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.

US Embassy Islamabad

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.

Answering the Jihad: Did Someone Say ‘Crusade’?

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What’s the difference between the Crusades, the Barbary Wars and the Global War on Terror?

As far as jihadist Islamists are concerned absolutely nothing.

These conflicts were and are simply an excuse to murder anyone who is not like them. Like an obsessed teenager high on caffeine and sugar playing marathon rounds of Mortal Kombat, Islamists murder for sheer pleasure, the terror effect is just a pleasant byproduct for them.

Islamists have used the Crusades (four major armed Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land from 1095-1289) as a recruiting tool with low-information Muslims, who are easily radicalized, especially if they are of meager means and background. Improving one’s standard of living or social status through joining radical terrorist movements is tough to counter if we are not in a position to do so, and are in fact running away from the fight.

Even Pope Francis seems to be calling for a Fifth Crusade, saying in response to the crisis in Iraq, over which he said he was “dismayed” and in “disbelief,” that there was a need for “a professional, well-equipped army” because “the situation is going from bad to worse.”

But the United States can’t seem to get out of it’s own way with regard to foreign policy chaos. It’s as if we’re drunken gamblers betting our shirts after losing all our money, watch, shoes, boat and home!

Politically, all the death and destruction is bad for business in the Obama camp, especially after seemingly endless foreign policy mistakes, from red lines in the sand to putting five big time Taliban bad guys back in the fight in trade for a suspected U.S. Army deserter. Trying to figure out the thinking behind these and other incredible missteps drives one to distraction!

After the bloodshed in Orlando, with over one hundred injured including at least 50 dead, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility. Their crusade continues.

If an enemy is bold enough to shoot high quality video of the beheading of an American journalist (Daniel Pearl by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, February 2002; and James Foley, August 2014) in the Middle East then they are able to do so in the streets of America, and have now done so.

Radical Muslims from around the world have answered the clarion call to join the Islamic State in their caliphate, including those from the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, Asia and parts of Africa.

What will be our answer now?

For too long we have resisted the fact that Islamists are at war with us. We have responded with force and resolve during certain times and then responded with our heads in the sand at other times. The result? Nightclub bloodbaths in American cities.

And now? Nearly 100 dead innocents on the streets of Nice, France. 130 dead in Paris. Europe is on fire with “migrating” jihadist’s. “Home grown” or refugee, student visa or immigrant. Islamists who believe in Sharia Law are incompatible with the Judeo/Christian ethic or even socialist. Muslim theocracy is the antithesis of democracy.

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American patriot Thomas Paine once said:

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must . . . undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

That “fatigue” has weighed heavily on us, especially on the victims of terror and on our military community, who have borne the brunt of the burden.

President Barack Obama’s and his cabinet’s lack of military background are handicapping their decision-making regarding military action to protect and defend the interests of the United States. Barack Obama has even been recently exposed for not meeting even once with his Defense Intelligence Chief, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn.

The modus operandi of this naïve group is to grossly politicize every single crisis after putting their proverbial licked finger in the air to determine the direction of the politically correct wind before making a statement or tenuous commitment.

The result is a weakened and vulnerable United States at the mercy of barbarians. But how we got here is not nearly as important as where we’re going and how?

It is imperative that we begin and then sustain a planned and committed offensive against the tyranny of Islamists. There should be no safe haven, no quarter given, and no mercy for the members of the murderous caliphate. But if we call it a “Crusade” what could possibly be the down side? It might even inspire a new generation of committed anti-Islamists.

In the early days of the 19th century this country battled and then defeated a former Islamist caliphate in the Barbary Wars. Barbary pirates of Northern Africa demanded tribute for captured merchant and military ships and the merchants, sailors and Marines on them. President Thomas Jefferson refused to comply, as did President James Madison. Instead, the United States sent warships and Marines to rescue our ships and personnel, and to destroy the pirates, and their will and means to terrorize us on the high seas.

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In the end, our resolve and resources won the day, and after our example was set, European countries followed suit, building and then deploying some of the world’s fastest and most powerful ships at the time in a combined effort to suppress the pirates.

For Islamists to be defeated, once and for all, a combined effort is necessary. But this combined effort needs a leader.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

At home we  need better vetting and/or a moratorium on immigrant and other Muslims entering the country. It sounds xenophobic, but enough is enough. We’re not being killed by little old lady Catholics, Protestants or Jews. We’re being targeted and killed by Muslim men (mostly). Enough already!

Deploying the 82nd Airborne Division and United State Marines to the Middle East may seem a drastic and painful choice, but we must stabilize the area of Islamist infiltration with a physical presence and then invoke a Middle East Marshall Plan when the dust settles and all Islamists are either dead, or no longer have the means or will to kill us.

Helping to rebuild the infrastructure and self-esteem of people exploited and terrorized by Islamists will win hearts and minds, as it did against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

We still have troops in countries we defeated in World War II over 70 years after the end of that war. These countries are now among the most peaceful and prosperous in the world, not in spite of our presence, but because of it.

Peace and prosperity should be enticing rewards for those who currently choose violence and destruction. The alternative we are living now is unacceptable, the price already paid by our military members and their families and loved ones too great.

So, if our enemies call it a Crusade, why not at this point fulfill their dreams of 72 virgins and play along? Nothing else is working.

Obama vs. Bwazir the Gitmo Detainee Who Wouldn’t Leave

So, Mohammed Ali Abdullah Bwazir, 35- or 36- year old detainee at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a “committed” and a “trained al Qaeda fighter,” with a  four page Department of Defense docket, wants to stay in President Barack Obama’s gulag. Really?

Bwazir

I can see the Saturday Night Live skit now. Obama travels to Gitmo to try and convince Bwazir to leave. He tells Bwazir that if he stays he will cause terrorist organizations all over the world to increase their recruiting. “It’s not who we are,” Obama would plead. “It’s an embarrassment,” he’ll kvetch.

“Are you kidding?” Bwazir would counter (to the theme of “Green Acres”). “Club Gitmo is the place to be. Island living is the life for me! Land and sea spreading out so far and wide, forget Yemen, give me this Caribbean paradise!”

Obama: “Bu, bu, but, Bwazir, my brother, you can go back to your squalid, dirty, disgusting life! You know, the one that led you to seek jihadi training at the Khaldan Training Facility, in Afghanistan?!”

Bwazir: “Barack, my brother, here, I get prayer beads, prayer rug, a free Koran, your military Muslim chaplains to help me pray (and smuggle uncensored messages to my peeps), and a green arrow painted on the floor of my cell pointing the way to Mecca. Plus, I get halal meals, and lamb and baklava on holy days.”

Gitmo Quran

Obama: “Forget about that! What about your mama’s home cooking? Sugar konafa, goat milk curds and honey-glazed beetles!”

Bwazir: “You don’t understand, Barack, my brother. This ocean air is good for my formerly sand infested lungs. I love to watch the black Cuban rock iguanas sunning on the beach rocks. The banana rats are hilarious when they fight for the food scraps we save to feed them with at night. Besides, they don’t have Harry Potter books in Yemen!”

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Obama: “OK, OK, so the flora and fauna at Gitmo are more entertaining than in your home town. I get that. But I’ve really got to close this place. I promised to do it over seven years ago and people are beginning to think I can’t keep my promises. Can’t a brother get some love here?”

Bwazir: “I feel you, my brother, but do you realize I have had better treatment here in 14 years than I could ever hope for back home or in some third world country of your choosing? Free check-ups, dental and vision care, and Ensure when I’m not feeling like eating for myself. And have you seen the candy they give in the MRE’s?

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Obama: “Bwazir, I’m going to have to insist that you leave.”

Bwazir: “OK, I will leave on one condition. I get to come and stay at your house. I hear you have two lovely daughters!”

Obama: “Whoa, there padnah! Let’s not get carried away! I said I gotta close the place, but coming to the United States is out of the question.”

Bwazir: “But I thought you had to prove to people you were not a liar. If you don’t close this place you will lose your legacy of effective foreign policy.”

Obama: “No, no, no. You don’t understand. If I let you come to the United States and let you loose people will say I don’t care about the safety of the American people.”

Bwazir: “Fine, but I don’t want to go back to Yemen. I want to go live with my sister and brother-in-law Saudi Arabia, or with my uncle in the UAE.”

Obama: “Uh, I’d like to do that, but we don’t have enough money to bribe them with, and they won’t take credit.”

Bwazir: “Then I am staying here. That turf soccer pitch is my field of dreams. I could never leave it, or this great free Muslim resort you have here. Thank you, my brother, but no. It’s the White House or Gitmo.”

White House

Obama: “Final offer?”

Bwazir: “Final offer.”

Obama: “OK, you can come to Washington, D.C., but you’ll have to accept a job with CAIR. Nobody who’s a brother of mine is going to live on welfare.”

Curtain.

On Obama’s Bloody Hands: Six Air Force Dead

Almost unnoticed or only given a passing glance was the recent murder of six United States Air Force members, killed while on a security foot patrol around an air base in Afghanistan. The pain and frustration over these deaths will linger for a long time, especially with their families, loved ones, and among those with whom they served, but also with those of us who understand the significance of the circumstances under which they were killed.

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The dead include the female commander of the security patrol, Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen, 36.  Tech. Sgt. Joseph Lemm, 45, a veteran of two prior deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq , and a New York City police sergeant.  Sgt. Michael Cinco, 28, of Mercedes, Texas. Sgt. Peter Taub, 30, of Philadelphia. Sgt. Chester McBride, 30, of Statesboro, Georgia.  And SSgt. Louis Bonacasa, 31, of Coram, New York.

Coram is a few minutes from my home on Long Island. I was a school district administrator where SSgt. Bonacasa went to school. And although we did not know each other, any time a neighbor is killed it brings home the serious nature of the Global War on Terror.

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Bonacasa was a husband, and a father of a young daughter. I know the anguish he must have felt in leaving his family to do our nation’s most dangerous work, for I left a two day old son to serve at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, just months after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Later, I served on two more deployments, including one to Iraq in 2004-2005 which saw me away from home and family for 14 months. Whether or not I was ever coming home was in the back of my mind every day in-country.

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Bonacasa loved his daughter so intensely that he wrote a poem about her and then had it tattooed on his left rib cage:

 

Daddy’s little girl,

The most precious person in my life

I can’t wait until that first night

Holding you in my hands

Now it’s time to be a man

From your first breath to my last

I’ll be there for you any way I can

Your pretty smile will melt my heart

And your sad cries will always tear me apart

Daddy will be there to wipe away your tears

And there to protect you from all your fears

Your sweet little laugh will be music to my ears

A beautiful gift from God to watch you grow through the years

There will be times when daddy is not around

He will be somewhere with his boots on the ground

There so at home everyone is safe and sound

When daddy is gone baby please don’t cry

Because for your freedom my baby girl

Daddy will die

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This heartbreaking promise from a father to his child is evidence still that we are in a bloody War on Terror, not simply some struggle against “thugs and killers,” as President Barak Obama would have us believe. This enemy is multifaceted and insidious.

Why then does our President pretend we are engaged with “lone wolf terror” and “crazy people” with guns? Every attack is connected in obvious ways, by philosophy, culture and yes, religion.

If this is not true, then why do we operate the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, like a Muslim resort: prayer beads and rugs, Korans, halal and special Muslim holiday meals that include lamb and baklava, signs in Arabic on guard towers and green arrows painted on cell floors pointing the way to Mecca, white detainee garb for the well behaved, and counsel from U.S. military Muslim chaplains?

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Obama’s denials that we are engaged in a war against Islamists fuels a misperception that has led to an inoperably thin effort that puts our troops in unnecessary peril. Too many missions, including the one that claimed these six lives, are under served with armor and overwatch – protections that should have been employed on such a dangerous mission.

I grew up as a soldier in the Army with the mechanized infantry as a combat medic, being told by my Vietnam veteran medical platoon sergeant and by the G.I.’s I served with that “you are an 11B (military occupational specialty nomenclature for infantryman) until somebody gets hurt.” They put the “combat” into “combat medic.”

Combat Medic

I learned every weapon system except for mortars, and trained to fire them. I understood the tactical and technical requirements of mechanized infantry missions. Later, as an officer, my first command was as a leg infantry medical platoon leader, responsible for support of line companies, scouts, evacuation and aid station operations. Inherent in all of this was the number one most essential element to any military mission: security.

The last nine years of my military career I spent as a medical service officer with enemy prisoner of war military police units, small liaison detachments responsible for operational oversight of detainee operations, both in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and later in Iraq. Again, the number one most important concern was security.

Four of the Air Force personnel killed, including Maj. Vorderbruggen, were members of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations; think the Air Force version of NCIS, the criminal investigation folks. This leads one to think there is something more going on here than a routine security patrol around an air base. It leads one to believe there was an intelligence gathering mission going on. Why were the Air Force police on foot patrol? Why so many non-commissioned officers? Were there armored weapons platforms on overwatch or in reserve? Was there sniper cover? Helicopters? Drones? If not, why not?

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Was this patrol, like the thin defenses for our personnel and ambassador in Benghazi, politically motivated? Was the major being allowed to punch her combat ticket (gender and sexual orientation aside) for promotion?  Was she trained and experienced in such patrols or intelligence gathering? Was she a linguistics expert?

In my experience, it is highly unusual for a military major to be leading a foot patrol. Majors are field grade officers, and generally assigned to staff positions in headquarters units, not front line commanders leading troops into battle or on security patrols. Usually, the highest rank for an operational combat unit is captain, one rank below major.

Why were so many killed with one motorcycle improvised explosive? Were they grouped together too tightly? Were they following protocols? Who sent them on the mission and why?

We must perform all military operations with overwhelming force and with vigilant force protection. This idea from civilians at the Pentagon and in the White House that we can perpetrate a war with a tiny footprint and only Special Forces, bombs and drones is naive at best and deadly at worst.

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If our political and military goals are not the same, we will fail, and there will be more blood spilled needlessly.

As a former combat medic I know how difficult blood stains can be to remove, and it may take Obama a lifetime to get this blood off of his hands.

 

Gitmo Detainees to the U.S.? The New American Islamist Mecca

The friends, family and nefarious colleagues of Gitmo detainees would surely follow them were they to be transferred to the United States. Through immigration, migration, or as refugees; as students, asylum seekers or vacationers, they would come.

This photo made during an escorted visit and reviewed by the US military, shows the razor wire-topped fence and a watch tower at the abandoned

This photo made during an escorted visit and reviewed by the US military, shows the razor wire-topped fence and a watch tower at the abandoned “Camp X-Ray” detention facility at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, April 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

They would come to support and lobby for the release of unlawful combatant detainees. They would wage protests, peaceful and otherwise, and they would wage legal challenges to detainee incarceration. They would demand visitation rights and call for release time and parole.

Wherever detainees would be held would become the new hajj destination, an American Islamist Mecca.

They would probably launch violent attempts to free their brothers, just like they did on April 2, 2004, at the Battle for Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This attempt saw several platoon sized elements of insurgents attempt to breach the wall at Abu Ghraib, where hundreds of in-country detainees were being held during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Blocking positions of improvised explosive devices were placed on avenues of approach to the prison, and two M1-A2 Abrams tanks patrolling near-by were diverted, so we could not quickly reinforce the prison garrison. At least 78 incoming projectiles (rockets and mortars) were tracked into the prison by Marine counter battery radar, yet there were no U.S. deaths in the battle, but over 70 enemy dead.

The garrison of U.S. Marines, some of the finest human beings on planet earth, went out of the prison in armored vehicles twice to kill every single attacker. Two Army AH-60 Apache helicopters finally arrived, but just after the Devil Dogs inside had completed the mission. I witnessed the attack via radio, from the 18th Military Police Brigade Tactical Operations Center at Lost Lake, Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq, one night after leaving duty at the prison on April 1, and later viewed insurgent and U.S. video of the attack.

If you bring unlawful combatant Islamists to this country, we will need to be prepared for the same type of attack.

The idea of bringing Gitmo detainees to the U.S. reminds me of three simple but illustrious stories. First, imagine an Islamist version of “If you give a mouse a cookie.”

This story addresses the fact of human nature that altruism does not result in gratefulness; it results in a sense of expectation and entitlement. And in this case, allowing unfettered and flawed immigration, migration and refugees, would result in the aid and comfort of our sworn enemy.

They will always ask for more, and the liberal politically correct media, human rights groups and radicalized Muslims will constantly demand extra-legal privileges, habeas corpus, and other rights that detainees are not entitled to according to the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare.

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The second story, “The Camel’s Nose,” is similar, and is the example followed by the Left regarding mission creep, or the incremental deterioration of will. They will, like the sheikh portrayed in the story, give in to the braying of those who would destroy us by claiming they are “cold” and need to come in from the chill of the night. Once you allow the camel’s nose into the tent, the rest of his stinky body will surely follow. The enemy is coming, and they are coming in droves. By claiming refugee status they are playing on our generosity and benevolence. We should not even let their nose into the tent!

Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, said in early 2002 that he knew the detainees were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, but that we would treat them “within the spirit of Geneva.” This American generosity and benevolence afforded basic rights to detainees at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, even though they were not entitled to them.

All Gitmo detainees are at least unlawful combatants, and by international law and the Law of Land Warfare are not entitled to the protections of Geneva. Geneva was written to PROTECT innocent civilians in time of war, NOT to protect those who PRETEND to be civilians in order to murder them. Violators of the Conventions may be shot on sight or prosecuted for war crimes.

Over 660 detainees have been RELEASED from Gitmo, and NONE have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets or burned alive. All things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies.

At least 30 percent of released Gitmo detainees have returned to the fight as recidivists in the Global War on Terror. My question is, what about the other 70 percent we don’t know about. Where are they? Mixed in with the 200,000 “Syrian” refugees headed our way?

The third story, “The Scorpion and the Frog,” illustrates what our fate would be should we bring Gitmo detainees to the United States with their minions to follow.

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the

scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The

frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion

says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,

the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of

paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,

but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature….”

Scorpion and the Frog

It is in the Islamist’s nature to kill you.

They are demonstrating, as they have done since the 7th century, A.D. that all infidels must perish, and if they die in the effort, so be it, they are going to paradise.

Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us, we must defend ourselves, and Gitmo is a small price to pay for our safety and security.

But it won’t do us any good if we let free all those who are sworn to murder us. Bringing these enemies to our shores will surely create a new wave of Islamist activity, but this time – directly in our midst.

Don’t give a mouse a cookie, keep your tent closed tightly at night, and never give a ride across the river to a scorpion.

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

Convicted Terrorists: Your Next-Door Neighbors?

Son-in-law to Osama bin Laden, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, recently convicted of providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorism and conspiring to kill Americans, in a federal criminal courtroom in New York City, was “the most senior Bin Laden confederate to be tried in a civilian court in the United States since September 11.”

The liberal left were unabashedly gleeful at the conviction, not because justice had been done, but that the trial took place on U.S. soil rather than by Military Commission at the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Location, location, location. This mantra is not lost on liberal Islamist apologists who act as though anyone ever held at Gitmo or accused of terrorism should be freed and compensated. This is similar to the 16 British nationals, including Moazzam Begg, who were awarded nearly 1 million pounds sterling each rather then be put on trial, which the British government said would have been “extremely expensive” and may have compromised “national security,” to hell with principle and true justice.

In this undated image made from video and provided by by Al-Jazeera, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, is shown. Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman still maintains that there was justification for the September 11, 2001 attacks orchestrated by al-Qaida upon the United States. (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera)

With the conviction of Abu Ghaith, we see repetitive behavior from the Obama administration with relation to giving aid and comfort to the enemy – this time in the form of a federal criminal court which could give him a light sentence and see him free to re-join his released and never caught brothers in years to come.

According to Human Rights First, the U.S. federal criminal courts have “convicted nearly 500 individuals on terrorism-related charges” since Sept. 11, 2001, yet there are only “over 300 individuals” in federal prisons on terrorism-related convictions.

My question is, where are the other nearly 200 terrorist convicts?

Were they deported? Did they go home? Did they go back to a life of jihad? Are they in your neighborhood?

We know some of the released Gitmo detainees have returned to the battlefield, such as Abu Sufian Bin Qumu, who planned and participated in the Benghazi attack which resulted in the murders of four U.S. personnel, including Ambassador to Lybia, Christopher Stevens. But the statistics on Gitmo recidivism, now at 29 percent according to the Director of National Intelligence, belie a troubling trend; releasing the enemy does not increase our safety.

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But because “there is no defined entity responsible for convicted and released terrorists,” no one knows how many of these released federally convicted terrorists have gone back to the fight, have turned over a new leaf, or are living in your neighborhood waiting for the next call from Allah to strike.

This is the epitome of left liberal Islamist apologist Pagan humanist utilitarian sentiment towards the enemy in the Global War on Terror.

Logic says that the number of terrorists caught represents only a tiny percentage of all terrorists. Imagine then if you will that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the living of the two brothers who set off the bombs in last year’s Boston Marathon massacre, had not been caught. Let’s say he was still out there on the loose, plotting his next attack.

How “safe” would you feel if you were a Boston resident knowing this accomplished terrorist was free? How safe would you feel living ANYWHERE if Tsarnaev were free?

How do you feel about nearly 200 federally convicted terrorists that are now on the loose, legally? How about the 170-plus recidivists from the over 600 released Guantanamo Bay detainees?

In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, right, speaks with lawyer and U.S. Marine Corps Major Derek Poteet, a member of his legal team, while wearing a camouflage vest during the third day of the Military Commissions pretrial hearing against the five Guantanamo prisoners accused of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has told authorities he was the mastermind of the Sept. 11 hijacking plot, wore the woodland-style camouflage vest for the first time Wednesday, a clothing choice previously denied because of fears it might disrupt the court. Co-accused Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali is seen in the background, second from left. Photo Credit: Janet Hamlin/AP

Say what you want about Gitmo, or our federal prisons, but none of the Gitmo detainees or federal terrorism convicts have been executed, beheaded, hacked-to-death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, like those of us they have caught or targeted with planes, bombs, explosive belts, vests or long knives and meat cleavers.

The fate of the likes of Daniel Pearl, Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded by Khalid Sheik Mohammad while being filmed on video, is an example of the barbarity of the Islamists who want us all dead, and are the opposite of remorseful. In fact, they consider beheading or hacking to death of “infidels” to be a religious prerogative and duty, such as revealed in the statements made by the assailants of murdered British soldier, Lee Rigbyadmitting they were “Soldier[s] of Allah,” and that Rigby’s murder was “an eye for an eye.”

So-called human rights organizations, leftist Islamist apologists, and others who believe the U.S. must be a “beacon” for human rights don’t like to talk about the Daniel Pearl’s, the Lee Rigby’s or other victims of terror. They only want to discuss how “proud” they are that “justice” was done in the U.S. criminal courts.

They don’t care about how many convicted terrorists have been released, or about how many Gitmo detainees have been released and then have returned to the battlefield, because that would ruin their fantasies about righteous humanism, which is more devoid of moral foundation than had the September 11 terrorists.

We are not dealing with jaywalkers here, or even bank robbers. We are dealing with hard, cold, calculating murderers who have declared war on western civilization, making themselves unlawful combatants.

It’s not that the Taliban and al Qaeda can’t afford uniforms of their own, it’s that they CHOOSE to not let you see them coming. The Geneva Conventions were written to protect innocent civilians and property in time of war, not to protect those who PRETEND to be civilians in order to MURDER them. They are attacking overtly and covertly in an effort to TERRORIZE “non-believers” into accepting Sharia Law, and those who oppose them are better off dead. Simply, they are terrorists and should be tried in military commissions, not federal criminal courts.

How comforting is it to hundreds of the enemy that they are released to fight again, and to perhaps run off to a place like where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found, in your own backyard?

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