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I counsel patience regarding the SEALs

We don't know what we don't know.  But I do know that what we don't know is a lot more than what we do know.

Know what I mean?

Now is not the time to rally 'round either side in this issue.  Now is the time to let the system percolate and see what comes out.  Not pull an Andrew Sullivan.

The charges allege that the SEALs abused the perp not during the capture, but later, when he was under restraint and control.  And that they lied about it.

Regardless of what we think of the perp, if the charges stand as related, then a crime was committed, however much we don't feel sympathy for the perp, and feel empathy for the SEALs.  It would have been a crime during WWII, however unlikely it would have been pursued as such in the combat zone.

The fact that they were offered non-judicial punishment (NJP) indicates to this veteran of the UCMJ that the command feels the crime was committed as alleged, and that the command *was* empathetic to the emotions of the SEALs, and chose to offer them a simple way out that met the needs of justice and good order and discipline.  Because make no mistake - if they did what is alleged, it's an issue of discipline.  And in the post-Abu Ghraib world (thanks again there Sanchez, Karpinski, Pappas, Graner, England, et. cie.) this was not going to be ignored. 

The SEALs, as is their right, refused the NJP and demanded a full trial, with all the rights and protections contained therein.  I've personally seen that happen three times in my career, and each time the outcome was bad for the individual - instead of an internal military matter, loss of some pay, a little extra work, and possibly some rank, they gained instead a full federal conviction, and the punishment imposed was about the same as they would have received under an Article 15 proceeding.  Not a good trade.  If it's considered a violent offense, they can also kiss their Second Amendment rights goodbye, thanks to that badly-written law.

One has to assume that the SEALs sought competent counsel before making that decision, and that they, in conjunction with their counsel, feel they can show that they did *not* do what was alleged.  'Because I'm not so naive as to think a perp wouldn't hurt himself and cry "Abuse."  No that's *never* happened.  And I deeply enjoy the irony of an outraged sawer-off-of-heads and corpse-desecrator whining that somebody punched him in the nose, thus offending his tender sensibilities and trampling on the rights he afforded-to-no-one under his control.  Is this an instance of lawfare?  If so, we need to figure out how to deal with it.  Just like cops have to, and for the same reasons.

But if it *did* happen that way - then who the victim is and what we believe he did prior to apprehension doesn't matter.  The alleged post-capture misdeeds of the SEALs do.  Who the victim is in this case is a matter of extenuation and mitigation, not guilt or innocence, and that will be the binary choice facing the courts-martial panel.  In a sense, the offer of the NJP probably took into account the extenuating circumstances.  But - if they're innocent, it is their right, and perhaps too their duty, to fight the charges with all the resources they can muster.  

Another possible aspect of them turning down the NJP is also a dark one - they don't trust their immediate command to give them a fair shake in an NJP proceeding.  That's not a good thing, either.

Now do you see my point about - we don't know what we don't know and that what we don't know is far more than what we do know?

Either way, it's a public relations disaster for the Navy, and could end up being a bigger personal disaster for the SEALs.  Of course, if they're innocent they're doing the right thing.  Just as, if the Convening Authority believes the evidence is sufficient to bring the charges... then they're doing their job, too.

But someone is wrong.  And at this point we don't know who that is.  And to just jump to the assumption that it's the command at fault is just as faulty a position, based on what we know, as jumping to the assumption that the SEALs are guilty.

But I do know one guy who isn't at fault here. At least not yet, though we're but in the springtime of this case.  The President.  I don't for a minute believe the White House has their fingers in this mess.  If they do, there is going to be one hell of a "unlawful command influence" issue raised by the defense. But it's possible that the President could slip the bonds of his office and have a "Murtha Moment."  And this is also where Glenn Beck comes in.  Counseling his nephew to not re-enlist is certainly his right.  But I think he should have kept that to himself and his nephew rather than blatting it out on national television.

There's too much we don't know, and the instanalysis of that level just does a disservice to everybody and advances nothing about the case.

Your mileage may vary.

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30 Comments

As always, John, good analysis.  Seems a shame it goes the way it does, but I am reminded of Truman's sack of MacArthur.   The right thing, too bad for the General, though it seemed wrong to most people at the time.  Fact is, even heroes make mistakes.  I hipe these folks didn't though. 
 
Thank you for laying out the details of this situation.


 
Part of that was an eye-opener. I thought the main charges related only to filing false reports, as opposed to including assault.

 
Casey - I don't think your impression is entirely out of line on the emphasis of the charges.

I have the impression that the damage done in the "assault" was minor, and the Navy's bigger concern was over the apparent lying about it.  It wouldn't be the first time that someone ended up getting in more trouble for trying to get out of something that the initial thing itself. 

Watergate comes to mind.

It also wouldn't be the first time that someone's pride goeth before the fall, either.

Goes back to what I said - we don't know what we don't know which is more important than what we do know.
 
I agree with nearly everything you've written. 

I admitted at my place that my initial reaction was angry and knee-jerk.  I reacted in "Townie" terms - "Ahmed Hashim Abed should be grateful that I wasn't his captor!"  But I quickly calmed down and realized that I believe in the system.  I am comfortable with having this play out until we know as many "unknowns" as can be known.  I am not among those who are calling for the charges to be dismissed.  That would be ludicrous. 

If SO2 McCabe, SO2 Keefe & SO1 Heurtas are guilty of any or all of the charges, I am comfortable with what the military justice system will do.

And certainly, Obama has nothing to do with this.  People who are blaming simply have a different strain of "Bush Derangement Syndrome"

Where I part ways with you is here -
"Now is not the time to rally 'round either side in this issue."

People are talking about Abu Ghraib and I just laugh.  The situation this more closely parallels is the Libby/Plame case.  Scooter was never actually accused of outing Plame, he was accused of lying about conversations.  It was the press that ran away with that.  Now, after the fact most Americans think Scooter endangered Plame's life and took away her Mata Hari cover.  They couldn't pick Richard Armitage out of a line-up to save their lives. 

I want to rally around these SEALs to make sure that this is as fair as possible for them.  I will stand here with them rock solid until I see real evidence that this is not where I should be.  Not blindly, but faithfully.  Americans owe them that until we know otherwise. 

McCabe, Keefe & Heurtas took an oath and until you prove they violated it, they have my support.

Of equal concern is something you touched upon briefly in your post - Murtha.  I don't ever want that to happen again.  I don't want to stand by, powerless while Murtha or some other assclown spouts off, unchallenged.  We are prepared this time, we will not be caught unaware.  We are stronger now than we were before.

We, the milblog community, put our faith in the system and said if the Haditha Marines were innocent, that would come out.  But there was still an enormous amount of damage done to those eight Marines.  By the press and Murtha and others.  I don't want that to go completely unchecked again.  Yes, the MSM is strong but we are not powerless.

Don't we owe these men at least that much?
 
John, as always, you give wise counsel. To me, you're saying, "Walk slowly and quietly, listening for the quiet voice of tradition."
 

Maggie - we're not as far apart on that as you might think.

 But I'm going to rally 'round the system for the nonce, vice any side in it - to give it a chance to do it's thing.

And it's fine with me to attack those who are having "Murtha Moments" - because you can do that without blindly asserting that the SEALs are in the right.

And you can do so aggressively.

Just as I will support the CoC against unwarranted assertions, though I will lean towards attacking those who assert guilt on the part of the SEALs where none has yet been proven and drawing whatever agenda-driven conclusions they are using the platform to support. 

I.e., I'll go after the Murtha's and the Andrew Sullivans.

The system I will leave to defend itself, except when confronted with simply breathaking moonbattery.

And, of course, as we learn more, things may change, eh?

 
"Regardless of what we think of the perp"

That's the most telling part of your whole article.  You're already into the "Combat Policing" mindset. 

I've seen the Military Justice system too.  The reason why the people that decide to take the court route fail is because they're idealistic or naive enough to believe that once they go down that road, the command will only charge them with the original misdeed.

I know you've seen it.  Once the Soldier or Marine calls the bluff then the whole command structure comes down like a thunderbolt from heaven.  Every charge, every NCO, SNCO and Officer that even remotely knows the defendant will be called to testify....its a full court press.  But I digress.  Counseling patience on this issue is telling and sad.  A bloodly lip?  I recieved worse just playing around and now we have lives and careers in the balance.

The US military has lost its way and until those who know better can see that then we're officially screwed.
 
Well, as I said, your mileage may vary.  I noted this wouldn't have been an issue in WWII, most likely.  Or even in Korea. 

But just wishing this was then doesn't make it so, and it's the here and now where we live.  And this is not percieved as an existential war from our perspective, and post-Abu Ghraib, something like this wasn't going to just go away.

Should this have ever gotten this far - probably not. But it did - and since it did, I counsel patience in a media-driven world.

Wishing we could go back to a time when a little rough treatment of assholes wasn't that big a deal isn't going to make it so.

And the military leadership just acting like it will, or should be, isn't going to make it so, either.

I understand, Solomon - as far as you're concerned, I'm part of the problem.

Like I said, your mileage may vary.

But given the situation as it stands, what do you propose other than just saying that my position is telling and sad?

You may be correct that the military has lost it's way - but I lay that at the feet of Rumsfeld, Sanchez, Karpinski, Pappas, and others for not recognizing the environment they found themselves fighting in.  It is they who set the conditions for the situation we find ourselves in.

I don't think this ever should have seen the light of day, but it has.  That's the reality of where we find ourselves.  That's the COE.  And to wish it was WWII again... just isn't useful.
 
Good arguments, Maggie, John, Solomon.  I don't agree with all, but this is one of the reasons I like it here....
 
If my words came off as a personal attack then believe me that wasn't my intention.  But look at where we're at right now.  I belong to the most "traditional" of services yet "Combat Policing" is being taught....

My main concern is this.  What happens when the next SEAL team goes out?  This kind of thing doesn't make things better it makes them worse.  Suddenly an already tight grunt unit (sorry SEALs you're just high speed grunts) becomes even tighter because any misstep can lead to a career being ruined.  Suddenly instead of one enemy there are two...the guys shooting at your front and the guys in the rear with sharp pencils and a no prisoner attitude (pun intended).

I agree though that Rummy, Sanchez and the COIN mafia have gotten us in this position.  Hearts and minds winning is something for limited warfare.  This mess is hardly limited.  I also blame the "revolt of the Generals" you rememeber those guys?  General officers that knew better but remained silent?  Its to the point right now that unless they're getting dirty they shouldn't be trusted. 

The loss of trust ...the lack of faith...is here now.  And it will have consequences.
 
"But I do know one guy who isn't at fault here. At least not yet, though we're but in the springtime of this case. The President."

The President has been Commander in Chief for ten months.  He sets the command climate for his senior Officers and Combatant Commanders.  He may not be at fault (though I will wait and see about that just now), but he IS responsible.  His watch. 

I have seen requests for courts martial go good and bad.  The bad ones were no surprise.  Perry Masons, they weren't.  But I have also seen where rules of evidence and burden of proof were the difference between a darkened service record and an Article 32 dismissal/SCM not guilty verdict.

We are learning again, the hard way, that the perceptions of juniors toward their seniors will be much more consequential than the obverse.

 
I agree with you Sir John, now I'm just afraid some lawyer is gonna get the whole thing tossed because the SEAL's didn't read the guy his Miranda rights.
 
Plan A-  full aquittal of all charges.

Plan B-  Found guilty of minor lesser included offense- spitting on sidewalk or something.  Sentence to 24 hours restriction and loss of  1/100 of 1 months pay, and suspended reduction in rank, suspended for 30 days.

Then whiskey for the men and beer for the horses, all around.  Um, sorry, mozzies not invited.
 
I understand where you coming from Armorer, and I respect it.

And I'm not against it. Right is right, wrong is wrong and if they screwed up then yes, hammer them.

My concern more has to do with, as you pointed out to an extend, why this has even seen the light of day.

The publicizing of this I think is going to make a soldiers job even harder in the long run.

From the soldiers side, I think its possible we could see a massive inclination to not bother with taking prisoners. If you stand a chance of going through a UCMJ procedure for what could be , arguablly (provided in this case they are indeed innocent) their job, then where's the incintive?

On the government side I fear what I tried to express in E-mail, the police-ation of our military forced. Miranda rights in fire fights as SFC D points out, more strict ROE's that can make situations downright more dangerous.

I do care if what they did was wrong or right...I just think a bloody lip, versus, say...waterboarding are overtures to a different symphony per se.



 
This is a high publicity captive, even if he is an illegal combatant.  The Navy leadership might have gone for NJP in an effort to show they were acting decisively and quickly, quite likely with a foreordained guilty verdict and heavy punishment in place waiting to be handed out since these sailors called unwanted attention to the service.  it is not at all infrequent that the special operators would be pulled out after this brouhaha from their regular duties and reassigned, since they had been found wanting.  And it is equally possible that the Navy  might have almost nothing but a bluff to work with,  so offered them NJP versus a court martial hoping they would cave on that and save everyone a lot of trouble.  And apparently these fellows aren't gonna roll over and take it up the pooper for the Navy.  Maybe the SEAL's should demand a civilian jury trial, like the TERRORISTS ARE GETTING.

Will the SEALs get the screws put to them in a court martial?  Probably, but that will also be a high publicity event, so the Navy better do it right or they will end up seriously embarrassed on a national scale.

 
One further issue I have to offer.  These guys are trained very vigorously in various types of unarmed combat.  They are also taught how to inflict pain without leaving overt evidence of that pain.  Why would they bust this turd in the chops, when they could kidney knock him and leave no evidence, or thumb him in the brachials for a few seconds and have him p!ssing himself over it, again leaving no marks?  They know how to,  for sure.
 
Not being aware of all th parts to NJP; who pays for the defense in a situation like this? Do the Seals have a monetary exposure to defend themselves? If so, they can win and loose at the same time. Or really get themselves in a pickle in a loose, loose cock-up.

Amber has no downside. He can only win. He's in custody and up on serious charges. He can sing any song he wants and our system has to listen. His only hope is to be transfered to New York for a civil trial with his buddies.

I sure hope this doesn't end up like the 2 Border Patrolman getting indicted for shooting a perp. He pressed charges and they went to jail.
 
Fishmugger - the Navy JAG will provide lawyers for their defense, they may retain civilian counsel at their own expense.

I have no doubt if they decide they need outside council (many times a retired JAG) there will be plenty of people willing to contribute to their defense expenses.  Including people with deep pockets.

That said - everything everybody has brought up as a concern I generally covered in my piece.

The difference is that I say we don't know enough yet to know which way to jump, and therefore should collect more data.

This is *not* a time sensitive operation.  A little intel will go a long way to being useful and supportive as needs be without being a buffoon like Andy Sullivan.

Maggie is already organizing for supporting the SEALs, which is fine by me - I'm talking more about how we as a community go after the story.


 
We don't know all of the facts with evidence, until then, we're all just speculating. This is more commonly known as, "Pithing into the wind".  As I understand it, the NJP Findings takes a "Permanently Open Residence in Your  Military Jacket". Don't forget, this also follows you into civilian life. By going to trial, they hope to protect the honor of their own names, their unit, the SEALS, the US Navy, the US Military, US Presidents (plural), The United States of America, her allies and their People, Worldwide.
 
John,

You're taking a narrow view of this.  One name will show you the folly of your position...

Murtha

An entire squad (I believe) of Marines were put thru the wringer because this community sat silent while he rampaged.  Being patient is the last thing we need to do.  I withdraw my last.  You are definitely part of the problem.  No malice, no anger...just an observation.  We end with us agreeing to disagree.  But I'm good with that and having found your blog, I'll enjoy reading and ....agreeing when I can but calling you on it when I can't.

V/R
Sol
 
John, you're right, "Regardless of what we think of the perp..." codenamed, "Amber", but it does matter what the Judge at the trial, thinks. He should be informed of all of the factors at Fallujah and the actions of "Amber". These would be considered as "aggravating and mitigating factors".

I don't believe the SEAL Command really wanted to deal with this issue and would rather defer to the courts. This would keep the politics out of it, including us. I don't think they (Courts and SEAL Command) have a problem with us writing about it. But they don't want us in the way. This is the Middle Eastern concept of loss of face.

Your title, "I counsel patience regarding SEALs", does patience equal do nothing? No, you are gathering and transferring information You are also putting it into useful format. Thank you.
 
Sol - I said don't take sides - especially don't take sides because the "other side" is taking sides.

I did not say stay silent.

I am not staying silent.  But I am not choosing sides.  Admittedly, I'm so busy at the moment that I miss a lot, but just as I said that Beck should have kept his opinion to himself absent a better understanding of the facts, so, too, do I think Murtha, et.al., should - and if they don't, we should call them on it.

And we can do so without choosing sides.

That, aside from offering some perspective to those with no military background as to what is and might be going on, was the purpose of this post.

Staying honest to the facts - and acknowledging that right now there's a lot of speculation out there versus facts - preserves our credibility.

Heh.  As I discover every time I take this path - it's easy to choose the side that best fits your worldview and run with it - and it's harder to hold your tongue until you've got something substantive to say.

Also - re: Murtha and the Haditha Marines.  As dishonorable a thing as it was for Murtha to do - those Marines were going to be put through the wringer anyway, once the story broke as it did.

I'm suggesting that we not inadvertently (or "advertently!') pull a Murtha by expostulating loudly on guilt or innocence when we don't know anything - but we want to believe something.

Me?  I *want* the SEALs to be innocent, and for it all to be a BS lawfare ploy by "Amber."

That doesn't mean it is.  And there is insufficient evidence to support a read on that target.
 
John, I know you don't need this, but FTR, I think Solomon has it completely wrong. Unfortunately, specious logic is the hardest to refute. 

> It's to the point right now that unless they're getting dirty they shouldn't be trusted. The loss of trust ...the lack of faith...is here now. And it will have consequences."

Solomon, you seem to lack historical and educational perspective. The military (at least the Army) is so completely different today and better that what it was after Vietnam that the differences are at least as great than the similarities. That includes issues of trust, confidence, loyalty, and so on.

At the bottom of this all, and what John's advice is built around, usually, is that our military is not a rogue, not an entity unto itself, and that the Constitution is our guide, always. The rules are not mutable, and if the people being discussed broke the rules, then our legal systems should appropriately be used to determine the extent, the context, and the punishments, if merited. It is not a given that these folks will be railroaded, there is more connectivity between junior and senior, and among the services than there ever has been, and everyone 'gets it.' That does not change one simple fact, however: If you break rules, you have to take accept that there may be negative consequences. In the case of these fellows, three things stand out:

1. It's not clear what rules if any they broke, though clearly more than a couple of people are convinced some rules got broken.

2. It seems the Navy was trying to resolve the issue to everyone's best interests, as has been the case most of the times I've found myself on either side of a this kind of thing. It has NOT been my experience that military leadership loves to railroad people. Any claim to the contrary is pure unsupportable BS. Not that it doesn't happen, but it's not the standard by a long stretch.

3. For some reason we don't know, the accused have decided to escalate this. That's their right. It may be that they will be vindicated and that, if they did break rules, the outcome will be a change to the rules. That's happened before. It may also be that they will end up screwing themselves into the ground because they thought they understood the rules better than they did, and the NJP was actually the best choice. We won't know 'till it's over.

All of which leads to John's comments and their absolute validity. Do you think that calling the Navy leadership names is going to help? Is the guy who draws that oversexed cartoon Day-by-Day helping? Assuredly not. You all are entitled to your opinions, certainly, but John's advice is the right of it.

Why?

Because it may turn out that the SEALS actually did wrong, and all of this vociferous nonsense will only encourage the Court to be more harsh--to 'show' all of the noisemakers that they should have stayed out of it until the court had a chance to consider the case. All of the name calling, and claims of unfairness, and lack of trust, etc. will not sway the court to the positive, and is actually likely to cause the opposite--if the court is actually as dishonorable as everyone claims it will be, eh?

Which leads me to suggest that it's not John or people like HIM who are the problem, but rather all of those folks who don't understand how systems like ours really work, who are running around with their hair on fire going on about how these guys are being screwed, and it's going to cause people to cheat, etc...

In the end, I will rely on the integrity and honor of our military people to do the right thing. It isn't an easy job, and the day-to-day is always a challenge, especially that integrity thing, eh? You know: doing what's right even when no one is looking. If those guys broke the rules, it doesn't matter if they rules were stupid or contrary to good sense, they have to deal with it, which in fact they are. I just hope it turns out they were right, 'cause once they selected Courts Martial, the die was cast.

And lastly, for perspective, a Lt Col acquaintance just told me that he didn't used to understand why a barracks thief who stole five dollars was likely to get a harsher punishment than a guy who smoked a doobie. His thought was that, in the machine-centric AF at least, clarity of mind was far more important than petty larceny. He came to understand, however, that trust, loyalty, and so on are far more important to unit success than a social mistake, and that the thief does more insidious damage to the unit than the druggie (unless the druggie is an NCO or officer, which is then not an issue of social mistake, but failure of leadership trust). If the SEALS lied to their leaders about stuff that mattered, they are not trustworthy. If the environment required it, they are still not trustworthy, but the environment may be a mitigating factor. If the lies were trivial, would we be having this debate? Really?


And BTW, USMC Steve, as to the notion of having these guys tried in a Civilian Court: They are safer and more assured of fair treatment in the military court (depending on jurisdiction). Trust me. Sheep don't really like sheepdogs, and people like SEALS are actually quite scary to folks who spend their days using words and money as weapons. They are not more likely to get fair treatment in a civil court than they are in a military court. Of course, it depends on the rules they broke.... Civilians are less concerned with good military order and integrity and honesty than with consequences and reasons, whereas the military does tend to give more weight to the character of the accused. And rightly so, I believe.

'Nuff said.

VR
 
My only desire is that the pressure by higher authority and the MSM is of a level that the Court is just and not skewed. That politics is not a cause; and that there is no need to make an example.

Seals are supposed to land on their feet, think fast, and act smart. I sure hope that remains to be true.
 
John,
      We're good...I can stand with you after having read your words.

SangerM,
      You ignore the issue of what's going to happen inside that community.  If you think that those of us outside the SEALs are outraged, then what do you think is going on inside those teams.  There is going to be trouble, in what form I don't know but unless this issue is resolved and EVERY card placed on the table then you will see combat efficiency plumment.  And don't think that every trigger puller in theater and out isn't watching this--waiting to see what happens.  Morale?  See these guys get punished and watch it fall.
    

 
Solomon,

   Your are wrong about what I am aware of or paying attention to or thinking about.  Moreover, I have contacts inside the community and I was a peripheral (very peripheral) part of that community for three years (after 9/11).  I know SEALs, I know Army SF guys, I know AF SOS people, and I know people who have served in places like Guantanamo and etc.  NO, I haven't been there, but I know a LOT of people who have, and what I said above is based on that knowledge, not what I think is going to happen.

Personally, I think you are over-dramatizing the reactions of a large number of people, extending your potential ourage to them, many of whom are actually reserving their 'outrage' for the results to be announced, and who don't feel the way you do.  More important, I think you are not giving the military the credit it deserves for being a community of professionals.  They may not like what happens to a group of people, but if the process is transparent enough, as I am sure it will be, people will deal with it and get back to work--doing the same professional job the military has always done. 

Look, I joined the Army in '73.  If you were there, you'll understand what follows, if not, then I still maintain you haven't the perspective of experience to accurately judge how things are going to end up.  The Army in '73 sucked in just about every way imaginable.  Drugs, alcohol, lack of leadership at all levels, piss poor attitude at all levels, etc. and so on, and contrary to some folks' notions, draftees were not universally all that bright or especially interested in doing much more than getting out, which they were invited to do in '74.  For all that, however, there were still people who tried, who did their best to make the Army better, to make it work properly, and by the early '80s, less than 10 years after I joined, the Army was a very different and far better place than the one I joined.  And the Army that fought GWI was that much better even than the Army in the early '80s.

So what's my point?  That you are laser focused on a small group of people who you deem incapable of doing their jobs as professionals if the big, bad, evil government does something to some fellows who probably should have just taken the NJP.  I say you need some perspective.

For what it's worth, I've had my rights read to me four different times.  First time, I was screwed by the OIC for not ratting out some other fellows.  The second time, I accepted the NJP and was WAY glad of it.  The third, I told the CO to court martial me.  He dropped it, 'cause it was just BS.   The last time, I was guilty until I was able to prove I was innocent because my sorry O3 company commander didn't have the courage to call one of my female subordinates a liar when it was clear to everyone she was.  Suffice to say, I proved she was, but then the system did not prosecute her.  She was discharged under general conditions, instead of given jail time--just because I'm a white guy and she was a female  (at that point I was an E6 w/ 12 years in the Army).  For all of that, I never stopped doing my best  because of the punishments, fair or not, and I just don't think all of your dire predictions are anywhere near accurate.  In fact, I think they are insulting to the professionals that I know are out there.

As before, we don't know what we don't know, and comments like yours, IMO, are a greater danger to good order and morale than either the potential outcome of the trial or anything John has said.

As for the rest, look your language gives you away some: "trigger puller"  Morale fall?  Combat efficiency plumment [sic]....  "Its to the point right now that unless they're getting dirty they shouldn't be trusted."  C'mon, already.  What are you?  An E3, E5, a 1LT or EJG?  Couple of years in service?  Maybe a sailor, airdog or something?  Possibly a grunt (though you don't sound it)?  Hard to say, but you sound a bit young and somewhat new at this.  I am not trying to be insulting (though I realize it's likely I am), but you don't really know what you are talking about.  Not really.

Your arguments are built on imaginary consequences, a lack of real broad-based understanding of the military you claim to be a part of, too little experience with the way the real world works, and far too little faith in the Americans you serve with and for.

 
Hey buddy,
Your weak ass personal attack is just that....weak.  You stuck your finger in the air and you're disappointed that you're meeting opposition?  Telling?

You brag about a system that screwed you but you still defend it??  Telling?

You're a sheep.  You're a follower.  You are to be ignored.

Pick a credible 3rd party and I look forward to comparing your SRB, your education and the schools you've attended to mine.  I WELCOME IT.

Come up with better arguments Cowboy then get back to me.
 
Hey buddy,
Your weak ass personal attack is just that....weak.  You stuck your finger in the air and you're disappointed that you're meeting opposition?  Telling.

You brag about a system that screwed you but you still defend it??  Telling.

You're a sheep.  You're a follower.  You are to be ignored.

Pick a credible 3rd party and I look forward to comparing your SRB, your education and the schools you've attended to mine.  I WELCOME IT.

Come up with better arguments Cowboy then get back to me.
 
Okay - here's where I jump in and invoke the Rulez and close the thread.  We're not talking about the subject anymore, we're talking about each other - which means we've nothing more to say.

This has been a good one, and informative - but this is the time to shut this one down.