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Bring the Troops Home. U.S. Military Betrayed

23 September 2012 9 Comments


[Photo: SSG Matthew S. Sitton and wife, Sarah Sitton. SSG Matthew Sitton died in Afghanistan Aug. 2 after stepping on an IED]

Appearing in CFP.

As the Middle East rages in violent anti-American protests, the dirty little secret that few in Washington want to discuss is how military families have worried for years about whether or not their loved ones serving in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq would be killed by insurgents or by the bureaucracy and policies of their own government.

Intrepid journalist and author Diana West reports from an alarming letter written in June by Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton that was sent to U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young asking for help after his commanders in Afghanistan told him to “quit whining” about orders to lead patrols twice daily without objective, “or purpose” through basically “a mine field.” As SSG Sitton wrote, “As a Brigade, we are averaging at a minimum an amputee a day from our soldiers because we are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives. Not to mention that the operation tempo that every solider is on leaves little to no time for rest and refit. The moral and alertness levels on our patrol are low and it is causing casualties left and right.”

“I’m concerned about the well being of my soldiers and have tried to voice my opinion through the proper channels of my own chain of command only to be turned away and told that I need to stop complaining,” SSG Sitton continued. “It is my responsibility to take care of my soldiers …”

Two months later, on August 2, the U.S. policy COIN/nation building, a so-called counterinsurgency plan to win the hearts and minds of Afghans that SSG Sittons wrote about killed him and another U.S. soldier while on foot patrol in an IED-riddled field in Afghanistan—a death trap. SGG Sitton was 26-years old and leaves behind a wife and son.

The troops are not being sent to war to win. Take off your ideological glasses and look at the facts.


Under President George W. Bush the “catch and release” policy in Iraq, where troops were ordered to catch terrorists only to release them to appease the Iranians to supposedly discourage their nuclear enrichment program failed miserably and emboldened Iran. As the Washington Post reported in 2007, “There were no costs for the Iranians,” said one senior administration official. “They are hurting our mission in Iraq, and we were bending over backwards not to fight back.” The Bush administration changed course to the “catch or kill” program.

Under the Obama-Clinton regime, despite its obvious failure, the “catch and release” policy was embraced. As the Washington Examiner reported, “It’s as if the Taliban have more rights than us or the people of Afghanistan,” said a U.S. Army medic with 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, in Zabul province. “We have to let these guys go all the time no matter what they do, and then we find them trying to hit us again. But if they think I’ve screwed up once, then [the military will] have no problem throwing me to the wolves.”

To be clear, the failure of leadership at the expense of the troops should be directed at both the Democrats and Republicans.

The Bush administration sacrificed U.S. Marines on the altar of political-correctness when they ignored a basic American principal, “innocent until proven guilty” which they denied Marines by their silence in what became known as “Haditha.” Haditha was the highest-profile atrocity prosecution of servicemen out of the Iraq war where 24 Iraqi civilians were tragically killed after an IED explosion killed U.S. Marine LCpl Migel “T.J.” Terrazas.

Before an investigation was complete, the press and several elected U.S. government officials, including Congressman John P. Murtha (now deceased), bearing false witness, condemned and declared the Haditha Marines guilty of cold-blooded murder. Last year, the last Marine was exonerated.



Under both Bush and Obama, U.S. soldiers serve war-crime related sentences in Leavenworth prison, Kansas. Meanwhile Taliban prisoners are set free on a “pledge” declaring that they will “never support the Taliban or fight for the Taliban ever again.” A double-standard policy that shows mercy to the Taliban and no mercy for America’s military.

The Obama-Clinton administration’s policies of apology and appeasement have emboldened America’s enemies including in Afghanistan. After Islamic religious materials, for instance, that “contained extremist messages or inscriptions” were destroyed at Bagram Air Field and violent riots broke out, they apologized and reprimanded the soldiers. Meanwhile President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Defense chief Leon Panetta never once demanded an apology from Afghanistan’s President Karzai whose Afghan forces, trained by the U.S. military, have been turning their weapons on U.S. and NATO forces in what has been called the green-on-blue/insider attacks or “epidemic murder.”

As Diana West wrote, “It is time for Generals Petraeus, McChrystal, Allen, Dempsey, Admiral Mullen and many more to face us and explain. It is also time for former President Bush and his advisors and President Obama and his advisors to answer for the failure of their misbegotten and irresponsible policy of nation-building in the Islamic world, which COIN supports.” If I may add, additionally, it is time for both administrations to explain why they sent troops to war under restrictive rules of engagement to catch terrorists only to release them and somehow expect to win.

In what would be one of SSG Sittons last written words, he wrote, “I understand that as a commander you are to follow the orders of those appointed over you however there needs to be a time where the wellness of your soldiers needs to take priority over walking around in fields for hours a day for no rhyme or reason (emphasis mine).”

Rep. Young has since reversed his stance on Afghanistan and called for the troops to be brought home, “I just think we’re killing kids that don’t need to die,” he recently said. Questions remain. How many others in Washington will show leadership and a conscience and join him? How much higher will the number of U.S. casualties’ grow, and how many more military families will suffer or be shattered before Washington and the upper echelons of the military take responsibility for their policy and leadership failures? Do they fear God or man?

As Navy Seal Marcus Luttrel, author of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, warned three years ago about events that occurred in 2005, “Look at me, right now in my story. Helpless, tortured, shot, blown up, my best buddies all dead, and all because we were afraid of the liberals back home, afraid to do what was necessary to save our own lives. Afraid of American civilian lawyers. I have only one piece of advice for what it’s worth: If you don’t want to get into war where things go wrong, where the wrong people sometimes get killed, where innocent people sometimes have to die, then stay the hell out of it in the first place.”

Washington’s dirty, little secret that is killing the troops and harming America’s national security must not continue to be ignored. Not to speak is to speak. Because the troops have not been allowed to win bring them home now.

Cross posted at Canadafreepress.com
Thanks to Western Free Press
Text of SSG Matthew Sitton’s letter via Tampa Bay online.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the text of the letter Matthew Sitton sent to U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young. It is unedited except for the names of two family members, which were blacked out by Young’s office for privacy.

SIR,

Hello my name is SSG Matthew Sitton. I am in the 82{+n}{+d} Airborne Division stationed in Ft. Bragg, NC. I am currently deployed with the 4th Brigade Combat Team in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. I am writing you because I am concerned for the safety of my soldiers. This is my 3{+r}{+d} combat tour to Afghanistan so I have seen the transition in Rules of Engagement and Overall Tactics over the past 6 years.

I am only writing this email because I feel myself and my soldiers are being put into unnecessary positions where harm and danger are imminent. I know the threat of casualties in war and am totally on board with sacrifice for my country, but what I don’t agree with is the chain of command making us walk through, for lack of a better term, basically a mine field on a daily basis.

I am in a platoon of 25 soldiers. We are operating at a tempo that is set for a full 35-40 man infantry platoon. We have been mandated to patrol twice daily for 2-4 hours each patrol on top of guarding our FOB and conducting routine maintenance of our equipment. There is no endstate or purpose for the patrols given to us from our higher chain of command, only that we will be out for a certain time standard. I am all for getting on the ground and fighting for my country when I know there is a desired endstate and we have clear guidance of what needs to be done. But when we are told basically to just walk around for a certain amount of time is not sitting well with me.

As a Brigade, we are averaging at a minimum an amputee a day from our soldiers because we are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives. Not to mention that the operation tempo that every solider is on leaves little to no time for rest and refit. The moral and alertness levels on our patrol are low and it is causing casualties left and right.

Here is an example of how bad things have gotten. Our small FOB was flooded accidentally by a local early one morning a few days ago. He was watering his fields and the damn he had broke and water came flooding into our Living Area. Since our FOB does not have any portable bathrooms, we had to dig a hole in the ground where soldiers could use the bathroom. That also got flooded and contaminated all the water that later soaked every soldier and his gear. Instead of returning to base and cleaning up, our chain of command was so set on us meeting the brigade commanders 2 patrols a day guidance that they made us move outside the flooded FOB and conduct our patrols soaked in urine.

That is just one single instance of the unsatisfactory situations that our chain of command has put us in. At least three of my soldiers have gotten sick since that incident and taken away from our combat power because of their illness caused by unhealthy conditions.

I understand that as a commander you are to follow the orders of those appointed over you however there needs to be a time where the wellness of your soldiers needs to take priority over walking around in fields for hours a day for no rhyme or reason, but only to meet the Brigade Commanders guidance of you will conduct so many patrols for such an allotted time.

I’m concerned about the well being of my soldiers and have tried to voice my opinion through the proper channels of my own chain of command only to be turned away and told that I need to stop complaining. It is my responsibility to take care of my soldiers and there is only so much I can do with that little bit of Rank I have. My guys would fight by my side and have my back in any condition and I owe it to them to have their best interest in mind. I know they would and I certainly would appreciate it if there was something that you could do to help us out. I just want to return my guys home to their families healthy. I apologize for taking your time like this Sir, and I do appreciate what you do for us. I was told to contact you by my Grand Mother (name blacked out) who said that you had helped her son (my uncle) (name blacked) out many years ago. He also was serving in the military at the time. Thank you again for allowing soldiers like me to voice their opinion. If anything Please Pray for us over hear. God Bless

Very respectfully,

SSG Matthew Sitton

9 Responses to “Bring the Troops Home. U.S. Military Betrayed”

  1. Steve says:

    Marinka, thank you for pointing this out. It disgusts me to no end this has been happening. It disgusts me even more when I see Mr. Bush welcoming U.S. troops home here in Dallas/Ft. Worth. I’m not sure if it eases his conscience to see some survivors or what. I’d like to provide a link to your article here on my site. I think it is something people need to know.

  2. Bring the Troops Home – The U.S. Military Betrayed | _ says:

    [...] Marinka Peschmann  As the Middle East rages in violent anti-American protests, the dirty little secret that few in Washington want to discuss is how military families have worried for years about whether or not their loved ones serving in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq would be killed by insurgents or by the bureaucracy and policies of their own government. [...]

  3. Obama has no Afghanistan strategy, and soldiers are dying | Western Free Press says:

    [...] our soldiers are being maimed and killed as a result. Here’s Marinka Peschmann: As the Middle East rages in violent anti-American protests, the dirty little secret that few in [...]

  4. Peter Mein says:

    As a retired MWO it is with great pride and sorrow that I read the SSgt’s letter. This young man truly exemplifies the qualities of what every soldier should strive to be. The tone and substance of his letter is clear. He has no trouble doing his duty. His loyalty to his country and troops are beyond question. Having done all he could for his men the chain-of-command left him no alternative but to seek assistance through other means.

    If there is any shame or moral courage left in the fiber of his commanders they will quit the sacrifice of US troops for a useless political agenda. It is the sworn responsibility of all military leaders to follow orders. But only when those orders are lawful and moral. Let us hope that the “leaders” who commanded the SSgt are able to reverse course and live up to being half the leader this SSgt was.

  5. [...] the full text of SSG Sitton’s [...]

  6. [...] the full text of SSG Sitton’s [...]

  7. The Sunday ‘Report;’ 09/30/2012 [Part 2] « Justincase505's Blog says:

    [...] http://www.marinkapeschmann.com/2012/09/23/bring-the-troops-home-the-u-s-military-betrayed/ [...]

  8. Que says:

    Hi all. Just got a care package from you and it’s great! I’m currently in Paktika, Afghanistan with 101st Airborne Division. Just wanted to say thank-you for the care packages and support, and for being a support network for my Mom and for each other. The families have it harder than the Soldiers in many ways and we appreciate you for all that you allow us to do. Regards, Tim

  9. [...] in State or General David Petraeus at the CIA (who should go for the deadly failure of COIN, mounting US casualties and losing Afghanistan by not allowing the troops to win) will take the fall for the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi [...]