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A Revolting Development

Chester A. Riley was a fictional radio and television lead character of a situational comedy by the name of The Life of Riley. He was Ralph Cramden before there was a Ralph Cramden. By that I mean he was always looking for a scheme to “get rich quick.” Riley’s schemes were just like Ralph Cramden’s. They never worked out and the show ended with him having to apologize to his wife, Peg.

The most memorable and a recurring line in the show was the last thing he said and it was said on just about every show. As his scheme fell through Riley would sheepishly say, “What a revolting development this is.”

This week’s main topic of conversation is the same as last week’s. Whereas The Life of Riley was a comedy, real life is not always comedic. Especially the last ten days of the awful news of our nation’s failure in Afghanistan.

It’s distressing the way our twenty years of trying to do a good deed was ruined by the inadequate leadership of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington. We also might as well add a couple of generals and the military-industrial complex that the late, great General and President Dwight Eisenhower warned about.

It should be very humbling to squander trillions of dollars you don’t have. We might have entered into the Afghan landscape with a valid bone to pick. After all, that nation had harbored and allowed to develop a terrorist group called Al Qaida. Under the wicked and mastermind of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaida had carried out the boldest terrorist attack in the history of the United States of America.

It doesn’t need a name by which to be known; just a date in history. Not even a year is part of the date; just plain “9-11.” Once we figured out the culprits, we were justified to go get them and they were in the infamous “Graveyard of Empires,” Afghanistan. That warranted nickname should have been a warning.

Still, we had a responsibility to find and punish the band of outlaws that hated America so much that they attacked it viciously, without warning, and with deadly force. They deserved a reckoning and we were just the nation to give it to them. If that was all we did, everything would have turned out fine.

At that time, the United States of America had the most overpowering armed forces in the world. We scattered the Taliban just the cockroaches they were. It took hardly any time, just like the defeat of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 1991. When we have purpose and focus, we can take care of business.

Unfortunately, in Afghanistan and Iraq we lost focus. It gets us in trouble every time and this Afghanistan debacle, I’m afraid, is going to take a long time to get over. In fact, it could change the way the rest of the world views America forever.

The vast majority of people in this country were ready for our troops to come home. That was obvious and the previous administration had already made that judgment and had begun that process.

The current President has said that history will prove him “right” in his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. The withdrawal is not the bone of contention. The failure of an orderly and well-planned withdrawal; that is the real point at issue. Plus, we’re not out of the woods yet.

The blunders and miscalculations are too numerous to count and that’s all you’ve heard for the last ten days. You don’t need my two cent’s worth to make up your mind, but it’s time that we faced the truth. Chester A. Riley said it best. “What a revolting development this is!”