Soldiers’ local mental health hotlines were flooded with calls on the day Kabul succumbed to the Taliban. Tanya Bradsher, the top aide of the Veterans Benefits Department, sent an email to the agency’s senior personnel as Islamic militia fighters poured into Kabul.
The Disaster is Causing a Crisis
To paraphrase Bradsher: can we make it clear in our communications channels that the VA has assets? I’m thinking specifically about vet clinics, but I’m open to any and all options. For so many people, this is a disaster.
Retired soldiers and active military members are blown away by the rapidity with which insurgents stormed across the nation. They are also saddened over the implications for the hundreds of friends still in the nation, especially translators, who are now in danger of being abandoned.
From Covid shutdowns to a disaster in Afghanistan, children, veterans, & our American people as a whole have become more susceptible to mental health issues. Check on your family & our veterans. We pray for affected families & those who may be struggling. #SuicideAwarenessMonth pic.twitter.com/Dni9auPBA1
— Republican Party of Arizona (@AZGOP) September 3, 2021
Before 13 military members were murdered in cold blood at Kabul airfield on Aug. 26, the emotional strain was clear. It was especially clear for more than 700,000 men who served in Afghanistan at a certain point during the 20-year conflict…and there were even individuals in the Biden administration who were raising the alarm.
We should keep an eye on suicides to see if there is an increase, Bradsher wrote on Aug. 15. The suffering, despair, frustration, and anger that historical and contemporary service components are experiencing as a result of the United States’ haphazard exit from Afghanistan is real.
It has thrown the Biden White House’s connections with veterans’ groups into disarray; many of them are publicly trying to blame the head of state for the withdrawal’s mismanagement. This has prompted the government, which has shrugged aside Republican’s and Democrats’ criticism of the war’s conclusion, to go into full damage control.
Authorities from the presidency on down are now trying to quell a developing reaction among the veteran community. The veteran community was first attracted to President Biden’s experiences as a military parent who has seen a history of family tragedy. The endeavor demonstrates how vital the relationship is to both the White House and Biden individually.
So far, it has done little or nothing to alleviate veterans’ frustration and sorrow
The botched withdrawal has been a tough scene to watch for our nation's veterans.https://t.co/aEot7eplVf
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 31, 2021
Tom Porter is the senior vice president of government relations for the Iraq and Afghanistan Vets of America (IAVA). He said the following about the president’s management of the troop reduction in Kabul: I have not yet spoken to anyone who isn’t furious or dissatisfied in how this was conducted throughout.
With over 425,000 members who participated in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan conflicts, IAVA is the biggest veterans association that represents the post-9/11 era. Nobody believes there was a strategy.
A call flow report to the VA Agency’s crisis line delivered to McDonough on August 16 reflects this. One common trend is that veterans are furious, angry, and frightened; meanwhile, their stress, sadness, and PTSD are all on the rise.
The second trend was veterans’ worries about dozens of translators who supported the US over decades and are now facing Taliban retaliation.