It is a sad state of affairs for our military when “allowing” them to kill the enemy is considered “good” news.
The Obama administration has loosened the rules of engagement for U.S. forces striking the Islamic State and affiliated groups in Afghanistan, allowing them to target militants just for being associated with the terror network,..
That should be the norm, not the breaking news exception. That is just really sad and disheartening to think that it took the President to allow our men and women serving in a “combat zone” to find, fix, and kill the enemy. I guess the brains in the Whitehouse were not briefed on the primary purpose of the military.
“Now,” a U.S. official told Fox News, “we can kill ISIS in Afghanistan just for wearing the T-shirt or waving their flag.”
It is way past time to “crap or get off the pot” in Afghanistan. Either we are there to kill the enemy and allow Afghanistan to have a chance to succeed and defend themselves or we should not be there. Quit with the half-stepping and do one thing or another.
Mom: How did my favorite lamp get broken? What did you and your friend do?
Kid: Mom, mom, here is what happened. Me and Jimmy were playing the xBox and then I noticed kitty was starting to get sick. Since you asked me to keep an eye on kitty I was doing that.
So I looked over and saw she was about to throw up on your favorite chair. I know you would be so mad if she did that so I jumped up with lightning speed and I know the fastest way to get there in order to save your chair would be to jump over the back of the couch. Even though I knew Jimmy would beat me in the game I knew I had to save your chair. So I jumped over the back of the couch, and somehow my foot caught on the cord to the lamp. I saw the lamp falling but didn’t think out would break plus I saw kitty was about to throw up and I knew I had to get her. So I dove at her, risking myself getting hurt and was able to grab her and take her outside so she didn’t throw up on your chair.
Mom: So when did the lamp actually hit the floor?
Son: Not sure mom, I was so focused on your chair and kitty not messing it up I didn’t hear it. Maybe Jimmy did, Jimmy?
Jimmy: Uhh, I didn’t uhh, notice. He really did try Ms. Mom. Uhh, but I got to go home now so I will see you later. Thanks for inviting me over.
Mom: Well I just looked outside and I don’t see any cat puke.
Son: Oh, uhh, well yeah I cleaned that up too, because I know you don’t like to see that stuff. I do what I can to help you out mom
That is a plausible and probably very common scenario and has been for years, in households across the country if not around the world. Almost any parent in this scenario would roll their eyes and call BS on the son’s story. It holds all the characteristics of a lie; yes I did it, but I did it to help you out and protect your interests, I put myself at risk in doing this for “you”, and no evidence to support it or a valid trustworthy witness.
We now know he was home-schooled, and was very active in the ballet and in fencing. Not exactly the type of person that wants to excel and be part of a high-speed Airborne Infantry Unit, if you ask me. Could it be his fellow soldiers knew of his past and harassed him? Could they have made him feel like an outsider? Who knows, and really it does not matter as what he did (if desertion as PJ implies) is inexcusable. I am confident that as the past comes to light we will see this soldier demonstrated behavior that would be considered outside the norm.
“Outside the norm” has come to light for sure. When I wrote the blog post in July 2009, I was quickly attacked by several in the LGBT community who twisted my words to try and say that I was claiming he was gay and that is why he was “outside the norm” and that was why he deserted. I am still never sure where they made up that info in their heads, but it really didn’t matter at the end of the day. I was also in contact with the family back in 2009 through a intermediary and was getting info from them that was supporting my statements and some that corrected things as per the family. You can check out http://www.bouhammer.com/?s=bergdahl and see all the posts where I talked about this soldier from the moment he went AWOL.
The scenario I made up at the start of this is pretty much the Bergdahl story as told on the first episode of season two of Serial, the podcast (https://serialpodcast.org/season-two/1/dustwun). Apparently the story he told Mark Boal over a series of phone calls. He has had plenty of time to think of the story he told of a young, very inexperienced (one year in the Army) PFC who knew more about the US Army and its operations in Afghanistan then all the senior leaders over him, of which most had multiple combat tours. A soldier who saw himself as a modern-day, real-world Jason Bourne (yes he really said that). A soldier who realized the mistake the second he got outside the wire and thought he could make it better and maybe not get punished as bad as he thought would happen by spying on and capturing taliban emplacing IEDs. His grandiose plan was do to this while walking over some very hard terrain for 18 miles (as the camel walks) without being seen and only with a knife, some water and a notepad.
The pics below show some of the exact terrain he was going to walk. I was in this same area in 2006-2007.
As you can tell from the pics above, there was no way he was going to do this and be successful. But then again, running 18 miles across indian country at night through unknown minefields, IEDs, and who knows what else so he could create a DUSTWUN (Duty Status-Whereabouts Unknown) and get some “attention” so people would listen to him “maybe even a General”. Then he could tell them how his upbringing in Idaho being home-schooled and one year in the Army has given him the ability to identify real problems in the Army and how to fix them.
I have had soldiers like him in my many years as a leader, to include seven years as a 1SG and Rear-D Squadron CSM, but thankfully none of those “experts” were retarded enough to demonstrate how much smarter and knowledgeable they though they were than their entire chain of command. However I guess (if you believe his made-up story) Bergdahl got what he wanted. He was able to get the attention of a lot of people, to include one of the last Soldier’s soldier, FORSCOM Commander, GEN Robert Abrams (disclaimer- a good friend of mine and past wartime company commander) who just referred Bergdahl’s case to a General Court Martial which could net this misguided soul a lifetime in Leavenworth (http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2015/12/14/sgt-bowe-bergdahl-face-court-martial-desertion-charge/77300686/).
This is a terrible tragedy, and a full investigation is needed. No matter how the investigation turns out I think it will be bad either way. The bottom line is one of three things happened; either there was a US JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) trained warfighter with the Afghan forces who called in fire on he wrong location, or the AC-130 mistakenly hit the wrong target, or the worse possible scenario is we actually trusted an Afghan to call in deadly accurate fire onto the hospital.
“The Afghan forces called in for fire to support them because they were under direct fire,” Army Gen. John Campbell, the chief of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday.
We would not trust the Afghan medics to put on a band-aid, so I surely would not trust them to call in “the rain” onto a target. I would rather trust Stevie Wonder to drive me through Manhattan. They should only be calling in their own air support flown by Afghan pilots, not US pilots.
Until we know the whole story, I have to assume and hope (as sad as it is to say) that this was mistaken location or aircraft targeting by US forces and not that we trusted Afghan forces to confirm, clear and coordinate a close air support mission.
In the case of SFC Martland, it is truly disgusting because in the Army we teach and are taught that we should all do the HARD RIGHT instead of the EASY WRONG. This is what separates the sheepdogs from the sheep. Standing up for what is right and having the courage and intestinal fortitude to do it. Trust me it is not easy and many times, not possible. Our soldiers are put in the middle of a rock and a hard place when they see something as horrific as child rape and abuse happening, or even soldier male on male rape happen. And also know that they are told by all levels “it isn’t our job to install our values into their culture” and to know that if they offend, humiliate and piss off the same Afghans who’s protection our vulnerable soldiers depend on for force protection could cause an American’s death.
It doesn’t take long in country to realize that the time a person has left there won’t make a squat of a difference to how the place turns out or how the people there act. There is an old Afghan saying, “Americans may have the watches, but Afghans have the time”. They know they can wait us out; they know their country has been at war longer than our country has been in existence.
The situations that guys like SFC Martland, LCpl Buckley and countless others have found themselves in, is almost unimaginable. Even though our forces are not there to instill our way of life, our western values, etc., our soldiers are still human beings. It does not matter what political party someone belongs to, what religion they have (if any), or what part of the country they were raised in. Respecting human life and protecting the innocent is a basic characteristic of a sane person. It is against our DNA to take another human life, and for anyone with a conscious whom is not an evil animal, to abuse and molest child is not conceivable. Our warfighters at all ranks and ages from the private to the most senior leaders see this stuff if they are anywhere around Afghan forces or the public. What do you expect a soldier like SFC Martland do when a mother brings her young son to him that has been raped and the mom herself beaten for complaining about it. To make it worse, these horrible acts were done by a public official who is entrusted to protect the innocent people and this is supposed to be a person that a soldier is mentoring.
How do you look evil in the eye like that and not let it affect you? How do you act like it never happened? How cold-hearted do you have to be to ignore this type of evil? If you ask me, this is the type of soldiers we DON’T WANT. I want and I expect our military to have compassion for those that are innocent. That is what keeps them human, that is what keeps them focused on what is important in life. They are not stormtroopers or SS Nazis or robots, they were human beings before they stepped up to defend out country, and they hopefully will be humans after.
Had SFC Martland never taken action and a “investigative” film crew were to go to Afghanistan and film this attack and then film SFC Martland ignoring it, the American people, Mainstream Media, Hollywood and probably the administration would “take action” and do their best to shame any soldier that let something like this happen. Based on history and their actions to date, I can guarantee you that is exactly what would happen. So he was damned if he did or damned if he didn’t.
There are stories from my time in Afghanistan that I could bore you with of American soldiers doing the HARD RIGHT with Afghans security forces that caused the soldiers to be investigated, have marks put on their careers and negative actions taken against them by their superiors. When I talk with people, or do interviews and say “The American People will never be able to comprehend how the Afghans live”, it is these type of incidents I am thinking of at the time.
I belong to several private groups on Facebook and other social media outlets where I have seen multiple comments from people whom have NEVER been there say what they would do and how they would never let this happen. To be honest, they are talking out of their ass and doing nothing more than “Monday-morning quarterbacking”. Until someone is there and dealing with all the factors and issues while being in country, they have no idea what or how they would act. So I ask anyone reading this, before you obtain a “holier than thou” attitude with your “expert” opinion; just take a knee, drink water and STFU.
When I came back from Afghanistan, the sheeple, the politically correct, the ones scared of our warrior class labeled it a negative and dark word.
They called it hyper-vigilance and it was supposed to be a symptom of being “damaged” from war. I was told “you don’t need to have a weapon with you all the time”, or “why are you always staring at the side of the road, nothing is going to blow up”. Of course was also told that there was “nothing to be afraid of back here”.
Boston bombings, theater shootings, the gunning down of soldiers and marines at recruiting centers and even on bases, is what we see and live in now. So I am not so sure being hyper-vigilant is such a bad thing. If you ask me, I think that is one of the best characteristics that a veteran, first responder or even American citizens can have. Be vigilant, be aware, always be ready to step up and be the Sheepdog for all the sheep. The wolves are here and more are coming, the shepherd doesn’t care and is only worried about offending the wolves.
Ladies and gentlemen, this was a test run of a global magnitude. Now I will say I am not 100% positive that all of the events listed above are related to each other but I am very confident that several are and America should be worried. Very, very worried.