According to a report, between August 13-29, while the Biden administration was conducting the last stages of their disastrous exit from Afghanistan, the Veterans Affairs Suicide hotline received over 35,000 calls from veterans.
“Veterans placed more than 35,000 calls to the Veterans Crisis Line between Aug. 13 and 29, according to VA data provided to the Washington Examiner,” The Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday. A spokesman for the VA informed the Examiner that its own analysis showed there was a roughly 7% increase from the same period last year.
The Atlantic Council wrote:
Following the imminent end of US military operations in Afghanistan, we should expect a new spike in PTSD. The scenes of chaos in Kabul and of unchallenged Taliban seizures across the country compound the narrative that the US failed. Photographs of the Taliban in salvaged US military uniforms and gear, and stories about the abandonment of Afghan interpreters and others who supported American units evoke frustration and sadness among vets. Comparisons to the US pullout from Saigon and European leaders accusing the United States of “weakening NATO” further degrade the resilience of American veterans.
Afghanistan veteran Matt Zeller, chair of the Association of Wartime Allies board of directors, told CNN, “I’m now sitting here 20 years removed almost from the very event that propelled me into the military, which was the attacks of September 11. And now I’m wondering if the last 20 years were completely pointless and in vain. All the friends I lost in Afghanistan — what were their deaths for? What was their sacrifice for if this was the end state? I don’t think I did anything worthwhile at this point.”
Tom Porter, the executive vice president for government relations at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), said to CNN, “The vast majority of veterans I’m hearing from have great concern for the veterans that have sacrificed so much and the families that are Gold Star families that lost their sons and their husbands and their fathers and mothers and other family members over the last 20 years. They are wondering, was their loved ones’ service worth it?”
Elliot Ackerman, a former Marine who served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in The New York Times:
It’s not only Afghans for whom the Biden administration has shown a lack of empathy. It’s also America’s veterans. It shouldn’t fall to our service members to clean up the mess made by this catastrophic withdrawal. And yet it has. For years, veterans have been calling for the issuing of long-promised visas for Afghan allies to be sped up. The calls only grew louder after Mr. Biden announced his withdrawal plan. In April, a chorus of veterans’ groups pleaded with the White House to begin a mass evacuation of Afghans. A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to the White House in June asking why the Pentagon had not been mobilized to protect Afghan allies, warning “the time is now.”
And yet Mr. Biden went ahead, over the pleas and against the advice of so many. The warnings came true.