Debacle in Kabul

We all make mistakes and we all have regrets.
The mess in Kabul is as bad as it gets.
We messed up before when we left Vietnam,
Not to mention, Qaddafi, Iraq and Saddam.

We messed up in Syria, Lebanon, too.
Our screwed foreign policy’s nothing that’s new.
But each time we fail, those in charge say, “We tried,”
And then wash their hands of the people who died.

So, now that the Taliban’s back in their place.
The Washington pols will all try to save face.
Their claim that the mess is Afghanistan’s fault,
Is rubbing the victim’s wounds raw with our salt.

So, what have we learned from this tragic charade?
We should have gone in, but we should not have stayed.



Promises Unkept

What can I say? Except to close my eyes and sigh.
What can I do? Except to bow my head and cry.
“It all will turn out well. The withdrawal will succeed,”
Our POTUS promised—more than that—he guaranteed.

But he, as he so often seems to be, was wrong—
A straight-up, boldface lie that strung us all along
And hid the fact that Uncle Sam would be the wuss
Who threw our Afghan allies underneath the bus.

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley,”
Said Burns. But so do plans born of naivety.
I feel embarrassed, shamed, and guilty of a crime
Against humanity to see, in eight-month’s-time,

The CIA and Biden’s State Department mules
Transform our Ship of State into a Ship of Fools.
So as I watch the evening news I sigh and weep,
For promises Joe Biden made, but did not keep.



James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.

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24 Responses

  1. James Sale

    Good work, James – it is truly shocking what Biden has done and the ironies abound: the party that is so pro-‘women’ has now abandoned them to a fate that is almost as bad as death. I can hardly claim that Britain is covered with glory. But you bring out the humbug well.

  2. Brian Yapko

    Good poems, James. I share every emotion that you so eloquently expressed. I can’t even watch the news.

  3. Mike Bryant

    A lightning response that captures the thoughts of many.
    Don’t worry… Kamala is waiting in the wings…

  4. Peter Hartley

    James, I have not read a newspaper or watched the television, or indeed left the house for months except once to attend my brother’s funeral and hence know nothing about current affairs, although I do now, thanks to the two poems you have just posted. You seem to write poetry, and good poetry, almost as fast as you can think, and these two are no different. I particularly like your use of female rhymes. Both poems are excellent.

  5. Russel Winick

    Great job James. Biden is proving the worst of my fears in becoming the ideal unaware tool of the Marxist Left. It’s hard to see bases for optimism today. I hope I’m wrong.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Unfortunately, Russel, you are not wrong. Our only hope is that new things will happen and blow this whole brain-dead ideology apart.

  6. Julian D. Woodruff

    These are both great, James. And somehow they both point out the US failings just as they should and through their craft and pointedness raise one’s spirits. The 4 lines of “Debacle” beginning “I am embarrassed ..” are classic.

  7. Tonia Kalouria

    Wow! You have so eloquently spoken for many of us. Those news scenes of men clinging to a moving airplane… .

  8. Joseph S. Salemi

    The United States has a well-established habit of betraying its allies, and leaving them to die in the field. Ask the South Vietnamese, the Taiwanese, the Contras in Nicaragua, the Kurds in Iraq, the Hmong people in Southeast Asia, the Cubans at the Bay of Pigs, the anti-Iranian Syrian army, the White Russians in 1919, and the British-French-Israeli force in Egypt in 1956.

    And now the Afghans, who will face widespread summary executions. (The lucky ones, that is — I refuse to contemplate the fate of anyone who helped us and trusted us).

    Why the hell should anyone on this planet believe a goddamned word we say?

  9. Daniel Kemper

    I think my favorite line was, “We should have gone in, but we should not have stayed,” because of its truthfulness and paradox.

    The pattern seems like if we go in for war, real war, win or die, then all is fine — and that is evidenced by a short stay, but if we stay longer, it becomes a matter of politics and that’s where the issue is. REMF’s

  10. Lannie David Brockstein

    Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mr. Tweedie’s “Debacle in Kabul” and “Promises Unkept”, I do not share the same opinion as its speakers, as methinks that not only should the U.S.A. have stayed in Afghanistan—all of its many allies, and especially those who have also suffered from Muslim terrorism, should have stayed there in large numbers for the remainder of the 21st century, too.

    That’s what we did in response to the terrorism of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Look at those countries today—they are now our allies, and it can be reasonably argued that it is no longer necessary for Allied Powers troops to be stationed there.

    The same way that if guilty of having intelligently designed the Covid-19 virus, or of having accidentally leaked it from a laboratory and similar to an oil tanker leak, China owes every other country trillions of dollars in compensation for the damage caused by that bioweapon or unethical experiment gone awry, Afghanistan definitely owes the U.S.A. compensation for the deaths and damages that the Taliban was complicit in having caused on 9/11; furthermore, Afghanistan owes every other country billions of dollars in compensation for the Taliban’s role in having bankrupted the Aviation industry.

    That is why the Trumpian idea of the U.S.A. being compensated by Iraq in oil sales for having liberated its people from the terrorism of Saddam Hussein, ought to be applied to Afghanistan, whereby sales from Afghanistan’s natural resources that are mined in an environmentally friendly manner are used as compensation for Afghanistan being occupied by the U.S.A. and its allies for the remainder of the 21st century AND to rebuild that country so that it is safe from terrorism, is a good idea.

    In terms of astrology, something along the lines of N.Y. Governor Cuomo having resigned in disgrace is likely to happen to the U.S.A. in around two weeks, which is to say between August 31st to September 3rd, 2021. Perhaps that is when the 25th Amendement will be enacted whereby the mentally and morally deficient Mr. Biden is put into a long-term care home at the least, or arrested for allegedly having rigged the 2008, 2012, and 2020 elections, at the worst—and as he did proudly confess to having done in an October 2020 interview with “Crooked Media”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRZEs9BRGK4

    Full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6u1uKznCYw

      • Lannie David Brockstein

        Mike, (posting this for the third time!)

        I say the following without the intention of this thread being diverted away from being centred around Mr. Tweedie’s poems that this webpage is meant to be primarily about:

        Would you like for me to post a hello message to you at my blog on the Hive blockchain that is censorship-resistant?

        As I did mention to Mr. Mantyk before it was published by The Society of Classical Poets, I posted my “The Populace Invisible” poem on my blog at the Steem blockchain (that the Hive blockchain was later forked from).

        Although I can post on my blog at the Steem blockchain, I have stopped doing so because that blockchain is no longer censorship-resistant, whereas the Hive blockchain is.



        Perhaps you also remember my having previously spoken out at this community against the evil Descartes having performed horrific medical experiments on dogs, and similar to how it has only recently been reported with condemnation (and rightfully so) by many conservative news outlets that the evil Dr. Fauci is no less a monster for his having done so.

        Some of my opinions are rightist, whereas other opinions of mine are leftist. I am not a far-rightist who heaps scorn upon everything on the left, as some of the regular contributors at this community do. Nor am I a far-leftist who despises everything on the right. I recognize that every bird has a left wing and a right wing, for G-d has made it so; that is the strength of any functional democracy, too. A bird with two right wings, or two left wings, can only fly in circles and getting nowhere fast.

        Having said that, if I was born and raised in the U.S.A., rather than in Canada, then I might have formed opinions that are typically more in line with many of the regular contributors at this community who were born and raised in the U.S.A. But I wasn’t, and I don’t. I recognize that the heart of poetry is music, and thus that the Proof of Poetry is to be found in the singing of a poem’s words, rather than their merely being read or recited, which is what the words of prose are limited to. But that is a discussion and debate for another place and time! In the meantime, I dare everybody at this community to regularly practice their singing!

        As for the here and now, I hope for this thread to return to being about Mr. Tweedie’s excellent “Debacle in Kabul” and “Promises Unkept” poems, and which this webpage is meant to be primarily about.

        From Lannie.

      • Mike Bryant

        Lannie, This site is set up to automatically put comments that contain more than one link into the spam folder. Thanks.

    • Cheryl Corey

      You make some excellent points. Now China will move in to mine trillions of dollars worth of rare minerals. I just heard on t.v. that they’re in charge of A-stan’s largest copper mine.

      • Lannie David Brockstein

        Cheryl Corey,

        After having researched what you mentioned in your previous comment, along with my having read your “A Poem on Uyghur Concentration Camps: ‘All Aboard’”, I agree that it can’t be good for the C.C.P. to be in charge of mining the large amounts of copper in Afghanistan that the U.S. military discovered.


        Hopefully, it does not happen that the many thousands of USAmericans who were left behind in Afghanistan by Mr. Biden are taken hostage by the Taliban, and then worked to death as slave labourers in that C.C.P. managed Afghanistan copper mine.

        Hopefully, that also does not also happen to those in China who the C.C.P. have already taken hostage, such as the Falun Gong, the Uyghur, and the political dissidents who have a low social credit system score as a result of their having participated in Hong Kong protests for democracy. Hopefully, none of that happens.

        Hopefully, the C.C.P. does not model its management of that copper mine in Afghanistan after the Soviet Union’s gulags in Siberia.

        I would not be surprised if that is what the C.C.P. intends to do.

        From Lannie.

    • Mike Bryant

      Lannie, I didn’t block your IP. Also, I apologize for doubting your identity. In fact I wish that I had written your last comment. I also agree with you about cruelty to animals and people too. I’ll check with Evan to see why your comment didn’t appear. Again, sorry about that, Mike.

      • Lannie David Brockstein

        Mike Bryant,

        Thank you for no longer questioning my identity, and for having mentioned this forum’s one link per comment policy that I did not know about. I apologize for having included two links in my previous comment.

        From Lannie.

  11. Judith

    Westerners at this point are probably thinking US withdrawal is inhumane but for someone Who’s lived under muslim oppression in northern Nigeria amid terrorism, I think it’s about time Afghans take their future into their hands. If withdrawing foreign troops after so many years caused this chaos, then nothing would have changed even if the US had stayed. Here in Nigeria, bandits, herdsmen and Boko Haram militants kill hundreds of people everyday yet with Government complacency, the news is muzzled. And because the perpetrators are Islamic extremists, predominantly-muslim northern Nigeria strongly disagree with killing them hence they continue to unleash terror on civilians. Nigerian muslims are taught by religious clerics that the terrorists are their brothers and should not allow them to be killed for fighting Jihad since they mostly force their victims to convert to Islam. With the presence of foreign troops, Taliban would have been defeated if Afghans had sincerly wanted them to be. So good for them. Other muslim countries should see and learn. Even now, it’s not too late to rise above religious bigotry and stand up for what’s right.

  12. Patricia Redfern

    Divinely penned! Thank you. Will leave space for others to make longer comments. You have the eye of an eagle and the wisdom of angels!

    Thank you for being at this site_

  13. Oliver Grossman

    Such petulant “I told ya so’s” he penned.
    The critic is a vessel bearing greeds.
    And bitter fruits oft’ rise from critics’ seeds,
    While ‘midst their ravings, nuance can’t contend.

    So saddening, these tragi-comic trends.
    So absent mindfulness of what they breed;
    Fomented, as by this once-pastor, Tweedie,
    Who chose, rather than heal, to condescend.

    We’ve all an axe these days, it seems, to grind,
    And certainly we have no lack of stones.
    From right and left they’re readily supplied
    And all that’s asked of us: Suspend such mind-
    Fullness as knows full well we’d best atone …
    And that we, as of yet, can’t say we tried.


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