Gitmo Trials and Unending Wars: PC Myths Prevail

In a recent article in the Gloucester Times, that covered a trip to the U.S. Military Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by Essex County District Attorney Jon Blodgett, he discussed the place and the current trial procedures against accused war criminals there. This is my reaction to the story.

Don’t fall into the trap of saying “We are now in a series of unending wars.” That ends the conversation.

The “war” is the point after all, the Global War on Terror, the “thing” over which all the PC talking heads cringe. They won’t say it, you won’t say it, and until we all say it and then talk about, it won’t go away.

Generals NEVER discuss a battle or war without also discussing an end state. Be it cyclical or linear, an objective is the goal. So here’s one for you: Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us we must defend ourselves. From that you can build courses of action, choose one and then close on the objective.

The problem is politics and PC rangers. Unless one’s political and military goals are the same, one CANNOT be successful in war. And, like anything else in life, if you can’t be honest about the problem you cannot possibly hope to solve it.

Winning the Global War on Terror will be measured in part by the lack of seeming random acts of terror. If the world does not come together to defend itself against the radical Islamists, perhaps like many countries did against Barbary Pirates several hundred years ago, then the war will seem endless due to it’s prolonged persistence over generations.

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One question I have is, why are so few Arab countries actively involved in the battle against ISIS, the Taliban and radical Islam? So it will take a group effort. And those closest to it must be reminded, “You are either with us or with the terrorists.”

Regarding the Gitmo trials you neglect to discuss the major difference between what’s going on there and what occurred at Nuremberg or even Washington, D.C. in 1942, when 6 of 8 dry-foot German saboteurs were executed for nothing more than breaking the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Conventions. Gitmo holds murderers and terrorists. The German saboteurs hurt no one and destroyed no property, yet, less than eight weeks after their capture six of them were dead. How in God’s name did that happen?

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We followed the law. Military Commissions were established – with the unanimous consent of the Supreme Court. Habeas corpus was denied. The trial took place according to the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare, giving the accused the SAME rights a U.S. soldier would enjoy in a courts martial.

Now, instead of going by the established law, we go by former President Obama’s 2009 Military Commissions Act, which gives unlawful combatants accused of war crimes virtually the SAME rights you or I would enjoy in a federal court of law. See the difference?

Lawfare is one of the techniques Islamists are taught in training if they are captured. We know this from training documents obtained from them, such as the “Al Qaeda Manual.“. They are trained to lie about their treatment in captivity, lie about their past, lie about who they are, where they are from and what they were doing when apprehended.

They are trained to demand better conditions and to demand a lawyer. And they are trained to disrupt detention operations and to threaten, befriend and wage psychological warfare on guards and others who are responsible for their fair treatment and care.

Now, sadly, we have the legal debacle on stage at the Gitmo trials.

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It’s too bad we don’t have the fortitude or courage to simply do what’s right and follow the Law of War or Geneva. It worked at Nuremberg and it worked in D.C. with the German saboteurs, and it would work at Gitmo.

Maybe President Trump will get wind of this and then erase the 2009 Military Commissions Act, simply follow the Law of War and Geneva, and then move these trials along. Maybe.

Montgomery Granger is a retired, three-times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major, and author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.” He has made many appearances on Fox News programs discussing Gitmo and detainees.

Trump vs Obama: The Gitmo Challenge

As sure as Casey Jones perished in a pile of smoke and broken steel amid the flame and fury of a head on collision between two burly and brave locomotives, President Barack Obama and President Elect Donald Trump are bearing down for a modern version of that fateful clash.

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“There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” Started the determined Tweet. “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”

With this pure and logical Tweet, almost as if on cue, the President Elect seemed to be responding to an editorial by the Washington Post earlier in the day, calling for him to close Gitmo.

His response? In your face.

Even more, it is finally a direct challenge to the President regarding his failed policy of releasing unlawful combatant Islamists back into the Global War on Terror.

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According to the Director of National Intelligence, 30 percent of released detainees have returned or are suspected to have returned to the fight. And what about the other 70 percent we don’t know about, where are they?

Everyone except the President and his floundering administration knows that releasing dangerous terrorists into a world plagued by terrorism is not in the best interests of the American People, or anyone for that matter.

For a President Elect who ran on and has repeated his top priority of “America First,” his Tweet about not releasing more detainees is consistent and shows the courage of his convictions.

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The President Elect has now done more than any other person, in government or out, in the last eight years to challenge and put the President on notice over his catch and release policy with regard to emptying Gitmo, most recently of the “worst of the worst,” as labeled by Donald Rumsfeld back in 2002, when Gitmo opened. These men are dyed-in-the-wool terrorists, highly trained, skilled and committed to killing innocent people of any race, age, gender or nationality.

Recently, President Obama announced the probable release of up to 22 more detainees from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This prompted a few outcries from this law maker or that, but nothing seemed to get the President’s attention regarding the fact that we are still at war, and that releasing our enemies while that war is hot is at worst treasonous, and at best pretty damn stupid.

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The gloves are off, the face slapped and the challenge laid bare. The President can run, but he cannot hide from this test of manhood made in a simple Tweet. He must face the issue or move along quietly into private life and then leave the Big Boy issues to the Big Boys.

Sending Josh Earnest to deal with this one would be inadequate, even for Barack Obama. He has got to respond, and respond in a positive way or risk any shred of rationality left in his now fast crumbling presidency.

When the President responds, he must do so without the tired and false narrative regurgitated one more time in the Washington Post article. There is no “international outcry” to close Gitmo. Gitmo has never been used by our enemies as a recruiting tool, and the Administration has never once provided evidence of this claim. There is not nor has there ever been systemic torture or abuse at Gitmo, and calling the approved and legal enhanced interrogation technique “waterboarding” torture is a lame liberal after-the-fact label that just won’t stick. The fact is that there is no moral comparison between Gitmo and how our enemies treat captives.

Waterboarding works, and maybe it saved your life. Just ask Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks, whether or not it is effective, and whether or not he is none-the-worse for the wear.

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No, Barack Hussein Obama must for once stand up, look Donald J. Trump in the eye, and then respond to this challenge of character. The same-old, same-old responses didn’t work eight years ago when he promised to shut Gitmo down, and they are not going to work now. He must capitulate.

Unfortunately for us, the President’s modus operandi related to challenges of his failed policies are either to ignore them, lie about them, or double down and make the whole damn thing worse.

Like Barack Obama’s apology tour, red line in the sand, Benghazi lie, trading terrorist leaders for an Army deserter, calling terrorism in the US “workplace violence,” “no boots on the ground,” “overseas contingencies,” “the Global War on Terror is over,” Gitmo is his failed crucible. He will die on this hill as sure as you’re reading these words.

The political world of Barack Hussein Obama is falling down, has run its course, is absent of any credibility.

Unlike Casey Jones, who piloted his locomotive to the bitter end in order to save lives, knowing it would kill him, President Obama will almost certainly jump from the train in an effort to save his own skin and fight another day.

Rumors of the President working to establish a “shadow government” upon his exit from the Presidency in just several days is both typical of his personality and fateful for his legacy. One last temper tantrum from the man who could never get out of his own way because of failed liberal beliefs, he will disappear into the twisted wreckage of his tenure as our Chief Executive, and it appears that President Elect Donald Trump is going to make sure of it, Tweet by blessed Tweet.

Pearl Harbor and Our Survival

On this, the 75th anniversary of the attack by Imperial Japanese on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, we need to see the big picture. Learning from our past is challenge enough without compartmentalizing events rather than see the patterns.

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We learned from WWII that appeasement doesn’t work. We learned from Vietnam that unless our political goals match our military goals we cannot win. We learned from Desert Storm that although it felt good to complete the mission, the mission wasn’t broad enough.

We’ll get to the Global War on Terror (a.k.a. Overseas Contingency Operations) in a minute.

We learned from the Marshall Plan that in order to make the world safe for democracy one must make an investment in peace. We learned that in order to keep the peace, by projecting power and influence, we needed to stay in Germany, Japan and Italy, for example.

We learned there is a difference between using violence for conquest and using violence for liberation. We remain in countries we defeated over 70 years ago not as occupiers, but as liberators and friends. These friendships have survived because we share a belief in the principals of democracy.

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It should be easier to see now therefore, those who would lie, cheat, steal, kill and maim to achieve their goals. It should be easy to see the tragedy of the commons and the evil of Islamization.

We share values (beliefs, feelings and actions which are important to us; the most important of which are actions) with our friends, and share nothing with our enemies; not even the value of life. Our enemies gladly die to take us with them.

So what is it about the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that can instruct us in our conflicts of today; less about the attack and more about how we defeated our enemy and where we went from there.

Simply, we pooled our resources, and then pulled our total effort into winning the war. We went so far as to intern Japanese Americans, not least because the spy for Imperial Japan for the attack on Pearl Harbor posed as a Japanese tourist.

There were no significant internal attacks on the U.S. by Japanese during WWII. Was it because we interred Japanese in America? Perhaps. Hind sight is 20/20, but in war, in order to survive, right and wrong sometimes take a back seat to what is necessary for survival.

Imperial Japanese Admiral Yamamoto’s statement while the attack took place reminds us of the futility of war: “I fear all we have done is wake a sleeping giant and then fill him with a terrible resolve.”

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Fear is a powerful motivator, but not for our current enemies. They fear only not accomplishing their mission. They welcome death.

Our Imperial Japanese enemies also did not fear death and used kamikaze aircraft to fly into U.S. targets, killing the pilots. Imperial Japanese would rarely surrender, officers choosing instead to commit hari-kari or soldiers hopelessly charging into enemy fire.

We defeated the Imperial Japanese only when we used the most fearsome weapon imaginable. Being the first and only country to use atomic weapons is no badge of honor, but the lives saved cannot be counted adequately. One estimate is that over half a million American lives were saved by avoiding an invasion of Japan.

That’s good enough for me.

The Global War on Terror is a different beast than WWII, or any other conflict we have faced. Our political and military goals could not be more dissimilar, like Vietnam, but worse.

Our wishy-washy foreign policy that claims 1) The Global War on Terror is over; 2) There are no boots on the ground, and 3) We have made progress in terror fight, only pose to confuse the reality that our enemy is in fact winning.

Americans HATE to lose. We cannot ever accept defeat. We will resist to our last breath.

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Our way forward is not as simple as island hopping in the Pacific, or crushing the enemy after the Battle of the Bulge. We cannot simply nuke the bad guys into submission.

We must go back to the philosophy of December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  We must pool our resources, including those that did not exist in 1941, such as cyber and technological weapons.

We must see the enemy for who he is, lying (taqiyya), ruthless (murder all prisoners), immoral (OK to kill women, children and other innocents), and determined (willing to kill themselves for gain).

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

Our full effort in this defense must include taking and then holding ground, like in WWII. It must include a Middle East Marshall Plan to help rebuild and then defend strategic areas. It must include establishing and then maintaining bases as power projection platforms from which we can defend our allies and interests, and influence our enemies.

The anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is a day to remember those killed, wounded and who sacrificed for our liberty and freedom, but it is also a time to gain motivation and resolve that this and all our sacrifices shall not be made in vain.

First Marine Killed in GWOT Remembered

IMG_1633[1]37 years ago, on November 21, 1979, United States Marine Corporal Steven J. Crowley, who was guarding the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, was shot and killed by radical Muslim extremists, becoming one of the first casualties of the Global War on Terror.

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Muslim extremist “students,” having heard a false story about the U.S. occupation of the mosque at Mecca, Saudi Arabia, gathered weapons and then boarded buses that would take them to the embassy.

Once at the compound, the Islamists stormed the complex and then set fire to debris collected on the first floor of the main building.

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CPL Crowley was shot once through the head, just above his left ear, at approximately 1:10 p.m. local time, while on duty protecting the embassy from the roof of the main building. He was taken into the building and then brought to the safe room, or vault on the second floor.

At approximately 3:25 p.m. CPL Crowley was pronounced dead in the embassy vault, after an oxygen tank that was providing his threadbare connection to life ran out.

This group of Islamist “students” was later to be funded by none other than Osama bin Laden himself.

Steven was a tall, fit, blond-haired blue-eyed, chivalrous and cordial 19 year old graduate of Comsewogue High School, in Port Jefferson Station, Long Island, New York, who loved to run on the Cross Country and Spring Track Teams and who was a member of the Chess Club.

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Steven Crowley Park, in Port Jefferson Station, was named for this brave neighbor of ours, and by cleaning up the park each fall we honor him and his brave and selfless service to our country. Cub Scout Pack 120 (Boy Scouts of America) has been cleaning up the park each fall at least since my 21 year old Eagle Scout son was a 6 year old Tiger Scout, 15 years ago and counting.

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We tell the boys about Steven and his sacrifice to his country and to all of us.

Steven is a hero to all the nation, and his death marks one of the very first casualties in the Global War on Terror. The incident that precipitated Steven’s murder at the hands of Islamists shook the Muslim world just the day before, on November 20, 1979.

Overzealous Wahhabi’s seized the Grand Mosque at Mecca for about two weeks. Saudi Arabian commandos, with the help of French and American intelligence, eventually retook the mosque, ending the incident. But the erroneous story that the U.S. had seized the mosque incensed hordes of Islamists throughout the Muslim world.

The incident at the U.S. embassy in Islamabad was merely the first in a series of events that eventually led up to the attacks by Islamists on the United States on September 11, 2001, killing more Americans than died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, or died at Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Since then our enemies have mutated into the current Islamic State, but many other Islamic terrorist groups have emerged as well, each one determined to eliminate Israel, kill all infidels, and establish a worldwide caliphate.

In Steven’s memory, and for us, and for generations to come, we must fight the forces of evil that continue to harm us and our allies. Until all Islamists are dead, or no longer have the means or will to kill us, we must defend ourselves by any means necessary.

Balance of Power 2016

Back in the late 1980’s there was a computer simulation game called “Balance of Power” that pitched the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union against the global super power of the United States in a geopolitical contest. The game assumed only two influential countries, a bipolar reality.

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The game was direct; if either country went too far in attempting to influence other countries, DEFCON 4 would be declared and the game would end in global thermonuclear war. Both players would lose, just like the ultimate scenario of the Star Wars missile defense system-inspiring movie, “War Games.”

The algorithms of the game however,  did not even allow for the chance for, East and West Germany to be reunited, or for the Soviet block to dissolve. It was a major flaw in the game, but reflected the bipolar thinking of the time.

In reality, and in hind-sight, it has always been a multi-polar geopolitical scene. Back then there were U.S. satellites and Soviet satellites, but many of our allies were influencers of their own. Today, these influencers make up the complex multi-polar geopolitical reality.

The European Union, OPEC, NATO, China, North Korea, South American countries, African countries, Southeast and Southwest Asia, Australia and the various factions of the Islamic State and al Qaeda, all have regional and/or global influence through words and/or deeds that affect how the U.S. and Russia are perceived.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the world moved away from Soviet influence and towards American democracy; multi-polar players gained strength and influence. As we moved through the Clinton years however, our standing in the world diminished. It strengthened again during the Bush years, but then for the past eight years or so we have been driven towards the abyss of geopolitical enigma.

The U.S. is no longer viewed as the single super power, even though on paper we still are. If we are not willing to use our strength, the sharks that smell blood in the water will come nibbling, and if nothing happens to them on the nibble they will take bites.

Lies about a “red line in the sand” (Syria), blowing off a status of forces agreement (Iraq), neglecting security at embassies and consulates (Benghazi), declaring the Global War on Terror “over” (Afghanistan), trading an Army deserter (Bowe Bergdahl) for five high level Taliban leaders, releasing high threat detainees from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, normalizing relations with Cuba, all combine to let our enemies and non-friends know we are unwilling and unable to respond.

Even seeming innocuous incidents, such as Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, and Russian planes buzzing our ships in the Baltic Sea prove to those who would do us harm that we are impotent.

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Bites will turn into a feeding frenzy – see current Syria and Iraq.

Russia has warned the U.S. that attacks on Assad’s Syrian forces will bring a response from them; ball in U.S. court.

What will the U.S. do with the ball? Pass it to the next president? Shoot it at the basket (Russians) and try to score (put them in their place)? Or will we throw it away (ignore the threat) and then suffer the consequences of leaving our fate up to others who decidedly do NOT have our best interests at heart?

One strategy could be to withdrawal completely from Syria, not as a retreat, but as a retrograde maneuver in order to let Russia have Syria all by itself. Russia would have to support Syria and rebuild the decimated country, or risk being expelled or dragged into a further quagmire. The U.S. would not benefit from “victory” in Syria, as there is no consolidated or legitimate force opposing Assad. We would be accused, and rightly so, of neocolonialism and occupation of a sovereign foreign nation.

Let Putin deal with Assad, he can have him, and the headaches and costs associated with meddling in a civil war. Putin would have to do the right thing by Syrian citizens or risk even more international disdain.

The U.S. finally got it right with the surge in Iraq, coupled with aggressive disruption of the human elements supporting al Qaeda. Many daily and nightly clandestine missions in that country, combined with the embedded U.S. soldier approach in the towns, cities and villages of Iraq, worked like magic.

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The bad guys became the hunted. As more of them were captured and interrogated, more information was gleaned that helped us shut them down. Ground was taken, held and rebuilt. Instead of double-agents infiltrating U.S. and Iraqi operations, we infiltrated and killed al Qaeda from within.

The current strategy of droning leaders, bombing small targets, using only Special Forces, and releasing operatives to fight again is ineffective at best and suicidal at worst. Killing one’s and two’s with a weapons system that more often than not also kills innocent civilians is counterproductive. Enemy leaders are replaced in a heartbeat; detainees from Gitmo who become leaders of enemy organizations allows our enemies an advantage we can’t overcome with drones, bombs and hyperbole.

We are in a most vulnerable position now with less than 30 days left before a presidential election that promises either a sea change in American geopolitical strategy or guaranteed uncertainty.

You know the saying that one should do something questionable without asking permission first because it’s better to be scolded than to be told “No?” Our enemies are not asking our permission. They are being as aggressive as they need to be in order to take what they want and then telling us to bugger off if we get too curious.

It is the worst possible scenario come to life.

In war there is less right vs. wrong and more survival, and those who survive live to fight another day.

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At this point in the Global War on Terror – a multi-polar geopolitical morass – we must begin to flex our muscles and play it smart as the one true super power, or the feeding frenzy will take hold and the balance of power will shift solidly to the left.

The Global War on Terror is Here

The recent series of terror events were not perpetrated by “lone wolves” or individual lunatics; they were perpetrated by the enemy in a war, on a battlefield that is our home.

These were not battles so much as probing actions. The enemy, radical Islamist terrorists know we have thousands of cameras and a blood lusting media that will cover their actions in toto.

The enemy knows we will respond, and now they know how we will respond, to Ft. Hood, to Chattanooga, to San Bernardino, to Orlando, and now to Chelsea in New York City and to a train station Linden, New Jersey.

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A vigil is seen near the site of the shooting at the Pulse gay night club in Orlando, Florida, June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

The enemy is learning about us. They are not in a hurry. They are willing to be plodding, deliberate and insidious.They have no timetable for their goals. They do not think linearly, they think cyclically.

The Caliphate is a century’s old concept, and what’s going on now is just another spot on the spinning globe of terror, not a start or a stop.

Think of radical Islam in terms of a circle. No beginning, no end; a constant continuum.

Radical Islamists care only about the edicts of Sharia law, the killing of infidels, the conquering of Jews, Christians and non-believers. They will not stop, they will not flinch. They are totally committed, mind, body and spirit.

Forgive the analogy for non-Trekkers, but the Islamic State and its followers and off-shoots are like the Borg; automatonic, they are part human, part machine.

They are human, in the sense only that they bleed, eat, sleep and perform other natural human behaviors, from pro-creating to violence. They are machine, in the sense that any connection to rational, compassionate, loving or logical behavior has been severed.

We are left with a poor resemblance of a true human being.

The Borg’s sole purpose in life is to attain perfection through assimilation. The Borg are drones, subservient to the Borg Queen and programmed to defend her at all costs. They share a collective consciousness and can communicate almost telepathically.

Radical Islamists share the oneness of the Koran, specifically the brutality of Sharia law. Radical Islamists believe they are at war with us and anyone who does not think and behave as they do, so, like the Borg, they seek to assimilate the infidels or kill them.

Watch old episodes of Star Trek, especially The Next Generation, or the Star Trek film First Contactand you will see chilling similarities between radical Islamists and the Borg.

Even though the most recently apprehended terrorist, Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized American born in Afghanistan, was part of a family owned business, First American Fried Chicken in Elizabeth, NJ, he had been radicalized by nefarious forces in Islam.

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Rahami grew up American, but succumbed to the call of the Caliphate and to the glory of the afterlife.

Rahami is a soldier, a programmed cybernetic killer, whose motivation and that of his comrades is irrelevant. The only important thing to know about him and all Islamists is that they want us dead.

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

I don’t own a weapon, although I carried one in the Army for 22 years, including in a combat zone. I respect and will defend the right of Americans to keep and bear arms to my last dying breath.

Now I am thinking, since the Global War on Terror is here, how will I defend my family from radical Islamic terror? What if these probing actions become a street-to-street or house-to-house assault? How would I protect my family?

How would I protect my family during an innocent birthday trip to New York City for my daughter?

For years after 9/11 every time I saw a passenger plane in the sky I would look up with a pinch in my stomach. “Will this one crash into a building, too?”

Now, when walking the streets of Manhattan, where I worked for 8 ½ years, mostly in the Chelsea neighborhood, what will I feel when I see a trash bin full of trash? Normally at every corner, these items are a necessity. How can they be managed safely?

Is terrorism working? How can we stop it/them? Who will stop it/them? Do we have to do it ourselves, and if so, how?

Someone in authority needs to come up with some answers and fast, or the third world we see on TV will be us.

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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

Osama bin Laden, 5 Years Gone

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It was five years ago that we learned Osama bin Laden had been killed by Navy SEALs in an overnight raid to his compound in Pakistan.

Before the year was out President Barack Obama withdrew all U.S. military forces from Iraq without a Status of Forces agreement that would have secured the peace in that tortured country.

A few years later, in 2013, Obama unilaterally declared “The Global War on Terror is over,” after announcing an end to U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan.

Now, just weeks after the death of a United States Marine in a fire base in Afghanistan, Obama has announced 250 more troops to Iraq and Syria. The fire base by the way was not part of the official count of troops in Iraq. The administration hadn’t said anything about the fire base or the Marine artillery units set up there to support a mainly Iraqi assault on nearby Islamic State held territory.

Days later, during the assault, and before engaging the enemy, Iraqi forces withdrew in a panic, leaving U.S. advisors with no one to advise there.

Meanwhile, things in Syria are getting worse. What to do?

Send in 250 more troops. What kind? No one is saying beyond that some of them are Special Forces.

Those of us with military backgrounds know that for every combat troop it takes from 5-7 support troops to keep that soldier at the tip of the spear fed, clothed, paid, accounted for, lead and supplied with ammo, INTEL, COMMO, security and transportation. In other words, there are not 250 more Boy Scouts camping in the desert.

What is our objective in Iraq and Syria? What end state is desired?

I’m not big on numbers or time, so I’m not asking how many troops or when we’ll be out. I’m results driven. I want to know the end game.

Military folks like to plan from the end. Where do you want me to be and when do you want me to be there? The rest is nuts and bolts, but commanders are supposed to communicate their intent to their subordinates, who carry out the mission.

Soldiers don’t like it when you don’t tell them details about the mission. The American Army has frustrated opponents since the Revolutionary War. We don’t play by conventional rules. We are creative on the battlefield. We fight, we win.

However, when your boss says it’s day when it’s night, it’s hard to trust whatever else follows.

 

The announced death of Osama bin Laden was an emotional thing for me to hear. Staying up late, unable to sleep when after 10 p.m. on May 1, 2011, I saw on social media announcements that the President had scheduled a hasty news conference.

I listened and watched, rapt and in shock.

Strange feelings of sadness and relief crept over me. It’s as if I didn’t know how to react.

After a few minutes the news began to sink in, bin Laden was dead.

I became euphoric after a while, remembering all the things in my life that had changed since 9/11/2001. I lost my job, I was deployed for about 2 ½ years over five years, and my relationship with family members, friends and colleagues had all changed as well, and none for the better.

I was angry at bin Laden for all of this, and for putting me in harm’s way at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for six months, and then in Iraq for nearly a year. It was all his fault, and I was very happy that he was dead.

Or was he?

Why didn’t they show us official pictures of the dead body they say belonged to the evil terrorist?

Thrown overboard? In the sea? Why?

Were they hiding him? Did he actually survive?

Did they tranquilize him and then spirit him away to an undisclosed location to see how much information they could get from him? Why martyr him?

I still carry some of those thoughts.

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After Saddam Hussein’s sons were killed we saw gruesome photos of them. We saw photos of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Saddam Hussein after they were captured. Why nothing on bin Laden.

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It bothers me there is no closure, visually, to this person who caused so much death, destruction and heartache.

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Five years gone, but still alive in a soldier’s memory. All of it. From the bloody devastation of 9/11, to the deployments, to the raid, to today. Nothing has changed for the better. In fact things are worse now and not getting better.