Military commanders warned to get troops in line

I’m quite likely going to ANGER some of my readers and friends with this post, and to be very frank about it, I don’t give a DAMN!

Military commanders warned to get troops in line

WASHINGTON – From tasteless photos to urinating on dead insurgents, bad behavior by U.S. troops in Afghanistan has hampered America’s war effort over the past year, triggering a broad new campaign by defense leaders to improve discipline in the ranks.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in his first personal appeal to troops on the issue, is expected Friday to remind U.S. forces that they are representing the American people and they must behave up to military standards.

Panetta will speak to soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga., and he is expected to urge them to act as leaders and look after their comrades. His remarks are expected to reflect recent talks by the Army and Marine Corps chiefs telling their commanders to get their troops in line.

The service leaders have zeroed in on discipline in meetings with mid-level commanders around the country. They say they recognize that part of the problem may be leadership stumbles by the young officers who have shouldered much of the burden of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Full Story Here:
Military commanders warned to get troops in line

First and foremost; IF American leadership, from the POTUS, to DoD, the Joint Chiefs and everyone down the chain of command want to make things better, do away with the silly Rules of Engagement that you have in place. You people have saddled our fighting forces with the most ridiculous ROE ever, and those rules are getting troops KILLED!

“Maybe we’ve gotten overconfident and maybe we’ve gotten a little bit comfortable in our young leaders,” Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. “Realizing that they are young, they don’t have a lot of experiences. We have to continue to assist them so they understand what is expected of them.”

That is what *Leadership and Development* is all about. That is why we have, or should have Senior Officers in the field, not some REMF, but on the ground, in the *shit* with the troops, guiding them, advising them, training them and instilling a sense of pride and professionalism in them!

Think of professionalism like this; what would YOU think if you saw Police Officers beating some guy that was already in ‘cuffs? I don’t mean just tapping him to get his attention, I am talking about beating the guy, way past the point of him having passed out? Would you consider that to be *too much*?

What about if after the guy is out cold, what would you think if the Cops pissed on him?

Marine Corps Commandant James Amos was blunter.

Note to the writer of this story; wouldn’t the term be *more blunt*? I know, I’m just an old guy that writes a blog and all, but c’mon.

“We are allowing our standards to erode,” he wrote his commanders. “A number of recent widely publicized incidents have brought discredit on the Marine Corps and reverberated at the strategic level. The undisciplined conduct represented in these incidents threatens to overshadow all our good work and sacrifice.”

Senior leaders have warned for several years about a deterioration of discipline that may have contributed to increased substance abuse, suicides, domestic abuse and other problems.

Gen. James F. Amos – Commandant USMC, knows from where he speaks. United States Marines do NOT conduct themselves in this manner.

In January, Marines were found to have made a video showing them urinating on Afghan insurgents’ corpses. In February, troops mistakenly burned copies of the Quran, which led to violent protests and revenge killings of six Americans. In March, a U.S. soldier left his base and allegedly killed 17 civilians, mainly women and children. Last month, newly revealed photographs showed U.S. soldiers posing in 2010 with Afghan police holding the severed legs of a suicide bomber.

Perhaps I have an archaic view of war. Once you have killed your enemy, move on. He is dead, he no longer presents a threat to you or this nation. Leave him lie where you find him, that’s OK in my book, but for crying out loud, don’t embarrass yourself, don’t make the Corps look bad, and don’t embarrass the USA by engaging in acts of barbarism.

You have taken his life, that is everything he had. Does having a picture made of YOU denigrating his dead corpse serve a purpose, other than it being a *feel good* moment for some seriously less than professional Marines?

Marine Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has expressed concern about the impact that those incidents have had on the war, according to a senior defense official. Allen believes that a number of major setbacks in the past six months have resulted from moral, not operational, failures, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal assessments.

Insurgents have used the incidents to incite violence and undermine U.S. efforts to win over the Afghan people, considered critical to counterterrorism operations. The incidents have reinforced the perception of Americans as unfriendly or occupying forces who do not understand the culture or the religion of the people they are supposed to protect.

That is the duplicity of Islam and Muslims warriors.

It is, apparently, OK for them to do anything, any way, at any time, to any enemy of Islam, mutilation, burned bodies and the like, but if some of our troops in the field piss on a dead Muslim, all hell breaks loose.

Folks, I have NOTHING for ANY Muslim, I wish death and destruction on ALL of them, but once that death has happened, BACK OFF and remember, desecration of the dead is a barbaric practice, one FAR beneath most people, and not desecrating the bodies of our dead enemies is what separates US from THEM. Or, it should…

WE, as Americans, the troops, OUR GUYS, are supposed to be better than this.

Such ethical lapses have occurred in war through the centuries. But military officials and outside experts generally agree that America’s longest war has put unprecedented strain on the country’s all-volunteer military, an overwhelmingly young force that needs supervision and strong leadership.

And just because it *has* occurred still doesn’t make it right!

Young troops are filled with much *bravado*, they feel as if they are *Ten feet tall and bullet proof*. A tour in a combat zone will generally settle that *bravado* for most, but after the heat of battle, after you’ve been through a firefight and lived to tell the tale, your level of adrenalin is unbelievably high and the desire to *spike the ball*, so to speak, is off the charts. 

Pissing on the dead bodies of your enemy, posing with their *body parts*, that is NOT *spiking the ball*, it is an act of brutality and inhumanity that goes far beyond everything this nation stands for.

In earlier conflicts such as those in Vietnam or Korea, such incidents were not as readily visible. Today, they end up on YouTube in seconds, viewed by an audience that does not always attribute such behavior to the stress of war.

During Korea and Vietnam far fewer troops had cameras, and those that did, shot FILM.

Film, it’s what we used in the *old days* kids.

Today, every troop in the field has a phone that is video capable, all, or nearly all U.S. military bases and camps have at least *some* internet access and then there’s that YouTube account that everyone has.

Easy access, high pressure and a need to relieve some of that pressure, not having the good sense to NOT post things like this to YouTube, a level of immaturity, coupled with the *bravado* I mentioned earlier, and there you have it, atrocities for the whole world to see, in REAL time and LIVING COLOR!

After writing his letter to Marine commanders, Amos began taking his message to bases and stations in talks with officers. And Odierno included the topic during meetings with his two- and three-star commanders, as well as in talks with younger officers he sees during base visits.

Odierno said that overall the force has behaved admirably over the past 11 years of war and that troops understand the importance of standards and discipline.

“We’re putting a lot more responsibility on very young leaders, lieutenants and sergeants,” Odierno said. “We just have to remind everybody that we have to put the checks and balances in place, and we have to remind everybody about the importance of culture and the profession.”

Gen. Odierno nailed it. This is about professionalism, and being a professional soldier.

To further stress the point I made earlier in this post about ‘net access and seeing things in real time and in living color: Nurse in Afghanistan dies in Skype chat with wife

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12 Responses to Military commanders warned to get troops in line

  1. Tex says:

    Lower the enlistment qualifications, emphasize appearance over ability, threaten them with longer tours and less pay, renege on promises about retirement and health care, give them impossible mission constraints, deploy them over and over, reduce their numbers, suppress their right to vote, politicize their every action, pass over their leaders for promotion and install politicians in their higher echelons, appease the enemy at their (the soldier’s) expense and apologize to our enemies, … oh yeah then blame the soldiers for the breakdown in ethic and moral. Welcome to the Obamination!

  2. Army leaders think there is “overconfidence” — ??

    NO! There is FRUSTRATION!!

    Frankly, Tex said it first and best. I can’t embellish on his comment any further. He’s captured each and every aspect of the FRUSTRATION experienced by military personnel in every service during deployment.

    These are KIDS, people — kids. Even the bulk of my young cops are over 18, and many of them have prior military service. To ME, it sounds like this:

    “It’s a poor workman who blames his tools.”

    A FAILURE in LEADERSHIP.

    An ABJECT failure!

    And it starts at the TOP.

    BZ

  3. At least Clinton pretended to “feel your pain.”

    This current president feels nothing except a nice golf game and frustration with having to make so many appearances for those so much less worthy than he.

    If it were up to him, he’d rather just “work from home.”

    BZ

  4. Bob Mack says:

    I wish more of the troops would be attempting to get their commanders in line. Most of these chairborne rangers in the Pentagon are helping Obama & the other Reds push the military over a cliff.

  5. capitalisa says:

    What Tex said. Couldn’t have said it better. Thank you Tex. Thank you Fred.

  6. BobF says:

    Spot on Fred.

    In response to General Odierno’s statement about putting more responsibility on our younger leaders, I have this to say. My question for this is where are the Senior NCO’s? Where are the Master Sergeants, Master Gunnery Sergeants, Senior Master Sergeants, Sergeant Majors, and Chief Master Sergeants? Where is the senior enlisted leadership? Are the troops to be led by Sergeants, Lieutenants and Captains? Out of all of these incidents, going back to Gitmo, I haven’t seen one senior enlisted person involved. Are these Senior NCO’s more concerned with posturing for position and filling “squares” for their next promotion than providing the necessary leadership out in the field to the troops.

    Another thing. Political Correctness has become a cancer which is eating away at our military. When senior leadership is more concerned with proper PT uniforms instead of the proper tools and equipment to do the job, something isn’t right. The frustration level in the Air Force is having disastrous affects on our Airmen as the suicide rate is climbing. This from the latest issue of the Air Force Times: More airmen killed themselves in the first three months of this year than in any other first quarter in the past decade…They blame being overworked, stressed about their futures and tired of doing more with less.

    The enlisted force needs enlisted leaders. Throwing stripes of someone’s arm doesn’t make them a leader; no more than being a community organizer qualifies one to be president.

    • TexasFred says:

      NCOs carry the military, that was once the way it was, now, I have to wonder…

      And as you say, where are the Senior NCOs? Our military went to HELL in a hand basket under Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Reagan rebuilt after Carter, Bush, not so much, but under Obama it has all once again gone to HELL.

      And I have to wonder about the mindset that some that have never served possess when they see NOTHING wrong with troops and Junior NCOs acting in the manner these troops did…

  7. minuteman26 says:

    Good post Fred. Good comments. War has gone on too long. Not enough down time between tours. Big senior leadership failure from 3 star up to include DOD and worst CIC ever. Too many lawyers involved in combat situations. And as you stated the most idiotic ROE every placed on troops in combat. Moral has and is being affected by the social engineering the Marxist in Chief is forcing on our military. If you don’t think allowing gays in the military and women in combat units is weakening our military and lowering morale, guess again. This just another way Obama/Soros is destroying this country.

  8. Tex nailed it! The problem with the “new” NCO’s IMO, is that they get there too quickly. For those that don’t know, I’m a Jarhead Brat, born, and raised on Camp Pendleton. That said, I can’t remember ever seeing a Top less than forty years old. My step- Father, was Sergeant Major of the Airdales. That took some thirty two years and an age over fifty. Last week in Laredo I saw a Marine Master Sergeant that looked every bit of twenty-five! I think immaturity, combined with “Perfumed Princes” for flag level positions (With as always a very few noted exceptions.) are the problem. That, combined with the political ineptitude, I refuse to call it leadership, are the fundamental root problems.

    Think about it. Those are the things that lead to what Tex wrote about.

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