Nearly 90 retired generals and admirals are calling for the resignation and retirement of defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley for their various contributions to the “disastrous withdrawal” of United States forces from Afghanistan.
The retired military leaders made their voices heard in an open letter on Monday.
In the letter, the veterans slammed both Austin and Milley for “negligence in performing their duties,” during President Joe Biden’s “disastrous withdrawal” that left 13 U.S. service members slain at the hands of terrorists in Kabul.
Hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies remain stranded behind enemy lines in the now Taliban-controlled region.
“The retired Flag Officers signing this letter are calling for the resignation and retirement of the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) based on negligence in performing their duties primarily involving events surrounding the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan,” the letter began. “The hasty retreat has left initial estimates at ~15,000 Americans stranded in dangerous areas controlled by a brutal enemy along with ~25,000 Afghan citizens who supported American forces.”
They continued: “What should have happened upon learning of the Commander in Chief’s (President Biden’s) plan to quickly withdraw our forces and close the important power projection base Bagram, without adequate plans and forces in place to conduct the entire operation in an orderly fashion?”
“The death and torture of Afghans have already begun and will result in a human tragedy of major proportions,” they wrote. “The loss of billions of dollars in advanced military equipment and supplies falling into the hands of our enemies is catastrophic. The damage to the reputation of the United States is indescribable.”
“We are now seen, and will be seen for many years, as an unreliable partner in any multinational agreement or operation,” the letter continued. “Trust in the United States is irreparably damaged.”
The leaders asserted in the letter that if either Austin or Milley “did not do everything within their authority to stop the hasty withdrawal,” then it is imperative that they resign — however, even if they did, but were unable “to persuade the CINC/President to not hastily exit,” they must still resign, “in protest as a matter of conscious and public statement.”
“The consequences of this disaster are enormous and will reverberate for decades beginning with the safety of Americans and Afghans who are unable to move safely to evacuation points; therefore, being de facto hostages of the Taliban at this time,” they wrote.
In addition to condemning the two leaders for their role in the Afghanistan pullout, the retired servicemembers also slammed Biden for his border policy, pointing out that the hasty withdrawal “emboldened” terrorists worldwide “to pass freely into our country through our open border with Mexico.”
“Moreover, now our adversaries are emboldened to move against America due to the weakness displayed in Afghanistan,” the letter added. “China benefits the most followed by Russia, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and others.”
“Besides these military operational reasons for resignations, there are leadership, training, and moral reasons for resignations,” they continued, criticizing the misplaced priorities of the administration and military leadership.
The military veterans also took aim at efforts by Biden’s military leadership to place “mandatory emphasis on [politically correct or] ‘wokeness’ related training.”
They described the push towards political correctness as “extremely divisive” and harmful to unit cohesion, readiness, and warfighting capability.
“For these reasons we call on the SECDEF Austin and the CJCS General Milley to resign,” it continued. “A fundamental principle in the military is holding those in charge responsible and accountable for their actions or inactions. There must be accountability at all levels for this tragic and avoidable debacle.”