There was, perhaps, no more dogged critic of Donald J. Trump on this site than the columnist whose work you are currently reading. To be sure, this writer--much like the rest of Flappr--represents a solidly R vote in the last election, but that a column typed by yours truly would have automatically been a glowing revue is a stretch.
For all his good--and what seems in all good faith to be a true love of the Union--his drawbacks were numerous, his missteps never small.
This column is not about those things.
For the past few weeks, there has been a full-scale meltdown happening in Afghanistan. This particular columnist has grown up and become an adult with the Marathon East of Marrakesh. Men the same age or not much older than this author were sent off to die in Afghanistan and Iraq, because of 9/11 so we were told, and some have been gone so long they would not remember smart phones, iPods, or Tom Brady.
By day, this author stands in a classroom most of the time. Students have gone through it who have graduated from college by now, and to this day certainly have few--if any--meaningful memories of a time when the United States was not at war with someone in the Arab World. In fact, should a man have been sent off to the war in 2001 and killed that year, it is conceivable that a son left behind could have literally followed his father to the grave.
Three generations have largely had their views of the world abroad shaped by this ongoing quagmire, Gen-X, Millennials, and perhaps to a lesser degree, Zoomers.
These reminders are not meant simply to rehash the past, but to serve as a grim reminder of how long this war dragged on in our lives. One would have hoped that we could achieve some lasting victory or meaningful achievement so as to not let these men's lives be wasted in vain. Perhaps at some past point, we could have.
The reality of leaving Afghanistan is that it was never going to be a goodbye filled with tears of joy, and hearts fulfilled at a grueling task finally conquered. It would, instead, have been at best bittersweet, knowing that while we may have extracted some level of vengeance for those fallen Twins of yesteryear, that any victory was likely not long lasting, and on that on a long enough timeline, our work was most likely in vain.
Video like the following, it turns out, was pretty common:
One could sit down, however, and convince one's self that a nation is ultimately not beholden to protect others, but only to protect its own. This columnist certainly has done so.
It is, in fact, that kind of thought which has sometimes made me stare off into the night, take a long drag off a cigar, and hold back a tear as I think of the men who gave their lives over in Hell-On-Earth, realizing that there but for the grace of God go I. Rather than living the amazing life I've had, that I may have only been vaporized, turned into a misty specter of people's memories, leaving any loved ones behind to wonder: What if?
And what if it had been me? Would my life have so been in vain? Surely there would never be a victory in any measurable sense. The Arab World and the Western World are largely incompatible in spirit and temper. It's best not to dwell on these things, one eventually finds, lest one sink into a despair of what may be on some other plane.
And so why stay, one asked himself at night?
Trump certainly asked that question, and as such worked toward leaving Afghanistan for Afghanistan, and to stop senseless slaughter of American boys.
One could never bring back the men already gone--that's one of war's universal and eternal tragedies--so best to honor them by not slaughtering their remaining brothers of spirit in some demonic quagmire.
By and large, foreign wars are the worst wastes of American lives. One of the most lasting damages of World War Two was that it convinced so many this was not so, and that George Washington--along with most of his successors regardless of party--had been wrong.
There is a certain guilt that comes, it turns out, with seeing your country wholly melt down in a foreign war when you did not serve yourself. You stare down a long, dark barrel and if you are not careful, you soon feel the eerie hand of indescribable sadness creeping onto your soldier. It's a sadness of guilt, and sorrow, and woe that you will never be able to make any of the ills you now feel right.
But this is not about me, nor is it about my own demons of inadequacy. This is about the men who gave all for--it turns out--nothing, and the men who are being massacred by the Biden Administration as part of the worst planned political ploy in American, and possibly world, history.
Rather than me opining, however, perhaps words from a real soldier would better serve.
And so what does this have to do with Trump--a man now eight months out of office?
In a way, to know what this has to do with Trump, one has to go back to Huey P. Long, a man whose wishes and populism I greatly admire, while whose socialistic tendencies I do not.
When discussing Franklin D. Roosevelt in a speech, Long compared himself to Roosevelt through what they did during World War One:
"I'm somewhat in the position of Mr. Roosevelt on the war and I can put myself in his place. He didn't go and I didn't go. The only difference is that I didn't get 10 thousand dollars a year not to go. If he wants to place me in his status all he has got to do is to send me a check for 5 thousand dollars for every year that the war lasted and we'll be fifty-fifty on the war. Neither of us ever heard a cap snap and both with five thousand dollars a year instead of him with the whole 10 thousand dollars by himself will put us on the same basis."
There are so many people I could make this comparison with for myself.
Any members of the Bush Family
Any members of the Cheney Family
The list is neigh on inexhaustible.
Long followed up that quote with this one:
"It is true that he advocated going into the war and I advocated not staying in the war. I think the circumstances have proved that I was nearer right about that than he was."
That's what this war and its criminal ending have to do with Trump.
He didn't go and I didn't go. And neither did most anybody from the families that control our nation. And frankly, likely none of you did either.
And so we should feel a Holy duty to not waste those men's lives, like we are doing now.
Bring what criticisms of Trump you might to a full evaluation, but the man certainly ran a heck of a record on the Middle East. While he may not have been able to bring a permanent change to Afghanistan--it truly is a nation that is simply not ready for the broader Western World--there is no reason to believe that a Trump Exit would have been the disgraceful circus of self-immolation and grotesque waste of human life that the Biden Exit has been.
The Trump Exit was based in the idea that America is still exceptional, that it must remain so, and that it can only do so by making sure that America is for Americans, both military and civilian.
The Biden Exit is based on the idea that America is a nation of Original Sin.
And in some ways, that is why it's hard not to miss Trump today.
But there are broader reasons to miss Trump today.
Eight months in, it is obvious that the Biden White House is either incapable of or indifferent to the act of governing the nation.
Eight months in, it is obvious that the Biden White House is either incapable of or indifferent to the protection of American interests on the global stage.
Eight months in, it is obvious that the Biden White House is either incapable of valuing or indifferent to the value of the lives of its citizens and soldiers.
Eight months in, it is obvious that the Biden White House is a disaster at best, and treasonous to the People at worst.
While the Trump White House was chaotic, it is not possible to argue in good faith that his White House was indifferent to the nation or its citizens. Nor is it possible to argue that the Trump White House accepted incapability, somewhat poor evaluator of talent not withstanding.
It is unfathomable to believe that Trump could possibly have been this embarrassing.
True, Europeans thumbed their noses at us for four years.
What of it?
The reality is that Europeans have always done this, that Europeans are almost universally abysmal allies, and the only reason we remain allied with most of them is because 80 years ago this December, we entered World War Two to prevent Hitler from building a juggernaut to cross the Atlantic and take us on from the offensive position.
The reason to miss Trump today is because, even when it was at its lowest, it was unmistakable that he--the head--wanted what was best for America and its people.
The reason to miss Trump today is that he would not cower before the Chinese Communist Cult.
The reason to miss Trump today is that those who want to live their lives and see themselves and their neighbors prosper would have an ally in the White House, instead of an enemy.
The reason to miss Trump today is that he would not be squandering American lives, and defiling American legacies by tripling down on an Afghanistan Exit which is going so poorly that it boggles the mind to conceive how it *isn't* treasonous.
The reason to miss Trump today is we once had a leader, flaws and all.
And so tonight, I will drop this column off and go about my way. Out to the patio to look up at the stars, and to say first, a prayer of thanks that I am still blessed with the life I have, the family I've been given, and the friends I've made.
And second, to say a prayer of regret, that my generation has been primarily responsible for electing the world's most incompetent butcher to our office of Chief-Executive. While us Millennials do not, by and large, deserve better, the nation and the thousands of men whose lives and sacrifices have now been rendered obsolete certainly do.
May the Lord have mercy on the souls of those who would perpetuate this bloody debauchery.
As for me, I will have none.