Biden and his administration have received sharp criticism from veterans and those currently in the military for their handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
A SEAL's Version
One critic, a retired Navy SEAL, put out his own version of how he felt the speech should have gone. The video, released on Instagram, subsequently went viral as Jocko Willink talks to the American people as if he were the president.
The video was captioned, "If I were president, and I had put our country into the current situation in Afghanistan, I would tell America, our allies, our enemies, and the world, something like this….” In the video, shot in black and white, Willink takes responsibility for the blunders made during the withdrawal.
“Good evening. I wanted to give you an update on the current situation in Afghanistan. As you know, we were set to leave Afghanistan this month, and as we began the final drawdown, I made some critical errors.”
The strong opening was quickly followed up by some proper accountability and reasoning. The three-and-a-half-minute video came on the heels of Kabul falling to the Taliban and the subsequent chaos that has been seen as people attempt to flee the country.
One of the main points of the video is that Willink accepts the majority of the blame and admits that "tens of thousands of Americans" as well as allies are "stranded." He also talks about the steps he would take to clean up his mess.
“In the next 48 hours, America will be in control of most major airports in Afghanistan. Any resistance we meet from the Taliban or otherwise — when we seize these airports — will be destroyed completely and without mercy. Anyone who interferes with these operations will be killed."Jocko Willink
He also offered Afghanistan continued support for as long as the enemy is "a threat to humanity or the good people of Afghanistan." Finally, he said, “May God bless America, and may God have mercy on the souls of our enemies because we will not.”
Jocko Willink's address is how a true leader and anyone in his administration should address their nation amid a crisis they created. Instead, the American people are left with vague answers and strange comparisons. Instead of a marathon run of pass the buck, the U.S. and its allies deserve a whole lot better.