Theodore's World: Green Berets have growing doubts of duties with skittish political leadership

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August 31, 2015

Green Berets have growing doubts of duties with skittish political leadership

Green Berets have growing doubts of duties with skittish political leadership

Army Special Forces operating in Afghanistan have been disciplined, admonished and even fired for actions that the U.S. soldiers firmly believe are part of their duty to “free the oppressed,” as the Green Beret motto says.

hey were the first troops to hit the ground in Afghanistan while al Qaeda’s dirty work still smoldered back in the United States.

On foot, helicopter and horseback, ArmySpecial Forces showed that if the U.S. was to win a long counterinsurgency war against Islamic extremists, the special skills of Green Berets would be fundamental.

Nearly 14 years later, these soldiers, some of the military’s smartest and best trained, are still creating lots of headlines, but not necessarily for heroics.

In recent months, the Army has disciplined, admonished and ended the careers of a number of Green Berets for actions that the soldiers themselves believe were part of combating an evil enemy. Pristine standards for fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda are not achievable, some in the community say.

“There is certainly a belief that upper echelons of leadership have morphed into political positions, and leaders are a lot less willing to risk their own career to support their soldiers,” Danny Quinn, a former Green Beret team leader and West Point graduate, told The Washington Times.

Examples abound:

Army Secretary John McHugh stripped a Green Beret of his Silver Star for summarily killing a Taliban bomb maker.

A military investigation blamed two Green Berets for the worst U.S. friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan, when critical errors were made by the Air Force crew that dropped the bombs onto their soldiers.

The Army fired a Green Beret from his hostage rescue post at the Pentagon and put him under criminal investigation for whistlingblowing to Congress.

The Army is kicking out a Green Beret for pushing an Afghan police officer accused a raping a boy.

Maj. Matt Golsteyn, one of the Green Berets in the Army’s crosshairs, said the group’s motto, De Oppresso Liber (“To Free the Oppressed”), presents a “moral imperative for action against those who would use violence and injustice as means for repression.”
“It would seem the lives and careers of Green Berets who would dare to see the organization’s motto realized on foreign soil are sacrificed for politics and careerism,” the Afghanistan War veteran told The Times. “As we witness continual displays of failure after failure in military leadership, our collective failure to liberate the oppressed in Iraq and Afghanistan should confuse no longer.”

No one says the military is specifically targeting Green Berets, but there has been a rash of punishments for these soldiers for actions in warfare that they believed were justified.

Joe Kasper, chief of staff for Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, said the discipline is “causing a high sense of discomfort and concern with that small community.”

“What we hear consistently is what many of these soldiers can’t say publicly, and that is Army leadership has created an environment that has soldiers second-guessing themselves and hesitating constantly, and one misstep — whether intended or not — is a career killer,” Mr. Kasper said. “All of it has had an impact on morale and retention, and it should sound alarm bells for the Army.”

A snapshot of recent cases:

Mr. McHugh, the Army secretary, stripped Maj. Golsteyn of his Silver Star, one of the military’s highest awards for combat valor, after he acknowledged in a CIA job interview that he killed a Taliban bomb maker suspected of killing U.S. troops. The Army never charged Maj. Golsteyn after a lengthy investigation. Mr. Hunter wants Congress to strip service secretaries of such powers.

The Army opened a criminal investigation of Lt. Col. Jason Amerine, one of the first Green Berets to land in Afghanistan in 2001, after he complained to Mr. Hunter about what he considered a broken hostage rescue program. The FBI informed on Mr. Amerine to Army headquarters, suggesting that he might have relayed classified information. The Pentagon ruled that there were no secret data in his hotline complaint of whistleblower reprisal to the inspector general.

The military blamed two Green Berets, an A-Team commander and its top enlisted man, for friendly-fire deaths in Afghanistan. The root cause, however, was that the B-1B crew that dropped the bombs lacked basic knowledge of the targeting pod and thought it would be able to see “friendly” troops’ strobe lights when it could not. Not seeing any strobes, the crew dropped the ordnance onto the soldiers.

Earl Plumlee was on his way to being awarded the Medal of Honor for acts of extreme bravery in Afghanistan. He won endorsements up the chain of command. Then someone made the accusation that he tried to sell a rifle online. The Army conducted a criminal investigation but filed no charges. Still, the Medal of Honor never arrived. The Army awarded him the Silver Star, two notches below the nation’s highest honor.


Wild Thing's comment............

I feel so badly for our troops serving today. They have been treated horribly by Obama with his pink slips to them while deployed, his stating he does NOT want Victory and the vile R.O.E. he has given to them. More troops have been killed during Obama's reign of terror then all the years with the war when Bush was president.

Posted by Wild Thing at August 31, 2015 12:55 AM


Political correctness and politics have taken a strong foothold in the military.

Over 15 years ago I retired from active duty after 26 years of service. There's no way that I would even want to do one hitch in today's military.

Posted by: BobF at August 31, 2015 07:02 AM

obama has purged the Army of much of it's war fighter brass. They have been replaced with career addicted political oriented officers. These officers hate Special Forces partly out of jealousy and partly because SF is pretty independent and unconventional in it's thinking and operating.
Allen West was not SF, but he is an example of what the Army flag brass dislikes. A combat leader who put his men before the ROEs. The Army retire Vol West for not sticking to ridiculous rules.

Posted by: TomR,armed in Texas at August 31, 2015 02:40 PM