Paging Mr. Leeds

We have written about Mr. Leeds before. His name comes from the film LADY IN THE WATER. That movie was panned by critics and remains one of the most unpopular of the M. Night Shyamalan films–but we have always loved it. It’s a bed time story, a fable, and a beautiful tale about mundane lives of human beings that can become extraordinary when you least expect it. And characters who rise to an occasion as they are all equipped with hidden talents and deep purpose. True purpose..

In the film, Mr. Leeds plays an important role.. Played by actor Bill Irwin, Leeds is one of the tenants in the apartment building where a magical fairy tale will soon ensue.. but until it does, he is busy daily watching his television set of the latest scenes of chaos, strife, warfare and murder across the planet.

Shyamalan presents him as a stoic man, someone who watches chilling news broadcasts play out 24/7 in his living room in a silent agony.

So often through the years, when big news occurred, I pictured Mr. Leeds continuing to watch developments with his expressionless face–but taking it all in and craving for peace and love to take over the planet.

During LADY IN THE WATER, Leeds questions whether humanity should be saved in his dialogue in the film. He goes on to inspire the main character of the film at the most crucial time. And it leads to redemption–redemption of the entire group of apartment misfits that never realized the power of humanity to work as one.


During the 2020 presidential race and COVID pandemic, we were reminded by the media and purveyors of clickbait on the socials that everything was wrong. Upside down. Abnormal..

The kind of life that even had Mr. Leeds contemplating throwing in the towel.

After the tumultuous election and eventual Inauguration of Joe Biden, Mr. Leeds and all of us watched the media portray the new presidency as a return to “normal.” A return to the mundane.. the life that Mr. Leeds had previously gotten used to. Sure 2020 threw a number of wrenches into his life, but he wanted his typical 6 o’clock news back.

So as 2021 took flight, we were ready to get back into normal!

Back to work!
Offices reopening.. businesses back!
Vaccines rolling out and sleeves rolling up.

Until Delta.
Until Lambda.. And until a brand new variant took hold across the southern United States, including Florida, Texas, Mississippi, and even beginning in some vaccinated Northern states..

What about normal?


Mr. Leeds had become very used to warfare on his newscasts. Reports of battle lines, reports of casualties and coffins draped with American flags were his normal in LADY IN THE WATER.

But now a new normal is playing out. Mr. Leeds feels right back at home again as war begins to become the top story…

President Joe Biden on Saturday doubled down on his previous decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan despite the Taliban’s rapid advances. However he pledged to send more troops to evacuate civilians and warned the insurgents not to threaten that mission.

After consultations with his national security team, Biden said a total of “approximately 5,000” US soldiers — up from 3,000 — will now help organize evacuations and the end of the US mission after 20 years on the ground.

He warned the Taliban that any action “that puts US personnel or our mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong US military response.”

Biden’s statement released on the White House website also spoke about some blame on the Trump Administration for the current situation, whether fair or just political fodder.

“When I came to office,” Biden wrote, “I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500.”

Biden faced a choice as his presidency began, to either follow through on the deal, “or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict.”

“I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats,” he concluded. “I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”

Now this is the normal that Mr. Leeds recalls…


Team Biden is reportedly braced for bad press, and potentially a “brutal loss,” according to reporting in Axios.

This from the report:

The working assumption in Biden’s inner circle had been that Kabul could hold for the short term, allowing the U.S. to stay diplomatically engaged and help Afghan women secure their rights beyond the U.S. withdrawal.

Some who read this today were not alive like us, and Mr. Leeds, in 1993.

During that year, when Bill Clinton launched a hasty withdrawal of troops (Bush put them there to feed the hungry and do a ‘humanitarian mission’ in 1992), things got out of control, as illustrated by this TIME magazine cover in October 1993:

Pictures on the cover: Michael Durant. He was held prisoner for 11 days..

When troops withdrew from the nation, an American solider was mutilated and drug through the streets. The Pentagon refused to give details of the name of the soldier who was the victim, saying it would serve no purpose..

The images can still be found today. Media had them at the time but immediately stopped showing.

But Mr. Leeds saw them.. It affected him greatly. It taught him the horrors of war, and the evils of humanity… He doesn’t forget.

And that, my friends, is why Mr. Leeds today is a little worried. A little concerned about what will occur in Afghanistan.

He is torn..

20 years in this nation, and for what?

For the same towns once liberated of the Taliban to be taken over by the Taliban two decades after 9/11..

Officially the Pentagon says there are about 2,500 American troops serving in Afghanistan as part of an advise-and-assist mission to help Afghan security forces. However, U.S. officials have acknowledged the number is higher as U.S. counterterrorism forces are not counted in the official training mission number.

As the Taliban takes hold, inch by inch, women are back in Burqas. Where are the Woke Crowds to lament?
People are back in fear..
Mr. Leeds knows that we cannot be nation builders. But what is the right way to withdraw vs. the wrong way..? What is worse?

We have to leave.

Mr. Leeds knows that..
And he will be watching.


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