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Secretary Austin and General Milley Must Step Aside

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

I worked with the military for five years and describe my foreign policy views as hawkish and interventionist. So I am reticent to criticize high-level officers unless merited.

Recently I found myself confounded by why, as the Afghanistan debacle continues, no one has been fired or figuratively fallen on their sword? When not making excuses, our top military leaders seem unwilling to take responsibility for the ongoing fiasco that’s humiliated our country more than any other time in my life.

President Joe Biden is ultimately responsible, but it’s clear after the past week that he is either too obstinate or too confused to admit his errors. And he’s not resigning, nor will he be impeached — at least not until 2023.

The blame for our catastrophic withdrawal also goes to the Pentagon for its abysmal planning and execution.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley have more than 80 years of combined military service, much of that in combat. While I’ve read they cautioned Biden against the erroneous withdrawal, heck, so did anyone with common sense who isn’t a far left blowhard or isolationist bloviating about “forever wars.”

Once Biden made his fateful decision, the general and retired general failed in their duty to be certain Afghanistan didn’t devolve into the dangerous circumstances we’ve seen.

Related: Afghanistan Catastrophe Exposes Democrats’ Elitism and Incompetence

Because of this failure, we now sent back thousands of troops to Afghanistan after pulling them out. Since we also inexplicably fled Bagram Air Base, the desperate evacuation is more difficult.

Gen. Milley infamously said he didn’t think the Afghan government would collapse so quickly. It’s unfathomable that nobody in the Pentagon reviews information like the Long War Journal or other outlets that warned about the likelihood of a rapid collapse.

“If Milley did not know what was about to happen in Afghanistan, he was derelict in his duties. If he did know and did nothing, he is complicit. If either of them knew and did not formally document his objections, the blood of thousands of innocent Afghans is on his hands,” Jack Wedam, a Green Beret with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), recently wrote.

“American citizens and Afghans were deserted and left to the Taliban. The rage is just beginning. Milley was playing politics by virtue-signaling about Critical Race Theory and defending against being ‘woke.’ Instead, he should have been orchestrating an orderly withdrawal.”

When our government makes monumental errors and does not plan for likely scenarios, someone must be held accountable.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley should do the right thing and resign.