Jocko Willink, a retired Navy SEAL, took to Instagram to post a brief video Monday imagining he was the U.S. commander-in-chief during an address to the nation about the Afghanistan calamity and steps that he would take to resolve the problem.
The Biden administration has been on the receiving end of sharp criticism from those who say the U.S. withdrawal could hardly have gone any worse. Jen Psaki, the White House press officer, grew visibly annoyed during a briefing when she was asked about “stranded” Americans. She said it was inaccurate to say they are stranded and reconfirmed the U.S. commitment to bring home every American who wants to leave.Willink appeared in the black-and-white video in a black t-shirt and close-cropped haircut. He sounded firm and spoke in short bursts of declarative sentences. He explained in the video caption that this is how he would address the situation to the world.
He admitted that he made “critical errors” in underestimating the Taliban’s capabilities. He said the blame was on him alone. He admitted that the Americans and Afghan allies were stranded, but said they “will not be for long.”
He spent most of the speech proving the steps he would take to rectify the problem.
“In the next 48 hours, America will be in control of most major airports in Afghanistan,” he said. “Any resistance we meet from the Taliban or otherwise—when we seize these airports—will be destroyed completely and without mercy.”
He said gaining control of these airports will allow U.S. forces to conduct swift rescue missions throughout the country.
“Any person who interferes with these operations will be killed,” he said.
He also said he would order troops to either retake or destroy weapons and equipment left behind by fleeing Afghan troops.
“Any person utilizing, guarding, or located in close proximity to these weapons or equipment will be killed,” he said.
He said once the Americans and Afghans are extracted and the weapons either retrieved or destroyed, the U.S. will leave the country. But he vowed to keep a close eye on possible terrorist activities or human rights violations by employing surveillance technology. He also said the U.S. will support freedom fighters in the country through airstrikes and with Special Forces units.
He said the U.S. will continue the support until the enemy is no longer a threat to America or “the good people of Afghanistan.”