Afghanistan: An Open Letter on Behalf of All Veterans

Good afternoon. 

My heart is breaking right now.  I have been watching the TV since the announcement this morning of the suicide bombing at the Abbey Gate at Kabul Airport.  As a Marine who served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968, I had no problem with our withdrawal from Afghanistan.  The problem I had was the way it was done.  We surrendered one of the largest Airbases in Afghanistan to protect an airfield with only one runway.  Instead of trying to pull our citizens out first, a decision was made to give up the entire country to the Taliban with an exit date of August 31st.  According to our President, the Taliban presented no credible threat to the United States, our troops, or our allies.  We allowed the Taliban to dictate the rules for our withdrawal.  Once our President used the date certain of August 31st the Taliban used that date as their “Red Line” stating that if we didn’t leave by that date there would be serious consequences. Why would we trust the Taliban to help provide security for our withdrawal?

From my point of view, today will go down as one of the biggest foreign policy failures in the short time that Joe Biden has been President.  We lost 11 members of my beloved United States Marine Corps and a Navy Medic.  I am watching as General Ken Mckenzie Jr. the Commander of the U.S. Command Center gives his update of what happened today.  He was asked how the bomber was able to get that close and all he could say “Today was a hard day”.  He has a very heavy heart.  How about the hearts of the families who have lost their loved ones?  

Today was the 1975 Saigon moment only back in 1975 there was no threat of suicide bombers.  I certainly hope that our President who is partially responsible for this debacle speaks directly to the American people, explains his actions and by that I mean I don’t want to hear “The Buck stops with him”.  It’s been over 6 hours now and we still haven’t heard from him.

I can only hope that when it is determined who is responsible for this deadly attack that our response will send the message that American lives lost will not have been in vain.


Tom Stassi
Tom Stassi
Thomas J. Stassi was a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran having served 3 1/2 years from 1966 to 1969. He was sworn in as Syracuse Police Officer in 1970 having served for 20 years before retiring as a Detective in 1990. During his career he served in the Uniform Division, a Major Felony Unit investigating Homicides, Burglaries, Rapes, and was the recipient of "The Medal of Valor" award. Tom also worked as an undercover investigator in Gambling, Narcotics, and Prostitution. After his retirement, he worked in the Onondaga County District Attorneys Office for five years as a Senior Investigator.

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  1. Dear Tom (my fellow Jarhead), your posting hits home to all of us veterans who proudly served our country. My brother Mike’s response is mine as well.
    President Biden, his advisors, along with the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State and the senior military leadership should all immediately resign in disgrace.
    Our courageous and brave troops deserve better and demand true competent leadership!
    Danny Pitocco, Corporal USMC 67-71
    Retired Captain, USAR,

    • Danny thankyou for your comment. Anyone who knows someone in the military knows that when we signed on we realized the possible cost. In the Marine Corps when someone says “Semper Fi” the usual response from the Marine is “Do or Die”!
      No truer words were ever spoken as a result of what happened yesterday.
      When I was in Vietnam we all realized to a man that “The Politicians start the wars but it is up to us, both men and women to fight the wars”! I am still trying to wrap my head around the words of General Mckenzie Jr. It was without any emotion and as if those Marines were nothing more than collateral damage.
      Semper Fi
      Tom Stassi, Sgt. USMC 66-69

  2. Well said Tom and thank you for your service. “Everything rises and falls on leadership”. I believe this is a principle that applies to all levels of leadership, from the business community to the military. I have served, but have not been in Afghanistan. My son spent three combat tours as a Marine in Afghaistan and Iraq. With so much loss of life and limb over the last 20 years it should be disheartening to every American – regardless of party affiliation – that we have a leader who is clearly not up to the task, and is singularly responsible for leaving the field of battle in such an ill-conceived, foolish and cowardly manner. Our allies are right to question how it will be possible to trust partnering with the USA ever again – certainly not as long as this administration is in power. I agree with a British commander who said as Commander-in-Chief Biden should be court-marshaled. This is a self-inflicted stain on our country and will be for many years to come. Our left-leaning ‘news’ media bears at least part of the responsibility for allowing someone to campaign from a basement…..never asking the hard questions…….never taking the true measure of the man. They agreed with his liberal agenda, so they let him slide through and they continue to do so to this day. I doubt much will change in that regard. One of our founding fathers made the point that our form of government depends very much on God-fearing men and women being at the helm. We are beginning to see what happens when that is not the case – as if Obama was not enough. Assuming a free and fair mid-term election (and sadly that may be assuming too much), it appears the best we can hope for is that Biden’s last 2 years in office will be spent as a lame duck; he is certainly qualified for that. Thank you again for your article.