Former Solicitor General Ted Olson lost his wife Barbara on Sept. 11, 2001. Barbara Olson, a well-known and beloved conservative commentator, was aboard American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. She was one of nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives that day at the hands of al-Quaida terrorists.
On the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, Ted Olson has written an impassioned piece in The Washington Post, using the anniversary to illustrate that Americans appear to have forgotten their pledge to "not forget" what happened 20 years ago.
In his opnion piece, Olson talks about the need to change America’s thinking, as evidenced by the recent U.S. pullout from Afghanistan. "We have chosen to blind ourselves to our known and unrelenting enemy. We resort to comfortable and soft concepts such as 'diplomacy' and 'negotiation,'" he stated.
"We pretend they have changed. We fantasize that if we just put our arms around them, they will be nice, civilized, decent. Remember how well that worked with Hitler."
Olson said throughout history, U.S. responses to terrorists have been "tepid and ineffectual." According to Olson, the Taliban and terrorists they collaborate with are driven by a cruel, rigid, harsh, and unrelenting religious zealotry. "They dominate and oppress their own people, subjugate their women, and torture and behead anyone who dissents or departs from their barbaric regime."
But over time, while battling these terrorists, Americans have grown tired and weary and started to forget, he explained. The Biden administration’s decision to abruptly leave Afghanistan included the U.S. walking away from an air base that cost billions of dollars, and abandoning large numbers of helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, military equipment, and ammunition. The administration's hasty departure also resulted in abandoning Afghan allies who helped U.S. efforts over the past 20 years, Olson wrote.
In an action Olson said was "tragically predictable," terrorist suicide bombers killed 13 American servicemen and scores of civilians. This followed the U.S. handing control of the airport and region to Taliban leadership.
The term "we will not forget" has lost its meaning. "We have shown that we will forget, and we do forgive. We will find it expedient to make peace with the Devil. And we will surely pay the price in the form of the next attack," Olson predicted.
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