U.S. troops asked to lay down weapons before meeting Panetta at Afghan base

posted at 9:56 pm on March 14, 2012 by Allahpundit

I have a hunch about what happened here but I’m interested in hearing from military readers. Is this SOP when the SecDef or some other bigwig comes to speak to you at a base?

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta landed here Wednesday morning for an unannounced and tense visit, the first by a senior member of the Obama administration since an American soldier reportedly killed 16 Afghan civilians, mostly children and women…

In a sign of the nervousness surrounding Mr. Panetta’s trip, the Marines and other troops who were waiting in a tent for the defense secretary to speak were abruptly asked by their commander to get up, place their weapons — M-16 and M-4 automatic rifles and 9-mm pistols — outside the tent and then return unarmed. The commander, Sgt. Maj. Brandon Hall, told reporters he was acting on orders from superiors.

“All I know is, I was told to get the weapons out,” he said. Asked why, he replied, “Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy; we just adjust.”

When I first read it I thought they were worried that a U.S. soldier might go berserk and try to frag Panetta, as if the rampage last weekend against Afghan civilians had suddenly called the stability of the entire force into question. That would be a terrible insult to American troops — but I don’t think that’s what they were concerned about. More from the AP:

Afghan troops had already been told not to bring their guns in.

“Something has come to light,” Sgt. Maj. Brandon Hall told the troops. It was a highly unusual order, and some in the audience said they had never seen that happen before…

The official said the decision was made out of respect for troops from other countries, such as the Afghans, who are never allowed to bring guns into an event. It was not a request from Panetta or his security team, the official said.

My hunch: They were worried that an Afghan soldier, not an American, might try to kill Panetta, which is a totally reasonable fear. But since they’re desperate to rebuild trust between U.S. and Afghan forces after the Koran-burnings, the subsequent fraggings of American troops, and then the rampage on Sunday, they didn’t want to make their distrust of the Afghans conspicuous. So they decided to lay down a “no guns for anyone” rule to make it seem evenhanded. Could be that they’d also gotten a tip that an attempt on Panetta’s life was planned. According to UK news sources, a suicide bomber made it onto the runway as his plane was landing at a British base this morning and managed to set himself on fire in the attack. (Panetta was unharmed.) If they suspected something was coming but didn’t know how, little wonder that they’d want the guns out of Afghan hands. Disarming the Americans too is simply a smokescreen for that goal.

Or maybe I’m wrong and the White House really does think U.S. troops are, to a man, a rampage risk. In that case, they’d better come home a lot sooner than expected. And according to the NYT, they just might.

Update: A commenter notes that the AP piece says Afghans are never allowed to bring guns into an event like this. Right, but my point is that the White House and NATO are suddenly desperate to rebuild the trust between the two forces that’s been deteriorating over the last month. In the past that was less true so they might have been less sensitive to the implicit insult in saying that Afghans can’t be trusted with guns around an allied official. Disarming everyone, U.S. troops included, is a way to eliminate that slight.

Update: Helmand’s top NATO commander says he wanted to be evenhanded:

General Gurganus told reporters later that he had wanted a consistent policy for everyone in the tent, and that “I wanted to have the Marines look just like their Afghan partners,” noting, “You’ve got one of the most important people in the world in the room.” He insisted that his decision had had nothing to do with the massacre; later, defense officials said the decision had had nothing to do with the truck at the airfield.

An e-mailer makes a good point too. An Afghan soldier could surprise an American soldier by grabbing his sidearm and squeezing off a few shots before he’s taken down. The worry here, again, is the Afghans fragging Panetta, not our own guys.


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Those are extremely naive remarks.
Lourdes on March 15, 2012 at 1:20 AM

No they’re rational remarks when every single thread and every single story no matter what might ACTUALLY be behind it is just twisted into some lazy excuse to flame at whoever is in charge rather than taking a moment and trying to understand or see a larger picture rather than just cue the shallow outrage.

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 1:27 AM

It just came out in this thread. My apologies.

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Don’t apologize. It’s still a free country. If you serve, or if you did, thank you for keeping us free, and stupid.

I’ll explain why I’m outraged, raged, furious, schadenfreudig and apathetic.

Nothing is as it was, from a good standpoint. We are losing our land to a bunch of Hottentotten-like people, the types who know little, but change all things that were good into something they view as progressive/liberal, when it none of the sort.

I will NOT stop to be outraged. I LOVE when it is or comes across as crazy, because my enemies, from outside and within are way crazier and set to destroy all which I hold dear about this once wonderous land. Now, you feel free to do/say anything, and don’t apologize. We’re all free to do so, still.

If you fight for it, then thank you again. We all fight in different ways. Best to you.

Schadenfreude on March 15, 2012 at 1:29 AM

If you fight for it, then thank you again. We all fight in different ways. Best to you.
Schadenfreude on March 15, 2012 at 1:29 AM

Thank you very much, honestly, sincerely, for your adult and even handed approach to ME. I really do appreciate it a very great deal. More than you can know.

That being said, sir, and with respect, I submit that I find a great deal of the rest of your statement NOT dealing with me to be hyperbolic(i.e. overblown)and just over the top. Yeah, someone we disagree with politically is in the White House, I get it. But this just sounds an awful lot like how Liberals did when Bush was in office, portraying every move the country made as some heinous attack on their personal lives and liberty when it absolutely wasn’t. They just didn’t agree with the guy and bought into the rhetorical, purposeful hype put out there by their party and their leaders, that was put out for the sole purpose of saving their electoral skins and getting them rowled up to support them once the next opportunity came around to rebalance the seats of power.

9 times out of 10, I find these, it’s purposeful, they’re out to destroy America, quips to be on the same level of intellectuality of those who railed hyperbolic nothing’s for 8 years at George Bush when reality was much less complicated, much less sinister, and much less evil than they wanted to believe and portray every act through the lens of it being.

Forgive me if you find that distasteful or demeaning of your intelligence. It absolutely was not meant that way. I’m just tired, and this pointless rhetorical game gets out when half of these people will shut right up when the balance of power shifts back and it’s once again their turn to be the ones who do the exact same crap.

Nothing is really different. There has been no radical shift. In fact, it’s shocking how little has actually changed. The only real law passed has been the healthcare law and by god, that was even a republican designed system, not the hair brained radical leftist hope for government controlled single payer. There isn’t even a public option. Nothing has been as crazy, dangerous, or radical as people seem to want to make every single issue out to be.

People just like being angry.

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 1:51 AM

At least that’s my opinion Schadenfreude. And best to you as well. I’d be glad to sit down at a table across from you and debate the topics like men, shake your hand while making eye contact like a man, and have a real debate on issues we agree on to ones we absolutely find ourselves on completely opposite ends of the spectrum on, and think no less of you afterwards if we did.

Your a man, in the philosophical manner rather ththe yet the physiological one, and don’t sound afraid. I respect that. So best to you as well, sir.

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 2:00 AM

…People just like being angry.
Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 1:51 AM

Some may.
Most are just sick of being used as doormats, and for the first time in their life are striking back.

LegendHasIt on March 15, 2012 at 2:01 AM

A couple of points

1) Even if an Afghani soldier was able to grab an American soldier’s weapon, it wouldn’t do him any good. It wouldn’t be loaded and the magazine would not be in the chamber. All American service members are not allowed to have a loaded weapon on base. They might have the weapon at the ready, but the magazine would be in a ammo pouch or a pocket somewhere. The only ones that might have a magazine loaded on the weapon would be pannetta’s own security detail.

2) Sometimes if there is a threat known, but they do not know specifics of the threat, (They have intel pointing at a plot to shoot the Sec of DEF, but don’t know who will or how) the personal security detail will make decisions to try and limit any possible threat.

3) Remember, this place is the same place where that “Trusted” double agent killed several top CIA operatives a few years back with an explosive vest. I would say if they had any intel of a possible threat, they wouldn’t take any chances. By the way Great analisis on this one!
http://hotair.com/archives/2010/01/04/cia-thought-suicide-bomber-who-infiltrated-afghan-base-was-reformed/

bigrichard.small on March 15, 2012 at 2:03 AM

Some may.
Most are just sick of being used as doormats, and for the first time in their life are striking back.
LegendHasIt on March 15, 2012 at 2:01 AM

Great idea. Now if they’d apply some better logic, reasoning, even-handedness, and ability to discern the larger picture rather than just take the bits that can be used supplement that narrow approach to the world and I instantly stop seeing similarities between them and high and mighty liberals who claimed the same crap under bush.

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 2:10 AM

other last point:

4) It is quite possible that some high ranking officer or NCO got spooked and made a rash decision based on absolutely nothing. “Secretary of Defense is here!!! I better look like I’m being very cautious about his wellbeing! Get all the weapons out of the room!!!! (I might even get a picture and a coin from the guy!!!)”

This happens way more than you think it does. Sad but true! Even in the military appearance of competence is way more rewarded than actual competence.

bigrichard.small on March 15, 2012 at 2:16 AM

Those are extremely naive remarks.
Lourdes on March 15, 2012 at 1:20 AM

No they’re rational remarks when every single thread and every single story no matter what might ACTUALLY be behind it is just twisted into some lazy excuse to flame at whoever is in charge rather than taking a moment and trying to understand or see a larger picture rather than just cue the shallow outrage.

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 1:27 AM

I don’t read that people are outraged because they’re being issue-lazy or similar as you allege. I realize you and I haven’t read the same sites (not coordinated, not communicating which and where, etc.).

However, the concern (and subsequent “outrage”) is because this occurred in Afghanistan. It’s location specific. Not “outraged” about a general policy for all troops anywhere, but because of the specific theatre, Afghanistan.

Lourdes on March 15, 2012 at 2:16 AM

Darn you, formatting genie:

Correcting…

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 1:27 AM

I don’t read that people are outraged because they’re being issue-lazy or similar as you allege. I realize you and I haven’t read the same sites (not coordinated, not communicating which and where, etc.).

However, the concern (and subsequent “outrage”) is because this occurred in Afghanistan. It’s location specific. Not “outraged” about a general policy for all troops anywhere, but because of the specific theatre, Afghanistan.

Lourdes on March 15, 2012 at 2:16 AM

Lourdes on March 15, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 2:00 AM

Sorry, Boomer_Sooner, had left the thread and just now read both of your comments.

First, thank you for taking the time to answer.

Hyperbole on my part aside, we disagree on the “nothing has changed”. Obamacare has changed plenty of items, too many to discuss tonight. It’s just one of the changes.

However, much more significant than that, you are right. The land is divided into the 50/50 camps and no matter who will win, the other 50% are going to be in “rageland”.

If you and I can be civilized, and yes, we could debate for hours, agree, disagree, and still be respectful of each other and human, then why can so many not do it? I fear that it will never be a “civilized” land again. The shut Rush up drive has brought out so much. I detest the media for not doing their jobs, for being so lopsided. Every day I read something ridiculous that I didn’t know was humanly possible to be so stupid, than it was the day before.

In any event, it was nice to ‘talk’ to you, and we will continue to do so, likely. Best regards to you.

Schadenfreude on March 15, 2012 at 2:18 AM

An e-mailer makes a good point too. An Afghan soldier could surprise an American soldier by grabbing his sidearm and squeezing off a few shots before he’s taken down. The worry here, again, is the Afghans fragging Panetta, not our own guys.

This is a disgrace to every American soldier past and present who have done their job honorably. This is politics, and anti-gun political tactics. The antigun wingnuts try to use this same mentality, touting ” Gun free zones ” which is supposed to prevent gun crime. It does not work on the battlefields, and it does not work in society in general. Just look at ShitCago, and D.C. Those places are ” gun free ” too, and we see daily how that has worked out.

TX-96 on March 15, 2012 at 2:20 AM

Wasn’t the requirement of the Marines to be unarmed in Beirut back in 1983, (for similar reasons) a significant factor in the successful bombing of the barracks and the deaths/injuries of those many Marines? Will we never learn?

This sounds like another apology from the White House, doesn’t it?

JeffVader on March 15, 2012 at 3:12 AM

What the hell are we doing there?

JohnGalt23 on March 15, 2012 at 3:16 AM

This topic is pathetic, as is what it is about.
No, it’s NOT common. It’s ‘common’ with Democrats.
5mins with google will show you plenty of GOP Presidents, VPs, cabinet officials up to their necks in groups of our troops in combat zones WITH their weapons.

This crud happens when a political general or senior enlisted gets nervous, or when some divisive Democrat turd comes near.

And it’s a sad reflection on the hosts and commenters here that this isn’t known already. And that more vets haven’t come forward to say so (or aren’t even present in the readership). Likewise the proprietor’s question betraying his own removal from understanding of what goes on in the military. THAT particular schism – between a nation and its military volunteers / culture – is killing this nation just as surely as anything else.

rayra on March 15, 2012 at 3:23 AM

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hillbillyjim on March 15, 2012 at 3:49 AM

blah blah blah Obama is evil and hates the troops blah blah blah u guys never disappoint

DBear on March 15, 2012 at 4:07 AM

Look, I agree with much of what you wrote prior to this, but don’t attack AP. He’s incredibly respectful of the military, and solicited input from veteran commenters on the issue. He could have simply typed his thoughts and moved on, but he attempted to conduct a thorough analysis in good faith.

You’re welcome to disagree with his conclusions, but you’re not welcome to claim that AP’s lack of military knowledge is part of the problems we have in this country.

blink on March 15, 2012 at 3:36 AM

I agree. Hotair in general is very respectful to the military..And he received input from several people who have been in the military. It also shows a certain amount of open thinking that maybe Panetta’s crew had the best intentions. I don’t think they do, but at least Hotair tries to make logical arguments against the Obama administration rather than going off the cuff and emotionally attacking them much like we see at Huffington/Kos et. al.

That being said, my husband having served under Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama- we will take a Republican CinC ANYDAYS and twice on Sunday over a Democrat!

melle1228 on March 15, 2012 at 4:08 AM

blah blah blah Obama is evil and hates the troops blah blah blah u guys never disappoint

DBear on March 15, 2012 at 4:07 AM

You’re welcome.

hillbillyjim on March 15, 2012 at 4:12 AM

blah blah blah Obama is evil and hates the troops blah blah blah u guys never disappoint

DBear on March 15, 2012 at 4:07 AM

We really need a higher standard of troll to class up this place..These idiots aren’t even trying anymore :)

melle1228 on March 15, 2012 at 4:15 AM

blah blah blah Hot Air is evil and hates Obama blah blah blah u never disappoint, DBear.

blink on March 15, 2012 at 4:15 AM

We really need a higher standard of troll to class up this place..These idiots aren’t even trying anymore :)

melle1228 on March 15, 2012 at 4:15 AM

My question is this:

Does the “D” in “DBear” stand for “douche” or “Dickford”???

I’m going with Dickford, but I’m open to suggestions.

hillbillyjim on March 15, 2012 at 4:26 AM

I generally resist the temptation to post when I’m angry, so I waited. I’m a long serving member of the NYPD and many of the BEST people that I’ve worked with have been former Marines. I have deep respect for these people and their organizations.

That being said, this story is DISCRACEFUL.

Tomolena1 on March 15, 2012 at 4:28 AM

Tomolena1 on March 15, 2012 at 4:28 AM

Thank you for your service, and for your very appropriate words for our warriors.

hillbillyjim on March 15, 2012 at 4:31 AM

My question is this:

Does the “D” in “DBear” stand for “douche” or “Dickford”???

I’m going with Dickford, but I’m open to suggestions.

hillbillyjim on March 15, 2012 at 4:26 AM

I was thinking dumbass, but both of yours work too-lol

melle1228 on March 15, 2012 at 4:31 AM

I was thinking dumbass, but both of yours work too-lol

melle1228 on March 15, 2012 at 4:31 AM

I think you nailed it.

hillbillyjim on March 15, 2012 at 4:33 AM

An Afghan soldier could surprise an American soldier by grabbing his sidearm and squeezing off a few shots before he’s taken down.

So instead, as in most gun-free zones, he can take out dozens if he manages to get one in.

Ronnie on March 15, 2012 at 4:44 AM

Way late to this thread, but I can imagine the emotions this roiled up.. My service was peace time, cold war, but stateside.. I was an SP, ground combat specialist assigned nuclear weapons storage faciality at FE Warren AFB.. I did a secondary volunteer position on EST Emergency Services Team.. our varient of civilian SWAT. President Reagan came to visit in 81 to campaign for something, and as Laremie County didn’t have enough deputies, the Secret Service pulled 200 SP’s from the base to guard his motorcade route.. handguns were issued. EST was given 4 areas to post as heavy fire support to the Secret Service, in the remotest event they should need it. We were briefed and temporarily reassigned to the Secret Service, and under their control. and we were sitting on vantage points along Ron’s route, and yes, we were issued our standard light infantry weapons, sidearms, M-16′s, M-203′s and 40mm HE grenades, this was in 1981..

I can’t say with any confidence I know what the current SOP in a war zone is, I’m pretty dated. I do know, that they were in no way afraid to issue us standard automatic weapons in close range to the president himself in my time.. I also know that the last year of Carter’s reign of error, troops were disrespected, both in tone, and in directives almost designed to insult us. Carter’s Sec Def actually attempted to set guidelines to never travel in uniform, within the US itself, because after Vietnam, too many liberal freaks,.. people, were disgusted by the sight of an American uniform..

just sayin…

This might be a low level officer’s doing, might not, we may never know for certain, just that it sends a message to the troops, they aren’t trusted anymore.

and I have some experiences with that.

I’ll not say too much other than that, unless we find out more.

mark81150 on March 15, 2012 at 6:13 AM

This is a glimpse into the future of the Hussein Regime. They fear the military because their oath is to the Constitution, not them.

If someone named mohammed had opened up, it would have served Panetta right. Except soldiers would have been helpless too.

wildcat72 on March 15, 2012 at 6:18 AM

This was a sudden spontaneous order, not SOP. The troops were allowed into the tent armed and then abruptly told to disarm. The cover story about not insulting the Afghans is just that.

How many times do trusted partners have to commit an ambush before one decides that trust is an unaffordable luxury? Just asking.

dogsoldier on March 15, 2012 at 6:44 AM

I have seen it several ways. I have walked by Condi Rice as she deplanes at BIAP while I’m carrying a full combat load. George W. had a CONUS event in Ft Sam Houston where the soldiers in the stands behind him were required to have security clearances and Pass through a metal detector. I even hosted a bridge opening in Sher Khan Bandar that connects Afghanistan to Tajikistan (in my estimate the bridge is why northern afg is becoming unstable…) to which pres’s Rahmon and Karzai were present. The Special Forces that provided security ordered all other forces (NATO event, 8 militaries played a part) including US to not bring weapons.

The stated reason: they wanted no weapons at the event which they do not control. Stated like that by a special forces operator…completely reasonable. Panetta’s team just needs to borrow that line next time to make the soldiers shut up about it.

Noe the thing has mushroomed out of control where the administration sacrifices it’s original intent for political reasons at home. It’s fine they wanted all militaries to feel equal BUT if it is that important, you eat the fallout from back home. All these public announcements do now is emphasize that these militaries are not equal.

They have achieved fallout at home plus a big FU to our partners. Smart diplomacy!

sgmstv on March 15, 2012 at 6:45 AM

The reasoning apparently was that the Afghans were asked to do the same thing. Can’t have the sec def fragged by one of the tribals. And to avoid offense they had the US forces do the same thing.

The situation is out of control.

Karmashock on March 15, 2012 at 6:52 AM

My hunch: They were worried that an Afghan soldier, not an American, might try to kill Panetta, which is a totally reasonable fear.

I think you’re mistaken, Allahpundit. I think there is palatable fear in the administration towards U.S. troops.

zoyclem on March 15, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Forget the official narrative. It’s BS.

The cammies I saw on TV belonged to Marines. They men and women who pride themselves for “semper fi.” This was an insult to them not a panacea for Afghani feelings.

The Marxist in the White House is no doubt aware of Salvador Allende, and how that regime ended up.

I really think that given the recent events in Afghanistan and murders of 6 US troops, the cutting of combat pay, the Tri-Care premium hikes, the planned dismemberment of ground combat forces, that the Administration hacks are scared to death that there might be a Pinochet moment coming, even though the word “mutiny” has never been part of the Marines lexicon.

Despite Obama’s obvious attempt to make us a 3rd world banana republic, we aren’t there, and neither is our military. The reason that we don’t fear a military take over is that our military is loyal; loyal to the Constitution, loyalty to the country, and not a tool of a self-styled “man on a horse.”

To even hint that the SecDef cannot be among Marines under arms is not only an insult to them, but an insult to us all. And if the Afghanis’ feelings are hurt, tough. One of theirs, shot two of ours while sitting, unarmed, at their desks in their Ministry.

georgej on March 15, 2012 at 7:24 AM

If I was a politician visiting Afghanistan I would feel a heck of a lot SAFER in a room filled with armed Marines than disarmed ones.

Personally, I think this is insulting to the Marines there- whatever the reason behind it, it sends a message to the men present that the SecDef doesn’t trust them.

And being even-handed to the Afghans present is a lame excuse in my book- Afghan forces have proved time and again they can’t be trusted but these are US Marines we’re talking about, men and women who have volunteered to go into harms way for their country. The simple fact of the matter is that they deserve to be treated BETTER than the Afghans there, not the same as them. They are fighting, and risking being maimed and killed, for America. Show them some RESPECT. Don’t treat them like potential assassins because it might hurt the feelings of Afghan troops.

Jay Mac on March 15, 2012 at 7:28 AM

My take.

kingsjester on March 15, 2012 at 7:30 AM

what? take my weapon away in a combat zone? If I have to give it up then I guess I’d rather just stay in my bunk. I’d rather have an hr of sleep anyway.

BadBrad on March 15, 2012 at 7:45 AM

what? take my weapon away in a combat zone? If I have to give it up then I guess I’d rather just stay in my bunk. I’d rather have an hr of sleep anyway.

BadBrad on March 15, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Is ordering a soldier to disarm himself in a COMBAT ZONE a legal order?

wildcat72 on March 15, 2012 at 7:47 AM

This is the typical Liberal mindset writ small.

There is a chance that a criminal might have a gun, so law-abiding people should not be allowed to have guns. That way, if a criminal starts shooting, the law-abiding people won’t be able to defend themselves or others.

KyMouse on March 15, 2012 at 7:48 AM

This is the typical Liberal mindset writ small.

There is a chance that a criminal might have a gun, so law-abiding people should not be allowed to have guns. That way, if a criminal starts shooting, the law-abiding people won’t be able to defend themselves or others.

KyMouse on March 15, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Well, liberals have a fantasy delusional view of the power of their beloved government. They think that setting up a “gun free zone” means that all weapons will just MAGICALLY disappear: because GOVERNMENT wills it.

It never crosses their mind that people who aren’t law abiding and who have ill intent will just ignore their law. They believe government, because it’s government is truly divine and all powerful.

This is why civil disobedience, when we in the conservative majority end up being forced to employ it against the encroaching Super State, will be so devastating a weapon to use against them.

wildcat72 on March 15, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012

Dude, this is hotair.com. Isn’t a primary purpose of this site is to rage against the Marxist, traitorous, scumbag dictator-in-chief and (anonymously) let off steam. Sure, some of it is hyperbolic, but some blows land cleanly. When have the bloggers in charge not generally encouraged this type of commentary? The guy who was banned earlier was banned for his swearing and not the nature of his comments, which he has made for years, right?

If this offends your delicate sensibility, then there are other places to capitulate to the Leftists in a more “even-handed” manner…maybe Frumforum.

sauldalinsky on March 15, 2012 at 8:00 AM

The worry here, again, is the Afghans fragging Panetta, not our own guys.

I don’t want Panetta to be hurt or killed; just to be flushed with every other dingleberry that Turdboy has foisted on us and left to enjoy their retirement in ignominy. That said, since every appointee of SCOAMF exists only to do his bidding, not the Constitutions, it really doesn’t matter who’s in the position. They are all interchangeable and easily replaced by the next Obama-a$$-kisser in line.

swinia sutki on March 15, 2012 at 8:33 AM

A large assembly of American Troops in a the middle of a war zone. Unarmed.

What could possibly go wrong?

FineasFinn on March 15, 2012 at 8:33 AM

Can you say “Virginia Tech gun-free zone?”

ex Dem from Miami on March 15, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Panetta should stay home if he’s that effing scared. Do a video conference if he wants to speak to the troops and save us the expense of the plane trip. What a load of PC crap.

Kissmygrits on March 15, 2012 at 8:51 AM

So what do they use to stop an Afghan who sneaks in weapons?

Ukiah on March 14, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Harsh language??

Bitter Clinger on March 14, 2012 at 10:14 PM

LOL!

Ukiah on March 15, 2012 at 8:53 AM

NO! You do NOT disarm Marines in a war zone. NEVER. If you’re concerned about this former White House scheduling secretary turned Secretary of Defense…I’ll NEVER get that! Do ‘qualifications’ mean NOTHING to liberals?…then keep your little pet at home. But you do NOT disarm Marines in a war zone. That’s been tried and done and the result tends to be disasterous. Further, you do it once, you’ll do it again and next time, your enemies will be waiting.

And the thing is, these guys didn’t show up to this little ‘show’ voluntarily. They were ordered to. So, basically, it was, “Come to this thing and be part of the crowd so that it can look like he’s got something to contribute and leave your weapon at the door.”

Ticks me OFF!! Geezus I hate these pansy little posers!

PorchDawg on March 15, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Shameful! I’m so glad I’m not in any longer.

claudius on March 15, 2012 at 9:10 AM

This might be a low level officer’s doing, might not, we may never know for certain, ….

mark81150 on March 15, 2012 at 6:13 AM
-
We now know for certain – It was General “Mark” Gurganus who gave the order.
-
BTW Panetta was not the most important person in the “room”, it was all the American/British service men present.

diogenes on March 15, 2012 at 9:11 AM

People just like being angry.

Boomer_Sooner on March 15, 2012 at 1:51 AM

Yes, this is true,that some are anger junkies, but some see the situation for what it is. Certainly the chain of command is necessary for order and I have a great appreciation for that as well. But,with all due respect to our men and women in uniform,I have bad news for you. Mr.Panetta just isn’t that important. The decisions made by he and Obama in the WH and Pentagon are those of amateurs and have led the military to this point. They are failures.

Atrocities are something I’ve become familiar with, but will never become used to in this administrations term and the American people should put a sharp end to the inept Obama Presidency at the ballot box in ’12.

Obama is a complete foreign relations failure in the ME. He squandered a golden opportunity in Egypt with his complete lack of understanding of the situation there with the Saudi’s and now with Assad.

He was so incapable couldn’t even make the right deals with our military in place to get the oil for the taking in Iraq. The man and his minions are worthless.

Smartest President ever ? Hardly. Totally and utterly out of his depth.

DevilsPrinciple on March 15, 2012 at 9:16 AM

BTW Panetta was not the most important person in the “room”, it was all the American/British service men present.

diogenes on March 15, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Amen, diogenes. Amen.

DevilsPrinciple on March 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM

I was on a forum and a Viet vet and Gulf War vet said this is standard procedure.

Personally I don’t know…

voiceofreason on March 14, 2012 at 10:02 PM

According to my husband, he served in Viet Nam, when we were withdrawing troops from areas of the country and turning the security over to South Viet Nam there were “safe zones”. When in these “safe zones” or traveling through them, he ran supply convoys, only officers carried loaded weapons. All other troops carried weapons but did not have ammunition loaded. Even the machine guns were not loaded, they did have ammunition handy.
These zones were supposedly safe. Just guess how well that worked out when a bullet came through a canvas covered truck. And guess what, they did get fired at.

LynnB74 on March 15, 2012 at 9:23 AM

This morning on Drudge:

* Afghan president wants U.S. troops out of villages…
* US moves massacre soldier to Kuwait;Afghans furious..
* Thousands protest, chant anti-American slogans…
* Taliban suspends peace talks with U.S….
* Obama Fills Out NCAA Basketball Bracket…

diogenes on March 15, 2012 at 9:24 AM

This morning on Drudge:

* Afghan president wants U.S. troops out of villages…
* US moves massacre soldier to Kuwait;Afghans furious..
* Thousands protest, chant anti-American slogans…
* Taliban suspends peace talks with U.S….
* Obama Fills Out NCAA Basketball Bracket…

diogenes on March 15, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Unemployment is 35% in Afghanistan, those are not employed Afghan’s rioting. If it’s spring time in Afghanistan a young jihadi – gun for hire, turns out of his cave for fighting season. I think Joe Biden used the 80% figure for the Taliban’s foot soldiers “guns for hire” Biden said, they were unemployed, and they were Taliban foot soldiers, because the Taliban are the only game in town. Joe Biden stated, he believed we could buy off a lot of the Taliban foot soldiers to reduce the Taliban’s numbers.

Dr Evil on March 15, 2012 at 9:42 AM

This is what we did in Vietnam and the Guld War? Who gives a sh*t? Have we learned nothing since then? Um, didn’t we lose that first war? Yeah, let’s try all that again! Does Beirut and about 300 dead Marines mean anything to these people? If you don’t feel safe amongst your own Marines Mr. Secretary, stay the heck out. As for me, I know that if you are an American, there is no safer place on the face of the Earth than in amongst a pack of U.S. Marines…even in a war zone.

PorchDawg on March 15, 2012 at 9:47 AM

The dramatic request, which Karzai’s office said was made during a meeting with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, would — if accepted — essentially end the US combat role just as the annual Taliban spring offensive begins, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Should read melodramatic request from Karzai LOL!

Dr Evil on March 15, 2012 at 9:52 AM

1) Even if an Afghani soldier was able to grab an American soldier’s weapon, it wouldn’t do him any good. It wouldn’t be loaded and the magazine would not be in the chamber. All American service members are not allowed to have a loaded weapon on base. They might have the weapon at the ready, but the magazine would be in a ammo pouch or a pocket somewhere. The only ones that might have a magazine loaded on the weapon would be pannetta’s own security detail.

bigrichard.small on March 15, 2012 at 2:03 AM

Amber bases have magazines loaded but no round in the chamber.

Unless I was doing it wrong when I was overseas. ; )

BadgerHawk on March 15, 2012 at 10:11 AM

My apologies in advance if I repeat other posts; I’m too short on time to post all of my own thoughts on this , much less read all previous postings. Some thoughts;
-In another thread, I had posted that some people will justify anything. To legitimize some of these justifications with “to be fair”, or to give benefit of the doubt when and where it is not earned is not helpful, even with the best intentions.This situation is BS. How it was handled is BS. Some of the reasons/excuses given are even more BS- period.Another side effect is that this admin has handed another propaganda coup to our enemies; something this admin is very adept at.
-’The marines needed to be disarmed to prevent an Afghan from grabbing one of their weapons and getting off a few rounds’.This presupposes,
A)marines are stupid and oblivious to their surroundings, and
B)the act of relieving one of them and ‘getting off a few rounds’ is on a scale of ease with taking something off the jackass at the end of the bar who’s had a dozen or so shots of whiskey.
As someone who served over ten years in the USMC- 0311 infantry and force recon- I can say with total confidence that you’d have a better chance of seeing Jesus dancing down the middle of main street singing show tunes and wearing nothing but a top hat and a smile than either of the above happening.
JeffVader; I was in Beirut- before, during, and after the bombing- and yes, it’s true. Don’t know if I still have it somewhere, but we were issued ROE cards. No mags in rifles, only return same type of fire, etc. We’ve learned nothing. As the demotivational poster with the cat and eagle says, “This is going to end very badly, and you’ll have no one but yourself to blame”.
Gotta run, a good day to all.

mc4ever59 on March 15, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Oh, forgot the example to my first point, about a propaganda tool for the enemy. Next Taliban statement:
“You see?!!! We told you the American troops are crazed murderers sent here on a crusade to kill muslims and destroy islam! Not even their own leadership trusts them!”
Now I really gotta run. Keep fightin’ the good fight.

mc4ever59 on March 15, 2012 at 10:18 AM

As a scout pilot during three Iraq tours anytime we had a dignitary show up at our FOB I always had to fly perimeter security so I’m not sure what the guys on the ground were doing. I know I was still heavily armed.

I do know that in 1995 Clinton came to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and we spent two painful days in extreme heat practicing to look like good little soldiers and on the day of we were all required to place large zip ties into the breeches of our weapons.

I did get to see Bob Hope so that was cool.

CVMA-Dredd on March 15, 2012 at 10:34 AM

If we wanted to make the Afghans feel more respected, wouldn’t the thing to do be to let them be armed, too? Seems to me all we did was equate our Marines’ trustworthiness to the Afghans’.

My own experience (’60s-’70s) in the military was that there were plenty of senior officers around for whom disrespecting the troops was a no-brainer, especially for sucking-up purposes.

PersonFromPorlock on March 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Last Time, I promise. Trust?

Bmore on March 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Occasionally a Muslim in the American ranks murders his “comrades” or even his superiors. That’s a possible concern.

David Blue on March 15, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Cowards who fear their own forcces/ You bet. I do not believe it was a decision by the Marine to stack arms. When civilian leadership visit a combat base, they should do it within the context of the base. Marines stay armed and ready. They are the profession of arms and must be relied upon. Our leadership are gutless. I suspect they are feeling dispuised.

StevC on March 15, 2012 at 11:06 AM

blink on March 15, 2012 at 2:48 AM

Sorry if this has already been answered. But I would bet his name “Boomer_Sooner” is a reference to the University of Oklahoma.

maables on March 15, 2012 at 11:10 AM

My hubby was in Afghanistan 6 years ago. The state governor came to visit. We have pics of hubby and gov cozied up WITH THE WEAPON–wouldn’t have occurred to anyone to disarm the good guys!!
WTF?? (and I don’t mean Win The Future!)

redgypsy on March 15, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I am reminded of a similar event. In the 80′s Reagan was to give a speech marking the reopening of the Statue of Liberty in NYC. This was to be given on a Coast Guard base on Governors Island. The secret service was demanding the CG remove all CG personnel from enlisted housing high rises overlooking the venue. The Admiral in charge in some respectful pushback, noted that this should not be necessary. Reagan, not afraid of USCG personnel or their families, told the Secret Service to back off and the issue was resolved…

Too bad our current politicians and their minions are not as brave.

JIMV on March 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I can understand the Obama Regime’s reticence at having armed troops anywhere near any one of their precious dignitaries. They are so unpopular with the soldiers that they can never be certain whether an armed reception is an honor guard or a firing squad.

MaiDee on March 15, 2012 at 1:08 PM

This crap isn’t happening with just Obama. I recall that during Clinton’s Reign Of Terror our military were disarmed every time Clinton visited a military base.

I asked a retired VADM whom I know, when did the brass lose their b*lls to the extent that they would order Marines, soldiers and sailors to disarm any time a politician visits their bases (especially in a war zone)?

He replied “who said they ever had any?” (referring to the brass’s cojones). And then he said “did you ever notice that it’s only Democrat politicians who feel afraid of our military?”

CatchAll on March 15, 2012 at 1:21 PM

I also recall that the Geheim Staats Polizei disarmed the German troops every time their boy Adolf gave a speech to them. And the GRU disarmed Soviet troops every time their boy Josef Vissarionovich Dzugashvili spoke to them.

Democrats, National Socialists and Bolshevik Socialists – under the skin they’re all the same.

CatchAll on March 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I can understand the Obama Regime’s reticence at having armed troops anywhere near any one of their precious dignitaries. They are so unpopular with the soldiers that they can never be certain whether an armed reception is an honor guard or a firing squad.

MaiDee on March 15, 2012 at 1:08 PM

This was over the top a bit I think. If I may, this doesn’t give the loyalty of our Armed Forces much credit nor much credit for civility. And no one really ought to be even hinting at this scenario even in humor.

hawkdriver on March 15, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Hawkdriver–This thread is dead but I can’t leave your snide comments unanswered.You sound more like Soledad O’Brien than a ‘Hot Air’ blogger. You’re too uptight. Go out. Mess up your hair. Get drunk. Get laid. But, above all, stop sounding like a REMF.

MaiDee on March 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Disarming the troops in a theater of war is possibly the most outrageous act ever, and for only the Defense Secretary is even worse. Had I been there, I would have refused to attend, and there’s not a damn thing anyone could do about it. Even more, had I been the CO I would most definitely have refused the order. We would then see if the court of public opinion would support this admin, or the commander. It doesn’t matter how safe they believed the compound would be when you have Afghan soldiers turning on the people trying to help them. Was it that long ago when they executed two US officers with shots to the back of their heads that no one remembers?

I’m so happy my military days are behind me. I couldn’t serve under this President, or be his puppet for re-election.

stacman on March 15, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Sorry Allahpundit, I think you’re way off on this one. Giving this President the benefit of the doubt on anything after the past 3 years is (shall we be PC?) irresponsible, at best.

If something (anything) were to happen, no matter what it was or who it was against, it would be the public relations nightmare of the past two centuries. The war supporters would hate Obozo, the war Hippocrates would hate Obozo, the stupid people with their heads in the sand would hate Obozo. Well, you get the picture. Guaranteed defeat in November.

I’d rather our personnel over there fighting the war be armed AT ALL TIMES. A rogue Afghanie, or even military person would kill more people if they were unarmed than they would (if any) if the person next to him has a weapon.

stacman on March 15, 2012 at 4:02 PM

But, above all, stop sounding like a REMF.

MaiDee on March 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Whoa boy. Easy there, little horsey.

BadgerHawk on March 15, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Hawkdriver–This thread is dead but I can’t leave your snide comments unanswered.You sound more like Soledad O’Brien than a ‘Hot Air’ blogger. You’re too uptight. Go out. Mess up your hair. Get drunk. Get laid. But, above all, stop sounding like a REMF.

MaiDee on March 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM

If that was snide, how about you consider taking your own advise, Fobbit.

hawkdriver on March 15, 2012 at 5:22 PM

MaiDee on March 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM

And …

I’ll put my downrange time up against anything you want to compare it to. To include someone else’s downrange time if you need to borrow some.

hawkdriver on March 15, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Hawkdriver FODA

MaiDee on March 15, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Hawkdriver FODA

MaiDee on March 15, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Your comment was over the top. I wasn’t snide when I referred to it. You want to let this descend down into a classless exchange? Fine.

I’ve read your comments before and actually liked your no prisoners brand of dealing with libs here and especially trolls. But I’m not one of them.

Your comment was over the top.

hawkdriver on March 15, 2012 at 6:15 PM

And I think you meant, FOAD.

hawkdriver on March 15, 2012 at 6:16 PM

The Bush Administration never took weapons away from Troops when they visited them in a combat zone. This isn’t the first time for the Obama Administration to take weapons away in a combat zone. I’m pretty sure when Obama visited troops in Iraq they did it. Someone would say, well it’s the president.

How many kings in history went into battle beside their Soldiers?

LordJack on March 16, 2012 at 1:34 AM

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