Marines Ordered Disarmed Before Panetta Speech in Afghanistan

Earlier this week, Leon Panetta, the current SecDef, paid a visit to Afghanistan. He chose to address a contingent of U.S. Marines at Camp Leatherneck. Citing an incident earlier in the day, when an Afghan translator drove near where Panetta’s plane was to land and set himself on fire, some 200 U.S. Marines were abruptly ordered to leave the tent where Panetta was to speak and surrender their weapons. In a war zone. So Panetta could speak. Somewhere, the spirit of Chesty Puller is weeping. Or more realistically, looking for somebody’s ass to kick up in Heaven . . .

I’m going to do my best to keep this non-partisan because this is not a Democrat versus GOP thing. It’s a mindset whereby the perpetrators don’t look at our military as an asset, but a liability. This is not, exclusively, the province of the Dems. I know there are a number of Progressives that call themselves Republicans (we call them RINOs) that feel the same way. So I’ll try to keep the snark to a bare minimum here as I realize that there is a loyal contingent of TTAG readers who are pro-gun and lean left at the same time.

Here’s the bottom line: I never took the opportunity to serve our country as a part of the military. My dad served in Adm. Nimitz staff, during WWII. My ex-wife’s son (I guess he’s my ex-stepson now) currently serves our country as a U.S. Marine. He’s done one tour in Iraq. I hear he’ll be going to Afghanistan sometime in the not too distant future. I have a lot of friends who are currently serving or who have recently served in the military. So I come at this not just as an American citizen but as the son and stepfather of those who have served or are serving and have the benefit of the perspective of a number of others who’ve seen things from the military’s side.

I don’t know if I’ve heard of a bigger insult to the men and women who protect our country than this steaming pile of crap they pulled on our troops at Camp Leatherneck. Furthermore, I lay this directly at the feet of progressives – the ones who have no use for our military and look at them, at best, as a necessary evil.

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said to Ernest Hemingway, “The rich are not like you and I.” Hemingway replied, “You’re right. They have money.” If I were to repurpose this quote for the current situation, Fitzy would say “The Progressives are not like you and I,” with Papa’s riposte being “You’re right. They hate our military.” And I don’t mean “hate” in the context of “we hate what they have to do, but we realize it’s necessary.” I mean “hate” as in loathe, despise and disdain them.

The day Bill Clinton was first inaugurated, the late actor Ron Silver sat on the dais with some of the other invited guests. When a squadron of military jets did a flyover, he shook his fist at them, and said “don’t they realize we won?” as if to characterize the military as part and parcel of the outgoing GOP administration. One of the Clintonistas reportedly replied, “But Ron, now they’re ours.”

Many on the far Left tend to look at the military with distrust and an aversion they usually reserve for fossil fuels and disposable plastic grocery sacks. But I’ll say this. The events of 9/11 changed a lot of hearts. The aforementioned Mr. Silver’s was one of them. On 9/12 he realized that providing for the common defense was a good thing which began his relatively quick evolution from a poster child for the far left, to a committed conservative.

(Note to my Liberal friends who tend to lump all Republicans in a group and accuse us of not believing in evolution: We do believe in evolution. Especially the kind where you evolve from a card-carrying Liberal into a Conservative. Our patron saint – Ronald Reagan – made that journey of self-awakening. And when you’re ready to evolve, we stand ready to help you. Call me.)

Since those days of Clinton and the whole “he ‘forgot’ to return the salute of a Marine” thing, the far left have become quite a bit more bold in their willingness to publicly diss Uncle Sam’s finest. Remember at the beginning of the war the country seemed united in purpose. As the war drug on, the Dems tune changed to “we support the military but we hate the war.” Um hmm. Then Cindy Sheehan blazed a trail where she took a stand to just hate everything and everybody associated with the military. (I’d love to get her late son’s feedback on that one.)

Fast-forward to this week, where the Secretary of Defense – the guy who runs the entire military complex for Obama – feels insecure enough when speaking to 200 of our own troops that they instruct the Marines to exit the tent, leave their weapons outside and return unarmed to hear this incompetent gasbag speak.

In the middle of a war zone.

Now I fully understand that, when you’re in the military, you take orders. And I’m quite sure that either the SecDef or one of the boneheads he has working for him thought this would be a good idea. I hope to Hell that the top commander in Helmand, Maj. Gen. Mark Gurganus, wasn’t really the one who made the call to disarm our own guys. If that’s true, then the cancer of politically correct thought has eaten through to the central nervous system of the Corps. (For those of you on the far left, that’s pronounced “CORE.” Not “CORPSE.” Just trying to help.)

Was Panetta really afraid that the Marines were going to frag him? Sure, I realize that an American serviceman went postal and massacred 16 Afghan civilians. But I’m absolutely certain the USMC feels every bit as horrified at that as anyone. Probably more so because it reflects badly on the Corps. But to have the SecDef order them disarmed so he could address them? That’s like putting a big sign up saying, “You guys are ass clowns I wouldn’t trust with a sharp toothpick” behind the dais.

Now you’d think, if the Obama administration had any respect for the military, that Panetta’s job would have been to go over there and give the troops a pep talk, explain how they’re sure the massacre is not a reflection on the Marines and then (and only then) get some face time with the commanders there. Maybe find out if they have any idea as to what lead to this one Marine going – quite literally – off the reservation. But nope. When you have zero respect for a group, you don’t think that way. You treat them like misbehaving kindergarteners. Which is exactly what Panetta did.

I communicated by text with a buddy of mine who’s an officer in the U.S. Army. We grew up together. We were Scouts together. He’s a stand-up guy, and career military. He’s deployed right now, but I can’t say where. I asked him how the Panetta thing made him feel. I suggested that while nobody in the military can refuse a direct order, a better solution would have been for Panetta to forgo the speech. His reply?  He agreed, but pointed out “we are soldiers, and do our duty even for those we can’t respect.”

Would that the Obama administration could do their duty towards our military, even though they do not respect them.