Tuesday, March 20, 2012


--Fit for Active Service (1916-17),
George Grosz

Why are the Americans sending
mentally unfit people to war?

--Taliban press release

--They say that I am the lord of war,
but perhaps it is you.

--I believe it's "warlord."

-- Thank you, but I prefer it my way.

--Lord of War

For days and nights they battled
the Bantu to their knees

They killed to earn their living

and to help out the Congolese

--Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,

Warren Zevon


The most common propaganda statement from the Phony War on Terror (
PWOT ©) is that our soldiers are fighting for our freedoms. These freedoms presumably include the right of free press and the knowledge of what our troops are doing or not doing, in a general and non-sabotaging way.

After an extraordinary six-day blackout of public information by the Pentagon, Reuters and Fox News reported the name of the soldier who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan, SSG Robert Bales.

After SSG Bales's identity was revealed on 16 March, various news outlets have tried to fill in the blanks regarding what happened. From Small Town Ohio to Afghanistan (18 Mar 12) was a good personal interest story on SSG Bales from the New York Times; Voice of America did another profile HERE and Army Times reports today that Bales's attorney says his client, now being held in Ft. Leavenworth, recalls little of shooting spree.

Bales had been diagnosed with "mild" Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and possible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by Joint Base Lewis-McChord, "The most troubled base in the U.S. military" according to Stars and Stripes magazine. But Lewis-McChord has been accused in the past of downgrading and dismissing probable PTSD diagnoses in order to facilitate troops return to active duty.
The Times also reports that during his deployments, Bales lost part of a foot

SSG Bales, 38, had been injured twice in combat over the course of four deployments, three in Iraq and the latest in the dangerous Panjwai district of Kandahar Province, long a hotbed of Taliban activity. The NYT reports the day before his killing rampage, Bales saw his buddy's leg blown off by a buried land mine. Bales' lawyer, John Henry Browne, said Bales considered his current posting “'grueling,' noting that the soldiers lived in metal cargo containers."

If SSG Bales had TBI, then why was he redeployed and carrying a combat MOS with rifle attached? Are we so desperate for deployable bodies that we send people into combat with psychological problems? More than the events of the early morning of 11 Mar, Ranger questions the chain or command that would send wounded personnel back into the breach, and that without proper oversight.

At the lowest level of leadership Ranger has always stressed the "buddy system" in which every soldier has a habitual partner with whom to team up. This might have prevented a scenario such as that of SSG Bales, but it presumes that the "buddies" are sane and sound, as well. The recent Marine pissing episode and the SS banner insignia suggest a negative leadership versus a negligent leadership environment.

A core question: Why are non-elite units tasked to provide support to Special Operations Forces (SOF)? Since the advent of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and their $6 Billion unclassified budget that also funds gray and black operations, this is a serious concern.

The entire purpose of JSOC/SOCOM is to create a separate command structure for shooters and support, so why are guys like SSG Bales thrown into the mix? This problem far outstrips the actions of Bales alone.

Why was the shooter not spotted before he committed his alleged activities? The Army is a culture of violence that is restrained only with soldierly values developed over the last 500 years, values which include a respect for life. The rules of war respect these strictures and guide soldiers both in their individual and institutional lives.

However, in recent years these soldierly values have been subsumed and subverted by a lizard-brained warrior concept anchored in behaviors of distant pasts. When we institutionally convert our soldiers into warriors, why are surprised when they act as such? Massacring 16 people was a warrior event, yet we hypocritically act surprised when it happens.

The military and a collusive press and citizenry can assume responsibility for SSG Bales's murders, since "going tribal" is what warriors do.

If our soldiers are warriors than our President is a warlord, and he should rescind his Nobel Peace Prize. (The arch Republicans should enjoy the analogizing of Obama to
people like Congolese warlord
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, whom the war crimes court at The Hague recently found found guilty of using child soldiers, a charge not too far off the mark.) Warrior kings do not wear peace medallions.

Everybody in the chain of command, from the President to the FNG (fucking new guy) to the PFC (Private First Class) is a part of this travesty.

Warriorhood is a losing concept unless one is a fascist or national socialist; the term did not work very well for them, anyway. Maybe we have adopted the term warrior as a kind of overkill, cover-up label, since the since the
PWOT © is not aimed at military threats, after all.

Just call me an old soldier, since I never was and never would answer to the term, warrior.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous William Ranger Hazen said...

FYI Bales is not a white Knight...and the Media is not just writing puff pieces about him...


William Ranger Hazen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 2:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I would never call this SSG a white knight, or any kinda knight.
Pls remember that i wrote this art 3 days ago, and the press is now on it a bit tighter.
This whole scenario is a nightmare that seems inexplicable.
Since both of us always cross swords with Socnet one must wonder what part the SOF assets played, or didn't play in this event.
It's a sad day for all involved.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 3:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A core question: Why are non-elite units tasked to provide support to Special Operations Forces (SOF)?

My son is just an ordinary 1st Lt with a castle on his collar, but he going to be attached to a special forces unit in Afghanistan starting this June. He tells me he won't even be doing engineering work as I assumed he would be.

I ask him what and why and he just responded that "the army is fucked up, that's why."


Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 3:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous William Ranger Hazen said...

SOF basically runs the Afgan War Jim. :) that being said they had no part in this...On the other hand charges about SOF using torture and harsh conditions for POW's have persisted for years and since most all of their Mission Profiles are Classified... We'll never know and if you bring it up You always get the "We're not as bad as the Taliban" argument. History has never been kind to any occupying Army even American Ones...My bet is sadly our Army will end up as broken as it was in the decade after Vietnam in terms of morale...And the SOF Professional Soldier Class will suffer too.

1 in 3 woman soldiers suffer Sexual Trauma/Harassment. Disciplinary Actions are at historic highs, Morale is low and will go lower PTSD cases number in the tens of thousands and we still got over a year to go.

William Ranger Hazen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 5:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous William Ranger Hazen said...

A great commentary on Bales from the most experienced War Correspondent of the last 10 years. Yes he also has PTSD.


William Ranger Hazen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 8:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Blakenator said...

The real question continues to be "Just exactly WHY are we still here?" Maybe the GTFO crowd will get some traction. This latest episode is a little too personal for the PR flacks to spin. If only it had been a drone, they wish. Sadly, the people responsible for this are also the ones in charge and they aren't about to charge themselves with anything. In fact, they will hand out awards to each other for the wonderful deeds they have performed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 12:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Nobody but small fry will ever be sacrificed to the green machine.
Like Abu Ghraib.
As you may note- the Marines got away with the pissing incident. It's been flushed so to speak.
I object this time because the SSG is an Ohio homey and not a throwaway hillbilly. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 7:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Well, I'm just a callous old gunner, but IMO if the first batch of these fucking things, whether you wanted to start with checkpoint shootings, or the mess at Abu Ghraib, whereever, had been followed by massive beheadings all the way up to Brigade command level and above - and by that I mean SERIOUS Disciplinary Barracks time for everyone involved all the way up the chain they MIGHT have stopped.

Mind you, the utterly effed-up nature of these "wars" would continue to drive some people nuts, and combine nuts with firearms and you get Bragg Blvd. on a Saturday night...

But I guaran-fucking-tee that seeing a one-star reduced to PVT and led away to prison would have forced some pretty serious command-level thinking about this stuff.

Instead it was treated as business as usual. I can't think of a single GI who ever did any real time for killing an Iraqi or Afghan. Ever.

And don't think the locals don't know that, too...

Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 8:26:00 PM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home