The war in Afghanistan has been lost because of commanders in Washington, veteran and Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., said while appearing Monday on Fox News.
"I said it to Vietnam veterans and veterans of the war on terror — and it also goes to optics: Vietnam was not lost because of those that trudged selflessly through the jungles and rice paddies in Vietnam. It was lost because of Pennsylvania Avenue," said Mast, who lost his legs in a roadside bomb explosion while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
"And Afghanistan was not lost because of those that I stood shoulder to shoulder with that went over those mountains, that fell off a cliff, that took incoming mortar and sniper rounds. It wasn't lost because of them. It was lost because of Pennsylvania Avenue."
The last remaining members of the U.S. military flight took off from Hambid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Monday, nearly 20 years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.
Now the Taliban are in charge again.
''Tonight's withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation, but also the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after Sept. 11, 2001,'' Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., head of the military's Central Command, said Monday.
''No words from me could possibly capture the full measure of sacrifices and accomplishments of those who served,'' he said.
Mast said military officials should have spoken up against the withdrawal.
"The generals needed to say: 'Absolutely not: I will not put our men and women at risk just because you want to have a 9/11 celebration and have your name across the newspapers and the right headlines,'" Mast said, suggesting that Biden chose Sept. 11, 2021, as the initial withdrawal date because of optics.
"That did not meet any strategic objective of eliminating terrorists, of making America safer, of making Europe or the Middle East safer [or] a worthy accomplishment to reach."
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