Veterans Day Remembered: Forced Fun

(Presented as a message sermon at the First United Methodist Church of Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York, Sunday, November 11, 2018 by Montgomery J. Granger, Major, US Army, Retired. Video: https://www.facebook.com/pjfumc/videos/502873243555742/ Start at about 19:20)

GTMO.2

Good morning!

Happy Veterans Day!

Would all the Veterans here today please stand? Thank you for your service and Welcome Home!

Let’s please remember, Memorial Day is for remembering those who either gave their lives in battle or who have otherwise passed on. Veterans Day, today, started 100 years ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, and known as Armistice Day at the end of World War I, is to show appreciation for those served and who are still with us.

I would also like to remember Army Veteran Shirley Leonard, and my good friend PFC Wayne F. Hurley.

I am a former US Army Medical Service Officer who started as a combat medic, and then after five years as an enlisted soldier went to Officer Candidate School and then served 17 more years as a Medical Service Officer, the last 9 of which were with a Military Police (Enemy Prisoner of War) Brigade Liaison Detachment, whose job it was to take care of bad guys, which we did with Christian spirit and professional acumen, contrary to what you may have heard from the mainstream media. After 9/11, from February to June, 2002, I served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the ranking US Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint Task Force 160, in charge of coordinating medical, preventive medical and environmental services for detainees and the guard force at Gitmo. I served again from February to June 2003, at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and then again for 14 months, from October 2004 to December 2005 for a tour to Iraq, where again I found myself coordinating services for detention operations there, in Baghdad, at Camp Victory, in Abu Ghraib (after the scandal there, my unit was sent to help clean it up), in Al Basra, at Camp Bucca, and in Ashraf, at Forward Operating Base Spartan.

In deference to my father-in-law, a Korean War veteran with the Air Force, and who is at home today dealing with COPD, among other things, he would want to know how long my message was going to be. 15 minutes Bob, and you can start timing me now!

FamilyPhotos130

Fair warning, this is a participation message, and may have some repeat after me moments.

Forced Fun

Forced fun is when you are ordered to do something that if you weren’t ordered to do it you probably wouldn’t do it.

November, 2008, a month before I retired from the Army after 22 years of service, including nearly 2 ½ years of deployments since 9/11/2001, and I had never participated in a parade. This time there was no escape.

Like a Commander’s Ball, no one could get out of it. With a wink and a nod the command had made it abundantly clear that from the very top general in the region, “everyone” would participate in the annual Veterans Day parade in New York City.

The uniform of the day would be the battle dress uniform, at this time it was the pixeled pattern we called the Lego pattern of light green and tan. It would be cool, but according to the powers that be, not cold, so no field jackets or anything worn on the outside of the uniform. You could however put layers on underneath and wear gloves. But if one person wore gloves, everyone had to wear gloves. If one person forgot their gloves no one could wear gloves.

Head gear would be the black beret; in other words, cold ears.

With temperatures in the 40’s in the morning prior to the march we would be shivering a bit.

There’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” in the military. This was no exception. The parade would start at 11:15, at around 26th Street and 5th Avenue, and then conclude at 46th Street, a distance of a little over a mile.

Report time? Zero 8:30, or 8:30 a.m. for you civilians.

“Don’t complain,” I told a colleague, “we’re getting paid and we’re not getting shot at.”

“Hooah!” Came the answer. Hooah! Is Army speak for just about anything except “No.”

For example, “How are you?” Hooah! “How’s the chow?” Hooah! “Did you get the beans and bullets?” Hooah! “Good morning,” Hooah! Question: Hooah? Answer: Hooah!.

I know you want to, so go ahead and try it one time: Hooah? (Audience: Hooah!)

So, from now on, when you hear my question, Hooah? You may answer back, “Hooah!” It will let me know your still with me. Hooah?

That’s the Army for you, simple and direct, efficient and effective. No wasted words or energy.

“Conserve the Fighting Strength” was the Medical Service Corps motto, and we put that to work every day.

I remember at the parade that not everyone had brought their gloves. Bad news. Good news: we could wear our gloves if we brought ‘em BEFORE the parade started. We could also go, a few at a time, to local coffee shops or kiosks and get coffee. That helped.

When it was time to march a strange feeling of nervousness grew amongst us. Some had been in parades before and told those of us who hadn’t that it was no big deal. Just look straight ahead and march. We would be singing cadence, so the march will go by quickly, and before you know it it will be over.

We heard drums and a band, and we saw costumed high school students with batons and flags and instruments. Giggling girls and serious boys, scrambling to form up.

We had been standing in formation for over two hours. Army people can never just stand around in a blob, looks bad don’t you know? And when we stand in formation we always keep one foot anchored to the ground in line so that if need be, in an instant we can form up and look like perfect little soldiers.

The commands were given, “Group, at-TEN-SHUN! Right, FACE. Forward . . . MARCH!” And off we went, left foot first then right. “Left . . . Left . . . Left, Right, Left.”

The cadence caller warmed up and then began to sing. When you sing in the Army it’s more like military rap. Most guys can’t carry a tune, so the caller usually just sticks to monotone and simple words:

“One, two, three, four,” was the call, and the reply, from almost all veterans and folks who’d been in 10, 20 or 30 years, was “You can’t count to five!”

And you can imagine the echo amongst the tall buildings coming from hundreds of soldiers.

“One, two, three four,” “Can’t count to save your life!”

So you get the idea, when cadence is called, the caller sings and the group repeats. So, let’s try that.

“Here we go again (Audience Repeats), same old stuff again (AR), marchin’ down the avenue (AR), one more mile and we’ll be through (AR). I’ll be glad and so will you!” (AR) Excellent! Easy, isn’t it? You could all be soldiers! Hooah!

On we went, singing our souls out, loving the tremendous echo we were sure traveled all the way down to the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan.

We stopped and started with those ahead of us, never longer than a minute or two. It seemed that whenever we got into a rhythm we’d have to stop.

Police stood at intersections, intermittently allowing foot and vehicle traffic to sever the parade stream, and then as quickly let it flow again.

Between 26th and 34th streets there seemed to be a decent crowd of people watching with interest and clapping from the sidewalk. That gave us a warm good feeling inside, despite the chill. There they were, perfect strangers, standing, smiling, clapping and waving.

“It’s great to be an American,” I thought. Hooah?

As we moved further uptown, the crowds thinned and then got sparse, as the band up ahead moved off at the end of the route, by the time we reached the end, only passersby were left, walking and going about their business, not seeing a mass of hundreds of uniformed soldiers marching, and then dispersing.

My wife and family were waiting for me at the end, and we smiled and hugged.

We all came to see Daddy in the parade, and to attend a free showing of the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular, at Radio City Music Hall, sponsored by the United Service Organization or USO.

Walking to the theater, my wife told me how shocked she was that when we, the soldiers got to the end no one but them and other families were clapping. In fact, she said, one woman passerby came up to her and asked what was going on. “It’s a parade,” she said to the woman. “It’s Veterans Day.” “Oh,” the woman said, and then moved along.

It’s Veterans Day.

In line for the show, which stretched around the block into Rockerfeller Center, there were many uniformed folks all around, from all branches of service.

I actually ran into an Army chaplain I had known from my service in Iraq. We were both very surprised to see each other, as the Chaplain was from Atlanta, Georgia, but had come north to visit family who had obtained tickets for the show.

The Chaplain and I had served together at Forward Operating Base (or “FOB”) Spartan – “Come home with your shield or on it!” Was the motto, a nod to the ancient warrior class of Greek Spartans. The metaphor was honor. Come back with your honor or don’t come back alive. Hooah?

These were serious dudes we served with. The FOB, a security and detention operation of Active Duty Military Police, had the reputation for being the most disciplined FOB of any American outpost in Iraq. And it was so.

Strict Army discipline was observed. Attention to detail was the order of the day. Paying attention to detail in a war zone saves lives. Hooah?

The FOB was so, well, Spartan, that we had to have daily LOG runs, or logistical convoys for supplies, such as beans, bullets and water. Twice a week we made two trips a day. The spring and summer of 2005 were perhaps the most deadly up to that point in Iraq.

Insurgents were pushing in places like Falluja, Baquba, and the Airport Road in Baghdad. IED’s, or Improvised Explosive Devices were common, sometimes hidden inside the dead carcasses of large animals left roadside, frequently stopping log convoys such as those to and from FOB Spartan.

CPT Granger Pulling Security_edited

I was on convoys to and from our log base once or twice per week to coordinate medical, preventive medical and environmental services for FOB Spartan.

The log base was Camp Anaconda, about an hour from our FOB and over the Tigress river, in the land of the birthplace of civilization and the stories of Babylon, and the Garden of Eden.

Compared to FOB Spartan, Anaconda had civilization. Swimming pool, Movie Theater, mall, barber shop and fast food. It was an oasis.

I remember entering the MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation hall) there for the first time.

Lots of board games, video games, ping-pong, magazines, TV, DVD check out, popcorn machine and Movie Theater.

There were no tickets, and no charge for anything.

Army soldiers and Marines wandered inside, dusty, sweaty and tired. And some with that look in their eyes, the look coined in WWII as the Thousand Yard Stare. The person was there, but not there.

When I entered the movie theater inside the MWR, a large room really, inside the airplane hanger-sized building, it was pitch black, between scenes in a movie. When the flicker of the film returned it lighted the faces of dozens of soiled, exhausted men, almost every one of them . . . fast asleep.

The convoys certainly took it out of you, whether an 18 hour schlep to Al Basra to inspect a detention facility at Camp Bucca, or an hour long ride to and from Anaconda the stress of not wanting to “Get blowed up,” took all of your energy. Hooah?

The stress was so intense that it was common for drivers and soldiers to fall asleep at the wheel once inside the wire and before parking the vehicles. Energy drinks such as Red Bull were encouraged.

***

The Chaplain and I hugged, and asked about family and introduced everybody to each other. It was really great to see her.

She was a staple at FOB Spartan, offering Bible study, prayer groups and two Protestant services on Sundays, one traditional and one contemporary.

I was more familiar with the traditional services, so I attended those at first, and then I got curious about the contemporary services, which ended up reminding me more of my mega church experiences as a young Christian teen growing up in Southern California.

I’ll never forget one Sunday when the Chaplain invited everyone to a baptism.

She had convinced a visiting group of combat engineers to dig a hole, about four feet, by four feet, by four feet, lined it with a tarp, and then filled it with water. She had ministered to some of the Pakistani cooks at the FOB dining facility, and several wanted to convert to Christianity! Now that’s doing God’s work! Hooah?

Did someone say “Crusade?”

No, we did not, but Christian soldiers were there to accomplish a mission, and even created one there in the arid land where God put the first of us.

Beside the door to the tent/chapel was a wooden sign with the 91st Psalm painted on it. Many of us there had the 91st Psalm, what we called the Psalm of protection, printed on camouflaged scarves we kept with us on convoys.

IMG_0035

That worked for me.

Prayer also worked. Hooah?

I’d like to thank the Worship Committee again for asking me to share my thoughts with you this Veterans Day Sunday.

If any of you know a veteran, ask them about their favorite Veterans Day, or their most memorable. If they can’t think of one, help make a memorable one for them.

It’s OK to ask us about our service. It shows interest and appreciation, and it makes us feel . . . normal. Many of us have some fond remembrances and some funny stories. Yes, there were some scary parts, but talking about it helps us make connections that are important, especially with family and loved ones.

I hope this was better than forced fun for you, and that through my stories you’re able to see veterans as normal people, and not just as a group of folks who are mysterious or scary.

We are just like you in most ways. And one thing many veterans have in common is the belief that every day is truly a blessing. That God’s gifts are sweeter and more vivid in the light of day after service.

What a blessing it is to be safe, secure and not worrying about getting “blowed up.” Hooah?

Thank you!

Granger Family 2009.JPG

(Major Granger is the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior” http://sbprabooks.com/montgomeryjgranger/ )

Advertisements

Now is the time for Trump’s Gitmo to flourish

Now that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement from the bench, President Donald Trump can revisit the matter of Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008), in which Kennedy cast the deciding 5-4 vote, and wrote the majority opinion, which gave unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us, housed at the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the right to petition for habeas corpus, or due process rights.

pid_28219

One of the main points of contention in Boumediene came down to whether or not the 45 square mile slice of extreme southeastern Cuba, is considered Cuban or US soil. The Court could not deny that geographically and politically, Guantanamo Bay is Cuban territory, but, playing fast and loose with the facts, nonetheless declared it “de facto US territory.”

Habeas corpus was denied unlawful combatants held at Gitmo via President George W. Bush’s 2006 Military Commission’s Act. Detainees and their attorney’s argued that since the US controlled the territory and were holding them “indefinitely,” that their clients should be afforded due process of the law and challenge their internment. This is way oversimplifying the decision, nonetheless . . . .

Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare dictate that only lawful combatants (POW’s) are entitled to extra legal privileges and certain treatment. Unlawful combatants may be shot on sight on the battlefield and have ZERO rights.

IMG_4190

In early 2002, after it was determined that unlawful combatants could not be safely and securely held in-country in Afghanistan (see The Battle of Qala-i-Jangi), the detention facilities at Gitmo previously used to isolate trouble makers among the early 1990’s Hatian and Cuban boat people, was available and could be used to house over 250 War on Terror detainees temporarily while a more suitable facility was constructed. Detainees were moved from the initial facility, called Camp X-Ray, to the new facility, Camp Delta, in April of 2002.

The initial Camp X-Ray was used for only 3 months, but was and still is the image the Left chooses to perpetuate when they cry abuse and torture of detainees at Gitmo.

What the Left will never tell you, and even hid at the time, is that the detainees were treated much better than even our own US troops who guarded the detainees and who served there.

Unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us who were and are housed at the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are given FREE Qurans, prayer rugs and beads, directions to Mecca on guard towers and detention cell floors; halal and special holy holiday Muslim meals including lamb and baklava; services of US military Muslim chaplains, white robes, beards; world class health care including dental and vision services; special medical equipment not available to host country personnel was/is flown in for them; TV, DVD’s, books, games, sports, an artificial turf field and communication with relatives and loved ones.

KSM.2

To those who would cry abuse at Gitmo, NONE of the 731 detainees who have ben released, nor the 40 currently interred have been beheaded, executed, blown up, hacked to death, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, drowned or burned alive, all things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies.

There is no moral comparison between how detainees are treated at Gitmo and how our enemy treats captives.

Back to Mr. Trump and how he can take advantage of a retiring Justice Kennedy.

Mr. Trump can write a new Military Commissions Act (MCA). The current one, written in 2009 by then President Barack Hussein Obama and his head of the Department of Justice, Eric Holder, gave unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us virtually the SAME rights you or I would enjoy in a federal court of law.

The outrageous standards of the 2009 MCA completely ignore the written language in the Geneva Conventions and Law of War, which stipulate that if a Prisoner of War (POW), or detained person is accused of war crimes, they are to be tried with the same standards as US troops would be tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). That is fair, and legal.

What Bush and then Obama created was MCA Light and MCA Extra Light, respectively.

Bush did it so that the US would appear to be more fair than required, and Obama did it so that the legal process would be so arduous and complicated that people would just eventually throw up their hands and then let the bad guys go! Letting the bad guys go was Obama’s mantra during his eight, free-styling years in office, which saw him release the “worst of the worst” of our captured enemies, some of whom went directly back to their previous deadly deeds, including one who had a hand in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, on September 11, 2012.

Trump has PROMISED to “fill up” Guantanamo with “some bad dudes.” That’s great, but how they are treated there and how those accused of war crimes are prosecuted matter.

In 1942, six of eight German saboteurs who were caught dry-foot on US soil, were denied habeas corpus, tried by military commission under the UCMJ, and then executed by electric chair, all within eight weeks of their capture. At the time, the US Supreme Court unanimously approved the denial of habeas and the establishment of a military commission, as per the Constitution and the Law of War.

GermanSpies_4

The system can and has worked, but not if everybody needs their fingerprints on a way to prevent justice from being done.

So, Mr. President, I implore you to take charge. Search for your new Supreme Court Justice and then ask the candidates whether they would overturn Boumediene v. Bush. If the answer is “yes,” then you have your man/woman.

art.gitmo.justice.afp.gi

From there, craft your new Military Commissions Act, or revert to the original that took care of unlawful combatants during WWII. You could even use the law to deal with invaders (aka illegal immigrants) from other countries. It would be too easy to call them invaders, deny them habeas rights, and then prosecute them under the new MCA. After all, who’s to say whether or not these invaders are not also unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us? Besides, there is a war going on, the Global War on Terror, and it’s about time we started acting like it, and the timing just couldn’t be better.

 

 

First Marine Killed in GWOT Remembered

IMG_1633[1]39 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.

CplStevenCrowley

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.

cplstevencrowley-1

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 23 year old Eagle Scout son was a 6 year old Tiger Scout, 17 years ago and counting.

IMG_1638[1]

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.

Thank you, Steven for your service, loyalty and sacrifice. We shall never forget your chivalry, integrity and self-less service to this great nation. Amen.

Kathy Griffin: Deep State Terrorist

Before blowing themselves up, future martyrs leave behind a video for their family and friends to view in memoriam. It tells about their devotion to Allah and Jihad.

Kathy Griffin‘s version was a little different, but in it she finished with: “We’re not surviving this.” She traded the black clothes for a blue “Pussy Bow” blouse.

So, along with controversial photographer, Tyler Shields, Griffin committed a premeditated act of terror.

In fact, Kathy Griffin is a psychological warfare suicide bomber for the Deep State. Psychological warfare strikes at the deep reaches of the mind, where carefully selected images can be permanently planted for maximum effect.

You cannot un-see a bloody, beheaded President Donald J. Trump. Neither can his wife nor his children. The damage is done, and the die is cast.

Trump Melania Barron

The effects will last a lifetime, and perhaps contribute to one or more cases of Post Traumatic Stress, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 11 year old Barron is most susceptible. In his conscious mind he can rationalize that it was a fake head, in his unprotected subconscious, he saw his father’s head, bloody and separated from its body.

But Kathy Griffin is a mere foot soldier in the Left Wing morass of false narratives.

As far as the Deep State is concerned, it’s business as usual: “Nothing personal, Mr. Trump, we just want our power back, by any means necessary.”

The desired effect, which I’m sure is consuming the President’s mind and soul, is making Trump think about whether or not this President thing is worth it. The act was designed to make Trump and his loved ones decide if public service is worth it.

Is it?

Is putting your loved one’s health and safety on the line ever worth it?

Trump doesn’t NEED to be President, but he DOES need his family in tact.

It is possible that Trump has discussed this kind of thing with his family, even before accepting the nomination for President. It is also possible that no one, no one could fathom this depth of depravity.

Be certain that Kathy Griffin won’t be the last PSYOP suicide bomber. She is merely a picket in a series of attack waves from the deep-pocketed Left. They will keep coming, and coming, and coming.

The attacks will all be different and unpredictable. They will target Trump and his family, friends, loved ones and supporters, all “soft targets.” They will be of the nature where he will be forced to question the loyalty of these people around him. Who are they really? What do they want from him? Why would they want to hurt him?

Loyalty is the number one most important value in the Trump empire. For without loyalty who can you trust? And without trust you have nothing, especially with family and your closest associates.

The Deep State has taken the gloves off. They are advancing an all or nothing agenda. They are trying to embrace Trump in a death grip, and they may have already succeeded. If not, they will settle for death by a thousand cuts.

Deep State

If not a resignation or impeachment, at least he wouldn’t seek a second term, nor would his associates or family. The cost would be too great.

Stress kills. Lack of sleep causes stress. Unhinged images can cause sleeplessness.

If Trump is “all-in” for being the President, and feels he can reasonably protect his family, and has already accepted his own fate and prepared his family for it, he will continue to march.

Trump has surprised us in the past, and may continue to surprise us for a total of eight years. But the road there promises to be more than any of us bargained for.

How much more can he take? How much more can WE take, or will we take?

We must understand this act was planned, from top to bottom, and that Kathy Griffin will be well taken care of for the rest of her life. She took one for the team and will be enshrined in the Deep State Hall of Fame.

She martyred herself in the same league with the worst of Islamic State murderers, taking with her many minds as casualties. For this there can be no forgiveness, and no quarter given to the newest member of the enemy’s team in the Global War on Terror.

 

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.

A vigil is seen near the site of the shooting at the Pulse gay night club in Orlando

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.

first-american-fried-chicken

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.

chelsea-explosion-0918-large-169

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

21866905.54830b9968ccb

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.

udayqusay2

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.

KSM

 

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

Saddam Captured

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.

 

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.