Remember, too, all the lives lost since 9/11

Posted9/13/2021 1:00 AM

I confess to not following any 911 memorials on its anniversary, this 20th included. Sure, I was horrified when it occurred, Sept. 11, 2001, and I mourn all 2,996 dead and the 25,000 injured.

But I mourn even more for the millions killed, injured or displaced by America's response. Rather than strictly pursue the remaining perpetrators, including their links to Saudi Arabia, the Bush Administration embarked on a campaign of senseless regime change that has turned Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia into failed states. I do that because I had no control over the 911 attackers. But my tax dollars contributed to my government's reckless response, making me an accessory to the supreme international crime: unjust war.


President George W. Bush demanded and got permission from Congress and the American people to attack any sovereign country in the Middle East and Africa deemed to contain "terrorists," a term so vague as to be meaningless. With hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced and trillions of dollars squandered, Bush handed the presidency over to Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama who continued the slaughter; indeed, ramping up one of its most egregious hallmarks: drone assassination for any person rising to the top of his weekly "Kill List."

Obama handed off his power to Donald Trump, who bragged about senseless bombings of imagined bad guys, topped off by despicable drone assassination of a top Iranian general, along with nine other Iranians and Iraqis, at the Baghdad Airport. If another country did that to a top American general, that country would be quickly incinerated.

The single achievement of Trump's four years was sidelining America's worthless, corrupt puppet Afghan government to negotiate full U.S. withdrawal in 14 months with the clear winner, the Taliban. Ironically, the Taliban, a ragtag outfit of under 100,000, simply fought a hit-and-run war on their turf for 20 years, knowing a U.S. president would eventually have the sense to capitulate.

Trump didn't get the chance to complete the withdrawal, losing to senseless-war promoter Joe Biden. But, miracle of miracles, Biden didn't cave to the war party seeking to extend the war indefinitely. He got out quickly, albeit four months after Trump's promised May 1, 2021, exit date.

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The Taliban's response to their victory? Between signing the Doha Agreement with Trump, Feb. 29, 2020, and the final U.S. soldier to exit Afghanistan Aug. 15, 2021, they, as promised, did not kill a single U.S. soldier. Additionally, they cooperated with the frantic U.S. withdrawal, likely preventing further violence than the one-off attack by the Taliban's arch rival ISIS-K. Finally, they appear to be allowing Americans left behind to leave in peace.

We've got plenty of memorials for the U.S. victims of 911. How about a memorial for all the millions whose lives have been destroyed by America's senseless response? If so, let's call it: "Never Again."

Walt Zlotow

Glen Ellyn

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