‘After 20 years of war, many lessons left unlearned’

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By Christopher Overfelt

Operation Enduring Freedom ended much as it began. As the American military rushed to evacuate refugees from the Kabul airport, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device, killing American soldiers. President Biden rushed to address the nation, promising revenge and more killing. His remarks echoed perfectly the remarks of George Bush in the aftermath of 9/11.

And the results of Biden’s revenge attacks mirror perfectly the cycles of America’s war against Afghanistan. Drone attacks inside the city of Kabul killed the children and families of innocent Afghani civilians. After 20 years of war, many lessons are left unlearned.

What more can be said of this madness? Sometimes there are no words to reflect the human condition. Numbers and statistics cannot reflect the trauma incurred through violence. There are actors to blame and guilt to be found. But the capacity for justice lies stunted. Those who have profited from the war on terror hold the winnings, and the losers are left to seek shelter where they can. The chapter of Operation Enduring Freedom has ended. The history of the American empire goes on.

—Christopher Overfelt, of Veterans for Peace, serves on the PeaceWorks-KC Board of Directors.

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