AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas politicians with ties to the war in Afghanistan are weighing in on the situation overseas Tuesday.
Veterans who served in Afghanistan are having a difficult time watching what’s unfolding in Afghanistan now.
“Emotionally, it’s excruciating. You know, it feels like someone in my family died,” Texas veteran Jim Penniman-Morin said Tuesday. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004.
He said it’s been a struggle accepting how it’s ended.
“This government was unsavable in Afghanistan. And, you know, that’s a very difficult conclusion for me to accept, because I’m an optimist,” Penniman-Morin said.
Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales, who also served in the war, is offering veterans like Penniman-Morin his condolences, but with a reminder.
“I will tell my fellow brothers and sisters in arms, we did our part. We kept America safe for two decades,” Rep. Gonzales, (TX-23), said Tuesday.
Gonzales explained he supported the decision to withdraw, but disapproved of the Biden administration’s execution of the withdrawal.
“The Biden administration wanted to get out of it as quickly as possible. I understand that, but they did it in a manner that was dishonorable, right, and dangerous,” Gonzales said.
“This is not a Biden problem. It is a problem America has had for 20 years with trillions and so many lives lost,” Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett said Tuesday.
Rep. Doggett (D-35) has been in office since the beginning of the war.
“I was there to vote for the resolution for us to go in initially,” Doggett explained.
He agreed that Biden’s withdrawal plan could have been better, but also points to political decisions made over the course of the 20-year war.
“President Bush prolonged the engagement, President Obama prolonged it further and added thousands of additional troops. President Trump, rather belatedly in his administration, announced a withdrawal,” Doggett explained.
Meanwhile, veterans are asking for support, not discouragement.
“We have the rest of our lives to sort this out, who’s, who’s more at fault. I think we should just recognize a period of grieving,” Penniman-Morin said.
He said he’s haunted by the memory of little kids he encountered overseas when he was fighting nearly 17 years ago.
“Those kids are all adults now. And some of them are serving in the Taliban. And some of them have been killed by the Taliban recently. And it’s hard not to just feel at some level like we let those kids down,” Penniman-Morin said.
He asks that anyone who knows a veteran who has served overseas, to reach out and offer support.
“If you know someone who served in Afghanistan, reach out to them and just see how they’re doing,” he added. “And just let them know you care. And that you feel like, this is our country’s loss, not just theirs.”