Afghanistan 2017 — Mission Improbable

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One of the bigger problems in the Stan is continuity. The Military come and go with a frequency that is mind numbing.

They also have the WIAS tasking group. They come in one of the following categories:

  1. SMs not wanted at their command
  2. ROAD Scholars
  3. Guys who volunteered

Category 1 are usually exemplified by a willingness to sit around and do nothing (aka shitheads or duds). They either don’t want to do anything and don’t care about the mission or they truly suck and are incapable of doing anything but damage.

We recently had the pleasure of a guy of the second sort receiving the heave ho from our area. He tried poorly to do everything and I mean everything but accomplished nothing. We likened him to a puppy chasing around silver, bouncy balls. He’d catch one. He’d start a project. Then he’d see another shiny ball bouncing down the path and chase after that one. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

This, of course, left others playing catch the ball behind him because much of what he’d start affected other lines of effort or, more accurately, threw wrenches in other lines of effort. We had just been getting the Afghans to take responsibility for themselves and to actually DO things on their own. It all ended within a month of his arrival as he let them do what they do all too well. They suckered him into doing their work so that they could sit back and relax. This Captain thought that it made him popular with the Afghans. Alas, they all saw him for what he was and couldn’t stand him.

He also had an issue with Black people. I couldn’t pin it down but the guy had problems with any Black person who did not outrank him or couldn’t help him chase bouncy, shiny balls around camp.

This guy was worse than worthless. He did real damage to the effort.  This should not be tolerated. Unfortunately, this is the affect of a great many of the WIAS Tasking output. In many AORs, WIAS tasker is a profane curse.

Another of these WIAS worthies used open source email to put out SECRET information. This mental giant was actually an Intel Officer. Yes, they’re that bad.

Category 2 are usually lazy and are just riding out the year. Some of them can be motivated to act. Some of them can be tricked into acting. Others couldn’t be dislodged from their complacency and F’hobbitian methods with a strike from Thor’s Mjolnir.

Category 3 are usually guys who are motivated and will help get things done. Most of these folks will listen to those who have been here a minute. They have military imperatives that they must, at least, attempt to accomplish and that a guy like me must understand and, if possible, assist him in accomplishing.

Cat 3 guys usually do some good. Especially if they listen well and/or have taken some time to learn about Afghan culture and the history of the ANDSF.

Unfortunately, Cat 3s are about One in 10,000.

Some Special Units rotate in for 90 days a pop. These guys are hard chargers who want to go to war and kill something. Some of them do well and do good. Others…well, not so much.

Last but not least, the Commanders. We get guys who go with the flow. We get guys who think they are making GREAT CHANGES that are mere reinventions of wheels tried in’ 07 or ’13. You get Commanders who land on the ground with a Squadron of Good Idea Fairies with unworkable nonsense. And you get some good Commanders who try to take what is working and improve it, discard foolishness and try to rework seemingly insoluble problems.

Back to continuity.

Individuals pop in and out of Afghanistan on 90 day to 9 Month tours. The WIAS tasker guys may stay a full year or may not. We’ve had quite a few of these guys get Pink Slips and head home 3 to 6 months early.

Some Contractors do a year and roll out.

However, you also have Contractors who stay for years at a time and know the lay of the land.

By and large, the Contractor is ignored…as long as he’s doing something. The Contractor doesn’t have to accomplish anything as long as it looks like it is delivering on the DELIVERABLEs.

Deliverables may or may not be vague as hell.

You’ve got some Contractors who do some really great things AND you’ve got some who sit around and do as little as possible. Skaters who do just enough to seem relevant and not be descoped.
There are contractors over here who are hot shit and WANT desperately to accomplish something…anything. BUT, for the most part, if a Contractor makes a suggestion, the suggestion is all but ignored.
It’s not an atmosphere conducive to accomplishing much.

Contracts in the Stan are horribly written and are, oft times, inflexible.

Another huge problem is the low pay of the interpreters. The interpreter/translator is key. You get what you pay for. When I worked with Dyncorp, I was able to draw in the best around the country because we paid them better than anyone else.

Other contracts throw interpreter/translators into the verbiage as if an afterthought. “Oh yeah, we need some of those local talky fuckers.” That makes for some wretched hiring practices. You get guys who can barely speak English and can’t translate to save their lives.

These are some of the issues.

With high Military turnover, no one really cares. They’re here to do their year and roll out. You get a few who do care but not many.

We have one Major who thinks that it is his job to make the Afghans fail.

We have Generals who tell us that the Afghans cannot fail.

There are zero consequences for failure, corruption, incompetence, outright criminality, etc within the Afghan Army.

The ANSSF conduct something like 80% of the operations against the enemy even though they make up less than 15% of the force. The regular ANDSF who make up 80 to 85% of the force can’t fight their way out of their own FOBs.

It’s a seriously and incredibly strange endeavor in the Stan.

Personally, I think we’ve done about all we can do. UNLESS we have a serious leadership paradigm change.
And maybe we’ve got that with Trump/Mattis. Somehow, I doubt it.

Oh yeah…don’t get me started on the ISAF folks. The turks are worthless.
The Spaniards can’t do anything. The Italians drink wine. The Brits look hard but do very little except create rules that adds red tape to everything that they touch.

I went over to RS HQ once. You need a letter signed by a Colonel in triplicate just to get a room for the night. Everything else is correspondingly difficult to accomplish there.

The RS (ISAF) Badge is a great example of the cohesion of the effort here.

US bases won’t accept the ISAF badge for much, if anything.

In order to get onto HKIA, one must have an ISAF badge or one must be escorted. Even if one has a CAC.

It is quite possibly the dumbest thing in the world.

All of this is before anyone even thinks of going outside of the wire which doesn’t happen for about 99% of the US and Coalition Forces. Thanks to Dan Bolger, the whole of the US and Coalition Forces are F’hobbitized. Stuck on some base somewhere and can’t find their way to a local Nan shop much less a Taliban stronghold even though most any Afghan knows exactly where the Talibs. Insurgents and bandits are holed up at any given moment.

Hell, I used to be able to ride around Kabul and tell you exactly where the insurgents were hiding. I could point out bandit houses.

Now, though, I doubt that there are more than 20 American SMs who know jackshit about the Afghan countryside or where and who a local insurgent, bandit or bad guy might be.

Yet, even Hekmetyar has come in from the cold. lol That old bastard is playing some game. I can smell it.

 

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Toxic Leadership: This Too Shall Pass

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 Gen. David Perkins, who led the first troops into downtown Iraq in 2003, and now runs the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas says “If we don’t do something about toxic leadership… not to be too dramatic, but it does have life or death consequences.” He continues “I can just tell you from experience … that if you have toxic leadership, people will get sort of what we call the ‘foxhole mentality.’ They’ll just hunker down and no one is taking what we call prudent risk. They’re not being innovative, they’re not being creative. And some people who are toxic leaders, they might be able to get some short-term results and get an immediate mission at hand done. But in the process, they are destroying the organization and destroying their people.”

I understand the detrimental effects of toxic leadership.  The worst being the deleterious affects on morale, efficiency, motivation and performance of a unit or individual.

I’ve seen this in action.

As a leader in the military, I tried to balance negative and positive reinforcement.  Primarily, I visited wrath upon those who needed/deserved/earned it verbally.  A good little oral bashing followed up a short time later with a moral morale lifting pep talk.

I usually gave positive feedback orally coupled with a good review counseling in writing.

The only time that I wrote something negative for the “permanent record” was when it was a recurring issue.  Other than that I always tried to keep the “paper” away from my people.

Paper can crush a soul and kill a career of otherwise earnest and good people.  Some deserved to be led out of the service with paper…most do not.  At least, this is my view.

I was a Headquarters Platoon Sergeant (HQ PSG) in The Old Guard for 3 years.  A couple of my soldiers went through issues that would have killed their careers under other “leadership.”

These same folks went on to flourish because I gave them a chance to work through their issues via counseling and space.  I allowed them to make mistakes and to reflect upon those mistakes.  My four success stories are a current CSM, a retired MSG, a Marine Major serving in China and an active CW3.  All served several tours in the war zones.  Many of the others left the service but are doing well in the civilian sector.

As the HQ PSG, I was the guy who got the “problem children.”  The sick, crippled, blind, lame and lazy as the saying goes.  I used what skills I had to put these young men on a better path or I tried to do so.

I wasn’t always successful and some of them went out the door as Chapter cases.  I was able to take some kids and turn them around.  In some cases, that journey towards a better version of themselves took a natural path out of the military.  We aren’t all made for the Military and some of us outgrow the military.

I was one who feels that I outgrew the military.  The paths open to me were not logical for a person of my temperament.  I’m a foul mouthed, willful (slightly insane) individual who is wont to “speak truth to power.”  I’d not have made it much further in the Army that I knew.  So I left it behind.

It was a wise decision.

Life has been an incredible journey for me.

All of that said, this is what I don’t understand.

I had toxic leadership and I was hazed and bullied at times.  I fought back.  Probably scared a few people.  I told a First Sergeant once that if she wasn’t a female, I’d probably had already been in the Brig for smashing her face.  This 1SG was a bully.  Actually, she was one of those female 1SGs who wanted to be everyone’s mother.  If you let her mother you and became one of her cubs, you could get away with murdering Abel.  If you pushed back or told her that you already had a mother, her wrath fell upon thee or she attempted to let loose her wrath on you.

I wasn’t one to let someone punish me for the mere act of being independent.  I was competent and was replacing one of her darlings who had left a huge mess behind.  Her favoritism of this incompetent wretch had left her log section as a fail with missing equipment, lack of records and anything else that could possibly be deficient in a log section.  Yet, she praised this guy as he left and then told me that I had a big mess to clean up.

Now this is one Army deficiency that drove me out of the Army.  This was the THIRD LOG NCO whom I replaced who had been in position for multiple years and allowed to be incompetent and lazy.  I walked in behind them and was told each time; “you have a mess to clean up.”  My question was always this; “If you knew it was a mess, why did you not make him clean it?”  I never received a real answer.

The aforementioned 1SG attempted to hold me responsible after a couple of months for the mess left behind by her cub.  I refused her attempt and told her that the place was a mess because of her poor leadership.  She wasn’t happy to hear such a thing.  By this time, it didn’t matter to me.  I had decided to leave the Army.

She once came to me in an inspection in formation and told me that I had best start playing the game.  (I had only a few months left by this time).  I answered her that I only play games that I can win and that her games were impossible as she kept changing the rules.

Eventually, this 1SG was relieved.  A couple of months before I left the Army.  By this time, the Commander had been relieved as well.  I had told the new Unit commander that she had a mess on her hands.  “Captain, I’ll help keep you above water.  However, I didn’t make this mess and I’m tired of cleaning up after other people.  If you want this place cleaned up entirely, you had best bring in someone who can learn from me and replace me as I’m heading out the door.  I’ll teach them everything that I know and they’ll be able to carry on after I leave.”

This woman was wise enough to follow that advice and gave me an understudy.  I taught him as much as he was willing to learn and I left the Army and never looked back.

During all of this madness, I never once thought about hurting myself or others.  I never thought that I was the problem.  I knew that I had poor leadership and I usually laughed about it.

I don’t understand why or how others fall prey to these people.

In the end, there is this truth:  This too shall pass.

And it does.

In the Army, one will eventually either PCS, ETS or Retire.  Almost nothing is permanent.  I’ve always kept that in mind.

What’s the best two units in the Army?  “The one you just left and the one you’re about to go to.”

I learned that early on.

On that note, my first unit was insane.  I arrived just as a Commander was being relieved.  The 1SG was retired on Active Duty (ROADs).  It was a complete mess.  I arrived as a buck private and I remember working from sun up to sun down for about three months as we went through a Change of Command/Relief of Command Inventory.  CPT Fischer, who was my first Commander, came in as a whirlwind of activity.  LTC Julian Burns was my first Battalion Commander.

After the inventory was completed, we went to our first GRAF/Hohenfels rotation and it didn’t stop for nearly three years.

I was hazed and teased and treated like a dipshit for the first three or four months and placed in a 4 man room with four of the most un-military miscreants whom I would meet in the military.  I fought back and earned their grudging respect.  I learned from all of them and was better for it…in my opinion.  I learned how to “take shit” and dish it back.  I didn’t whine or cry about it…much.  I never felt that I should hurt myself.  Eventually, these guys became good friends but they were still all miscreants.  lol  And I suppose that I was one, too.  I think I carried some of those guys with me throughout my term of service and carry them with me now.

My first real 1SG was Terry Wrona.  A hell bent for leather, wild eyed career man who ran company PT every morning with a cigarette in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.  He ran us into the ground while laughing and leering at everyone Joe in his company.  He knew everyone and seemed to know everything.  He threw me in the Arms Room as a PV2 and made me earn that step from skeeter wings to a my first rocker.  He was possibly 5 foot 7 inches and 150lbs.  He intimidated everyone.

I was a pup who had no idea what I was doing but they needed someone in the Arms Room desperately.  They sent me to a short Armorer school, gave me a couple of weeks with a SSG whom we all called Deputy Dawg and who looked like he could have a heart attack at any second, slapped me on the ass and I was a Unit Armorer of a Tank HHC.  More weapons and NODs than you could shake a stick at.

I failed my very first inspection about a week later and it freaked me out.  It also led to 1SG Wrona visiting his wrath, insanity and, in hindsight, hilarity upon me several times a week.  He’d storm through the Arms Room cage door and start quizzing me.  At first, it scared the holy hell out of me.  I thought I was being tortured for the sins of a previous life.  However, it motivated me to study and learn and to experiment and practive.  More and more, I could answer those questions.  I learned how to repair the Ma Deuce and to break it down to the it’s bare bones.  I learned how to fix jams and smooth out the bore and where the application of lubricant would make a weapon work best (or worse).  I learned that if you yank back the charging handle of an M60 machine gun while the butt plate is not properly situated that you can make a nice hole in a wall.  I, also, learned that getting mad a a M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun and throwing it across the room at a rack of M16s only serves to damage a lot of M6s in a rack.  Eventually, I came to a point to where 1SG Wrona wouldn’t chew my ass until after I had answered a few dozen questions correctly and the ass chewing was more or less good natured.  Finally, he had to try hard to throw me off and I could go through a hundred questions and he’d only chew my ass halfheartedly after I missed the 101st question.  Finally, he had to make excuses to chew my ass.

That next inspection came 30 days later.  I passed with flying colors — a nearly perfect score with the holy terror of all inspection team — the MAIT team.  I was commendable.  Excellent!  Aside from steadily working off deficiencies and learning everything that I could over the past month, I had stayed up three days straight to make everything perfect for the inspection because I didn’t want to let “old Terry” down.

It paid off.  A little too well as I became the “show Arms Room” for the Battalion.  If a VIP came, he came to my Arms Room.  It was cool but a bit of a PITA, too.

About three maybe for weeks later, 1SG Wrona called me up to his office.  I, as a matter of course, start a mental inventory as I ascended the stairs and hall way to his office.  “What the hell does he want?  What the heck have I done wrong.  Got that.  Did that.  That’s done.  Hell, I have no idea.  I reckon I’ll find out in a minute.”

I reported to 1SG Wrona.  He tells me to have a seat and opens the door to the Commanders office.  “Oh hell…Terry and Andy [CPT Fischer] are gonna double team my ass.  I won’t have any butt cheek left.  What the hell have I done now!”

I hear 1SG Wrona say; “Nah, I’ll give it to him.  It’s better this way.”

By this time, I’m sweating bullets and sitting there as pale as a Victorian era dilettante.

1SG Wrona hands me a paper in a green folder, tells me to stand up and shakes my hand.

“Kaelin, you did good.  This is from me and the Cee Oh!  Now get back down there and carry on.”

I open the folder and gaze down upon my first Army Achievement Medal.

I have no idea why they chose not to give it to me in formation or any of that but it really didn’t matter to me.

By this time, I looked upon both men as father figures.  They were mean as hell and crazy strict but they taught me how to do a job and to do it well and to have pride in a job well done.  They drove me and once I got it down, they let me run with it.  When the situation called for it, they would dress me down.  When the dust settled, though.  They were there with a hand to lift you up, smack you on the ass and help you get back to it.  So far as I knew, they did this across the board.  Though, I always felt that I was their special project.  lol

One of the worst military leaders whom I’ve seen in Afghanistan was LTG Dan Bolger who recently wrote the book Why We Lost.  I’m of the opinion that it was “leaders” such as he who made this war a losing effort.  Risk averse men who walked around looking for reasons to fire, embarrass or ship people home.  I saw him berate folks for no other reason than being outside of the Green Bean on Camp Eggers.  One person was waiting on his counterpart on his way out the gate to the Ministry of Defense.  Bolger almost fired this guy until his military counterpart came to his defense.  However, it took a full Colonel having the balls to walk into bully Bolger’s office to get the firing countermanded.  Bolger often times didn’t ask questions.  He made a quick (oft erroneous) situational assessment and fired off a salvo.  Camp Eggers was a ghost town when Bolger was in command.  No more was accomplished.  People simply hid out and were afraid to be seen outside on Camp Eggers.  This led to an extremely toxic environment on Camp Eggers and elsewhere.  It also led to an amazing surge in business for the vendors on ISAF HQ and a dent in the sales at the Green Bean on Camp Eggers.  Bolger was also the author of the cowardly “uparmored” bunker mentality that took over the Afghan War over the past few years.  Afghan is now the land of the FOBBIT thanks to the courageous leadership of Dan Bolger.  What a hero!

With all that in mind, life gets tough at times.  Some leaders are excellent.  Some ARE toxic.  Why do so many these days seem to collapse under toxic leadership?

Do we not teach our young people patience and perseverance?

We’ve all had to tough out hard times and poor leadership.  All things pass with time.

Why do people buckle?  I don’t understand it.

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They’re Young…

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I’m not buying the “they’re young” excuse. When I was the same age as Goodwin and Poythress, I was in the Army. When I screwed up or didn’t give effort or when I didn’t learn to do things correctly, NCOs got in my ass.

They didn’t tell me; “Dave, it’s ok. You’re young. You’ll learn over time. Here, have an ice cream.”

They got in my ass. All up one side and down the other. They brought pain. They worked me from sun up to sun down.

There was no “youth” excuse.

This isn’t high school anymore. This is life.

Suck it up and get your shit together OR fail.  It’s all up to them.

Excuse me if I don’t feel sorry for these spoiled “kids.”

Insignia of The Old Guard and Other Unique Army Units

I was incredibly lucky in my assignments in the Army.  I served in some unique organizations.

The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai, Egypt.

United Nations Command Security Forces–Joint Security Area in Panmunjom, Republic of Korea.

A Company (CinC Guard), 3rd United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) at Fort McNair, Washington, District of Columbia and Fort Myer, Virginia.

While I was stationed at The Old Guard, I was also fortunate enough to attend the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Panama.  It was closed down shortly thereafter.

All interesting assignments that were outside of the US Army norm.  Unique experiences for which I’m thankful.

Only a couple more places that I wish I had been able to talk DA into assigning me.

1.  The Berlin Brigade — during the Cold War

2.  Honduras

They seem like they would have been equally unique assignments.

The Liberty Limited — A Christmas Story

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Reprinted from the Philadelphia Daily News.  2005

AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.

It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops.

“We have to let them know we care,” Vivian told Bennett.

So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.

The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it.

Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin – native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish – is one of them.

He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard.

One car, the elegant Pennsylvania, carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and ’62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby’s body to D.C. for burial.

“That’s a lot of history for one car,” says Bennett.https://i1.wp.com/www.luxurytrain.net/train-lux.jpg

He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played.

The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda, in Maryland.

“We wanted to give them a first-class experience,” says Bennett. “Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats – real hero treatment. ”

Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed’s commanding general, who loved the idea.

But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers’ day of pampering devolve into a media circus.

No politicians either, because, says Bennett, “I didn’t want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op. ”

And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.

The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands.

“I had to actually make this thing happen,” he laughs.

Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country – these people tend to know each other – into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train?

The Liberty Limited .

Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D.C. – where they’d be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly – then back to their owners later.

Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.

https://i0.wp.com/media.lehighvalleylive.com/joe-owens_impact/photo/midshipmen-before-army-navy-game-a3582b8238842947.jpgA benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game – on the 50-yard line – and lunch in a hospitality suite.

And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:

From Woolrich, stadium blankets. From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. From Nikon, field glasses. From GEAR, down jackets.

There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.

The Marines, though, declined the offer. “They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines,” says Levin, choking up at the memory.

Bennett’s an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he’d react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.’s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day.

“They made it easy to be with them,” he says. “They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They’re so full of life and determination. ”

At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army’s lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group’s rollicking mood.

Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal – heroes get hungry, says Levin – before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda.

“The day was spectacular,” says Levin. “It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it. ”

The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

“One of the guys was blind, but he said, ‘I can’t see you, but man, you must be f—ing beautiful!’ ” says Bennett. “I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn’t even answer him. ”

It’s been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day’s love.

“My Christmas came early,” says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. “I can’t describe the feeling in the air. ”

Maybe it was hope.

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, “The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all – whatever the future may bring. ”

God bless the Levins.

And bless the troops, every one. *

Article by Ronnie Polaneczky 2005

Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/columnists/ronnie_polaneczky/Heres_a_Yule_story_that_ought_to_be_a_movie.html?page=2&c=y#ixzz17aRwZRlP
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

An amazing story of generosity.

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Nadal Hasan: Terrorist who was Recruiting al Qaeda

Nadal Hasan wasn’t being recruited by al Qaeda. He was actively seeking membership in that organization himself.  This guy is the worst sort of traitor.  He should be hanged publicly.  There is no doubt that he is guilty.  He should be executed.

U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda, two American officials briefed on classified material in the case told ABC News.

It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al Qaeda figures, the officials said.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that he requested the CIA and other intelligence agencies brief the committee on what was known, if anything, about Hasan by the U.S. intelligence community, only to be refused.

In response, Hoekstra issued a document preservation request to four intelligence agencies. The letter, dated November 7th, was sent to directors Dennis Blair (DNI), Robert Mueller (FBI), Lt. Gen Keith Alexander (NSA) and Leon Panetta (CIA).

Hoekstra said he is “absolutely furious” that the house intel committee has been refused an intelligence briefing by the DNI or CIA on Hasan’s attempt to reach out to al Qaeda, as first reported by ABC News.

“This is a law enforcement investigation, in which other agencies—not the CIA—have the lead,” CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said in a response to ABC News. ” Any suggestion that the CIA refused to brief Congress is incorrect.”

 

Investigators want to know if Hasan maintained contact with a radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a web site that promotes jihad around the world against the U.S.

In a blog posting early Monday titled “Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing,” Awlaki calls Hasan a “hero” and a “man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.”

According to his site, Awlaki served as an imam in Denver, San Diego and Falls Church, Virginia.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that Major Hasan attended the Falls Church mosque when Awlaki was there.

The Telegraph of London reported that Awlaki had made contact with two of the 9/11 hijackers when he was in San Diego.

He denied any knowledge of the hijacking plot and was never charged with any crime. After an intensive investigation by the FBI , Awlaki moved to Yemen.

People who knew or worked with Hasan say he seemed to have gradually become more radical in his disapproval of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) called for an investigation into whether the Army missed signs as to whether Hasan was an Islamic extremist.

“If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have a zero tolerance,” Lieberman told Fox News Sunday.

This is the weakness of our society.  Scum like this guy will use our tolerant culture to commit murder and mayhem.

Investigators are looking into links between suspected Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan and a Virginia mosque that was visited by a radical prayer leader and two of the 9/11 hijackers.