Bergdahl and Honor

The US Army Values are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl apparently forgot these when, on June 30, 2009, he deserted his unit in Afghanistan, where he wanted to, in his words, “make the world a better place.”

SGT Bergdahl also forgot that he was wearing the uniform of the United States Army, and that armies fight wars. He signed up. No one forced him into service, and no one forced him to continue service if at any point he decided he had had enough.

In the Army there are legitimate avenues of redress of grievances, and now more than ever before. Your chain of command, the Chaplain, a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer, or even the highest commander above where you think your problem lies.

SGT Bergdahl had whipped himself into an almost psychotic state of isolation, from his unit, from his battle-buddies and even from himself. In the end, the enemy seemed more desirable than the mess he had made in his foxhole.

The circumstances under which SGT Bergdahl was released, the trade of five Taliban leaders, notwithstanding, there is a reckoning on the way. That trade has its own implications of treason, but for another time.

As we enter into the penalty phase of military legal proceedings to determine not whether or not he is guilty of the crimes of desertion and  misbehavior before the enemy, for he plead guilty to those charges, but what punishment he will receive.

Some say SGT Bergdahl has suffered enough.

Some say he is not fit to live, let alone wear the uniform.

Several witnesses have testified about their war injuries and losses they claim happened because of Bergdahl’s desertion.

There were rumors but no evidence that SGT Bergdahl had given the enemy critical information about the unit and its operations and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). This would allow the enemy to anticipate the unit’s movements and tendencies, deadly information.

Some say while searching for SGT Bergdahl they were hit and men died. One man, a former Navy SEAL, claimed tearfully that his service dog was killed on one such mission.

In my opinion, all this testimony is over-engineering. It’s all good, but shouldn’t be necessary to complete the project. He deserted in time of war.

How do you maintain good order and discipline if you allow folks to just walk away?

There is no claim of insanity. There is no plea bargain. There is no excuse.

The punishment for desertion can be death.

The reason for this goes back to the beginning of human conflict. If you run in the face of the enemy you have abdicated your responsibility as a member of the group to help keep the group safe.

In our own Revolutionary War and subsequent conflicts, such as the Civil War, it wasn’t so much power and punch that won the day as which side would run first.

Name a war or conflict, and what wins the day more times than not is the will to win or survive. Fight or flight.

This is why the American Army is so effective; we are trained that in war the mission comes first. We are trained to never leave a soldier behind. We are trained be good teammates. We are trained to care for each other, help each other and protect each other. And in the foxhole, when the bullets are flying, it’s about you and your battle-buddy, fighting for your lives.

The bigger picture is that you are defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, part of the oath of enlistment that SGT Bergdahl breached.

But if you allow soldiers to run and then suffer no consequences, what are you telling everyone else who swore that same oath. What then does it mean?

In our politically correct, social media, “If it feels good, do it” society, oaths and promises seem blasé and passé. In fact, they are our life’s blood. If we let one instance of obvious and blatant desertion slip through the cracks, what then do we do with the next one, or the next?

Kneeling for the national anthem and the absence of even one American flag on the opening night of a national political convention are not simply warning signs, they are signs of the apocalypse that feed the idea that SGT Bergdahl did nothing wrong. That he is innocent of desertion because he was oppressed and that somehow his actions were free speech.

It’s not about any of that. It’s about loyalty. The number one most important Army value, and value in life.

The acronym constructed out of the Army Values is LDRSHIP (Leadership). The Army aspires to train every soldier to be a leader, because in the American Army, even E-Private Zero, Snuffy Smith is expected to carry out the mission if all the leaders above him are incapacitated, in the spirit of Audie Murphy, the highly decorated farm boy turned hero from WWII who was battlefield promoted from sergeant to second lieutenant and saved many lives with his heroism, over, and over again, all at 5’4” and 112 pounds.We owe it to the memory of all those who gave their lives in defense of this great nation. We owe it to those who were injured and may have died while searching for Bowe Bergdahl, and we owe it to the future of this nation that Bowe Bergdahl’s punishment fit the crime.

The only question that remains is whether or not the military court hearing the evidence against Bowe Bergdahl will see it that way.

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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.

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?

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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.

 

Judge Contradicts Obama’s Declaration of the End to the War on Terror

United States District Court Judge Royce L. Lamberth, in his decision dated July 30, 2015, in the case of Mukhtar Yahia Naji Al Warafi vs. Barack H. Obama, et. al., denied Warafi’s petition challenging the legality of his incarceration at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Warafi’s argument rested solely on his assertion that because President Barack Obama had declared hostilities over and the war in Afghanistan ended, that he was no longer legally in conflict with the United States and therefore must be freed.

In his speech, on December 15, 2014, Obama said, “[t]his month, after more than 13 years, our combat mission in Afghanistan will be over,” and that “[t]his month, America’s war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end.”

Judge Lambreth reasoned that the President alone is not the only source of fact that determines whether or not a thing is true. His speeches are not law, nor are they solely conclusive. “Using all relevant evidence [is] the Court’s responsibility [in determining] the objective existence or nonexistence of active hostilities,” she wrote in her opinion.

The judge reminded Warafi, who has been kept in detention at Gitmo since after his capture on the battlefield in Afghanistan in November, 2001, that his “detention is lawful under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.”

The AUMF provides:

“[t]hat the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of International terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The judge points out that “when it expires or how it may be revoked is left unsaid.”

In Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, the judge points out, it was affirmed that when Congress authorized the AUMF that that authorization included “authority to detain for the duration of the relevant conflict.”

“The court concludes that active hostilities continue,” wrote the judge.

The mainstream media will no doubt ignore this fresh decision contradicting the President’s mantra that all is well in the world, and that there is no such thing as a Global War on Terror nor Islamist terrorists bent on killing us all.

Head-in-the-sand Obama apologists will not get a pass on this from me.

Too much American blood and treasure have been spilt and spent on protecting us from Islamist murderers. And what’s more, the murdering continues.

Why does it take a U.S. District Court judge to tell us all what is plainly true: there are bad guys out there who are still doing everything they can to kill us.

Further, the implication of her reasoning still gives credibility to the notion that we should be keeping detainees at Guantanamo Bay, not releasing them.

If hostilities have not ended, and we are still at war with “nations, organizations or persons” who wish to do us harm, then we need a place to keep those whom we capture in this effort.

The best, safest and most secure place for this is Gitmo.

Although not explicitly covered in Judge Lamberth’s decision, she has firmly closed the door on any rational thought behind the misconceived notion that Gitmo should be closed.

There is no wiggle room here.

The judge’s decision that the War on Terror is alive and well, and that those who wage that war on us may still be lawfully detained, is another nail in the lid on the coffin of Obama’s campaign promise to close the most famous U.S. military prison in history.

Plan to Close Gitmo Ignores Reality of War on Terror

Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, at the recent Aspen Security Forum, said that troops used to guard detainees at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba could be put to better use.

Maybe Ms. Monaco would prefer we use the Military Police at Gitmo to protect military recruiting stations at home instead. But right now, with the Islamic State, we are experiencing the most aggressive expansion of an enemy of the United States in over 70 years.

It took two nuclear bombs to end it the last time against Imperial Japan; closing Gitmo would send a different message.

“This is not something that the president wants to turn over to his successor,” Monaco said. As if President Barack Obama gave a rat’s rear end about his successor.

At a cost of $3 million per detainee, “We can be spending that money on a host of national security threats,”

Monaco said. Like what, shadowing the Taliban Five Obama released for Bowe Bergdahl?

The required “plan” to close Gitmo is no plan at all. It’s a fantasy.

The administration would “transport the 52 detainees deemed eligible for transfer to countries with appropriate security arrangements,” said Monaco. And the remaining detainees who are too dangerous to transfer? Either prosecute them under the Law of War, or transfer them to the U.S., according to the plan.

Both incredible and inappropriate actions. Some detainees don’t meet the criteria for prosecution under Obama’s 2009 Military Commissions Act, which gave Gitmo detainees virtually the same rights you or I would enjoy in a federal court of law. But the Law of Land Warfare states we can legally detain even lawful combatants, without charge, “until the end of hostilities.”

These are not jaywalkers. These are murderers and savages.

Transferring them to U.S. soil would cause lawfare opportunists to double-down on false accusations of abuse and torture, re-open habeas corpus arguments, and expose those who work and live near the facility holding the detainees to unfair danger from those who would want to free or kill the detainees.

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. But at least 30 percent have rejoined the fight.

What Monaco, Obama and the liberal mainstream media WON’T tell you about is the 70 percent of released Gitmo detainees we DON’T know about.

Why did we capture the detainees in the first place?

Unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us were first captured on the battlefield in the fall of 2001, just months after the attacks on September 11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people.

Soon thereafter we took the fight to the bad guys. CIA operative Johnny Michael Spann was the first American killed in our offensive against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was killed during an uprising in a prison in Mazar-e Sharif.

It was determined that no prison in Afghanistan could be sufficiently secured to affect a safe operation to get lifesaving information from the bad guys. We needed a different plan.

Quickly, my U.S. Army Reserve unit, the 800th Military Police Brigade (now the 333rd Military Police Brigade), out of Uniondale, New York, was tasked with making recommendations for an incarceration mission.

The leadership of my unit were summoned to the Pentagon. When they returned they told us we were to suggest locations and mission scenarios for detaining unlawful combatants in the Global War on Terror.

We discussed Guam, Guantanamo Bay, Diego Garcia, and Hawaii. Hawaii was the obvious favorite, but the fact was, we kept going back to Gitmo.

Gitmo was ideal for many reasons: It was isolated, secure, logistically appealing, and the legal limbo it would provide would give enough time, it was thought, for either the conflict to end, or a better solution to be found.

Nearly 15 years later, neither of those things have happened.

So what?

The war hasn’t ended, and in fact has mutated into something no one predicted: An Islamist Caliphate right smack in the middle of Iraq, a place we had once pacified.

It’s true that there were some detainees who eventually had no intelligence value and did not pose a threat to the United States. They were released very early on.

Those who remained were the worst of the worst. Sworn enemies: Al Qaeda, Taliban and Islamist operatives, Soldiers of Fortune and mercenaries who would just as soon kill you as look at you.

I know, I took care of them from February to June 2002, as the ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint Task Force 160, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The only reason they were taken from the battlefield and not killed was to obtain lifesaving information from them. They are all lucky to be alive.

As I told Fox News’ Fox and Friends co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, “it’s insane” to let enemies go free while their colleagues continue to actively wage war against us and kill us.One of the most powerful psychological weapons we had was telling detainees that unless they cooperated with us they would never leave Gitmo. Now that’s the going joke, as we are in the eyes of our enemies.

Thank Obama and his host of anti-military advisers and czars, only five of 55 of them who have any military experience, and none who have any Army or Marine Corps officer combat experience. Of course they are going to loathe the military and military solutions; they are completely ignorant and fearful of the military.

Obama is trying to ensure his place on the leftist wall of fame by pandering to Islamists and to Communist Cuba. Gitmo is a pawn and the U.S. military the whipping boy. When things go wrong, it’s the military’s fault. When things go right, Obama and his crew can’t get out of their own way trying to take credit.

What was it, two hours after the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage that the White House was awash in the colors of the rainbow supporting homosexual relationships?

How long did it take Obama to attempt to protect Americans in Benghazi? Thirteen hours?

Sometimes it’s not so much what you do, it’s whom you do it for and when.

Saying you support the troops is meaningless if you wait too long to stand up and DO something meaningful. The bottom line is, do you feel safer with detainees IN or OUT of Gitmo? If your answer is IN, then you need to tell your Congressman/woman about it, NOW.

DO something NOW – call your congressman/woman and tell them, “HELL NO, KEEP THEM AT GITMO!”

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