HOUSTON - As the capitulation of Afghanistan to the Taliban unfolds after two decades of warfare, Congressman and retired Navy Seal Dan Crenshaw has a message for both critics of U.S. involvement and those, like himself, who served and sacrificed there.
"The entire mission in Afghanistan was keeping America safe and preventing another 9/11 and so when people foolishly and ignorantly ask - What did we get for 20 years of warfare?" said Crenshaw. "Well, you got no more 9/11's. That's what you got."
It is a belief shared by fellow Navy Seal and TX-8 Congressional candidate Morgan Luttrell who is urging fellow Afghan war veterans to "hold their heads high."
"We kept the Taliban at bay. We kept other terroristic groups from having the ability to put a foothold in there and to create something they had before 9/11 kicked off," said Luttrell. "That kept our country safe. That was a large part of our national security, doing what we did over there for the last two decades."
In view of the months available to prepare, Crenshaw is furious about what he views as the Biden Administration's lack of planning for an orderly withdrawal ahead of Kabul's fall.
"I underestimated Biden's incompetence, to be honest. I knew they weren't getting our interpreters out, our Afghan partners out," said Crenshaw. "I didn't know that they had also failed to have a plan for U.S. citizens, so it's just way worse than we thought."
It is a potential outcome that could cost untold lives as a new and brutal regime settles old scores.
"I think we would be foolish if we didn't think that was a possibility," said Luttrell.
"You can absolutely expect a huge amount of bloodshed and hangings and executions you are already seeing that," added Crenshaw.
According to reports the U.S. military aims to evacuate up to 9,000 people per day. It's also estimated 80,000 Afghan allies and thousands of American citizens have yet to leave the country.
The Biden administration says it is now "laser-focused" on getting people out "safely and swiftly."