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Our generals are betraying our soldiers … again
Sorry, but I have to get your attention on this one. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States Army — not the much maligned “LIBERAL PRESS” or BILL CLINTON or the LIBERALS IN CONGRESS — NO, the UNITED STATES MILITARY is prosecuting its soldiers for doing their jobs. I have tried, I have yelled, I have used nasty words. I have even tried to use humor, but none of this is sticking. You either do not believe me … or much worse, you do not care.
We did one of these stories on O’Reilly last week. Two great Special Forces soldiers, along with their team, tracked down a terrorist who was on the 10 Most Wanted list in Afghanistan. The Special Forces soldiers were operating under the much-hated rules of engagement, which said to capture or kill the bad guy, who was a bomb maker and terrorist leader. The soldiers followed this killer to his house/compound, used guile and trickery and lured the waste of life out of his lair and put a bullet in his head.
It was a perfect operation — a “Nice going guys,” high fives, take the day off, “Get ready for the next one,” type of operation. So how do you think our Special Forces soldiers were rewarded — or if not rewarded, treated — after this? THEY ARE BROUGHT TO TRIAL, INVESTIGATED AND FORCED TO SPEND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR LAWYERS.
When the terrorist was first killed, the Army showed its trust in these bravest of the brave by investigating them twice. Both investigations, however unnecessary, found them innocent of any wrongdoing. So we now are so gun shy, so afraid and so massively politically correct, that we are treating combat like a police shooting. In most cities in this great country, if a police officer even shoots his weapon, he or she must face a board of inquiry. It makes the police officers crazy and causes all to look over their shoulders and to not trust their leaders -- but that is in a peaceful city, not a damn war zone.
Our generals in both the Army and Marine Corps have cared more about their precious careers and reputations than their soldiers and Marines under them. The Marines have actually prosecuted a Marine for shooting a terrorist too many times and the Army — well, the Army has the Pat Tillman tragedy, the Abu Graib disaster and many more to answer for, and now these courts martial.
In Iraq, the story is the same. The Army rediscovered a trick we used in ‘Nam' called “baiting,” where you leave ammunition and pieces of explosive devices out and shoot whoever takes them. We used to leave exploding ammo to put in your AK — when you try to fire it, the gun blows up. It worked then and it works now … but guess what the Army is now putting on trial: Ranger Snipers for doing their jobs. The rules of engagement were once again being followed and once again our generals put their careers over their men’s lives. The chilling effect that these actions have over our soldiers is dramatic; this distrust weakens the very foundations of our military. It causes soldiers to second-guess themselves and their chain of command. We cannot fight like this and hope to win.
We should be putting these generals on trial, first for going along with Rummy and just as important for not trusting their soldiers. At the very least, we should have a rule that states if you charge a soldier — like what happened in these cases — and they are cleared, YOU get charged and thrown in jail. Unfortunately, after the trials and after these soldiers’ careers and lives have been ruined and after they clear up the mountain of debt they will amass from these trials, the generals involved will get promoted.
These poor excuse for officers do not deserve the soldiers they dare claim they lead. We as a nation had better go out and find us another Marshall, who at the beginning of World War II fired hundreds of senior officers because they were not cutting it. We need him today, as many of our senior officers are way overdue for a one-way trip to the woodshed.
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Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a FOX News military analyst and the author of the New York Times bestseller They Just Don’t Get It. He has extensive operational experience in counterterrorism, special operations, and intelligence operations. He has trained the FBI and Special Forces in counterterrorism tactics, served as the security adviser to six different Olympic Games, testified as an expert at many major terrorist trials, and lectured at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. You can read his complete bio here.