The Wind of 120 Days / Change


Being unable to actually, meaningfully converse with civilians who still call Afghanistan home, my understanding of their plight will be limited to conjecture; hopefully insightful, educated guessing. And, seeing how I’ve only had a scant seven days to sort out that godforsaken war’s tragic, abrupt, turn for the worst, this post, at best, should be viewed as a work in progress.

And plight is apt terminology, considering how, the Taliban toppled President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s administration; not unlike how the “Wind of 120 days” would slam into a house of cards; indeed, a most unwelcome wind of change.

Re my educational creds, I’m no heavily college degreed student of this particular region’s history; merely a man whose gut has oft proven trustworthy, at times, prescient.

And my gut reaction, right from the get-go, was that “President” George W. Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan was doomed to end precisely like it did! There’d be no way in Hell, that moron could ever bomb his way into nation building; i.e., into establishing an enduring, honest, level-headed, even-handed Democracy. And Hell, too, is apt terminology.

Let’s now try to look at this from my uncertain perception of the Afghans’ perspective.

• For starters, how could civilians not resent any superpower’s meddling; even by a nation that’s purportedly benign? What could ever be worse to eyewitness, first hand, than America’s ceaseless attempts to willy-nilly bomb their already imperfect homeland back to the stone age? Think about it. Oppressor W mindlessly maiming and murdering, to do what? Oust another oppressor such as the Taliban? An apt song couplet doth comes to mind:

“Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss”

Pete Townshend • Composer of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” • Full Lyrics Linked Here

• As for Americans training Afghan troops, did the generals actually expect their barked out orders, “Fight W’s war, Dammit!”, would be met with a resounding chorus of “Yessirs!”? Many of these new recruits would likely yell, “Yessir!” to Townshend’s very lyrics; i.e., shout, “No Sir!”, to being bossed around.

• Of course we must be fair, here, too. There had been some societal improvements, especially the gains made by females of all ages. But, seeing how defusing chronic, toxic masculinity can be problematic most anywhere in our world, why would Afghanistan be any different? Wherever a male fits into the Taliban hierarchy (if, indeed, anywhere), it’s highly unlikely that female liberation would wind up, high up on his to do list.

For now, for the sake of keeping this post mercifully short, I’ll limit this far from complete analysis to those three bullet pointed speculations above.

Suffice to say, other than one helluva, beyond repair, mucked up mess, George W. Bush wound up with nothing to show for the oceans of red blood and red ink he had needlessly spilt.

And, considering the Taliban’s brutal, sadistic nature, this wretched régime’s return to absolute power won’t find them in any particular hurry to right any of war criminal W’s unforgivable wrongs.



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Not “Even if it Takes a Million Years!”

As I began amassing my record collection as a Sixties era teenager, my “inner scientist” began to wonder what the life expectancy of vinyl LPs might actually be.

That’s why I started logging each album’s purchase date.

That’s how I know that I bought my copy of the Who’s Who’s Next album on this very 18th day of August… way back in 1971.

Right from the initial playback, I had become immediately, immensely impressed by songsmiths Pete Townshend and John Entwistle’s lyrical / musical sensibilities and the entire band’s mastery of their instruments. Everyone having turned in such a stellar performance… well…

To me… this day in history became akin to a “where were you when moment”. As such, I still harbor enduring, fond, vivid recollections of that long ago day.

On this Sunday afternoon, It only seemed right to recreate that moment… i.e., by playing back Who’s Next in its entirety. I carefully dusted all the grooves with a preener and then revved up my turntable. All was going well until Side 1’s closing moments when, all the sudden, the stylus encountered an ungroovy groove problem… which caused the needle to get stuck in one place.

I found myself chuckling at the irony of a how a track titled, Song Is Over, could not possibly end… not “Even if it takes a million years”. <— Attribution: Townshend lyrics from this very song.

Well… it took an LED flashlight’s brilliant beam and high powered magnifying glass to eventually track down and correct this tracking problem… yet… part of me wanted to leave this unfixed. More about that in a moment.

Keep in mind that, up until today, this particular, well cared for vinyl record had a half century’s worth of absolutely no previous tracking issues. So, how, pray tell, had that suddenly become a problem?

Keep in mind, too, that I’ve oft used “the song is over” as a metaphor to concede hopelessly irresolvable problems.

My awareness of these facts caused me to sense something far deeper than groove deep was in play.

Whether we choose to drag religion into this… or not… would you not agree that there’s a lesson to be learned from that stuck stylus, which flat-out refused to let the song end? The sweet song of a meaningful, happy, healthy life must never end.

We can only hope that all who regularly travel life’s high road will harbor such resolve within their heads and hearts… and apply such stick-to-itiveness while working towards the betterment of our global society.