In our commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our nation, a New Hampshire state House colleague wrote the following:

“I remember feeling a deep sense of dread. That dread was well-founded.  Since that day, the United States has engaged in what feels like an endless series of wars, missions, and actions.”

She’s right about that.

My progressive Democrat colleague went on to lament the collateral damage done by war and in doing so, became partisan. This is where she went off the rails in my view. The bipartisan agreements reached over the past two decades are worthy of note, but first, let’s state the obvious: The United States lost the war in Afghanistan.

Did the U.S. lose the war in Vietnam? Yes. However, the loss in Afghanistan has made Vietnam look like a ticker-tape parade celebrating nation prowess.

She says we went to war as “a direct result of our blind need for vengeance”.

She’s not completely wrong, but her statement misses too much to let stand.

The American public was manipulated and allowed to view the wars as vengeance. President Bush famously stood on the ruins of the World Trade Center and warned the world that “the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” Essentially every congressman and senator voted to authorize the use of military force without a clear idea of the stakes they were waging in our name. Our vengeance was considered righteous and nearly unanimous.

But as Rahm Emanuel said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

With the similar sleight of hand of a magician, we were promised that those responsible for killing 3,000 Americans and destroying an iconic symbol of American global prominence would be held accountable. What we got was a bonus war in Iraq, a nation-building attempt to bring Afghanistan 400 years ahead of its culture, an American surveillance state, a banking industry that was commandeered to report every financial transaction over $10,000, and the centralization of all intelligence enabling political control of the final analysis.

In our embarrassing retreat, we mocked the sacrifice of thousands of fallen patriots that believed they were acting in our national security interests. We wrote off the $2 trillion spent. We left behind the fourth largest military arsenal in the world. We abandoned our NATO allies with infamous disrespect flashing from our failure to coordinate strategy and tactics. We dangerously diminished national credibility chilling our allies and emboldening our opponents. And we have begun a massive importation of tens of thousands of refugees bringing in their wake likely hundreds of men better suited for the 17th century than the 21st.

So yes, her dread was well-founded.

And now while we’re distracted by an unbridled federal government, Nancy Pelosi is turning the surveillance state against congressmen using the January 6th  protests at the Capitol as the justification.  Joe Biden is proposing that financial institutions begin reporting transactions in excess of $600. And politicians as far as the eye can see can put a political operative in charge of all U.S. intelligence and lie to us about the degree of unanimity reached in support of their predetermined political objective.

The United States lost the war in Afghanistan. We lost it in classic military terms. What most don’t yet see is that we lost it in more severe terms.

The United States is less free than it was 20 years ago.  The United States is much easier to centrally control than it was 20 years ago.

In closing, I’ll end on a bipartisan note and agree with my progressive colleague, “We have learned nothing.”