there is no good to come from it. IF they dont then point out the obvious or understand they do what they do for less honorable reasons.

    1. Ric,
      You’re drunk. Go home. Or emmigrate. I’m confident Russia would love to have you. Xhorisho, Commrad.

  41. Marie, I’m so sorry for the loss you and your family are dealing with. Your story is very eloquent, tender and thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing it with us. Many prayers on your behalf.

  42. Marie, I am sorry your brother died for an illusion.

    Does anyone else find it notable that NOBODY is talking about George Bush and Dick Cheney in regards to this fiasco?

    So, when I heard about the attacks on 9-11 and the government saying there was no warnings and the very next day they suddenly have people in Afghanistan because they suddenly ‘found out’ who did it, that was my first warning.

    If all the military members would use some moral rationale and question these politicians (preferably before they join) then we might see some change.

    How does ANYONE in the military not see the existential threats to our way of life in THIS country by people wearing suits and a fake ass smile?

    Yet, since the draft they continue to buy into the war propaganda. Maybe some just join to belong to something and don’t see the moral trap they are entering.
    Maybe, the mandatory shot for the coof will wake them up, although they take a lot of other nasty mandatory shots and orders.

    What’s the point? is the question EVERYONE should be asking. Especially a highly trained soldier who is listening to somebody like Bush, Obama or Biden tell them to kill and give their own soul for the greedy profiteer sending them “over there”.

    1. Remember…for the right or the wrong reasons our country “calls.” And we answer by our service to the same country. As Marines we did our duty to that calling. “God, Country, Corps” If there are no “rough men to keep you safe at night” then civilization will descend into chaos as we see playing out in our cities.
      Its called Patriotism….Is it possible that for some of us it is/was that simplistic?
      Yes it is.
      It does not mean we are not intelligent…do not label us as “misguided.” That is patronizing. It means we believe in our country.
      I also did not say we believe in our generals or politicians. We believe who is on our right and on our left.
      Sounds like trite and sappy concepts for some, but there are some us who still believe. Another “cliche”…you have your rights/freedoms, because there are citizens who are willing to serve.
      I would “recommend” Some of you spend some “quality” time in places where this does not exist. Taking a vacation there is not the same as having to live there for an extended period of time.
      Idealism is fine as long as it is grounded in reality.
      Reality seems to be absent these days.
      I wonder if the Minutemen at Concord and Lexington would have been so anxious to serve and answer the “call”had they known how society and this country would turn out.

  43. My son’s first day at Naval boot camp was Nine One One 2001. While Ronald Dumsfeld got a 21 gun salute (why?) I wanted to punch him and grab his necktie and get in his face. “Don’t you let my boy die!” Even though I honor all the people who serve in the military because of the sacrifices to serve, I’ve been suspicious of every war ever since. He’s safe and secure. But boy did this mom get a prayer life! I thought teaching four sons how to drive did that but no — a kid in the military does it! Who knew that in teaching him how to swim he would one day be search and rescue?! Now he’s a commercial pilot. But his younger brother in the navy is facing down the military mandate for covid vaccination. Says that scares him more than any of the scary training and try outs he’s done. Pray for all the hold outs!

    We are definitely at a crossroads in this country for which there seems to be no repairing even in all the tried and true ways we’ve known with rule of law. The demoralizing and destabilizing of our country continues unabated. Nothing left to do but prepare and pray.

  44. War is a racket, and not about saving anyone or bringing ‘Democracy’, ‘Freedom, or’
    a better/different way of life’. America is a fascistic corporate empire and it’s military is for extortion and stealing resources for the Capitalists running the gov. That which you let your gov do to others, your gov will eventually do to you – and Americans are getting a taste. The theft is in full swing. The Serfs will own nothing and be happier for it, and will become use-less free-loading eaters the day they cant work to pay the rents.

  45. I am so sorry for your loss. We never forget those we loved who were close to us. No matter how many years go by. And it permanently changes us. Thank you for your story. It seems to me that we need a military and unfortunately ours has become quite untrustworthy. I’m not sure what the answer is. I know in past history men were called to fight for their king and didn’t have a choice of what war they fought. I’m so sorry you’re brother died. But I am grateful he was willing to support our country.????

  46. Marie,
    Thank you for that heart wrenching story.
    Now that a bomb has gone off at the Kabul airport
    and 14 dead soldiers must hurt like hell.
    Even worse, the bomb may have been made by the USA.
    Was it worth 20 years of American blood and treasure?
    I truly hope so, but our CIC is either incompetent or worse.
    God Bless you and keep the love in your heart for your brother alive.

  47. Dear Marie, Dear All,
    I guess the “point” was well said before me.
    After 9/11, America searched for the guilty ones. They could not believe that a smaller terrorist group was able to this horrific destruction. They found Afghanistan as a harbor country for terrorists. They, together with NATO, went in, kicked the Taliban, and found Bib Laden. Until this, everything is justified. We, as allies, did not like the situation, but it was OK, we accepted it. Ant since then- the mayhem started. Afghanistan is rich in metals, opium, etc, but most importantly, is a strategic point. And the democracy export was started. Soldiers died. And then it all failed.
    This is the point. Failed. Somehow you all, brave and self-sacrifizing American militarymen and women need to come to terms with this failure.
    A note: please, please, be sober. This Afghanistan thing is not the last one.

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