American Soldiers Died for a Lie — Period

The tragedy isn’t that we “abandoned” Afghanistan — it’s that we ever thought bombs and bullets were tools of salvation

Tim Wise
6 min readSep 7, 2021


Image: Bamiyan, Central Afghanistan, Jono Photography, Shutterstock, standard license, purchased by author

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a culture enthralled by the magical power of the gun — an artificial phallus if ever there were one — would fail to appreciate how impotent it is.

Never have a people felt themselves more invincible than Americans when headed off to war. The hubris never dwindles, no matter how Quixotic the quest.

We convince ourselves that, of course, we’ll defeat the enemy because we have a bigger arsenal, the best-trained fighters, and that can-do attitude that manifested on the shores of Normandy and in all the John Wayne films.

And that’s what matters, or so we always think.

Like the song says, “We’ll put a boot in your ass; it’s the American way.”

And we do — in both Vietnam and Afghanistan our troops won nearly every major battle.

Yet, we lost the war in both cases because, oddly enough, Toby Keith is no expert on foreign policy, combat, or those into whose posteriors he would have us deposit our boots.



Tim Wise

Anti-racism educator and author of 9 books, including White Like Me and, most recently, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights, December 2020)