The Fall of Afghanistan — a Message to Our Veterans

Flashbacks, sleepless nights, anger, despair…all of these emotions have suddenly come to bear even more heavily on many of our military veterans. After the fall of Afghanistan, the wounds of war can be exacerbated. Many are wondering, what was it all for? The precipitous withdrawal of thousands of US troops in a country run by multiple tribes left a wake of panic and destruction. It wasn’t that we left…it was the way in which it was conducted.

The fall of Afghanistan

Rep Brian Mast (R-FL) was serving in Afghanistan on September 19, 2010 when he lost his legs in an IED explosion. He is extremely angry at Biden and says that incompetence will truly cause people to die. He is correct.

In May, I asked the special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, how the administration planned to process the tens of thousands of SIVs as military operations wound down. He was clueless.  

He couldn’t even tell me how many Afghans were eligible for the program, let alone how the administration would be able to work through the years-long backlog of applications before the president’s deadline.  

Each person that the administration dismissed as “falling through the cracks” was issued a death sentence by President Joe Biden for the crime of being an ally to the United States of America…

The president has not learned the most important commitment of our soldiers: we do not leave men behind. As a result, he does not deserve to have the words “commander” or “chief” anywhere in his title. 

Brian Mast

But it isn’t just the anger that Brian Mast feels over an incompetent President who rushed the withdrawal: hundreds of US service members also are having a reaction. The fall of Afghanistan feels wrong to them. The VA has resources, and is desperately trying to assist through Rally Point and other avenues.

Over the past week, we have heard from hundreds of veterans who shared their frustrations, anger, anxiety, confusion and disappointment over the news in Afghanistan. Many were worried for their Afghan counterparts that they worked directly with. Others were worried for their friends and fellow former service members who are now back stateside. Others just wanted to vent and ask questions…

For those veterans back in the United States, now the battle must be to assist them in obtaining the help and benefits they have earned. The VA must make ending veterans’ suicide the top priority, while also increasing all efforts to expand access to community care. Long lines for care, postponed and canceled appointments, benefits backlogs, and endless bureaucracy must end.

Even without a “Mission Accomplished” banner, all those who served in uniform can take pride in serving our nation. Questions will continue as the situation evolves in Afghanistan, but we must always be grateful and care for those who we had the honor to serve alongside.

Clint Romesha , Darrell Owens on Fox

The Fall of Saigon in 1975 was traumatic for even nonservice members. The Fall of Afghanistan on Sunday and the debacle at the Kabul airport yesterday brought back horrifying memories of people desperate to leave. Would they have been desperate to leave if the incoming army was good? No. The incoming Taliban are bloodthirsty, evil people. One thing that is lost in this narrative is that no matter what words the Taliban say to the media, they will not abide by them – it’s not in their history nor in their nature. They can lie and still feel justified. And with China, (a giant sized human rights abuser itself), working to create an alliance with the Taliban, the future of people who were once our allies is grim.

Our veterans are fully aware of it. They’ve been there. That’s why now is the time to touch base with your buddies, or friends who served. This situation can push the ghosts of war in their thoughts to a fever pitch – and it is “normal,” in view of what has happened. Let them know that they are honored, loved, and they are not alone, in spite of the fall of Afghanistan.

*****

Featured photo: Screenshot from Fox of Afghani beaten in a desperate attempt to reach the Kabul airport

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