A lot has already been written and spoken about the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan, not least today in the British House of Commons, when parliament returned from summer recess for an emergency debate, in which the PM, who seeks to be a Churchill, was treated more like a Chamberlain - with MPs from his own benches, including former PM May, castigating the government's failures to do more. Certainly 'fighting them on the beaches' took on new meaning this week, with key figures in the UK on holiday even as Kabul fell.
I don't intend to waste anyone's time holding forth for very long.
But I did want to note, for the sake of the blog's record, that I am aware of what has happened, and deeply concerned and heart-broken by the events.
My main concern is for the millions of Afghani women, girls, men and boys, and members of the LGBTQI+ communities who may or will be killed, raped, tortured, arrested, detained, or seriously hindered in their full life's chances (ie stopped from ever experiencing education or a chance to live an equal life) as the Taliban assume rule over the country, and impose their usually cruel, misogynistic and severe idea of religious law.
My second concern is for the larger strategic issue, that America, and by extension Britain and NATO, have totally bungled the withdrawal, which, even if it had to happen, could have been slowly and expertly planned, to allow the Afghan government to secure the peace; instead, it was hasty, messy, thoughtless and incompetent, and like pulling the bottom card out from the proverbial house of cards - and by failing to protect allies, or the democratic and relatively humane society they had helped build up over twenty years of serious and expensive sacrifice (in blood and treasure) - now make the West appear - indeed, reveal the so-called West to be, craven, uncaring and weak.
A third concern is that into the power vacuum will come Russia, China and Iran, as well as ISIS and Al-Qaeda; and out will pour opium to further destabilise the world, and, worryingly, terror attacks.
Joe Biden comes across as incompetent and unkind and not very smart; he may lose the next election because of this, handling the matter 'worse than Trump'. Britain comes across as unable to handle any overseas action without the USA.
We had weeks to step in, shore up our Afghan allies, and repel the Taliban, but we let them take city after city.
Now, our Afghan friends are under the thumb of wolves awkwardly claiming to be reasonable sheep. We shall see. If they are really sheep, why don't they let all who want to enter the airplanes leave the country? Instead they continue to beat and shoot people.
Joe Biden said that US soldiers are not meant to fight other people's wars to protect women's rights to be treated like equal human beings - so then what does America fight for? It used to say it would fight to protect Taiwan, or Europe, or Australia, or South Korea, if invaded.... but it wouldn't fight a weak enemy even to preserve a vital ally in a key area with promising progressive change.
For shame. It is a time of shame.
The poor people left behind. We must do more for them. But will we?
Even now, the UK and a coalition of willing nations in NATO could secure the airport and fight back to destabilise the Taliban - the UK has an army and air force and navy equipped to fight Russian invasion - the truth is, beyond the hand-wringing and crocodile tears, a decision was long ago made to write off the losses, and wash our hands of this nation - long before it was fully ready to go it alone. A plug was pulled, to spare expense, not out of any conviction, but a lack of true compassion or commitment for the ideals we claim to live by.