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Posts Tagged ‘United States Army’

Utter madness

Posted by Dana Pico on 2012/05/07

Thanks to William Teach, I found this article, from The Washington Post:

Secret U.S. program releases high-level insurgents in exchange for pledges of peace

By , Published: May 6, 2012

KABUL — The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups, a bold effort to quell violence but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks.

As the United States has unsuccessfully pursued a peace deal with the Taliban, the “strategic release” program has quietly served as a live diplomatic channel, allowing American officials to use prisoners as bargaining chips in restive provinces where military power has reached its limits.

But the releases are an inherent gamble: The freed detainees are often notorious fighters who would not be released under the traditional legal system for military prisoners in Afghanistan. They must promise to give up violence — and U.S. officials warn them that if they are caught attacking American troops, they will be detained once again.

There are no absolute guarantees, however, and officials would not say whether those who have been released under the program have later returned to attack U.S. and Afghan forces once again.

“Everyone agrees they are guilty of what they have done and should remain in detention. Everyone agrees that these are bad guys. But the benefits outweigh the risks,” said one U.S. official who, like others, discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the program.

The story Mr Teach referenced was magnified by another:

U.S. hostage appeals to Obama in video released by al-Qaeda

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a video released Sunday by al-Qaeda, American hostage Warren Weinstein said he will be killed unless President Obama agrees to the militant group’s demands.

“My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” Weinstein said in the video. “If you accept the demands, I live; if you don’t accept the demands, then I die.”

Weinstein was abducted last August in Lahore, Pakistan, after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home. The 70-year-old from Rockville, Md., is the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors.

In a video message posted on militant websites in December, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri said Weinstein would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world.

I was strongly reminded of President Reagan’s misguided notion that he could somehow find some “moderate” Iranians with whom to negotiate for the release of American and other Western hostages being held in Lebanon, and that he could trade military weapons for those hostages. Some hostages actually were released, but, in a development which should have surprised no one, more Americans were then abducted to serve as replacement hostages. After all, seizing and holding American hostages now had a concrete value.

And yet another story in today’s news:

Recidivism rises among released Guantanamo detainees

By Mark Hosenball

(Reuters) – The proportion of militants released from detention at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay who subsequently were believed to have returned to the battlefield rose slightly over the last year, according to official figures released on Monday.

In a summary report, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said that 27.9 percent of the 599 former detainees released from Guantanamo were either confirmed or suspected of later engaging in militant activity.

The figures represent a 2.9 percent rise over a 25 percent aggregate recidivism rate reported by the intelligence czar’s office in December 2010.

The increase in the apparent recidivism rate, while not large, comes at a delicate time for President Barack Obama, and could further complicate his attempts to negotiate a peace deal with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

As a “confidence building” measure, the Taliban have insisted on the release of five specific Taliban leaders currently held at Guantanamo. The Obama administration has been working on a plan under which the detainees could be transferred to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar but still held in detention.

I will eschew diplomacy here, and speak very plainly and bluntly: this is madness! We know that at least some of the released Guantanamo prisoners have returned to the battlefield, to fight against the United States. And while the first story noted that “officials would not say whether those who have been released under the program have later returned to attack U.S. and Afghan forces once again,” a recidivism rate of over 25% from the released Guantanamo prisoners strongly suggests that at least some of the prisoners released in Afghanistan have returned to the battlefield. President Obama is commander-in-chief of the United States armed forces, and is ultimately responsible for their safety and security; how many soldiers and Marines have died because of an idiotic policy to release the enemy, captured on the battlefield, back into the war zone?

I’m trying to picture President Roosevelt telling General Dwight Eisenhower to release some of the German troops captured during World War II as some sort of good will gesture, and somehow, I just can’t.

The notion that we can somehow negotiate a peace agreement with the Taliban is just as stupid as the notion we could find “moderate” Iranians with whom to negotiate. The idea that we can extract promises from prisoners about to be released that they will make nice and not shoot at Americans again, and that those promises will be kept is one that would be rejected as folly by a freshman — a high school freshman — but is, apparently, some sort of sophisticated wisdom by high ranking officials in the Obama Administration, including the President himself. The final line quoted in the first story is instructive:

“Everyone agrees they are guilty of what they have done and should remain in detention. Everyone agrees that these are bad guys. But the benefits outweigh the risks,” said one U.S. official who, like others, discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the program.

No, he wasn’t discussing the issue “on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the program,” he was discussing the issue on the condition of anonymity because he didn’t want to be publicly identified as a fool. Please tell me just what benefits here outweigh the risks to the soldiers and Marines who are being put at greater risk of being killed by returning enemy fighters to the battlefield.

If I sound angry here, it is because I am. I have two daughters in the United States Army Reserve, and while they are not deployed to Afghanistan, either or both could be ordered there tomorrow if the needs of the Army require it. Women are not assigned to combat units, though they can be “attached” to such units if required, and female soldiers and Marines have come under fire in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some have died. My daughters knew that there were risks involved in enlisting in the Army, as did John Hitchcock’s daughter, when she served, including fifteen months of duty in Iraq. It is one thing for soldiers and Marines to risk their lives in defense of our country and its missions, when they are under strong, sound leadership that cares for their safety, and puts their safety as paramount as it can be in pursuit of the mission.

It is something else entirely when their commander-in-chief is an idiot.
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Cross posted on THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL

Posted in military, Obama, war | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

She could have wished to meet Justin Bieber; instead she just wanted to be a soldier!

Posted by Dana Pico on 2012/01/28

Cystic fibrosis is a terrible disease, one which compromises lung function and leads to systemic organ degradation, slowed growth and physical weakness. Once nearly always fatal in early childhood, the condition can be managed via modern medicine, but the sufferer will always be in a disease management regimen.

For someone with cystic fibrosis, what we would consider a “normal life” is just not a reality. Alyssa Braden, 13, of Garland, Texas, suffers from cystic fibrosis, and wanted nothing more than to be a soldier in the United States Army. For three days, the Make A Wish Foundation, and the 193rd Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, made her wish come true.

Private wish: Teen fulfills dream of being a Soldier


By Cursha Pierce-Lunderman, Fort Jackson Leader

FORT JACKSON, Sc.c. — Alyssa Braden could have had any wish in the world fulfilled. But — in lieu of meeting a celebrity or visiting a theme park — the diminutive teen chose to get down and dirty.

Her wish? To join the Army.

The 13-year-old from Texas has spent the past week training with battalions in Fort Jackson’s 193rd Infantry Brigade through coordination with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Alyssa participated in morning physical training sessions, rappelled down Victory Tower, conducted convoy training missions, qualified on an M16, and saw the life that she would live as a Soldier in training.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation allows children to dream big by granting a “wish” to those suffering from a life-threatening medical condition. Alyssa said she chose joining the Army as her wish because her cystic fibrosis makes it impossible for her to enlist in the future due to Department of Defense medical restrictions.

“My uncle was in the Army and he’s my favorite uncle,” Alyssa said. “When I saw him, I just always thought of him as a hero and I wanted to be like him.”

During recent family discussions, Alyssa and her family realized that she would have some trouble joining the Army.

“We have been talking to recruiters with her older sister,” said Alyssa’s mother, Maggie Braden. “When Alyssa found out about asthma issues in the Army, she was devastated because she knows what she has is much worse than that.”

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, cystic fibrosis is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system characterized by the body’s production of unusually thick, sticky mucus that often clogs the lungs, leading to life-threatening lung infections. Those who suffer from the disease often deal with wheezing and shortness of breath, frequent lung infections and persistent coughing.

Now, more than 13 months ago after being referred to the Make-A-Wish, she was able to see her wish fulfilled. She said her time with the Soldiers and drill sergeants at Fort Jackson has lived up to her dreams.

More at the link.
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Cross-posted on THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL

Posted in Character, military | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Fort Hood Massacre victims: no Purple Hearts for them!

Posted by Dana Pico on 2011/12/11

There may be another reason why the Administration sees the Fort Hood Massacre as simply a bad case or “workplace violence.” From Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards), 11 December 2006: Purple Heart¹:

Paragraph 2-8 (b) The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded-

  1. In any action against an enemy of the United States.
  2. In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States
    are or have been engaged.
  3. While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in
    which the United States is not a belligerent party.
  4. As the result of an act of any such enemy of opposing Armed Forces.
  5. As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force
  6. After 28 March 1973, as the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign
    nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of Army, or jointly by the
    Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack.
  7. After 28 March 1973, as the result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States
    as part of a peacekeeping force.

In addition, Paragraphs 2-8 (k)(3) and (4) state:

    (3) Each approved award of the Purple Heart must exhibit all of the following factors: wound, injury or death must
    have been the result of enemy or hostile act; international terrorist attack; or friendly fire (as defined in paragraph b(8)
    above) the wound or injury must have required treatment by medical officials; and the records of medical treatment
    must have been made a matter of official Army records.
    (4) Recommendations for award of the Purple Heart based on alleged international terrorist attacks must be
    accompanied by a written evaluation from the MACOM security and intelligence staff officer indicating that international
    terrorist activity was involved. Should any enclosures be classified the prescribed security measures will be
    followed. This requirement is in addition to the other eligibility criteria. HQ, USAHRC (AHRC–PDO–PA) will
    confirm the international terrorist report with the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G–2 (ODCS, G-2) prior to
    forwarding the Purple Heart recommendations to the Secretary of the Army for final decision.

In simpler language, the Secretary of the Army has the authority, upon written evaluation, to determine that the attack at Fort Hood meets the criteria for an “international terrorist attack.” He has not yet done so.

The victims of the Fort Hood massacre are not eligible for the Purple Heart, because the attack is not considered to have been made by the enemy, or an “international terrorist attack.” The Department of Defense seemingly does not want to consider Major Nidal Malik Hasan as acting as part of the enemy, because that might bring all Muslim soldiers under suspicion of being considered the enemy.

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) has introduced S. 316, the Fort Hood Victims and Families Benefits Protection Act, a companion bill to H.R. 625, introduced by Rep John R Carter (R-TX 31), “To ensure that the victims and victims’ families of the November 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas, receive the same treatment, benefits, and honors as those Americans who have been killed or wounded in a combat zone overseas and their families.”

The bill notes that, “In the wake of the brutal September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the Federal Government set a historical precedent when it awarded the victims of those attacks who were members of the Armed Forces with the Purple Heart medal and the victims of those attacks who were civilian employees of the Department of Defense with the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.” But, thus far, the Department of Defense has not classified the Fort Hood massacre as enemy action which would qualify the dead and wounded for the Purple Heart. (maybe they’re still trying to figure out if Major Hasan, who was wounded by security personnel, is eligible.)

Both the Senate and House bills were referred to the Armed Services Committees, where they have languished since last February.

Your editor would not have thought that such action would be controversial in the least. The bills are short and uncomplicated, and can be read, in their entireties, in just a couple of minutes. This should be a voice vote bill, but neither the Republican-controlled House nor the Democrat-controlled Senate has taken any action to report the bills out of committee. Is it simple laziness holding it up, or are there some other considerations?

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¹ – Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards), 11 December 2006: Purple Heart (Note: .pdf file), pp. 19-21.
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Cross Posted on The First Street Journal.
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UPDATE October 18, 2012: Linked by American Thinker

Posted in Character, military, Obama, Politically Incorrect, politics, Religion, terrorists, war | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Which Military Branch Has Toughest Boot Camp?

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2011/06/03

And the award goes to…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in military | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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