I join with our esteemed editor-in-chief in lamenting what has happened in Afghanistan. For the moment, I will leave the Christian reflection to him. For my part, I see the tragedy of Afghanistan as the unfortunate culmination of long-running battles in US politics, over US military involvement.
In a lot of places, your papers are everything. Which is why it was especially alarming to hear that Joe’s new best friends, the Taliban, have been seizing the passports of American citizens in Afghanistan. In the Mideast, as in some other parts of the world, your passport is your identity. Without it, you are at the mercy of those who might not have your best interests at heart. Seizure of your passport leaves you naked and vulnerable. Your comings and goings are now no longer your decision.
Reeling from the horrors of 9/11 two decades ago, we entered Afghanistan to eliminate terrorist camps and also try to build a better nation for the people who had been caught under the Taliban’s control. Was it hubris or hope to think we could lastingly accomplish either goal? I’ll leave that discussion for another day, but this week has reminded us of how even our greatest powers stumble.