It was about 10 p.m. I was so upset at what I was seeing stream across my computer screen I could not explain it to myself. I turned away, hoping to shut off the images. I texted a Marine friend of mine with whom I deployed to Iraq a few years ago. I told him, “We are all Marines tonight, brother.” He, in his eternally optimistic way, wrote me right back. “Our brothers never died in vain over there [Afghanistan], and the mainstream media doesn’t get to change that for their sound-bites.” We texted back and forth, trying to make sense of it all, trying to encourage one another, longing to return to Afghanistan.
It was not from vainglory or because we are different from thousands of other service members for wanting to go back. No, it’s because of the brothers on the left and right side of us, those who remain in the core of who we are.
And yet the appearance from all the video footage is of terror on every side. Ten Marines, two Soldiers, and one Navy corpsman are listed among the dead. At least 169 Afghanis were killed. Hundreds are maimed, blinded, and crippled for life.
The White House briefers are predicting more bloodshed in Kabul, Afghanistan and abroad. A Marine commander has been relieved for questioning on social media the wisdom of the plan of egress from Afghanistan. The Marine named names in his questioning of what is playing out on the world stage. The current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, along with others of Mr. Biden’s counselors, and General Mark Milley, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Mr. Biden, were all named by the 17-year Marine officer. Said Marine officer has been removed.
I have not seen times quite like this in my years. When I was a kid, I fell in love with novels and memoirs and other books and films of the Vietnam War. I was a child during Vietnam, and so all I know of it is via history. I still have my tattered copies of The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato and We Were Soldiers Once and Young. I have shelves of accounts by Soldiers and Marines in southeast Asia. The list could go on. What I see in those books is a glimpse into times of cultural upheaval, of folly on a grand scale, of often senseless death and violence, of sinister purposes by powerful coteries. Terror on every side, as Jeremiah says in his book.
And as I try to process what I am seeing unfold, as I try to understand how and why we are committing cultural suicide by a thousand cuts, of how many seem more convinced that a paper mask they hang on their car mirror and stuff in their pocket and then put back on their face is somehow going to save civilization, and how supposedly vaccinated people continue to die ostensibly from the coronavirus, but we are to trust the government that big pharma has a ready supply of “boosters” and second and third and fourth doses that will be just the cure. Just a few more shots, folks.
I stayed up most of the night, worrying, grieving over my nation, trying to pray and articulate what I was feeling, but the words would not come. I was just … spent. Emotionally wrung out. I see a culture that is fracturing. I see a culture being indoctrinated with wokeness–where we are told to evaluate people based upon skin color, sexual behavior, and their perceived senses of entitlement. Don’t hire based on merit; hire based on gender and sexuality and grievances. Identity politics. Division. Class warfare. Alphabets for new groups. What? Is that what it has come to?
O folks, may it not be so. Let us sober up. Let us learn our history rather than tear it down statue by statue, burn it up block by block, rewrite it via propaganda and grievance studies. Lord, have mercy. We have lost our way. May You relent from what we deserve and humble us and mature us before it is too late.