Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0487
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Full Text of SR0487  102nd General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Kabul, Afghanistan fell to the advancing Taliban
3forces on August 15, 2021; and
4    WHEREAS, In scenes eerily reminiscent of the fall of
5Saigon in 1975, U.S. forces were forced to evacuate the U.S.
6Embassy in Kabul by helicopter, echoing and amplifying a dark
7moment in American history; and
8    WHEREAS, As these images unfolded, Americans from all
9walks of life watched in horror as the U.S. flag at the embassy
10was furled and embassy personnel fled from hostile combatants,
11as scenes of chaos and confusion deluged the international
12airport in Kabul, as young men plunged to their deaths after
13vainly attempting to latch themselves to departing evacuation
14planes, and as desperate parents pressed their children into
15the hands of U.S. service members, even at the price of
16separation, to ensure that their children had the chance to
17grow up free; and
18    WHEREAS, A terrorist bomb attack at the Kabul airport
19killed at least 169 Afghan civilians on August 26, 2021,
20including Sayed Obaidullah Amin, an Afghan interpreter who
21served alongside U.S. troops; countless others were wounded;



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1    WHEREAS, Eighteen U.S. service members were wounded in
2this attack, and an additional thirteen U.S. service members
3made the ultimate sacrifice, dying in the line of duty; and
4    WHEREAS, These brave men and women gave their lives to
5defend their fellow Americans and to uphold the U.S. flag and
6everything for which it stands; and
7    WHEREAS, August 26, 2021 was the deadliest day for the
8U.S. military in Afghanistan since 2011; and
9    WHEREAS, The U.S. government abandoned allies, ignored or
10neglected actionable intelligence, and sent contradictory
11signals in the face of the rapid Taliban advance; it was
12unprepared to evacuate U.S. citizens, allies, and the Afghan
13citizens who served alongside U.S. troops or to safeguard the
14U.S. troops guarding the airport in Kabul; and
15    WHEREAS, The Afghan allies of the U.S. paid a heavy price;
16Afghan forces remained in the field until the withdrawal of
17U.S. air support; 66,000 Afghan soldiers and policemen were
18killed fighting side by side with or under the direction of the
19international coalition led by the U.S.; more than 47,000
20Afghan civilians were killed throughout the conflict; and



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1    WHEREAS, The U.S. government abandoned the defensible and
2geopolitically important Bagram Air Field prior to the
3evacuation of U.S. citizens, allies, and fleeing Afghans; and
4    WHEREAS, Contrary to the American military ethos of
5leaving no man behind, the U.S. government has abandoned an
6unknown number of U.S. citizens, Afghan interpreters, and
7others who served directly alongside U.S. troops in
8Afghanistan; many were unable to escape prior to the final
9withdrawal of U.S. troops, leaving behind not only men but
10also women and children who will bear the brunt of the
11Taliban's repressive policies; and
12    WHEREAS, Upon announcing that the last U.S. troops had
13left Kabul, Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.,
14Commander of U.S. Central Command, stated that some U.S.
15citizens who wanted to leave Afghanistan had been left behind;
17    WHEREAS, Media sources have reported instances of innocent
18civilians and Afghan allies being raped, tortured, and
19executed by the Taliban and of Taliban fighters forcing young
20women and girls into so-called marriages; and
21    WHEREAS, The handling of the troop withdrawal by the U.S.
22has been widely panned and referred to as a total disaster,



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1egregiously mishandled, and flawed; and
2    WHEREAS, America's NATO allies have roundly and sharply
3criticized the handling of the drawdown and the current
4administration's go it alone approach; and
5    WHEREAS, American leadership apparently disregarded the
6appeals and calls of the leaders of the allied nations that
7have stood with the U.S. throughout two decades in Afghanistan
8during the critical moments prior to and following the fall of
9Kabul; and
10    WHEREAS, The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan undercut
11the global credibility of the U.S., its ability to inspire
12fear in its enemies, and its standing among its friends and
13allies while empowering its enemies at the expense of its
14friends; and
15    WHEREAS, The pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and
16the collapse of a friendly government to a hostile insurgency
17weakens America's defense and security posture in Central Asia
18and the Indian subcontinent; and
19    WHEREAS, Al-Qaeda and other militant groups, such as the
20so-called Islamic State, currently operate in Afghanistan and
21may, once again, use it as a base to train and launch terror



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1attacks against the U.S. and its allies; and
2    WHEREAS, Media reports indicate that the Taliban and its
3allies now possess tens of billions of dollars' worth of
4military gear and weapons that were manufactured in the U.S.,
5including Blackhawk helicopters, drones, night-vision goggles,
6and military vehicles that were seized following the American
7withdrawal; and
8    WHEREAS, For many veterans, particularly those who served
9in Afghanistan, the chilling images have reawakened old wounds
10and unearthed buried memories, causing them to question the
11purpose of their sacrifices; and
12    WHEREAS, Over the past weeks, many of these veterans have
13made phone calls, sent emails, and done everything in their
14power to facilitate the evacuation of Afghan friends and
15colleagues with whom they had served; and
16    WHEREAS, More than 2,400 U.S. service members died serving
17their country in Afghanistan, and countless others returned
18maimed and injured, forever changed by their wartime
19experiences; and
20    WHEREAS, Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are
21universal and unalienable rights shared by men and women



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1across the globe, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or
2culture; and
3    WHEREAS, Under the Taliban, Afghans, especially Afghan
4women, will lose many of the rights and freedoms they achieved
5under the former government; as the promise of freedom has
6receded, it has been replaced by the dim reality of
7oppression; and
8    WHEREAS, To escape danger and to seek freedom and a better
9life, many of the Afghan allies of the U.S. have fled their
10homes, seeking refuge in the U.S. and other allied countries;
11therefore, be it
13ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we honor the memory of
14all U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan, including the
15thirteen who died on August 26, 2021 who were Marine Corps
16Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee,
17Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan
18C. Knauss, Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Marine Corps Lance
19Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R.
20Merola, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, Marine Corps
21Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A.
22Sanchez, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, Navy
23Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, and Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W.



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1Page, and we extend our sincere condolences to their families;
2and be it further
3    RESOLVED, That we extend our gratitude to all the men and
4women of the U.S. Armed Forces who served in Afghanistan to let
5them know that, even in these dark days for our country and for
6Afghanistan, their sacrifices have not been forgotten; and be
7it further
8    RESOLVED, That we urge the federal government to secure
9the safety and evacuation of any U.S. citizens still remaining
10in Afghanistan; and be it further
11    RESOLVED, That we urge the federal government to work with
12international, state, and local governments to assist
13displaced Afghan allies to resettle in safe communities,
14either in the U.S. or in other, allied nations; and be it
16    RESOLVED, That, as the American people expect
17accountability from their leadership, we urge the federal
18government to somberly evaluate the failures of U.S.
19leadership that led to this grim denouement of Operation
20Enduring Freedom, to stand boldly against totalitarian regimes
21emboldened by this perceived American weakness, and to once
22again take up America's historic position as the leader of the



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1free world and as a beacon of liberty across the globe.