Today is the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001. It is a sobering event for all its realities and having witnessed it while serving in the United States Marine Corps, I knew exactly what it meant for my future. However, tomorrow is a day with an all too real sobering reality of its own. Tomorrow marks the 18th birthday for countless Americans of all stripes who will take an oath and fight the war my generation was charged with fighting. Specifically, those not alive for the events of 9/11 will be tasked with heading into harms way because of it. With each passing day, more and more Americans do the same and fight a war over an event they read about in the history books. Tomorrow marks the day that America’s unborn will be fighting our war.
The War of the Unborn
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that America raise an Army of unborn soldiers to fight the war. Premature babies would be make terrible soldiers as they lack upper body strength. Just awful really. Plus, if they had trouble getting us a bottle of water in 2003 Iraq, imagine all the trouble they’d have getting lactating mothers to the battlefield. Although, in a fortuitous coincidence, every care package back then did have baby wipes in it.
Rather, while we sat and watched the events unfold during the days after 9/11, which of us could have possibly imagined that babies being born that very day would have to fight a war over it. I’ve always found it fascinating just how many years these wars have gone on and just how different it was for each generation of veterans. In another walk of life, I actually teach a college course on leading sustaining nonprofits. Some of my students were veterans of GWOT and were talking about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. I walked up to them to share mine and felt pretty much like this below.
Ladies and gents, it was the same war, but we were a generation apart. I charged into Iraq listening to Linkin Park and they charged in listening to Hannah Montana. Yet, whats worse is that the kids charging into war, our war, tomorrow were listening to their mother’s embryonic fluids. I don’t know what we all expected when we went to war, but I didn’t expect America’s unborn babies back home to have to fight the same one. It is a sobering reality and one our generation should take note of rather than easily dismiss. September 11th was a tragic event, but that the unborn babies on that day are fighting the same war is a tragedy in of itself.
How America Could Have Gotten It Right
I don’t know how America could have gotten it right and you don’t either. It is easy to Monday morning quarterback the situation, but that’s not what I’m trying to do here. The truth is, those of us who went to combat in the early days of GWOT were happy to do so. America was angry and we had special delivery of violence that we wanted to gift to the enemy like it was Taliban Christmas. We all even came back home and made a bunch of T-Shirt companies so we could say we went to war and got the T-Shirt too.
Part of me thinks we should have just brought shock and awe upon Afghanistan and left them to the rubble. Then, returned every 9/11 to do it again so that they could coin the phrase “never forget” because we wouldn’t let them forget. The Taliban would hide in their bunkers on the 10th of September with their family and favorite goat while praying they live to see the 12th each year.
Remembering for Future’s Sake
They say military service is a family affair and that is very much true. However, I never think they meant for fathers to hand their sons their war. Fathers were supposed to fight a war so their sons and daughters wouldn’t have too. My oldest daughter is 10 and my youngest son is 4 and if in 8 or 14 years either one steps foot in Iraq or Afghanistan, I’m not sure I can take it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my war as you have to go back to 2001 when this was the mentality.
I did it once and I’d do it again. I just don’t want my son to do it. That’s the lesson us GWOT vets have to learn as we are the ones now in a season of life to influence America like never before. Something went wrong along the way and we must not damn our sons to the consequences of it.
Finally, I’ll end this hallowed rant with a message to the ones who started this whole thing. The Taliban are absolutely the worst humanity has to offer. There is part of me that sees us negotiating with them that understands it. And there is part of me that hopes Trump was inviting them to Camp David for negotiations only to do this to them:
The Taliban are failed human beings and the only part of me that wants peace for their sake is that so their sons, who were not born on on 9/11, don’t have to die because their fathers were too stupid to realize what wrath they were reaping. Americans beat the Taliban whenever they stood toe to toe with us. The only thing that stopped us from carving George W. Bush’s face in the mountains of Afghanistan was that we didn’t want their country. They only thing that stopped us from sending the Taliban back to the stone age was that you goat loving deviants never left it. Seriously, the Taliban have sex with goats. Just look it up. That being said, we’ve tired of killing you and I’d rather not America’s unborn continue to risk their lives doing so. My son my very well go to war one day, but I pray it is not my war. All war sucks, but my son fighting mine is a burden I may not be able to bare. Never forget 9/11, but never forget what tomorrow means as America’s unborn marches into our war.