When it comes to the mess in Afghanistan, and the evacuation that ensued, one blunder after another has surfaced. The latest appears to be the failure of the larger State Department apparatus to support staff with mental issues stemming from the evacuation effort.
According to Politico, a top VA official suggested the offer on August 26 after hearing that “a number” of State Department staffers were “experiencing much distress” after taking calls from people trying to escape Afghanistan before the looming deadline to remove US forces.
In an email to colleagues, VA acting Undersecretary of Health Steven Lieberman reportedly wrote that he suspected the State Department did not have “an effective process in place to deal with this type of distress.”
“We could have some of our Vet Center staff provide support virtually if the State Dept were interested,” Lieberman wrote.
According to Politico, the VA offered to make available its 24-7 support hotline that focuses on PTSD and suicide prevention, as well as provide in-person support for State Department personnel in countries temporarily housing evacuated Afghans bound for America.
State Department officials ultimately decided against accepting the offer, angering some employees…
“My colleagues need help. And I think the resources need to be provided. It’s really disturbing to me that there was an opportunity for us to have help, given to us by the Department of Veterans Affairs that was rejected,” one employee said. “It’s a disgrace, and leadership should be ashamed of themselves.”
“This experience broke a lot of people, including me,” another State Department official said. “We were all getting inundated by personal requests to help specific people from everyone we’ve ever known or worked with. And we were powerless to do anything, really. Feeling like you’re supposed to be the government’s 911, but knowing the call for help didn’t go very far beyond you was extremely demoralizing.”
Demoralizing and insulting given that the Biden camp essentially surrendered Afghanistan back to the very people Americans fought to defeat for two decades. And now, not only were there Americans left behind but the people who had to tell them they couldn’t help aren’t being provided with the treatment that would help them deal with the aftermath.
This is Biden’s State Department.
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