Saturday, June 30, 2012

Intel Commander Murdered

525th Brigade Crest

Click here for related story [AP]

Lt Colonel Roy Tisdale, commander of the battalion supporting the Army's 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade at Fort Bragg, NC, was shot to death on Thursday by one of his soldiers during the Commander's pre-holiday safety briefing. Tisdale was shot three times in the head and twice in the chest before other soldiers tackled him - during which the shooter was shot in the head;  the shooter is listed in critical condition.

The shooter, who had served with Tisdale on his security detail in Afghanistan, was facing court martial charges for theft of tools and and equipment valued at roughly $1,700 -- which, on conviction, would have likely resulted in a Dishonorable Discharge and incarceration at the Fort Leavenworth Detention Barracks.

An underlying and persistent problem   (c) Veterans Today
Sadly, the Army has suffered a very large incidence of violence in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, much of it attributed to PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] derived from both combat as well as living in a violent environment over which the soldier has no control -- whether it is from the enemy [often not- or ill-defined], allied soldiers who might unexpectedly turn on you, or worse, from your own comrades.

Ultimately, much of the problem stems from soldiers not having a clear understanding of what the role of the US is in the Middle East.  They are there, supposedly, to fight for the US; yet, Saddam was dislodged and executed, and the Iraqis hate the US now and have seemingly allied with the Chinese and Russians -- yet we remain in Iraq footing the bill, and under siege from Islamic extremists.  Our soldiers witness one extremist element bombing the other, killing women and children in the name of Allah.  They don't understand, but they are helpless witnesses to this senseless killing.

In Afghanistan, our soldiers continue to fight the Afghans with whom we were allied to fight Soviet invaders.  Now, many of these same freedom-fighters are designated "terrorists" as Taliban or Al Qaeda.  Our soldiers are not welcomed by the locals, and are periodically attacked.  Some of our soldiers have committed atrocities, not only failing to "win the hearts and minds of the people", but ensuring that Americans will be remembered for brutal and unforgivable acts. 

Ultimately, the US soldier doesn't understand the US presence, and neither do our officers.  Senior officers there have shown little in the way of leadership qualities, instead pandering to the Administration.

As always, there are Leftist elements intent on pitting our soldiers against their officers, not unlike occurred in Viet Nam in "fragging" incidents. 

So, our soldiers, unable to identify the "enemy" are told that US officers are the visible enemy. 

Even our Administration [Department of Homeland Security] has joined in to identify our returning soldiers as "potential terrorists".

We executed the object of our war in Afghanistan on national TV to bolster the Administration's re-election campaign, and yet, we remain there primarily as targets.  Ostensibly, we are "protecting" our allies there, but our allies recognize that when we do pull out, they will be at the mercy of the Taliban and Al Qaeda -- leading to clandestine alliances between our allies and our enemies.

Stuxnet - Now a Russian asset?
We are now being pressured by one of our Allies to declare war on Iran to protect this Ally, which in the past, attacked and killed our intelligence and military personnel.

This same Ally has been negotiating with Russia for favored military and trade arrangements, while simultaneously working with the US to develop the Stuxnet and Flame computer viruses to attack Iran's nuclear program. The virus has now been "accidentally" released and is apparently moving about the Internet undetected.  We have to wonder how many of the secrets we shared with our Ally have now been shared with Russia.

In the end, there is no excuse for the shooting of the Military Intelligence Commander at Fort Bragg.  There is, however, a pattern that is developing which should be examined and remedied.  Congress needs to engage, perhaps after the November elections, in Executive Office decisions to initiate war. 

LBJ created the circumstances for the Viet Nam war with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution based on a US Navy incursion [on LBJ's orders] into North Viet Nam's territory. 

We invaded Iraq the second time on the [false] advice of our Ally that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. 

We invaded Afghanistan to find and capture Osama bin Laden, to end his terrorist activities.  Instead, he was captured and executed without interrogation, ostensibly wasting any opportunity to learn about his subordinate commanders, his strategy, and his linkages to other nations giving him support.

We bankrolled, provided weaponry and Naval Air support to NATO to attack a non-belligerent Libya, so Europe could gain access to Libya's oil deposits.  Libya is now engaged in a civil war amongst rival factions vying for ultimate power; atrocities are rampant as belligerents engage in a revenge bloodlust.  The benefit to the US: Zero!

We continue to pursue war as a foreign policy tool, and sacrifice our young, our best and brightest -- and our ideals in these adventures.  Our soldiers don't know what to think, and patriotism seems now confused with "terrorism" -- so our troops are understandably bewildered -- and embittered.  Completely bewildering has been the kid glove treatment given to Major Hasan after he killed 13 US Military personnel and wounded 29 others nearly three years ago.

Worst of all, our troops have no means of expressing themselves, since to seek psychological or psychiatric counsel means the end to a soldier's career,   In the end, their frustrations build, and the troops explode and commit atrocities against our "enemies" or innocent villagers, or against their own comrades or officers -- whom they are told are their enemies. 

Historical footnote:

Fort Bragg is rated as the largest military base in the world, and is home to the 18th Airborne Corps, the 82d Airborne Division, the Special Forces headquarters, the Army Special Operations Command, and the 1st Corps Support Command.

The 525th Brigade, formed in WWII as counter-intelligence and interrogation unit, has had an evolving mission since its return to Fort Bragg in 1948 and currently has elements deployed to Afghanistan.  [I take a special interest in the 525th since I formed and commanded an MI Detachment [FORSCOM Intelligence Training Detachment] from its personnel in 1975.]

The 525th has an unusual mix of specialized intelligence personnel who have served in a variety of unusual areas around the world, responding to unique national tasking.  I was proud to serve with this unit in the 1970s, and was extremely proud to command my detachment of the best Intelligence professionals in the Army.