The Graveyard of Empires


The colossal Afghanistan screw up has added one more nail to America’s coffin

You might have noticed that I’ve been silent as the botched American withdrawal from Afghanistan has been dominating the news. My silence is not because I have nothing to say or because I don’t have an opinion. No, it’s not that. It’s because I am so livid, so angry, so disgusted by what I’m seeing, what we’re all seeing, every day and every hour, that I truly needed some time to calm down lest I write something I’d regret.

This week has been a blot on America and everything this country is supposed to stand for. The Afghanistan debacle, going on 20 years now, has been so misguided, from the start, that there are just too many categories of blunder to deal with in one short column.

This withdrawal, ordered for no apparent reason except to honor a badly negotiated “peace” treaty signed by the last administration, and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, is supposed to end the longest war in U.S. history. But, in reality it’s a war that has seen no American in-country casualties in over a year-and-a half and a withdrawal that, first and foremost, has created a horrific humanitarian crisis due to what appears to have been a complete lack of planning or foresight by the administration, exacerbated by a massive logistical failure by the Defense Department, a complete breakdown by our intelligence community, and a State Department bureaucracy being inflexible and, well, too bureaucratic. When you add the tone-deafness and defensiveness of our leaders, from the president on down, it’s no wonder I’m disgusted.

But you know what, you can read all about this from writers more intelligent and incisive than I. You can watch and listen to the details on cable news and you can see the calumniation of Biden and his team non-stop on the Fox News Channel…boy I bet they’re relishing this.

So, I’ll stop now. But, in stopping, I also wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to ease off a bit on blog posting while I work on a few other projects. If I was a real writer, I’d call it a book leave. Those of you who’ve followed Around the Block for years might recall I’ve announced this kind of hiatus before. Inevitably however, I saw or read something that moved me to opine or to satirize, and Around the Block came back. We’ll see how this one goes. I will say however, with some conviction, in the immortal words of the last beneficiary of a California gubernatorial recall election, “I’ll be baaack.” And when I do, I hope in the equally immortal words of “Hamilton’s” King George III, “you’ll be back” as well.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

5 thoughts on “The Graveyard of Empires

  1. Hope you recalled that Biden has been against the Afghan was and so stated many time when he was VP. Yes, this was bad info re the speed of the Taliban takeover, but no matter when the pullout would happen, it would be a disaster – the same as when we went in after the Russians had many years of nothing. The Afghans just don’t – and didn’t – want to fight for their country and obviously the leaders is not really have the country backing them. VERY frustrating! And we can’t forget that Trump gave a pullout date last year – which is not an explanation for what is happening. Hopefully Biden survives with time.

    Hope the weather is not affecting your area. Other than that – many hugs to you and Sharon.



    1. Whether Biden was for it or against it is not the issue here. We now have more troops there than we had before the pull-out just to keep the airport secure for those who can get past the Taliban fighters stopping people from getting in. This has been a total and unmitigated disaster because, as I wrote in this post and one before “Give me your tired…”, of our complete failure to adequately plan the retreat. After 4 years of Trump creating mistrust among our friends and allies, we really did not need this administration to do so as well and with, tragically, deadly consequences to those Afganis who supported our misguided venture.


  2. Glad you are giving yourself a mental health vacation. I think we are all in need of taking care of our stress levels. Our anxiety levels are through the roof. We are going through a pandemic, our constitution is being attacked, and our nation is in terrible shape. This is not what we wanted for our remaining years or for our children’s future. So do things that make you happy!! I will be looking forward to your return.


  3. Good for you Ted. I look forward to reading your book when you complete it. ❤️❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone



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