Twenty years ago, I came out of eye surgery at the Crosby hospital to see my doctor standing and watching a television in the recovery room. Suddenly she turned, talking to me and asked how I felt. She was crying. “Was it that bad” I asked? “I’m sorry,” she said. “The tears aren’t about you and your surgery went fine.” She left me and my attention went to the television and the planes flying into those towers. Then I cried.

Today Aug. 30, 2021, I cried again. Yes, the war was over and for that I was grateful but my tears were for every one of our soldiers who died trying to win an unwinnable war. For every Afghan who dreamed of freedom some day and lost their lives fighting for it. For all of the innocents who have borne the brunt of the suffering. Some with their lives and some with the repercussions that come with being offered a carrot for a better life and then having it taken away and now they live in limbo.

We can blame the four presidents, we can blame the military strategists, we can blame a lot of people but in the end the people who thought that they could change that country to a democratic society, halfway around the world, were wrong. We need to defend our borders tenaciously and keep our people safe first. We need to have good relationships with our allies. Help the needy countries, yes, but we need to quit trying to police the whole world. This wasn’t our first rodeo. We got bucked off our horse before. Will we learn from this? I doubt it.

Mike Holst