Exploring Jack Carr’s Perspective on the 9/11 Tragedy: Hope and Afghanistan’s Lessons Unveiled

Reflecting on 9/11: Lessons Learned and Unlearned

As we commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the attack that forever altered our history, the memory of 9/11 remains at the forefront of my mind every single day. The events of that Tuesday in September serve as a stark reminder of everything that followed. Two years after the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces, I can’t help but think about the flag officers who, for nearly two decades, repeatedly assured Congress, the American people, and their own troops of “progress” and the need for additional time, resources, and funding to capitalize on the gains made by both our soldiers and the Afghan people.

However, these are the very same leaders who had a whole 20 years to prepare for an eventual withdrawal. We witnessed their efforts unfold before our eyes in August 2021. Have any of them been held accountable? The resounding answer is no. In a powerful plea for remembrance and reflection, bestselling author and former Navy SEAL Jack Carr wonders if we will ever learn from the past and apply that wisdom to the future (Jack Carr/Getty Images).

I urge all Americans to read Craig Whitlock’s eye-opening book, “The Afghanistan Papers,” which uncovers classified interviews and exposes the deception perpetuated by politicians and military commanders throughout America’s longest war. It becomes clear that these decision-makers did not truly comprehend the nature of the conflict. Their judgment was clouded by the illustrious awards and credentials that adorned their uniforms, earned through a system that valued checking boxes and impressing superiors rather than genuine strategic thinking. Too many military commanders who failed to succeed on the battlefield have now ended up on the boards of defense industry companies, profiting from a new war in Ukraine while enjoying the perks of a four-star military pension. As history is written, these policymakers and strategists will follow the path of McNamara and Westmoreland, crafting their narratives while promoting new wars without disclosing their financial interests tied to lucrative defense contracts.

Jack Carr boasts an impressive military career, having led special operations teams and commanded various units throughout his two decades in naval special warfare. From an enlisted SEAL sniper to a platoon commander, he has accumulated valuable experience and insights. Jack Carr is also a renowned author, with his latest book, “Only the Dead: A Thriller,” reaching the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list (Jack Carr).

Every day, I think about those who were left to bear the consequences of their fathers’ strategic blunders—the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who returned home burdened with physical and emotional wounds, those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who have tragically taken their own lives since. I think about the lasting mark left on the Afghan soil by an entire generation’s blood, sweat, and tears. I think about the heroes who fought in the mountains of Tora Bora, only to see victory slip away due to poor decision-making.

I reflect on the intellectual inertia displayed by those entrusted with our strategic decisions. I remember how the Taliban steadily advanced towards Kabul while the U.S. military secretly abandoned Bagram in July 2021, foreshadowing the events to come. I recall elected officials in Washington, D.C., going on vacation as Kabul fell. I think about the lessons we failed to learn from history, such as the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and their subsequent retreat a decade later, which scarred an entire generation and marked the beginning of the Soviet collapse.

But amidst these somber thoughts, I also remember the resilience and heroism displayed by our fellow Americans after 9/11. I honor the firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and first responders who fearlessly ran into burning buildings. I salute the hundreds of thousands of Americans who selflessly lined up to donate blood. We must not forget the Red Cross workers who provided aid and meals to the rescue and recovery teams, as well as the countless volunteers who tirelessly searched through the rubble.

As we reflect on the lessons learned from 9/11 and what followed, let us also remember those who stood up to answer the call in the aftermath of the attack. Today and always, we owe it to them and to ourselves to apply the wisdom gained from our past experiences.


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