5 Questions Congress Must Ask Austin, Milley, McKenzie About Afghanistan Pullout Debacle

Despite 20 years of U.S. operations in Afghanistan and close collaboration with the Afghan government and security forces, the Taliban recaptured the country—including the capital, Kabul—after the U.S. withdrew its forces.

That prompted a similarly hurried withdrawal by international partners.

Among the many tragic consequences that resulted were tens of thousands of civilians left behind, including thousands of Americans; 13 U.S. service members and upwards of 200 Afghan civilians killed in a terrorist suicide attack; the handover of an entire country to terrorist entities; and profound damage to America’s reputation.

While vigorous debate over the continued presence of U.S. forces had rightly taken place over the years, with compelling arguments to leave, remain, or adjust U.S. presence made by various individuals, groups, and political entities, the way the U.S. finally left Afghanistan shocked everyone.

By nearly all accounts, the withdrawal was ill-conceived from the start, rushed in its execution, and uncoordinated with international partners. It created the worst possible conditions under which to evacuate American citizens and others, fatally undermined the Afghan government and military, and facilitated the Taliban’s victory.

It is a stain on America’s honor and prestige, and its consequences will be felt for years to come.

On Sept. 28 and 29, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin; Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley; and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commander of the U.S. Central Command, will testify before the Senate and House Armed Services committees on the Afghanistan-exit debacle.

Congress needs to take this opportunity to learn more about the many issues surrounding and contributing to such a disastrous outcome, to include: the decision-making process that led to the Taliban victory, the chaotic evacuation from Hamid Karzai International Airport, and how a much-touted “over the horizon” force can defeat emerging terrorist threats.

Among the many topics that the Armed Services committees should explore in further detail:  

1. The Troop Withdrawal

What was the thought process behind the decision to withdraw all U.S. forces, end close air support, and remove civilian contractors from Afghanistan, especially prior to the evacuation of U.S. citizens. When President Joe Biden entered office, the U.S. had only 2,500 troops in Afghanistan; U.S. combat operations had stopped in 2017. After that time, U.S. forces were only there to support Afghan forces with training, advising, intelligence, and airstrikes. Between 2018 and 2021, American forces suffered 39 fatalities due to enemy action, the last of those occurring in February 2020. While the small contingent of 2,500 was not enough for the Afghan government to win outright, it was enough to keep the Taliban out of power, notably with air support essential to Afghan ground operations. Now, due to decisions made by Biden, the Taliban effectively controls all of Afghanistan, dramatically more territory than they did on Sept. 11, 2001.

Question to ask: Other than the plan that was adopted and executed, were there any other plans or insights from planning efforts submitted to the White House by the Pentagon for consideration—for example, a troop extension beyond the Aug. 31 deadline or alternative sequencing that would have evacuated U.S. citizens and designated categories of Afghans prior to the withdrawal of U.S. military forces?

2. Setting conditions for success

Given the administration’s objective of rapidly withdrawing all U.S. military forces, and presumably U.S. citizens, by an arbitrary date, it seems reasonable to expect that planning would have tried to leverage every available advantage, asset, and resource in the limited time available. The administration, even the president himself, has repeatedly said that it was ready to give the military any resources needed to accomplish the mission. If that was the case, then lack of manpower and equipment would not have been reasons for abandoning Bagram Airfield.

Question to ask: Given the requirement to evacuate tens of thousands of people in a compromised security environment, why did the U.S. abandon Bagram with its advantages in favor of Karzai Airport and its limitations?

3. Missed opportunities

It has been reported that the Taliban’s “catastrophic success” left them unprepared to take control of Kabul, so they were willing to cede the responsibility to the U.S., at least for a period of time. Reportedly, U.S. representatives in the discussion elected not to take advantage of the opportunity, presumably because there weren’t enough U.S. forces to control the city, even though the White House has said it was willing to give the commander whatever was needed to accomplish the mission. As a consequence, the ability of the U.S. to control anything—much less provide for the safe movement of U.S. citizens through the city to the airfield—was restricted to the interior of Karzai Airport, leaving control of everything else to the Taliban.

Question to ask: Is this true? If so, were requests made for additional forces that would have made it possible to prevent the debacle that resulted? If this is true and a request for additional personnel was not made, why not?

4. Restrictions placed on U.S. forces

A lack of personnel has been cited as a primary reason for not venturing from Karzai Airport to assist in the movement of U.S. citizens and others from locations throughout Kabul to the airport. Reportedly, U.S. forces were denied authorization to leave the airport to rescue Americans stranded throughout Kabul or who were having extreme difficulty moving from the Afghan countryside to and into the airport. The same restrictions made it impossible to effect rescues and movement throughout the country. Such inabilities can only be attributed to lack of personnel, lack of equipment, and/or lack of authorization.

Question to ask: Numerous reports reveal that partner countries, such as Great Britain and France, authorized their military forces to leave Karzai Airport to rescue civilians trapped in Kabul. Why were U.S. forces prevented from doing the same, to rescue American citizens similarly trapped in Kabul or at least prevented from safe travel by Taliban checkpoints?

5. Over-the-horizon counterterrorism options

Biden has touted the idea that the U.S. will use over-the-horizon capabilities to strike terrorist threats in Afghanistan as they emerge, but this seems problematic. A quick glance at the map shows that there is no good way for the U.S. to access Afghanistan from the air. Pakistan is unreliable. Iran and China are not options. The Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan have shown little willingness to cooperate with the U.S. on this issue.

Another challenge to the over-the-horizon approach is the vast distances involved. Even if access to airspace were not a problem, the transit times of jets and drones, measured in hours, hinders how quickly the U.S. could respond to an emerging threat in Afghanistan.

Finally, there is the problem of not having “eyes on the objective.” Without a U.S. presence on the ground in Afghanistan, trying to determine who and where to strike will not be easy. Relying on the Taliban to provide the U.S. the intelligence should not be considered a suitable option. One need only recall the tragic situation last month when a drone strike killed civilians, including seven children, when the U.S. thought it was targeting an Islamic State-Khorasan Group car bomb attempt.

Question to ask: What are some of the practical, political, and geographical limitations regarding the over-the-horizon capabilities to defeat emerging terrorist threats in Afghanistan, and what plans are in place to mitigate some of those challenges?  

In summary, the consequences of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s takeover of the country, remain to be seen, but it’s likely those consequences will be felt for years to come.

The broad perception by longtime allies and America’s enemies and competitors alike of U.S. ineptitude, disorganization, and betrayal of Afghan supporters, international partners, and even American citizens abandoned behind enemy lines has damaged America’s credibility, undermining diplomatic efforts in other areas and the deterrent value of American military power and political will.

It is right and proper that Congress holds the administration accountable via these hearings with its primary policy and operational representatives—Austin, Milley, and McKenzie.

Transparency and honesty are essential if future American policymakers are to learn from these mistakes in order to avoid repeating them in the future.

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Biden Administration Maligns Border Patrol

Since he took office, President Joe Biden has had a series of flubs that have called into question the basic competence of his administration.

Now, he’s punishing his employees who are actually doing their jobs.

Biden’s policies have utterly failed at the border, leading to a historic surge in border crossings since he took office and now a shameful pile up of migrants in Del Rio, Texas.

Instead of fixing the problem or acknowledging that the previous administration was successfully upholding U.S. immigration law, Biden has decided to malign the people on the border who are desperately working to contain the mess.

Last week, photos of Border Patrol agents on horseback went viral, with media outlets claiming that they were “whipping” migrants at the border.

The El Paso Times reported that a Border patrol agent “swung his whip menacingly, charging his horse toward the men in the river who were trying to return to an encampment under the international bridge in Del Rio after buying food and water in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.”

The El Paso Times later corrected the story and said, “Our reporting team witnessed at least one agent on horseback swing his reins like a whip.”

But the photographer who took the viral pictures, Paul Ratje, said that he witnessed no whipping at all, and only noted that the Border Patrol agents were simply trying to apprehend the illegal migrants who were attempting to get around the horses.

“I’ve never seen them whip anyone,” Ratje said. “He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”

So there were no whips, and the firsthand account by the photographer said that no “whipping” with the reins took place. Is the issue here that the Border Patrol agents were doing their jobs and trying to enforce U.S. border laws?

Following the release of the pictures, the Biden administration went into full-on disinformation mode with the help of their media allies.

“To see people treated like they did, horses barely running over, people being strapped,” Biden said of Border Patrol agents. “It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay. There will be an investigation underway now, and there will be consequences. There will be consequences.”

There certainly were consequences for the Border Patrol agents who were there at the border doing their jobs. The administration suspended the use of horses, which have been used in border enforcement for most of the last century.

Horses perform particularly well in the particular conditions of the Southern border, according to the Border Patrol Museum. They are more useful off-road and do less damage to the environment.

With less environmental impact and reduced carbon emissions, you’d think the left would be all for it. But that’s not how this works.

Instead of fixing their failed policies and protecting their employees who’ve been utterly besieged, Biden and friends went into overdrive to promote the Narrative. The narrative in this case is that Border Patrol is mistreating migrants at the border, and that perhaps even border enforcement itself has sinister, racist implications.

Remember, this is the same administration that shamelessly called voter-reform laws in various states 21st century “Jim Crow.” They quickly jumped to drawing comparisons between Border Patrol and slavery.

“Human beings should not be treated that way,” Vice President Kamala Harris said of the migrants in an interview with The View. “It also invoked images of some of the worst moments of our history, where that kind of behavior has been used against the Indigenous people of our country. It has been used against African Americans during times of slavery.”

How predictable. Is there anything the administration doesn’t like that they won’t compare to slavery, or segregation, or Nazis?

When confronted with the mounting evidence that initial impressions of the Border Patrol photos were wrong, the administration has basically taken the line that it doesn’t matter.

When White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked in a press conference on Monday if the now overwhelming evidence that Border Patrol agents were not using whips and were not using reins as whips would change anything about their response, she said: “Our reaction to the photos has not changed.”

The Narrative goes on and the truth can’t stop it.

Just to clarify how—to this administration—freedom is slavery and war is peace, Psaki said in the same press conference that the $3.5 trillion spending bill would “cost $0.”

Not only is the administration willing to manipulate information to fit its narratives, it also thinks the American people are stupid, apparently.

This would all be bad enough if these monumental distortions were simply the product of a failing presidential administration, but it’s clear that many media outlets are eager to help direct the narrative.

Axios published a Tweet saying that Border Patrol agents had been “whipping at” migrants. Axios eventually deleted the Tweet.

“We deleted a previous tweet that referred to Border Patrol agents as whipping at Haitian migrants. The story has been updated to include comments from some journalists on the border who did not see whipping occur,” the follow-up Axios tweet stated.

Notice how this statement is still a hedge and doesn’t acknowledge that the “whipping” didn’t take place.

It wasn’t just the media. Twitter is, as of this article’s publication, censoring a video produced by The Daily Signal in 2017 explaining the role horses play in border enforcement. Twitter labeled it “potentially sensitive content.”

With more migrants on the way to Del Rio, and the administration clearly willing to do little to curb the surge of migrants at the border, it’s hard to see this crisis ending any time soon.

If there is any silver lining to the story, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pledged to hire the Border Patrol horseback riders if they lose their jobs.

Just as importantly, he said, “They can bring their horses, too.”

Maybe their service will be better appreciated under new management.

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5 Supreme Court Cases to Watch in the 2021-22 Term

The Supreme Court has already agreed to review several important cases in its upcoming term, and it will likely add more soon. Here’s a preview of five of the most important cases the Supreme Court will hear in its 2021-2022 term.

1. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

This is the most important abortion case in the last 30 years. Essentially, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to reconsider—and potentially overrule—its wayward decisions Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

In 2018, Mississippi enacted the Gestational Age Act, which prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of gestation except in cases of medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality.

The state legislature set forth two findings in the law: 1) 75% of all nations do not permit abortions past 12 weeks’ gestation, and 2) an unborn human’s heart starts beating after five to six weeks’ gestation and by nine weeks all “basic physiological functions are present.”

>>> WATCH: The Heritage Foundation will host its annual Supreme Court preview event on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 1 p.m. as part of their Preserve the Constitution series.

The legislature also identified several state interests concerning this law. It identified a desire to protect the life of the unborn, the medical profession, and the health of the mother. Most abortions are performed after 15 weeks using the dilation-and-evacuation procedure where the unborn child is crushed and torn apart before pieces of the dead child are removed from the womb.

Not only did Mississippi’s legislature deem that practice “barbaric” and “demeaning to the medical profession,” but they also highlighted the serious medical risks associated with it, such as pelvic infection, blood clots, heavy bleeding, and depression.

The respondent, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, challenged the constitutionality of the prohibition in federal court. The district court invalidated the law, declaring it unconstitutional. Under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the lower court reasoned,the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional prohibitions of abortions before 24 weeks’ gestation, around the time an unborn human becomes viable.

Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the district court’s ruling. He then petitioned the Supreme Court, which subsequently granted a review.

It’s hard to overstate the potential impact of this ruling, whether it be a decision upholding the lower courts’ decisions and reaffirming Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which would be a huge blow to the pro-life movement, a moderate ruling that would gradually diminish prior abortion precedents, or a broad decision completely overturning its prior decisions.

2. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen

This will be the first time in 11 years that the Supreme Court will review a significant Second Amendment case.

New York requires its residents to obtain a license for lawful possession of a firearm, regardless of whether they plan to keep it at home or take it outside. To obtain a license, a licensing officer must determine whether the applicant is of good moral character, lacks a history of crime or mental illness, and that “no good cause exists for the denial of the license.”

Applicants must also have “proper cause” to lawfully conceal carry a handgun—openly carrying a handgun is entirely banned. New York law leaves “proper cause” undefined, but courts have clarified that this standard means one must “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.”

Merely having the “generalized desire” to conceal carry, according to the courts, “does not constitute ‘proper cause.’”

Petitioners Robert Nash and Brendan Koch were denied a license to carry a handgun in public despite including in their applications their desire for self-defense and that they have extensive safety training. The licensing officers determined they had failed to show proper cause because they did not demonstrate “a special need for self-defense that distinguished [themselves] from the general public.”

Petitioners filed suit challenging this standard, arguing that it violated the Second Amendment. The district court and the 2nd Circuit, however, found their challenges foreclosed because of an earlier decision by the 2nd Circuit, Kachalsky v. County of Westchester,which held that restrictions like these are constitutional.

According to the 2nd Circuit in that case, the Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald clarified that the right to bear arms “are at their zenith within the home,” but that governments have more leeway to regulate firearm possession outside of the home so that New York’s “proper cause” standard was constitutional.

The issue before the Supreme Court is whether New York violated petitioners’ Second Amendment rights when denying their applications for conceal-carry permits for self-defense.

3. Carson v. Makin

The Carson and Nelson families are challenging Maine’s prohibition of applying state funds from the state’s tuition assistance program towards secondary schools that, in addition to teaching academic subjects, provide religious instruction.

Petitioners argue this law prevents their families from using the funds towards the schools they consider to be best for their children and, more importantly, that it violates their Constitutional rights under the free exercise, establishment, and equal protection clauses.

Petitioners filed suit and lost in both federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. Although the Supreme Court ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue,that states cannot exclude families or schools from participating in a student-aid program solely because of a school’s religious status, the lower courts relied on a distinction between use-based versus status-based restrictions.

The lower courts reasoned that the Supreme Court’s Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, decision prevented states from excluding schools from government programs on the basis of the school’s religious status, but it did not address whether states could prohibit how the funds were being used—for religious education.

In other words, so long as the school is only nominally religious, it cannot be excluded, but if it promotes religion, a state can exclude it from receiving funds on that basis.

The issue before the Supreme Court is whether a state violates the First or 14th Amendments by prohibiting students from choosing to use student-aid funds towards schools that provide religious instruction.

4. CVS Pharmacy Inc. v. Doe

This case raises the issue of whether policies that disparately impact disabled groups violate the anti-discrimination provisions of the Rehabilitation Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The respondents, using “John Doe” aliases, are enrollees of employee-sponsored health care who are afflicted with HIV. The petitioners, all wholly owned subsidiaries of CVS Health Corporation, provide the John Does with their medication.

The respondents sued CVS after the latter implemented a new medication policy that required all specialty medicines—medicines that typically treat chronic conditions and are usually more expensive—to be mailed if the respondents wish to purchase it at their in-network price. If the respondents or any other enrollee chooses to purchase specialty medications in-person at a pharmacy, they will be charged a higher rate.

The respondents argue this delivery mandate prevents them from receiving assistance from pharmacy benefit managers who can provide them with consultations about their medications, hinders pharmacists from tracking potentially life-threatening drug interactions, and exposes them to potential risks like shipping errors, theft, and breaches to their medical privacy.

The respondents allege this change denies them meaningful access to medical care, which would be a violation of the Rehabilitation Act and the Affordable Care Act.

The outcome of this case will clarify whether, and if so the extent to which, facially neutral policies can be deemed discriminatory if they disparately impact a distinct group.

5. United States v. Zubaydah

This case involves the state-secrets privilege, which was established by Supreme Court precedent in United States v. Reynolds. In United States v. Reynolds, the Supreme Court held that courts must exclude privileged evidence if it threatens national security interests.

Abu Zubaydah is a former associate of Osama bin Laden who was detained in Pakistan by the CIA for being an enemy combatant and put in a detention facility in Poland. During his time there, the CIA used enhanced interrogation techniques on Zubaydah.

Poland launched a criminal investigation into the CIA’s operations there, and Zubaydah asked a U.S. federal district court to order the U.S. government to provide Poland with information pertaining to his detention. The district court was initially willing to grant discovery for these materials until the U.S. government blocked it, citing the state secrets privilege established in the United States v. Reynolds.

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed and remanded the decision, arguing that the lower court could allow limited discovery because some of the materials would not threaten national security interests.

The issue before the Supreme Court is whether the 9th Circuit erred in its assessment of these materials concerning their potential to harm national security.

Of course, these are only a few of the cases the Supreme Court will consider this term.  It will also consider important death penalty cases—including one involving the Boston Marathon Bomber and another involving an inmate’s access to a spiritual advisor during the execution process, as well as a host of other important cases.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

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Too Big to Pass? Democrats Divided Over $3.5 Trillion Tax-and-Spend Behemoth

Banks have been considered “too big to fail” in the past, but liberal Democrats’ hugely consequential and transformative $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend monstrosity might be “too big to pass,” as support falters even among some Democrats.

The ultraliberal Congressional Progressive Caucus, with nearly 100 votes, is threatening to block passage of the $1 trillion-plus infrastructure bill that already has cleared the Senate unless they get a simultaneous vote on their social welfare programs and climate change spending blowout.

“Critics have assailed this tactic as political hostage-taking, but it’s more like a murder-suicide pact, since progressives want a big infrastructure bill, too,” according to Will Marshall, who heads the center-left Progressive Policy Institute.

It will take the votes of virtually every Democrat in the House and Senate to pull off passage of both bills.

The deadline for the votes is set for this week, which is also the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, with a government shutdown threatened unless Congress also raises the debt limit to allow more borrowing to finance existing spending.

Marshall writes, in an op-ed for The Hill, progressives are “apparently willing to sacrifice the infrastructure upgrade to gain political leverage over the growing ranks of moderate Democrats who, although they support many elements of the massive reconciliation bill, are balking at its $3.5 trillion price tag.”

Marshall’s polling shows that the left-wing demands for “bold structural change” are “out of step with public opinion … Democrats also are seen as ‘too anti-business’ [and] give Republicans the edge on the economy, innovation, and helping entrepreneurs and small business.”

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus want to use their vote leverage to jam through the largest spending bill in American history without a single congressional hearing. And President Joe Biden strongly supports them.

But with Biden’s low-40s job-approval numbers, he lacks the political capital that would require. Despite  Biden’s bluster about being the ultimate vote counter, the Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter writes that he  “looks more like a helpless bystander than an experienced Capitol Hill deal maker, watching from the sidelines as his party struggles with internal divisions.”

Seasoned journalist and political analyst Mike Allen wrote Friday in Axios

President Biden bit off too much, too fast in trying to ram through what would be the largest social expansion in American history, top Democrats privately say.

Why it matters: At the time Biden proposed it, he had his mind set on a transformational accomplishment that would put him in the pantheon of FDR and JFK.

Democrats, controlling two branches of government, saw a once-in-a-lifetime opening. In retrospect, some top advisers say this should have been done in smaller chunks.

An outside White House adviser said: “Reality is setting in that you can’t pass a $3.5 trillion package. It’s going to get scaled back. The question is whether it can be done this year.”

There is so much spending, so many destructive taxes, and such major policy changes that even many Democrats are getting scared, as Marshall’s article in The Hill shows.

“Instead of going for everything at once, however, Democrats need to set priorities and fashion a reconciliation package that they can pay for without breaking the party’s diverse coalition apart,” Marshall concludes. “Unlike their counterparts in safe blue places, Democrats running in highly competitive districts and states can’t ignore battleground voters’ worries about debt, inflation, and private job creation.”

Never discount House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s strong-arm tactics to get her way. She may persuade enough of her members to vote yes and thereby sacrifice their reelections in 2022. 

But if not, the sharp divisions within the Democratic Party, oddly, could be the path to throttle Biden’s aggressive effort to transform America with massive new cradle-to-grave entitlement spending.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.


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Teacher Reportedly Forced to Remove Pro-Police Flag While BLM, Pride Flags Allowed

A middle school teacher in Washington state reportedly was told to remove a pro-police flag she had hanging in her classroom, while Black Lives Matter messages and pride flags are still permitted at the school, according to documents obtained by the Jason Rantz Show and 770 KTTH.

A Marysville Middle School teacher had a Thin Blue Line flag hanging in her classroom to show her support for police, but the school district’s human resources department said the flag could cause “disruption in the classroom,” because it is a “political symbol,” according to documents obtained by the Jason Rantz Show.

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The teacher’s brother, Chris Sutherland, was formerly a police officer with the Marysville Police Department and a school resource officer when the fatal Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting happened on Oct. 24, 2014, which resulted in five deaths, the Jason Rantz Show reported.

The teacher first had a Thin Blue Line sticker on her laptop, which an assistant principal reportedly objected to over “concerns about how students, families, and community members might interpret what the image is intending to communicate, and that this interpretation may cause a disruption to the learning environment,” according to human relations documents, the Jason Rantz Show reported.

The initial objections were dropped, but a second assistant principal complained when the teacher hung a pro-police flag on a bulletin board in her classroom, along with photos of her brother, the Jason Rantz Show reported.

“They told her that it’s controversial to have that flag up,” Sutherland told the Jason Rantz Show. “That it makes kids and staff feel unsafe, which to me, that does not make sense at all.”

A Human Resources representative from the school district sent the teacher a Letter of Clarification indicating an assistant principal “had heard concerns from other staff members about how this political symbol might negatively impact the overall professional work environment,” the Jason Rantz Show reported. The letter ordered the teacher to remove the flag and said failure to comply might “result in further disciplinary action.”

A district spokesperson did not clarify how the flag is political or why it allows messaging critical of police, the Jason Rantz Show reported. The teacher has seen Black Lives Matter messaging in classrooms and the pride flag hanging in support of a teacher’s gay family member.

Schools across the country are faced with how to handle political messaging in classrooms.

A California school district took down posters in the classroom of one of its teachers that said “F— The Police” and “F— Amerikkka.” Another California teacher went viral in a video where she condemned the American flag and encouraged her students to pledge allegiance to the pride flag.

The Washington teacher called the incident “the most traumatic and hostile” situation she has experienced at the school, but remains “hopeful for the remainder of the school year,” she wrote in a Human Resources document, the Jason Rantz Show reported. But she said the order to remove the flag was part of “an agenda rather than really wanting to gain any understanding of me, who I am, or my story.”

The teacher will continue fighting to display the flag, Sutherland told the Jason Rantz Show. She said she forgives the school, but told human resources that the situation has “left a lasting impression.”

The Marysville School District 25 did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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