Let the lesson sink in
I was in college during the big Communist scare of the 1950s. One day, the professor in our political science class came in with another man whom he proceeded to introduce as "a real Communist" from the Polish embassy. After our shock subsided, the Polish diplomat spoke to the class. I'll never forget him saying: "You Americans are just like the Russians. [Another gasp.] You want to make everybody into copies of yourself. So do the Russians. I'm not interested in becoming an American nor a Russian. I'm Polish. However, if you have something that I can use to build a better Poland, I'll take it and use it."
Afghanistan is but the latest time where we have failed to learn that lesson. Recently, Vladimir Putin reportedly said something to the effect that "You Western nations want to come into a country and ignore their history, their culture, and their religion and remold them in your image. It doesn't work."
Here's hoping that it will finally sink in as we once again leave a failure in "nation-building."
North Little Rock
On individual rights
I write in response to two items in Sunday's paper. First, does Thomas Harper not remember that Donald Trump made a deal with the Taliban?
Second, I am counting on Trent Garner, the next time the Arkansas Legislature is considering taxes or seat belts or alcohol or smoking or drugs, to invite me to speak to the full assembly. He does not seem to understand that an individual's rights tend to diminish when that individual's behavior tends to intrude upon my rights and my health.
With big grain of salt
Politicians are trying to make hay about the recent events in Afghanistan. However, they need to remember the genesis of the present situation is the agreement Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo, without Afghan government participation, reached with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw American troops within one year. The Taliban agreed to not harbor terrorists, but no enforceable mechanism was included in the agreement.
It didn't take long for the Afghan government to realize that it had been thrown under the bus, and begin to make deals with whoever they could to make the best of the situation including wholesale surrender of military assets. So the collapse of the Afghan defense forces has been underway for more than a year rather than occurring in the past few weeks.
The former president has said that the debacle in Kabul would not have occurred if he was still in office; however, his administration did not handle any crisis any better, so his statements should be taken with a big grain of salt.
It sure explains a lot
In a recent guest column on the Voices page, state Sen. Dan Sullivan invoked God, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and God again. He was all lathered up about big government, big business, public libraries, public schools, governors in general and even an attorney for the Arkansas Department of Health. It seems they have all conspired to deprive him of his God-given, inalienable rights.
If Senator Sullivan doesn't like big government and big business, he needs to relocate. This is a big country with big problems that only big government can address.
Public libraries and public schools are here to serve everyone, not cater to the whims of parochial interests that want to dictate what can be taught and what can be read. While loudly praising individual rights and freedoms, Senator Sullivan seems intent on telling others what their children can read and learn about in school.
Luckily, your alert editors were on the ball. The next day's editorial easily responded to most of the senator's fatuous questions and hollow rhetoric with simple answers and common sense. Still, I am curious to know which Arkansas schools are "pursuing political indoctrination ... and [forcing] kids into divisive identity groups based on race, ethnicity, religion and gender" that the senator warns us about. Does he know of one, or is he simply stoking fear and divisiveness with his baseless assertions?
It is disheartening to learn that Senator Sullivan "sits on the Public Health and City, County and Local Affairs committees" in the state Senate. Is it any wonder Arkansas is doing such a terrible job battling the virus?
DAVID ELI COCKCROFT
About assigning guilt
I have a response to the letters that tried to assign guilt to those who voted for President Joe Biden. We are all saddened by the terrible loss of U.S. service members due to the poor execution at the end of the endless Afghanistan war. They died in the defense of our nation, but they were well aware of the dangerous duty before they died.
I wonder if those who voted for former President Trump feel any remorse for the terrible loss of life due to the poor execution and covid-19 disinformation campaign by the Trump administration. I am mourning the loss of four relatives and two close friends. They were convinced that the virus would "disappear like magic" and it was no worse than a cold due to political hype from Trump himself. It is even sadder that they died and didn't understand or believe in the peril they faced from the virus due to Trump administration ineffectiveness.