Green Berets have growing doubts of duties with skittish political leadership

The Obama administration’s killing or morale and purge of the Green Berets on display:

 

They 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 [sic] 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.”

A snapshot of recent cases:

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.

‘An adverse effect’

The Army is kicking out Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, who was reprimanded for punching and shoving to the ground a commander in the Afghan Local Police. A mother and her 12-year-old son came to the sergeant’s forward operating base and accused the commander of raping the boy and assaulting her.

An Army general reprimanded Sgt. Martland, who nevertheless wants to remain a soldier. But he learned in April that a board had selected him for involuntary separation because of the discipline notation in his service record.

The translator wrote that then-Capt. Danny Quinn, the Green Beret team commander, and his men “were well respected and admired by their Afghan colleagues. Those at the leadership level in Kunduz province respected and appreciated Captain Quinn and his team’s contributions to the stability and the rule of law in Kunduz province.”

The incident and Army discipline prompted Mr. Quinn to quit the Army, he said.

“Cases like these certainly have an adverse effect on a Special Forces soldier’s psyche,” he told The Times. “It creates a mentality of playing not to lose versus playing to win. Soldiers feel like their leadership, lieutenant colonel and above, won’t support them, regardless of what they’ve done in that career to that point and what situation they’re currently in.”

Full article: Green Berets have growing doubts of duties with skittish political leadership (Washington Times)

Comments are closed.