Gold Star families whose loved ones were killed in the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan two years ago expressed their anger and frustration towards President Biden and his administration during a roundtable discussion before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mark Schmitz, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, who was among the 13 U.S. service members killed in the bomb blast on August 26, 2021, delivered a scathing rebuke to President Biden, calling him a "disgrace to this nation" with "more American blood" on his hands "than any president in U.S. history."
Schmitz accused the Biden administration of failing to hold anyone accountable for the attack and criticized the president for not uttering the names of the fallen service members in public. He recounted the moment he witnessed President Biden checking his watch repeatedly during the dignified transfer of remains at Dover Air Force Base, saying, "All I wanted to do was shout out, 'It's 2 -ing 30, -hole.' But out of respect for the other grieving families, I bit my tongue once again."
Schmitz demanded investigations into President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for their alleged involvement in knowingly aiding terrorists and abandoning U.S. civilians and allied partners. He concluded his remarks by suggesting that President Biden and his cabinet members should retire if they find it difficult to trust and support the military.
Other Gold Star family members also expressed their frustration with the administration's decision-making during the Afghanistan withdrawal. Kelly Barnett, the mother of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, accused the administration of knowing that the attack would happen or even planning it. She criticized their focus on shaking hands with the Taliban instead of prioritizing the safety of U.S. service members.
As the hearing was about to begin, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, released a statement acknowledging the pain and loss endured by the Gold Star families. He emphasized the U.S. owes them transparency, honesty, accountability, and the truth about what happened to their loved ones. Milley defended the military's efforts in briefing the families and stated that corrective actions would be taken if necessary.
The Pentagon also expressed its condolences to the Gold Star families and commended the efforts of all service members during the evacuation operations. It reiterated the findings of the investigation into the attack, stating that it was not preventable without compromising the mission to evacuate as many people as possible.
The roundtable discussion highlighted the deep anguish felt by the Gold Star families who lost their loved ones in the Abbey Gate bombing. They demanded answers, accountability, and changes to prevent similar tragedies in the future. The criticism towards President Biden and his administration's handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan continues to mount, with calls for resignations and further investigations.
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