At a forum hosted by Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Monday, Gold Star families of the fallen servicemen in Afghanistan had a public platform to testify. Since the suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, killing 13 U.S. servicemembers, the families have sought accountability and clarity regarding the disorderly withdrawal of American troops from the Taliban-infested country.
“To say it’s time to move on and there’s nothing more to be said as to the planning and the execution of how our country wrapped a two-decade war, is an insult to all of us,” said Alicia Lopez, mother of fallen Marine Hunter Lopez.
Sensing that the families of the fallen had not been provided an opportunity to speak publicly, Issa devoted time at the Escondido City Hall for loved ones to seek answers regarding the catastrophic events that occurred nearly two years ago.
Before the emotional testimonies began, Issa assured families that this was “their day” and that they would be heard. Although he noted a particular order that “people believe we should go in,” he decided to open the floor to family members to speak whenever they felt comfortable.
After the father of fallen Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover thanked Issa and those in attendance for listening to “the hurt, the anger, and the anguish that we feel for our children,” he expressed his frustration with the Biden administration regarding the bombing as a whole. He called for Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, General Mark Milley, General Kenneth McKenzie, Lieutenant Colonel Whitehead, and President Joe Biden to “do what our son did: Be a grown a– man.”
Hoover also attacked the administration’s character in the whole fiasco. “You all need to resign immediately,” he urged. “Our sons and daughters have more integrity in their little toes than every one of them combined.”
Hoover’s comments were made shortly after Biden “insisted he made no mistakes” regarding the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan last Friday. U.S. Army experts disagree.
“The withdrawal of U.S. Forces and the evacuation of non-combatants from Afghanistan in 2021 is one of the greatest foreign policy failures in U.S. history,” Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin told The Washington Stand. “President Biden ignored the advice of several of his advisors who warned against letting a timeline drive the activities of the operation on the ground. That is incompetence and demands accountability starting at the White House.”
According to the mother of 20-year-old fallen Marine Dylan R. Merola, Cheryl Rex, there’s been no accountability in this White House. The grieving mother briefed the room about her encounter with President Biden nearly 24 hours after the tragedy.
Rex first shared that the president’s words of comfort included a comparison of his own feelings when he lost his son to cancer.
“[I wondered] how someone could honestly be so heartless to say he knew how I felt a little over 24 hours after learning of my son’s death,” Rex shared. “After this encounter, I have never had any personal correspondence nor has my son been honored or his name spoken by this commander-in-chief or his administration on what I feel is because of their failure and poor planning to exit our troops from Afghanistan.”
Rex continued by stating she believed the media — along with the Biden administration — had been covering up vital facts regarding the bombing. In January, she realized, “everything, even the way my son died, is being covered up.”
From her conversations with other Marines, she learned that the incident at Abbey Gate “was a complex attack, not just a single suicide bombing.” After her social media accounts were silenced and her son’s name hardly mentioned, Rex knew she “was being targeted and shut down publicly by media outlets.”
“The lies that were told to most of those grieving families violate every standard of conduct and leadership and should trigger the resignation of those who were responsible,” said Boykin. But then, as the general told “Washington Watch” guest host and former Congressman Jody Hice, “This president has a very long history of lying to people — especially to the American people — that he was sworn to support and defend. I find that to be one of the most disgusting things. And I will tell you … [this] administration does not care about their soldiers. And the administration does not understand how critical they are to our security.”
“[W]hat we’re seeing right now,” Boykin continued, “is the demise of our military. When you see stuff like that, and you reflect on it for just a moment, you realize we need a commander-in-chief that not only cares about our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, and our Coast Guardsmen, but will do what is right by them to make sure that when the time comes to go to war, they’re ready to go to war and win. And all of this woke nonsense that we’re getting out of this administration is doing nothing but bringing us down. Keeping us from being ready to go to war.”
Although not all of the family’s questions have been answered, Issa vowed that progress would be made.
“It is not new for there to be military mistakes,” the congressman conceded. “But it is in fact a tradition that investigations don’t end until every question has been answered,” he said. “There are many, many questions … that have been asked that we will get to the bottom of.”
Until then, Freedom Alliance’s Tom Kilgannon reminded viewers, these families are dealing with tremendous emotional trauma “inflicted by this administration.” “It is unforgiveable. So we need to pray that they have the strength to carry this cross, to bear this burden, to be able to forgive, and to be able to honor their loved ones as time goes on.”
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