Featured image by Marie. Follow the link for more of this artist’s work.
Thucydides once said, “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” We are being lead by cowards and our military commanded by fools. We care more for petty strife between our two political parties and their squabbles over pronouns than we do for the larger geo-political earthquake that has just rocked Afghanistan over the weekend. Kabul has fallen. The Taliban has taken control over the vast majority of Afghanistan and are conducting talks about “transfer of control” from the remaining governmental voices, including former President Hamid Karzai, according to the AP.
In all our efforts to prop up the Afghan military, in our haphazard withdrawal from the country, we abandoned them. We refused to help them maintain air superiority, refused to help them maintain their air forces, and now, we focus on removing US personnel while the people of Afghanistan are left to scramble upon airplanes, begging to be allowed to escape the inevitable bloodbath that will come as this fundamentalist terror group re-imposes its will upon a helpless population.
We have lost our sense of purpose. We have acted like an empire for so long that we came to believe that our way of life was the correct thing. I love my country, I am skeptical of my government. For too long we have thought of our military as a tool to help establish “democracy,” in parts of the world that have for hundreds of years were not fertile grounds for it. The ideas that the individual was the center of life and governmental decision-making is, in many parts of the world, a foreign concept. Tribe, clan, religion, creed, country, or many other collective norms are the standard.
We will suffer consequences from these actions. Time will reveal that to be true. We forget that the rest of the world is not the United States. The rest of the world does not have our Constitution. Many other places in the world do not have gun rights akin to our Second Amendment. It makes it much easier to see why tyranny tends to thrive where the populace cannot resist.
And our scholars don’t have the connection to the rank and file to our military, for the most part. To many of our politicians, the military is an institution, with the soldiers of our country viewed like what Futurama’s Zapp Brannigan says,
What Thucydides spoke in eons past still rings true today. Our scholars (politicians and leaders) have forgotten that the world is a nasty, brutish place full of danger, and it may be necessary to defend ourselves and way of life, and it shows. Our military has forgotten that blind conquest and poor strategy will spell doom and defeat.