Nearly 90 retired generals and other military figures told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark A. Milley to resign Tuesday for “negligence in performing their duties” ahead of the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan.
The signers of the letter said the military withdrawal was hasty, and the U.S. blundered by giving up Bagram Air Base, only to see the country fall to the Taliban within days.
As principal advisers to Mr. Biden, Mr. Austin and Gen. Milley “should have recommended against this dangerous withdrawal in the strongest possible terms,” the retired brass wrote.
“If they did not do everything within their authority to stop the hasty withdrawal, they should resign,” the letter said.
On the other hand, “if they did do everything within their ability to persuade the [Commander in Chief]/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,” they wrote.
Notable signers include retired Navy Adm. John Poindexter, who served as a national security adviser in the Reagan administration; Rep. Ronny Jackson, Texas Republican, retired Navy rear admiral and former White House doctor under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump; and retired Maj. Gen. Joe Arbuckle, who served in Vietnam and led the Army Industrial Operations Command (IOC) at Rock Island, Illinois.
The letter was posted by Flag Officers 4 America, a group that issued past statements questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election and saying the “mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief cannot be ignored.”
In their letter, the signers say the consequences of the messy withdrawal “will reverberate for decades,” beginning with Americans and allied Afghans who may have been left behind and become de facto hostages of the Taliban.
They also said rivals such as China, Russia, Iran and North Korea will be emboldened due to the “weakness” displayed in Afghanistan.
President Biden is expected to address the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan from the White House on Tuesday.