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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.

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  1. Just a quick correction to your rant, the order didn’t come from the Defense Secretary or the President, it came from the Major General in charge. He disarmed the Afghan nationals and didn’t want them to feel singled out by being the only solders without guns.

    On another note, someone did drive a flaming truck a Panetta earlier in the day. So it is not unreasonable to take some extra precautions.

  2. Cultivate denial of humanity of Afghans and Iraqis. Order multiple tours for soldiers. Order multiple tours for soldiers with TBI’s and/or PTSD. Deny adequate mental health services. Assume nothing will go wrong.

    Makes perfect sense.

    • I think what gets by as mental health services at the VA couldnt even be called inadequate, if it as a whole is anything like the VA at Great Lakes Naval Base. I worked at a placed that leased buildings 124/125 one of which were supposed to be used for mental patients. The buildings were contaminated with a ridiculous amount of mold of all colors. I still have pictures.

  3. General Gurganus said the reason for asking the Marines to leave their firearms outside was specifically because there were also 24 Afghani troops attending the speech who had been told to leave their guns outside. He said it was a matter of letting the Afghani soldiers know they were not being treated differently. This is not surprising in light of the disastrous killings over the weekend. Tensions were high. Panetta was a lieutenant in Army Intelligence in the mid-sixties. He was a Republican until 1971, as were his parents, though he changed parties in the Nixon first term. Having been sent into Laos for seven weeks in 1971 (by Kissinger, Haig, and Nixon, whom they finally persuaded) only to be pulled back immediately after an absolutely WWII-like campaign, and having watched up close and personal hundreds of the 2,200 ARVN who died meet their end, or carried their bodies out…..I began to want a different party, too, though the options appeared unacceptable at the time. Panetta is not Napolitano. He didn’t, I would think, distrust the US soldiers. He probably would have felt safer if they still had their rifles. Your thesis contains many good points. I would simply defend Panetta on the main point.

    • I don’t know that I’d be willing to give Panetta the benefit of the doubt. There are any number of people serving in Congress that served in the military and have been as actively ANTI-military as they come. Kerry, Murtha, and former Gov. Jimmy Carter were all ex-military. I don’t know if Panetta mistrusts the military. But if he doesn’t then he’s a fellow-traveller, not sticking up for the military, but caving in to those in the Obama Administration that would gut it.

      • “caving in to those in the Obama Administration that would gut it.”

        So what’s your issue here?

        (1) The fact that the Marines were disarmed (for whatever reason); or
        (2) The fact that Panetta may advocate a cut in military spending.

        It is a serious mistake to conflate the two.

        Does Eisenhower merit inclusion on your ‘fellow travellers’ list as well? His administration was also on board with cutting military spending after the armistice was signed in Korea….

      • I agree, there are no guarantees. Knowing that Panetta was cool with extended use of SAD SOG and with various military operations, I give him the benefit of the doubt. You did pick three perfect examples, though, of ex-military folks who went to the dark side.

  4. Nice article.

    “I’m going to do my best to keep this non-partisan because this is not a Democrat versus GOP thing.”

    Total failure.

      • I think huck is pointing out your complete inability to keep the post non-partisan despite your protestations. Really, the catty asides and the snark may tickle your partisan itch, but they do nothing to validate your argument. For me, they just irritate.


        • I personally find it difficult to take seriously blanket denunciations of “progressives” and “fellow travellers”? (I think the last time I heard anyone use the phrase “fellow travellers” and really mean it was Frank Burns in one of the earlier M*A*S*H episodes….)

          You can make a case against Panetta much better if you didn’t resort to 1950’s-style denunciations.

  5. Because the service members of the US military have been more than willing to oppress their fellow service members through out history. The WW2 generation got to be known as the greatest generation because they shot, bayoneted, and assaulted with a arsenic based chemical weapons and tanks, 17,000 WW1 veterans and 26,000 of their family members in the Bonus Protests of 1932.

    To more recently with the Pat Tillman and Fort Hood shootings. They are calloused murderers who will kill anyone a politician orders them to without question, afterwards they wrap themselves in a flag, call themselves a hero, and tell me that they’re doing it in my name. Their chain of command today verified that they are a threat even to each other. What do you think would happen if the Oath Keepers became more popular?

    Not a liberal, progressive, dem or repub.

    • Matt-

      You act like you know history, but you apparently know nothing of causality or even the basics of time. 1932 was ten years before 1942 (when the war actually started, since you seem to have trouble with dates). The military of the interwar years was minuscule, according to the all-knowing wiki a 40-fold increase from 1939 to 1942, so even if your churlish accusations were true they would only be 1/40th so. Please stop posting until you graduate.

      • The war started with 1939 (or possibly earlier if you want to count the Sino-Japanese war) when Germany (and later the Soviets) invaded Poland, and triggered defense treaties. The US was attacked in 1941, and didnt enter the conflict until 1942. So the war was certainly not started in 1942. Please take your own advice and stop posting until you graduate, since you seem to have trouble with dates.

        Those “greatest” generals, MacAruther, Patton, Eisenhower, brutally assaulted their fellow countrymen and veterans, just because a politician ordered them to. And refused to stop when their commander and chief directly ordered them to do so, because they didnt agree with the protestors political views!

        • So because WWII started in 1939 or 1936 the Russians and Japanese cleared out the Bonus Army in 1932? I thought we were disparaging US service men.

    • According to the very Wikipedia article you used for attribution:

      At 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the 12th Infantry Regiment, Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. The Bonus Marchers, believing the troops were marching in their honor, cheered the troops until Patton ordered the cavalry to charge them—an action which prompted the spectators to yell, “Shame! Shame!”

      Shacks that members of the Bonus Army erected on the Anacostia Flats burning after the confrontation with the military.
      After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and adamsite gas, an arsenical vomiting agent, entered the camps, evicting veterans, families, and camp followers. The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested.[10] A veteran’s wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack, a government investigation reported he died of enteritis, while a hospital spokesman said the tear gas “didn’t do it any good.”

      Your comment makes it sound as if 17,000 vets and 26,000 family members died on U.S. soil, at the hands of our military. I see little difference in what happened here and the police clearing out the OWS slackers out of the parks in NYC and Oakland, save that it was the police instead of the Army doing it.

      Another thing to note, this was no lone soldier, acting on his own. This was done on orders from the President. If you want to blame someone, blame Hoover.

      Lastly, how do you justify bringing Pat Tillman into this? He was not murdered. He was accidentally shot in a “friendly fire” incident. The Fort Hood shootings were similar, in so far as one, crazed individual went off on others. But it’s a case where a military officer when off on his fellow servicemen, not foreign civilians. Oh, and I’m betting the Marine who when off the deep end in Afghanistan didn’t yell “ALLAHU AKBAR” as he was gunning down innocent civilians.

      So please enlighten us – how does the incident you cited bolster your contention that the military is a bunch of out-of-control animals?

      • A 4 people died, including a child, and over 1,000 injured. Also have you ever faced a bunch of service members or police for that matter shooting at you, attempting to bayonet you, demolish your home with a tank, or gas you with WW1 chemical weapons?

        You also forgot the part when Hoover ordered MacAruther to stand down after he heard of the horrors being committed. He refused to obey a order from his commander and chief, continuing to slaughter his fellow countrymen and veterans.

        Blindly following orders is beaten in to service members in basic training, and reinforced thru-out their career. All of this goes back to the begining of this country with Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion.

        How many cases of friendly fire do you think are actually murder? The Pat Tillman case was initially covered up by the military, and then subsequently spun as “friendly fire”, which for a civilian would be at best a manslaughter charge, if not murder charge, as well as having all your assets taken in a wrongful death suit. Could you or me get away with killing someone without identifying them as a threat?

    • matt,

      To the best of my knowledge we have never met. Thanks for calling me, everyone I served with for 21 years my father, my grandfather and those still serving “calloused murders”.

      What choices and sacrifices have you had to make for a better life for yourself and a family?


  6. Sometimes you just have to grow a pair and roll the fucking dice. Obama has more balls than Panetta.

  7. This is not new or unique to Democrats. If I remember correctly, our troops in Germany near the east/west border were disarmed (empty weapons) when Reagan visited them in the 80’s.

  8. Why do soldiers always feel insulted when they are treated as expendable by the powers that be? Soldiers are–first and foremost–servants of the power brokers and pawns in games that are not of their choosing. They are a resource to be exploited, not symbols to be treasured.

    That’s not how I like the world to be but that’s how it is.

    • Hmmmm… I think that as opposed to other military our military members take an oath to uphold the constitution and defending it against all enemies foreign or domestic, not any powerbroker, politician or otherwise. And as for not having a choice…it’s been an all volunteer force since the mid 1970’s.

    • The military (Army anyway) used to treat soldiers as an expendable resource, whereas corporations treated employees as their most valuable resource. Things are the opposite today. If the Army cared about our safety as much in Vietnam…but then, I couldn’t have hacked it with the heavy ass body armor and crap they carry daily now.

  9. Good article, Brad, and spot on.

    Is Panetta the guy who recently said that Congress takes orders from the UN, or am I thinking of someone else?

  10. Hi, just wanted to tell you that it was a soldier who committed the massacre, from a Stryker unit based at Fort Lewis-McChord, and not a Marine. Panetta visited Marines, yes, but not because a Marine killed civilians. This definitely changes most of your article. Thanks, and Semper Fi.

    • I stand corrected. But in my experience, the far Left doesn’t differentiate between the Corps, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, or the Coast Guard. They all look alike to them.

      • Differentiating between the branches is irrelevant. People dislike them because they are US military, not because they are in a particular branch. If anything its Brad who cant differentiate, not the far left. And the only people who really care about properly differentiating between the branches, are service members.

        • I served too, pal, and I didn’t differentiate between branches because we were on the same team. Unlike you it seems. You have some chip on your shoulder, check yourself in before too long.

  11. This article is silly. The marines were disarmed because a security threat earlier in the day caused the Afghans that were attending the speech to be disarmed, because there was a fear of a more widespread plot. In order to avoid making the disastrous Afghanistan political situation of the last few weeks any worse, they disarmed the Marines as well, to make it seem “equal,” even though it isn’t. It was purely political. Panetta does not hate Marines, nor was he afraid of assassination by Marine. Take off the tinfoil hat.

    • Aransasyn, I think it’s silly – and downright dangerous – to disarm our military in the middle of a war zone for ANY reason. And apparently, there’d been any number of times that our Afghan “allies” have been disarmed in meetings when our troops were allowed to carry. So that argument doesn’t really fly. Think about the recent terrorist attacks by Muslims in Afghanistan. I’m still waiting to hear the righteous indignation and saber-rattling from Karzai.

      • Really, for any reason? They are disarmed for plenty of reasons in an active war zone. This isn’t the most unusual thing ever to happen in the history of the Corps. It is up to the General in charge as to when and where solders can have “hot” weapons in the FOB. For example,they are frequently disarmed at chow, there is not a universal rule as to the carrying of arms in an active war zone. This has been blow so fart out of proportion that this outrage is just ridiculous. Everything about this story has been manipulated and distorted.

        What this really boils down to is 200 Marines were asked rack their arms for a few min. While he gave a speech, it is not as if afterwards he sent them into battle with slingshots.

      • Did you read my response?

        “In order to avoid making the disastrous Afghanistan political situation of the last few weeks any worse,”

        Yes, it’s been different before. Afghans were disarmed when Marines weren’t. But we didn’t have a mass murder, a Qur’an burning incident, and a resulting string of American deaths in the weeks prior to a security threat on SecDef. I don’t like disarming the Marines either, but I’m guessing they were surrounded by a couple of battalions worth of troops – especially in light of SecDef’s presence. They were not at risk from anything that they could have helped prevent (obviously barring the crazy).

    • So it was based on a politically correct decision of fairness or equality? How about telling the Afghans to go herd goats while our Secdef talks to the employees.
      And if the Afghans don’t like it or disarm there is the door. A door we should be heading out as well .

  12. WHEN we were told to stack our weapons for a meeting/lecture I never thought I was being disarmed. Yeah, I want to sit for a couple of hours with an M16/M14 on my lap.

  13. In my opinion, this is a substandard post. Please stick to the TRUTH about guns and stay away from off-point political screed.

  14. Hey man, don’t group all of us liberals as people who don’t support the military, either! 😛 [yes, I do get that you’re talking about liberal leaders, not people who identify as liberal] I have nothing but utmost respect for our military and what they do!

    Regardless, well-written article.

  15. I just returned from Camp Leatherneck six months ago. My battalion was responsible for external base security. We worked with the people in charge of internal security, as you can imagine.

    My point is that there is a big hullaballoo being made about this but again few facts are known.

    First, I agree that disarming Marines to see the SecDef is pointless and stupid.

    Once we get past that point, though, it becomes less clear what happened. Did Panetta or his people order this? I think the odds are pretty good that the colonel in command of the MHG (MEB Headquarters Group) took this action on his own. I think the odds are almost as good that the lieutenant in charge of internal security took this action on his own.

    Yet everyone is piling on the SecDef and the administration without even knowing who ordered this.

    The worst thing to me, though, is that this is just another instance of the making the military appear to be partisan. This is such a stupid thing to get into the news. It’s stupid to make them stage their weapons, but it’s not that big a deal to be making national news and blaming the administration without knowing that the administration is who ordered it.

    I don’t mean to be picking on anyone here, but I felt it needed to be said somewhere. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a stupid decision is made by someone other than who you want to demonize. Why isn’t anyone in the press pushing this to find out who made this decision before causing such a ruckus?

  16. Whomever ordered it done, disarming soldiers in a combat zone is just plain stupid, and stupid has no political affiliation, however, it’s often aggravated by political correctness, which usually leans left.

  17. Sorry, Brad. You sound like you have some growing up to do. Your left vs. right silliness is just immature.

  18. The biggest insult that I know of to the members of our military is to use them as inhuman disposable cannon fodder which politicians, regardless of political party, (and some opportunistic glory-happy field-grade officers too) have done since the mid 1800s.

  19. Brad, your lefty bashing here is gratuitous, and not based in any kind of fact. I’ll freely admit that as a lefty, and, frankly, as an American, I am not at all happy with our giant military industrial complex, nor our project of total world domination. I think we’d be better off to leave the Graveyard of Empires to its own devices, while still helping them financially. We’re spending roughly $2B a week in a country with maybe 30M people, so say $67/per week per person. That’s a fortune in Afghanistan (Hell, I can feed a family of four on that in Portland, OR), where people are starving and largely turn to the Taliban for financial, rather than ideological reasons – we could buy a lot of hearts and minds. Meanwhile, the U.S. is losing – Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis put his career on the line to tell us this:

    However, opposition to war is not the same thing as hating the military. Especially the kind of guys that were forced to disarm for Panetta’s speech. These are the ultimate working people – they have taken an oath to do what they’re ordered to do. A lot of them are cynical, especially after a few tours, but for the most part they do their jobs, if not for country, then at least for their fellow soldiers. I admire these guys, and I don’t assume they’re all a bunch of psycho killers, though too many tours are taking their toll on some, as recent events illustrate.

    I’d guess that most of these Marines shrugged it off. Another day in paradise. Panetta gets back on his plane and hopefully never comes back.

    I’ll align myself with Smedley Butler, and not those promising young ass-kissers who brutally suppressed the Bonus Army, which you casually dismiss as you do OWS, basically just a bunch of scumbags who deserved what they got, not Americans with legitimate grievances.

    • . . . our project of total world domination.

      Countries that seek world domination go into other nations and annex territory and appropriate assets and enslave labor and exact taxes and appoint rulers.

      Countries that send in their military primarily to stop the strong from massacring the weak, that send in doctors and medicines and food, that seek to mediate between long-warring factions, that do what they can to help them set up their own governments with their own leaders with their own laws derived from their own cultures and history – no, buddy, those countries are not seeking world domination.

      “I think we’d be better off to leave the Graveyard of Empires to its own devices . . .

      “It’s own devices”. Cute phrase. What that usually means is that the strong (or the most annoyed) starts bombing and shooting and hanging and hacking lots and lots of non-war-seeking men and women and children, because it’s less complicated to put your own people in charge if you simply kill off everyone else.

      But, heck, yeah, let’s just leave them “to their own devices.” They’re just ragheads, right? Not real people with the same kinds of hopes and dreams and sorrows and heartbreaks like the good people here in America.

      Imagine that you’re at work one day, and you hear on the radio that a crazed mob from one of the Mexican drug cartels has hacked its way across the border, across the states, right up to the door of your house where your wife and kids are waiting dinner for you. Your heavily armed neighbors see the mob surrounding your house, realize that your family is just about to be dead, but, not wanting to perpetuate violence and tired of always having to shoot crazed druggie killers, they do the honorable thing and close their drapes and sit down to dinner.

      Your family is dead. Or, as I guess you’d phrase it, they’ve been left to their own devices.

      <Meanwhile, the U.S. is losing.

      It’s another Vietnam. Once again, the social groups opposing the war – hell, just opposing war qua war, whether it be for conquest or rescue, no matter to them – have made it politically impossible to do anything but a half-assed effort, which always ends up just as we see now. Damn, it’s like they want us to lose – at least, that’s what they cause, time after time.

      Everything Col. Davis has written has confirmed that we cannot expect to accomplish anything with a half-assed effort, but that’s all the Wellstone Wing is ever going to allow us to do without tearing our country apart. So don’t bitch that we’re not winning when it’s your faction that guarantees we can’t win.

      • “Countries that seek world domination go into other nations and annex territory and appropriate assets and enslave labor and exact taxes and appoint rulers.”

        Nowadays it’s a little more subtle, usually, but the end result is similar.

        “Imagine that you’re at work one day, and you hear on the radio that a crazed mob from one of the Mexican drug cartels has hacked its way across the border, across the states, right up to the door of your house where your wife and kids are waiting dinner for you. Your heavily armed neighbors see the mob surrounding your house, realize that your family is just about to be dead, but, not wanting to perpetuate violence and tired of always having to shoot crazed druggie killers, they do the honorable thing and close their drapes and sit down to dinner.”

        Not sure how this analogy even remotely applies. Also, I’m not suggesting abandonment of Afghanistan. I’m suggesting a change in policy whereby there’s a lot more carrot and a lot less stick. We’re already negotiating with the “bad guys.” Meanwhile, civilians die every day.

        I won’t presume to know your views, but many self-described conservatives rail against “Big Government” while totally and without question supporting our overseas military adventures, which are the ultimate manifestation of “Big Government.”


        “So don’t bitch that we’re not winning when it’s your faction that guarantees we can’t win.”

        An oldie but a goody. You really want to give us dirty stinking hippies that much credit? It is not, in fact, my fault that things aren’t going well in Afghanistan. Much larger forces are at work.

      • Rescue. Yeah, sometimes we rescue their brains all over the wall. Sometimes we even rescue several dozen of them at once in giant fireballs. When the proportion of enemies killed to collateral damage among the very people we claim to be there to help is as bad as it has been in these wars, things need to be rethought.

  20. of course military personnel cannot go “red” on fobs, though that is not the point. marines being ordered to stack their weapons to hear some bureaucrat speak is absolutely rediculous.

  21. Ok, wait there is an even bigger insult than deceiving and manipulating the troops into letting themselves be maimed and slaughtered. The greater insult is using them to maim and slaughter other human beings when there usually isn’t a valid reason for fighting.

  22. Funniest part of the whole diatribe, right near the top.

    “I’m going to do my best to keep this non-partisan because this is not a Democrat versus GOP thing.”

    The only thing more disgraceful than disarming Marines in a war zone is the fact that we have Marines there in the first place.

    • Mike B is another fine example of someone who sleeps safely while criticizing where that safety comes from. Worst kind of ingrate.

      • Since mikey is an ex-pat who currently resides in a faraway land, he doesn’t sleep under the umbrella of freedom that our military provides. I can think of about a dozen unprintable epithets for him, but not ingrate.

        • Umbrella of freedom? Gotta get me one of those. It rains a lot here in Portland. Don’t know that I’d sleep under it, bad luck in the house.

          Seriously, Ralph, are our military adventures making us more free? I see quite the opposite.

      • mikes’ safety, like mine, doesnt come from a multi trillion dollar empire and troops around the world. does Rome ring a bell to anybody?

  23. If you fear your own troops, you do not need to be in charge! A superior must lead by example or let someone who can lead take over. If you fear your own troops, you either do not trust them or you do not trust your own emotions. If you do not trust your own troops, why would you even address them in a war zone where they armed to defend the nation and the elected leaders of the nation. This order just reverberates incompetence and ineptness. Whoever gave this order needs to get out NOW! If that is a person wearing a Marine uniform, then he is NOT A MARINE and needs to be instructed by his superiors to get out while he can! If this order came from Panetta, he needs to be impeached! If it came from some bureaucrat, then the CG should have had enough intestinal fortitude to tell them you either have Panetta speak to them as they are or he does not speak. The alternative is to relieve me. But you are not doing this on my watch!!!!!

  24. Not only was this an insult, it was the breath-takingly stupid. Disarm your own military? In a war zone? If this bunch has no better judgment, it’s no wonder they’re losing in Afganistan.

    Seems like Bill Clinton did something like this once while in office. Maybe that’s where Panetta got his less than brilliant idea.

  25. Thanks Brad for bringing this to my attention. Sad state of affairs when Marines are asked to disarm before the SECDEF will speak to them.

  26. You forgot to mention that the Afghan forces present were required to disarm as well. This was the primary motivation for asking the Marines to disarm. Makes sense, given the circumstances, right?

    • Understand what Panetta in effect said, I am their leader and I do not trust these Marines, so you people in Afghanistan should not trust them either. Either the height of stupidity or a calculated political ploy to totally destroy our effectiveness there.

    • Yes, that is the issue here. People are missing it. They don’t trust the Afghans. And given the past few weeks, are trying not to insult them. They just went about it in the wrong way.

    • My own thoughts on the “trustworthy” Afghans is to still arm the Marines and disarm the Afghans.

  27. Me thinks our current leaders now fear a “French revolution”. The serfs must be disarmed and cannot be trusted for anything but paying tribute. Pitchfork control may be next (and the EPA will ban torches).

  28. Panetta wasn’t afraid of our troops. Panetta was meeting with members of the Afghan military and the US military was justifiably concerned about them. So, the Afghans were not allowed to be armed while they were with Panetta. To avoid insulting the Afghans, who after all are dying at a faster rate than our own troops, their Marine honor escort was also disarmed.

    Frankly, I agree with both decisions.

    • This is the story I heard and it makes absolute sense. Look at the facts. Panetta is no stranger to Afgansitan, nor Pakistan, nor to armed US troops. Bothas SeecDef and as the head of the CIA,this guy spends a lot of time around military bases all over the world. I really really doubt that he has any fear of our troops, or any lack of respect for them. Fact 2, the news reports were that the order was given by the base commanding officer, and not by request of Panetta or his staff, and for the reasons Ralph states above, i.e., to avoid an more bad blood and hurt feelings by disarming the afgans only. Three, a US troop had just slaughtered a bunch of Afgans citizens in cold blood, and unsurprisingly, there are a bunch of Afgans kind of upset about that (including their excuse for a president Karzai). Four, Afgan military officers as well as troops have been known to open up on our troops, and Panetta is clearly a far more valuable target that a grunt. I can’t imagine what the Taliban would pay as a reward for the man who caused his death. Fifth, there was an incident on the runway as Panetta was landing, the details of which are confused, but which resulted in a stolen vehicle driven by an Afgan soldier burning up on a runway, and incident certain to raise security concerns. So whether you think that this decision was a good or a bad one, it was not an insult or intended as an insult to US troops by anyone in the US military. So I think the editorial is, using its own words, a steaming pile of crap.

  29. Anybody ever watch 9th Company and the Russians thoughts on the trustworthiness of the Afghan Army?

  30. “I’m going to do my best to keep this non-partisan because this is not a Democrat versus GOP thing.”- Your “best” sucks so bad you are either ridiculously dumb or are a baldfaced liar.

  31. Just talked to someone in the know, the Afghans were disarmed, THE MARINES, NOT PANETTA in a show of solidarity volunteered to do the same. Looks like I need to eat crow.

    • I really object to our troops being used as mercenary’s, place holders for future dictators under the cover of “Democratic Nation Building”. From Vietnam on. Politically correct Marines?? We are screwed.

  32. As a Marine (I won’t claim to be a grunt, I just carry their radios and have to live with them), I doubt very much that any of those dudes there were even there because they honestly wanted to hear what he had to say. It seems much more likely to me that the big wigs told leatherneck to find people to sit through his speech. And by “find” I of course mean “volun-tell”.

    I know that listening to anyone give anymore speeches is very high up on the “Things I’d try to skate out of” list. Hell, being the gear guard outside watching the weapons would be more fun. Or rubbing my dick with sand paper.

    • “Or rubbing my dick with sand paper.”

      That’s how I imagine life in the Marines. I suspect you’re right on here.

    • “Volun-tell.” I like it. My father would have liked it. He got “volun-telled by his sergeant, just as hostilities in WWII ended, to test military equipment in Alaska. Above the Arctic Circle. Between September and March.

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