Our 9/11 Responses In Retrospect

I have written several articles on postings related to politics. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on these political events.

Our 20th anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone and our invasion and our occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq are just a memory. So what have we learned from this debacle. Because that is the only word that truly describes the last 20 years in the Middle East. They say hindsight is 20/20, so lets see if we can figure out what happened and see what we did wrong and what we could have done better. I am sure my analysis of these events is going to be hotly contested and that is fine, nobody is perfect. There is no denying that our exodus from Afghanistan could have went a hell of a lot smoother. I am also sure that we can all agree that leaving 80 plus billion dollars of weapons in the hands of a terrorist organization was not a very good idea. Not only do they have our weapons, they also have our uniforms as well. So how can our allies even know who is on the battlefield anymore?

Whether or not we should have been able to prevent 9/11 from even happening has been hotly contested from the very beginning. Lack of actionable intelligence was never the problem. Many people believe that bigger is better. I say bullocks to that assertion. I believe that small, fast and nimble is always better.

I have included a list of different agencies that we have in the intelligence community in the U.S. Do you think any of them communicate with each other, or can even if they wanted to? First of all this is just intelligence, this does not include our defense structure, or our law enforcement department or our justice department, once or if we caught anybody. I think you get the picture. We have become a bureaucratic monolith. Once you get a government job, your only goal is to keep that job. There is no real incentive to be a team player or to play well with other teams. There is too much jealousy, it has all become political, even science and medicine has become political as we have seen recently with COVID-19.

Every department and agency is jealous of the other. Any intel that is collected is guarded closely instead of being passed on to other agencies. Even if it is passed on, it is suspected of being inaccurate and therefore has to be validated by that agency each and every time it is passed on. Many times it is not jealousy, it is technology that gets in the way. The systems may be incompatible, so data transfer may be difficult. Communication may also be difficult. Things have improved especially with the inception of Homeland Security. However, it has become a victim of its success and it has evolved into what it was created to fight, a nonresponsive bureaucratic monstrosity.

What is the answer I don’t truly know. Having smaller more agile agencies is not necessarily the answer, because how to they communicate and who will oversee them? There has to be someone that can do this. That was supposed to be the job of Homeland Security. We all saw how that worked out. You just can’t fight human nature.

So what is the answer, should we have prevented 9/11, the answer is yeas, we should have been able to stop it in its tracks. But we didn’t so lets move on. If you want a plan to succeed it has to be well thought out. While you can’t plan for every contingency you have to at least allow for some flexibility in it to make adjustments as events change. Attacking and Invading a country/enemy is no different. When you invade your enemy, you have to have set up attainable goals. You also have to decide what you are going to do when the fighting is over. Initially, we had set goals for the invasion of Afghanistan. We wanted to catch and punish those responsible for the planning and execution of the attack. We also wanted to destroy their infrastructure. Of course nothing goes according to plan. Politics and egos got in the way. Nobody truly understood of what they were dealing with over in the middle east. Our country is relatively new. We are just barely over 200 years old. The cultures we are dealing with are 1,000 of years old. They are used to autocracies and theocracies. Sharia law is common there, women are treated as subhuman. In many countries they have no rights at all. It is not just politics it is who they are. Politics and religion are all in the same. Needless to say it took a lot longer to accomplish our tasks than we anticipated. Part of this was due to our changing goals and the expansion of the playing field.

I have previously written an article on the second Iraq war and WMD, so I am not going to rehash that discussion here. When we invaded Iraq, resources were withdrawn from Afghanistan. This slowed down the progress we were making in the moping up action. Our goals became blurred, we tried to do nation building. You can’t change people over night. It takes decades to make changes, even centuries. I believe that when we invaded Iraq, we set ourselves up to fail. Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat, while the Taliban and Al Qaeda were. It has been argued that he was an evil man. Well so was Stalin, did we invade Russia? Kim Jong-un is just as evil as Saddam Hussein was, and he has WMD. We haven’t invaded North Korea yet. What is the difference? Russia is a lot bigger and more powerful, North Korea is protected by China. The argument can be made that even the leader of China, Xi Jinping is evil and is guilty of terrible crimes against his people. The whole time that Communism was taking root in China millions of people were killed, but nothing was done to rescue them. How are these decisions made? So the argument is very weak for the invasion of Iraq.

What would have been different if we had concentrated on Afghanistan? We would have caught Osama Bin Laden a lot quicker. We would have probably invaded Syria instead and rooted out all the Taliban forces seeking asylum there. I am sure they were also hiding out in Iran as well. So as soon as we started pulling out the troops of Afghanistan, the Taliban immediately started moving back across the borders. We never beat the Taliban, we just pushed them out. The same thing happened in The Korean war and Vietnam war. We still have not learned our lesson. You can’t win a limited war. You have to go all out. You have to pound your enemy until they are ground into the dust. If it means crossing into other countries to destroy their fleeing armies so be it. What you do is you dare the countries that are harboring your enemy to do anything about it.

So now that you finally have destroyed the enemy as much as they can be destroyed and you have captured and killed all the responsible parties. You discuss your exodus. You get with all of the leaders of the country you have occupied and tell them what the plan is. You also give the people of the country an option to leave when you move out. Because you know that no matter what you have done, they are going to return back to there previous governing system. One where women are possessions. You need to give them options. You need to be honest. We never did these things. Many Afghani people risked their lives to help us, because we made promises to them, promises that we broke. What is going to happen when another Afghanistan comes around? You know it will happen. Who will help us? The answer is no one. We have burned too many bridges in Afghanistan, and these people have memories that span thousands of years.

We did so many things wrong, we had all the power. So we should have set the parameters, if we could not meet the deadline for evacuation, so what. What was the Taliban going to do about it. That is when we had still kept our bases and troops. Once we evacuated the country, we were screwed. Just because we are the superpower, doesn’t mean that we can’t discuss our plans with out allies. England, Germany, France had supported us over there for the last 20 years, we could have involved them in our plans. That is what responsible rulers do. I am sure this won’t be the last time that this subject brought up. Many of you may ask what is the point, it is over, we can’t go back and take a mulligan? Who says? We still are the Superpower. We could go back in and take all of our stuff back, including the bases. It would involve some bloodshed, but so what, it would be the right thing to do. At least we would regain some of our honor. Because when all is done and said honor and respect is all you really have.

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