20 years gone

The paraphrasical and melancholic opening chords of Led Zeppelin’s classic song echo through my soul as I contemplate the 20th anniversary of a day which should never have happened. Not the whole song, mind you. Just those sorrowful bass and guitar notes. I think they fairly describe what I am feeling.

I don’t have any deep nor revelatory analysis to offer. America was busy enjoying its so-called holiday from history when Islamist terrorists came calling. I was a young man that morning, and now I am an old man. I’ve done my GWOT deployments, though never to Afghanistan. Our two decades in that land have been poured down the drain for the sake of hare-brained political expediency — which has outraged America’s true friends, emboldened America’s true enemies, and left all of my buddies who ever went to Afghanistan feeling angry, hurt, and questioning.

As I said on my blog a couple of weeks ago, I think it all boils down to a complete failure of expertise. The so-called smart people — who have walls of framed paper behind them on Zoom and Teams meetings — made a lot of bad assumptions and bad promises. Not to mention bad policy. Followed ultimately by a bad withdrawal.

And if I am upset at anything, I am upset over the fact none of our so-called leaders will get fired. None of them will pay a price. They never do. Not the top men wearing uniforms, and especially not the top men wearing business suits. They never have to suffer for their shitty decisions — across five Presidencies! And now we watch as a literally senile meat puppet casts about for political distractions in a national atmosphere choked with bitterness, disappointment, and rage.

Has the GWOT made us smarter about our enemies? No. I think just the reverse. The GWOT has made our enemies a heck of a lot smarter about us. Hell, they’d do well to just stand back and let America self-devour, after what’s been happening since March 2020. America’s culture, freedom, and institutions are now presided over by people who clearly hate our culture, freedom, and institutions. What can you say when elite Americans despise and attack America’s unifying grand narrative? We are ripped apart daily from within by well-funded, highly-prestigious, college-trained, culturally Marxist apparatchiks.

Osama bin Laden must be smiling in hell. And so are Lenin and Stalin. None of them could have planned nor executed the demise of the United States the way we ourselves seem to be executing it. Almost like we want and crave our own destruction. America’s best and brightest hourly Tweet their dripping disdain for America’s touchstones, achievements, heroes, highlights, and our way of life.

As British author Douglas Murray has lamented before: while other nations and peoples are only ever judged according to their best moments, America must forever and only be judged according to her worst.

It’s enough to make me slam the FUCK IT button, and give up in disgust.

Or am I just mourning my younger, more optimistic years?

Lord knows I was a happier, healthier, much more positive guy on the 10th of September 2001. That guy woke up the next day to discover reality didn’t agree with his naivety. It was hard to not feel burned then, and it’s hard to not feel burned now. Especially when the top people in whom we all ought to be able to trust, have repeatedly failed, and keep failing. With no repercussions. And no sign of slowing down.

So I dunno what happens next, gang.

I do know I never, ever thought I’d arrive at this point in time feeling more discouraged and disheartened — at ourselves, and at our feckless and moronic politics — than I did when it all started.


  1. I am not optimistic. I am not pessimistic. I’m not arrogant enough to think I’m realistic.

    I do see a light at the end of the tunnel and it is daylight. How far it is I do not know. Nor how long it will take us to get there. But I find myself in accord with Puddleglum these days.

    I will live as like an American as I can… and perhaps, perhaps, perhaps there will be an America there when we come to the end of the tunnel. There will be if I have a say in the matter, be it ever so small.

  2. 9/11 ended my lifelong self-identifiction as a “liberal’ (I never was, I just didn’t know it), although it took Obama to push me over to the dark side (where, it turns out, they really do have cookies). I was 50 that day, so 70 now, and not likely to experience much of what’s to come. I’m glad I managed to tell Jerry Pournelle I decided he was right after all, while he was still alive.

  3. You do continue to serve as an example of what is good in America in your essays. Please continue this. You are one of the candles in the darkness.

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