by Alan Stang
April 30, 2008
Recently, we looked at the Rules of Engagement under which our military must labor. We saw that those rules are a prescription for defeat; that they are the main reason we have failed to win a war since World War II, and that el presidente Jorge W. Boosh administers them today. We saw that Señor Boosh could replace them whenever he likes with a prescription for victory, but of course he does not, because victory is the last thing he wants.
One of the examples we looked at was Operation Redwing, in which Boosh’s Rules of Engagement led directly to the deaths of nineteen of our men, three members of a four-man Navy SEAL team and the sixteen men who choppered in to rescue them. Today, let’s take a closer look.
A closer look would be supremely important because the mode of thought we are talking about is the main reason we are losing, not just in our wars overseas but also in the battle for America here at home. We cannot win that battle until we understand what we have let happen to us – until we recognize that we have been mentally programmed for defeat – and then make a dramatic change.
You will remember that Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell is the only survivor of Operation Redwing. The title of his book is Lone Survivor (New York, Little, Brown, 2007). The trouble started soon after the four-man SEAL team jumped into Afghanistan to capture or kill a Taliban leader. Suddenly, three Afghans blundered into their concealed mountain position.
The three Afghans appeared to be civilians, goatherds accompanied by about a hundred goats wearing bells. But they made no secret of their hostility. One of them was a teenager. Marcus offered him a power bar; the teenager wouldn’t take it. The adults were glaring. They were enemies. The team radioed for instructions, but could not raise headquarters. So the four SEALS took a vote. What should they do?
Remember, they were supposed to be fighting a war. Surely the men who had dropped them deep inside Afghanistan surrounded by enemy were aware of the possibility that they could encounter hostile civilians. Marcus Luttrell makes clear that the only sensible military decision was to kill them. Matt “Axe” Axelson agreed: “I think we should kill them, because we can’t let them go.” Danny Dietz agreed to do whatever the others decided.
An ethical struggle erupted. Mission commander Lieutenant Mike Murphy explained that when the Taliban found the bodies they would “sing to the Afghan media. The media in the U.S.A. will latch on to it and write stuff about the brutish U.S. Armed Forces. Very shortly after that, we’ll be charged with murder. . . .”
Marcus Luttrell mulled this over. He wasn’t afraid of the three Afghans. He wasn’t afraid of the Taliban. “. . . Was I afraid of the liberal media back in the U.S.A.? Yes. And I suddenly flashed on the prospect of many, many years in a U.S. civilian jail alongside murderers and rapists.” (Pp. 202-03)
Can you believe this? Here we have four Americans dropped behind enemy lines during a war to capture or kill a Taliban leader. If discovered, they could be brutally tortured and killed. And because of the Rules of Engagement, they must take time out to conduct an ethical discussion in fear of going to jail, as if this were a typical conversation between Spock and Captain Kirk in an episode of Star Trek. Or maybe: Hey, Socrates, what are ethics? I don’t know, Marcus. What is truth?
Marcus says that “deep in my warrior’s soul I knew it was nuts to let these goatherds go.” Again and again, on page after page, he tells himself that. But, afraid of the U.S. media, afraid of going to jail for years with murderers and rapists, Marcus Luttrell made the fatal decision to do exactly that.
“It was the stupidest, most southern-fried, lamebrained decision I ever made in my life. I must have been out of my mind. I had actually cast a vote which I knew could sign our death warrant. I’d turned into a ****ing liberal, a half-axxed, no-logic nitwit, all heart, no brain, and the judgment of a jackrabbit.” (P. 206)
He made a decision that contradicted everything he knew. And now: “. . . No night passes when I don’t wake in a cold sweat thinking of those moments on that mountain. I’ll never get over it. I can’t get over it. The deciding vote was mine, and it will haunt me till they rest me in an East Texas grave.”
Indeed, here are the best clues to what had happened. Marcus watched the Afghans run off to tell the Taliban where they were. “I guess that’s when I woke up and stopped worrying about the ***damned American liberals. ‘This is bad,’ I said. ‘This is real bad. What the **** are we doing?” (P. 207)
Does this remind you of anything? Have you seen this before? Again, Marcus says he woke up at that point, which logically means that when he made the fatal decision he was not awake. “Axe shook his head. Danny shrugged. Mikey, to be fair, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Like me, he was a man who knew a massive mistake had just been made. . . . Were we crazy or what?” Marcus says “the sense that we had done something terrible by letting them go was all-pervading. . . . Not one of us was able to speak. We were like four zombies . . . .” (P. 208)
Yes, you have seen this before. It is brainwashing. All four of these Navy SEALS had been brainwashed to some extent. Axe appears to have been brainwashed the least, Mike Murphy and Marcus Luttrell the most. The brainwashing had paralyzed and neutralized them. They could not do what military good sense told them to do.
The least painful way to validate this would be to see both movie versions of “The Manchurian Candidate.” Or, read Brainwashing and Brainwashing in Red China, by Ed Hunter, the journalist who first called it “brainwashing.” Or, if you are tough enough to do so without screaming, get up close and look into the eyes of Manchurian Candidate John McCain.
By the way, because I am not even remotely a military expert, I am not talking about what they should or should not have done. I am talking about the attitude that is handicapping them, as it is handicapping us here at home in the battle for America. Brainwashing alone can explain why we have let the government do to our country what it has done, from defeating us in war, to conducting the illegal alien invasion, to abolishing the country in the merger with Canada and Mexico, and on and on. And nineteen men died in Afghanistan because those four SEALS were brainwashed as well.
Please do not get the idea here that I am criticizing those four heroes even a little bit. When you read Marcus’s book you will not only cry, you will also be awed by what they did. The four of them took out approximately half the little army of the man they had come to kill. These intensely loyal, unswerving, young patriots are the best of the finest this country has produced.
As you know, I am a Marine Corps enthusiast. I did not know much about the SEALS. Marcus Luttrell takes a few chapters to explain how a man becomes a SEAL. The endless training is a nightmare that includes Hell Week, which must have been conceived by Satan or some leftover Nazis. Because SEALS work in teams and must depend on each other, the training is designed to make men quit. Some 180 men started out in Luttrell’s class, all of them outstanding. Thirty of them survived to become Navy SEALS.
Which brings us to the 1997 movie, “G.I. Jane,” a preposterous bull dyke power fantasy I have successfully managed to avoid. Having read Lone Survivor, I now can say with authority that anyone with a center of gravity and a forecastle that look and behave like Demi Moore’s will not survive to become a Navy SEAL, unless the SEALS became the Girl Scouts.
In fact, the only criticism I have, not really a criticism but a quibble, is that, as you have seen, Marcus Luttrell has riddled his book with language I can’t quote to the many genteel Christian ladies who are my adoring fans. Marcus, how did you get that language past your gorgeous mom? Did you figure she wouldn’t read your book?
Having said all that, we must disquietingly add that, after everything he has experienced, Marcus Luttrell still is brainwashed; still doesn’t get it, and the excellence of these young men makes the brainwashing even more painful. He explains concisely, cogently, brilliantly that “we could fight in a much more ruthless manner, stop worrying if everyone still loved us. If we did that, we’d probably win in both Afghanistan and Iraq in about a week.
“But we’re not allowed to do that. And I guess we’d better start getting used to the consequences and permit the American liberals to squeak and squeal us to ultimate defeat. . . .” “Look at me, right now in my story. Helpless, tortured, shot, blown up, my best buddies all dead, and all because we were afraid of the liberals back home, afraid to do what was necessary to save our own lives. Afraid of American civilian lawyers. I have only one piece of advice for what it’s worth: if you don’t want to get into a war where things go wrong, where the wrong people sometimes get killed, where innocent people sometimes have to die, then stay the hell out of it in the first place.” (Pp. 312-13)
Again, brilliant, exactly right, but also in the book there is a picture of George W. Bush pinning the Navy Cross on Marcus, who says this is the “proudest moment of my life.” Marcus talks at length about how great a man Bush is, which requires a comment about what I call the “military mind.” Why has our country never become a “banana republic,” routinely upended by military coups?
Because from the beginning of our country and from earliest understanding, we are taught relentlessly that our military is controlled by elected civilians, which is good. But the obverse side of that coin is a “military mind” that mindlessly obeys civilian authority however mindless it becomes. The ultimate expression of such mindlessness could be a Soviet Union or a Nazi Germany. “I was just following orders.”
Certainly there are many honorable exceptions in our military, men who think for themselves. But there are more than enough exemplars of the “military mind” to make it true; men who will talk with you all day about the enemy outside, but who refuse even to consider the existence of an enemy within, even in the face of enough evidence to fill an eighteen-wheeler.
Notice that Marcus has the media and the “liberals” figured out. They are outside the military. But he says we are “not allowed” to fight the way we should. He knows that the Rules of Engagement killed his buddies. Yes, Marcus, we know that the lawyers and the “liberals” are the offspring of unmarried female canines, but they have no power to prevent you from fighting as you should. They have no power to put you in prison, however much they bark.
Who has that power? Who alone has the power to impose the Rules of Engagement? Isn’t it the Commander-in-Chief? If the CINC tells the JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff) to change the ROE this morning, wouldn’t those rules be changed by tonight? Could the Haditha Marines even be on trial without his approval?
Indeed, if the CINC tells the Border Patrol to stop the illegal alien invasion, wouldn’t it stop – at once? And by the way, Marcus, you come from east Texas. Won’t the Trans-Texas Corridor, the Treason Highway, go right past your house? Won’t it confiscate invaluable ranch land that belongs to the neighbors who waited for days with your parents for word that you were still alive?
So who is the Commander-in-Chief? Isn’t it George W. Bush, the man who pinned the Navy Cross on your chest? Doesn’t CINC George W. Bush meet again and again with the heads of government of Canada and Mexico to advance the North American Union that would abolish the United States? Didn’t he meet with them yet again recently for that purpose in New Orleans? What will happen to the SEALS when the country is abolished?
Marcus, you need to answer these questions. You owe that to Axe, to Mikey, to Danny and the others. You think you woke up when you watched those goatherds running off in Aghanistan. No. You are still asleep as you read this. You need to shake off the brainwashing and wake up all the way. Only if you do that will you know where the worst enemy of our country really is.
© 2008 – Alan Stang – All Rights Reserved
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Alan Stang was one of Mike Wallace’s original writers at Channel 13 in New York, where he wrote some of the scripts that sent Mike to CBS. Stang has been a radio talk show host himself. In Los Angeles, he went head to head nightly with Larry King, and, according to Arbitron, had almost twice as many listeners. He has been a foreign correspondent. He has written hundreds of feature magazine articles in national magazines and some fifteen books, for which he has won many awards, including a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for journalistic excellence. One of Stang’s exposés stopped a criminal attempt to seize control of New Mexico, where a gang seized a court house, held a judge hostage and killed a deputy. The scheme was close to success before Stang intervened. Another Stang exposé inspired major reforms in federal labor legislation.
His first book, It’s Very Simple: The True Story of Civil Rights, was an instant best-seller. His first novel, The Highest Virtue, set in the Russian Revolution, won smashing reviews and five stars, top rating, from the West Coast Review of Books, which gave five stars in only one per cent of its reviews.
Stang has lectured in every American state and around the world and has guested on many top shows, including CNN’s Cross Fire. Because he and his wife had the most kids in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, where they lived at the time, the entire family was chosen to be actors in “Havana,” directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford, the most expensive movie ever made (at the time). Alan Stang is the man in the ridiculous Harry Truman shirt with the pasted-down hair. He says they made him do it.
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