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Veterans have mixed emotions about Afghanistan attack

'This is not what we do,' veteran says of military
Posted at 11:28 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 07:59:59-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Thursday's attack in Afghanistan has many veterans speaking out about the way the evacuation process is being handled. Some want to focus on the lives lost while others say the evacuation process is a mess.

The loss of lives is a pain very few people can comprehend.

"What I think is important for your viewers to know is that, right now, there are families of all those 12 service members that maybe not have heard yet but their service member has died," Tom Porter said.

Porter is the executive vice president for government affairs with Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America.

He said the pain for so many military families right now is the uncertainty of not knowing if their service member loved one is among the victims.

"There are families right now that are expecting a knock on the door and some will get that knock and that's very very sad," he said.

John Rourke is an Army veteran who has served in Iraq to Bosnia. He said the ongoing evacuation has been mismanaged from the beginning.

"To see what I saw today and just see how chaotic everything is, this is not what we do. That's the military. We control chaos," he said.

Rourke's focus is for America's bravest still on the ground in Afghanistan and what will remain of Afghanistan.

"What do you think is going to happen to the rest of the people that are left behind there? If this is what happened today do you think it's magically going to get better?" he said.

Porter remains mindful we are now just weeks shy of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"It tells us that there is still that risk around the world and that we've still got to remain attentive, vigilant and know there's going to be additional sacrifices that are still going to come around," he said.

Porter said there's going to be a lot of finger-pointing. He believes finding out what should or shouldn't have happened will help prevent another attack.