In January 2002, four months after the 9/11 attacks, my brother, Col. Phil Bossert Jr., U.S. Air Force, was on the ground at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. That was the start of his first tour of duty in what would become the longest war in U.S. history. He did a second tour. Then a third tour, even though he didn’t need to, but because something deep inside him wanted to help the Afghan people, especially those he knew personally, like his interpreter, Ali.
During that third tour in late 2011, Phil slogged through the quagmire of red tape to help secure a visa for Ali and his family to immigrate to the United States, which they did. It was common knowledge then, as now, that any Afghans assisting the U.S. forces were marked for death by the Taliban.
Several months later, Phil was medevacked out of Bagram Air Base to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. After evaluation, he was flown to the U.S., where he underwent brain surgery at Walter Reed Hospital outside of Washington, D.C. He died on Oct. 3, 2013, at the age of 54.
Parents are not supposed to bury their children, and such a loss tears at the fabric of a family in a multitude of ways. Our father, who was in good shape at that time, saw his spark for life extinguished when he buried his namesake son. His health went downhill rapidly, and he died 18 months later from a broken heart. The dynamics of a family are forever scarred and damaged through such trauma.
Variation of this has played out thousands of times across our nation over the last two decades.
That was my question watching the chaotic collapse of Afghanistan take place. I do mostly blame Joe Biden, and this will be an indelible stain on his presidency. The past three administrations are also culpable for a portion of this debacle. The U.S. should have left Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011. That was the end of the mission.
Nevertheless, the politicians prolonged this mess for nearly 10 more years. Now, 20 years on, approximately 2,400 American service members and thousands more contractors are dead, with more likely, 20,000-plus wounded, some horrifically, and a trillion dollars of our taxes has been flushed.
The chaos that has unfolded at Hamid Karzai International Airport outside Kabul shows how incompetent our government has become. I condemn the president, his cabinet and Congress entirely for not having a plan in place to evacuate, in an orderly fashion, American citizens and those Afghans who served our military for decades. Some have been trying to get visas for months, some a year or more, to get out of Afghanistan. They were left high and dry on the tarmac, desperately clinging to taxiing planes because they knew their fate with the Taliban.
Yet, this administration and Congress have allowed hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to freely pour, virtually unabated, across our southern border just this year. That’s OK, but getting visas expeditiously for those who helped our military isn’t? It’s shameful and disgusting.
Both political parties are to blame. Regardless of party affiliation, none of them represent their constituents. They are only beholden to special interest groups who are lining their pockets with donations. The few trying to do good are swimming against a riptide of crooks, degenerates and ne’er-do-wells. Most are career politicians whose first thoughts are not of the American people but of getting re-elected — whatever that takes, it’s the priority. Washington is a seedy carnival of rigged games run by shady characters and criminals.
The national press is complicit in all this, too, with their bias to one end or the other of the political spectrum. It operates on a double standard, sounding the alarm only when it furthers their views. In the meantime, our representatives are fattening their bank accounts while working the media to their advantage, feigning progress on Capitol Hill.
It is a political party pissing match when Congress is in session, and the losers are all of us. With all due respect to writer Hunter S. Thompson, the House and the Senate are nothing more than “a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.”
This American political system allowed the Taliban, stone-age religious terrorists, to embarrass and defeat the U.S on the world stage. Years of U.S. military training and the Afghan security forces melted away like an ice cube on a hot summer day. Another travesty in the graveyard of empires.
Yes, Congress and President Biden have given our national pride a black eye, a real shiner, and soiled America’s integrity. I can’t imagine any group or country believing the word of the United States going forward. Just ask the Native Americans, or listen to the reaction of world leaders to the Afghanistan implosion.
Our nation turned its back on the Afghan people, and even if they haphazardly try to fix it now, many more Afghans will die in the process who shouldn’t. It is reprehensible and the product of a corrupted political syndicate. Although I don’t condone the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, I understand why it happened. It is just one more by-product of a seething electorate, in that case, egged on by an opportunistic charlatan. I’ll choose to use the ballot box to effect change, even if it proves meaningless.
My brother is at rest in the Air Force Academy Cemetery outside Colorado Springs in the shadow of the purple mountain majesties. I wonder what he would think of the latest U.S. foreign policy circus — a genocide in the making. He did his service and made the ultimate sacrifice. But on the impending 20th Anniversary of 9/11, I have to question, in the dusty collapse of Afghanistan, why.
The Greatest Generation is barely visible anymore in the national rearview mirror, and there will never be another like them, especially with the goons behind the wheel now. In the future, the gullible young who think they want to be patriotic, serving their country in the military, should ponder long and hard before making that commitment because the carnies in Washington don’t give a damn about life or liberty.
Dave Bossert is a long-time community volunteer who serves on several boards. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organizations he is affiliated with or those of The Signal.