A Mailbag letter in the Sept. 10 issue states, in part: “... in retaliation (for 9/11), we took at least a million lives, if not three million lives.” As Senator Moynihan said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” An Aug. 16, 2021 AP news article “Costs of the Afghanistan war, in lives and dollars,” pegs the number of Afghans killed in the 20-year war at approximately 165,000, including 51,191 Taliban fighters. The U.S. and Afghan military is probably responsible for the Taliban deaths, while the Taliban and terrorists are probably responsible for most of the non-Taliban deaths. So “we” did NOT take one to three million lives as retaliation.
The same AP news article notes that the infant mortality rate in Afghanistan decreased about 50% during this time period. With approximately 1.2 million Afghan births per year, this drop in infant mortality would equate to at least 50,000 less infant deaths per year, or around one million Afghan infants “we” saved over 20 years. Furthermore, it is impossible to estimate how many lives in the U.S., Afghanistan and the rest of the world have been saved over the last 20 years due to the decimation of terrorist groups operating out of Afghanistan. How safe would we have felt if the U.S. had left the Taliban and Al-Qaeda alone in Afghanistan? Is the world safer and are Afghans safer now that the Taliban have taken control again?
This is still the country which values human life, but which sometimes has to use its might to suppress evil forces that put little value on life. Yes, we do remain a light to the world. Ask any Afghan refugee or women still living in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan today. So I say stand proud of your country on this 9/11 anniversary.