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.

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.

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

Osama bin Laden, 5 Years Gone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

I listened and watched, rapt and in shock.

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

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

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

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

Or was he?

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

Thrown overboard? In the sea? Why?

Were they hiding him? Did he actually survive?

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

I still carry some of those thoughts.

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

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

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.

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!”

TO DRONE OR NOT TO DRONE: DOES CITIZENSHIP MATTER?

Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military genius once said: “The military seeks not conquest but victory.”

Militarily, using drones to eliminate enemies is economical. It conforms to the “economy of force” tenant of battle, whereby one seeks to eliminate a threat with the minimum amount of force necessary, preserving heavier resources for heavier tasks. The military would rather subdue the enemy without battle, thereby achieving victory with the least possible cost to personnel, materiel, and collateral.

Politically however, the “cost” is measured in unhappy allies and American supporters.

We saw in Vietnam that militarily, after the Tet Offensive of Jan. 30, 1968, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army over-committed themselves by attacking and then briefly taking all South Vietnamese provincial capitals, but at great cost. The U.S. counter attacked and within days or weeks successfully won back every single gain the North had realized, and then had the bad guys on the run.

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2011 file photo, a Predator B unmanned aircraft taxis at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. Two U.S. drone strikes killed a total of nine suspected al-Qaida militants Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, a Yemeni military official said, the sixth and seventh such attacks in less than two weeks as the Arab nation is on high alert against terrorism. Credit: AP

In this Nov. 8, 2011 file photo, a Predator B unmanned aircraft taxis at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. Credit: AP 

 

Unfortunately, Walter Cronkite, the undisputed media voice for the American people, decided otherwise and told audiences in February 1968, that the war was “mired in stalemate,” and called for “negotiations.” From then on the U.S. looked for ways out of the conflict, eventually pulling out all U.S. troops in August 1973.

Recently, the Defense Department has identified an American al Qaeda operative overseas, who is, in the words of an anonymous source within the department, “actively planning attacks against Americans overseas.

The problem is, after the last targeted killing of an American overseas (al Qaeda operative and Virginia resident Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a U.S. CIA drone in Yemen in 2011) there was an international and domestic uproar, especially by supporters of the president. This struck a nerve that could not be ignored, so Barack Hussein Obama fashioned new policies that somewhat quieted the crowd, but also tied our hands when seeking to eliminate known threats.

FILE - This Oct. 2008 file photo shows Imam Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike. A public backlash is starting to grow in Yemen over civilians killed by American drones as the U.S. dramatically steps up its strikes against al-Qaida s branch here the past year. Relatives of those killed say the missile blasts hitting their towns only turn Yemenis against the U.S. campaign to crush militants. The drone strikes have taken out high-level targets in Yemen such as American-born cleric al-Awlaki, believed to have been a powerful tool for al-Qaida s recruiting in the West. Most, however, appear to target midlevel operatives. Credit: AP

This Oct. 2008 file photo shows Imam Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Credit: AP 

 

The new drone policy preferred the Department of Defense, and not the CIA, using drones, and any American targeted needed to have substantial provable evidence against them, or proof of imminent danger before a mission could be green-lighted. Another complication, now part of the policy, is that we can no longer send a drone into airspace over a country that doesn’t want us conducting such an operation, unless that country is determined to be rogue.

Let’s go back to Sun Tzu for a moment. Remember that militarily, victory is the number one concern of any mission. That is the objective. If you want us to “win,” we need to be able to use every available asset to achieve victory.

If you want us to “win,” we need to be able to use every available asset to achieve victory.

Otherwise, you compromise your effectiveness and therefore your psychological advantage over your enemy. Once the enemy is emboldened by thinking you will not use your weapons effectively against him he becomes even more dangerous than when you were hunting him down like the rabid, running yellow dog he is.

The yin and yang of war is that whatever you fail to employ against your enemy’s weakness, becomes his strength. Whoever employs his weapons most effectively wins.

We were not defeated militarily in Vietnam, nor could we have been. Neither were we ever fully committed militarily. We limited our bombing of North Vietnam. We never effectively mined or blockaded Haiphong Harbor, the main route of shipping supplies to the North. And we never properly pursued the enemy after pushing him out of the cities and towns he took during Tet. We allowed Communist China to intimidate our commitment, let politicians limit our commitment, and then bent to public opinion and media sabotage of our military efforts.

Remembering also that the main objective of politicians is to get re-elected and then preserve a legacy for themselves, military victory is easily explained away as unnecessary conquest. As long as the enemy does not invade the United States or incite insurrection, all is well.

Pakistani protesters gather beside a burning US flag during a demonstration in Multan on May 25, 2012 against the US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal belt. A US drone strike on May 24, killed eight militants in a Taliban stronghold of Pakistan's tribal belt, bringing the death toll from such strikes to 12 in two days, Pakistani officials said. Pakistani-US relations went into free fall last year, starting when a CIA contractor shot dead two Pakistanis, then over the American raid that killed bin Laden on May 2 and lastly over US air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Pakistani protesters gather beside a burning US flag during a demonstration in Multan on May 25, 2012 against the US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal belt. The US is allegedly considering a drone strike on an American terrorism suspect in Pakistan. Credit: AFP/Getty Images 

 

Sept. 11, 2001 changed all that. Or so we thought. My orders for activation after Sept. 11 stated that I was being ordered to military duty “in support of the Global War on Terror,” which sends our forces to more than 150 countries world wide today.

So, which is it, a War on Terror, or unfortunate little conquests we have no business perpetrating on others in the first place? Do we limit our engagement, thereby emboldening our enemy, or do we strike when necessary to save lives from potential (planned) attacks?

What we have now is legislated indecision. Advantage al Qaeda.

Prior to Awlaki’s demise, both the CIA and Department of Defense conducted drone operations. Now only the Department of Defense is authorized to do so, but actions by both houses of Congress have resisted making funds available for the transfer of CIA drones to the Army. Great hand wringing and gnashing of teeth is going on amongst our elected cowards, uh, I mean officials. They can’t see the War on Terror forest for the terrorist trees!

In the old days, prior to Awlaki’s killing, having the CIA and military  conduct targeted drone attacks kept the enemy unbalanced and unsure about where the threat was coming from. With only the military authorized to use drones we are “playing by the rules,” and tipping our intentions and take-off sites.

Advantage al Qaeda.

Does it matter if the enemy combatant is American or not? Should it?

In past conflicts Americans who were caught as traitors were summarily executed. Un-uniformed, or improperly uniformed spies can be lawfully shot on the battlefield in a hot war. Does it matter whether or not it’s from a field grade officer’s 9mm handgun or a drone?

Whether or not to use a drone may come down to whether or not you seek victory, with the only caveat being whether or not the target is more valuable dead or alive and at what cost you are willing to risk going and getting him.

Military Commission due process for KSM et. al., is unprecedented

(Author’s Note: The statement below is in response to an April 9, 2012, editorial in the Long Island, New York newspaper, Newsday, which can be found at http://www.newsday.com/opinion/9-11-terror-trials-it-s-about-time-1.3647063 )

Dear Editor,

The delay you mention in “On al-Qaida trials, it’s about time” [Editorials, April 9], regarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s (KSM) prosecution was due largely to first, a two year wait for the Supreme Court to rule on legal challenges from the left, and second, a re-writing of the Military Commission’s Act (MCA) of 2006, due to extended political and legal challenges from the left.  Our current MCA of 2009 is governing the proceedings, not the aforementioned as you state in your editorial.  You also fail to mention what “due process” means in the context of the Commissions.  The newest MCA gives unlawful combatants unprecedented extra legal privileges, and these new privileges include “presumption of innocence until convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.”  A quick visit to http://www.mc.mil allows a fingertip study of U.S. military commissions, their origins, history, and current application.  It’s worth a look to see that there is virtually NO DIFFERENCE between a U.S. Courts-Martial, U.S. Federal Court proceedings, and a Military Commission, to the advantage of our enemies; how could this not be, in your words, “optimal?”  And optimal for whom, us or KSM?  By the way, the Nuremberg trials of World War II lasted about four years (1945-1949), and suffered no delay due to attempts to extend extra legal privileges to Nazis, and took place AFTER the end of hostilities. May I remind Newsday we are still very much in armed violent struggle with Islamist extremists, like KSM, who want to kill us.