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'It's a disgrace to this country to depart like this': Vets watch Afghanistan deteriorate amid US withdrawal

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As Americans and the rest of the world witness the rapid fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban as the U.S. moves to withdraw, the unfolding situation can be particularly painful for U.S. veterans and Gold Star families.

"It's a disgrace to this country to depart like this," said retired Army Colonel Dave Brostrom, whose son Jonathan died in combat in Afghanistan in 2008. "This is very disheartening," he said, according to CBS News.

"You know, my son died trying to protect his fellow soldiers, but for the ultimate cause of stabilizing the country and establishing a good government, yes, it was a sacrifice that was for naught," Brostrom noted when asked whether it felt like his son gave his life for nothing, the outlet reported.

Republican Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, explained that he has swung between rage and grief.

"You know it, it's a painful back and forth between rage and — and grief, to be perfectly candid with you," he said, according to WMFE. "It is incredibly difficult to watch so many of us, not just veterans, but particularly Gold Star families, even 9/11 victims have reached out, you know, asking, was it all in vain, just watching all of that blood, sweat, and tears, and treasure go up in smoke. And I want everyone to hear me loud and clear that it was not in vain. Their sacrifice was not in vain that America was kept safe for the last 20 years. But it's incredibly, it is an incredibly difficult time. And for anyone who's going to a very dark place, please, please reach out. There's a veteran crisis hotline and you're not alone."

Other lawmakers have also been sharing the Veterans Crisis Line on social media. People can choose to call on the phone, text message, or chat online.

"I just can't help thinking about what a waste it is. I can't allow myself to think about how after all that blood and treasure, it ends like this," retired Army Colonel Janet Holliday said, according to the New York Times.

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