Since my earlier posting regarding the situation with the SEALs charged for turning in a HVT prisoner with a fat lip, a disturbing aspect of this situation has surfaced.
My source is a retired SEAL who like myself still serves in other capacities. The feeling going around the Special Operations community at Fort Bragg is that this latest development is a kneejerk reaction to the situation a couple months ago when SEAL operators rescued Captain Phillips - Captain of the Maersk Alabama - off the coast of Somalia.
At the time of the capture, the media played up the angle that President Obama himself gave the order to the SEAL snipers to open fire. Having done extensive time in anti-terrorist units myself, I can tell you from personal experience this is ridiculous, a total fabrication. Nobody except those with "eyes on" the targeted individuals can make the judgement call to open fire.
The truth of the situation was that the SEALs were held off from infiltrating the AO (Area of Operations) for over 36 hours. There was a lot of resistance from the Whitehouse in letting them in theater in the first place; once they were in place they were given very restrictive ROE (Rules Of Engagement); so restrictive that they really couldn't engage their targets. There were two previous opportunities to rescue Captain Phillips, and they were not allowed to engage their targets.
When they finally did execute, they did it by liberally interpreting the ROE; the onsite commander finally had enough with the situation and gave them a weapons-free command and they were able to engage and rescue Captain Phillips. The fallout from the National Command Authority was immediate and extremely unpleasant; the White House did not want the rescue to be conducted in the way that it was.
Richard Phillips, right, the captain of the U.S.-flagged cargo ship Maersk Alabama, after his rescue with Cmdr. Frank Castellano, commanding officer of the destroyer USS Bainbridge.
I guess the Community-Organizer-in-Chief envisioned some kind of cross-cultural kumbaya-singing group encounter session, followed by photo ops of him hugging the poor, oppressed under-employed Somalis, maybe even practicing his bow on their leaders. Instead what he got was THIS:
So the word on the street is that this latest development is payback for the SEALs violating the ROE in rescuing the captain of the Maersk Alabama. The Chain of Command is asserting itself, letting everybody know what's going to happen to you if you don't follow orders.
As this was expressed to me, this opinion is based on very good, solid inside information. In my personal experience with Navy brass I have found they are very political and very politically correct. The Naval Command's reaction to the prisoner situation was so overblown and out of proportion that I somehow find this latest angle quite believable. Unfortunately.
I'll keep you posted with updates as information surfaces.
. . . S.L.