Not To Be Trusted By Their Own Government

When the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave a speech to a group of US Marines today in Afghanistan, he ordered that the Marines were to be disarmed before the speech.

Less than a week after a US staff sergeant allegedly massacred 16 civilians in Kandahar, American soldiers were banned from bringing guns into a talk by Mr Panetta at a base in Helmand province.

Around 200 troops who had gathered in a tent at Camp Leatherneck were told “something had come to light” and asked abruptly to file outside and lay down their automatic rifles and 9mm pistols.

“Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy – we just adjust,” said the sergeant who was told to clear the hall of weapons.

Major General Mark Gurganus later said he gave the order because Afghan troops attending the talk were unarmed and he wanted the policy to be consistent for all.

“You’ve got one of the most important people in the world in the room,” he told the New York Times, insisting that the decision was unrelated to Sunday’s killings. “This is not a big deal.”

However, US troops often remain armed even when their Afghan colleagues have been asked to lay down their weapons and the incident is believed to be the first time they were stripped of guns during an address by their own secretary of defense.

The Ministry of Defense was unable to confirm reports that a small number of British troops had also been asked to put down their weapons.

Mr Panetta told the troops that the massacre of civilians and the resulting Afghan fury would not affect plans to keep US troops in the country until the end of 2014.

“We will be challenged by our enemies, we will be challenged by ourselves, we will be challenged by the hell of war itself,” he said.


Why would the Secretary of Defense be afraid to speech in front of American soldiers who are armed?  What is he afraid of?  And if he is afraid, does the President fear the military too?  And what will be his punishment to the military?

  • To me, all the events, suggests a fear of our military. It’s the kind of thing, that reminds me the, Fall Of The Roman Empire, type action.
    Yeah that’s extreme, but we’re watching an administration that’s dead set on seeing this Republic, dismantled, and a socialistic government put in it’s place. Cuba.. Fidel Wore a Uniform of the military…

  • The Taliban would have loved to hear that. Panetta is a liberal coward intent on ruining the military!

  • David

    I think the real teachable moment to everyone directly involved in Afghanistan and those watching from the bleachers is the realization that true individual freedom is a rare miracle indeed. As the Afghans and others around the world for thousands of years will testify, individual freedom is but a hopeless dream without a collective will to fight for it and in many cases die for it. And even then there is no guarantee of when that freedom will come.
    But specifically for America the lesson we can learn from Afghanistan is to respect the process for freedom. This unfortunately includes innumerable sacrifices along the way. Our nation has made a difference in that place just by our willingness to endure, help, train and to fight and die for the Afghans. Yes our inalienable rights that we so freely squander for one reason or another come from God but they’re of course preserved by the people who are willing to fight to keep them. The USA has enabled freedom in many places in the world. Some of us wish we could ensure lasting freedom to all the good people of God’s beautiful earth, but we all know this is too great a task to do alone.
    Can I ask a simple question? What if the individual freedom that is enumerated in our Constitution is lost? What happens to the rest of the world who are trying and hoping to overcome tyranny and oppression, religious and political persecution and all of the other miseries if our own nation falls? As we know, the balance is delicate and must be handled carefully and deliberately. Aside from planting an American Flag and claiming Afghanistan as the 51st state there is only so much we can do for them. In the meantime, while we do have U.S. troops on the ground there, they deserve every bit of respect and support that is possible to give. The morale of our fighting forces is of the utmost importance for any victory. Troop morale ought not be negotiable or used for political leverage as is all too often the case.
    It’s a historical fact that we won our independence and freedom from Britain with the help of France. We have helped Afghanistan thousands of times more than the French had helped us and still little has changed within their borders.