Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Few. The Proud. The contradictions.

11 years ago this week the attacks of September 11 forever changed the United States and the world.  One year ago next week the U.S. military joined the rest of the western world by allowing lesbians and gays to serve in the military without lying.  The first academic study was released the other day that shows that the repeal “did not harm the military, and if anything made it easier for the Pentagon to pursue its mission.”  A new book by the pseudonym Mark Owen "No Easy Day," gives an inside account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden that differs from the official narrative.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Navy Seal should be disciplined.  It’s all rather contradictory.
 
Osama bin Laden and his followers executed the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.  (We assume it was bin Laden, there actually hasn’t been any trial – military or civilian – that proves it.)  President Bush then launched a series of military engagements authorized by Congress to retaliate and protect the country from further attacks.  (Congress never officially declared war, as it is constitutionally required to do.) 
According to Face the Facts USA “The United States spends 58 percent of the total defense dollars paid out by the world’s top 10 military powers, which combined for $1.19 trillion in military funding in 2011.  With its unparalleled global reach, the US outspends China, the next-biggest military power, by nearly 6-to-1.”  What’s that buy?
13,650 people were discharged under President Clinton’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy – 6,245 during the Bush 43 administration.  Millions were spent training people to then not use them.  During that time soldier’s deployments were being extended due to a lack of personnel.  With the release of the study this week the 20 years of hand wringing and proclamations that GLBT people would undermine military readiness has been debunked.  A President Romney would reinstate the policy.
 
On May 1, 2011 U.S. Navy Seals executed Osama bin Laden.  The country and the world were told that the Seals had no choice but to kill him.  From  Wikipedia: "White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan stated after raid: 'If we had the opportunity to take bin Laden alive, if he didn't present any threat, the individuals involved were able and prepared to do that.'  CIA Director Leon Panette stated on PBS NewsHour: 'The authority here was to kill bin Laden...Obviously under the rules of engagement, if he in fact had thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn't appear to be representing any kind of threat, then they were to capture him. But, they had full authority to kill him.'”
"No Easy Day" written by a Seal tells the story that bin Laden didn’t represent any threat.  It was an assassination pure and simple.  Now this brave soldier is to be disciplined for honesty.
Breaching military protocol and confidentiality is a punishable offense.  It needs to be to maintain morale and orderly conduct.  But where’s the consequence for military and civilian leaders who took it amongst themselves to assassinate somebody without evidence or a trial and in contradiction to the Geneva Convention and the military’s own rules of engagement?  Where’s the accountability for leaders who lied about what happened?  Isn’t the cover-up supposed to be the worse offense? 
The greater good has been served by the Seal who told the truth…one of the few who have.  And isn’t “the truth and justice” what the 'wars' have been about protecting and promoting?  Isn’t that what justifies spending 6 times more than anybody else?  Perhaps a future anniversary of 9/11 will be marked by the bravery of telling the truth rather than punishing the one who practices it.  Americans deserve fewer contradictions and more truth.

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