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我的阿富汗噩梦已成现实

My 10-Year Afghanistan Nightmare Is Now Real
我的阿富汗噩梦已成现实

The Afghan cities fall in rapid succession, like men caught in enfilade fire. First Zaranj, Kunduz a few days later, then Kandahar and Lashkar Gah. Next is Mazar-i-Sharif. And finally, the Taliban begin their move to swiftly and decisively take Kabul.

阿富汗的城市如秋风扫落叶一般接连陷落。先是扎兰、昆都士,然后是坎大哈和拉什卡尔加。接下来是马扎里沙里夫。最后,塔利班开始迅速并果断地占领喀布尔。

I watch this news, and at first I feel nothing. But at night I return once more to Afghanistan. There is a nightmare: The enemy and I are in each another’s sights. Who will shoot first? I squeeze, but the trigger freezes. The Taliban fighter’s finger curls. I wake. I have had this dream for 10 years, ever since returning from Afghanistan, but now it feels as though it has become real.

看了这个新闻,一开始我没有任何感觉。但到了晚上,我仿佛又回到了阿富汗。我做了一个噩梦:我和敌人相互瞄准。谁会先开枪?我按下扳机,但扳机纹丝不动。塔利班战士的手指动了。我醒了。自从从阿富汗回来后,有十年了,我都会做这个梦,但现在,我感觉它变成了现实。
 

Decades of war are dissolved in weeks. The Taliban advance with a speed that reminds me of the American conquest of Baghdad. There are other similarities: Taliban troops enter the gilded compounds of our corrupt Afghan allies and marvel at the evidence of years of American aid stolen by their former government leaders.

数十年的战争在数周内瓦解。塔利班的进军速度让我想起美国对巴格达的征服。还有其他相似之处:塔利班军队进入我们腐败的阿富汗盟友的那些恢宏大楼,惊叹于他们的前政府领导人窃取了多年美国援助的证据。

During the day my thoughts become preoccupied by the past. I hear a squad on the other end of the radio pinned down, a report about a Marine hit, the crack of fear in the sergeant’s voice, clock ticking as the blood pours from the 19-year-old’s neck; we race to send the helicopter that will arrive too late.

白天,我的思绪被过去所占据。我听到无线电另一端的一个小队被压制住了,听到有海军陆战队员中弹的报告,听到中士声音中带着恐惧,19岁的年轻人的脖子上涌出的鲜血,听到时钟的滴答;我们紧急派出直升机,但为时已晚。

I see a report that the American Embassy will destroy its American flags to deny the Taliban a propaganda victory. I think of the star-spangled banner that flew over my old patrol base, called Habib, Arabic for “beloved.” Five men died under that flag, for what?

我看到有报道称,美国大使馆将销毁美国国旗,不给塔利班机会宣传胜利。我想起了我曾经巡逻的基地上空飘扬的星条旗,基地名为哈比伯(Habib),阿拉伯语意为“亲爱的”。在那面旗帜下死了五个人,为了什么?

The hawks still circle and screech. The voices from the past 20 years who prodded us forward into battle return to the evening news to sell us on staying. “It’s not too late,” the former generals, secretaries and ambassadors say. “More troops can hold the line. Victory is just around the corner.”

鹰仍在天空盘旋、唳叫。过去20年推动我们奋战的声音又回到了晚间新闻,鼓励我们留下来。“现在还有时间,”前将军、部长和大使们说。“更多的部队可以守住阵线。胜利就在眼前。”

But the speed of the Taliban’s advance makes clear that this outcome was always inevitable. The enemy had no reason to negotiate, and no reputation for restraint. The only question before President Biden was how many American soldiers should die before it happened. But if leaving now was the right decision for America, it is a catastrophe for the Afghan people whom we have betrayed.

但塔利班前进的速度清楚地表明,这种结果始终是不可避免的。敌人没有谈判的理由,也不讲克制。拜登总统面临的唯一问题是,在这件事发生之前,应该有多少美国士兵死去。但如果现在撤离对美国来说是正确的决定,那对我们背叛的阿富汗人民来说就是一场灾难。

The Afghans are forced back into living under religious tyranny, an existence made all the more painful by their brief experience with freedom. Now they see the light from the far end of a dark tunnel. The school doors will close for girls and the boys will return to their religious studies. For them, the arc of the moral universe will bend backward and break.

阿富汗人被迫重新生活在宗教暴政之下,他们短暂的自由经历使这种生活变得更加痛苦。现在他们看到了来自黑暗隧道远端的光。学校大门将对女孩们关闭,男孩们将回归他们的宗教学习。对他们来说,道德宇宙的弧线将反向弯曲并断裂。

It’s my old unit, First Battalion, Eighth Marines, that is sent in to secure the airport in Kabul. I am jealous. I would give anything to return right now, to give what last full measure remains. But that is impossible. Soon I learn that there is a fallback embassy at the airport, that our position is collapsing, that talk of weeks has turned to days and finally hours, 36 of them, to evacuate the Americans who remain.

被派去保卫喀布尔机场的是我的老部队,海军陆战队八团一营。我很嫉妒。如果能马上回去,执行最后的全面保护任务,我愿意付出一切。但这是不可能的。很快我得知机场出现了负责处理撤退事宜的大使馆,局面正在崩溃,原本说有几周,现在变成了几天,最后变成了要在36小时内撤离还在那里的美国人。

As all this unfolds, there is much fanfare over the celebrities at Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party, a celebration held as the war he expanded during his presidency ends in infamy. But he is not alone. Our other commanders in chief also bear responsibility for what has occurred. And there is no celebrating for those of us who ache each day wondering how we could have given the best parts of their lives to such a lie.

在这一切发生的同时,人们在热议贝拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)60岁生日派对上的名人,在庆祝的同时,在他上任期间由他扩大的战争狼狈地结束。但不只他一个人。我们的其他总司令也对所发生的事情负有责任。对于我们,没有什么值得庆祝的,我们每天都在痛苦中思考为什么把生命中最好的部分给了这样一个谎言。

The collapse has been sudden, our exit too ill planned to evacuate the vulnerable Afghans who worked with us. We’re desperate for the allied nations that went to war with us to take them in on our behalf. A few thousand here, a few thousand there. I look across the New York Harbor to the Statue of Liberty and wonder why we are not lifting our own lamp for those abandoned by this war. Is our new Colossus dead or will she rise to repay her debt?

溃败突然发生,我们的撤离计划太糟糕了,无法疏散与我们一起工作的那些危在旦夕的阿富汗人。我们迫切希望与我们一同战斗的盟国代表我们接纳他们。这里接纳几千人,那里接纳几千人。我看着纽约港对面的自由女神像,想知道为什么我们没有为那些被这场战争遗弃的人带来光明。我们的“新巨像”是死了吗,还是她会重新站起来偿还债务?

In my mind I see the Huey helicopter teetering above the American Embassy in Saigon, but rest assured, they say, the end of Afghanistan will be different from 1975. Still, our fathers, and our grandfathers, have fought and lost this battle before and know better even if we did not. Will our own children suffer the same?

在我的脑海中,我看到休伊直升机在美国驻西贡大使馆上方徘徊,但他们说,请放心,阿富汗的结局将与1975年不同。可是,这场仗我们的父亲和祖父在此之前已经打过,并且输了,他们更清楚,尽管我们还是不明白。我们自己的孩子也会遭受同样的痛苦吗?

There is more than enough blame to go around. After all, without those of us who volunteered there’d be nobody to fight these wars. I long to appear before the young man I was, to slap his face, and tell him to take a different course. “You’re going to die over there,” I want to say. “Not in body, but in spirit.” But he is gone, and I will spend the rest of my life staring at his shadow.

有很多人要对此负责。毕竟,没有我们这些自愿参加的人,就没有人来打这些战争。我渴望出现在曾经年轻的我的面前,扇他一巴掌,告诉他不要走这条路。“你会死在那里,”我想说。“不是身体,而是精神。”但是他已经走了,我将用我的余生凝视他的影子。

And finally, there are my fellow Americans, Republicans, Democrats and independents alike, who voted repeatedly over 20 years for those presidents and members of Congress to mislead and mismanage us to defeat. This national shame is a millstone around all our necks.

最后,还有我的美国同胞、共和党人、民主党人和独立人士,他们20多年来反复投票支持那些总统和国会议员,他们对我们的误导和管理不善导致我们被打败。这种民族耻辱是我们所有人背负的重担。

Suddenly, reality snaps into focus. It’s the entire nation of Afghanistan that is pinned down. I can hear her people screaming. And I will hear her death rattle before long.

突然,现实再次清晰起来。整个阿富汗都受到压制。我能听到她的人民在尖叫。并且我将很快会听到她垂死挣扎的声音。

Here at home, the Manhattan skyline is clear, the Freedom Tower glistens, and our nation lumbers onward. This American tragedy has reached its final act. Now we wait for the curtain to fall.

在家里,看着曼哈顿清晰的天际线,闪闪发光的自由塔,我们的国家缓慢地前行。这场美国悲剧已经走到了最后。现在,我们等待它落下帷幕。
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