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Douglas Andrews / September 2, 2021

Flag Officers Demand Afghanistan Accountability for Milley, Austin

The ranks of retired generals and admirals calling for the resignation of Lloyd Austin and Mark Milley have swelled from 87 to 130.

The open letter cuts right to the chase: “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 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.”

The collective group behind the letter calls itself “Flag Officers 4 America,” and it sports a simple website whose homepage reads, “We are retired military leaders who pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Although retired from active service, each of us feels bound by that oath to do what we can, in our capacity today, to protect our nation from the threats to her freedom.”

Earlier this year, the group posted another letter that focused on the growing threat of socialism and Marxism, and the need for free and fair elections. It began: “Our Nation is in deep peril. We are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776. The conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty. During the 2020 election an ‘Open Letter from Senior Military Leaders’ was signed by 317 retired Generals and Admirals, and it said the 2020 election could be the most important election since our country was founded. ‘With the Democrat Party welcoming Socialists and Marxists, our historic way of life is at stake.’ Unfortunately, that statement’s truth was quickly revealed, beginning with the election process itself.”

This time, the flag officers are demanding accountability for the disaster in Afghanistan, which included a hasty, chaotic, and deadly withdrawal and the abandonment of a key air base at Bagram. “As principal military advisors to the CINC/President, the SECDEF and CJCS should have recommended against this dangerous withdrawal in the strongest possible terms. If they did not do everything within their authority to stop the hasty withdrawal, they should resign.” The letter continues:

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.

Moreover, now our adversaries are emboldened to move against America due to the weakness displayed in Afghanistan. China benefits the most followed by Russia, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and others. Terrorists around the world are emboldened and able to pass freely into our country through our open border with Mexico.

Later on in the letter, they name names: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley — the former who in the wake of the January 6 riot at the Capitol ordered a DOD-wide stand-down in order to discuss the problem of “extremism” in the ranks, and the latter who recently went before Congress to explain the military’s fixation with radical teachings such as Critical Race Theory and his own desire to better understand “white rage” in the ranks.

The flag officer — whose ranks have swelled from 87 yesterday to 130 (and counting) today — believe Austin and Milley must go sooner rather than later, “A fundamental principle in the military,” they write in closing, “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.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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