This is a message to my military brothers and sisters:
We served honorably. We followed the orders we were given and we did our jobs to the best of our abilities. We achieved a majority of the goals we reached for. We avenged 9/11 and we held the people responsible for those horrendous attacks accountable.
We won the war.
The politicians who had the responsibility to take our military victory and turn it into a lasting peace, failed. For 20 years they squabbled and bickered and bowed to pressure from their parties. They failed to find a way to help the people of Afghanistan settle their differences and see the benefits of a free society. And now, the oppressive Taliban is again taking control.
The politicians lost their war.
Don’t confuse our military victory with their political defeat. Be proud of your service. Be proud of the fact that your actions gave people 20 years of freedom that they would otherwise not have had. And be hopeful that despite the current darkness, the seeds of freedom are still there, waiting to sprout.
The sacrifices made by you, your friends, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice were not in vain. We brought justice to our enemies and freedom to an oppressed people. That was our job.
And we succeeded.
It was theirs to keep it going. And they failed.
Joseph M. Kroll, MSgt, USAF, Ret.