Category Archives: Military

Soldier Who Leaked Documents Betrayed Our Country

I was stunned last Sunday when I read that Private Bradley E. Manning, after taking solemn oaths to protect his country and his fellow soldiers, decided that he no longer personally liked the concept of America’s participation in relieving Afghanistan of the Taliban.  Based upon his mood, he allegedly released over 90,000 classified documents via the Internet to Julien Assange, who is the person behind WikiLeaks.

Mr. Assange released the documents to the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel instead of to the world at once, because (as he is quoted as saying): “You’d think the bigger and more important the document is, the more likely it will be reported on, but that’s absolutely not true.  It’s about supply and demand.  Zero supply equals high demand; it has value.  As soon as we release the material, the supply goes to infinity, so the perceived value goes to zero.”

Isn’t that just stunning?  The value of the documents, according to WikiLeaks, is determined by the means of distribution and not by the content?  Is this some kind of media game for attention and power?

Let me first say that I believe in the value and courage of some whistleblowing, for example, when there’s concrete evidence that a company knew its product was dangerous and that they accepted the fact some people would die because they were looking at their bottom line, and it was cheaper to pay for the deaths than change the design of their product.  That situation has occurred – in the car industry, as you may remember – and that form of whistleblowing is specifically geared only toward saving human lives.

Pvt. Bradley Manning enlisted in the Army in 2007, and was working as an Army intelligence analyst, examining classified information.  This twenty-two year old decided on his own that US foreign policy was incorrect, and tracked down a former computer hacker in Sacramento, California named Adrian Lamo, who he thought would be a soul-less mate, and told him how he had downloaded the classified information: “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’” he told Lamo.  While pretending to sing along to Lady Gaga, Manning would actually be erasing the music from the CD and recording intelligence onto it instead.

A disgruntled pipsqueak with minimal social skills finally finds his power…putting his fellow soldiers and his country at risk.  Now, that’s being a man?

Adrian Lamo is the hero here.  Fearing that the soldier’s leaks could put American lives at risk, he went to the FBI.  “Had I not acted, I would have always wondered had I gotten someone killed,” Lamo said.  Adrian Lamo is an American hero. 

Adrian Lamo has received threats, including threats of death.  What??  I think he should be awarded the highest medal America gives to a civilian.  Talk to me about the hypocrisy of supporting Manning for so-called whistleblowing, but not Lamo.

Lamo reports Manning wanted Hillary Clinton to wake up and have a heart attack, and that Manning was trying to be an “army of one” and stop the war in Afghanistan, which Manning felt was unjust.  “He did so with the stated intention of disrupting United States’ foreign policy.”  Imagine…

Lamo said, “I don’t think that this is going to do us any good in terms of trying to build relationships and maintain relationships with our allies in the war on terror.”

Here’s more hypocrisy:  Julien Assange has WikiLeaks well insulated (which is sort of counter to his avowed position to make everyone’s “privacies” public, even if it puts lives at risk).  Key members of WikiLeaks are known only by their initials (“M,” for example) even deep within WikiLeaks, where communications are conducted by encrypted online chat services.

Will Julien Assange – “Mr. WikiLeaks” – think positively about the whistleblower that leaks all his information and that of his network?  I don’t think so.

What infuriates me even more is this situation is not being received with a huge, national, shaking reaction by either major political party or any aspect of our news media!  None of the major players, including the so-called liberal mainstream media, nor pundits like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and none of our politicians on either side of the aisle have pitched their tents to deal with this egregious and evil assault on the military and the United States of America.  Why no ferocious outrage?  I’ve seen more attention paid to the stupid shenanigans of Lindsay Lohan.

Perhaps it’s because this is so big – bigger than Jane Fonda sitting, smiling, on a North Vietnamese tank, for the world-wide press.  This is the concerted attempt first of one lonely, maladjusted private to betray his country and his oaths, with little or no regard for the final impact on his country and his fellow soldiers, and second, the enthusiastic response of WikiLeaks to dispense national security information to the world for the power of it, and the desire to destroy our country.

I guess this is so big a situation it boggles the mind and makes it impossible for people to neatly and simply wrap their brains around it.  It’s easier to watch reality television or listen to pots calling kettles racist.

A newspaper leaking information is something we can deal with.  The Internet dispenses information without any controls – WikiLeaks has no address and no accountability.  That is hugely frightening.  So, I think this is why there is little outrage.

I suppose the right thing is to court martial Private Bradley Manning.  I pray this ends with a firing squad, and they ask me to participate.

Betraying your country because you are an unhappy person just shows you how mundane an appearance evil can make.

The Courage of Our Public Servants

A few weeks ago, the news replayed and replayed the hotel surveillance video tape of a scene out of Law and Order.  A woman was attacked by some creep, and a homeless man went to her rescue.  The creep ran away, the woman ran away, and the homeless man lay bleeding to death on the pavement, with at least a dozed people (caught on video) just walking by.  One man turned him over, examined him, and then walked away.  The homeless man died.  He died alone – ignored – and yet, he was a hero for rescuing the woman who was attacked.

I am unaware of any follow-up regarding this hero – who he was, his background, his circumstance.  There was probably little media interest in a homeless man.

Then, soon after, a Vietnam veteran alerted police to a suspicious car in New York City’s Times Square.  The policeman checked the car and recognized that it was likely a car bomb.  The dominoes fell appropriately, with the bomb squad alerted, and everyone evacuated from Times Square.

A Pakistani man who got American citizenship decided to kill as many American citizens as possible, because of his radical Muslim beliefs that infidels need eradication.  Nice family guy, I’m sure.

He failed in his attempt to mass murder American citizens, because a military vet used his training well (many years after the fact), and a policeman did his duty.

This story had a happier ending than the first one, because of the training and commitment of those who serve us.

The Amazing Spirit of Enlistees

Last week, I attended an event in the beautiful city of Huntington Beach, California.  It was the second annual “Battle Shark Challenge” hosted by the United States Army.  The Army invited new enlistees from southern California to come to the beach to compete in small groups in such activities as:  push ups, sit ups, tug of war, football, Frisbee, rock wall climbing, a 2 mile run, throwing grenades (fake ones, of course) and carrying a “wounded” soldier through a mine field (blindfolded).

I participated in everything except Frisbee and football.  My team of 6 won the push up and sit up contests, and we also won the activity where you had to carry a “wounded” soldier through a mine field.  Everyone was blindfolded except the leader who had to give instructions.  The first time I played the wounded soldier; the second time I was the leader and we beat the previous best time by over a minute.  We lost the tug of war, and I wasn’t able to throw my grenade further than the closest-in target.  I did the run, however, in less time than that required to qualify for enlisting in the Army, but they still wouldn’t take me!

It was an amazing experience to meet about 1500 young men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line for you and me.  I was impressed by their spirit, tenacity, good humor, self-respect, hard work, and commitment.  These are certainly NOT the types of kids who spend their days on Facebook or Twitter.  You have to be awed by how unique and special they are.

Families came out to show their support, although it was very sad to me when one young woman came up to ask me how to handle her parents, who won’t talk to her since she enlisted.  They didn’t show up for this event either.  Shame on them and shame for them.  They missed an opportunity to see their child elevated in her own spirit and in our eyes.  I told her that I’d be her surrogate mother, and that she now owed me a Mother’s Day card.  We hugged a lot.

Frankly, I just wanted to hug them all.  I AM the proud mother of an American combat infantryman…very proud.  I am saddened for any parent who chooses to shun their child because they’ve made the selfless choice to defend all Americans.

That’s why we have to support them all.  Whenever you see anybody in uniform, shake their hands, buy them lunch, and/or tell them you’re grateful.  It DOES mean a lot to them.

A Kind Gesture for One In Uniform

Since this is the season of giving, I thought I’d share with you a letter I got from an Army Captain who was the recipient of a kind deed from a stranger:

Dr. Laura:
I am an active duty soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.  I am not a regular coffee drinker, but after a week of unusually early mornings and late nights, I pulled into the drive-thru of a popular coffee chain this morning on my way to work in need of a caffeine kick.  As you would expect, I placed my order and waited behind a few cars until it was my turn to pay and go.  When I pulled up to the window, the cashier handed me my cup and informed me that the lady in the car ahead of me had noticed my uniform and graciously paid my tab.

I’ll never be able to thank that lady personally for her kindness, but perhaps she is a listener of yours, and I hope a short note of appreciation can articulate what these kind gestures – no matter how seemingly small – mean to us in the service.  I am always moved by the gratitude and patriotism of strangers, and I never forget a simple word of thanks or the enduring impact that it has. 

Thank you for everything that you do, Dr. Laura, for us in uniform.  I subscribe to your podcast so that I never miss a minute of your wisdom and insight no matter where in the world I find myself these days.

Airborne!
Captain W.

Doing the Right Thing For Our Veterans

I bet there were long lines to get the newest issuance of a video game series called “Call of Duty:  Modern Warfare 2.”  Ordinarily, I would ignore this “news,” because I think spending more than 30 minutes a day playing any video game is a monumental waste of time, and the fast lane to psycho-social problems.

That said, I hope everyone buys one of these games as soon as possible.  If you care, the reviews for this latest title in the series are glowing, and in particular praise the “realism.”

But from “realism,” we get to reality.  Activision Blizzard, the company behind the game, is using the proceeds from the sale of Modern Warfare 2 to fund organizations that provide veterans with job training and placement. 

There are more than a half million unemployed veterans living in the United States.  For soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines making the transition back into civilian life, funding job training and placement are important and earned considerations.

Call of Duty Endowment (or CODE), Activision Blizzard’s non-profit benefit corporation’s first grant is $125,000 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, to help build a new vocational services center in Boston.  CODE’s directors say they hope to raise millions more for such projects.

I look at this as a video game company doing the right thing by servicing those glorified on their highly profitable videos:  we glorify fighting men and women; we honor them when they fall; now, one video company exploiting those realities to make a huge profit is honoring them in their need.

Bravery in the Face of Home Grown Terrorism

Two recent acts of bravery bring up a clear point:

1.  A nine year old boy in a Southern town was in the passenger seat of his parents’ car with three siblings all under the age of three in the back.  His mother darted into a convenience store, and a huge man (who was lurking nearby) jumped into the driver’s seat, i.e., it was a car-jacking in the works.  The nine year old had the courage and the presence of mind not to be “politically correct” which would have meant sitting quietly and obeying an adult.  Nope, not at all.  This kid grabbed the car keys and held them tight to his right side.  The would-be carjacker hit the boy’s head against the passenger door in an attempt to get the keys, and failed as the boy was resolute.  As the boy said later, “I didn’t want my family to be taken.”  The car-jacker ran from the car, fell, and was apprehended by police who had been called from the convenience store.

2.  A young female (of course I’m proud) civilian police officer stopped an Army officer from continuing his murders of Fort Hood soldiers by standing up to him and shooting him numerous times while being shot three times herself.  Unfortunately, except for military police (MPs) and civilian police, soldiers on a base do not carry weapons, and are, therefore, sitting ducks for the murderous rampage of “one of their own.”  As it turns out, by all media reports, the history of this so-called American Army officer was clearly one of a terrorist. 

There was a history of his radical Muslim ideology.  Reports against him had been made, but political correctness ruled the day.  Because he had worshipped at a mosque with a radical imam who allegedly had made contact with two of the 9/11 hijackers and had written on the Internet Muslim extremist comments (which, I understand, included a defense of suicide bombers), had tried to indoctrinate patients and his school mates even complained about the political leanings of his class assignments and so much more, was no reason, many authorities have said, to assume he was a home-grown terrorist.  That political correctness caused the death of 13 and serious injury to dozens.  Never mind the fear it has generated on bases around the country and the world where the bullet or bomb can come from the “inside.”

Instead of facing this threat (and please do remember the plots that were foiled against other military bases on American soil in the past several years), we are being told not to “jump to conclusions.”  Well, without jumping to the correct conclusions in a timely manner, hanging on instead to political correctness (meaning that no one should criticize or profile), our military men and women and their families have a good reason to be afraid and angry.  They pay the price.

That nine year old boy didn’t sit complacently and be a “good boy.”  He took charge to protect his own.  We should do the same for our military and their families.  Those who have expressed at any time any philosophy resembling radical Islamic hate should be marginalized, scrutinized, put under surveillance, and supervised.

The first obligation of the American government is not “Cash for Clunkers.”  It’s for the safety of the populace.  The morale of our military took a large hit when they discovered that they were not safe from worldwide terrorists at their own desks. 

Dump all that “PTSD by proxy” nonsense.  Look at the truth, without which we are neither free nor safe.