Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently stated he held "no regrets" over the disastrous 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL) commented on the remarks on Fox, calling them "sad and pathetic."
"Secretary Austin during the House Armed Services hearing today: No regrets on Afghanistan and zero accountability for anyone up and down the chain of command. Sad and pathetic," said Rep. Waltz.
Secretary Austin during the House Armed Services hearing today: No regrets on Afghanistan and zero accountability for anyone up and down the chain of command. Sad and pathetic. pic.twitter.com/o9KEquIV3z
— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) March 29, 2023
Additionally, Rep. Waltz called Sec. Austin's remarks "gutting," "heart-wrenching," and "disappointing."
"I think this current world in chaos started with the debacle; the withdrawal from Afghanistan. And it was gutting and heart-wrenching and disappointing today to hear the Secretary of Defense say, number one, he has no regrets, and number two, not a single military officer has been disciplined, relieved, removed, anything as a result of that," said Waltz.
The Washington Times noted that while Sec. Austin's conscience seems clear, Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) pointed out that the former Central Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie (Ret.) held "many regrets" over the withdrawal, making Austin's remark more egregious.
Moreover, Waltz implicated that the withdrawal signaled weakness to America's adversaries, as did Representative Cory Mills (R-FL) in January.
"That led Russia to believe that it could go on the march, China's using it in its propaganda, Iran's on the march towards a nuclear weapon hitting our bases all over the Middle East, because they believe America is weak and it was evidenced by how we withdrew after twenty years of war," Waltz continued.
Host Sandra Smith spoke of hosting one of the Gold Star families who lost their son at the Kabul Airport during the withdrawal, saying it was "absolutely heartbreaking to this day, with so many demanding answers."
Waltz reassured Smith that "we will keep driving for accountability for those Gold Star families."