Battleland

A (Former) SEAL Speaks Out…About (Former) SEALs Speaking Out

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Navy photo / MCS 2nd Class William S. Parker

Navy SEALs training in July along Virginia's Atlantic coast.

No Easy Day is different.

SEAL Team Six operators have, until now, always been very tight-lipped about current operations. Yes, there have been revealing books about SEAL Team Six — Rogue Warrior and Inside SEAL Team Six are two. The main difference between them and Mark Owen’s No Easy Day, is that those other stories have always been located deep in the past. There were no issues regarding security violations and no immediate consequences to other teammates.

No Easy Day violates both areas.

In the SEAL community, Owen is known as an “operator’s operator” (a term of endearment and respect), and this is why most active-duty SEALs I’ve spoken with are so shocked. They feel a sense of betrayal and frustration by the release of his book.

Consequences

Many in the public don’t understand the circumstances behind a book like this, and how it affects our small SEAL community. Citizens not in-the-know are scratching their heads wondering why so many SEALs are upset. Timing is everything.

The quick release of this book has a TMZ feel to it, and it has caused serious consequences inside the SEAL community.

The impact on the SEALs is myriad. The book tarnishes the SEAL community’s reputation inside U.S. Special Operations Command. The President himself has to wonder: “Will one of them write a book if I send them on this sensitive mission?”

Some SEALs at ST6 are being held back from mission deployment to participate in internal investigations. There is also the Threat Chain. Anyone loosely tied to Owen is put in jeopardy. Public record searches and open-source intelligence collection will lead to other SEALs’ identities.

It has created such a backlash that retired and former SEALs are afraid to speak to media. I personally would be running for cover if I weren’t running a site that reports on Spec Ops.

Motives

It is clear to me that Penguin, the publisher, and author Owen — a pseudonym — rushed the book into print and disregarded a Department of Defense review with one goal in mind: they wanted to be first to market.

There’s nothing wrong with making money, but where do you draw the ethical line in the sand? If Owen had a momentary lack of judgment, then Penguin should have stepped up and advised him to get a review. Instead they were seemingly blinded by greed, and the desire to finish first.

Exemplary Leadership

Most SEALs on active duty don’t like the over-exposure, but it has been thrust on the community since the 90’s.

When I was a new guy at SEAL Team 3, I was sent to Army parachute-rigger school. Upon return, my first assignment was not Team related. Instead, I was told to rig up two boats with parachutes because Spike Lee was making a video about the SEALs.

Until the No Easy Day tipping point, Hollywood celebs, donors, and professional athletic teams had full access. It has always been a point of frustration from the enlisted SEAL ranks. That’s why senior SEAL leadership is currently in a Catch-22.

The SEALs in the movie Act of Valor were ordered to participate. Discovery Channel’s BUD/S Class 234, Act of Valor, and the video game US SOCOM Navy SEALs were all signed off by senior leadership. This PR blitz has created a consumer market where a SEAL with a hot topic can sell it for seven figures.

What The Future Holds

It’s time for everyone, including myself, to look in the mirror. We don’t live in the 1960’s. Things are different in today’s all-access media. The Internet and social media create new challenges for leadership to think about. One “tweet” about ST6 can go viral around the world in seconds.

Our own version of the Exxon Valdez will continue to contaminate the water well into 2013. It’s not an overnight fix. More SEAL movies, ST6 members starring in video games, and at least one book from an Act of Valor cast member are due out soon.

However, the media and Hollywood will eventually be wishing for the good ol’ days, as they will have zero access for the foreseeable future, as the result of Owen’s book.

Mark Owen may have saved the SEALs from themselves. This book will drive future policy changes that are bound to reduce, or possibly eliminate, the wider world’s access to the SEALs and their missions.

Maybe that means SEALs will be able to go back to being quiet professionals again.

Brandon Webb is a former Navy SEAL and editor of SOFREP.com

56 comments
Barrister98
Barrister98

Mr. Webb,

I offer you my condolences for your friend, Mr. Doherty.

If you are monitoring these comments, I am very curious to hear some further insights from you as someone researching classification issues. Apologies for the length of my note.

I have never served in the military, but I've had the privilege of knowing many members of the special operations community (current and retired). I must compliment all of you not only for your patriotism and professionalism, but on how (at least the ones I've known) you approach the question of secrecy. All of you have a job that requires you and those who work around you to maintain the utmost confidentiality due to the stakes involved (more so than the intelligence community, I think). You have a healthy sense of brotherhood, but the fact that you have your blog etc. shows that you do not have a cultish disrespect for outsiders. You do not give specifics of operational details and methods, but yet you manage to convey to the public a general sense of what you do. You balance the secrecy you need with respect for the openness that a democracy values. That is why so many trust you.

E.G. No one needs to know about operations, but people know of the training SEALS go through. In contrast, the CIA, for example, will not even acknowledge that it has a training facility. Yes, CIA officers (e.g., Spann) have also died in the line of duty. But the numbers show odds highlighting that a SEAL has a far greater chance of being killed. In other words, I think the credibility of your views on No Easy Day is evident precisely because you know what needs to be kept secret and when to keep your mouths shut!:)

But I do not think No Easy Day is the only problem here. Frankly, special forces' ability to risk their lives under the orders of presidents with whom they may personally disagree is admirable. I don't think I could do that. But while the government rightly waited for a few years after WWII to cooperate with books and films that rightly honored the military sacrifices made (e.g., need to ensure tensions with former enemies had adequately receded etc.), we have here an administration that released sensitive information about the bin Laden raid immediately afterwards. I

personally think that there was an educational purpose to releasing a blueprint of the compound, explaining that wounded innocents (to the extent we can call them that) were tended to, and even making some of the documents found public. We need to know that the threat bin Laden posed was real. But even I know that they should not have released the name of the unit that conducted the operation? The fact that members of the same unit were killed in an attack on a helicopter they were on, in y mind, confirms this view. And I can tell you that my father, who remembers conflicts as far back as WWII, often said when watching coverage of White House officials' statements - "Are they sure we're supposed to know that?" This same White House then, among other things, opened up the most secretive chambers of the CIA to a preferred movie director and even had the Pentagon give access to someone who was on the raid. 

Mr. Webb, could they have simply forced the relevant military and intelligence officers to participate? To me, it also does not appear like the senior officer corps did much to stand up for their men and women. We are all human in the end, so I certainly can see No Easy Day's author also saying to heck with all of you - I'm taking you down. Of course such motives do not justify his actions. But don't you think this a problem that is much greater than just one book? No politics here - I'd say the same if this were a Republican administration. And what do you think needs to be done to change this (i.e., holding overly ambitious policymakers to account as much as No Easy Day's author, to the extent this is even realistic)? It really does seem to me that for the people on the front lines of our national defense to do their jobs well, they not only need to trust those who serve with them, but also those with the power to send them into harm's way.

Am I just clueless here? Am I just misunderstanding the nature of the work you did?

I'm happy to speak privately and identify myself on your terms and with your instructions if you prefer.

Thank you very much for your time, consideration, and service.  I wish you, and your friends who remain in positions of danger, the very best.

aaron107
aaron107

It looks like it was a bad idea to broadcast information about the NAVY SEALS or at least they got carrtied away and gave away too much info.  I fear for the SEALS and our other special ops now!

Barrister98
Barrister98

Sir,

I have always admired those I know who serve, or have served, in special forces. They definitely have a true sense of professionalism and brotherhood.  At the same time, I admire the fact that their necessary culture of secrecy does not make them into some sort of cult, which I think many would say is the case with the CIA or the NSA, neither of whom put their lives on the line to the same extent (yes, I know about the memorials at CIA/NSA HQ, but it is simply a numerical fact). The fact that all the special forces personnel I have known have never given others the brushoff for not being a part of their community and have been, at a very basic level, voluntarily open about what they do without giving away sensitive operational details shows how they are able to gain the respect, without fear, of so many. The culture does indeed appear to be one that knows how to balance the right level of secrecy with the openness of the democracy they defend. I think our policymakers could learn a great deal from that in today's debate over government overclassification.

I can indeed understand the special operations community's concern over No Easy Day. But I am sorry to say as an outsider that the Seals wer facing something that I would think was unprecedented. Yes, the government has always collaborated with Hollywood in making war and military movies. But they have waited until the declassification of information is appropriate - that's why, for example, the best World War II movies did not start to come out until the late 1950's when tensions with the Germans and the Japanese had satisfactorily cooled down.

Here, however, the Seals have been politically exploited in the worst way (I think). It is all right to describe, say, the layout of the Bin Laden residents and perhaps some of the documents found. But did we really need to know the name of the exact unit involved, especially when the Taliban shot down a helicopter carrying other members of that unit two weeks later? I think that's inexcusable and that Bob Gates's admonition that the White House should "shut the f--- up" was quite appropriate. Then, the White House and surrounding policymakers (some of whom were also part of the military family) not only cooperate with the "official book," Peter Bergen's Manhunt (look at the acknowledgments - it's a who's who for the interviews, though Gates is not listed), but look the other way while the book extensively uses the very Wikileaks cables they have criticized. Then, they open up the most secret compartments of the CIA and give a preferred movie director a free pass. I must say that I looked at the released e-mails between the White House, Pentagon, and CIA detailing this cooperation and felt absolutely nothing but the deepest contempt for these individuals - many of whom are young, spoiled and overeducated little brats who get turned on by "the corridors of power," see their work as a game, and have no regard or appreciation for human life and the human consequences of their work. And frankly, I wonder if a Republican administration would have been any better.

I have never served in the military. But I would think that I would want to be confident that those who give me orders will give the right ones for the right reasons and watch my back. I do not think one can credibly criticize No Easy Day without recognizing this greater context. Armed conflict may sometimes be necessary, but so many men and women in policymaking positions today seem to think that our soldiers and, yes, innocent casualties of war as specimens, and not human beings.

Nonetheless, I admire those who are actually in the special operations community for taking all this nonsense given the pressures they endure. In my worst nightmares, we're headed in the direction of Portugal circa 1975 - a dictatorship ruled by an elite of civilian, militant academic-types, with support from powerful commercial interests (not all commercial interests), that kept sending its soldiers off to die to preserve a far-flung African empire in the wake of powerful independence movements and insurgencies. The military itself launched a coup d'etat, gave the colonies independence, and paved the way for a multiparty democracy. Somehow and sadly, though, trends like the ones we're experiencing in the U.S. most often do not result in developments akin to this so-called "Carnation Revolution" in Portugal.

Marky82ndABNRECON
Marky82ndABNRECON

Very well written an explained Mr. Webb , I loved your book an website is very informative resource of the world today. But when Mr. Owens Said his Commander in Chief could talk about it an McRaven could so why not him. In the movie "Act of Valor " it shows infils-exfils bounding overwatch using snipers , mini-drones an now zero dark 30 who knows what that will show ? The timing of the book your right on but I can see the Publisher pushing this through. You stated you know Mr. Owens an he was  skeptical at first but the White House did more harm then good. I might be a little late in my response but just got out of the hospital where they reconstructed a bad wheel :(

My sympathy for your loss of a good friend in Libya also !

Chuck Yeager
Chuck Yeager

Brandon,

I live in Coronado (many years) and count many SEALs and their wives and kids as family friends with my wife and kids. We are a very close-knit community as you know. To the point: over beers and many bbqs I have had conversations with these friends and discussed this very issue. Even as an outsider it is easy for me to spot example after example of personal behaivor of SEALs in town that does not live up to the creed of the "quiet operator". From the visible tattoos on legs and arms (frogs, tridents, you name it) to t-shirts and bumper stickers, etc., I notice this and wonder to myself if this is consistent with the creed? Maybe I am over-reacting to these expressions of pride; and, granted, my past discussions have been mainly with O4-O6 operators who are older and predictably quieter than the younger guys coming up who have more to learn. I don't know whether to take my friends comments with a grain of salt (we all tend to revise history and think our time was different) but I wonder if these days the SEALs are attracting candidates who are in it for the wrong reasons? This push to grow the Teams may attract more candidates - guys who can physically get through BUDs and training - but are they really the "right" guy for the Teams and its culture? I don't know. Our society is changing so much through social media and everyone is putting their total lives on display for the world to watch. And current and future SEALs are growing up in this culture, so how will the SEALs adapt?

502nd
502nd

"He did it for the money?" He is donatinng most of the proceeds.   Nothing was revealed that I have already read in other books and stories. The goverment is going after him because he has reveled the battle the military has to put up with dealing with an incompetent leadership in our goverment and it's policies.  

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

RECKLESS LIAR Romney = Economic FAILURE! NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST! 

 

We cannot kill everyone into submission. We must win their HEARTS and MINDS. 

 

Truly, ONLY President OBAMA is well equipped for this MISSION. RE-ELECT our HONEST, DECENT, COMPASSIONATE POTUS, OBAMA. 

Hillshire Benedict
Hillshire Benedict

I have a family member who's an operator and they had to sign an NDA for 75 years. Which means they would be so old anything experienced was ancient history. How is this person getting away with this? He could lose his pension and be jailed. No valor in my eyes.

AC CHAPA
AC CHAPA

Army and Navy Special Operations are our American Ninjas.  The less known by our enemies about weapons and tactics the better for mission success and psychological advantage, which at one time was considerable.  Allow them to return to the shadows..we don't have to know their names to express our appreciation for their sacrifices.  

theBHGG
theBHGG

I'm not a vet, but my father is a Vietnam-era Navy Officer (though he didn't serve in combat; he was in strategic nukes).  I grew up watching the TV series M*A*S*H, and loving it.  But I remember how much he hated it: the mockery of the chain of command, the way every combat officer was portrayed as an amoral killer.

I bring this up because I think there is a motivation for why the commanding officers of the SEAL teams wanted to give positive exposure of their elites to the media in the 1990s. They may well have lived through the public hatred of Vietnam vets that was common in the 1960s.  And they decided may have decided that giving exposure was better than letting the explicitly fictional media create their own portrait of the fighting soldiers.

Nowadays, I see liberals taking great pains to support the troops, even when they criticize the civilian (i.e. political) command.  But it didn't used to be this way, and it may not stay this way forever.  I think there are some older, more conservative, voices that remember bitterly how liberals used to treat the uniformed men who did the actual combat.  Funerals were disrupted, ketchup was thrown onto enlisted uniforms in airports, discrimination was committed in hiring. 

Brandon Webb doesn't provide any motivation for the SEAL command making these media decisions.  I think that leaves the question of "what were they thinking" open.  Even if initially asked without pejorative intent, I think it is a mistake to leave the question implicitly unanswered.

Kevin Brent
Kevin Brent

I'd like to see proof of all these 'anonymous' buds and friends and cousins, sisters boyfriends buddies who are SEALS talking to so many journalists on the Left trashing this book. The author and other Obamatards are asking the reader to believe, that these sources are upset, but then doing exactly what their supposedly upset about to let us know they're upset. Sounds like a DNC smoke amp; mirrors Op being run out of Fuhrer Obama's WH Basement.

beaverorduck
beaverorduck

I don't agree with this assessment.  How does this book give the enemy an advantage?  After reading the book the terrorists suddenly realize that when a chopper lands on their building some guys are going to come out shooting?

Brandon Webb
Brandon Webb

The more pieces of the puzzle are put into play the clearer tactics, techniques and procedures become.  Identifying locations, training operations, key names and the release of his name puts active operators at risk. 

atticus451
atticus451

Can't speak to this particular mission or the SEAL's MO; but in Iraq when Delta Force would perform a snatch-n-grab - the first team "sanitizes" the block (i.e., everyone terminated - the Genghis Khan approach of no threat rising at your back), then another team snatches a target. Later, when (usually it was) the Marines (unaware of the aforementioned secret op) would come in to provide protection and police the village - the locals would already be hostile towards U.S. forces. Plus, if you remember those playing cards - all the key players were assigned a number - that was the allowable civilian casualties permitted in an op to whack them. Not since Vietnam have civilians been so disposable.

Hentai
Hentai

Not since Viet Nam has an enemy been so entrenched within civilian locales. That's why we are fighting "radical terrorists", and not a uniformed army. Today's civilians are no different than WWII Nazi sympathizers. If they don't like being specimens, let them create their own version of 'the French Underground" (which, to be fair, many arabs have already done, although no longer getting even covert support from our current Muslim-favoring President). In the arab world, "innocent bystanders" do not exist.

IcarusRising
IcarusRising

This guy has harmed our national security efforts and his fellow brave Seals. He has discredited his peers for a handful of dollars !

Marky82ndABNRECON
Marky82ndABNRECON

 What about the White House naming " DEVGRU " a unit that was classified , giving a Hollywood producer assess to a private briefing of a classified mission , an the leak of their home base , green lighting the movie "Act of Valor " that shows operational tactics an now Zero Dark 30 is coming out ? I have read " No Easy Day " an nothing classified was revealed sounds like double standards to me , what planet are you living on ?

PoppaCharlie
PoppaCharlie

I suspect that "Mr. Owen" may be judged by an unofficial jury of his peers and his behavior found wanting.  My limited experience with the SOF community indicates that they do not suffer fools gladly.

akpat
akpat

The best kept secrets are ones that stay secret and this should have being that the conflict is ongoing and the raid was not that long ago.

 

Hentai
Hentai

Then Obama should have kept his mouth shut too. This SEAL was merely following the lead of his "Commander-in-Chief".

IAM1Maybe
IAM1Maybe

 Brandon

Interesting article. Don't really know anything (at least first hand) about the military which generally means you are not a "true American" at least to quite a few Vets. And being a civilian in all likelihood my post will be at best dismissed by many. But my question involves questions about so much of the right wing stuff that comes out from this Owen guy and evidently the other Seals. It would make me think twice about the professionalism of Seals in general if I were Commander and Chief and not right wing enough or god forbid a left wing liberal.  Are these people spending to much time playing politics? Shouldn't they be real quiet when it comes to politics? What if there is a mission that they think the President shouldn't order based on their political beliefs? How committed are you if you spend your time bad mouthing the current Commander and Chief? Are they to be trusted? I know probably the critics will come out of the wood work because you cannot say anything other than singing the praises of the military especially if you are NOT a Vet with out being demonized. But is there a point when the military becomes so enamored with themselves and this Warrior Mythology that those of us civilians need fear a coup? I realize they owe their allegiance to the Constitution not whoever holds the Office of the President but suppose they believe the birthers and a President is not legitimate according to the Constitution. I know this is an exaggerated argument and unlikely situation but if does genuinely bother me that there is so much hate and disrespect towards this president from the military it seems. Those sworn to defend sometimes decide that they are beholden to

nobody who doesn't wear a uniform. The Praetorian Guard originally were

the personal bodyguards of the emperor who evolved into those who

decided who would be Caesar? Funny Bush sent the military to fight and die in Iraq mostly because of a neoconservative mantra (there were no WMDs of significance and there was little to no credible evidence of a threat. And Saddam linking up with a free agent like Osama and Al queda is rather an illogical argument. The only real Al Queada presence came after the chaos of the war.) Yet I never hear much about military Vets grumbling about being sent to fight and die or be horribly wounded and disabled for life all for a mostly political theory.  Just makes me uncomfortable when I hear those in the military, especially the elite, denigrating their Commander and Chief. Shouldn't that, to coin a phrase be above there pay grade.  Not to put to fine a point on it but their job is to follow orders their political opinions would seem distracting from their chosen profession. If politics are so important then I think they need to leave the military. But maybe I am too naive believing part of being a professional Soldier, Sailor or Marine means at least trying to remain apolitical.

Hentai
Hentai

Nah, you're not too naive. You're just too stupid. When our soldiers become automatons, that is, BLINDLY following orders without engaging their own moral compass, we go back to the whole Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam, with Lt. Wm. Calley being thrown under the bus to protect the higher ups that controlled him. He was castigated for NOT questioning his orders, while those who gave those orders remained isolated from prosecution. The SEALS, by definition and selection, are elite not just physically, but mentally. They are also students of military history. They know when there's a CIC in office who would not hesitate to hang them out to dry if it seemed politically expedient at the time. They've watched the increasing "fishbowl" policies that have allowed others to profit, both financially and politically, by opening the doors on what was, not that long ago, highly classified material. Obama has tried relentlessly to cash in on an action started by Bush, and trying to use it to prove he's "tough on defense", when his actions this week, in the face of the attacks on our embassies timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11, reveal he's anything BUT tough, and thereby about the worst possible candidate for re-election. He makes Jimmy Carter look like a hawk. The SEALS are not political, but they are being politicized by this "progressive" excuse for a president.

The best soldiers (and the SEALS are the very best) are NOT the same as your typical "grunt", whose duty IS to blindly and immediately follow orders, not to question them. The SEALS are given assignments, which they then devise their own plans to accomplish. They are picked for, among other traits, their ability to innovate, to think outside the box, and to operate independently...that is, withOUT access to a direct chain-of-command.

Lastly, your statement that you never "hear much about military Vets grumbling about being sent to fight and die or be horribly wounded and disabled for life all for a mostly political theory" is flat out absurd. If you're not hearing it, it's because you're electing NOT to...VietNam being the most glaring example....which was a "police action" taken on the basis of the "dominoe theory".

You should worry less about being "demonized" for your views, and worry more about how stupid the basis for those views is.

IAM1Maybe
IAM1Maybe

Hentai

 "You're just too stupid." Hmmmm... well I might reply to the other content of your post but I really don't like to deal with people who name call like six year olds at recess. LOL

Amazing how one cannot have a civil discussion and maybe at worst agree to disagree on these boards with out  resorting to the anonymous noise of belittling others. I try not to, though I have been known to puncture a few windbags in retaliation, I really shouldn't. I might have responded to your post and addressed your points but I am sure you know better than me or anyone else so I will pass. Name calling chatter bores me and most others and you are really not important enough to bother with even this little post. So we are done run along now little fellow run along.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

Lacking any pretense to paragraphing as your rant does,  I take it that it was hard to type with your foot so firmly shoved into your mouth after the first few lines?

Mr. Webb was a Navy SEAL.  In the vernacular of the tines, that makes him very much a military veteran.

Vets have spoken out all over the place about policy and politics, but always as themselves.  As a civilian, you have no true understanding of what it REALLY means to volunteer to serve the country - to put your delicate skin on the line and fight because that's what you're willing to do for your country.  All you can do is imagine it.

And you would be wrong.

Many vets are taken by their religious and/or political ideology to use their service for personal or political gain.  Most other vets see that as a betrayal of their fellows.  The pride we feel in our service is diminished when someone seeks personal glory for themselves because of their service.  But this is America where our service and sacrifices have preserved the freedom for anyone to act like a buffoon as long as they don't break the law.

Please don't try to understand us until you become one of us.  We speak out all the time, everywhere, with many different voices.  We don't always agree on everything.  Few of us seek to publicly exploit our service as Mr. "Owen" has. But the one voice in which we demand to be heard is the one we all have in equal measure, veteran or civilian.

We call it the right to vote.

If everyone gave a millionth of the effort it takes to serve the country in  considering their vote in the first place, the country would be in much better shape than it is now.

IAM1Maybe
IAM1Maybe

 Fatesrider

"Lacking any pretense to paragraphing as your rant does,  I take it that it was hard to type with your foot so firmly shoved into your mouth after the first few lines?"  Oohhh how clever you are lol.

Hmmmm. Rant? Foot shoved in mouth?  You went on for several paragraphs I would imagine some might call that a rant. You know you could have just said you politely disagree and moved on with your life. My intention was not to rile anyone up. Mine was just an opinion and psst so was yours. Everyone has one.

Gee I didn't know one had to be so formal and the paragraph police were about. Oh my! By the way "Lacking any pretense to paragraphing..." is  dare I say a pretentious statement. Evidently you are terrible impressed with yourself.

As to "...foot so firmly shoved into your mouth after the first few lines?..." Is that because I am not a Vet and cannot question some of the behavior of anyone in the military because they are so special and those of us lowly civilians must bow before them. I simply stated some of my concerns in regards to this "Owens" character and some of the other Seals attitude regarding the current President and the politicizing of the military. Mea culpa. How dare I have an opinion or a question regarding the military, me being a lowly civilian, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea.....

You have basically proven my statement "...the critics will come out of the wood work because you cannot say anything other than singing the praises of the military especially if you are NOT a Vet with out being demonized."

As to "Mr. Webb was a Navy SEAL.  ... a military veteran." Duh, I never said he wasn't so I have no idea as to what you are objecting to or babling about. You are just stating the obvious.

"As a civilian, you have no true understanding of what it REALLY means to volunteer to serve the country - to put your delicate skin on the line and fight because that's what you're willing to do for your country." Again you prove one of my statements, you snidely denigrate me as a non-vet a civilian and perhaps subtly question my manhood/courage and my patriotism ( An over used and abused word, by the way.) Whatever sport, yours is just an opinion. Glad you think so little of those you actually serve though, you know the citizens (civilians) of this country. 

"Many vets are taken by their religious and/or political ideology to use their service for personal or political gain.  Most other vets see that as a betrayal of their fellows.  The pride we feel in our service is diminished when someone seeks personal glory for themselves because of their service.  But this is America where our service and sacrifices have preserved the freedom for anyone to act like a buffoon as long as they don't break the law."

Sounds reasonable to me.

"Please don't try to understand us until you become one of us." Sounds kind of hostile and elitist to me and off topic. I essentially stated my concern that some in the military were becoming more and more politicized. As to "...don't try to understand us..." most veterans are never in combat or lethal situations the vast majority are support. At one time (years ago) I believe it was something like 6 or 7 support to 1 in combat situations. I would imagine the figure is a lot lower now, with more in harms way. I would think a clerk stationed in Alabama is not terribly difficult to understand. As to those actually in harms way you are right. I would suggest one can understand a combat situation on an intellectual  level only. Perhaps one could try to imagine putting ones life on the line but it would be wholly inadequate. The problem is the life threatening and horrible chaos of real combat is something experienced on an emotional level. One has to experience the horror taste the abject terror of War up close and personal and it cannot be understood unless you survive the chaos and fog of War. That seems like a reasonable statement. I am not attacking anyone. I am just stating an opinion. If that offends, well that is too bad but it is not my intention.

"But the one voice in which we demand to be heard is the one we all have in equal measure, veteran or civilian. We call it the right to vote."  Well I am glad you think civilians have a right to vote, but does that mean I as a civilian have the right to state an opinion or question the wisdom of a politicized military especially the elite forces like the Seals?

"If everyone gave a millionth of the effort it takes to serve the country in  considering their vote in the first place, the country would be in much better shape than it is now." It sounds like you believe people don't make an effort to consider their vote but my suspicion is you believe they should vote like you which probably would not be for Obama and his ilk which is fine. But as you are so enamored with the military and the vets doesn't it bother you that Romney had something like six deferments during the draft. Kind of bothers me because since he didn't serve someone else took his place and after six deferments I wonder of those who took his place how many never made it home. Personally, I would think I would either serve or go to Canada if faced with the same situation. Either choice right or wrong would at least show a commitment to a moral stand one way or the other.

To any and all current or former military my "rant" was not to cast aspersions on those of you who serve(ed).  My father was a US Marine during WWII, my grand father was in the Canadian Calvary during WWI, and my Great Grandfather was a Sergeant Major in the British Army. All of my uncles served in the various US armed forces. I would no sooner denigrate your service and sacrifices than I would spit on my ancestors graves. I just stated my opinion/concern  which is my right.

Psst ...Fatesrider. That enough paragraphs for you? Perhaps you should correct my grammar I am sure you could find fault.  But heck, I don't really care and am not interested in a flame war. So move along nothing to see here. LOL. We are done.

IAM1Maybe

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

I'm having a hard time seeing the difference between the disregard for security regulations practiced by Bradley Manning and "Mark Owen," except that Owen did it for money.

Marky82ndABNRECON
Marky82ndABNRECON

 Another bleeding liberal who thinks Joe Biden is some Iconic figure LMFAO !

Phoenix31756
Phoenix31756

What I fail to understand is why so many Americans have considered, Gary Manning as a HERO ?

There are so many IF's,What's and Why's regarding him and what he had done, I begin to question if there's really a Gary Manning, after all ! 

The hardest thing people fail to realize is what's the REAL TRUTH anymore ?

Is Gary Manning a fabrication of some spook in the CIA to cover something up? I wasn't there to PERSONALLY oversee any of this so that makes me question and believe me, I HAVE THAT RIGHT TO QUESTION !    

PaoloBernasconi
PaoloBernasconi

well, Owen didn't reveal anything really secret, at least I hope so.

PoppaCharlie
PoppaCharlie

That's the only real difference, Dan.  

Bradley may assert his wish to expose "bad things", and had he limited himself to that he may have a somewhat defensible position, but he went beyond the pale.  Disclosing classified information to unauthorized personnel is a crime and should be dealt with appropriately.

Phoenix31756
Phoenix31756

It seems everyone's definition of certain words means differently to everyone  right ?

If I had ask for your real name, you probably would come back and say that's "Classified" or "You don't have the right to know that" or whatever right ?

When a document is classified as TOP SECRET and you only have a clearance that's less then that, Does that give you a right to view such a document ? OF Course not ! 

PoppaCharlie
PoppaCharlie

There seems to be a disconnect here, but I'm insufficiently perceptive to identify it - unless you're asserting that the unauthorized person reading/receiving the classified is equally guilty. That is the realm of the Espionage Act, something that I am only vaguely familiar with. For someone not authorized to do so to gain access (other than an overt act of espionage) pretty much requires someone with access to disclose it. That includes failure to secure the materials.   

The words in the documents one signs when getting "read on" and debriefed are pretty narrowly delineated within the realm of "thou shalt not".  Having been formally debriefed, I'm only cleared for "burn before reading".  Oh, the joy!

aaron107
aaron107

BRANDON, it was so rare for a NAVY SEAL to be killed in the "old days".  Why are so many getting killed now?  Is it standard procedure for  a lot of them to be in the same helicoptor for instance?  I thought they worked in teams of 3 or 4?  Why has the "cone of silence" been lifted and all this information getting out?  How can they work covertly if their tactics, methods and identies are out in the open for all to see?

Hentai
Hentai

I think at some higher level, someone decided that they could "leverage" the effectiveness of the SEAL teams by "leaking" just enough info to "build their image" as this implacable, covert, damn near invincible/invisible force for Good.  Sort of like the whole ninja legend...The fear planted by the PR campaign would/will act as a deterrent in many cases BEFORE a potential threat even gets off the ground.

The only problem with that theory is it's impossible to measure its effectiveness...same way it's impossible to measure the deterrent effect of the death penalty, or looser gun restrictions.

So basically it was a matter of "Well, here we've built this super-elite, super-secret, military unit, and it's SO covert the world will never know about it, since the only ones with any face-to-face experience with these individuals invariably ends up either dead, or 'disappeared''".  So the decision was made to "advertise"...make sure the world had a clear picture of who they'd be dealing with if they were ever foolish enough to cross swords with the U.S.

Brandon Webb
Brandon Webb

Thanks for the comments gents. It's a tough time in our community. 

Phoenix31756
Phoenix31756

I'll take the bait here, Your Welcome !

If your really Brandon Webb and you are really the one that wrote this article, then you'll understand what I meant by what I said.

z
z

I'd like to know when greed became good and doing a job well meant so little; when honor was something for fools; and money was the only thing that mattered.  I'd like to know when giving tax cuts to billionaires while our men and woman go in harms way became okay; or when parades for soldiers going off to war was the order of the day but not for when they come home.  I'd like to know when asking a few to sacrafice everything was okay but asking the many to sacrafice a little is not.  I'd like to know when the thin red line of heroes became so thin and the line of citizens who wrap themselves in the flag of greed became so thick.

Hentai
Hentai

I'd like to know when it became wrong to give tax credits to those whose success allows them to create jobs for others; when it was preferable to support a President whose only promise was to CUT the funds that allow us to better equip those who are in harm's way; when 'asking' that others sacrifice was supplanted by legislation making such sacrifices a matter of fiat rather than conscience; when the line of pacifists wrapping themselves in the flag of compassion became more altruistic than striving to succeed.

oldprofessor
oldprofessor

I think the move to an all volunteer army is partly responsible.   I was RA during the draft in the Korean War.   My training and my three years of service was in a constantly changing mix of  draftees and volunteers.   There was a very different view of military service than I encounter amongst the vets returning from service in the all volunteer army.  I do not know whether that is good or bad....but there is a difference.

z
z

As a veteran I certainly agree.  Every American should have the opportunity to be part of serving the nation.  It helps to bind us together in shared sacrafice.  I try to imagine after Pearl Harbor if FDR gave a tax cut to the wealthiest.  I think there would have been a revolt and rightfully so.  Telling us to go shop after 911 didn't help. The whole nation sacraficed and felt as one in a common cause during WW2.  Even if people choose to serve in a national service corps instead of the military it would still help bring us together. 

Hentai
Hentai

There is absolutely no similarity between WWII and 9/11. Zip, zero, nada, zilch... 9/11 was a terrorist attack on our way-of-life, not our freedom, not our territory. It was committed by a loosely organized, dogma-driven band of radicals funded by a Saudi madman. Not a uniformed, national military. So it was a perfectly gauged response for Bush to encourage us to carry on "business as usual", since that was exactly what Osama was hoping to disrupt.

The only way to bring this nation BACK together, is to radically muzzle the media whose bread-and-butter depends upon them doing everything possible to keep us at each other's throats...And NOT just "talk radio", dominated by the right, or TV news, dominated by the left. I mean ALL of it...

That's the other thing that was different after WW2...Our media was dominated by "moralistic" shows, that we all, more or less, held to be "common decency". The westerns, for instance, the good guy ALWAYS WON.  The sit-coms knowingly presented "perfect families"...Everyone knew that 'real' families weren't ever that idyllic, but they also knew that there was value in using our public airwaves to SHOW HOW IT SHOULD BE...and that was a national mindset we all shared, and strived for.

Look at the crap we allow into our houses now, via the internet, our cable/dish TV, our radios, even our cellphones. It's a virtual toilet of destructive, perverse behavior. Garbage in, garbage out. All in the name of "freedom of speech/expression"... The founding fathers would be sickened by how we've perverted that most precious of freedoms.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

Well, it's tough being a celebrity, people wanting your opinions and all, and you have to deliver to the fan base.

I saw this Owens being interviewed on 60 min. and have read reviews but have seen nothing that would seem to me to be a great breach of security.  Nothing is revealed that is not already known and available.  

But the comments regarding President Obama on the heels of the political attempt to swift boat the President by another gang of right wing SEALS is what set me off. I don't know of any secrets I've learned, but I have learned that irrational right wing political thought seems to be common.  Thanks to all SEALS for your service, but I have heard enough of the political views and ask you to STFU on that, as you know no more than your fellow celebrity Clint Eastwood.

Hentai
Hentai

Whereas "irrational" left wing political though seems to be a requirement.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

 While I agree with you about the need for self-confident silence about one's spec-ops service, you haven't apparently read the book which actually does spill those secrets (according to Pentagon officials).   One should remember that what you read isn't read with the eye of a spec-ops trained individual. As someone else very correctly pointed out, what may not seem significant to you could be very significant to someone trained in that kind of combat.

But you're not going to see breaches of secrets from interviews or such things.  Those breaches are in the book itself, which is why this person should be brought up on charges of violating his secrecy oath (The conditions they agree to to keep everything they did or do secret).  He was in such a hurry to cast Obama in a bad light and raise money for his right-wing friends (not to mention himself, of course) that he rushed the book to print.  And the publisher should be brought up on charges as well if for no other reason than to teach publishers that they need to put lives ahead of profit.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

No, I haven't read the book and won't read the book.  The Pentagon hasn't said specifically that any secrets were revealed, but that Owens violated his oath to the military and didn't clear the book with them, and they may take action.  That will be fine with me. Confidentiality and control are crucial to the military. A friend of mine who had served in intelligence once wouldn't cross the border into Mexico for drinks and dinner because he was obligated to clear foreign travel beforehand.

We have no real disagreement.

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