A list of retired generals and admirals calling on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to step down from their posts inflated to 130 on Thursday.
Due to the United States’ catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, a group of the military’s former top brass that identifies as “Flag Officers 4 America,” want Austin and Milley to resign “based on negligence in performing their duties” leading up to the Biden administration’s August 31 deadline.
“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 wrote in an open letter on Monday.
Then posits the question, what should Austin and Milley have done when they found out about Biden’s plan to abruptly pull military forces out of the country without “adequate plans,” or the ability to conduct the operation in an orderly fashion?
The letter goes on to detail exactly what they should have done: “Recommended against this dangerous withdrawal in the strongest possible terms.”
If they didn’t do everything within their power to stop the “hasty withdrawal,” they should resign, it asserts. And if they did do everything in their ability to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies, “then they should have resigned in protest as a matter of conscience and public statement.”
The group explained that the enormity of the decision to abandon Afghanistan will “reverberate for decades,” starting with those who were left behind, who they classified as “de facto hostages of the Taliban.”
“The death and torture of Afghans has already begun and will result in a human tragedy of major proportions,” the letter detailed. “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.”
They said that “the weakness displayed in Afghanistan” emboldened our adversaries around the world and encouraged terrorists “to pass freely into our country through our open border with Mexico.”
The group also accused military leaders of placing mandatory emphasis on “wokeness” related training, which they believe is divisive and harmful to military unit cohesion.
Under Austin and Milley’s leadership, “We are now seen, and will be seen for many years, as an unreliable partner in any multinational agreement or operation,” the letter alleges. “Trust in the United States is irreparably damaged.”
“I think it’s very fair to ask for accountability for senior leaders, and that includes the military leaders as well as the national security advisor and the secretary of state. Somebody needs to be held accountable,” Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Keith Kellogg said on Tuesday.
“I think it’s up to them to resign. If not, I think the president should remove them. It would help the American people if he changed out his national security team because we don’t know what ground truth is.”