On 14 march 2012 Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to soothe the host nations leaders in the aftermath of a U.S. soldier allegedly shooting unarmed Afghan civilians. He forgot one thing… He works for the people and the soldiers of the United States of America.
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U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (R) holds a town hall meeting with coalition forces shortly after arriving in Afghanistan on Wednesday at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
Hundreds of U.S. Marines were ordered by an American sergeant on Wednesday to disarm before entering a tent where Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was set to speak during his trip to Afghanistan.
No reason was given and U.S. officials tried to downplay the move. But the highly unusual security measure comes amid rising tension in the country after an American solider allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday.
Sgt. Maj. Brandon Hall told more than 200 Marines at Camp Leatherneck that they were to leave their weapons outside. Afghan troops had already been told that they, too, were not allowed to bring their guns.
“Something has come to light,” Hall told the troops. When an Associated Press reporter asked about the order, Hall said all he knew was, “I was told to get the weapons out.”
During his visit, Panetta promised U.S. troops would not change its course of action, despite recent flare-ups. The trip was scheduled before the bloody massacre which has spurred demands for officials in both countries that foreign troops leave more quickly.
Afghan-U.S. relations have frayed since the shooting incident, in addition to the burning of Korans at a military base in Afghanistan last month. That sparked nearly a week of violent demonstrations, leaving 30 dead, including six U.S. soldiers.
American officials later said the disarming order at the Panetta event came from top commander, Maj. Gen. Mark Gurganus.
He insisted to the New York Times that it had nothing to do with the massacre.
“You’ve got one of the most important people in the world in the room,” he said. “This is not a big deal.”
The troops he visited are in a combat zone but in what is reported to be an attempt to make all in attendance “feel equal”, the SECDEF had our American fighting personnel DISARM themselves to attend his words of wisdom. Is it me or is something wrong when serving in a combat zone, where recently, supposed Afghan friends have turned weapons on NATO forces and killed them, the SECDEF asks these brave men and woman to disarm? It is quite apparent that the “PC” police have taken over the DOD, Maj. Gen. Mark Gurganus‘ HQ and the SECDEF’s office and there now is NO respect for the lives of our troops serving in this AOR. This conflict is becoming eerily similar to one 40 some years ago and our country’s treasure will surely pay the ultimate price. And I can remember hearing the cries out of D.C. a while back saying never again…. never again. Well it’s happening again. Now what?
The one thing I do know is this… our Armed Forces personnel in all branches will continue to honorably serve and continue to run TOWARD freedom not AWAY from it. God bless our troops and the United States of America.