I am NOT Charlie Hebdo

I am NOT Charlie Hebdo. I am an American Christian Soldier.

I believe the Global War on Terror in the modern era started on November 21, 1979, with the wanton killing of U.S. Marine CPL Steven Crowley, guard at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, by militant Islamists who mistakenly believed that U.S. military units occupied their most holy mosque at Mecca.

In May of 2013, President Barack Hussein Obama declared the War on Terror OVER. He releases known unlawful combatant Islamists back into the War on Terror as if they were VICTIMS and not at least potentially deadly adversaries.

I believe the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is the finest such faiclity on earth. The islamist equivalent is a PILE of HEADS. I believe that Gitmo is a reasonable cost of doing business in the War on Terror, and that releasing detainees will not help win the War on Terror.

With that, and in this post-9/11 world one must take precautions. If one has been threatened and then had their office firebombed one should take reasonable measures to prevent an attack by those who threatened and then firebombed them.

Charlie Hebdo’s response to the threats and firebombing was to move their offices and install locked doors, not stop what some have called “hate speech.”

Charlie Hebdo continued to insult, demean and ridicule those who threatened and then firebombed them. Was this smart? Was this rational? Was this naïve? Some have called it bold, fearless and courageous.

Continuing behavior deemed offensive to the point of violence by others is at least bold, isn’t it? The principle of liberty is in play. “Give me liberty or give me death!” is as American as apple pie, and we got that attitude FROM the French. Heck, they even gave us a statue called “Liberty.”

Free speech is treasured in the western democracies of Europe and North America. Being able to depict anyone in any way one wishes is highly valued in art and journalism.

However, there are limits, and there are consequences apparently for surpassing those limits.

Yelling the “N” word in Harlem at noon on a workday may bring some stares, some comments, and perhaps some confrontations, possibly violent confrontations. Wearing a Nazi uniform in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, may bring some stares, some comments, and perhaps some confrontations, possibly violent confrontations.

Depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad, and/or Allah himself in an offensive, or ANY manner in an Islamist enclave would bring some stares, some comments, and most likely some confrontations, and probably some violent confrontations.

In this day of Internet and social media we enjoy a buffer from those with whom we interact. For that reason, some people feel they can say or do pretty much anything without consequences. People are much more inappropriate and bold on the Internet and in print or on TV or in the movies (have YOU seen “The Interview” yet?) than they would be in person.

That personal interaction is governed by a different set of mores and expectations. If you offend someone in person there is always the possibility the person you offended will respond violently, so we tend to be more polite in person, less so the more people we are around who feel the same way we do. But one-on-one we tend to size up our opponent and then instantly determine whether or not this is someone we could “take” physically should the need arise, before saying something disparaging about their mother, or their deity. Some parents spank their children, or an offended woman might slap a “fresh” potential suitor, to get their attention and to send a message that their behavior was inappropriate or unacceptable. Grown ups, especially grown up males, tend to raise the stakes a bit. In general terms, “Oh, yeah? Say that to my face,” creates an entirely different set of possible circumstances with men than it does with children or women.

On the Internet, in print or television media or the movies this is seldom a consideration, as there are few consequences to free expression in these venues. In journalism and art the writer/creator is less concerned with offending someone than they are with making whatever statement they want to make. They think less about consequences. Yet, they still revel in the idea of getting a reaction out of someone, any reaction.

Strong reactions can mean accolades, awards, and . . . MONEY. After all that’s really what Charlie Hebdo is all about, isn’t it, money? The paper is in business to make money. They make money if people buy the paper and advertisers buy ads.

Shock and smut sell. And today probably 3 million copies were sold – unprecedented.

Were the writers, cartoonists and editors of Charlie Hebdo sincerely in the business of serious journalism, or were they in the business of peddling smut? In a free society that values liberty above all else that wouldn’t matter so much, especially if there were enough people around to buy the art/smut. If no one bought the paper/magazine would they still do what they do or would they create something else to sell? Does that matter?

After all, twelve people died creating art/peddling smut, shouldn’t that matter more than why they did what they did? Isn’t it enough to say they were exercising their right to free speech? It should, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t because they were murdered for it in cold blood. If they had been in the building when it was fire bombed they would have died then.

The Judeo-Christian ethic teaches us to love one another, and to treat others as we would have them treat us. But in a decidedly secular society, anything goes. “If it feels good do it,” humanism, and “if it’s useful to me it’s good,” utilitarianism rule the day, not tried and true religious principles. Christians would say one treads on thin ice if one tempts fate by ignoring the Golden Rule. Sooner or later . . . call it karma, call it yin and yang, call it just desserts, the world has a way of balancing itself out, seeking equilibrium, entropy.

France has allowed hundreds of Islamist enclaves that shun French culture and society, and that disallow French civil services in their communities, and that operate their own religious courts that enforce their own religious laws. These enclaves are not unique to France. They exist throughout Western Europe, and evenin the U.S.

What then should be our reasoning in the aftermath of the Paris shootings by alleged Islamists?

Perhaps a realization that certain segments of society get pissed off enough to kill people if those people insensitively insult them. As anti-social as that response is, it is a response. Killing someone when life in the here and now means so little to some people is like the smack in the face for getting fresh to others. Believe it. Allegedly, the Islamist attackers said they wanted to “die as martyrs.” Life is so very cheap to those who would make such claims.

Dealing with murderers is difficult and complex. One segment of society wants to know “why?” the perpetrators did what they did, and want to defend them with public resources. Others would rather see the killers killed, rationalizations and psychology be damned.

The French avoided that complexity by killing the SUSPECTED Islamists. Everyone here is ASSUMING those persons killed by the French police (if any were killed at all) were the perpetrators. We may never know for sure. We only know what we are told. We assume the French are telling the truth about the whole thing. If not, what would be their motive?

For all we know the perpetrators were goaded into acting in order to flush out more of them, to lead authorities to the planners and facilitators. It would be stupid to cut off the only source of information about the bigger fish in this story, wouldn’t it? Unless of course you already had all the valuable information you thought you could get from them, i.e., their communication with their superiors.

If the French goal was to create a scenario wherein EVERYONE would buy-in to eliminating Islamists in France, including the leaders of Israel and Palestine, this was it.

With no live perpetrators in hand the French can say whatever they want to about it. Who’s to question them?

What we are witnessing currently are vast emotional outpourings over the destroyed innocent lives of heroic artists and journalists – who are supposed to enjoy neutrality in war, aren’t they? Seems to me theIslamic State has TARGETED journalists for capture and dismemberment.

For all we know the whole thing was fabricated in order to extract a certain public and world sentiment the liberal French government could NEVER perpetrate on their own without Islamist fall guys. And all this has acted as a smoke screen to Boko Haram’s worst atrocity in Nigeria, where they reportedly slaughtered hundreds of innocent people, not twelve, hundreds. Where are the outpourings and marches for them?

Multiculturalism is a hallmark of socialism. “We are the world,” is a favorite refrain. “Tolerance,” “understanding,” immigration appeasement, etc., are all liberal agenda items thrown in more conservative faces as political correctness and social justice, humanism, utilitarianism, commonism (exploitation of the commons for minority greed).

The false narrative of liberals has come home to roost. Terrorism is alive and well and living in Paris. Or is it?

Je suis NON Charlie.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Author web page: http://sbpra.com/montgomeryjgranger/ Twitter @mjgranger1

TERROR COMES HOME TO HOLLYWOOD

At the heart of terror is the psychological effects on it’s victims. If you believe you’re a target of violence you will take necessary steps to prevent that perceived potential harm.

If your name, address and other personal information were stolen by those who promised to do you harm it becomes a legitimate reality for you, especially if these people or others like them have been successful in carrying out acts of terror in the recent past.

If instead of a threat to harm innocent people if the Sony Pictures film “The Interview” were shown the terrorists had simply blown up a theater killing innocent people who were watching the movie, the point would have been made and no one would have criticized Sony Pictures for then pulling the plug.

But since violence was only threatened and not perpetrated, “brave” Hollywood personalities, mainstream media talking heads and politicians criticized the decision to play it safe. But no Hollywood personality, mainstream media talking head or politician who has criticized Sony Pictures for canceling the initial release of The Interview, offered to host a premier for the movie, or offered to compensate reluctant movie theaters for the cost of added security and insurance against terror attacks threatened by hackers.

No Hollywood personality, mainstream media talking head or politician offered to be present or stand guard for a screening of the movie. Yet, they were all “outraged” over Sony Pictures’ decision to reduce the risk of a terror attack on innocent people; liberal hypocrisy at its best.

“Brave” people who have come out of the woodwork to blame Sony Pictures for encouraging more terror threats by capitulating, have no solutions, no constructive options, no offers of help, just distain fueled by . . . greed?

Cyber threats have become more and more frequent over the past ten years, and more so by enemies of the United States against our way of life. Instead of meeting these threats head on, or even classifying them as “acts of war,” our government, indeed President Barack Obama, blames the victim! Wagging his finger at Sony Pictures the President said he would have told Sony to release the film if only they had come to him first.

Retreating and giving up the high ground in the Global War on Terror by abandoning Iraq in 2011, Obama set the stage for the current state of affairs vs. the Islamic State and other terror groups. His releasing of unlawful combatants from our military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is also another indication that the President, who declared the Global War on Terror “over” in 2013, is trying to wish away the bad guys. In fact, the President’s behavior in releasing Gitmo detainees in a steady stream before hostilities have ended says that he considers released detainees VICTIMS.

But several released Gitmo detainees haven’t just returned to the fight, they have become LEADERS in the Jihad. Releasing bad guys won’t help win the War on Terror, yet it has become Obama’s latest sport, engendering him to the radical Muslim followers of the Jihad. At the same time, not long after Senate Democrats released a one-sided Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA activities with detainees, Obama continues his deadly drone campaign against unlawful combatants overseas, some of which have been known American citizens. Still others have been brought from foreign lands to stand trial in U.S. Federal Courts, with free court appointed lawyers, of course.

The President’s designation of foreign terrorists as common criminals is disturbing and counterproductive, and to certain Fort Hood shooting victims and military personnel insulting. Thank God the Congress has seen fit to overturn Obama’s designation of the Fort Hood incident as “workplace violence” and has paved the way for Purple Heart medals and combat related benefits to these true heroes.

To defeat an enemy one must first admit one has an enemy. Obama’s continued denials, except of course when it suits his desire to drone someone, have not only emboldened our enemies, they have created an open invitation to chaos. So-called “Lone Wolf” terror attacks have become more frequent, but make no mistake, the “Lone Wolf “ moniker is a misnomer. Anytime someone yells “allahu akbar” and then attacks someone it is part of the bigger whole – the Jihad. Labeling these attacks as “Lone Wolf” ignores the reality of the Global War on Terror and is Obamaesque, which is counter productive in our struggle with Islamists. We must think of these attackers as part of the enemy whole and then defeat them.

Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us we must defend ourselves.

Trading five known Taliban leaders for one questionably loyal American military captive was perhaps the most inept and wrongheaded act by any president ever. Open season on kidnapping Americans was declared by our enemies because of that insane trade. The Islamic State followed suit by beheading American and other captives and then posting the video of the murders on the Internet. Terrorism 101.

Gitmo may not be perfect, but it is light-years ahead of the Islamist alternative, which is a PILE of HEADS. To date, over 630 detainees have been released from Gitmo, and NONE of them has been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, all things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies. 30 percent of released Gitmo detainees are known to have rejoined the fight. Imagine how many of the UNKNOWN have rejoined the fight.

All this figures in Sony Pictures’ and distributive movie theater’s decisions to initially pass on The Interview, a film about the planned assassination of a real live human being. Hollywood has out done itself in promoting wanton murder.

Had they come up with a fictitious country and made-up target things may have played out differently. But instead they chose to single out a social pariah, but a living, breathing, and real human being nonetheless. Sounds racist, discriminatory and of promoting senseless violence at a time one would think liberal Hollywood types would want to spread understanding and tolerance, you know, PEACE.

Peace however, doesn’t SELL. What sells is controversy. What sells is violence, lots of it. Ironically, these liberal Hollywood types are some of the first to condemn anomalies like the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. As Americans we really need to look hard at ourselves in the mirror and then ask if we have desensitized ourselves to violence to the point when, if those in authority tell subordinates to do something like “prep” detainees for interrogation we don’t give it a second thought. Posting abuse photos on the Internet, innocently enough, was the thoughtless act that doomed the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib. Those photos PALE in comparison to even PG-13 rated movies from Hollywood, and don’t even register on the scale when compared to the Islamic State’s beheadings.

With The Interview currently breaking all income records for online released movies it is clear the initial decision to hold the release of the film because of perceived threats has paid off handsomely. And stories have emerged that point to an INSIDE JOB with regard to the hacking of Sony Pictures computers. Although not widely reported, these claims are substantial and credible. Have we all been HAD? Has Sony Pictures come up with a way to make one feel PATRIOTIC for viewing a film of questionable morality?

Hollywood must now look hard in the mirror and then admit some culpability in the current state of fear mongering. Extreme violence as portrayed in countless Hollywood films has begotten an irresponsible sense of absolution among those who choose what is produced: the bloodier and more outrageous the better. Choosing to feature a known personality in an assassination plot in an era of immediate communication has produced a logical consequence. It’s time to reflect and then ask if this is the kind of world we want to live in. If not, then we have to DO something about it. Hopefully, the 114th Congress feels the same way.

Ebola, Obama and the Sacrifice of the American Military

Either as distraction or abomination, President Barack Obama has ordered 3,000 U.S. troops into Ebola infested West Africa.

The problem is, 3,000 U.S. troops can’t defeat Ebola.

It was said that the military personnel will not be directly involved with treating Ebola-infected patients. The problem with that is that the people who are infected and contagious but not very sick in the beginning are the ones who spread the disease.

So how are our troops supposed to tell the infected and contagious indigenous people from the healthy ones?

Another question is how are we going to protect those 3,000 military personnel? Are they being trained and inoculated? Is there a vaccine we don’t know about that is being administered to those being deployed?

CAMP PENDLETON, CA - AUGUST 07:  U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during his visit at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base with troops and their families to thank them for their service on August 7, 2013 in Camp Pendleton, California. Obama announced today that he canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow amid tensions over National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and other issues. Credit: Getty Images

Prior to my multiple deployments overseas I was inoculated against small pox and anthrax. Not your common everyday illnesses. Was the general public ever aware of this?

If there were a vaccine, would the government hide that fact from us in order to preserve Ebola as a possible bio-weapon? Bio-weapons are only effective if there is no vaccine. If they have a vaccine, concealing that fact makes those who have the virus in a test tube somewhere more powerful.

One of the reasons Obama says he is sending military personnel is because there is a security threat. Could we be positioning ourselves to assist the West African governments with deadly forceif it is indicated?

It was said during the announcement of U.S. military involvement that the U.S. would beestablishing a command and control base, offering health care worker training, and helping to set-up a health care logistics system.

Health care logistics means delivery of health care supplies and equipment directly to those who need it. Command and control requires eyes-on supervision. How would it be possible for U.S. military personnel not to come into contact with infected Ebola patients?

Health worker burn used protection gear at the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) center in Conakry on September 13, 2014. For nearly four decades, mention of the Ebola virus has evoked death and terror, yet a simple factor -- money -- has stood in the way of erasing the curse, experts say. Despite its evil reputation, Ebola breaks out only rarely in brief if murderous spurts in impoverished African countries. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI

Military personnel are trained to perform their duties in a wartime environment. These highly trained, highly motivated personnel are soldier’s first, and then job specialty second. Why are they being given a mission that seems much better suited to civilian health care professionals? If there is a security issue they should use local law enforcement or hire contracted security personnel, not use soldiers.

Why aren’t African countries taking the lead on this? Why aren’t the bleeding heart social medicine champions form Europe leading this charge, putting their money, people and materiel where their mouth is? The World Health Organization should be out front on this, along with other non-governmental organizations and countries who have much more skin in the game than we do.

In our country medical care is an insurance issue, so where is the insurance ground zero here? Why are Americans being asked to pay up front on something that may never affect us directly before others who are directly affected give their all?

Could Iraq use 3,000 troops? How about our border with Mexico? Ukraine? Afghanistan?

Once again it seems as though Obama’s advisors have convinced him to use the military in a way the military was never intended to be used, kind of like “no combat role” for troops in Iraq. Pssst! The Army is trained for COMBAT, stupid!

Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantley, left,  embraces Dr. Bruce Ribner medical director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, after being released from Emory University Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP/John Bazemore)

Obama’s advisors are a group of military haters, with only five of 54 cabinet appointees and czars with ANY military experience at all, and among those NONE with either combat Army or Marine Corps officer experience. So, the Air Force and Navy guys on Obama’s team aren’t suggesting THOSE branches to be involved. Why?

The Navy medical personnel I served with at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 did a great job with the detainees. They did excellent isolation care with those detainees suspected with tuberculosis! Why not Ebola? Besides, the Navy has those neat hospital ships, what better way to isolate those who are ill? And the Air Force is famous for their on the fly health care and innovative delivery systems in the air. Why don’t they have a role in this mission?

Why? Indeed!

Maybe the answer is the Obama team wants the Army to suffer. After all, it has been Army officers who have repeatedly suggested Obama’s plan to battle the Islamic State without combat troops is pie in the sky, to the contrary of the president’s mantra. It’s embarrassing to say the least that his own military, specifically the Army keeps contradicting the advice he keeps getting from his no-military, no-brain, trust in the White House.

Sequestration is still on the table, and will hurt the Army first, last and worst. The Army continues to be asked to do more with less, and now are being asked to work magic on the Ebola crisis using funds already earmarked for the fight against Islamists. Wrong team, wrong battle.

The Army is being sent to sacrifice for the sins of it’s leaders, those who continue to advocate for missions that they are built for, and not missions the Obama team wish they were built for. And if the military fails, Obama has his favorite fall guy.

If you want to degrade and then destroy Islamic State you send in the 82nd Airborne Division and the United States Marine Corps.

American Aid goods are loaded onto a truck after it arrived by airplane, to be used in the fight against the Ebola virus spreading in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Two alarming new cases of Ebola have emerged in Nigeria, widening the circle of people sickened beyond the immediate group of caregivers who treated a dying airline passenger in one of Africa's largest cities. The outbreak also continues to spread elsewhere in West Africa, with 142 more cases recorded, bringing the new total to 2,615 with 1,427 deaths, the World Health Organization said Friday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

If you want to stem the spread of Ebola you send in civilian medical personnel and then protect them with contracted civilian security if indicated.

It’s the civilian health care system that saved at least two American doctors who came down with Ebola. Notice how they weren’t sent to a military medical facility? Can you imagine the Department of Veterans Affairs having to add Ebola to the list of diseases they have to treat?

Using military for the Ebola fight simply puts a strain on the current mission, supporting global operations against Islamists who want to kill us. Most likely the bulk of those being sent will be Army reservists, who would be available but currently serving in civilian medical facilities, which would suffer from their absence.

Sacrificing American military assets for a civilian health care crisis weakens our ability to protect our own and sets yet another bad precedent that mismanages our military, sadly par for the course for Obama and his anti-military minions.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter ID @mjgranger1

Barack Obama is No Jack Kennedy

Over 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy announced, “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner) from the steps of the Rathaus Schoneberg in West Berlin, making a clear and direct statement to the Soviet Union that he would not allow them to strangle West Berlin into submission.

President Barack Hussein Obama has the same opportunity now, in the defining moment of his foreign policy career, to declare, “I am from Baghdad!” The forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are knocking on Baghdad’s door, and are solidifying an Islamic caliphate from northern Syria across northern Iraq (sans Kurdish enclaves), down to the outskirts of Baghdad.

US President Barack Obama makes a statement on Iraq from the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, DC, June 19, 2014. Obama said Washington was prepared to send up to 300 military advisors to study how to train and equip Iraqi forces and had already increased its surveillance and intelligence capabilities in the country. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama makes a statement on Iraq from the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, DC, June 19, 2014. Obama said Washington was prepared to send up to 300 military advisors to study how to train and equip Iraqi forces and had already increased its surveillance and intelligence capabilities in the country. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON
If Obama had an ounce of the courage and fortitude of Kennedy he would be on the next plane to Baghdad International Airport and then declare from the tarmac that the U.S. is back to stay this time.

We still have troops and bases in countries we defeated in World War II, some 70 years ago. Germany, Japan and Italy are among the world’s leaders in economic strength and stability, and have enjoyed peace and prosperity, because of our committed presence since the end of the war.

The United State of America used to be known for its steadfast reliability and straightforward diplomacy. Kennedy also stared down the Soviets over ballistic missiles in Cuba, blockading that country and issuing an ultimatum to the Soviets to remove their missiles or face global nuclear war.

Obama waffles (red line in Syria), blunders (Benghazi), caves (Ukraine), and even seems to play for the other team (release of five Taliban leaders from Gitmo for one alleged deserter). In short, the man can’t seem to get out of his own way when it comes to foreign policy. It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.

Never before in the history of our great nation have we had a commander in chief who is so ill prepared, poorly advised, and downright incompetent when it comes to dealing with other countries. I can just see him in the kindergarten sand box giving all his toys to the pretty girls and bullies and then sitting in the corner letting them throw sand in his face.

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the Al Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/militant website, File)
This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the Al Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/militant website, File)
“Pathetic” does not even begin to describe the destitute image we now must carry; not just with our enemies, but with our friends as well, because of his floundering and fumbling on the world stage.

He announced recently that we were sending 300 advisors to establish joint operations centers with the Iraqis, but failed to comment on the reason he gave for not establishing a status of forces agreement in 2011 before he pulled out the last U.S. combat troops. He said then that Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki demanded that U.S. personnel be subject to Iraqi justice, and Obama walked and took his toys with him. No negotiation in good faith, just up and left.

I want to know NOW what the status is with regard to U.S. forces in Iraq. Are they or are they not subject to the Iraqi justice system? That MUST be settled before even ONE U.S. advisor steps out of the Green Zone U.S. Embassy area in Baghdad. If it does not, then Obama has once again violated his own promise not to put U.S. troops in jeopardy over that issue.

If the demand is lifted, then we MUST return to Iraq, en force, crush ISIS and the Sunni uprising, and then settle in for a very long stay. Nothing else makes sense. Which is the problem with Obama and foreign policy – nothing makes sense.

We cannot afford another Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl situation; Obama would empty Guantanamo Bay in the blink of an eye. We must commit the 82nd Airborne Division IMMEDIATELY, followed by United States Marines (air and sea assets) in support and then retake the country.

U.S. Army Sgt. Kyle Whalen, 22, from Plover, Wis., playfully taps his helmet with an Iraqi boy’s donated toy football helmet during a visit to the boy’s school in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. Iraqi Army troops donated school supplies to children who attend the school. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
U.S. Army Sgt. Kyle Whalen, 22, from Plover, Wis., playfully taps his helmet with an Iraqi boy’s donated toy football helmet during a visit to the boy’s school in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. Iraqi Army troops donated school supplies to children who attend the school. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
We need to insist on a status of forces agreement as if Iraq were forced into an unconditional surrender in the spring of 2003. We MUST establish a Middle East Marshall Plan that includes the subsidizing of Iraq’s defense and infrastructure to a point where they can stand solidly on their own two feet, but never move far enough away so as to miss them if they were to fall.

We need a presence on every Iraqi border, in every Iraqi town, and on every Iraqi road. We need to cut off and then blockade Iranian political and military influence of the Shia led government. We need to force a shared power framework where all groups are represented fairly in the government.

Iraq is the high ground in the global war on terror, which still rages white hot, whether or not Obama says it’s over. The results of his withdrawal in 2011 proved the war on terror is alive and well and created a security and leadership vacuum happily filled by ISIS and other Islamists.

The American military is trained to COMPLETE the MISSION above all else. My brothers and sisters who served before, after, and with me in Iraq shall not have served or died or been maimed in vain. For once since the end of WWII our political and military goals and objectives need to be one in the same. All Islamists must be killed or pursued until they no longer have the means or will to kill us.

The only question now: Will Obama take a page from the history of Kennedy by declaring a stop to ISIS’s progress, protect our troops from arbitrary enforcement of Iraqi laws, and then re-do Iraq – the right way this time? Our future and that of our friends, neighbors and children depend on it.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1

Back to Iraq? One Soldier’s View

“The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.” – Chris Hedges

That opening quote from “The Hurt Locker,” the Academy Award wining best picture of 2008, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and staring Jeremy Renner, is a truism that most soldiers who’ve been in combat can relate to.

Soldiering in general can be addictive, but even more so in a war zone. To be ultimately effective one must resign oneself to death. Accepting one’s death is an emotionally significant event that finds one mourning and going through the typical stages of accepting death and dying.

Shock. Disbelief. Anger. Bargaining. Acceptance.

For some each stage is distinct and vivid. For others, they blur. For soldiers, reaching the final stage, acceptance, can mean the difference between life and death, for oneself and/or for one’s comrades.

The addictive part is truly the essence of the culture of soldiering. Life is simple. You don’t have to worry about what you will be eating, where you will be going, or what you will be doing.

You have your uniform, your gear, and your weapon. Also known as your skin, your stuff and your best friend.

Every day is so similar that it’s difficult and even superfluous to count days or pay attention to the calendar until you get “short” and have very little time left. Time-wise, the battle rhythm in combat is the only thing that matters. Being on time and hitting start points and checkpoints is mission critical. And make no mistake; the MISSION isn’t just EVERYTHING it is the ONLY thing.

This is the root of the devastating pain of having left Iraq BEFORE THE MISSION WAS COMPLETE. We are still in Germany and Japan nearly 70 years after the end of WWII because the objective of the mission was LASTING PEACE. Those two countries, former deadly enemies, are now more prosperous and peaceful than nearly any other on earth.

The eradication of the enemy, unconditional surrender, and the taking away of the will and means for the enemy to resist, were military and political goals in the 1940’s. Today, the military and political goals of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) are polar opposites. Our president and his administration of rookies with respect to military and foreign policy matters are at war with our own military – ideologically speaking.

Barack Hussein Obama is completely ambivalent to the military mission in the GWOT, and even denies that it exists. He, cavalierly stated upon the exit of the last of the U.S. forces from Iraq in December 2011, “Anyone trying to derail the progress in Iraq will fail,” a completely impotent and foolish statement.

Today we are looking at an Iraq that has politically and militarily failed. Mozul and Tikrit have fallen to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), an Al Qaeda off-shoot of Sunni Muslims, or, more accurately, Islamists, who claim responsibility for the taking of these Iraqi cities and forcing over half a million resident Iraqi citizens to flee for their lives.

The Islamists are threatening the capital city of Baghdad, now vulnerable and exposed.

Who will save Iraq?

Will the U.S. go back to finish the job it started and then abandoned?

I would; were I not married with five children, 52 years old and retired six years from the military, my addiction would have its way with me. The burning desire to FINISH the mission in Iraq would take me over and draw me back to the smoldering heat, dust, and infectious smiles and gratefulness of the Iraqi people.

You wouldn’t know it from reports by the Mainstream Media, but the average Iraqi was quite grateful for our presence in Iraq. We had helped them rebuild and then improve the entire infrastructure we destroyed upon entry in 2003.

We had suppressed Al Qaeda.

And then Barack Hussein Obama was elected and the whole thing went down the toilet. The military mission that had started so brilliantly, turned into SNAFU (firing of the Iraqi Army), and then was fixed (surge); and then after we left rapidly deteriorated and then just went away, like the end of a dust storm, quiet, so quiet, and clear, and still.

But, it didn’t take long for the wolves to smell the carcass and then come running for a taste. Bombing began almost immediately upon the dust settling behind the last U.S. military vehicle crossing the border back into Kuwait. And then a crescendo of killing recently when bombings murdered scores of innocent Iraqi citizens, paying the price for their ambivalence toward the lack of a deal with the U.S. for security and a lasting peace.

Everything was “fine” back in 2011, just like the eerie calm before the tornado hits. And hit it did, and hard, and it looks like the “Big One” is yet to touch down in that desolate place, a place of blood and sand.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). FB Twitter @mjgranger1

Was Bergdahl Addicted to Heroin? Why is he Being Sequestered? Detox?

While serving at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an Army Captain, and the ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, in February 2002, I was aware of a detainee we called “Wild Bill” who came to us from Afghanistan a drug addicted schizophrenic.

It took us a while to figure out what his problems were. We were distracted by his bizarre behavior: eating his flip flops, hanging objects from his genitals, making strange, random sounds, and, like many other detainees, when they got the chance, throwing urine and feces on the guards.

Once it was determined that this detainee was ill, and his story stuck, he was determined to no longer be a threat to the United States, nor of any intelligence value, so he was scheduled for release.

As it turned out, “Wild Bill,” or Abdul Razaq, admitted to me and a few of my unit mates through an interpreter while hiding from the press before delivering him to his freedom bird on the leeward side of Gitmo, that he was a heroin addict in Kandahar when the Taliban came through and offered to support his habit if he picked up an AK-47, and then fought with them against the Northern Alliance and U.S. forces in the fall of 2001.

Razaq’s bizarre behavior at Gitmo was a result of a combination of schizophrenia and cold turkey withdrawal from his heroin addiction. The Taliban had used drugs to control him.

It was weeks after he was released that we saw a picture of Razaq in an online Newsweek article written by Sami Yousafzai, picturing him on a psychiatric hospital bed in Kandahar, and telling the interviewer about how well he was treated at Gitmo.

Fast forward to 2009, and the bizarre behavior of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. He walked off his U.S. Army post in Afghanistan, and then went in search of the Taliban. It was overheard on a radio monitored by members of his unit that Bergdahl was looking for the Taliban and that a villager thought he might be “high after smoking hashish,” a concentrated hallucinogenic drug. Bergdahl subsequently spent over five years with the Taliban off shoot known as the Haqqani.

While with the Haqqani, Bergdahl was observed carrying a loaded weapon and taking target practice with the Haqqani. Other reports indicate that Bergdahl “happily” played soccer with the Haqqani, and “bounded around the soccer pitch like a mad man.”

We have seen video of Sgt. Bergdahl both when he was with the Haqqani during his absence from his unit, and upon his release, when he was handed over to U.S. Special Forces personnel. In general Bergdahl appeared in decent health, yet mentally subdued and calm. While walking from the vehicle he was brought to his release in, towards the U.S. Blackhawk helicopter that took him away, he seemed to be able to walk brusquely and on his own power. Upon his release the White House even said that he was in “good” condition.

Why then has Bergdahl been sequestered since his release to the point where he has not even been reunited or in communication with his family, namely, his parents who were trotted through the Rose Garden by President Barack Hussein Obama upon the announcement of their son’s return to U.S. custody?

The Taliban are known to sedate hostages with drugs. U.S. Senators commented after seeing a “proof of life” video of Bergdahl that he “had been drugged.” It was reported that during Bergdahl’s time with the Haqqani he escaped and then spent five days away from them, and then after his recapture spent time in a “cage.” Could his return have been due to his need for drugs?

It is possible that Bowe Bergdahl has been drugged regularly either before and/or after his recapture by the Haqqani. It is possible that one of the reasons for his being sequestered since his return, and hospitalized in “stable condition,” is because he is going through detoxification. Until this is done it is highly unlikely that he is being debriefed vigorously regarding his five years with the Haqqani, which would be the next logical step in his reintegration into western and American military culture.

It is almost certain that Bergdahl’s enlistment contract has expired. He has been passed over for automatic promotion to Staff Sergeant probably both for the circumstances surrounding his disappearance from his unit in Afghanistan, and the lack of a non-commissioned officer evaluation, which requires no “flags” on his record and certain achievements to have been accomplished. A “flag” could be applied from an unsatisfactory physical fitness test or height and weight evaluation, performance deficiencies, or misconduct.

The next step after detox and debrief could be a hearing before a military Judge Advocate General (JAG) magistrate to first determine his status. Is Bergdahl legally still in the military? Was he summarily discharged during his absence? Why was he never categorized as either a Prisoner of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA)? Will the United States attempt to declare Bergdahl an enemy combatant?

If the latter occurs, Bergdahl could be denied habeas corpus (due process rights) and then subject to trial by military commission. This would be the case if it were determined that he collaborated with the enemy and/or considered himself a “mujahid,” as some reports claim. It could also put him in jeopardy of being charged with treason; aiding and giving “comfort” to the enemy.

Heroin or other drugs may complicate Bergdahls status hearing. His attorney’s may argue that Bergdahl was a victim of being drugged and therefore cannot be held completely responsible for his actions. If he was summarily discharged he may be entitled to civilian representation, or either way may choose to represent himself.

It’s accurate to say there are many things we don’t know about Bowe Bergdahl and his current circumstances, but for me, based on my experiences and clues in the evidence available so far, I believe it’s possible he’s a drug addicted enemy combatant. We may only find out what the truth is when the U.S. government wants us to know. Until then, watch and listen for leaking clues to what may turn out to be the most fascinating military defection in history.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter ID: @mjgranger1

Obama, Bergdahl and the Betrayal of America

Let’s forget for a moment that President Barack Hussein Obama negotiated with terroristsbroke the law requiring Congressional notification when releasing a detainee held at Guantanamo Bay, and by releasing five of the most dangerous enemies held at Gitmo. And let’s remember it cost American LIVES to capture those unlawful combatant Islamists in the first place

And it cost American LIVES (at least six) to look for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, for whom the Gitmo Five were released.

Honest military personnel don’t like it when their lives are taken for granted, or besmirched by a suspected deserter. It’s not good for morale to add to the already 600-plus RELEASED Gitmo detainees29 percent of whom are RECIDIVISTS. By the way, NONE of these detainees were executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, things our enemies did to previous captives, except for Bowe Bergdahl.

FILE - This file image provided by IntelCenter on Wednesday Dec. 8, 2010 shows a frame grab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of a man believed to be Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, left. The nearly five-year effort to free the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan is scattered among numerous federal agencies with a loosely organized group of people working on it mostly part time, according to two members of Congress and military officials involved in the effort. An ever-shrinking U.S. military presence in Afghanistan has re-focused attention on efforts to bring home Bergdahl, who has been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. (AP Photo/IntelCenter, File) MANDATORY CREDIT: INTELCENTER; NO SALES; EDS NOTE: "INTELCENTER" AT LEFT TOP CORNER ADDED BY SOURCE

Among other ethos, the Soldier’s Creed insists that a U.S. Army soldier, “will always put the mission first,” “will never accept defeat,” and “will never quit.”

After just a few short days after his release, U.S. Army Sgt. (promoted in absentia from private during his captivity) Bowe Bergdahl’s warrior ethos is in question.

The circumstances surrounding his disappearance from his unit while serving in Afghanistan are suspect at best. In fact, there are no reports of him being taken by force by the Taliban. Sources contend that he left his post, walking away without his weapon, body armor or ammunition. Reports say he took only water, a compass, digital camera, personal diary and a knife.

From Wikileaks to those who say they served with Bergdahl, it appears that he just up and left his unit. In military terms, that’s called desertion, an offense punishable by death according to Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Furthermore, he may be suspected of committing treason, a Constitutional offense, also punishable by death, for providing “aid and comfort” to the enemy. This is something he may have done when questioned by his Taliban captors in relation to his unit’s strength, size and movements.

Reports also indicate that in the subsequent months, while his unit and others searched for Bowe,at least six U.S. soldiers died at the hands of the Taliban.

On Aug. 18, 2009, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen and Pfc. Morris Walker were killed by an improvised explosive device in the search for Bergdahl. Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss was killed on August 26; 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews and Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek were killed after being attacked in Yahya Khail District on September 4; Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey was killed September 5 by an IED at the Forward Operating Base, Sharana.

This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The Taliban proposed a deal in which they would free the U.S. soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their most senior operatives at Guantanamo Bay, while Afghan President Hamid Karzai eased his opposition Thursday June 20, 2013 to joining planned peace talks. Credit: AP

His former unit mates indicate that after Bergdahl’s disappearance patterns developed in their searches for him, patterns that were immediately exploited by the enemy in increased IED attacks and base assaults when troops left to search for the missing American.

There are some who call for calm and empathy towards Bergdahl, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who said, “We will give him all the support he needs to help him recover from this ordeal.”

He also justified the exchange of five former detainees who were held at Gitmo, by saying, “Sgt. Bergdahl’s return is a powerful reminder of the enduring, sacred commitment our nation makes to all those who serve in uniform.”

This “sacred commitment” included the release of probably the highest-ranking enemies held at Gitmo who were not currently on trial for war crimes. The Long War Journal lists these detainees backgrounds and associations, but briefly they are:

  • Abdul Haq Wasiq, former Taliban intelligence official, central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against U.S. and Coalition forces after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Mullah Norullah Noori, senior Taliban military commander who was engaged in hostilities against U.S. and Coalition forces in late 2001.
  • Mullah Mohammad Fazl, one of the Taliban’s most experienced commanders prior to his capture in November 2001. Gitmo officials warned in a February 2008 memo that is Fazl was released “he would likely rejoin the Taliban and establish ties with [Anti-Coalition Militia] elements participating in hostilities against U.S. and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.”
  • Mullah Kairullah Khairkhwa was one of Mullah Omar’s closest confidantes, and directly connected to Osama bin Laden prior to his capture. He represented the Taliban during meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against U.S. and Coalition Forces.
  • Mohammad Nabi Omari, senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles, member of a joint Al Qaeda/Taliban Anti-Coalition Militia cell in Khowst, Afghanistan, and was involved in attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces. Also maintained weapons caches and facilitated the smuggling of fighters and weapons.

 

Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban, has called the release of the Gitmo Five a “great victory,” which aligns well with Sgt. Bergdahl’s father, Robert Bergdahl’s, Tweet: “I am working to free all Guantanamo prisoners.”

Bob Bergdahl, father of captive U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, speaks at the "Bring Bowe Back" celebration held to honor Sgt. Bergdahl in Hailey, Idaho, Saturday, June 22, 2013. Hundreds of activists for missing service members gathered in a small Idaho town Saturday to hear the parents of the only known U.S. prisoner of war speak just days after his Taliban captors announced they want to exchange him for prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay. Credit: AP

President Barack Hussein Obama seems to be on the same team. Exchanging one dubiously loyal captured American for five of the most dangerous Gitmo detainees seems like the deal of the century, if you’re Taliban.

With this exchange, Obama has continued to nail the coffin shut on the War on Global Terror. He closed the lid when he withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq and failed to obtain an agreement for a residual U.S. force to remain there.

Obama continues to deny we are at war with an enemy – that is gaining strength and shows no sign of weakness – through promises of ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan by 2016, and now the release of five high ranking Taliban officials.

What right-minded person could deny Obama’s complicity in handing Mullah Omar and the Taliban aid and comfort by the release of the Gitmo Five?

The nagging question is, “what now?”

What now shall we do to stem the tide of foreign policy contraction and near literal surrender to the forces of evil and death that flew planes loaded with innocent Americans into buildings full of more innocent victims, and into a field in Pennsylvania? These actions killed more Americans in one day than died at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, or on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

In the conflict that included those two days of infamy we finished the job, concluding World War II with the unconditional surrender of both Germany and Japan. But then afterwards created a road to redemption for both countries and others with our Marshall Plan of aid and infrastructure reconstruction, as well as military defense subsidies with our own troops and materiel. It was this and Ronald Reagan’s steadfast determination not to let the Soviet Union dictate global terms that won the Cold War.

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with General Joseph Dunfore, Commander of ISAF and US Forces Afghanistan, at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014, during a surprise trip to visit US troops prior to the Memorial Day holiday. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

With U.S. forces currently in over 150 countries world wide, to claim the Global War on Terror is over is pure folly, but Obama doesn’t even mention the global war, or terrorists, or the enemy. To him our presence overseas is a burden to other nations rather than a way to project power and influence to maintain security and to defend our interests and foreign policy goals.

In fact in May, 2013, Obama declared the war “over.” Only he forgot to tell the Taliban and Al Qaeda, who continue to this day to try and kill us.

In other words, the man who is Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States of America has abdicated his ultimate responsibility to defend this nation against all enemies – foreign and domestic.

Obama has defiled any semblance of following the Soldier’s Creed himself: he is not putting the “mission first,” has accepted “defeat,” and has “quit,” on his soldiers and on his fellow Americans.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1