On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda terrorists sponsored by Osama Bin Laden carried out despicable and shameful acts of terrorism on American soil. They drove planes into the World Trade Centre killing over three thousand American citizens. It was the first such attack on American soil since the country’s independence in 1776. But in reality, it was an attack on democracy and the free world.
Therefore, as the world remembers 9/11 today and those who died on that day, most of whom did not go down without a fight, a fight to protect themselves and to protect unsuspecting citizens on the ground, we must not forget that we must be ever-ready and tough in protecting our freedoms. Lessons must be drawn from how tough America responded to Japanese and Nazi aggression during the Second World War and other major threats to its security and world peace.
At the time of the attacks, Afghanistan, once a thriving and forward-looking nation, was under the grip of the Taliban, a retrograde and violent Islamist group with no regard for human rights notably women’s rights. It was providing comfort to Al-Qaeda and its leader, Bin Laden. With its military might and leadership, America unraveled both Taliban control over Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda presence in the country with the effect, however, that these terrorist movements went underground.
America has, however, since witnessed an unprecedented crisis of leadership, starting as from January 2017 when Donald Trump came to office. Against all conventional wisdom, Trump’s corrupt administration signed a deal with the Taliban in 2020 without associating the democratically elected leaders of Afghanistan. In doing so, it emboldened the Taliban and watered-down all gains made in the country for 20 years.
Faced with a challenging situation, the Biden administration also failed to manage the situation properly. It decided to follow through with what President Joe Biden termed a long-overdue exit. The exit was, nevertheless done hastily and ended up being a total fiasco. America is the greatest military power the world has seen. Its military has some of the most sophisticated weapons and equipment ever built and in great numbers. It is capable of carrying out deployment in terms of troops and material on a massive scale.
Yet, in pulling out of Afghanistan, America left assault rifles, armored vehicles, and a whole range of other military equipment as if it was being chased out or did not have the capacity to remove the equipment. As the low-morale Afghan army and the corrupt regime of Ashraf Ghani vanished in thin air this equipment fell in the hands of the advancing Trump-emboldened Taliban, further strengthening them. Worse, the Taliban have since announced a “government”, and the West is flirting with the idea of recognition not to say they have already recognized it.
A possible fallout from all this chaos could be a check on Chinese aggression. Communist China has long benefitted from the peace, no matter how questionable the means, that America has maintained worldwide but projects itself as a rival power. As the world headquarters of terrorism shifts from the Middle East to Kabul, Afghanistan, China will have to work harder to prevent terrorism from entering its territory.
However, Islamic terrorism remains the enemy of the West and democratic freedoms worldwide. There is no place for weakness on the matter. Biden will have to be tougher in his approach. There can be no negotiation with terrorists. They cannot be trusted. It is not only unlawful to negotiate with terrorists but a departure from this principle is tantamount to giving up on democracy and our basic freedoms.
The leaders of the free world must learn from the likes of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, J. F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan. These were tough leaders in the face of evil. They demonstrated that under no circumstance should those who want to end freedom be allowed to do so. Let the American public also learn from the past four years under Trump.
Racism became worse under Trump and 400000 died from the Coronavirus because of Trump’s wild conspiracies on the disease and cavalier approach to managing the pandemic while he enjoyed the privilege of a life-saving experimental anti-body treatment when he caught the virus. The serum was developed by the same science he likes to tell his victims is not credible. Also, he and his administration brought the country to its knees economically, and on their way out he tried to burn down everything.
Trump was the first President in American history to mount a despicable assault on the country’s over 200-year-old election system just because he had lost an election. He was the first to plot a coup d’état to stay in power. These attempts, if successful, would have transformed America into a Banana Republic. This is the alternate reality Trump supporters are knowingly or unknowingly enabling. Yet, shockingly, Trump has taken over the Republican party and still has a huge following.
Showing weak leadership in the face of terrorism and enabling a personality like Trump insult the memory of the brave citizens who diverted flight 93 on 9/11 away from the Capitol. An American President, Biden, is “in talks” with the same Taliban terrorists who murdered these courageous martyrs while some American citizens are still backing an arguably insurrectionist President who organized an assault on the Capitol that these brave patriots protected with their lives.