Retired Top Brass Calls on Milley, Austin to Step Down Following Afghanistan Debacle

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

In the wake of the disastrous Afghanistan evacuation, dozens of retired generals and admirals, almost 90 thus far, have called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to step down, accusing them of “negligence.”


The signatories of the scathing letter, 87 as of last night, a number likely to climb, are from a group calling itself “Flag Officers 4 America” and include former Navy rear admiral and longtime White House physician Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas); retired Navy Rear Adm. John Poindexter, a former national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan; and Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, a Republican candidate to represent New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate next year.

The letter states that Austin and Milley 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 adds that even if Austin and Milley fought President Biden’s pullout order tooth and nail, they still should resign “as a matter of conscience and public statement.”

The “Flag Officers 4 America” letter also calls on Austin and Milley to resign for reasons of “leadership, training, and morale” and accuses them of “placing mandatory emphasis on PC wokeness” training, which 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” it declares.


Other excepts from the blistering letter include,

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.

The letter ends with a reminder that accountability in the military is key.

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.

Neither Austin nor Milley have mentioned retiring.

This is not the first time “Flag Officers 4 America” have raised concerns over Biden. They wrote a letter last May, signed by 124 retired admirals and generals, questioning Biden’s health, and even questioned the outcome of the 2020 election.


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