Tag Archives: SEALs

Watch and listen to this video

By John Kanelis / johnkanelils_92@hotmail.com

The link I am attaching to this very brief post is an interview with President Barack Obama and Navy Admiral William McRaven.

They are looking back 10 years since the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. It is heartfelt. It tells us how the two men felt as they were about to make decisions that could have gone badly but instead ended with the death of the 9/11 mastermind.

10 Years Later: President Obama and Admiral Bill McRaven reflect on the bin Laden Raid – YouTube

It’s about 14 minutes long. It is worth your time to watch.

Bin Laden mission needed time

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Americans are going to be marking a date over the weekend that should fill them with justifiable pride in the capabilities of our military special forces.

It was on May 1, 2011 that Navy SEALs and CIA commandos raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attack that had occurred a decade earlier.

Ten years have passed since that raid.

I want to talk briefly here about something that flew out of Donald Trump’s mouth not long after Army Special Forces killed the Islamic State leader on Trump’s watch.

The then-president suggested out loud that the bin Laden raid should have occurred far earlier than it did. Trump was crowing about the success his team had in finding Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and dispatching him. Why couldn’t the Special Forces Command do the same with bin Laden, Trump said.

The military commander of that mission was Admiral William McRaven, himself a SEAL and head of the Special Ops Command. It took McRaven’s team time to assemble and analyze all the intelligence it had collected on bin Laden’s location. Indeed, as President Obama said at the time, he wasn’t absolutely sure that bin Laden would be in the compound once the SEALs and the CIA spooks arrived. It was a gamble … but it paid off!

Thus, for Trump to denigrate the great work that anti-terrorism experts from the Bush and Obama administrations did to locate and to ascertain with some degree of certainty that their findings were correct simply went beyond the pale.

I am going to celebrate the victory our forces scored when they eliminated Osama bin Laden. No amount of cheap second-guessing ever would denigrate the courage of the commander in chief to issue the order and the extraordinary skill of the men who executed it.

Ship captain sacked … oh, the irony of it all

I am struck by the rich irony of the stated reason for U.S. Navy Capt. Brett Cozier being removed as commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Mobly demoted Crozier for failing to follow proper military protocol when he wrote that scathing letter demanding more attention to his crew, some of whom are stricken by the COVID-19 virus that has essentially shut down the world.

Mobly said Crozier didn’t follow the rules set by the chain of command, that he should have gone to his superiors privately. Crozier’s dismissal, of course, didn’t set well with the men and women under his command on the Theodore Roosevelt. They cheered him loudly when he left the ship for the final time.

The irony? Well, there’s this: The commander in chief, Donald Trump, has no understanding of chain of command, which explains why he interceded a few months ago on behalf of a Navy SEAL who had been stripped of his Trident emblem over his conduct in the war against terror. Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher had been punished by his commanding officers after he was convicted in a court martial for desecrating the corpse of an enemy combatant.

What did Donald Trump do? He ordered Gallagher’s rank restored and allowed him to keep his Trident, which is the SEAL badge that the special forces wear with pride.

Trump blustered right through the chain of command himself with that reckless and, frankly, brainless act.

So now an officer who commanded one of the Navy’s premier warships is stripped of his command because he sought to bring pressure on the brass to do a better job of protecting his sailors.

Yep, the irony is astounding.

And sickening.

Trump’s recklessness roils the military high command

Donald J. “Corporal Bone Spurs” Trump once boasted that he knows “more than the generals about ISIS.” Actually, he doesn’t.

However, he is the commander in chief and I guess that gives him license to say things that are demonstrably false.

So, here we are. The commander in chief has overruled some senior military commanders regarding the status of a convicted Navy SEAL. In so doing the president has turned up the volume of dissent among the men and women who are charged with implementing military policy.

There is talk now about a serious “morale problem” among our vaunted military ranks.

I’ll back up for just a moment. Navy Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was convicted of posing with the corpse of an enemy fighter in Iraq. The Navy wanted to strip him of his SEAL Trident pin. The president intervened. He said Gallagher should keep his Trident. The Navy secretary, Richard Spencer, disagreed. Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Spencer, who has spent the past few days criticizing Trump for his failure to understand “military order and discipline” and how it’s vital to operating the finest military apparatus in human history.

This tumult is working its way up and down the chain of command and through the ranks of the military personnel.

The commander in chief is empowered to do whatever he wishes. However, with this president — with zero military experience — there well might be a major price to pay if he continues to engender resentment among the individuals we thrust into harm’s way.

Make no mistake: Trump is not the first man with no military experience to serve as commander in chief. It’s just that he blathers so maddeningly about how much he purports to know about military matters.

On that score, this president is an ignoramus.

Trump messes up his commander in chief role

Leave it Donald J. Trump to muddy up his role as commander of chief of the U.S. armed forces. He did it big time in a mess involving a Navy SEAL and those who serve in the high military command.

Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was convicted of a crime involving his posing in Iraq with the corpse of a fighter killed in battle. He had been acquitted of far more serious accusations that were considered “war crimes.”

The Navy Department, led by Secretary Richard Spencer, wanted to stop Gallagher of his Trident badge emblematic of his SEAL service.

Gallagher, who is on active duty at this moment, has taken his case to the public.

Then in walked Trump, the commander in chief, to order that Gallagher retain his SEAL status. Richard Spencer couldn’t comply. He enraged the president, who then ordered Defense Secretary Mark Esper to override the Navy boss. Esper also ordered Spencer to submit his resignation, which Spencer did.

Spencer’s letter of resignation — which he addressed to the president — is a thing of beauty. He thanked the president for allowing him to serve. He then said he couldn’t comply with the president’s policies because they aren’t in keeping with military order and discipline. Read the letter here.

I get that the president’s status as commander in chief allows him to do whatever he wishes regarding the military. I mean, he’s the boss of all the men and women in uniform. However, it is highly irregular, odd and unusual for the commander in chief to insert himself into the middle of command decisions that belong to those who serve under him.

Commanders in chief usually set broad military policy or, in some cases they order daring raids such as the Army Delta Force raid that killed the Islamic State leader or the SEAL raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden in May 2011. But for them to involve themselves in disputes such as what involved a particular SEAL operator is, well, way out of the ordinary.

Just because the president can act in the manner that Trump has acted regarding Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher doesn’t mean it’s right. In this instance, I believe the commander in chief meddled where even the commander in chief doesn’t belong.

It was right to toss al-Baghdadi’s corpse into the drink

The head of U.S. Central Command, Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, has told us that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was “buried at sea” after Army Delta Force commandos completed their mission to take him out.

I guess I should accept the notion that the military personnel charged with disposing of the Islamic State founder’s remains did so with a modicum of respect. I mean, he didn’t show any respect to those victims he killed over his many years leading the hideous terrorist organization. Thus, he didn’t deserve the respect that Central Command reportedly gave his remains.

However, it was a prudent call to dispose of this individual’s corpse in the fashion that our military did. There would be no way in the world that we should bury him in the ground and create a shrine that would attract Islamic perverts to draw strength from being near his remains.

U.S. forces disposed of Osama bin Laden in the same manner after Navy SEALs killed him in May 2011. They hauled his remains out of the compound where the SEALs found him, took him to the USS Carl Vinson and then sent his body into the drink where it was likely consumed by undersea creatures.

I am going to presume that al-Baghdadi’s remains will meet the same fate. That’s fine with me.

Although it does anger me that these terrorist monsters likely got the respectful treatment they never accorded to their own victims. Whatever. They’re both dead. That’s the best part of how these stories have ended.

Baghdadi is dead, but ISIS remains a threat

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death overnight in northwestern Syria at the hands of U.S. Army Delta Force and CIA commandos is a gigantic blow to the Islamic State terrorist organization he led.

But forgive me for emphasizing what ought to be the obvious: ISIS will remain a serious threat for as long as there are young men and women willing to buy into the terrorists’ religious perversion.

Donald Trump this morning confirmed what had been reported during the night, that special forces conducted a raid that killed Baghdadi. The commander in chief had authorized the raid after hearing extensive briefings from military and intelligence analysts that they had located the terrorist monster hiding underground near the Syria-Turkey border.

One cannot possibly overstate the importance of killing Baghdadi, just as the death of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in May 2011 was a huge blow to that terrorist organization. Let us take stock in the fact that just as al-Qaeda was able to reconstitute its leadership after bin Laden’s death at the hands of a Navy SEAL team in Pakistan, so will ISIS likely be able to do the same thing.

I believe it is important, too, to salute the meticulous work done by our intelligence forces in tracking Baghdadi down and enabling our special forces to find him, hunt him down and deliver ultimate justice to him. The president, infamously I should add, has been critical of some aspects of the intelligence community’s work in certain areas … relating, for example, to the Russian interference in our election.

They did their job with great skill and professionalism, which we all know they are capable of doing.

As for the special forces team that completed this highly dangerous mission, their capabilities are unmatched all of the world’s military history.

All that said, the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and all other terrorists who declared war on the United States on 9/11 must go on.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. May he rot in hell.

‘Happy anniversary,’ you monster … you

A hilarious Facebook meme came to my attention this evening.

It shows a mug shot of Osama bin Laden and notes that on May 2, 2011, he was snuffed out by a team of Navy SEALs, Delta Force and CIA commandos. It wished him a “happy anniversary . . . fu**er.” 

Wow. Eight years ago tonight, President Obama stood before the nation to tell us and the rest of the world that the “United States conducted a mission that killed Osama bin Laden.”

I remember that evening quite well.

My wife and I were watching TV when we got a news alert that the White House had announced that the president would make “an announcement” later in the evening. It didn’t specify the topic — quite obviously.

Hmm. What could it be? Why would Barack Obama come on in the evening to make some sort of an announcement.

Then it occurred to me. I blurted out to my wife, “I think they got bin Laden!”

Sure enough. There it was. The announcement came. Cheers broke out in front of the White House, and in Times Square and in town squares all across the nation. “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Yes, it was a moment that brought joy to households across the land. The man responsible for the worst singular act of violence on U.S. soil had been killed. He was as dead as dead gets. We cheered.

Sadly, though, bin Laden’s death did not signal the end of international terrorism. The fight has gone on past. It was being fought full throttle when Obama took over from George W. Bush. It was still being fought when Donald Trump took over from Barack Obama.

I don’t know when we can declare victory, or even if we’ll ever able to make such a declaration.

Our dedicated anti-terror network, though, did score a huge single victory when it sniffed out bin Laden, laid the groundwork for this most perilous mission and then waited as the skilled U.S. warriors carried out the order to kill this terrorist monster.

It’s worth noting here today. I only hope for many more such victories as the fight goes on.

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.