Opinion | ‘I Fear for My Country Today’: Veterans Reflect on Sept. 11

Produced by ‘The Argument’

As the world reflects on the anniversary of Sept. 11, what does the day of the attacks — and the 20 years of war it precipitated — feel like to America’s veterans? With the Afghanistan withdrawal suddenly reclaiming attention for the “forever” wars, is the 9/11 era finally over, on the home front and in America’s foreign policy? Jane Coaston brings together Kenneth Harbaugh and Michael Washington, two friends and veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, to discuss the pax Americana, the 9/11 roots of today’s divide in the veteran community and the political weaponization of service members’ patriotism. Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot turned veterans’ advocate and podcaster. Washington is a former Marine and firefighter who today works as a licensed therapist for veterans and emergency workers.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Ken Harbaugh’s podcasts, “Burn the Boats” and “Warriors in Their Own Words.”

Call, text or chat online with the Veterans Crisis Hotline.

Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that utilizes the skills and experiences of military veterans to rapidly deploy emergency response teams to disaster zones.

Find a Veterans Affairs location and explore other available benefits and services.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. You can also visit speakingofsuicide.com/resources.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Sarah Geis and Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; engineering by Carole Sabouraud; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

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