COLUMBUS, Ohio – The deaths of at least 13 American servicemen and servicewomen and 75 civilians in Kabul on Thursday has again sparked even more criticism of President Joe Biden’s leadership from several candidates for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in Ohio as well as a Cincinnati congressman.
Three candidates – J.D. Vance, Mike Gibbons, and Jane Timken in statements sent to The Ohio Star – called for Biden’s resignation nearly two weeks after the Taliban rolled into Kabul and Afghani provincial capitals as the U.S. military scrambled to evacuate its personnel as well and U.S. and select Afghani civilians.
“This is dereliction of duty at the highest level,” writes Gibbon in his statement, repeating his August 16 call for Biden to step down.
The Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State – best known for the failed insurgency in Iraq to establish an Islamic caliphate several years ago – took responsibility for the bombing at the airport entrance and a second at a nearby hotel that also injured other U.S. military personnel and civilians.
“I am furious and sickened that the situation has deteriorated so swiftly that an attack of this magnitude can happen,” writes Rep. Brad Wenstrup, an Iraqi War veteran and U.S. Army Reserve colonel.
He urged Biden and the U.S. military command in Afghanistan to take full control of the evacuation and not depend on the Taliban sect to secure the airport perimeter serving as the base of American withdrawal operations. “Out strategic and tactical options do not have to depend upon the Taliban,” Wenstrup’s statement reads.
Mark Pukita, a suburban Columbus businessman also running for the GOP nomination for the open Senate seat, also called for accountability from the military leadership for “a date that will live in infamy.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley “needs to resign and let someone who’s more concerned about getting Americans home safely from Afghanistan than teaching Critical Race Theory to the troops,” writes Pukita on his Facebook site.
Vance said Biden “has proven himself as a failure for the American people. He should resign.”
Timken repeated her call for Biden to resign. “If Biden doesn’t resign, he should be impeached immediately,” she said.
Gibbons echoed that call for impeachment if Biden does not step down.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman, R-OH, who will not seek re-election in 2022, noted it had been 18 months since the U.S. had lost members of the armed services to hostile forces in Afghanistan. He called on people to express their gratitude for members of the military “who put themselves in harm’s way” every day and the lifting of prayers for those killed and wounded at the airport.
“There will be plenty of time for finger pointing and politics,” he writes in a statement sent to the media.
Wenstrup also called for Americans “to stand together as a nation in the face of evil.”
“Peace,” he writes in his statement, “through strength.”
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Brian R. Ball is a reporter for The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Send news tips to him at [email protected]
Photos “J.D. Vance” by J.D. Vance for Senate, “Jane Timken” by Jane Timken for U.S. Senate, “Mike Gibbons” by Mike Gibbons for Ohio, “Mark Pukita” by Mark Pukita for Senate.