Wartime PC dan­ger

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

E-mails from U.S. mil­i­tary of­fi­cers in Iraq and Afghanistan have ex­posed an alarm­ing, po­lit­i­cally cor­rect prac­tice that is en­dan­ger­ing the lives of troops serv­ing in those con­flict zones.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cers, U.S. troops are be­ing forced to carry un­loaded weapons on most U.S. bases be­cause com­man­ders are more wor­ried about a “neg­li­gent” dis­charge than the very real like­li­hood of a ter­ror­ist at­tack by an in­sider on the base. The rule is all the more dis­con­cert­ing be­cause th­ese troops are in ar­eas where they re­ceive com­bat pay.

De­fense of­fi­cials say the fear of “neg­li­gent” weapon dis­charge is due to lack of train­ing and is dif­fer­ent from con­cerns about ac­ci­den­tal dis­charge, which in­volves a me­chan­i­cal mal­func­tion that rarely oc­curs.

“This se­lec­tion of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and safety con­cerns over force pro­tec­tion con­trasts markedly with com­bat ex­pe­ri­ence in World War II, Korea or Viet­nam, where sol­diers, sailors, air­men and Marines were re­quired to be armed — with loaded weapons — at all times,” one of­fi­cial said.

“This is a gross fail­ure of lead­er­ship, and in all like­li­hood has con­trib­uted to the U.S. ca­su­alty rate,” the of­fi­cial said.

The of­fi­cer in Iraq said the un­loaded-gun rule is a symp­tom of big­ger mil­i­tary lead­er­ship prob­lems, es­pe­cially in the Army.

“Un­for­tu­nately, many mil­i­tary lead­ers are lit­tle more than man­agers, and many of those have con­sciously cho­sen to re­duce them­selves to the level of per­ma­nent ad­min­is­tra­tor, be­cause it is safer for their ca­reers than risk­ing real de­ci­sion-mak­ing,” he said.

The of­fi­cer warned that the lead­er­ship cri­sis in the Army is pro­duc­ing a “stilted, unin­spired Army.”

“Such a ster­ile, hy­per-politi- cized, pon­der­ous, dis­con­nected Army is no match for an in­spired, com­mit­ted, agile, flexible force, even one smaller and less tech­no­log­i­cally so­phis­ti­cated,” he said of the Is­lamic ter­ror­ist en­emy.

A sol­dier in Afghanistan said the no-loaded-weapons rule is true for bases there as well, adding that sol­diers are re­quired to un­load weapons af­ter re­turn­ing from “In­dian coun­try.”

“The idea that any­one, any­where, would carry firearms for se­ri­ous so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, yet do so with them in any con­di­tion other than ready to fire at a mo­ment’s no­tice, is so stupid no ‘dis­cus­sion’ ap­pears nec­es­sary, at least among the sane,” the sol­dier said.

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