GOP Lawmakers Seek Symbolic Honor for Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

The Biden administration’s August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan rates as one of the most catastrophic failures in U.S. history. No one has suffered more from that failure than the families of 13 service members killed during the calamitous withdrawal. With this in mind, five Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have asked the Department of Defense to grant posthumous promotions. On Friday, the GOP lawmakers, led by Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida, formally recommended promotions for 12 slain service members. U.S. Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, one of the 13 who lost their lives during a terrorist attack on the Kabul airport, received a posthumous promotion in September 2021. Reps. Mike McCaul of Texas, Cory Mills of Florida, Brian Mast of Florida and Darrell Issa of California joined Waltz. Together, the five GOP lawmakers addressed a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and U.S. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. The letter described a recent meeting with families of the fallen service members, all but one of them U.S. Marines. “We were surprised to learn that the Marines and soldier had not already been posthumously promoted,” the GOP lawmakers wrote. Thus, they recommended “honorary promotion” for the following service members killed in the line of duty: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza of Rio Bravo, Texas Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee of Sacramento, California Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover of Salt Lake City Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss of Corryton, Tennessee Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, of Indio, California. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum of Jackson, Wyoming Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola of Rancho Cucamonga, California Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui of Norco, California Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Lawrence, Massachusetts Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez of Logansport, Indiana Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz of St. Charles, Missouri Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page of Omaha, Nebraska According to Air Force Times, the promotions would qualify as “largely symbolic measures,” but they “can have small impacts on survivors’ benefits.” Given that the U.S. government regularly ships billions of dollars overseas, we might strongly prefer large impacts on survivors’ benefits. But we will take posthumous promotions as a worthy first step. Still, we should not expect even that “largely symbolic” step from the current administration. For one thing, administration officials will not want to revisit their Afghanistan debacle, even for the sake of doing good. As for President Joe Biden himself, what should we expect from the man who, when asked about the devastation wrought by the Aug. 8 Maui wildfire, replied “no comment“? Likewise, what should we expect from the man who vacations while the world burns? How hard does he plan to work to prevent future casualties? Finally, what should we expect from the man who, when the remains of these same 13 service members arrived home, infamously and disrespectfully looked down at his watch as if inconvenienced by the flag-draped coffins and the entire ceremony? Credit the GOP lawmakers for trying to do the right thing. Under the Biden administration, however, we already know what to expect.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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