Thursday, December 12, 2019

GENTLEMEN! You can't fight in here, this is the War Room!

Strange(love) days.
Last night, the House and Senate conference committee filed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020, authorizing up to $743.3 billion in defense spending. It includes $71.5 billion in funding for more “overseas contingency operations,” AKA nation-building in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. But what is the point in funding such escapades if our soldiers can’t even arm themselves on our own bases? Why does Congress never debate the fundamental values, mission, and character of our military? It’s all about dollars and cents and never about policy. Now is the time for Trump to demand that real issues be dealt with in the NDAA, including arming soldiers on bases, or else he should use his authority as commander in chief to change the internal policies.

Speaking at the February 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, President Trump promised to “look at that whole military base gun-free zone [policy]. If we can’t have our military holding guns, it is pretty bad,” lamented the president as he mocked the gun-free zone policy. “We had a number of instances on military bases. You know that. We want to protect our military.”

But like so many instances where the president has good instincts, the broken military leadership pushed back and conservatives were too distracted to put up a fight, so the White House dropped the idea. These are the same military leaders who knowingly sent our soldiers to die in Afghanistan with no defined mission or plan to win. These are the same generals who work harder at prosecuting our warriors than defeating our enemies. These are the same generals that have pushed social engineering and have expunged Christianity from the military. And they are the same generals Trump said in 2016 have “been reduced to rubble” and “they have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing to our country.”

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had a very tepid response to the Pensacola attacks. He praised the Saudi military training program as indispensable to national security and acts as if he can’t understand why Saudi nationals were filming the shooting. He sure doesn’t seem like the type of leader to push for arming our soldiers at bases.

The ban on carrying weapons dates back to a 1992 Pentagon directive, which can easily be overturned by Trump. In November 2016, Obama’s Department of Defense issued a directive allowing base commanders to give certain troops permission to carry concealed firearms on base “for a personal protection purpose not related to performance of an official duty or status” for a very limited period of time. Imagine that! They can’t carry weapons as part of their official duty as soldiers!

While gun-free zones are always a bad idea, as 96.2 percent of all mass shootings have occurred where guns are banned, having them on military bases is particularly counterintuitive. Given the strict security, the perpetrators know with certainty that, of all places, not a single soldier will be carrying a weapon because the penalty for doing so is quite severe. Yet, clearly, that same security hasn’t worked to prevent evil people from bringing in weapons. This policy makes our soldiers sitting ducks.

If these same generals believe in sending our soldiers to fight endless tribal civil wars overseas, the least they can do is allow them to be armed and protected on our own shores. That’s doubly true for the same generals who will advocate the continuation of training Middle Easterners on those very bases. The broken generals can’t have it all ways, and it’s time for Trump to call them on it.

Can't remember now where I saw it, but somewhere out there is a funny/infuriating meme that says: "The US military is supposed to protect us from Muslim terrorists, but it can't even protect its own bases from them."

But then, when you have combat-zone soldiers forced to walk patrol in seriously hostile territory carrying unloaded weapons; blank refusal to provide CAS when called for; ROE's which insist they aren't allowed to shoot back without first phoning in for permission from JAG to defend themselves; and other such Kafka-esque absurdities, how surprised can we really be that our military personnel are stripped of even their sidearms while on base here in CONUS?

For that matter, how serious can America really be about its so-called "War On Terrorism" when we refuse to call the enemy by his proper name, won't honestly admit his motivation, and fret ourselves about a potential "backlash" that never actually happens?

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