We were expecting it and it finally happened. President George W. Bush went on TV to announce the beginning of military operations in Afghanistan.
He said something that sounds even more important today:
In a televised address that evening, Bush informed the American public that “carefully targeted actions” were being carried out to crush the military capability of al-Qaida and the Taliban, with help from British, Canadian, Australian, German and French troops. An additional 40 nations around the world provided intelligence, as well as bases from which the operations were conducted.
Bush touted the multinational effort as proof that America, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, was “supported by the collective will of the world.”
He also warned that the war in Afghanistan would likely be only the first front in a long struggle against terrorism. He vowed to continue to take what he called the “war on terror” to those countries that sponsored, harbored or trained terrorists.
As the president spoke, I was coaching our sons in fall baseball. I had little radio in my pocket to keep up with the Rangers in Seattle and the Cowboys. So I listened to the speech.
My reaction was very serious because I understood the gravity of the situation. After all, 9/11 had happened less than 30 days ago.
My second reaction was to look at all of those 14-year-old boys on the diamond and their parents in the stands. Two of my sons were playing that day.
I couldn’t help thinking about the boys and realize that this was going to be the war that many of them would fight over the next few years. In fact, one of my son’s friends lost a portion of his foot when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan. Several of these boys served in the armed forces years later.
Sadly, I feel more unsafe now than ever. In 2001, I felt that President Bush understood the situation and would defend the U.S. Sorry, but I don’t feel that way about President Obama.
In fact, I think that President Obama’s weakness and bad decisions have brought us closer to an even bigger war. Some kids playing fall ball in 2016 will fight that one.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter. You can get some additional perspective by reading President Bush’s “Decision points”, a well written account of his presidency.