Sgt William Bee: Iconic marine slams every POTUS since 2002 for not learning a thing from Vietnam

Marine who served four tours to Afghanistan says every leader since 2002 'hasn't had a clue of how to remedy the chaos' in the war-torn nation

                            Sgt William Bee: Iconic marine slams every POTUS since 2002 for not learning a thing from Vietnam
Former Marine William Bee and his wife after he received the Purple Heart Medal in 2016 (Wounded Warrior Battalion East/Facebook)

As the world still absorbs the shocking takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, criticism over America's longest war continues to mount from all sides. Republicans have blamed President Joe Biden, the president has blamed the Afghans and the Afghans are slamming America for leaving them high and dry. Amidst the chaotic circle of accusations, Marine Staff Sergeant William Bee has weighed in, slamming all the presidents since 2002 for the current situation.

On August 16, Biden courted controversy for saying, "Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country," in remarks from Camp David. Since the fall of Kabul, Republicans have swooped in to take advantage. Before Biden's speech, Mike Pompeo told Fox News the Biden administration "has basically abandoned the global stage," while others like Trump called for his resignation. 


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Twenty years and thousands of deaths have amounted to nothing, which has enraged veterans. Many took to social media, while some opened up to the press asking the president why they had to put their lives on the line for this to happen. Joining that criticism is Sergeant Bee, a veteran who made four tours of Afghanistan before an IED ended his military career in 2010. In an interview with The Daily Mail, he didn't mince words and slammed all previous administrations for the fall of Kabul.

Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants crowd into the Herat Kabul Internet cafe to apply for the SIV program on August 8, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)


Who is Sergeant William Bee?

Bee rose to fame in 2008, after a viral photo of him in action became one of the best-known images from America's occupation of Afghanistan. Before that though, he has a long and interesting story you should know. Bee grew up around West Salem, North Carolina, and graduated from Northwestern High School in 2000. Immediately after, he signed up for the Marine Corps. In the 13 years since, he quickly elevated to the ranks of Staff Sergeant, before a tragic injury ended his career. 

His first tour to Afghanistan was a week after 9/11, as one of the first combat troops to land in the country. His first offensive was on Christmas day. In his second tour, he was stationed in Helmand province. On his 21st birthday, Bee was sent to Guantanamo Bay to provide fence line security. He also deployed to Cuba, but it was Afghanistan where he became most popular.  During his third deployment to the nation, Bee was involved in the Battle for Garmsir when the iconic photo was taken. It was also the conflict that changed his perception of war. "People seem to think that when we get deployed, we are fighting every day, almost like it’s a game of Call of Duty. It's definitely not... But Garmsir changed that," he told The Daily Mail in 2015. "From the day we stepped foot in the district, we were receiving fire daily," Bee added. 

U.S. combat forces from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrive on March 11, 2008, to the Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan. (John Moore/Getty Images)


The firefight that led to the iconic photo didn't injure Bee, but he was knocked unconscious. At the time, his wife was pregnant with their first child. "I'm over seven months pregnant, so I thought I was going to go into labor," she said at the time. Uninjured, Bee returned to Afghanistan for what would be his final deployment in 2010 as a squad leader. Now a father, Bee was deployed in the battle for the town of Marjah, when an IED explosion killed two of his team members and left everyone else injured. Bee himself suffered a traumatic brain injury, one that changed him considerably. "When he got home he was completely different. The person I said goodbye to is not the person that came home," his wife Bobbie said. 

The experience did lead to him being awarded a Purple Heart, but it meant little as Bee was left suffering from his injuries. During his last interview in 2015, Bee was working at the VA teaching Marines to transition to civilian society. "The pay is absolute crap because we are contractors, but I enjoy it because I still get to work with Marines while helping them out," he said. In 2019, Bee also became a video game character, providing motion capture for the Offworld Industries game 'Squad'. Beyond that and his VA work, he is also co-authoring a book on his military career, to be released in 2022. 

Former Marine Staff Sergeant William Bee receiving the Purple Heart Medal at the wounded warrior complex in Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on August 19, 2016. (Wounded Warrior Batallion East/Facebook)

Bee slams Presidents

In his latest interview with The Mail on August 16, Bee made his displeasure clearly known. "After 20 years and 2,378 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen, our Commander in Chief decided on the spur of the moment to completely retreat, with zero accountability of weapons, equipment, and most importantly those who've helped us fight the Taliban. 'That's 2,378 brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives. How the hell do we turn to the surviving family members and tell them their loved one died for nothing?" he said. 

Bee was also clear to note that Biden alone wasn't to blame. "I understand that all of this isn't President Biden's fault, that every leader since the initial defeat of the Taliban in the spring of '02 hasn't had a clue of how to remedy the chaos in that country. It displays the lack of awareness of the combat environment that is held by those people that make the decisions," he noted. He also slammed the Pentagon and said "I wouldn't trust them to run a bath at this point," about the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Bee also added, "To this day we can walk the fields of France, point at the gravestones of the fallen Soldiers who seized Normandy, and proudly say that those we lost helped stem the tides of Axis and the world is a better place for it. For those we lost in Helmand, Kandahar, Garmsir, and other areas, we can say nothing." Currently living in Jacksonville, he is unlikely to be the last Marine to criticize the American government, as the fallout continues in Afghanistan.