Morgan Griffith: A time for accountability

morgan griffith
Morgan Griffith

The ending of the war in Afghanistan has been a disgraceful and humiliating close to a lengthy chapter of our history. The chaotic, rushed, and abortive evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies amid the quick fall of the U.S.-backed government to the Taliban, which was ousted twenty years ago after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, will leave a legacy of death, fear, and failure.

It did not need to be this way. American troops, our citizens remaining in the country, and our allies should not have suffered the extreme danger of recent weeks. That they did, and that thirteen American servicemen and -women died in a terrorist attack during the botched withdrawal, demands accountability from those whose decisions contributed to this calamity.

I believe this as someone who long called for a responsible end to America’s longest war. The decision to withdraw did not produce this calamity; incompetent leadership from the Biden Administration did.

Therefore, I am calling for the impeachment of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the resignations of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. These three officials bear the greatest share of culpability.

Secretary Blinken deserves impeachment as the official responsible for the lives of American citizens in the country. One of the State Department’s roles is to protect our citizens abroad, but in Afghanistan it failed to rescue them from grave danger.

In July, as President Biden and Secretary Blinken expressed confidence in the Afghan government and security forces, American diplomats in Kabul were warning that the danger posed by the Taliban warranted the evacuation of Afghans who had assisted U.S. forces within weeks and the accelerated processing of their visas.

Instead, the Taliban rolled into Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, leaving the people needing evacuation at their mercy. American citizens were left to navigate Taliban-controlled streets to get to the airport, as were our Afghan allies whose very acts of assistance to our country earned them the enmity of the Taliban.

The Wall Street Journal reported that upon the departure of American forces from the country on August 31, 100 to 200 American citizens remained left behind, as were “the majority of the Afghan interpreters and others who applied for visas to flee Afghanistan.”

Unfortunately, the top officials at the Pentagon, Secretary Austin and General Milley, have hardly performed any better than those at the State Department. They were clearly unprepared for the quick fall of the Afghan government, leaving billions of dollars of equipment purchased by American taxpayers at the disposal of the Taliban and failing to direct an orderly final withdrawal.

The chaos at Kabul’s airport created the conditions which allowed for the deadly terrorist attack of August 26, taking the lives of nearly 200 people including thirteen U.S. service members.

And after all this, officials in the Biden Administration have sought to take credit for a successful evacuation!

They would do well to remember Winston Churchill’s observation that “Wars are not won by evacuations,” but in any event, we must see clearly what happened: American citizens were left to fend for themselves under a regime whose forces have been fighting Americans for twenty years. Afghan allies who aided our cause at the risk of their lives are in the hands of our enemies. American troops were endangered by the hasty withdrawal, and thirteen paid the ultimate price.

That is not a successful evacuation. That is a fiasco, and it requires accountability.

High public office is not an entitlement. Whatever these officials may have done for the country previously, and with respect for the military service of Secretary Austin and General Milley, responsibility for many of the serious failures of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan lies upon them.

Secretaries Blinken and Austin and General Milley have fallen far short in the performance of their duties, with tragic consequences. They no longer deserve to hold office on behalf of the American people. If President Biden does not recognize this fact, it is an indictment of him.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Morgan Griffith represents the Ninth District of Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives.


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