First on CNN: Retired top military officials push for bill to help Afghans

Politics

By Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent

Roughly two dozen former leaders of the US military — including retired chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former Supreme Allied commander of NATO and several former commanders in Afghanistan — sent a letter to US congressional leaders Saturday evening urging them to act quickly to save Afghan allies who currently run the risk of deportation.

Specifically, the retired generals and admirals are asking congressional leaders to include the Afghan Adjustment Act in the omnibus spending bill, CNN is first to report.

The letter, organized by #AfghanEvac, argues that the legislation is not only “a moral imperative,” it furthers “the national security interests of the United States.”

If it fails to pass, the retired flag officers write, “the United States will be less secure. As military professionals, it was and remains our duty to prepare for future conflicts. We assure you that in any such conflict, potential allies will remember what happens now with our Afghan allies. If we claim to support the troops and want to enable their success in wartime, we must keep our commitments today.”

Signatories include names many Americans might know, such as former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Joseph Dunford, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen and Air Force General Richard Myers; former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Admiral Jim Stavridis; and the Special Ops Commander during the bin Laden raid, Admiral William H. McRaven.

Other signatories served as commanders in Afghanistan such as Army Gens. Stan McChrystal, David McKiernan, John “Mick” Nicholson Jr. and David Rodriguez.

“With the Afghan Adjustment Act, we would implement the strictest security vetting in our immigration system for Afghans, keeping our country secure,” the letter says, with the former flag officers pointing out that the legislation will maintain “our country’s binding commitments, too often sealed in blood, that were made to men and women who joined us, shohna-ba-shohna (shoulder-to-shoulder).”

Those pushing the legislation argue that time is running out for the tens of thousands of Afghans who are in the US and now run a risk of being deported if the Afghan Adjustment Act doesn’t become law. Many Republicans in Congress raised genuine concerns about vetting and other issues, but the legislation supporters argue those issues have been addressed.

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