This should not take an “Act of Congress”

Holding someone accountable and punishing them for doing a bad job or not doing their job is a facet of working in our society and should be natural. It should not take an act of congress to fire people who are not doing their job properly or doing it bad.

Two Florida Republicans want to make it easier to fire senior Veterans Affairs Department employees for serious mistakes,but VA officials say what the plan will really do is scare away top talent.

Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and Sen. Marco Rubio introduced legislation in their respective chambers this week that would give the secretary of Veterans Affairs “complete authority” over senior executive service officials in the department, including the ability to demote or fire them.

The move would affect only about 450 of VA’s 300,000-plus employees, but both lawmakers argue it’s a critical change to promote accountability throughout the agency.

That’s been a theme in recent months among Republican lawmakers who have criticized VA leadership for failing to punish mid-level workers and senior executives for the disability claims backlog, poor care at medical centers, and a host of other headaches.

In particular, Miller and Rubio have focused on 31 preventable deaths of veterans in at least five different VA medical centers as a failure of leadership. No administrators have been fired in connection with the incidents, although several have retired.

I was amazed when I read this that it takes two elected representatives time and energy to make this happen. Especially in a Government organization (which is there to serve the citizens of this country) and one that is charged with taking care of those who have stepped forward to serve this country. If there is any organization which should be held accountable for failing to do its job and failing the citizens of this country, it is the VA without question.

What is worse is the person that is accountable for this, is to blame himself. Mr. “Black Beret” himself.

But VA officials, including Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, have pushed back against the idea of firing employees to improve department performance, saying they’re working to solve problems without vilifying VA staff.

How can any level of management in the VA hold anyone accountable when there is a hypocrite at the helm?

If the President cares about Veterans the way he and the First Lady claim they do, he should fire Shineski ASAP to set the example and put someone in charge that can start cleaning house. They need people that want to be there to serve the public, and more importantly, the Veterans and not someone who just care about reaching 20 years of civil service and a retirement check.

Read the whole story at http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140214/BENEFITS04/302140012/New-bill-would-make-easier-fire-senior-VA-employees

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Someone’s priorities are all messed up, I hope

I travel all the time, so I was glad when Congress stepped in to force the FAA to stop the furloughs of Air Traffic Controllers. However when see this, I would rather be delayed on my flights then allow something like this to happen. I would gladly sit on a runway then have our wounded warriors have even the slightest drop in their care or delay of attention given to them.

ABC7 has confirmed the region’s two military hospitals are furloughing more than 3,500 civilian employees who care for the nation’s wounded warriors, nearly their entire civilian staffs.

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I am disgusted to see this and convinced of one of two things. Either someone’s priorities are so screwed up they should not hold a public service job of any type, or someone in the Government is wanting to play on America’s heart-stings and using our wounded warriors as pawn’s in the big game of Sequestration.

I only imply the latter because of all the hype that came out of the administration prior to the sequestration when it was all doom and mayhem if Congress did not get it resolved. Remember the prisons would have to release prisoners, the borders would be left unprotected (this happened on purpose in Arizona ironically), our troops would be left without the gear and training they need and of course the old warning that flights delays will happen and flight safety would be at risk. And we see what happened with the last one.

I pray and hope it is because of mis-aligned priorities (i.e. someone’s head is up their fourth point of contact) and not the other reason.
Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/05/caretakers-for-wounded-warriors-at-walter-reed-receive-furlough-notices-89467.html#ixzz2Uuq2SxlO

Failure in leadership by the USA and UK

Last fall a group of 15 Taliban fighters breached the perimeter of one of the largest bases in Afghanistan, completely unchallenged. They made their way on the base, taking the lives of two Marines and then destroyed over $200 million dollars worth of US Marine aircraft (almost the entire Squadron).

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After the attack, which resulted in the deaths of two Marines and the largest loss of allied materiel in the 11-year-long Afghan war, the top U.S. commander on the base did not order a formal investigation into the security lapses or sanction any personnel responsible for guarding the facility, the officials said.

It was a joint base with the British and now it appears that because of that fact our country is worrying about embarrassing the British military leadership by publicly stating what everyone in the military knows already.

In the days following the raid, some U.S. and NATO military leaders insisted that the Taliban got lucky by choosing to breach where they did. But several officials with direct knowledge of the assault said in recent interviews that staffing decisions by U.S. and British commanders weakened the base’s defenses, making it easier for the insurgents to reconnoiter the compound and enter without resistance.

This is a disgrace to our entire military, our country and worst of all, the families of those two fallen Marines. There used to be a saying in out country, “The Buck Stops here” which means that whomever is in command it accountable.

You can ask any of my soldiers that ever served with me while I was their First Sergeant and they will tell you that I spoke at length about R.A.I.D. It stands for Responsibility, Accountability, Initiative and Discipline. These were the four tenants that I demanded all of my soldiers exercise all the time. I stressed to them how important it was to apply these to their the lives both on and off duty. In my talks with soldiers about R.A.I.D. I would stress the fact that Responsibility can be delegated but Accountability never can. It is impossible to delegate it. If someone charges you with a responsibility to get something done, you may be able to delegate the task to someone else to physically perform, however you are and always will be accountable to the person that asked or told you to do it. You can’t whine with a “but I told him to do it”. That does not hold any weight or integrity.

So back to this story that came out on Saturday about the dereliction of duty and lack of accountability on behalf of the US and British leadership on the base. The base has been the site of an attempted attack on Secretary of Defense Panetta just six months earlier and it was September of 2012, which was still well within the height of the fighting season in the worst year of violence to date.

“You can’t defend everywhere every day,” Gurganus said in response to a question about the attack. “You base your security on the threat you’ve got.” He said the Taliban caught “a lucky break.”

That statement by MG Gurganus is in itself reason enough to relieve him of his duties and force him to retire. There are many parts in the whole story that are disturbing to read, however that quote above is 100% whining and excuse making. If I was his CSM and was near him, I would have tossed my career right there while I ate him up one side and down the other. I am sure this MG didn’t take whining excuses like that from the Marines in his command throughout his career. Him stating that on the record is a stain on the impeccable reputation of the entire Marine Corps.

The second worse thing stated in this story is the following

No U.S. or British military personnel have been reprimanded as a result of the attack. The Marine Corps does not plan to release its review. NATO also intends to keep its investigation confidential, in part to avoid embarrassing the British for leaving towers unmanned, according to officers briefed on the findings.

“We’ve corrected the deficiencies in security, but we don’t want to put a stick in the eye of our closest ally,” said a senior U.S. official who served in Afghanistan at the time.

To not hold those accountable and be transparent about the mistakes made is a failure on all of the leadership in both countries, all the way to the top. It is amazing how we can make public spectacles out of and punish soldiers who mistakenly throw Korans into a burn put with the other trash they are mixed with, or Marines who out of disgust and anger with a cowardice enemy urinate on their dead bodies (which by the way, nobody in the world gave a crap about except our civilian leaders in the Government) but they don’t make public and hold accountable the leaders and decision makers on this base that directly allowed this to happen.

If this is a sign of what is to come as we drawdown, then it makes it more important than ever to pull all troops out now instead of leaving them there as IED and IDF Fodder for our enemies.

Please take the time to read the whole story. I look forward to your comments and feelings on this topic. Feel free to comment on this blog post and lets chat about it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/taliban-attack-exploited-security-cutbacks/2013/04/20/b22a0c18-a796-11e2-8302-3c7e0ea97057_story.html

Yet another reason to bring them home TODAY!


The draft handbook offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism toward Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam,” according to the Journal.

Yes there is a new handbook being considered for our soldiers in Afghanistan that tells them to ignore some of the most basic human rights and values we as a sane western society adhere to, pedophilia.

I have written about this and many other atrocities conducted by the Afghan security forces that our soldiers have to deal with and struggle with in how to react. Now the Center for Army Lessons Learned has seriously drafted a handbook telling soldiers that speaking up about these and other “taboo” things in the Afghan lifestyle is why the forces we have been embedded with for 10 years are all of a sudden turning on us an trying to kill us.

The draft of the newest Army handbook seems to suggest that ignorance of Afghan culture is to blame for deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces, according to The Wall Street Journal, which got a peek at the 75-page document. But its message of walking on eggshells around the locals is not going over well with U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top military commander in Afghanistan.

Do they think our soldiers just recently started these practices? I was there FIVE years ago and I admonished Afghan soldiers for homosexual acts and drug use on missions, beastiality, and pedophilia among many other acts of indecency and unprofessionalism. There were green on blue acts back then but DOD and ISAF were not tracking them. They didn’t officially start that until 2009. However I never felt threatened by an Afghan for talking to them about these things. They only time I or anyone on my team felt threatened is when we tried to correct an act by an Afghan which put the lives of US soldiers, Afghan soldiers, Afghan civilians at risk or compromised a mission. Not every time these things happened, but some times when they did.

I am encouraged to see that Gen. Allen thinks this handbook is crap too.

“Gen. Allen did not author, nor does he intend to provide, a foreword,” said Col. Tom Collins, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. “He does not approve of its contents.

As long as he holds his ground and is not forced by the administration to allow this handbook then maybe there is a chance this will never see the light of day. Regardless this just shows how disconnected some senior leaders in our military have become, along with other “experts”.

Whoever authored this handbook and approved it, needs to have their teeth kicked in and then sent to Afghanistan to live among the locals for a few months. Then I would like to see how touchy-feely and PC they would like to be.

They next thing they are going to say is that we should not talk bad about, cuss out, or say anything derogatory about the Taliban as it may upset them and encourage them to try and kill us.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/12/proposed-army-manual-tells-gis-not-to-insult-taliban-speak-up-for-women/#ixzz2EssTkYCx

I guess DOD does not recognize OPSEC anymore.

I wonder at what point did OPSEC get thrown in the trash in the interest of political fodder. Our fathers and grandfathers who have fought before us must be having fits or turning over in their graves for those who have left us.

We might as well be yelling to the enemy that they should attack now because we are the at the lowest level of combat readiness in two years.

 

Going out of his lane, way out of it

In the military we have a saying “stay in your lane”. What it means is don’t stick your nose in someone else’s business. Stay in your lane and focus on doing your job and what is required of you, not worrying about someone else.

I have told my boys so many times that “if you worry about yourself as much as you worry about someone or something else then you would be squared away and never be in trouble.” In fact I have actually told many soldiers that too.

So here is an example of a guy who I have met and interviewed in person (and is someone I really liked and respected at one time) going way out of his lane….

The top U.S. military official has asked a Florida pastor to pull his support of an anti-Islam film that may have played a role in inciting protesters who attacked U.S. diplomatic posts in Libya and Egypt.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Terry Jones by phone Wednesday morning to voice his concerns.

“In the brief call, Gen Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause. He asked Mr. Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said.

He is the friggen Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so his focus should be on talking to the members of the military, DOD Civilians, Congress and the President…NOT a private citizen.

A couple of weeks ago he stepped out of his lane and out of line by saying former and retired military members should not be talking about politics. Apparently he missed the memo that said once your service is done you can say whatever the hell you want. Most in the military community chalked that up to him just trying to appease his boss, The President, and keep his job.

However calling this pastor has nothing, and I mean NOTHING to do with his job. If anyone, it should have been Secretary of State Clinton that made the call, not a military general.

In fact if as a Four-Star General he really believes the attacks yesterday have anything to do with some little film trailer on You Tube and not connected to the anniversary of 9/11, he needs to put his stars on the desk and walk out out the door, because he is not smart enough to have that job.

That pastor has every right guaranteed every American citizen to say what he wants. In fact he didn’t even make the film from what I understand, he is just supporting it. If idiots in this country can wear valorous medals and pretend to be war heroes and degenerate snot-nosed in-grateful hippies can walk on and burn the flag, and the Westboro Church inbreds are free to protest military funerals and spread hate, then I think this pastor can say whatever the hell he wants.

Like I said I liked and respected Martin “I think I am Frank Sinatra” Dempsey at one time. However over the last two weeks he is spoken out of his “fourth point of contact” just one too many times for me to have any more respect for this guy.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/12/joint-chiefs-chairman-urges-pastor-to-withdraw-support-anti-islam-film/#ixzz26IWKfNu7

Today’s Dumba$$ of the day Award

I hope I don’t have to do one of these a day, as that would be very depressing. But for today, this guy wins the Red Forman* Dumbass of the Day Award.

A Navy pathologist has been reassigned to an administrative position for letting his children handle the brain of a deceased Marine Corps sergeant while his wife took pictures in their home.

Read the whole story at http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2012/07/navy-marine-sergeant-brain-pathologist-kids-hold-brain-reassigned-071312w/

 

* Red Forman was the father figure in one of my favorite sitcoms, That 70′s Show, who made “Dumbass” a mainstream and half-acceptable word to say.

Why is the media afraid to call it like it is?

I have watched a disturbing trend for a while and it has been eating away at me. At first I thought maybe it was just one biased, or inconsiderate editor, then I figured maybe it was just the stupid MSM not knowing what they were saying. However I have seen this trend happen so many times that I now realize this is intentional, but I am not sure why they are doing it.

Take a look at these headlines and story snippets

Marine killed in Afghanistan by person wearing Afghan army uniform

A Marine from Camp Pendleton has been killed in Afghanistan, fatally shot by someone wearing an Afghan army uniform, the Department of Defense announced Monday.

Sgt. John Huling, 25, of West Chester, Ohio, was killed Sunday in Helmand province. He was an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, from Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“The incident is under investigation,” the Department of Defense said.

The individual in the Afghan army uniform opened fire on U.S. troops in the Helmand province community of Marjah, a onetime Taliban stronghold.

Link to story at http://www.stripes.com/news/marine-corps/marine-killed-in-afghanistan-by-person-wearing-afghan-army-uniform-1.176619

Man wearing Afghan National Army uniform kills American soldier, official says

A man wearing an Afghan army uniform shot dead a U.S. service member in the east of the country, one of two NATO troops killed on Friday, military officials said. The Taliban took credit for the attack.

Also Friday, the U.S.-led military coalition offered condolences to the families of Afghan civilians who were killed in airstrikes earlier this month.

The shooting was the 15th incident this year in which Afghan soldiers or insurgents disguised in military uniforms have turned their weapons on foreign troops. The killings have increased the level of mistrust between the U.S.-led coalition and its Afghan partners

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/11/attacker-in-afghan-uniform-kills-nato-trooper/?test=latestnews#ixzz1uakuc7LA

What is even more disturbing that in a story about how the military is under-reporting these incidents, they still word things the same way.

The military is under-reporting the number of times that Afghan soldiers and police open fire on American and other foreign troops.

The U.S.-led coalition routinely reports each time an American or other foreign soldier is killed by an Afghan in uniform. But The Associated Press has learned it does not report insider attacks in which the Afghan wounds — or misses — his U.S. or allied target. It also doesn’t report the wounding of troops who were attacked alongside those who were killed.

Such attacks reveal a level of mistrust and ill will between the U.S.-led coalition and its Afghan counterparts in an increasingly unpopular war. The U.S. and its military partners are working more closely with Afghan troops in preparation for handing off security responsibility to them by the end of 2014.

In recent weeks an Afghan soldier opened fire on a group of American soldiers but missed the group entirely. The Americans quickly shot him to death. Not a word about this was reported by the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, as the coalition is formally known. It was disclosed to the AP by a U.S. official who was granted anonymity in order to give a fuller picture of the “insider” problem.

Read the story at: http://civiliancontractors.wordpress.com/tag/us-soldier-killed/

Do you see the trend that has been disturbing me? Every time an Afghan security force member turns on us or our coalition, they are not listed as Police member or Army soldier but as Afghan in Uniform or Someone wearing a uniform.

However the second one of our warriors is alleged to have done something like pose with bodies, pee on bodies or murder civilians they are called out, many times identified, convicted not only in the press but essentially by our military and civilian leadership who race to give apologies and tout they will “investigate and punish to the fullest extent of the law”.

Why is that? Why are our brave soldiers who lose it, snap, make bad judgments, or whatever essentially crucified in the public arena while the soldiers and police of Afghanistan are never held accountable and always referred to as some “Afghan” in a uniform.

I don’t like it, not one bit and it makes me hate the media that much more.

This is it, BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW!

I have had it, I have been pushed beyond any patience or consideration I could humanly posses for the policies and strategy in Afghanistan. I have been wanting to blog for several months that is is time time bring our troops home.

Afghanistan has had us in their country for over ten years and with US Forces (mostly Army National Guard) embedded with and mentoring, leading and teaching their forces right about 10 years now.

As I have stated many times on this blog and in interviews, we would need to be in Afghanistan until around 2020 for us to make a difference there. However now we have year after year of a more restrictive Rules of Engagement (ROE) being put on our forces, Afghan forces turning on our US and coalition forces and murdering them, and a military strategy that seems to be more about not offending people than killing the enemy. I was at a point where I was saying “that’s it, we are done”.

However, a story broke today that pushed me over the edge.

As part of an effort to quell violence and ensure peace with the Taliban, the United States for several years has been secretly releasing high-level prisoners from a military prison in Afghanistan.

According to the peace deal, insurgent commanders or local elders have promised to reduce violence, or cease fighting altogether, if certain insurgents are released from Parwan, The Washington Post reports.

However, the deal is a gamble as the freed detainees are generally notorious fighters who would not have been released under the legal system for military prisoners in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have asked these prisoners to promise to give up violence, and if they are caught attacking American troops, they will be detained once again.

However, officials have not said that those who have been released under the program have later returned to attack U.S. and Afghan forces again.

The insurgents released through the secret program are the only detainees at Parwan who are able to circumvent the prison’s judicial review board.

The releases have come amid efforts to end the decade-long war through negotiation, which is a central feature of the Obama administration’s strategy for leaving Afghanistan.

Those efforts, however, have yielded little to no progress in recent years. In part, they have been stymied by the unwillingness of the United States to release five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, a gesture that insurgent leaders say they see as a precondition for peace talks. Continue reading

We would be glad to leave


The president of Afghanistan asked the United States to leave the country sooner following the publication of photos of soldiers posing with bodies.

President Hamid Karzai issued a statement Thursday calling the behavior shown in the photographs “inhumane and provocative,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Karzai said he wants to see an “accelerated and full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces so Afghanistan can take over its own destiny, and thus no such things can be repeated by the foreign forces in Afghanistan.”

The Taliban also issued a statement Thursday, denouncing the “gruesome acts” depicted in the photos.

“Some Afghan hirelings … posed in the photos, at their masters’ orders, to scorn the remains of martyrs,” the statement said.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2012/04/19/In-wake-of-photos-Karzai-asks-for-speedy-departure/UPI-11981334852352/#ixzz1sWHmDNlo

Hey Karzai (that is Pashto for douche), we would love to. But I think you would like to stay in power for longer than next week. Because if we were to leave tomorrow that is about as long as you would stay in power before being dismembered in public in a traffic circle in Kabul.

By the way, I have lots more to write about these photos that the LA Slime released. Look for that post soon.