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90 retired generals, admirals call on Austin, Milley to resign following ‘disastrous’ Afghanistan withdrawal

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testify to the Senate Appropriations Committee, June 17, 2021. (DoD Photo by Chad J. McNeeley)
August 31, 2021

In a letter released on Monday nearly 90 retired generals and admirals called for the resignation and retirement of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley for their contribution to the “disastrous withdrawal” of United States forces from Afghanistan.

The veteran officers slammed both Austin and Milley for “negligence in performing their duties” surrounding President Joe Biden’s “disastrous” withdrawal that left 13 service members dead, as well as hundreds of Americans, and thousands of Afghan allies, stranded behind enemy lines amid the Taliban takeover.

The letter was organized by the group Flag Officers 4 America.

“The death and torture of Afghans has already begun and will result in a human tragedy of major proportions. 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,” the letter stated. “We are now seen, and will be seen for many years, as an unreliable partner in any multinational agreement or operation. Trust in the United States is irreparably damaged.”

The letter asserted that if the two military leaders “did not do everything within their authority to stop the hasty withdrawal,” then they should resign — but even if they did and were unable “to persuade the CINC/President to not hastily exit,” they should still resign “in protest as a matter of conscience and public statement.”

The retired flag officers also blasted Biden’s border policy, noting that the hasty withdrawal “emboldened” terrorists globally “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 stated. “China benefits the most followed by Russia, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and others.”

The veteran officers also highlighted the recent effort by military leadership to place “mandatory emphasis on PC ‘wokeness’ related training” which they said is “extremely divisive and harmful to unit cohesion, readiness, and war fighting capability.”

“Our military exists to fight and win our Nation’s wars and that must be the sole focus of our top military leaders,” the letter read.

“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.”

On Tuesday morning, when asked about how the Biden administration will use diplomacy to evacuate stranded Americans still left in Afghanistan, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said, “It’s not completely unlike how we do it elsewhere around the world. I mean, we have Americans that get stranded in countries all the time.”