Patterico's Pontifications


Awesome: ‘Shut Up And Stand Back’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:21 am

[guest post by Dana]

A man to be taken seriously:

“Five years ago today, I was a captain in the United States Army in Laghman Province, so I think I will take the prerogative to speak on behalf of the soldiers who served in Afghanistan,” said Cotton.

“I find it offensive and insulting that this administration, up to and including the president, would cite the principle of leaving no man behind to justify this action. Every day in Ranger School, we recited the Ranger Creed that I will never leave a fallen comrade. You know who didn’t leave a fallen comrade? Cody Full, Darryn Andrews, or all the soldiers who went after him in the weeks and months after his disappearance, knowing that he had deserted. When we made those promises to each other, we didn’t promise that we would exchange five stone-cold Taliban killers for each other, nor would any soldier want that to happen. Would we exchange Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken said directly to me that we would not.

“Finally, I want to say something to the anonymous sources in the president’s administration who are disparaging the service of Second Platoon and Blackfoot Company. Show yourself, speaking your own name, have the courage of your convictions. If you don’t, shut up, stand back, and thank these men for their service.”


55 Responses to “Awesome: ‘Shut Up And Stand Back’”

  1. what he said.

    in spades.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  2. Ditto!

    SGT Ted (eed28b)

  3. backbiting poodles
    have no courage conviction
    it’s Chicago Way

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  4. Greetings:

    For a while now, the “Leave No Man Behind” (LNMB) concept has been a bit of a burr under my cerebral saddle. It seems to have a great deal of resonance, especially with military and former military webizens.

    Recently, I re-read Mark Bowden’s “Black Hawk Down” about the “Battle of the Black Sea” in Mogadishu, Somalia in the early part of President Clinton’s first term and that reading brought forward in what’s left of my mind a concern about what’s involved in that concept and its implications for today’s soldiers.

    Admittedly, it has been a long time since my military service. That was back when the draft didn’t have anything to do with ventilation. So, I have no direct experience of today’s volunteer military. But, be that as it may, I am concerned that LNMB seems to be progressing from a mantra to something approaching a fetish and I worry about its impact on our troops.

    When I went off to see what kind of an infantryman I could be, dying wasn’t my largest fear. My father had survived his infantry stint in WW II and I fancied myself as good a man as he. And, as a twenty year old, my sense of mortality was in its earliest stage of development. My greatest fear, by far, was being crippled. Secondarily, it was failing in my duties. Subsequently, when I became a squad leader, which was somewhat after I was made a squad leader, I bumped up against the LNMB concept big time. And it’s the resonance of that emotional experience that has me concerned.

    Even at the mantra end of the spectrum, LNMB seems so terse as to be almost mindless. I have to wonder if there is some super-secret calculus that I failed to apprehend. I mean, are our troops all committed to dying lest one get left behind? While “Black Hawk Down” may be the exception rather than the rule, my take on it is that its “Lost Convoy” is an adequate example as to how very wrong military thinking can go when it is overly influenced by such

    (For those unfamiliar with “Black Hawk Down”, the “Lost Convoy” was supposed to remove the American soldiers from Mogadishu after their raid. When the first Black Hawk was shot down, the convoy was diverted to the crash site and was exposed to heavy enemy fire while trying to follow radio directions. It ended up returning to base without ever reaching the crash site but with very heavy casualties.)

    At the other end of the spectrum and in spite of all the technology, efforts, and bravery, American soldiers were tragically left behind at the second helicopter crash site.

    Thus, the crux of my concern, has LNMB become some kind of unit fetish as opposed to say, and this will sound trite, an organizational goal? Has it become a too easy answer to too difficult problems? Are we setting our soldiers up for failure or worse by allowing LNMB too much of their and their superiors mindshare. Hopefully, nobody wants to leave anyone behind but isn’t more complex thinking better than relying on slogans?

    I think that I understand the usefulness of LNMB as a tool. But sometimes people take an idea way too far. Our military routinely classifies casualties as killed, wounded, or missing, the proverbial KIAs, WIAs, and MIAs. No one of any military intelligence or experience would stand up and pronounce “Let no man be killed.” or “Let no man be wounded.” because those events are not under anything approaching adequate control. And believe me, I know that fear of abandonment does not usually contribute to mission accomplishment. But soldiers do get lost, confused, or even vaporized and investing more military assets in their recovery is not a risk-free endeavor. Subscription to a terse mantra is not the best of reasons.

    11B40 (844d04)

  5. Soldiers don’t fight for their country, they fight for the guys next to them. That psychology is pretty well established.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. One reason any Marines had an adequate number of volunteers in WWII was the credo that they did not leave wounded behind on the battlefield. Deserters have been left behind in wars since then and sometimes turned up years later to face court martials. Eddie Slovak was the only US soldier shot in WWII for desertion because he boasted about it and threatened to desert again if returned to combat.

    Mike K (cd7278)

  7. i think debating this in terms of a “LNMB” doctrine is really a lot missing the point, and that’s the takeaway I get from this Mr. Representative Cotton person

    that trading terrorists who want to kill american soldiers for a weirdo deserter is not something a smart person would do in the name of national security

    and that we’d be better off if america’s whore president spent the rest of his time in office hanging out with his idiot wife obsessing about lunch platters i think

    our soldiers would be safer

    we’d be more secure as a nation at home and abroad

    and the economy might start to recover from the horrific obamarape it’s had to endure for so long

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  8. so the new failmerican policy towards Iraq is…

    regime change

    omg what a silly little country this is

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  9. 11B40 (844d04) — 6/19/2014 @ 9:12 am

    I think you are asking legitimate questions that I am in no position to address, never having been in the military myself.
    But I think your ponderings are a bit different from the point being made by Rep. Cotton. I think he was saying that, no matter how one may want to implement it in specific circumstances, it is, as nk mentions, the promise of one soldier to another that they will not abandon one another. Cotton is drawing attention to the perversity of someone sitting in the comfort of his office and instead of taking the risks and making the effort himself to leave no one behind, releases 5 murderers who will just put other soldiers at increased risk;
    and then to add insult, undermines the reputation of those who did risk their lives on the battlefield trying to find the deserter.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  10. The “No man left behind’ is a creed for the military not for the politicians or the civilians.Starting with WWII, the politicians have left American troops behind because they believed that the civilians would not support resumption of hostilities to recover troops. After WWII, we were able to recover all our POW’s From the Axis Powers but we were not able to recover troops detained by the Soviet Union. Truman knew that Americans were being held and interogated by the Soviets but thought he could do nothing. These Americans ended up in the Gulag – check out Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago.” The North Koreans kept some American prisoners after the prisoner return – mainly because these prisoners had been sent to Russia & China. Eisenhower knew this but, like Truman, felt his hands were tied. The same thing happened after Viet Nam. That is why the military make every effort not to leave anyone behind – if they don’t rescue their own, the politicians cannot be relied on to do the job.

    Michael M. Keohane (27a5a1)

  11. so the new failmerican policy towards Iraq is…

    regime change

    omg what a silly little country this is
    happyfeet (8ce051) — 6/19/2014 @ 10:37 am

    Iraq Liberation Act 1998.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  12. Obama to send 300 “advisers” to Iraq… WTF!!

    The Emperor (4efdcc)

  13. Greetings, MD in Philly (f9371b): (@ 9 – 6/19/2014 @ 10:59 am)

    I have no problem agreeing with your comment. If Progressives, such as our current President, have any special skill at all, it’s turning what others hold dear or sacred on its head to advance their various perfidies. And in this era of general and flag officers, who only interrupt their genuflecting for some serious progressive induced breast beating, holding one’s breath hoping for one or two to offer their resignations in protest is sure to be coma-inducing.

    My concern centers on the effect of the repetition of “Leave No Man Behind” on the increasing number of low-information citizens.
    It is a military problem and should be so addressed. Unfortunately, today’s progressively progressing progressive have not a bit of a problem with soiling someone else’s nest.

    11B40 (844d04)

  14. Still recovering from watching Steve Winwood and his excellent band cover decades of SDG, Traffic, Blind Faith and solo hits inlast night’s superb show at the legendary Fox/Bob Hope Theater. Man still has golden pipes.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. Greetings, Michael M. Keohane (27a5a1): (@ 10 – 6/19/2014 @ 11:05 am)

    I watch a bit of the Korean Broadcasting System’s KBS World TV programming and last evening they ran a crawler announcing that the South was returning the remains of one of our soldiers. The South Korean government also has a scholarship program for the descendants of those foreign troops who fought for the South. That kind of stuff impresses me.

    11B40 (844d04)

  16. What is the US army policy on deserters when it comes to LNMB? Are they obligated to bring back a deserter at all costs?

    The Emperor (fc6588)

  17. that falls under LNDB, Chimperor… Leave No Douche Behind.

    Most of us understand the respect that this Prez has for policies, principles, oaths, vows, the Constitution and standing law.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  18. “No boots on teh ground”… they’ll be wearing Chuck Taylor’s…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  19. LNMB is a great principle, but as Groucho said, “you don’t like my principles, I have others”.
    It is a principle to adhere to, unless the immediate costs are too great. I believe that everyone in the field recognizes that, just as they recognize that we pull the bodies back with us when we withdraw – if it is practical to do so.
    But Bergdahl – giving up five “generals” for a deserter was and is madness.
    With all due respect to his parents, we should have let him rot.
    Plus, what do we say to the parents of those that ‘the five’ will kill in the future, for they will if given the chance?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  20. if they don’t rescue their own, the politicians cannot be relied on to do the job.
    Michael M. Keohane (27a5a1) — 6/19/2014 @ 11:05 am

    Ain’t that the truth.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  21. As a person who volunteered for the Army in 1968, volunteered for Vietnam and was a member of the first few units of the newly established Army Scout/Sniper training fashioned from the existing Marine Sniper schools, I know one thing. LNMB is a pledge between warriors. It has absolutely nothing to do with presidents, politicians, newsmen, educators, Hollywood moguls or anyone else who has not participated in direct battle with his brothers in arms. So until the day when Obama dons camo, Chris Mathews aims an M24 at an enemy, or a douchebag from Hollywood leads an assault, LNMB has no business in any of their discussions and especially any of their excuses.

    Furthermore, had I been sent to get Bergdhal he would have been relisted to KIA.

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  22. “I don’t know what I believe. I will be home by christmas eve! “Uncle sam has got himself in a terrible jam way down yonder in iraq land!”

    iraq arabic for vietnam (79fe43)

  23. Goofy 5150 is bayack!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  24. @Haiku. What foot wear do you think these 300 advisers will wear since he vows there shall be no boots on ground? Flip flops?

    The Emperor (f2e2b6)

  25. @23 Not as goofy as the iraq war is! They just renamed mosul. Its now Osama Bin Ladin City!

    iraq arabic for vietnam (79fe43)

  26. Perry – seems you are experiencing some type of break. Seek help.

    JD (e4a0ec)

  27. 8. happyfeet (8ce051) — 6/19/2014 @ 10:37 am

    so the new failmerican policy towards Iraq is…

    regime change

    Worse. They seem to want Iran to help insist that Maliki orIraq form an inclusive government.

    There’s actually just been an election (in April) in Iraq, and a new government needs to be put together. While the results are not yet 100% official, Maliki’s party won 92 out of the 328 seats, and is the largest party, at 28%) He normally would be expected to form the new government by the Speaker of the Parliament, and his chances of succeeding, at least before last week, were rated as very good. Ayad Allawi’s party won the most seats in 2010 but was not able to form a new government.

    Maliki and Iran made a deal (Iran had a some puppet politicians)

    Sammy Finkelman (95e288)

  28. 4. … But, be that as it may, I am concerned that LNMB seems to be progressing from a mantra to something approaching a fetish and I worry about its impact on our troops.

    …Thus, the crux of my concern, has LNMB become some kind of unit fetish as opposed to say, and this will sound trite, an organizational goal? Has it become a too easy answer to too difficult problems? Are we setting our soldiers up for failure or worse by allowing LNMB too much of their and their superiors mindshare. Hopefully, nobody wants to leave anyone behind but isn’t more complex thinking better than relying on slogans?

    I think that I understand the usefulness of LNMB as a tool. But sometimes people take an idea way too far…

    11B40 (844d04) — 6/19/2014 @ 9:12 am

    I wish I could say with absolute cerainty you have nothing to worry about. That the people who are fetishizing the NMLB mantra are only the pols who never served, and are only fetishizing the mantra to justify their unjustifiable actions. As if some principle was involved.

    No doubt it may seem strange to an infantryman to get back up from a Sailor, but traditionally we’ve left men behind when the alternative was losing the ship.

    We will do everything in our power to come and get you. Wake Island still eats at us. But if the choice is between losing the ship due to out of control fires and explosions or dogging the hatches flooding the spaces, saving the ship, we’ll save the ship.

    I fear my instincts are a product of an outdated tradition.

    Steve57 (d38ceb)

  29. NMLB=LNMB.

    Tom Cotton is in a far better position to articulate what is and what is not the Soldier’s creed than I am. But what he is articulating is a widely understood concept. Something that is widely understood by Coasties, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Soldiers. Which is why I proudly offer myself up as an example of being not too prescient:

    37. …The Obama administration spin about the Soldier’s creed, that you don’t leave anyone behind, is going to ring hollow because the soldier’s creed never included surrender and betrayal in order to ensure you don’t leave anyone behind. Obama and his minions are actually insulting everyone in uniform when they say they’re living up to the creed, because they’re actually pissing on it…

    Steve57 (61329d) — 6/9/2014 @ 12:39 pm

    I’m no Ranger like Cotton. You don’t need to be to recognize s*** from shinola.

    Steve57 (d38ceb)

  30. the problem is not Maliki, the London eye doctor, Jaafari did even worse, when the Sunnis blow up schools and hospitals, being neighborly is a bit of a chore,

    wait what now?

    narciso (3fec35)

  31. And the problems arose much earlier:

    narciso (3fec35)

  32. I commend Rep. Cotton for his iron-clad sense of decorum, as I would have been hard pressed to not finish that last sentence with “you pathetic, cowardly, mewling little douchetards.”

    (Reason #4,173 why I’ll never be in politics.)

    PCachu (e072b7)

  33. Steve @29… knowing Shiite from Shinola® has been a problem since at least teh early ’80s.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  34. Well maybe then the problem is a bit larger than Maliki or the London eye doctor.

    Maybe it’s the whole Muslim thing.

    Steve57 (d38ceb)

  35. Well that may enter into it, the Sunnis have been running this rodeo through Ottoman times, Nuri Al Said, was a rare exception, but the Golden Square, their fascist movement of the 30s, the Baath, all the way to ISIS, have not been kind to the Shia, and the Kurds

    narciso (3fec35)

  36. Chalabi was one of the inner-circle that Jay Garner would have put in charge in Baghdad, but who was cast aside by Bremer and the striped-pant set from State when they arraigned to have Garner cashiered.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  37. 37- …more…. and it’s been all downhill since.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  38. M. Night Shamalama?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  39. 37- …damn…that should be “arranged”…though I think many at State should be “arraigned”

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  40. Rush pointed out the logical inconsistencies in Obama’s statements. The US will not take sides, but we are sending in 300 military advisors/observers…
    raising the question, are 150 going to work with Maliki and 150 with ISIS?

    “There is no military solution”, but the side that kills the most of their enemy will argue with that.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  41. Clearly that’s a 19th Century understanding, like the Donbass and Crimean repo team apparently misunderstand as well,

    narciso (3fec35)

  42. I bet Barack is pretty angry at ISIS for slaughtering people interrupting his golf season.

    Elephant Stone (80b246)

  43. If I got Cotton’s statement correctly, his emphasis was on those smearing Berghdahl’s platoon mates
    and others who were speaking out about the deserter.

    Richard Aubrey (0605ef)

  44. My theory, which has not been presented elsewhere. First, we stipulate: 1) Obama is not dumb, not trusting, and doesn’t do anything unless there is something in it for him; 2) there appears to be no advantage to the USA for releasing the Taliban dream team, in fact there is obvious risk and PR problems with allies and encouragement to enemies; 3) Bergdahl does not want to be back in the USA, and is a problem for the administration and the country; 4) the USA just negotiated with terrorists, despite stated policy, and has been dialoguing with terrorists for several years at least.

    Now, my theory…Obama released the Dream Team now in order to gain a promise that there would not be a September 11 attack three months from now. It would mess up the upcoming elections, make Obama look weak and ineffectual, and be a permanent stain on his Presidential record. Benghazi is a piece of gum on O’s show, and he can’t scrape it off; he doesn’t need another annoyance like that again. Obama will continue to dole out the Guantanamo inmates in the next years, in return for no attacks, and once he is out of office then the problem will be somebody else’s.

    TimesDisliker (47adb9)

  45. Except ‘tigers got to go tiger’ we see Iskraen caught up in that ring in Madrid, Begg, a few month back in London, detainees from Gitmo, return to the turbulent environment which isn’t remedied by Art therapy,

    narciso (3fec35)

  46. Prez freed five bad clowns from Guantanamo
    he pissed us off real bad now don’tcha know
    find his leadership lacking
    Let’s send sixth clown packing
    pack yer bags now Clown Barcky you gotta go

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  47. Guantanamo Bro
    soccer cable Harry Potter
    see you in New York

    TimesDisliker (47adb9)

  48. Benghazi who dat
    what difference does it make
    bergdahl ذلك المصطلح تم ابتكاره بواسطة ألفريد

    TimesDisliker (47adb9)

  49. Who’s Alfred?

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  50. Never mind, I get it now. I am nothing but slow on the uptake.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  51. Feckless and Reckless
    his Criminal Enterprise
    teh Emperor Choom

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  52. eric and barack
    he’s Goose to his Top Gun heh
    ain’t no muskrat love

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  53. food stamp giggles soft
    eric eric cut it out
    your moustache tickles

    happyfeet (8ce051)

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