By Rick Staggenborg, President, VFP Linus Pauling Chapter 132, Mid-Valley, Oregon
This letter to the editor first appeared on September 11, 2021 in the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald.
“Watching the reaction of Americans to the tragedy befalling the people of Afghanistan, I can’t help wondering where their compassion and outrage were during the 30-year U.S. occupation.
Around 170,000 Afghans died as a direct result of war-related violence, and countless more succumbed to disease, famine, exposure, lack of clean water and other consequences of the destruction. Manning, Assange, Hale and others suffered imprisonment, bankruptcy and even torture for revealing the awful truths our government concealed from us. We should also weep for them and their devastated families.
What will be the lesson of Afghanistan? To listen to the pundits, it’s that we should have stayed there forever, despite the fact that the U.S. never succeeded in establishing a truly democratic government. Its precipitous fall was due to corruption and lack of popular support, a familiar story to anyone alive when the puppet government of Vietnam fell in 1975.
Meanwhile, the War on Terror continues unabated throughout the Mideast, Africa and Asia. Don’t kid yourself that the U.S. bears no responsibility for the violence in Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere just because U.S. troops are not in those places in force. There are many ways to bring about regime change. Now we are turning toward confrontation with Russia, China and Iran while building a new Space Force.
Perhaps it’s time to think about giving up grandiose dreams of global empire and take care of the devastation that we’ve allowed to occur in the U.S. as we’ve been busy destroying other nations.”