MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

With Medal of Honor, SEAL Team 6 Rewards a Culture of War Crimes

Posted by M. C. Fox on May 23, 2018

Another of Slabinski’s former teammates said 25 years of experience as a SEAL convinced him that the award system for valorous action has little integrity. “One of my commanders told me point-blank: The bigger the fuck-up, the bigger the award.”

War culture

https://theintercept.com/2018/05/22/medal-of-honor-navy-seal-team-6-britt-slabinski/

…The awards have exposed a rift in the special operations community, a long-running argument pitting the Air Force against the Navy SEALs. More significantly, the decision to award a Medal of Honor to Slabinski represents the enduring failure of the SEALs, the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House to reckon with the dark history of SEAL Team 6 in the post-9/11 wars. All these authorities have refused to conduct any meaningful or robust oversight of a group of elite commandos who have committed war crimes abroad and gone to great lengths to cover them up.

…The mission was part of the U.S. military’s Operation Anaconda, a multi-day effort to squeeze out and kill the last large group of Al Qaeda militants and Taliban fighters hiding in the valley. As it attempted to land, the helicopter took fire from Al Qaeda fighters, and SEAL Neil Roberts fell from the back of the helicopter. The helicopter was heading back to a nearby base when Slabinski and his team realized they had lost a teammate…

A quick reaction force, consisting mostly of Army Rangers, then engaged in a pitched battle for control of Takur Ghar, as Slabinski called in airstrikes from his position down the side of the mountain. Ultimately, Roberts, Chapman, and five others were killed over the course of the battle, which became known as Roberts Ridge…

Presentations of the Medal of Honor are almost always fraught with questions about whether the awards are handed out to make those involved in operations feel better about a loss of life. There’s “always some kind of solace sought in decorating someone with the award,” said one of Slabinski’s former leaders at SEAL Team 6, who spent more than 30 years in Special Operations. “A lot of it has to do with politics and rank and stature and always, in my opinion, the more dynamic and public the screw-up, the more likely it is that someone is going to get highly decorated.”

Another of Slabinski’s former teammates said 25 years of experience as a SEAL convinced him that the award system for valorous action has little integrity. “One of my commanders told me point-blank: The bigger the fuck-up, the bigger the award.”

The retired SEAL leader, who studied the battle at Roberts Ridge extensively for the military and discussed the events with Slabinski, said the issue was not whether Chapman or Slabinski were deserving of a medal upgrade, but why the military was motivated to extend that honor so many years later. “This is the madness of the Medal of Honor,” he said. “Rarely is it granted when things go well.”…

Rear Adm. Tim Szymanski led the push for Britt Slabinski’s Medal of Honor and promoted him after he was barred from SEAL Team 6 for suspected war crimes.

I mean, talk about the funny stuff we do. After I shot this dude in the head, there was a guy who had his feet, just his feet, sticking out of some little rut or something over here. I mean, he was dead, but people have got nerves. I shot him about 20 times in the legs, and every time you’d kick him, er, shoot him, he would kick up, you could see his body twitching and all that. It was like a game. Like, ‘hey look at this dude,’ and the guy would just twitch again. It was just good therapy. It was really good therapy for everybody who was there.

Audio from an unpublished interview with Britt Slabinksi conducted by Malcolm MacPherson, author of a 2005 book on the battle of Roberts Ridge.

…The answer lies in how effective and widespread the culture of lies and cover-ups has been at SEAL Team 6. In each of Slabinski’s 2007 investigations, both NCIS and JSOC found no evidence of violations of the laws of armed conflict, as they describe war crimes. But three years later, a small group of unit leaders quickly substantiated the allegations and even secured a confession. The command thus demonstrated that it was perfectly capable of determining the truth for internal purposes — and once again proved it was unwilling to expose even its pariahs to external scrutiny or justice…

Be seeing you

War_Is_a_Racket_(cover)

 

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