Budget Cuts Are Necessary, But Not At The Expense Of Our Veterans

dJuly 7, 2015

By Lorra B.

It is no secret that the U.S. Military faces many obstacles when it comes to overhauling its healthcare system. Soon, policymakers in Washington will be contemplating one of the military’s biggest Tricare changes yet.

The changes being considered could save the Pentagon billions, according to Military Times. The new plan would also be “greatly enhancing health services for nearly 9.2 million active-duty family members, retirees and their dependents.”

What Helps Fund the TPP? Medicare Cuts.

But, what do these changes really mean for military veterans of retirement age?

According to the Department of Defense’s Statistical Report on the military retirement system, the number of U.S. Military Retirees in 2014 was 1,970,816 persons. That is a large number of retirees and the decisions being made by our government will have a huge impact on every one of them.

Retired Navy CPO, Ray Richard, wrote to us at Silent Soldier with very valid concerns and has given us permission to share them:

Hi, my name is Ray.  I’m a retired Navy CPO.  I am pretty well set as things go in this life.  I have my Navy pension which is just above the poverty line for a single guy.  However, I’m married and have been for 45 years.  My wife served as a Navy wife by my side.  My financial butt was saved because I worked and studied hard while I was in the Navy and when I got out I got a job teaching “to be” electrical engineers in the local state university.  When I retired from that I got a state pension.  A whopping $450 a month!  But it helped.  Then I got social security.  More help.  Then I got Medicare/Tricare medical coverage.  I have to say, compared to many I am blessed.

BUT, I want you to keep this in your memory as time goes by and you write about the state of affairs of military people. Obama took $700 Billion out of the Medicare fund we all paid into.  He also helped institute huge funding cuts to the military.  He continues to try to cut military funding.

When he stole from Medicare, the costs shifted to Tricare for military retired over 65 to pick up the increased gap between what the doctors got and what Medicare paid them.  Somewhere along the line here your going to hear that the medical costs for retired military is going up at tremendous percentages.  When you hear that send up the red flag and remind people that the increase is due to Medicare cuts.  It is not entirely due to higher medical costs.

Thank you for covering the military.  They deserve and need all the support they can get.


ATC Ray Richard Retired

We happen to agree with Mr. Richard. The U.S. Military men and women need all the support they can get. So we looked into what some of the changes may look like that are being suggested to Tricare but, first, lets glaze the surface at what the Obama Administration’s proposed 2016 cuts for Medicare are.

Waste and abuse are what the administration is looking to cut from Medicare Advantage Plans “for the elderly, seeking more than $36 billion in cuts (which is itemized in a Department of Health and Human Resources $1 trillion budget cut) over the next decade to curb costly government over-payments to the industry,” according to The Center For Public Integrity.

Medicare Advantage’s interim executive director, Krista Drobac, stated, “Piling on billions more cuts will only do more harm to the 16 millions of seniors who count on Medicare Advantage for higher quality, more affordable health coverage. These annual cuts have resulted in higher out-of-pocket costs and lost benefits for seniors across America.”

The government, however, believes they have a good reason for the cuts. In a practice know as ‘upcoding,’ it seems the White House believes that some doctors and health plans tend to exaggerate just how sick some patients are and, therefore, charge the government in excess.

There are six known whistleblowers lawsuits pending regarding the Medicare health plans over-billing the government. Perhaps waiting for the outcome of these lawsuits would be in order before simply cutting funding to the program?

By 2025, $913 billion could be cut to Medicaid and the health-care system for the poor, according to Boomerang Politics. “House Republicans are proposing to cut $5.5 trillion in U.S. government spending and balance the budget in nine years by cutting Medicaid and food stamps and partially privatizing Medicare.”

Please note, there are several ‘plans’ of attack on the Health System so do your own research to see what you come up with. The bottom line, however, is that cuts WILL be made and in a huge way.

Finally, how will these cuts affect Tricare? Well, one Tricare pitch would see Tricare (Prime, Standard and Extra) consolidated into one structure geared at making it much more difficult for families to use the emergency room for every-day healthcare needs and to encourage veterans to seek out military facilities or network providers. Or, there is the option of simply paying more for the services rendered. This would be a $47.8 billion budget request, according to Military Times.

In this plan, there would be no increase in co-shares or co-payments if for active-duty veterans or their families and if seen in network or at military clinics and hospitals. But how will this affect Retirees?

“The one that would have the biggest impact on currently serving troops and retirees under the age of 65 would be Recommendation 6: “Increases access, choice and value of health care for active-duty family members, reserve component members and retirees by allowing beneficiaries to choose from a selection of commercial insurance plans offered through a Department of Defense health benefit program.’”

“Retirees below age 65 and their family members would pay annual ‘participation fees,’ (currently called enrollment fees). Starting in 2017, annual fees would rise to $289 for an individual, up from 277.92, and to $578 for a family, up from $555.84.

“Retirees also would begin making co-payments for services at military treatment facilities, ranging from $10 for a primary care visit to between $20 and $50 for specialty care, urgent care, emergency room services and ambulatory surgery.

“Visits to a network provider for retirees and family members would range from a $20 co-pay for primary care to $100 for a network ambulatory surgery visit.”

These increases may not seem astronomical upon first glance. However, many veterans financially are barely getting by (if at all), let alone with the promise of increases in the near future.

For Retirees, here are the cost Break-downs:

(Screenshot credit, Military.com)

(Screenshot credit, Military.com)

(Screenshot credit, Military.com)

(Screenshot credit, Military.com)

Obama’s budget is calling for a national security program increase of $38 billion and another $37 billion for domestic programs. While he is increasing national security budgets, applaudably, he is also inadvertently taking away from it by dipping into the wallets of our Veterans by increasing the costs of their healthcare.

Granted, what was put together here barely scratches the surface of the complicated healthcare reform initiative and it can not be argued, budget cuts need to be made, but not at the expense of our Veterans.

By Lorra B.

A special thanks to Mr. Richard for allowing us to share his story. Sadly, his story is one among hundreds.

God Bless each and every one of you, our beloved Veterans! 

Obama says He Has Restored Respect To The United States: Only In His Own Mind

dJune 3, 2015

John A. Pappas:

by johnapappas

There was another time in recent American history when the United States went through the same level of non respect and that was during the presidency of Jimmy Carter and you remember what happened then when Iran held captive American hostages for 444 days. They were finally released during President Reagan’s inauguration as a final insult to Carter whom Iran had no respect for whatsoever. Iran sure does not respect Obama as even as they are trying to put together a nuclear bomb deal with the United States they continue too say “death to America,” they are laughing at Obama.

Reagan turned America around with leadership of the likes of not having been seen in our life times. He had America inspired back to the tune of love of country even among the young. This is what Reagan said early in his presidency, “We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.” I guess Obama didn’t read that part of Reagan’s presidency.

Obama has made bad decisions of major consequences that our enemies have picked up on and are now acting accordingly. No matter what one might have thought of President Bush going into Iraq the point in being is that when Obama took over the presidency Iraq was stabilized and holding their own with only a U.S. contingency force there needed to safeguard the victory. What does Obama do with no consideration for the saving of Iraq, the sacrifices from our military and the will of the American people he pulls out all remaining American troops that enabled the radical terrorist group called (ISIS) to take over, that even Al Qaeda wants nothing to do with them. So! “is the world watching?” If this is what Obama calls gaining respect throughout the world with other nations he is more delusional than one might think.

Obama not only has left Iraq on their own but he is about to do the same in Afghanistan. If you recall Obama use to call Afghanistan the good war during his first presidential campaign as though there is such a thing as a good war. This is unheard of in American history that an American president is actually in retreat without protecting the countries that we were victorious with to protect them from attack until they are able to get on their feet. I am confident to say that if Obama was president during World War II we would be speaking German today. So! “is the world watching?” Yes they are and behind the scenes they are wishing once again for American leadership that Obama because of his philosophy of Global Equilibrium feels our leadership in the world is not warranted and to say it even better, Obama does not want the United States to have a leadership role in the world. This, future historians will judge as a big mistake and has caused lack of respect for the United States of America of which it’s consequences still need to be played out. So when Obama says “he has restored respect to the United States,” it’s only in his own delusional mind.

Find more at John A. Pappas

This article was not written by Lorra B.

UPDATE 1-U.S. Military Lab Shipped Live Anthrax Samples To Canada

dJune 2, 2015

Reuters – Live anthrax samples were shipped to three laboratories in Canada by a U.S. military lab, USA Today reported on Monday, following disclosures last week that samples of the bacteria were mistakenly sent to 11 U.S. states and two other countries.

The newspaper cited two Defense Department officials as saying the samples sent to Canada came from the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where the other samples appear to trace back to as well. It is one of the U.S. military labs responsible for inactivation and shipping of biological material.

A Defense Department official said on Monday the Pentagon had nothing to announce about the anthrax shipments and that the investigation is continuing.

The U.S. military said on Friday a total of 11 states had received “suspect samples,” as did Australia and a U.S. air base in South Korea. It ordered a sweeping review of practices meant to inactivate the potentially deadly bacteria.

It advised all laboratories for now to stop working with any “inactive” samples sent from the Defense Department.

To date, the United States has acknowledged that four U.S. civilians have begun taking preventive measures that usually include the anthrax vaccine, antibiotics or both.

Twenty-two people at the base in South Korea were also given precautionary medical measures, although none had shown signs of exposure.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Silent Soldier.

U.S. Military Wants China To Know They Are Losing Patience

dMay 29, 2015

CNN: By Jim Sciutto

CNN’s Jim Sciutto recently got exclusive access to a U.S. Navy surveillance plane on a secret mission near China, where they flew over a string of man-made islands. China’s Navy issued eight warnings to the plane and told it to leave the area. On Tuesday, Jim answered questions from the Reddit community during anAsk me anythingsession. Below are highlights from the conversation.

1. If your flight was warned eight times, I guess the flight crew didn’t take it very seriously then?

The flight crew was prepared — and read a scripted response saying that the U.S. considers the airspace there international. Frankly, both sides were very professional and calm, although I did hear frustration in the voice of one of the Chinese Navy radio operators when he yelled, “You go now!”

This was not the first U.S. flight over the islands but it is the first one the U.S. advertised broadly by bringing a TV crew on board. That was intentional and, judging by the Chinese government reaction, seems to have accomplished its goal of sending a message.

2. Did the crew show any change in posture/emotion when the warnings were received?

Frankly, it did not. They have flown these flights before and been challenged by the Chinese Navy before. A few months ago, it was a different story when a Chinese fighter did a barrel roll in front of a U.S. surveillance flight much closer to the Chinese coast. The U.S. formally complained to China and — I’m told — China promised it wouldn’t happen again.

CNN exclusive: China warns U.S. surveillance plane

3. How capable is China of shooting down the aircraft, even if flying at around 15,000 feet? Do eight warnings seem a bit redundant in their case?

Good question: for now, the flights are too far from to Chinese coast to be in range of Chinese fighter aircraft. Chinese naval ships are nearby though — we saw them! — and could have the weapons on board to threaten a U.S. aircraft but at this point, firing at a U.S. plane would be a clear act of war and therefore extremely unlikely.

4. If you were on a spy plane … why announce it to the world?

Again, fair question: clearly, in this case, the U.S. military wanted the world to know. Fact is, by bringing a CNN crew on board, the military wanted not only to show the world the extent of China’s activity but also show China that the U.S. is watching and, frankly, losing patience. In terms of sending a message, that tactic seems to have worked.

5. How does this type of access affect your reporting? Is bias not a concern with the networks anymore?

This is a very fair question. It’s my personal view that embedding during the second Iraq war often served the military’s interests. When you’re with troops — and your life, frankly, depends on them — it takes a real effort to separate your own point of view from theirs. I faced that challenge myself and hope I found a way to do it. I had the same concern going up in the surveillance flight. All you can do is ask hard questions and attempt to tell both sides of the story as best you can. But we all have to be very vigilant.

6. Do you think that these actions could deteriorate to an armed conflict over these islands?

Though neither side wants it, it is possible. And it most likely wouldn’t happen by choice. Rather, the worry is that a Chinese plane comes too close to an American plane or a Chinese ship too close to a U.S. ship. Do they bump? Does one go down? Fact is, this has happened before. In 2001, a Chinese fighter bumped a U.S. EP-3 surveillance plane. The Chinese fighter went down, the EP-3 did an emergency and dangerous landing on a Chinese island and were held for several days. The same encounter today, with China’s military much stronger, would be extremely dangerous.

More at CNN

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Silent Soldier.

U.S. Military Inadvertently Ship Live Anthrax Across The Globe



May 28, 2015

By Lorra B. for Silent Soldier

In a potentially devastating blunder, Wednesday the Pentagon announced that ‘live Anthrax’ was shipped from a Utah lab to approximately nine different states over the last year.

It was a lab based in Maryland that sounded the alert that live samples had been received. The U.S. Military unintentionally FedExed the live Anthrax samples to four U.S. lab workers and as many as 22 overseas labs. All have been placed in post exposure treatment and been prescribed prophylaxis as a precaution.

A South Korean base was also indicated to have inadvertently received a live sample, one that was to have been used in an “Anthrax detection exercise,” according to Fox News.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesperson, was confident that “there is no known risk to the general public, and there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers.”

Because the Anthrax samples were thought to be dead they did not have to be shipped under tight protocols. A defense official stated, “These were supposed to be dead spores Anthrax, called AG-1.”

But there are conflicting stories as to when and where the samples where shipped though a FedEx spokesperson, Jim McCluskey, would not confirm the report saying “FedEx is committed to the safe transport of all customer shipments, and our priority is the safety of our employees. We will be working closely with the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control to gather information about these shipments.”

When the defense official was asked how many of the states receiving the Anthrax actually received Live Anthrax, the official stated, “out of an abundance of caution, it is safe to assume it’s all live.”

“Five active duty Air Force members, 10 active duty Army members, three civilian officials and four contractors are now getting preventative treatment in South Korea,” according to CNN.

There is an ongoing investigation and all samples are being collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By Lorra B. for Silent Soldier

U.S. Military ‘Hostile’ To Christians Under Obama; Morale, Retention Devastated

Soldiers pray at military base; Cruz, Lee Fight for Religious Freedom for Military Service Members

Soldiers pray at military base; Cruz, Lee Fight for Religious Freedom for
Military Service Members

April 16, 2015

The Washington Times:


Soon there may only be atheists in the foxholes.

Christians are leaving the U.S. military or are discouraged from joining in the first place because of a “hostile work environment” that doesn’t let them express their beliefs openly, religious freedom advocates say.

Michael Berry, senior counsel at the Liberty Institute, a Texas-based legal organization dedicated to defending religious liberty in America, said recent high-profile cases of military chaplains facing punishment for private counseling sessions that reflected the teachings of their religion could cause devout Americans who are qualified for military service to think twice about joining the military.

In December, a chaplain for a Ranger training battalion received an administrative letter of concern after a soldier complained that he advocated Christianity and used the Bible during a mandatory unit suicide-prevention training session. The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers said the chaplain “used his official position to force his personal religious beliefs on a captive military audience” in an article the group posted on its website.

And, last month, a Navy chaplain was removed from his post and may lose his career after some sailors complained about his private counseling, in which he reportedly advocated against homosexuality and sex outside of marriage.

“People of faith are going to stay away from the military,” said Mr. Berry in an interview with The Washington Times.

“I can’t tell you how many moms and dads I’ve spoken to who say, ‘My son or daughter wants to join the military, [but] in light of what you’ve described, I’m not sure I want to let them join the military anymore,’ and I don’t blame them. I would have serious reservations about my own kids joining,” Mr. Berry said.

Douglas Lee, president of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, whose job it is to find people who want to be chaplains and make sure they’re also qualified to serve in the military, said growing religious hostility within the military is making it harder for him to find potential recruits and for the armed forces to maintain the chaplains it does have.

“I know people who get out, officers and chaplains, who’ve said, ‘I can’t serve the way I want to in this environment,’” said Mr. Lee, who also served as an Army chaplain. “People who’ve said, ‘Because of the religious liberty challenges I see, I think I’ll serve somewhere else.’”

Not being able to recruit or retain these individuals is very dangerous from a national security standpoint, said Mr. Berry, because they could be thmilitary’s next group of leaders, but will never serve because they don’t think they’re welcome.

“We all used to sit around and talk about planning on spending 20 years, but at some point enough is enough,” he said.

Mr. Berry said he thinks the “hostile work environment” that is forcing the most religious persons out of the military is only getting worse, and that while in the past problems were mainly in the Air Force, religious liberty issues have spread throughout all the services.

“The problem is getting worse, not better, despite our efforts,” he said. “There is a culture [of] hostility [toward] religion in the military right now.”

While problems in the past have touched all religious groups, Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, said he’s seen a recent uptick and pattern of Christians facing persecution for religious expression.

More at The Washington Times 

Disclaimer: This was not written by Silent Soldier.



dApril 7, 2015

We The People:

crew-2231By Jim Campbell, Citizen Journalist, Oath Keeper, Patriot and Infidel.

PRESIDENT George W. Bush wanted to become the education president.

When Islamic terrorists struck on 9-11 crashing their planes into the Twin Towers of the Trade Center, The Pentagon, and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania which was forced into the ground on the command of a passenger, Todd Beamer, who understood what was happening and said, “Let’s Roll”;    

President George W. Bush became a  great war-time president.    

Any doubt, read his book “Decision Points,” where he candidly admits to and takes responsibility for screw ups as the campaigns against Afghanistan and Iraq began. 

Have you seen any photos like these in the last  6  years ?  Of course not, the current occupant of the Office was into photo-ops particularly when they featured him saluting the flag-draped casket of a hero.

Do you miss him yet?


Attitude tells a lot about a person.
If a hug is needed, don’t be shy!

No one appreciates a firm handshake more than a soldier.

If they prefer not to shake hands…


then a chest bump will do.


Just make sure you do a duck face afterward so they can laugh at you.


Admire their medals. They were hard-earned.


Always treat their families with great respect.

They have been through more than you could imagine.


Laugh with them!

Yu2SvfNeEwQc1avNK0P9ZWyK-kGEJD0-5CPGES1PwqMtbnbPjBzi2yJZ8T1eMYtdGwxsQk5mI-d--3B6e3QfapgZmSkhPF97jgf0U8FN02O7dhFL9rRNAn-TCFhp4sB2Smt913_y23jxnU5aPp8tdl9-m5Qup-LbO0W_z5Q2D_ozHFBoOd-_WbJRsNcWGHndTmWGjxmYANKtJWG3zcfW5lnpMZMdj3e9XX4Laughter is a medicine that works 102% of the time.



If you know a soldier, call them on the 4th of July.


It will make their day!


Each soldier has an amazing story.



Listening is often the best gift you can give someone.


Soldiers love getting hugged because most of them
are big softies deep down.


Do a sport with them.

Soldiers love being active.


President Bush golf’s with wounded veterans at the Warrior Open tournament.


Make sure you are respectful.




Serve them a big dinner if you can. Lots of meat


But if you only have a minute, look them square in the eye…

And say, “Thank you.”


We promise you they will appreciate it.



Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.

Bergdahl Faces Little-Known, Rarely Used Misbehavior Charge

dApril 2, 2015

Stars and Stripes:

By Nancy Montgomery

If Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl were convicted of “misbehavior before the enemy” a century ago, he might also have been subject to a humiliating send-off. His sword might be broken or his insignia ripped from his uniform in front of his unit.

Along with desertion, Bergdahl was accused last month of violating the little-understood Article 99 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice — misbehavior before the enemy — for abandoning his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and thereby endangering his unit.

Although desertion cases are not uncommon, few military lawyers have ever prosecuted, or defended, a misbehavior before the enemy charge.

In a 19th-century treatise, Col. William Winthrop, one of the most important influences in the formation of U.S. military law, wrote that officers convicted of misbehavior before the enemy were “paraded in front of the command bearing a placard inscribed with the word ‘coward,’” and then “drummed out of the service.”

“These are charges from the 18th century,” said Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s defense lawyer. “It struck me as piling on.”

The last time Article 99 was raised in such a high-profile case was in the wake of the 1968 seizure of the spy ship USS Pueblo by the North Korean navy. The skipper, Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher, surrendered the Pueblo without firing a shot, becoming the first American officer to give up his ship since the War of 1812.

After the crew was released, a Board of Inquiry composed of five admirals recommended that Bucher be court-martialed under Article 99 for surrendering the ship, which was armed with only two .50 caliber machine guns. But public opinion supported Bucher, and Navy Secretary John Chafee overruled the admirals, declaring that the skipper and his crew had suffered enough after having been beaten and nearly starved during nearly a year in captivity.

“It’s one of those battlefield charges that got carried over from the Articles of War,” said Victor Hansen, a retired Army lawyer and a professor at the New England School of Law in Boston. The Articles of War were regulations drawn up to govern the conduct of the land and naval forces. They were supplanted in 1951 by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“It’s kind of been in there kicking around. It’s rarely charged,” Hansen said of the misbehavior charge. “It’s got all these very old notions — shame, cowardice, running away. I’m assuming the prosecutors as well as the defense attorneys are scratching their heads.”

According to his charge sheet, Bergdahl misbehaved in front of the enemy by leaving his observation post in Paktia province on June 30, 2009. His absence endangered his fellow soldiers and those who were ordered to search for him in hostile territory, according to the charges.

Conviction under Article 99 can result in even more severe punishment than the desertion charge Bergdhal faces. The maximum punishment for misbehavior before the enemy is life imprisonment, compared with up to five years in prison, a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank to E-1 and loss of pay and allowances for desertion.

Sentences usually shorter

Sentences imposed in some previous misbehavior cases have been much shorter than life.

In one case, two soldiers guarding a tank farm in Vietnam were convicted and sentenced to five years’ hard labor, after being found guilty of misbehavior because they supposedly played dead during a North Vietnamese attack, thus endangering the tank farm.

An appellate court, however, ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that their actions constituted any misconduct, let alone misbehavior in front of the enemy: the guard shack was indefensible, the soldiers’ weapons either jammed or were incapable of rapid fire and both had been wounded by a grenade.


“Playing dead’ is not much different from ‘taking cover’; neither is misconduct, per se,” the court said.

Another Vietnam soldier received 18 months in jail and a dishonorable discharge for violation of Article 99 after he refused to move out with his unit on a combat mission.

“The accused refused, stating that he was afraid and was tired of being shot at, that his family would rather he be secure than dead, and that he would rather go to jail than face the enemy,” according to the appellate court decision that upheld the conviction.

More at Stars and Stripes

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Silent Soldier.

The Bergdahl Trade And The Partisan Polarization Of America’s National Security

dMarch 26, 2015

Fox News:

On June 30, 2009, a young solider, Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, decided that the Army life just wasn’t for him and after writing several missives to spell out his disdain for his current circumstance at his post in Afghanistan and mailing off his kit to family and friends, he decided to go on an unaccompanied (and unauthorized) “walk-about” in Afghanistan. This was generally regarded by all as a “bad career move.”

The young private was swiftly captured and made a prisoner of war by the Taliban. He was moved to Pakistan for safe keeping as a guest of the Haqqani terror network (as so designated by the U.S. government on September 6, 2012). This transfer to Pakistan placed Bergdahl out of touch from U.S. forces due to the artificial U.S. limitation to not pursue terrorists across the Durand Line from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Bergdahl, sadly, is simply a pawn in a much larger game of badly played chess.

Significant resources in manpower and surveillance technology was utilized to try to find and return Bergdahl. This action diminished the U.S. military’s operational capability to attack the Taliban in other parts of Afghanistan. It also resulted in the loss of life, at the hands of the Taliban, of his fellow soldiers who were sent out to find him.

Over his years of captivity the Army saw fit to promote Bergdahl not once but  twice – first to E-4/Specialist and then to his current rank of E-5/Sergeant.

Years later President Obama, with other options on the table, decided in December 2013, that the best political option was to trade five senior Taliban detainees (two of which were material supporters of Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks) for the return of Sgt Bergdahl.

I was briefed in December 2013 that a decision had been made to make a “trade” over other options and the trade was confirmed to me by senior leadership in the Defense Department.

Again – this was a political option – not an operational one.  There were at least three other viable operational options for the live return of Bergdahl that did not include the return of the five Taliban leaders. Those options were ignored by President Obama.

The five Taliban leaders were traded for the release of Sgt Bergdahl on May 31, 2014.  The five Taliban were sent to reside in Qatar, in luxury conditions, for one year. After one year they would be allowed to go about their business as they saw fit.

These five Taliban leaders will soon, in May 2015, be allowed to return to Afghanistan to what will no doubt be a “rock star” welcome, and resume their efforts to both fight U.S. forces still in the country and work to destabilize the central Afghan government. (A government that, according to the White House, is what we’ve invested 13 years of blood and treasure to establish and protect.)

By the way, we will have no ability to track or monitor these five “enemy combatants” once they arrive in Afghanistan and who will no doubt resume their effort to kill American and Afghan government forces immediately.

Does this sound like a national security policy conflict?  You betcha!  Why? Because And the political objectives, in the eyes of this White House, trump all other policies – even if it means damage to our national security interests.

The reason that the option to swap Bergdahl for the five Taliban senior leaders was so appealing is because President Obama wants to close the military prison at Guantanamo, period. No matter the real world harm such a move will cause to our allies and to the operations of our military forces.  This political narrative, above all else, has drove the horrid and dangerous decision to release the five Taliban leaders.

Further – legally, the president violated the law in authorizing the trade of the so-called Taliban Five for Bergdahl.

Under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014, the president is required to provide Congress with 30 days notice of any release of detainees from Guantanamo; no such notification was made. There was no justification for the president to have violated this law. To date, Congress has failed to hold the president accountable for his actions.

Bergdahl, sadly, is simply a pawn in a much larger game of badly played chess.  He was inappropriately praised by the president in the May 31, 2014 Rose Garden press conference marking his return (a blatant attempt to influence the Army chain of command regarding the disposition of Bergdahl’s desertion from his post in combat) and by NSC Advisor Susan Rice who called him a “hero” in a lame attempt to build up Bergdahl to justify his importance in the trade.

Two investigations, one conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in 2009 and a second AR 15-6 conducted in 2014 by Maj. Gen Kenneth Dahl, have reached the factual conclusion that Bergdahl violated punitive article 85 – desertion, of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

More at Fox News

Disclaimer: This was not written by Silent Soldier.

U.S. Military’s ‘Disturbing’ Praise Of Israel’s Gaza Offensive Slammed By Critics

imageedit_2_3194283481November 10,2014

Global Research:  Palestinians collect their belongings from under the rubble of a residential tower, which witnesses said was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on August 24, 2014. (Photo: UN Photo-Shareef Sarhan/flickr/cc)

Critics say it is “shameful” that a high-ranking U.S. military official suggested the Pentagon can learn lessons from Israel’s 50-day attack on Gaza this summer.

gazaAccording the Jerusalem Post, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey made statements Thursday praising the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) for taking “extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties” during Operation Protective Edge.

Dempsey told an audience at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: “We sent a team of senior officers and non-commissioned officers over to work with the IDF to get the lessons from that particular operation in Gaza.” He referred to the group of officers as the “lessons learned team.”

But Ramah Kudaimi of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation said Israel’s tactics should not be replicated.gaza 7“It is very disturbing and shameful that U.S. military commanders believe that what Israel did in Gaza is something to be applauded,” Kudaimi told Common Dreams. “Five hundred dead children does not seem to be evidence that Israel was trying to not kill civilians. The seven-year siege on Gaza is not a policy to avoid civilian suffering.”

Israel’s recent seven-week military assault on Gaza killed at least 2,194 Palestinians, at least 75 percent of them civilians and over 500 of them children.

“At least 80 percent of the 100,000 Palestinian homes damaged or destroyed were refugee homes,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency reports.

gaza6The offensive damaged or destroyed over half of Gaza’s hospitals and health centers at a time when more than 11,000 were wounded, a UNRWA and World Health Organization joint investigation found.

Israel struck six UN schools sheltering Palestinians, including in cases where exact coordinates of the shelters were formally submitted by UNRWA to the Isreali military. These strikes alone killed at least 47 people and wounded hundreds.

gaza5Furthermore, Israel has been accused of potential war crimes by Amnesty International and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

“It is very despicable that the U.S. continues to white-wash Israeli crimes while funding them through military aid,” said Kudaimi. “Dempsey’s statements are not shocking. Anyone who follows U.S. military policy, knows they too have problematic definitions of protecting civilians.”

Lorra B.

Chief Writer for Silent Soldier