Art Chance: Empty chairs, killing fields, and Biden’s brazen lies about Afghanistan



We pulled our children out of the “A Clockwork Orange” youth culture in Juneau in 2005. 

The younger son was a vexing problem; he had an unerring sense for the shallow end of the Juneau gene pool.  He didn’t need to be led into temptation, for he would find it himself.  The only time I ever used my position for something personal was to get him immediate admission to the Military Youth Academy, and we put him on the next plane.  

Military Youth Academy straightened him up and got him a high school diploma, which he would never have gotten at Juneau-Douglas High School. We wouldn’t let him come home to Juneau and he joined the Army.

We and his older brother flew to Ft. Benning, Georgia for his graduation from basic training; he was fit and proud.   The military trained him to serve a fire-and-forget, anti-tank and anti-bunker missile system, and then sent him to Hohenfels, Germany.   

The Army is a federal agency, so after spending all that money on training him to operate a sophisticated weapon system, they put a squad automatic weapon in his hands and made him an infantryman. He spent several months with the Opposition Force, OPFOR, in Hohenfels training up National Guard and recently mobilized units to deal with Soviet Bloc tactics used in the Middle East.   

It was a good life. Then they got the orders to go to Afghanistan, or “down range” in military parlance.

He went to Fire Base Lane, somewhere south of Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Fire Base Lane was a lot like one of those U.S. Cavalry forts in Indian Country that you see in old Western movies and almost as primitive.   

He’d been there several months before and, in a casual remark in a phone call, he asked me if I could get him a sleeping pad or air mattress because he was tired of sleeping on a sheet of plywood.   

They came under frequent attack and the sound of the guns of an A-10 or AC-130 must have been the voices of angels for them.  When they weren’t defending the base they did just like the 19th Century cavalry and saddled up their HumVees and went out into places their adversary didn’t want them to be.  I don’t think his unit took a casualty to a pitched gunfire battle, but they took several to IEDs and mortar fire. He tells of his “pet rock;” a rock on a mountainside in Southern Afghanistan that saved his life from a mortar round.   He still has hard memories of buddies who died.

In 2007 he was coming up for re-enlistment and I discouraged him. My faith in military leadership had faltered and ultimately failed during his time in Afghanistan.  He served under a revolving door of lieutenants and captains who stayed in a combat zone just long enough to put it on their resume. The NCOs were almost as transient. The grizzled old veterans in his unit were 19 and 20 year old specialists.  

The way the presidential election was going, I knew that with a Democrat in office, he’d be on patrol in some sandbox with no magazine in his weapon or a judge advocate general on his shoulder telling him whether he could load his weapon or not.   

He got out and came home in one piece; sort of.  Bad dreams and bad thoughts were a part of his life, as were drugs and alcohol and a PTSD diagnosis. He’s OK, he’ll make it, but it left a mark.

It left a mark on us too. There is an 11 hour time difference between Alaska and Afghanistan and the telephone service was usually pretty good.  We spent a year cringing whenever the phone rang at an unexpected time.  We lived in abject fear of the dark sedan pulling into the driveway.   

Unless you’ve known those feelings, you can’t imagine the rage we who have known them feel as we see the ignominious defeat of the U.S. in Afghanistan today.  Almost 2,500 families got that dread knock at the door. Over 20,000 Americans were wounded, many gravely.  

 As many as half of the Afghanistan veterans have PTSD or PTSD symptoms, many have anger management issues, and the suicide rate is far higher than in the general population.  

Twenty years and all of that sacrifice were thrown away to faculty lounge fantasies and the whim of a senile old fool who brazenly lied and deflected about the events of the last several days.

Now the killing fields are open. The Taliban will hunt down and kill everyone who worked with the US and its allies.   Get ready for the pictures of stoning, beheading, and throwing people off buildings.  Who knows what fate awaits the women who did the unpardonable and went to school, wore western clothes, and worked outside the home.   

There are already stories of Taliban fighters rounding up women and girls and forcing them into marriage with Taliban members. The only way in and out of Afghanistan is the Kabul airport, and we have nearly lost control of it. It has been overrun by civilians seeking to flee the country and we’ll see if the U.S. is willing to shoot its way in to clear the runways so we can continue to evacuate our citizens and those who allied with us. 

I’m not optimistic. Thank God I have a Blue Star, rather than a Gold Star to show for my son’s time there.

Art Chance is a retired Director of Labor Relations for the State of Alaska, formerly of Juneau and now living in Anchorage. He is the author of the book, “Red on Blue, Establishing a Republican Governance,” available at Amazon. 

Read: Art Chance 1609 Project and indentured servitude in early America


  1. A couple of thoughts on Afghanistan. ‘Boys are for pleasure, girls are for babies’ And our soldiers were forbidden to interfere no matter how gruesome the screams of young boys being raped by tribal leaders. ‘It’s their culture’ our soldiers were told.
    In 2007, my nephew, a Civil Engineer, was killed by Taliban as he surveyed to put running water into a stone age village, his great sin against the Taliban. My son and a grandson are named for him.
    I opposed the ground war in Afghanistan from the beginning, except short missions to bring great death and destruction upon those who attacked us. I emphasize great. Short of total destruction, no one will change their tribal primitive culture there. Twenty years wasted, a cowards withdrawal with untold treasure and lives destroyed. A Scorched Earth policy is in order, at least of all the weapons and equipment that we now graciously give to our sworn enemies. But instead ‘Smilin Joe Drebin’ congratulates his team for a job well done.

  2. These woke, American commie girls need to be shipped off to Kabul and be set up into forced marriage with Taliban fighters. That, would turn them into rational, patriotic, Conservative Americans real fast. Thank you for family’s service to our country, Art.

  3. The Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau was created during the Trump Administration by Secretary Pompeo. The CCR was created for overseeing the protection and evacuation of American citizens stationed overseas in the case of an emergency.
    The Biden State Department canceled the CCR just as the Taliban was taking over Afghanistan. The memo was signed by Deputy Secretary Brian McKeon.
    Is the illegitimate Biden administration incompetent or treasonous? The thousands of US citizens left behind enemy lines are now live hostage bait.

  4. Art,
    I feel you write up here is more “anti-war” than pro war…for any of us who lived with family members that suffered from PTSD we know that there are no “winners” in war. The exit may not be perfect, but leaving Afghanistan was the right thing to do. Now if we can work on removing our military soldiers from some of those 800 bases around the globe we may step in the right direction but I see NO discussion of ending the “forever war” from any of our senators or representatives. Nope, the lobbyists for the military industrial complex pay very well in campaign contributions & no one wants to destroy that gravy train.
    America is losing her greatness of “peace time” prosperity & only knowns of a generation of war. Sadly, if this continues we will not have any major production industries other than weapons and beer.

    • I “feel” you failed reading comprehension. Unless you’re into conquest, and that has mostly been out of fashion for some years, anyone with two brain cells to rub together is “anti-war;” it is the last and least desirable alternative for resolving a dispute.

      I have a fair amount of experience with conflict and conflict resolution. I only consider they ones I resolved to have been victories; the rest were mere survival.

  5. Art, thank your son for his service.I hope he doesn’t let this latest debacle by woke joke leaders get to him . I wish the young man the very best. I hope you put your arm around his shoulder now and then. All the best to you both.

  6. Just wait until this is all over and the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are recognized on the world stage has a legitimate being much like the PLO has become. Taxpayer dollars will go to fund the same people that caused 911. This was the Muslim Obama’s dream and since he’s still calling the shots behind the scenes it will be followed by Biden. All the lives lost, all the dollars spent to pay the terrorists. No Art, sometimes fighting is a better choice than to cut and run. Sometimes you got to fight for something and that’s something might one day turn out to be your very existence. The Taliban we’re being funded all this time by our Ally Pakistan. They were arming the Taliban and they were paying them salaries. Once again, are supposed Ally stabbed Us in the back and we were okay with it. We knew what they were doing. Obama pulling out of Iraq led to the power vacuum remember? The Afghan people were fools for believing we would help them. Biden was asked his feelings about the people falling from the c-117s to their death said oh that was four or five days ago. What a horrible thing to say. We are the laughing stock of the planet. And I think the Biden administration is good with that. Biden is lying saying the Taliban is helping out. They are shooting people. Women are being raped. The man has lost his mind. He has to be taken out of office but Harris isn’t qualified either. It might be time to remove all of them from office including pelosi and put number four in charge.

    • Read what I said; open conflict or war is the last and worst choice to resolve a conflict. Cutting and running isn’t a resolution, it is a capitulation.

  7. The only thing I hate about this country-America- is its democratic partisan news media does not report how weak is Biden/Harris Administration has a commander in chief, while China sees America strength like a “Paper tiger.” Majority of Americans do not see it we are now living in the ending day of America as the world’s number one superpower. We be reduced to nothing as that great and fallen biblical city Babylon.

    • You’ve been watching Fox News I see. No we’re still a superpower, we just don’t have any allies. We still have weapons so crazy that the rest of the world can’t even imagine what they are. They might be able to make they’ve been 50 years, but 50 years from now they would only be able to imagine what these things can do. Star wars and Star Trek, been there done that. Quit worrying about it. Just politics and you’re just an ant in the hill.

      • China does not develop advanced weapon systems technology, they buy it through our corrupt politicians and DOD contractors or steal it. Our military is fully compromised by incompetent general officers, and focus on woke social and CRT indoctrination of personnel.
        At this time, it is likely the CCP controlled mainland China has, or is close to reaching naval force parity with the US and there is a distinct possibility they will annex the seat of China’s legitimate government in Taiwan sooner than later.
        The US pays most of Pakistan’s military budget. As Pakistan is the main sponsor of the largely Pashtun Taliban sect, we have been indirectly paying for the Taliban with one hand and “training” and arming the Afghan national army with the other.
        The idea that the military and state department were “blindsided” by events is on its face nonsense. Corrupt and fully incompetent, yes. Unaware, no.
        This is bipartisan corruption and incompetence and senator Sullivan and Murkowski don’t mention it. The question is how compromised are our two senators, there is no question they are aware of the level of corruption in Washington, and have been at least approached by lobbyists representing foreign interests.
        Flowery speeches and feigned outrage do not cover the truth. We have no solid leadership in this country.

  8. Flashback to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘1987 Film – Full Metal Jacket, and the poignant scene where Marine Corps Recruit “Gomer Pyle” goes postal on his Drill Instructor (Lee Ermey). Pyle loads his M-14 Rifle with live 7.62 Nato Full Metal Jacket Ammo and proceeds to recite the Rifleman’s Creed before doing the unthinkable and taking out his Drill Instructor and then himself::

    This is my rifle. There are others like it, but this one is mine.
    My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life
    Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country.
    We are the masters of our enemies. We are the saviors of my life.
    So be it until victory is America’s and there is no enemy but peace!

    Fast forward to the Battle of Hue in Viet Nam and one of the recruits given the nick name of Joker
    is wearing a camo helmet with the words “Born to Kill” written on it, next to a Peace Sign. When one of the officers asked him, ” What’s that supposed to mean”, his reply was “It’s a Jungian Thing Sir, the Dichotomy of it All”

  9. An excellent complement to your piece, Art, is one written recently by former Marine captain Lucas Kunce. Look it up.

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