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Group of 87 retired generals call on Austin and Milley to resign following botched Afghan withdrawal

The group says there must be accountability for the mission gone wrong and lives that will be lost

Published: August 31, 2021 1:04pm

Updated: August 31, 2021 3:58pm

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley have been called upon to resign by a group of 87 retired generals.

In an open letter from the group "Flag Officers 4 America," the retired generals argue Austin and Milley showed "negligence in performing their duties" during the botched exit from Afghanistan.

Members of the group, who describe themselves as "retired U.S. generals and admirals defending the Constitution," also wrote Austin and Milley must be held accountable for their actions that have stranded hundreds of Americans and Afghan allies in hostile territory as "de facto hostages of the Taliban."

The generals also argued Austin and Milley should have counseled President Biden against the swift exit from the region and resigned in protest if he did not abide by their recommendation.

"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," wrote the group.

"Conversely, if they did do everything within their ability to persuade the CINC/President to not hastily exit the country without ensuring the safety of our citizens and Afghans loyal to America, then they should have resigned in protest as a matter of conscience and public statement."

The retired generals emphasized that the "consequences" of the exit are going to be "enormous" and will include the "death and torture of Afghans" in addition to damaging America's reputation on the global stage. They also write that it is "catastrophic" for advanced United States military equipment that was left behind to fall into the hands of the Taliban – some of it already has. 

The officers also concluded that global adversaries of the U.S., including Russia and China, will conclude that moving against America will be easy, given the strategic failures of the Afghan exit. 

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