Rep. Francis X. Ryan (R-Lebanon), a retired Marine Reserve Colonel and veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, was joined by Reps. Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny), Abby Major (R-Armstrong), Tim O’Neal (R-Washington), and Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery), in expressing grave concerns and reservations about the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is well underway and nearly complete.
The veterans are taking issue with the method by which the administration is withdrawing and the void it is leaving in the aftermath. In fact, the Taliban is already moving in, using violence and occupying land.
“The actions of this administration relative to its hasty withdrawal is compromising almost 20 years of U.S. and allied efforts to stabilize the region in this war against terrorism,” said Ryan. “I have indicated throughout my career that a war against terrorism requires persistence and a strategy designed to prevail. This administration is achieving neither.”
Rep. Pennycuick noted candidly, “With our abrupt withdrawal, the interpreters, without whom we could not have operated, and who have consistently put their lives, and by extension, their families lives at risk for even working with U.S. Forces, will be in grave danger. This situation reminds me of the pictures of the helicopters leaving Vietnam with interpreters and others who worked with the U.S. Many more were left behind. Have we learned nothing from history?”
“Our experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq have taught us there is no easy way out and a U.S. presence in the region is necessary to maintain some measure of stability. Withdrawing now will result in escalating violence and the potential for widespread instability throughout the Middle East,” said Ryan.
The veterans all indicated that they, their fellow servicemembers and families sacrificed too much to stand idly by with our future global stability under threat by the administration’s actions.