Tag Archives: SEALs

Show us the bone spur records, Mr. POTUS

Bob Kerrey has pitched a perfectly logical notion for the president of the United States, who has been plagued by doubters who question his assertion that “bone spurs” kept him out of military service during the Vietnam War.

Show us the medical record, Mr. President. That is the suggestion offered by Kerrey, a former Democratic U.S. senator from Nebraska. Oh, I also must point out that Kerrey is a former Navy SEAL, a Vietnam War combat veteran and a Medal of Honor recipient who lost one of his legs fighting the enemy during that horrible time.

Bone spurs don’t heal themselves, Kerrey said. You need surgery to repair them. The president has never mentioned surgery.

The bone spur issue keeps recurring because Trump keeps yapping about military matters in ways that bring these questions to the forefront.

Such as his ongoing and crass attacks against the late Sen. John McCain, the former Vietnam War prisoner who died of cancer this past August. Trump once denigrated McCain’s POW status, saying he was a “hero only because he was captured.”

Trump got several medical deferments during the Vietnam War. He has cited bone spurs. Well, just like the tax returns he keeps saying are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service, he has not provided a shred of evidence that he even had bone spurs; he also hasn’t produced a letter by the IRS declaring that it was auditing his tax returns, which he said has precluded him from releasing those returns for public review.

The president also reportedly told his former lawyer/confidant Michael Cohen that he had no intention of going to Vietnam. “Do you think I’m stupid?” Cohen said Trump asked him. Kerrey has taken offense at that notion, saying that Trump “sees all of us who went to Vietnam as fools. We were the suckers. We were the stupid ones. We were the ones that didn’t have the resources to be able to get out of the draft.”

Kerrey said this, as reported by the Huffington Post: “While John McCain was flying combat operations in Vietnam, you were, I think, falsifying that you had bone spurs in order not to go to Vietnam,” said Kerrey, a 1992 presidential candidate who retired from the Senate in 2000. “Now I know lots of people who avoided the draft, but this isn’t what he’s saying. He said ‘I physically couldn’t go,’ Well, Mr. President, get your feet X-rayed and let’s see those bone spurs. I don’t think he has them.”

Frankly, neither do I.

Commander in chief shows disregard for military

I have to ask: How in the name of pride in our military does the president of the United States get away with the utter denigration he heaps on distinguished military personnel?

Donald Trump did it (in)famously in 2016 when he said the late U.S. Sen. John McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured. I like people who aren’t captured.”

Trump went on to win the presidential election after declaring he knows “more about ISIS than the generals.” Then he surrounded himself with current and former four-star officers, proclaiming some sort of phony affinity for the expertise they bring.

And now the latest tumult has erupted. The president has disparaged the May 2011 raid that killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and, particularly, the man who coordinated that effort, retired Admiral William McRaven.

McRaven, a decorated Navy SEAL, headed the Special Operations Command when President Obama issued the order to kill bin Laden.

Trump now says we should have taken bin Laden down “a lot sooner.” Again, the commander in chief has denigrated a war hero and has mocked the effort that was carried out with precision and professionalism by a dedicated team of SEALs, Army Green Beret pilots and CIA deep-cover operatives.

Moreover, he gets away with it! The “base” that adores him gives him a pass. They don’t care that the commander in chief thinks so little of the brave men and women who volunteer to do something that the president waffled on when he had the chance when he was of draft age during the Vietnam War.

I do not get it. I never will get it.

What if Obama had done any of this?

“We should be intellectually honest here at this table that if President Obama had missed Veterans Day or missed the Armistice ceremony in France for the 100th anniversary of World War I, my head would have exploded right here on this table in front of all of you.”

So said Meghan McCain, daughter of the late, great Republican U.S. senator, John McCain, and a co-host of the TV show “The View.”

I believe she speaks for a lot of Americans who are dismayed, disgusted and so very disappointed in recent actions and remarks by Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States.

So many on the right and the far right have been strangely silent regarding the president’s recent action — or inaction — in Europe. He declined to attend a ceremony in France honoring the Americans who fell during World War I, then skipped Veterans Day services at Arlington National Cemetery.

Now, to his credit, the president did express some regret at failing to show for the Arlington cemetery event. That doesn’t excuse what he declined to do in the moment.

Couple all of that with what he has said in recent days about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and the disparaging he has leveled at the Navy admiral, William McRaven, who coordinated the May 2011 assault and you have even more reason for “heads to explode.”

They aren’t. Except for Meghan McCain, a self-described political conservative.

Yes, just try to imagine the reaction had all of this come from a liberal Democrat. It is pointless to suggest how progressives, such as yours truly, would react had any of this occurred on Barack Obama’s watch. Thankfully, I don’t recall it ever happening prior to Donald Trump becoming president.

I do believe Meghan McCain’s assertion about her own noggin “exploding” on national TV.

The warrior responds to POTUS

Back and forth they go.

The president and the decorated Navy SEAL are at each other’s throats. I’m pulling for the SEAL.

Donald Trump — as is his tendency — fired off a totally inappropriate tweet challenging whether the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command could have taken out Osama bin Laden “sooner” than he did.

That commander is retired Admiral William McRaven, on whose watch U.S. commandos killed the 9/11 mastermind in a firefight in Pakistan.

McRaven had the temerity to declare that Trump’s attack on the media presents the “greatest threat” to the nation. Trump responded with that hideous Twitter taunt about the bin Laden raid.

McRaven has answered the president. He stands by his comment about Trump’s attack on the media. Trump also had accused McRaven of “backing” Hillary Clinton. McRaven said “no.” He isn’t a fan of the former Democratic presidential candidate. He also said he backs all presidents, because he respects the office. McRaven also notes in his response that he served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama while leading the Special Operations Command.

He told Trump, “When you undermine the people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands.”

If only the president understood the damage he does with his reckless and feckless rhetoric.

Trump hits back … at the warrior who got Osama bin Laden!

Donald Trump isn’t known for picking his targets with much care or thought. His “shoot-and-aim” approach to firing criticism scores points with his base; not so much with the rest of us.

Fox News’s Chris Wallace asked the president to respond to former Admiral William McRaven’s criticism that the greatest threat to America is Trump’s demonization of the media.

The president’s response? He wonders why McRaven, the former head of the U.S. Special Forces Command, didn’t bring justice to Osama bin Laden sooner than he did.

You see, McRaven — a retired Navy SEAL — was on duty in May 2011 when U.S. commandos flew into Pakistan and engaged in a firefight with the al-Qaeda leader’s garrison. The troops then killed bin Laden — the 9/11 mastermind — and transported his corpse to the USS Carl Vinson, where he was given a “burial at sea.”

Trump said to Wallace that McRaven could have gotten bin Laden sooner than he did. He seemed to imply incompetent military and intelligence leadership as the reason that bin Laden was able to hide in plain sight in Abbattobad, Pakistan. He called McRaven a “fan” of Hillary Clinton and “backer” of Barack Obama. I’ll add here that Clinton was the secretary of state at the time of the raid and, oh yes, Obama was the president who issued the order to launch the mission, which I should add was carried out with no loss of American lives.

Take a look at Trump’s answer to Wallace’s question about whether the president would give credit for the mission that took down bin Laden: “They took him down but — look, look, there’s news right there, he lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year, which we don’t give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”

Huh?

‘You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard’

Of all the words written in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attack, which struck us 17 years ago, one essay stands out.

I want to share it here. It came from Leonard Pitts Jr., a columnist for the Miami Herald.

I was proud to publish it in real time on the pages of the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News, where I was working on that day in 2001.

I feel the need to show it to you once again. Pitts captured fully our sense of rage, fear, pain once it became known that terrorists had plunged the weapon deeply in our national heart.

Read the essay here.

The war against international terrorism continues. Yes, we were able to “bring justice” to the mastermind, Osama bin Laden, thanks to the bravery and immense skill and precision of the SEALs and the CIA commandos who carried out the dangerous mission in May 2011. More evil men have stepped up.

I hope you get as much from Pitts’s essay as I did then … and as I continue to do to this day.

‘Revoke my clearance, too’

William McRaven is an unabashed American patriot. He is a former Navy SEAL, former U.S. Special Operations Force commanding officer, a retired Navy admiral.

He also supervised the May 2011 Navy SEAL/CIA commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

He also is critical of the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

McRaven, who’s about to leave his current post as University of Texas System chancellor, has dared the president to revoke his security clearance. He said he wants the revocation so that he can stand in solidarity with former CIA Director John Brennan, who had his clearance yanked by the president.

Trump acted in a remarkable and breathtaking fit of pique at Brennan because the former top spook has been harshly critical of the president. Why, Trump just won’t have any of that.

As MSN.com reported: “[Brennan] is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him,” retired Navy Adm. William McRaven wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

“Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency,” he wrote.

I heard some chatter today that Trump supporters are actually questioning McRaven’s love of country because of his criticism of the president.

To think anyone would question this man’s patriotism simply boggles my mind. Or the minds of reasonable people anywhere.

Good news: Osama bin Laden is still dead

I have been grappling emotionally with how I should approach the crux of this next blog post.

I’ll start with the positive aspect first. Seven years ago today, a group of Navy SEALs, along with CIA operatives flew into Pakistan under the darkness of a moonless night. They departed their helicopters and killed Osama bin Laden, the world’s most notorious international terrorist — and the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks on New  York and Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama issued the order after examining months of intelligence-gathering. Our anti-terror effort found bin Laden in a compound in Abbattobad, Pakistan. The president then issued the order to take bin Laden out.

The team performed flawlessly. There were no casualties on our side of the fight.

The president made a gutsy call and to his great credit, praised the work of our nation’s anti-terrorist efforts that began during President George W. Bush’s administration.

The SEAL team delivered justice to Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. It could have gone badly, causing the president irreparable political harm.

***

Then a curious development arose not long after bin Laden’s death. One of the SEAL team members, Robert O’Neill, stepped forward to take credit for firing the shots that killed the despicable terrorist.

O’Neill’s public pronouncement drew immediate criticism from others in the military, notably those who serve in special forces such as the Army Green Berets, other SEALs and Air Force rescue commandos. They said O’Neill violated a code among those who serve in this high-risk, high-danger form of military service. That code is designed to protect the identities of those who actually pull the trigger on fatal shots. The Marine Corps calls it “espirit de corps,” or “spirit of the group.” No single team member should stand above or in front of the rest of the members of his team.

O’Neill violated that code by speaking out.

But now he’s coming to Amarillo later this month to speak at a public event designed to honor our nation’s veterans.

I am torn over this. O’Neill’s service as a SEAL deserves a nation’s eternal gratitude. I just wish organizers of the Amarillo event could have found a keynote speaker who hadn’t violated a code that aims to prevent our elite fighters from seeking individual glory.

‘Proud husband and father’ faces the music

Eric Greitens is trying to have it both ways.

The Republican governor of Missouri has now been accused of forcing himself onto a woman with whom he had a sexual relationship. He has admitted to an extramarital affair, but denies the sexual assault allegation.

Oh, but there’s more. Greitens, once a rising star in the GOP — a handsome former U.S. Navy SEAL and all that kind of thing — says his transgression has “nothing to do with governing,” that it is a totally private matter.

But … it isn’t. Not really.

You see, this “family values Republican” proclaimed on the campaign stump while running for his office that he is a “proud husband and father.” That’s right. He used his alleged pride in marriage and parenthood as a campaign hook. He sought to win the support of fellow proud spouses and parents who share his so-called traditional family ethic.

I have to offer the young man a piece of unsolicited advice about his path to high public office. It is that he shouldn’t have bragged in the open, out loud about being a proud hubby and dad while he was messing around with a woman to whom he was not married.

I keep thinking of former Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards, who made similar declarations about his ailing wife only to be shown to be a philanderer.

He, too, tried to have it both ways. It didn’t work for him. I cannot imagine how Eric Greitens can get away with it.

He is facing possible impeachment in Missouri. Hang on, dude. Your ride toward political oblivion is likely to get rather bumpy.

Disgusting.

‘Not who I am’? Are you kidding?

I never will understand the dodge that public figures utter when they’re revealed making hideous statements.

The latest comes from Carl Higbie, the former external affairs director for the federal agency that runs AmeriCorps.

A CNN investigation discovered that Higbie had made anti-Muslim, anti-gay, racist and sexist remarks. He reportedly said all these things in 2013. He has quit his post effective immediately.

Now he has resigned and issued a statement that said the following, in part: “I’m sorry. I’m not sorry that my words were published, I am sorry that I said them in 2013,” he wrote. “Those words do not reflect who I am or what I stand for, I regret saying them. Last night I informed the WH that I was resigning so as not to distract from POTUS’ many success. #noexcuses”

Read what he said here.

CNN reports further: Higbie, a former Navy SEAL and conservative media personality, was a surrogate for (Donald) Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, appearing on cable news and serving as the spokesman for the Trump-aligned Great America PAC. He was appointed to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in 2017 to direct the public image and messaging of the federal department that manages millions of Americans in volunteer services like AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.

My question whenever I hear public figures say that their words “do not reflect who I am or what I stand for,” I feel compelled to ask: Did someone put a gun to your head and make you say those things? Did someone drug you, hypnotize you and cast a post-hypnotic suggestion on you? Is that a ventriloquist standing behind you?

This is not reflective only of the current crop of federal government appointees. Left-leaning entertainment personalities caught saying hideous things and behaving badly offer the same dodge, as do politicians of all stripes.

I won’t engage in psychobabble, seeking to explain why people say the things they do. I merely cannot accept the excuse people in the public eye use to suggest that their thoughtlessness somehow doesn’t reflect who they are.

Actually, it does.