The events of the last few weeks have no doubt been disturbing, if not, infuriating for you and your loved ones. I wanted to say this, clearly and concisely…your time there was not in vain.
You put your lives on the line for the rest of us. Your efforts prevented dozens, if not hundreds, of potential terror attacks. You preemptively prevented terrorists from killing other Americans. There are few things more honorable than protecting your family, friends, and homeland. You traveled far from home, lived a life under constant threats and stress for us. Those of us that weren’t called or didn’t serve, were shielded by your service. We all owe you a debt of thanks. You have mine.
Many of us believe you deserve better than what our performance has been in leaving Afghanistan.
Was it time to go? Probably. It was never a matter of the decision to depart. What matters is the execution of that departure. It is nothing short of a debacle. Calling it anything else is an insult, and the majority of Americans who witnessed it unfold on television. Lives have been lost and more may be as a result of one of the worst planned and executed military operations in US history since the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Your service is not reflected by the events unfolding over there right now. You are not defined by the actions currently taking place. You did your job, and for that, I am thankful as are millions of others. You do not bear any taint from what is taking place right now. Your service was not wasted. You did your duty with honor and dignity.
The fact that so many civilians in Afghanistan want to leave and come here is a testimony to your roles as ambassadors of our great nation. Many are willing to lose everything because they saw the kind of country and people we are because you were there. Even though you may not have been there in years, you are still saving lives…those of the civilians who are risking their lives to come here. Each civilian saved that comes to America is your greatest living legacy.
We owe you more than our appreciation and sincere thanks. We owe you accountability, both in the government and the military. The people that unfurled this poorly conceived operation need to be held responsible. It is not vengeance or blame-setting; it is our solemn responsibility to you to ensure that such a disaster does not happen again.
We do not owe this just to you, but to your loved ones who have also endured hardship and strife as a result of your service. Men and women do not go to war alone, their families are impacted as well. We owe them as well to get some answers to how this happened. People must be held accountable – period.
You can hold your heads up high for your service in that strife-filled country. Your honor is sterling and remains, as always, intact. None of us believe your service was anything short of honorable and in the finest tradition of the United States. We, as citizens, need to take action to evaluate the intelligence, planning, decision making process, and execution of this catastrophe. This is our call to duty, to ensure that this kind of horrid affair does not occur again.