Democrats urge concern for Utah veterans in wake of Afghan tragedy

The Veteran's Caucus of the Utah Democratic Party is urging service members and veterans made distraught by recent tragic news from Afghanistan to contact the national Veterans' Crisis Hotline at 800-273-8255.

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Democrats are responding to renewed chaos in Afghanistan with calls of concern for distraught Utah veterans and support for Afghan refugees.

In a statement released Thursday, members of the Utah Democratic Party’s Veteran’s Caucus called recent news and images of the Taliban take-over in Afghanistan “horrific.”

“It’s critical to recognize that there are many within our military and veterans communities who are now grieving,” according to Democrat officials. “(They are) dealing with a flood of emotions while trying to process the events of the last few days against the last two decades of operations in that country.

“For many (veterans and service members), this pain is only compounded by bitter memories of sacrifice and loss within our community.”

This latest crisis in Afghanistan was created by President Joe Biden’s recent precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from that nation, leaving thousands of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies to the mercies of triumphant Taliban terrorists.

In the midst of these tragic developments, Democratic officials are advising that friends and neighbors should check in on veterans and members of Utah’s military community who may be struggling with the emotional toll of the recent news.

“For those who are hurting right now,” the Democratic statement read, “please know that you are not alone. Your sacrifices and efforts do matter and are not wasted. What you are experiencing is legitimate. The grief is real, but you do not have to deal with it alone.”

The Democrats advise that veterans and service members in crisis or family members, friends or neighbors concerned about them should call the National Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255. Chat options can also be accessed online at www.veteranscirsisonline.net

Maj. Gen. Michael J. Turley of the Utah National Guard echoed the Democrats’ concerns in an Aug. 18 message intended to console his troops as disaster unfolds in Afghanistan.

“Since that tragic September day nearly 20 years ago,” Turley said, “the Utah National Guard has sent thousands of dedicated service members (overseas) to ensure that we would never experience another 9/11 … Although we would have preferred a different outcome (in Afghanistan), we would like to focus on the fact that the primary mission of the U.S. armed forces engaging in the Global War on Terror has been to keep America safe, preserve our way of life and prevent another terrorist attack on our soil.

We have been successful in that mission and faithful in that duty.”

The Utah adjutant general acknowledged that many veterans are now facing a “roller-coaster ride of emotions” brought on by the ultimate Taliban victory in Afghanistan.

“Just like we were there for each other during the past 20 years,” Turley counseled, “we must be there for each other now. We ask you to talk about your experiences and what you are feeling with your teammates or any of the Utah National Guard, military or veteran affairs resources that are available to you.”

The Democratic statement also applauded Gov. Spencer Cox’ recent commitment to welcome refugees from Afghanistan to Utah, especially those who supported U.S. troops as translators and guides.

Utah Republicans are meanwhile engaged in more direct efforts to assist U.S. citizens and Afghan allies now trapped in that beleaguered country.

GOP senators Mile Lee and Mitt Romney said Thursday that their staff members are jointly working around the clock to facilitate the evacuation of U.S. and Afghan citizens.

Romney also accused the Biden administration of attempting to “defend the indefensible” by trying to explain away the unfolding disaster in Afghanistan.

Romney argued that U.S. civilians and our Afghan allies should have been withdrawn first, followed by U.S. military forces.

In the wake of the debacle created by Biden’s ill-conceived troop withdrawal, Lee and Romney said that the White House “must now do everything it can to bring U.S. citizens home and safely evacuate Afghan allies, many of whom have risked their lives to help American forces during the past 20 years.”

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1 Comment

  • Struggling Mom August 25, 2021 at 10:50 am Reply

    Of course, the Utah democrat party praised Gov. Cox because we all know we can take even more people in Utah. I mean what’s a few more when we have rises housing rents that are looking like California. Buying a home is so out of reach for a ton in Utah residents (400,000 or more). Rising everything, but why not bring more non citizens here. Also as a veteran myself I find it hard to believe the Utah democratic party cares for us at all! Look what the democrats call America loving people (racist). I’m a proud veteran who loves my country, when our we going to start caring for Americans that are suffering? Why don’t we let all the refugees go to Washington DC and live in the homes of politicians, they can pay for them. They make enough on the backs of Americans. Gov. Cox open your home up to everyone in need. I’m sure Romney take a few refugees he’s a millionaire. No, our tax payer dollars or the 3.5 trillion their going to pass is paying for everyone right? What a joke to Veterans, saying you care. Government hasn’t given a damn about me a veteran or my fellow vets for years.

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