To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Observercast

We May Not Be Elephants, But We Do Remember Some Things

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Well, a few of us perhaps.

I took immediate note of the fact that President Joe Biden’s plan is to be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021. Obviously, that will be the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. Everybody of a certain age remembers that.

However, I also remember a Republican president named Donald Trump who preceded Biden as the occupant of our White House. Most everybody remembers him, too. As a matter of fact it was Trump who aggressively began the troop drawdowns in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan a couple of years ago and he was either cheered on by most Republicans in the Congress or was met by deafening silence from them. Certainly no doomsday criticism.

But Biden had not even made it to Arlington Cemetery for a walkabout in Section 60, where veterans who lost their lives in those conflicts are buried, before some of our Oklahoma delegation blasted his decision to withdraw all troops by the fall.

Sen. James Lankford and U.S. Reps. Tom Cole and Kevin Hern saw fit to declare Biden’s decision as the worst military maneuver since Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812.

And this is the problem with politicians these days – even on the topics of national defense and foreign affairs. They view everything through partisan lens. Republicans … Trump was infallible. Democrats … Biden maybe, too.

But I find it especially galling that at least these three sunshine warriors, none of whom have ever rolled out of bed at reveille to answer a roll call with “here sir,” couldn’t wait with press releases in hand to unload their partisan broadsides at a Democratic president in office less than 100 days.

Of course they did at least offer an alternative to Biden’s vision for Afghanistan which was, in varying phrases: Stay the course; a dangerous power vacuum will emerge if we don’t; spending a trillion dollars hasn’t been enough so spend another; 20 years, let’s go for 25.

And one final thought each did not express but surely thought: “You bet I’ll make damn sure my children won’t do the fighting, bleeding and dying over there, just like I didn’t when it was my time to serve.”

I’m sure they remembered to think all that even if they think we can’t remember anything … except to vote for them again next year.

Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson, a Lexington Democrat, served in the Oklahoma Legislature from 1978-2006, including one term as Senate President Pro Tempore.