Archive for the 'Department of Defense' Category



U.S. Military Focusing On The Right Things

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Illegal immigrants have been detected walking armed, in military fatigues and in “Ranger File” across Texas farmland.  Obama announced his much heralded intervention in Iraq to aid the poor Christians and Yazidis.  By his own account it has been a raving success.

The United States military has concluded that there are too few Yazidi refugees still trapped in the mountains of northern Iraq to warrant mounting a potentially risky rescue, the Pentagon said late Wednesday.

Military advisers who earlier in the day visited the Sinjar mountains, where as many as 30,000 people were thought to still be trapped, said that they found “far fewer” Yazidis than expected and that those who were there were in better condition than anticipated. Food and water dropped in recent days have reached those who remain, the Pentagon statement said.

Meanwhile, the Yazidis don’t exactly see it the same way.

Children trapped on a mountain by Islamic State militants in Iraq are drinking blood from their parents to stay alive, it emerged today.

Their horrendous plight was revealed after some 8,000 Yazidis were finally able to escape down Mount Sinjar where they have been under siege from jihadist fighters for the last week.

Those fleeing have made it to relative safety at a camp in Dohuk Province in Kurdistan, where they have told horrific stories of the 30,000 who have been left behind.

Sky News correspondent Sherine Tadros, who is at the camp, said: ‘One man has just told us how he saw four children die of thirst.

‘There was nowhere to bury them on the mountain so they just put rocks on their bodies.

‘Another man was saying the children were so thirsty, their parents started cutting their own hands and giving them blood to drink.’

Occupying the attention of the Pentagon, though, is hair styles.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the U.S. military has rolled back prohibitions on popular black hairstyles within its ranks, following months of fierce backlash.

Hagel said the military had spent the past three months reviewing the definition of acceptable styles in a letter to Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, which led a charge against the military’s decision to ban natural hairstyles like dreadlocks and twists.

“Each Service reviewed its hairstyle policies to ensure standards are fair and respectful while also meeting out military requirements,” Hagel wrote. “As a result of these reviews the Army, Navy, and Air Force determined changes were necessary to their Service grooming regulations to include additional authorized hairstyles.”

[ ... ]

The ban was also mocked in a sketch on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart called “Operation Black Hair.”

Well hell, if national policy consultant, expert and genius Jon Stewart thinks the military is just being too puckered, that settles it for me.  I’m sure glad to see that the U.S. military is focusing on the right things.  It makes me feel better.

The Priorities At The Pentagon

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

We’ve all heard about active duty officers, currently deployed in Afghanistan, getting pink slips.  But if retaining good people isn’t a top priority for the Pentagon, it’s important to know what is.

The administration of President Barack Obama has been identifying Muslims in the military in an effort to encourage their presence.

Officials said the Defense Department has been keeping records and tracking Muslims. They said the administration sought to attract Muslims both to the military and to the Pentagon.

“Our nation and our entire military family remain stronger because of the service and sacrifice of people of all faiths, including the thousands of patriotic Muslim Americans who have served and still serve in this long period of war,” Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said last week.

And then there is this from Bill Gertz.

warrior_princess

A former member of SEAL Team 6 has become the poster girl for a Pentagon effort to include transgenders — people who have undergone sex-change operations — in the ranks.

Kristin Beck, formerly Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Beck, spoke recently at several high-profile events at intelligence agencies and the Pentagon to promote the integration of transgenders.

“Transgender service in the armed forces, yes it will happen soon,” she said on Twitter.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, among the most politically correct Pentagon chiefs of the past several decades, fueled the effort within the Pentagon to integrate transgenders in May when he said the policy of banning transgenders should be reviewed continually. The transgender drive is the latest element of the Obama administration’s social engineering within the U.S. military.

Among Ms. Beck’s recent appearances were speeches at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, according to the DIA and her Twitter feed.

She also was scheduled to speak to the Multicultural Heritage Committee at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, although one defense official said it is not clear how transgenderism fits within the multicultural spectrum.

Ms. Beck, author of “Warrior Princess,” spoke to the DIA on June 18 as part of the intelligence agency’s annual Pride Month — formerly Gay Pride Month but now expanded to include a host of sexually related terms, including transgenders. She received an award from DIA Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at the event.

If I tried to write parody I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Destruction Of Expended Cartridge Brass

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 5 months ago

David Codrea hasn’t let this issue go, and that’s a good thing.  Like a bulldog with a bone.  First, read his predecessor article.  Next, read the followup article.  He has a DoD memorandum, and apparently without even going for a FOIA request.  At any rate, the Department of Defense claims that they will continue to make expended brass cartridges available for public sale, and then there is this (for me) money quote.

The memorandum includes an “Implementing Guidance” attachment stating “DoD will dispose of ESACC as quickly and effectively as practical, and in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and DoD guidance.”

A PAO developed this response to David, and the memorandum was developed by a JAG.  It has legalese all over it.  The problem is that this isn’t what the law says.  It doesn’t require the DoD to continue to make expended brass available.  It requires that no money be spent on its destruction.  None.

Furthermore, the bit about compliance with regulations and guidance is obfuscatory pandering.  Rehearse for a moment, shall we?  Laws are passed by Congress.  Regulations are written by armies of lawyers sitting inside the beltway who are tasked with applying the laws.  Regulations are not laws.  Regulations in fact are challenged, often successfully.  Guidance is even farther down the food chain than regulations.

Congress passed a law that requires that no monies be used for destruction of expended brass.  What regulations and guidance have to say about the law is irrelevant.

Read it all at Examiner and come to your own conclusions.  But here is the final word for me.  I don’t want to hear another damn thing about how police in America cannot find ammunition.  I don’t care if they ever have another round to carry.

Leon Panetta On Firearms

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 7 months ago

Leon Panetta:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta joined the gun control debate on Thursday when he told troops at a military base in Italy that only soldiers needed armor-piercing bullets or assault weapons.

Asked by a soldier what President Barack Obama would do to protect school children from gun violence without infringing Americans’ right to own guns, Panetta said action was needed after the attack on a Connecticut school in December in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.

He told members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Vicenza that there were areas where steps could be taken,

“I mean who the hell needs armor-piercing bullets except you guys in battle?”

Well, anyone who wants to protect themselves against a multi-man home invasion may decide that he needs “assault weapons.”  But one would think that the secretary of defense would have more important things to worry with, like the fact that we’re losing the campaign in Afghanistan.

But remember that this is the very same Leon Panetta who retains the services of body guards.  So here’s the deal, Leon.  Disarm your body guards or tell us that you’re a liar – that you really don’t believe what you say – that you know people need protection, but that you don’t care about that except for the really important people like you.

Then you’ll say in public what we all know to be true.  You’re a sniveling lackey just like Stanley McChrystal.

More Benghazi Excuses

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

We’ve discussed the excuses for the failure to respond to the assault on the consulate (or “special mission,” as the Ambassador called it).

  1. The only other assets immediately available were F-16 fighter jets based at Aviano, Italy. These aircraft might have reached Benghazi while the fight at the Annex was still going on, but they would have had difficulty pinpointing hostile mortar positions or distinguishing between friendly and hostile militias in the midst of a confused firefight in a densely populated residential area where there would have been a high likelihood of civilian casualties.
  2. There was no AC-130 within a continent’s range of Benghazi.
  3. “We didn’t have forewarning of this tragic event in Benghazi,” Little said. “The entire U.S. government was starting from a cold start.”
  4. We were preparing for a hostage situation.

We can now add to list of excuses this one.

Sources who have debriefed the team that was at the CIA annex the night of the attack in Benghazi say that the CIA operators from the Global Response Staff, or GRS, were equipped with Mark 48 machine guns and had two types of laser capability. Each weapon had both a “passive” as well as a “visible” laser that could be used against the Libyan attackers.

The presence of laser capability on the roof of the CIA annex confirms what Fox News sources that night in Benghazi originally said, which is that they had laser capability and for 5 hours and 15 minutes were wondering where the usual overhead air support was, especially since, according to this source, they radioed from the annex beginning as early as midnight asking for it.

The presence of lasers raises more questions about why air support was not sent to Benghazi even protectively once it became clear that the fighting had followed the CIA rescue team back to the annex.

U.S. military officials say they “thought the fighting was over” after the team left the consulate and that there was a lull in the fighting.

[ ... ]

A source present the night of the attack says that the GRS team that was defending the annex asked where the air support was at midnight. Former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed 5 hours and 15 minutes later.

Forget for a moment the inherent contradiction in these excuses (see prior articles).  They didn’t have the assets, but even if they did, they were prepared for something else (i.e., a hostage situation), but even so, we were all caught with our pants down, but even with our pants down, we had moved assets to the area, but then, F-16 fighters in Europe were not on alert (I could be wrong about this, but deployed fighter pilots are able to be reached, just like SEALs are within pager distance), and so on.  It’s the leaky bucket problem, and ten of them still leak even when used together.

Thought the fighting was over.”  There you have it.  What reason could there possibly be for concluding anything whatsoever at this point?  How could military and national security professionals concoct such strange, bizarre tales?

Prior:

So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi, Part II?

So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi?

Benghazi Inconsistencies

False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault

So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi, Part II?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

Prior: So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi?

The Pentagon has responded to the question of assets available to respond to the debacle at Benghazi.

Among the units ordered by Panetta on the night of the attack to Sicily,  which is less than 500 miles from Libya,were two special operations teams that were moved to  Sigonella.

As previously reported, one of the units came from a U.S. military base in “Central Europe.” And Little disclosed that Panetta also ordered another team from the United States to head to Sigonella.   Little refused to describe what kind of unit was sent from the U.S., though it was presumably a special operations team trained for hostage rescues.

Little said both the units “did not arrive until after the entire sequence of events was complete. … They were in Sigonella many hours after the attacks.”

The Pentagon spokesman said that it can take hours for troops to be organized and transported to where they might be used.  He added that at the time they were ordered to move, policy makers  ”did not know when the attacks would end.”  Little said that, in theory, a hostage situation in Benghazi could have lasted for days.

“We didn’t have forewarning of this tragic event in Benghazi,” Little said. “The entire U.S. government was starting from a cold start.”

[ ... ]

Little reaffirmed that no other American aircraft were involved over Libya the night of the attack beyond the unarmed surveillance drone that arrived 90 minutes into the attack.  As for reports that an AC-130 gunship could have been dispatched over Libya at the time of the attack,  Little was clear that “there was no AC-130 within a continent’s range of Benghazi” that night.

Yet astute commenter Šťoural (Jan Špaček, Czechoslovakia) gives this summary of assets via e-mail.

1) NAS Sigonella: NAS Sigonella supports a rotational VP squadron, an HC squadron, C-2, C-9, and C-130 detachments, shore-based fleet aircraft, transient NATO aircraft and U.S. Air Force transient aircraft.  Look at Google Earth Photo 17th March 2011-four P3C Orion, 37°24’27.89″N,14°54’49.81″E

CTF-67 is a subordinate command to Commander, U.S. SIXTH Fleet and maintains tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons. When assigned to CTF-67, P-3C Orion aircraft provide the Fleet with essential information in the European and African Areas of Responsibility.  The Mediterranean maritime patrol force for these operations included ten P-3Cs, five of the AIP variant, and 14 crews from Patrol Squadrons 1, 4, 5 and 10 from Naval Air Stations Whidbey Island, Barbers Point, Jacksonville, and Brunswick, respectively.

2) P-3C AIP Orion capabilities, Orion is much better then drone Predator and Reaper.

The P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) Hunting terrorists in the peaks of the Hindu Kush? Spotting for special operations troops in Iraq? Not the stereotypical MPA missions.

Not only has the Navy’s front-line MPA been venturing far inland; it has been an indispensable surveillance platform in the global war on terrorism, a sensor and weapon platform that has impressed operational commanders with its high degree of utility and versatility.

3) CIF,probably C-company, 1st Bn, 10thSFG at least be able to make CASEVAC and NEO-non-combatant evacuation operation from Benghazi Airport.

Example operation CIF

I had also mentioned that Marine Force Recon should have been available at Sigonella.  And all of this brings up an important point.  I think I have made a mistake in framing the question so broadly, i.e., what assets were available to the DoD to assist at Benghazi?  One important but easily overlooked exigency in the DoD rebuttal above is this idea of a hostage situation.  It is mentioned at least twice in the ABC News article.

The Department of Defense rebuttal answers nothing, but adds to the list of problems.  The proper way to frame this discussion is this: What assets existed at Sigonella that night (Delta Force, SEAL Teams, Marine Force Recon, MPs, cooks, administrative staff, etc.)?  This report leads to more questions, such as did the National Security Counsel or Pentagon war game this scenario in such a manner that precluded the consideration of assets available at Sigonella because they weren’t specifically related to the scenario being gamed (e.g., a hostage situation)?  Why weren’t forces of any kind sent to relieve the poor souls in Benghazi?

On to the recent and very important Fox News report from the ground in Benghazi.

As details emerge of serious security issues before the attack on Sept. 11, Fox News is also beginning to hear more frustration from sources both on the ground in Benghazi and in the U.S. Multiple British and American sources insist there were other capabilities in the region and are mystified why none were used. Fox News was told there were not only armed drones that monitor Libyan chemical weapon sites in the area, but also F-18′s, AC-130 aircraft and even helicopters that could have been dispatched in a timely fashion.

British intelligence sources said that unarmed drones routinely flew over Benghazi every night in flight patterns and that armed drones which fly over chemical sites, some a short flight from Benghazi, “were always said to be on call.” American sources confirmed this and questioned “why was a drone armed only with a camera dispatched?”

Another source added, “Why would they put a ragtag team together in Tripoli as first responders? This is not even what they do for a living. We had a first responder air base in Italy almost the same distance away.” Despite the team arriving from Tripoli that night, sources said sufficient American back-up never came.

British sources on the ground in Benghazi said they are extremely frustrated by the attack and are still wondering why they weren’t called for help. “We have more people on the ground here than the Americans and I just don’t know why we didn’t get the call?” one said.

Both American and British sources said, at the very least, the security situation on the ground and the lack of proper response were the result of “complete incompetence.” The covert team that came in from Tripoli was held up at the Benghazi airport for more than three hours by Libyan officials. Sources said the team notified officials in Washington that they were being delayed within 30 minutes of their arrival.

They also point out that these questions “don’t even address the military capabilities of our United Nations ally Turkey, who (has) forces available a similarly short flight away.” Fox News has learned that Turkey had a number of embassy staff in town the night of the attack and that the Turkish consul general met with Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi the night he and the three other Americans were killed.

One source asked, “Were the Turks not warned? What forces were available from our ally Turkey? Especially since they had officials there in Benghazi also and had to be concerned … and where was the U.N. in all of this?”

The Pentagon answers don’t even approach closure on this issue.  Their responses have only raised more questions, and much more work needs to be done on this.

Prior: So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi?

See also: John Jay

False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

This Washington Times blog post adds yet another wrinkle to the assault by enemy military forces on our consulate in Benghazi.  Take careful note of what is apparently official, and also what is not.

Is an American General losing his job for trying to save the Americans besieged in Benghazi? This is the latest potential wrinkle in the growing scandal surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack that left four men dead and President Obama scrambling for a coherent explanation.

On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared unexpectedly at an otherwise unrelated briefing on “Efforts to Enhance the Financial Health of the Force.” News organizations and CSPAN were told beforehand there was no news value to the event and gave it scant coverage. In his brief remarks Mr. Panetta said, “Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command.” This came as a surprise to many, since General Ham had only been in the position for a year and a half. The General is a very well regarded officer who made AFRICOM into a true Combatant Command after the ineffective leadership of his predecessor, General William E. “Kip” Ward. Later, word circulated informally that General Ham was scheduled to rotate out in March 2013 anyway, but according to Joint doctrine, ”the tour length for combatant commanders and Defense agency directors is three years.” Some assumed that he was leaving for unspecified personal reasons.

However on October 26, “Ambassador” posted the following RUMINT on TigerDroppings (h/t Jim Hoft):

I heard a story today from someone inside the military that I trust entirely. The story was in reference to General Ham that Panetta referenced in the quote below.

quote:


“(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta told Pentagon reporters. “And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”


The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.

The story continues that now General Rodiguez would take General Ham’s place as the head of Africom.

This version of events contradicts Mr. Panetta’s October 25 statement that General Ham advised against intervention. But so far there is nothing solid to back it up. Maybe Ham attempted to send a reaction force against orders, or maybe he simply said the wrong thing to the wrong people. Perhaps he gave whomever he was talking to up the chain a piece of his mind about leaving Americans to die when there was a chance of saving them. At the very least U.S. forces might have made those who killed our people pay while they were still on the scene. The Obama White House is famously vindictive against perceived disloyalty – the administration would not let Ham get away with scolding them for failing to show the leadership necessary to save American lives. The Army’s ethos is to leave no man behind, but that is not shared by a president accustomed to leading from that location.

First of all, recall that General Rodriguez is the one whom I called out almost five years ago for spewing the silly propaganda that the Taliban were too weakened to launch a spring offensive, and also the one who wanted to micromanage a Marine Air Ground Task Force in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.  Less than six hours before Marines commenced a major helicopter-borne assault in the town of Marjah, Rodriguez’s headquarters issued an order requiring that his operations center clear any airstrike that was on a housing compound in the area but not sought in self-defense.  This is rules of engagement of the flavor Rodriguez.

If General Rodriguez is in fact taking over the Africa command, I’m not impressed with Panetta’s decision.  Then again, I think Panetta is a weasel and his excuse-making cowardly, so I’m not surprised by the decision.

The notion that we don’t send our forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on is patently absurd and false.  Simply said, it’s a lie.  We deploy Army Rangers to take control of air fields and landing zones in potentially hostile environments, for which we do not know all of the desired information; we deploy Marine infantry into situations of potentially unknown threats all of the time all over the globe; each and every time a patrol left the outpost at the Korengal in Afghanistan, they were deploying into potentially deadly situations without specific and detailed knowledge of the situation.

The counterinsurgency and state-building doctrine that has taken possession of the very souls of our military elite states unequivocally that our forces should be willing to sustain risk – of a potentially unknown quantity and quality – in order to protect the population.  But when it comes to protecting our own forces such as those deployed in Benghazi, the excuse is made that we didn’t have enough intelligence.

Finally, as the final nail in the coffin of this ridiculous prevarication, we deploy Marine Scout Snipers and Force Recon all of the time into situations of completely unknown risk, danger and hazard in order to gather intelligence and lay the groundwork for the Marine infantry.  If we really needed more information on Benghazi, we could have deployed reconnaissance forces.

Thus has one general been given his walking papers, a system apparatchik been promoted, and yet another lie been woven into the horrible web of lies concerning Benghazi.  This is false doctrine being willingly preached by the Secretary of Defense as an attempt to cover the administration.  Make no mistake about it.  Is there any level to which they will not stoop?

UPDATE #1: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the attention!

UPDATE #2: At NRO’s Corner, David French observes:

His “basic principle” is simply false. We deploy forces all the time in our theaters of war without good real-time information. All. The. Time. If we didn’t, far more men would die. The fog of war never fully clears, and our solution has been to typically go in with sufficient force to deal with virtually any reasonable contingency. But the truly revealing part of the response is here: “General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” To military ears those are not the words of a man who made a decision; those are the words of a man who made a recommendation. A decision-maker follows his strong feeling with an order: to stand down or decline the request for help. A recommender passes his feeling up the chain of command — in this case, to the president of the United States.

The State Department answered the call with what force it had. The military did not. Either we did not have assets to answer (and that would be a different kind of scandal) or someone made the decision to — in effect — hang up on the 3:00 a.m. caller. Who made that call and why? The military already knows.  So should the American people.

UPDATE #3: CJCS denies:

The top U.S. military officer is denying reports that Army Gen. Carter Ham’s planned departure as head of U.S. Africa Command is linked to the Sept. 11 attack in Libya.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey issued a written statement Monday calling speculation about the reasons for Ham’s move “absolutely false.”

Well, Mr. Dempsey, I don’t believe you.  It’s sad that it has come to that, no?  As for something being absolutely false, Panetta’s claim (see above) remains so.

Prior:

White House Informed Of Militant Claim Two Hours After Benghazi Attack

What’s The Problem With Obama’s Response To Benghazi?

The Collected Wisdom of Fools: Defense Department and ANA Infiltration

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 11 months ago

I keep telling myself to forswear any more posts about Afghanistan.  It is beyond merely beating a dead horse.  It is akin to saddling the horse up.

Still, this article in The Hill (hat tip to Instapundit), while dealing with the problem of enemy infiltration of the ANA, is really about the complete and utter cluelessness of the Department of Defense, its leadership and the lack of direction in U.S. policy in general.

Here is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff– the highest ranking member of the military, the one responsible for advising the President on military matters:

U.S. and coalition commanders are no closer to knowing how deep the Taliban has penetrated Afghanistan’s security forces despite increased efforts to flush out infiltrators who are carrying out attacks against Americans.

“As for what percentage of the insider threat is related to infiltration or radicalization, I mean, it’s really difficult to determine,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday.

“I’m sure a certain percentage of it is. And we’re treating it … as a threat,” he told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon.

Taliban double agents, posing as members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), are responsible for executing some of the deadly “insider” attacks that have killed 51 coalition troops, mostly from the United States.

Really, General Dempsey?  It is “really difficult to determine” what percentage of the ANA is infiltrated by the Taliban?   But you are sure that “a certain percentage of it is.”   That’s just swell.  From purely a public relations perspective, you need to fire whomever is advising you, General.   There is absolutely no need to have the JCS Chairman get up in front of a bunch of reporters and say idiotic things like this.   Isn’t White House spokesman Jay Carney available for this kind of thing?  At least he gets lots of practice.

I am not interested here in examining the problems and solutions to infiltration of government forces by an insurgency.   There were certainly comparable problems with this in the Iraq Campaign.  But notice that in Iraq the approach of U.S. forces to the problem was commonsense:  don’t trust any of the Iraqis units being mentored.   There was not the same air of desperation in Iraq to train up security forces by a date certain as there clearly is in Afghanistan.   This is just one of the many evils unleashed by El Presidente’s foolish 2014 withdrawal date.   My interest here, however, is in the depths of inanity to which otherwise sane and presumably rational men will sink in obedience to the political dictates of the Child President.

Continuing on in this same article, lest anyone think that General Dempsey has a monopoly on foolishness, here is Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, no less:

But as Washington continues to eye the finish line in Afghanistan, the spate of insider attacks — no matter who is carrying them out — will likely continue all the way through the final withdrawal in 2014.

“I expect that there will be more of these high-profile attacks,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told reporters Thursday. “The enemy will do whatever they can to try and break our will using this kind of tactic. That will not happen.”

Oh.  I see, Leon.  So you’re not scared of those big, bad Taliban.   Let them keep infiltrating the ANA in order to kill more U.S. service members.   No matter how high the toll, the United States is determined to stand by its commitment to the Afghan people and to fight the forces of evil to the bitter end.   All the way up to, er….2014.   That would be another 15 months or so.  The Taliban can be forgiven if they are not as intimidated as Leon would like.   The bad guys may not be taking window measurements at the presidential residence in Kabul just yet, but is there anyone who cannot see the utter chaos in the Pentagon that has left our most senior leaders grasping at rhetorical fig leaves like this?

Let there be no mistake about the source of this folly.  The Pentagon has been given a completely untenable mission in Afghanistan– beat down a home-grown insurgency using less than half the necessary forces with half their collective arms tied in R.O.E. red tape behind their backs; training an Afghan national army heavily infiltrated by the enemy and on a timeline for surrender known to everyone.   El Presidente Obama is squarely to blame for the bloody and expensive failure unfolding in Afghanistan.  (There’s that dead horse).

Nonetheless, in more heroic and patriotic times, I would hope that there would be military officers who would rather resign than play the Fool.

Leon Panetta Jumps Off The Deep End

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

Well, I never agreed with his advocacy for troops cutbacks, I don’t like his positions on Iraq or Afghanistan, and I couldn’t have gotten along with Mr. Obama long enough to have every been in his shoes.  But this time Panetta has really jumped off the deep end.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared global warming a national security threat yesterday during a speech before an environmentalist group in Washington, D.C.

“The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security,” Panetta told the Environmental Defense Fund last night. “Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”

I had been wondering about Panetta’s position on the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, or the F-22 versus the (what will be ill-fated) F-35, maintaining the same number of carrier groups in the future (which I support – actually, I support increasing the number), and so on.

Instead, we find out that his thoughts as Secretary of Defense are running to anthropogenic global warming and the soon-to-be-manifest disasters.  Sigh.  It’s sort of like finding out that that man down the street with whom you talk from time to time believes that the U.S. destroyed the world trade center, right after aliens kidnapped him and held him hostage for ten years on the planet Lazon II.

Marines In Afghanistan Told To Disarm Prior To Panetta Speech

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 6 months ago

From MSNBC:

In an unusual move, around 200 U.S. Marines were asked to leave their weapons outside the tent where U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was set to speak during his trip to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Although the military said the order was not given in response to the Sunday’s shooting of 16 Afghan civilians allegedly by an American soldier, it possibly underlined how high tensions were running after the incident.

Major General Mark Gurganus told reporters at Camp Leatherneck that he had given the order because the two dozen Afghan soldiers also there were unarmed and he did not want to treat them differently.

“You’ve got one of the most important people in the world in the room,” he told reporters, dismissing concerns related to the shooting. “This is not a big deal.”

“All I know is I was told to get the weapons out,” Sergeant Major Brandon Hall told The New York Times. Asked why, he replied, “Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy; we just adjust.”

Panetta’s visit comes after Sunday’s shooting that left 16 Afghan civilians dead, including nine children. Some of the bodies were reportedly burned. The suspect, who hasn’t been named, is in U.S. custody.

According to the newspaper, the Marines, who were waiting to hear Panetta’s speech, were abruptly told by their commander to get up, leave their weapons, including M16 and M-4 automatic rifles and 9 mm pistols, outside and return unarmed. Hall said he was acting on orders from superiors, the Times reported.

Disarming in this way was noteworthy, according to NBC News’ chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski.

He told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the move was “highly unusual” and that Marines in a combat zone are always supposed to have weapons within their reach.

Without going into too much detail, what the Marines were told to do violates everything about Marine Corps doctrine, from top to bottom, concerning not only self protection but protection and security that Marines provide to other Marines.  It runs counter to what they are taught in Boot Camp, School of Infantry, and as a fleet Marine.  And to have 200 Marines completely disarmed in a combat zone is worse than just stolid or ignorant.  It is immoral.

But as for Panetta, let’s be clear.  If his plane were to crash on the way back to the states, requiring us to find a new Secretary of Defense, the world would not come to an end.  Time moves on, as does daily events and decisions.  This is true of me, readers, and even “one of the most important people (sic) in the world.”  But doctrine is for little people. While the Marines were armed Panetta was in one of the safest places on earth – i.e., around 200 armed Marines.  With the Marines disarmed, Panetta unwittingly placed himself and his entourage in mortal danger.

The only analogue I can think of is new gun owners.  If they cannot bring themselves to become trained and practice and trust in their muzzle and trigger discipline, then perhaps they shouldn’t own guns.  If the Secretary of Defense is nervous about being around firearms, perhaps he should have just stayed home and avoided this photo-event.  It would have been better for him and the Marines.


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