Inking up the blogosphere. And no, I don't glow in the dark. But thanks for asking.

December 4, 2009

12/7: A Day That Will Live In Infamy For The NAVSPECWAR Community

I haven't been posting here regularly, but I've come across a story that's brought me back....and I'm pissed.  Three Navy SeALs are being accused of mistreating a prisoner they tracked and captured, one Ahmed Hashim Abed. 

Abed has been wanted by the United States since 2004 for masterminding the ambush and murder of four Blackwater security guards in Fallujah.  The guards were shot, their bodies burned and publicly drug through the city, and finally hung from a bridge. 

Abed was just recently captured and placed in custody.  All good, right?  Well, here's the rub:  Abed was allegedly punched in the stomach or the mouth by one of his captors.  The Master-At-Arms guarding Abed was then obliged to report his complaint and now two US Navy SeALs are charged with dereliction of duty, making a false statement, and interfering with an investigation.  The third SeAL is being charged with the same as the other two, plus assault.  The charges were originally brought through Captain's Mast, the Navy's non-judicial punishment system.  All three SeALs have excercised their right to decline Captain's Mast and have instead requested a court martial to hear their cases.  The three men's arraignments are set for December 7th.

So to sum up: we spent millions of dollars training men who volunteered for a dangerous and difficult job, a job that a mere few are capable or desirous of doing.  We give these men our best--our best training, information and equipment.  These few iron men give us their best--their honor, integrity, courage, commitment, and if needed their life itself.  We ask them to put themselves in harm's way and find a murderer to keep him from hurting anyone else....and they do.  Apparently we were also supposed to issue instructions that all terrorists are to be given lots of love, understanding, and affirmation.  Go out, dodge bullets and IED's, try to bring yourself back alive and unhurt, grab that Tango while you're at it---but whatever you do DON'T BAD TOUCH HIM!  If he spits or pisses on you, pass him a glass of water.  If he struggles and tries to strike you, give him a sympathetic hug.  If he promises his friends will kill any and all Americans in horrible ways and never stop, gently but firmly place him in time-out to show him you care.

Dear Politicians and Head Sheds:  if you want a job done, call a SeAL team.  They will get it done, put it to bed, and say "what's next?".  They can still get a job done despite having one hand tied behind their backs--maybe even two.  But don't send a team out only to castrate them when they return because they were too rough.  Why are Abed's rights even a factor?  He didn't consider the human rights of the four Blackwater employees that he murdered, mutilated, and put on display for the world to see.  I'm sorry, but who the fuck cares if this dirtbag got the wind knocked out of him or has a fat lip? 

I understand that all the facts of this case are not out here for public consumption.  But the mere fact that I know three SeAL team members were involved in Abdel's capture is a huge problem--that should not be public knowledge.  Secondly, I also understand that Special Warfare operators are internally held to an even higher standard than their shipmates.  There must be an unquestionable level of integrity and trust.  However, I guess I'm left wondering why this ever went to Mast in the first place leaving the option open for a public court martial.  If someone strayed off course it seems to me that it is the duty of the unit to bring him back in line.  I am in no way advocating open season on captured terrorists, as pleasant as that actually sounds to me.  We really do have to walk a higher road and not sink to their levels of barbarism.  But it's not like this guy was beaten to within an inch of his life or had all the bones in his wrist broken or anything.  There didn't seem to be any attempt to torture or humiliate him. 

We are hostages to public opinion, and every terrorist knows it.  They can and do use it against us.  We are sending out our guard dogs, but they have no teeth and an electric shock collar. Not very effective.

Ok, maybe I exaggerated a bit that December 7th will be a day of infamy for the SPECWAR community.  But it should be a day of shame for the United States, that's for sure.  While we remember the events that happened at Pearl Harbor and celebrate the heroes of that day, we are quietly condemning a new generation of heroes, ones who are simply trying to make the country and the world a little safer.


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