Why can’t we learn from our mistakes in Afghanistan?
When it comes to our endless occupation, the same depressing story lines keep playing out again and again
One day in October 2001, a pilot for Northwest Airlines refused to let Arshad Chowdhury, a 25-year-old American Muslim (“with a dark complexion”) who had once worked as an investment banker in the World Trade Center, board his plane at San Francisco National Airport. According to Northwest’s gate agents, Chowdhury writes in the Washington Post, “he thought my name sounded suspicious” even though “airport security and the FBI verified that I posed no threat.” He sued.
Now, skip nearly a decade. It’s May 6, 2011, and two New York-based African-American imams, a father and son, attempting to take an American Airlines flight from New York to Charlotte to attend a conference on “prejudice against Muslims,” were prevented from flying. The same thing happened to two imams in Memphis “dressed in traditional long shirts and [with] beard,” heading for the same conference, when a pilot for Atlantic Southeast refused to fly with them aboard, even though they had been screened three times.
So how is the war in Afghanistan going almost 10 years later? Or do you think that’s a non sequitur?
I don’t, and let me suggest two reasons why: first, boredom; second, the missing learning curve.