Tag Archives: Special Forces

RNC backs POTUS in attack on McRaven

Well, here we go.

The Republican National Committee, I guess to few people’s surprise, has backed Donald J. Trump in his idiotic attack on the Navy SEAL who coordinated the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The RNC says that retired Admiral William McRaven “reportedly” was on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s short list of potential running mates when she ran for president in 2016.

Hold … the … phone!

The president went off on McRaven during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” He contended that the Special Operations Command chief was a “Hillary Clinton backer” while he was criticizing him for not getting bin Laden “a lot sooner” than he did.

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace sought to mention that McRaven was a SEAL at the time of the bin Laden raid, but that didn’t dissuade Trump from alleging that McRaven was some sort of partisan hack.

What a joke!

Whether he was on anyone’s short list is utterly beside the point.

McRaven retired from the Navy after 37 years of service in 2014. Clinton ran for president two years after that. The raid that McRaven coordinated occurred on President Obama’s watch. The date was in May 2011, when McRaven was an active-duty Navy officer.

His colleagues all have testified to a person that McRaven is the consummate military professional who didn’t put politics ahead of his mission. Indeed, he has responded to Trump’s criticism by noting that he served under President George W. Bush as well as under President Obama. Republican or Democrat, it didn’t matter to McRaven.

So, for the president to accuse him of being some sort of cheap partisan disserves not only Admiral McRaven, but also the SEALs as well as other Special Forces troops in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps . . .  not to mention all the men and women who wear the uniform in defense of the country.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone, I suppose, that the RNC would weigh in with its own cheap political shot.

Despicable.

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.

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.

Special forces to Syria? What’s next?

islamic-state-syria759

It’s been said many times that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, is our enemy. So is the Islamic State, which also is Assad’s enemy. Thus, Assad becomes our “friend” because the United States and Syria oppose the Islamic State?

My head is spinning.

President Obama has just performed a major pivot on Syria. We’re sending about 50 special operations forces to Syria to assist the government in fighting ISIS. Does that mean we’re getting engaged in a ground war in Syria? The president says “no.” I’m not so sure.

We’re putting “boots on the ground” in a place that’s been involved in a bloody civil war for many years now.

I don’t like this change of direction.

The issue of who’s our friend in the Middle East is complicated enough as it is. By my reckoning — and I’m sure many others — we have one true ally in that region: Israel. Many other nations’ leaders say they’re with us in the fight against ISIS. By and large, they have been — at best — not totally reliable.

So now we’re going to reverse ourselves and commit a handful of ground troops to this terrible conflict. Are they going to be frontline forces? The Pentagon says no and that they won’t necessarily be thrust directly into harm’s way.

What will the nation’s reaction be when we get word of the first person killed in action?

And … for what? To assist a brutal dictator who our own president has said should be removed from power?

 

 

Jade Helm has ended … we’re still free!

jade helm

They’ve sounded the all clear in central Texas.

Jade Helm has ended. President Obama’s allegedly threatened takeover of Texas didn’t materialize.

We can sleep better tonight.

If there ever was a moment in which the governor of our great state couldn’t embarrass himself more, it was when Gov. Greg Abbott responded to that idiotic Internet gossip that Jade Helm — a long-planned military exercise — was some kind of harbinger of a federal takeover of Texas.

What did the governor do? He ordered the Texas National Guard to “monitor” the activities of the Army, Marine Corps and Navy special forces that were conducting exercises in Texas.

Jade Helm concludes

It’s what they do. They practice military maneuvers to prepare them for actual combat.

But some right-wing freaks decided to launch a conspiracy in cyberspace that contended that it was all part of some plot to declare martial law or some such nonsense.

Can you say “black helicopters”?

Well, the exercise has ended. The Texas National Guard can go home. The governor can concern himself with actual threats to the state, such as, oh, illegal immigrants or red tide on the Gulf Coast.

 

VA chief 'inaccurately' states military service

When will this all stop? The fibbing, the “incorrect” statements about one’s personal history, the embarrassments.

Welcome to the Pantheon of Prevaricators, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald.

The new VA boss — hired to fix the problems that have plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care network — has been caught saying he served in the U.S. Army Special Forces when, in fact, he didn’t.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/us-veterans-secretary-apologizes-for-misstating-military-service-abc-news/ar-BBhUHJ7

McDonald was caught on camera telling a homeless veteran that he served in the elite fighting force. The vet told the secretary he had served in Special Forces. “Me, too,” McDonald answered, telling the fellow he also was a Special Forces soldier.

To be fair, McDonald is a West Point graduate and did become an Army Ranger, which happens to be an elite fighting force as well. Why embellish those credentials?

NBC News anchor Brian Williams has recently admitted to “misremembering” an incident in which he said  a helicopter he was riding in was shot down by enemy fire in Iraq; it didn’t happen and he’s been suspended without pay for six months. Then came questions about Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly’s experience covering the Falklands War in 1982; he has said he came under fire covering that conflict but others have challenged his assertions, saying he didn’t set foot on the battlefield, as his reporting at the time and the years since have implied. O’Reilly and Fox are battling the accusations.

McDonald has apologized for the incident, which was recorded by a CBS News crew. “I asked the man where he had served in the military,” McDonald said, according to ABC News. “He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”

Inaccurate? Yeah, it was at least that. I’d call it a “lie,” which is the kind of thing that got the VA into trouble in the first place, with hospital staffers falsifying wait times that veterans were having to endure while seeking medical care.

Get back to work, Mr. Secretary — and limit your public remarks to the job you’ve been assigned to do.

 

News flash: Pakistanis knew bin Laden was among 'em?

This must rank as perhaps the least-surprising item to come out of the Global War on Terror.

Pakistan’s intelligence apparatus likely knew Osama bin Laden was hiding in that country when he was killed in May 2011 by Navy SEALs and CIA spooks.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pakistan-probably-knew-bin-laden-was-hiding-ex-spy-chief/ar-AA9fWFf

What’s more, they well could have know precisely where the world’s most wanted terrorist was hiding when the U.S. strike force landed in the middle of a moonless night in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The possible revelation comes from former Pakistani Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, who once led ISI, Pakistan’s major intelligence agency.

The fact that bin Laden was holed up in a large compound so close to a military academy in the city just north of Islamabad has brought suspicion on Pakistan almost from the moment he was shot to death and carried out of Pakistan aboard a Special Forces helicopter.

Many skeptics in this country have wondered how bin Laden could have hidden in plain sight for as long as he did, how he was able to escape detection for a decade after the 9/11 attacks.

As MSN.com reported: “Asked whether it was possible for bin Laden to have lived in the town without the powerful ISI’s knowledge, Durrani said: ‘My assessment… was it is quite possible that they (the ISI) did not know, but it was more probable that they did.'”

ISI is known to be a crack intelligence outfit, with some seriously sophisticated sleuthing skills. Yet, bin Laden was going about his business inside that compound without anyone inside Pakistan ever knowing about it?

Yes, it stretches credulity — and it provides some more tough questions for American intelligence officials to ask of their so-called “allies” in this war on terror.

 

This SEAL is making me angry

Forgive me for the mild case of potty mouth language I’m about to inject into the blog post, but …

Robert O’Neill is starting to piss me off.

O’Neill is the former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden to death on May 2, 2011 — allegedly.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/seal-claims-killed-osama-bin-laden-expected-die/story?id=26830046

He’s now speaking to Fox News about the dangerous mission he and the rest of SEAL Team Six executed in the middle of a moonless night in Pakistan. The order given by the commander in chief was as straightforward as it gets: Kill the world’s most notorious terrorist.

They did it with cool precision.

Now comes O’Neill and at least one other SEAL who offer supposedly conflicting accounts of who — precisely — pulled the trigger on bin Laden.

O’Neill told Fox News that, by golly, he “expected” to be killed on the mission.

He said this in an interview set to air this evening, according to ABCNews.com: “‘We’re going to die when the house blows up. We’re going to die when he blows up. Or we’re going to be there too long and we get arrested by the Pakistanis, and we’re going to spend the rest of our short lives in Pakistani prison,’ O’Neill said in an interview for a Fox News Channel special set to air tonight. ”

Well, duh?

Of course the mission was fraught with maximum peril. That’s supposed to be a serious news flash?

What’s so maddening about all of this, of course, is that O’Neill is breaking a long-standing code among SEALs and, for that matter, special operations forces of all the military branches — and that includes Army Green Berets, Joint Delta Force units, and Air Force commandos. It is that you do not speak openly about these highly classified missions. More to the point, you do not take credit for the successes accomplished by the entire team.

Here goes one of those SEALs, a highly trained warrior who helped execute  a mission of intense personal danger to all the men who took part. He’s doing precisely what the code says he shouldn’t do: basking in the glory of a mission that captivated the world.

It was a team effort, correct?