The father of a US Marine killed in a suicide bombing at Abbey Gate, outside Kabul airport during the chaotic troop withdrawal in August 2021 said Tuesday that President Joe Biden has “more American blood” on his hands than any president in US history.
Speaking at the House Foreign Affairs Committee roundtable discussion with other Gold Star families, Mark Schmitz, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, said: “Not a single person has been held accountable.
“Our so-called leader can’t seem to even utter their (the deceased service members) names in public, not even once.”
“You are a disgrace to this nation,” Schmitz continued. “You have no business having ultimate command over our military, and I regret not saying that to your face when I had the opportunity in Dover. I felt it more important to bite my tongue, but I also had more important things on my mind at that time, like receiving my son’s lifeless body stateside.”
“Well, as you can probably tell by now, I’m done biting my tongue. You, sir, stole their lives, their futures, their dreams and have ripped apart 13 families. You cannot even man up and admit that.”
On August 26, 2021, a Daesh suicide bomber detonated his explosives, killing more than 150 people from Afghanistan and 13 US service members.
Schmitz requested investigations into Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken “for their involvement in intentionally leaving Bagram [Air Base] and all of its assets by knowingly aiding known terrorists, all while abandoning US civilians and allied partners.”
The Gold Star families at Tuesday’s hearing repeatedly criticized the administration for both the decision-making in the Afghanistan withdrawal and what they said was incomplete or incorrect information given to them.
Kelly Barnett, the mother of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, said: “They knew this was going to happen, or it was part of their plan. They were too busy shaking hands with the Taliban, cleaning up and making sure we left it clean and tidy for the Taliban to worry about giving our snipers the OK to make it all OK.”
As the hearing was about to begin, Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who has come under sharp criticism for his role in the withdrawal, released a statement in which he said the US owes Gold Star families “everything.”
“We owe them transparency, we owe them honesty, we owe them accountability. We owe them the truth about what happened to their loved ones,” Milley said in a statement to Fox News.
Addressing some of the claims from Gold Star families about incorrect information, Milley said: “I trust the Army, Navy and Marine Corps did the best they could in briefing the families who had loved ones killed at Abbey Gate. I believe the briefers gave every piece of information that they could. If there was issues with that, we need to take whatever corrective action is necessary,” he said.
The Pentagon meanwhile also released a statement, expressing its “deepest condolences to the Gold Star Families who lost loved ones during the tragic bombing at Abbey Gate.”
“We are forever grateful for their service, sacrifice, and committed efforts during the evacuation operations. We also commend the historic and monumental efforts of all our service men and women who served honorably during the withdrawal period from Afghanistan,” the statement reads.