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Monday
Dec142009

Facebook groups supporting troops grow; are troops being set up?

Commentary by Kay B. Day

Over the weekend I received a call about Capt. Carl Bjork, a U.S. Army infantry officer who is, according to the caller, being tried for murder in Iraq. There’s very little information online about the captain’s trial. There is a Facebook page—Support Carl Bjork. The group has 2,332 members at present and numbers increase by the hour.

According to a statement on the page, Capt. Bjork is “charged with premeditated double murder committed during our 2006-2007 deployment to Hit, Al Anbar Province…” Three “detained Iraqi insurgents” are allegedly the eye witnesses.

The statement on the page said the Army has been “investigating” Bjork for 3 years. “[T]he only evidence of this ‘crime’ the prosecution is bringing to trial is the testimony of those 3 arrested terrorists."

A Townhall blogger said Bjork is being represented by Victor Kelley whose firm has a division called the National Military Justice Group.

Elizabeth Kilbride, author of ‘Soul of American Warriors,’ posted this photo online after being embedded with the military in Iraq. Kilbride’s caption said, “When you are down and out, think about how our soldiers are living in a war zone, you will be grateful for what you have - a comfortable bed.” Watch for upcoming articles about Kilbride and her book at The US Report. [Photo used with permission of the author.]Considering news about Bjork is just beginning to trickle into the blogosphere (and consequently will possibly trickle into big branded media (BBM) thereafter), perhaps we should ask ourselves some questions.

Are we making it impossible for our troops to win the war? Are we marching blindly into a psychological war campaign launched by the very terrorists we want to defeat?

Please note—BBM calls the enemy insurgents. I call them terrorists because that is how I perceive them. Please further note connotations arising from my use of BBM for Big Branded Media are intentional on my part—if ever there were a political media trend that could be classified as a Big Bowel Movement, that would aptly apply to so-called media coverage of this war.

It’s no secret the current administration wants to wage a more politically correct war—with emphasis on protecting civilians even, perhaps, at the risk of our troops’ lives. Maybe when we’re all dead our enemy will indeed love us.

In the book ‘Soul of American Warriors,’ author Elizabeth Kilbride covers 5 levels in the military Rules of Engagement. Only at level 5 can “deadly force” be used, and then if the subject “usually” has a weapon and “will either kill or injure someone if he is not stopped immediately and brought under control.” [pg.138] For levels 1-4, even if the subject physically attacks but doesn’t use a weapon, defensive tactics are advised. Kilbride traveled to Iraq and covered events there from a unique perspective, one not driven by BBM.

Writing for Townhall about Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Afghanistan, Diana West said, “[T]he McChrystal counterinsurgency rules now include: No night searches. Villagers must be warned prior to searches. Afghan National Army or Afghan Police must accompany U.S. units on searches. Searches must account, according to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters, ‘for the unique cultural sensitivities toward local women.’ (‘Islamic repressiveness’ is more accurate, but that's another story.) U.S. soldiers may not fire on the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first. U.S. forces may not engage the enemy if civilians are present. U.S. forces may fire at an enemy caught in the act of placing an IED, but not walking away from an IED area.”

If you feel a bit queasy as you read these words, I apologize.

So theoretically, if a terrorist blows something up and runs away, a soldier better not shoot him (or her)—instead let the enemy live to blow something up another day.

Meanwhile we have 3 Navy SEALs being charged over accusations by a detainee in Iraq suspected of being a high-level terrorist and murder charges against an Army captain. The captain is described by someone who served with him as embodying “everything an Army Infantry Officer should be. He tactically led my platoon by example on every mission, supported the interests of his soldiers in the politics of an infantry battalion, and appreciated the dangerous and hard work we did for him, for the work we did for the average Iraqi citizen, and for the work we did for our country—despite that work ever being known and most times not appreciated.”

Those are a couple cases we know about.

Is our government setting our troops up for failure? What is the effect on our troops’ morale? Can you possibly win a war if you must question every move you make when your own life may be in jeopardy? Can you win a war by protecting civilians even when they may be colluding with terrorists? What is the impact on the families of our men and women serving in the U.S. military?

If this evokes memories of Vietnam, you’re right on target. The difference now is the American people support our military. Hopefully that will encourage politicians to take note.

And there’s a broader question following the question, ‘Are our warriors being set up?’

Are terrorists, by way of the courts and false accusations, setting our country up? I have a suspicion as certain trials unfold in New York, the answers to these questions will become painfully clear.

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  • Related
    Speaking during a visit to a new US marine base in southern Helmand province, Gen McChrystal said that US and Nato troops must make a “cultural shift” from conventional warfare to protecting Afghan civilians.(Quote from BBC)

Reader Comments (3)

Having known Carl since college, I find this very hard to swallow. I cant imagine Carl doing these types of things or that he would even allow something like this to happen on his watch. He has always been an upstanding person since I have known him. My wife and I consider him a great friend. He was in our wedding and has always been upfront and honest with every one he comes in to contact with. Its a tragedy that a soldier with such superb leadership qualities is being subjected to this kind of treatment and doubt.

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJason Richey

Jason, your comment isn't the only one I've received attesting to Capt. Bjork's integrity. I'm working on a followup column now. Personally, I think we're seeing just plain politics in play. Sad that politics are affecting our military. But I can't say it surprises me. Thank you for commenting. best, Kay B. Day.Ed.

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKay B. Day

Miss Day,
Please contact me at my email address or check your facebook inbox at your earliest convenience.

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJason Richey

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