Officer’s Career Threatened for Trying to Save Fellow Marines From ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attack

In a piece almost four months ago, I shared shocking news: Marine Corps leaders were going after an officer who tried to prevent a “Green-on-Blue” attack on his fellow Marines in Afghanistan. Today, I share an update as that Marine officer, Maj. Jason Brezler, faces an inquiry this week.

In a segment (above) that aired Tuesday night, Greg Buckley Sr. and MaryLiz Grossetto appeared as guests on Fox News Channel’s The Kelly Files to discuss the case of Major Brezler. Their interest in his plight stems from the fact that Marine LCpl. Greg Buckley Jr., their 21-year-old son and nephew, respectively, died Aug. 10, 2012, precisely as a result of a “Green-on-Blue (a.k.a., ‘Insider’)” Attack — the very thing Major Brezler was trying to prevent. And he wasn’t alone. Two other Marines died, too.

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13What do Marine Corps leaders say Major Brezler did wrong as he tried to save the lives of his fellow Marines? He used a personal email account to notify fellow Marines of a threat to their safety in the form of an Afghan, Sarwar Jan, who was a “regular” at the camp where Corporal Buckley and his Marine brothers were stationed.

Want to know why am I interested in this case? Read a piece I published Aug. 25 under the headline, “I guess we should start suing” — Aunt of Fallen Marine Says, then you’ll understand. After that, order a copy of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

THE CLAPPER MEMO has received powerful endorsements from Grossetto and several others — among them a former U.S. Navy SEALs commander, a former U.S. Army general, the parents of a member of the U.S. Navy’s SEAL TEAM SIX and the man who served as chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. After reading it, you’ll understand why.

THE CLAPPER MEMO is available in paperback and ebook versions.

UPDATE 12/20/2013 at 6:47 a.m. Central:  Overnight, I learned via this article that a three-member Marine Corps board of inquiry met this week and recommended Thursday that Major Brezler be separated from the Marine Corps with an honorable discharge.  At first shocked at the finding, I came to understand and agree with it after reading that he had reportedly kept 106 classified files on his personal computer.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Marine Corps Brass Goes After Officer Who Tried to Prevent ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attack

After reading a recent Marine Corps Times article, MaryLiz Grossetto contacted me Saturday afternoon with a request that I share some shocking information related to the death of her nephew, LCpl. Greg Buckley Jr., a 21-year-old Marine from Oceanside, N.Y., who died Aug. 10, 2012, in Afghanistan, the victim of a “Green-on-Blue (a.k.a., ‘Insider’)” Attack. With minor edits and accompanied by her warning, “This will break your heart, make you sick to your stomach and cause your blood to boil!” I share this information below:

LCpl Greg Buckley Jr., USMC

LCpl Greg Buckley Jr., USMC

Late last week, I received a call from Dan Lamothe.  He wanted to know if we wanted to comment on a story he had written for Marine Corps Times.  As he began to relay the story, it became clear to him I had no idea what he was talking about.

Towards the end of July 2012, she explained, two Marine captains became concerned about a district police chief who had come to live on Forward Operating Base Delhi, located at Garmsir in the Helmand River Valley of Helmand Province in south-central Afghanistan.  The police chief’s name was Sarwar Jan, and he had brought with him his Chai boy, Aynoddin.

Another captain in Garmsir suggested they reach out to Maj. Jason Brezler, a Marine Reservist who was, at that point, back in New York at his regular job working Special Ops for the Fire Department of New York City.

From Afghanistan, the captains e-mailed an “emergency request for info” to Major Brezler.  In turn, the major immediately responded with what he personally knew to be true:  Sarwar Jan was big trouble, and any troops within his reach could be in imminent danger.

The captains passed this info on to their superiors.  What did the Marine Corps brass do with it?  NOTHING!

Two weeks after Major Brezler did everything he could to protect his fellow Marines, three of them were dead and one was critically wounded.

What did the brass do now?  They went after Major Brezler!

Investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigations Service showed up at his FDNY Fire House, searched his apartment and ripped apart his computer.

A Marine Corps colonel who had never even met Major Brezler wrote a career-ending fitness report and told the major he was “finished.”

So what do YOU think is really going on here?  I’ll tell you what I think.  It’s a “shell game!”  Keep everyone’s eyes on Major Brezler, and maybe no one will notice “We Screwed Up.”

The Marine commanders had more than two weeks notice.  Why was Jan and his unvetted Chai Boy allowed to remain on base?

Why weren’t our men warned about the imminent danger and told to carry their weapons and have “guardian angels” with them at the gym?

In my opinion, whoever made the decision to ignore Major Brezler’s warnings should be considered an accessory to murder.

Please don’t let this go unchallenged. Major Brezler has done nothing but the right thing his entire career. Don’t let these cowards sacrifice him in an effort to Cover Their Own Asses.

Did this administration’s fear of confronting or offending the Afghans once again take precedence over our troops safety??  Clearly, this is another cover-up.

PLEASE take the time to read Dan Lamothe’s article and then let us know what you think.

I’ll pass your comments on to U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).  It’s about time our commander-in-chief and his military moppets learn we’re on to them!

Thank you for your continued support!

Greg Buckley Jr. on Facebook

Am I surprised by the information shared by this Gold Star family member?  Not at all.  She gets it.

Judging by the comments that appear after the Marine Corps Times article, others get it as well.  I know I do.  Why?  Because it’s the type of scandalous information I uncovered during my exhaustive four-year investigation that led me to write THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Now what?  CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., and demand they investigate this matter and ensure Major Brezler is not punished for trying to save his fellow Marines.

In addition, you can order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.  It’s available in paperback and ebook versions and has received endorsements from several noteworthy Americans.  Like the story above, it will make your blood boil.

UPDATE:  See Officer’s Career Threatened for Trying to Save Fellow Marines From ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attack.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Troops Live in Fear of Wrongful Sexual Assault Convictions

Three things became clear during the past week: I’m not the only one using the phrase, DoD’s War on Men, to describe the sexual assault witch hunt now taking place inside the Department of Defense; this war involves players at the highest levels of government; and it has front line combat troops fearful and incensed.

WSJ Taranto Headline 6-17-13In his Wall Street Journal opinion piece Monday, James Taranto highlighted the case of Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, beginning with this summary:

Lt. Gen. Susan Helms is a pioneering woman who finds her career stalled because of a war on men—a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

Taranto went on to highlight how U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of the ring leaders in this war, has placed a “permanent hold” on General Helms’ nomination to serve as vice commander of U.S. Space Command. Why? Because she had used her authority as a convening authority to grant clemency to Capt. Matthew Herrera, an officer under her command, after he had been tried and convicted by a court-martial panel of aggravated sexual assault.

Apparently in denial of the possibility that General Helms might have made the right decision, Senator McCaskill described it recently as sending “a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.” Really?

Stripes Obama Headline 6-14-13On Friday, Stars and Stripes published news about a Navy judge, Cmdr. Marcus Fulton, ruling that comments made by President Barack Obama as Commander-in-Chief would unduly influence any potential sentencing during pretrial hearings that in two sexual assault cases — U.S. vs. Johnson and U.S. vs. Fuentes. As a result of the ruling, neither of the accused individuals can be punitively discharged from the military — even if found guilty.

Because I know none of the specifics about these two cases, I cannot pretend to be an expert on the facts and evidence — if any exists, that is — involved. I can, however, say that the meddling of President Obama can be said to have had an adverse impact on the military justice system, and it has some troops upset. Among them, some Camp Pendleton Marines featured in the KSWB-Fox 5 video below:

In October 2011, my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, was published, chronicling the life story and wrongful conviction of Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart. A highly-decorated combat veteran, he fell victim to this perverse new brand of military justice and saw his distinguished career as a member of the elite Green Beret fraternity shattered. Since then, I’ve been apprised of dozens of similar cases, many of which are highlighted in my series, DoD’s War on Men.

Key point: If this sexual assault witch hunt continues, no decent individuals will no longer want to serve in our nation’s military, deeming it too risky. Then what?

UPDATE 6/22/2013 at 2:17 p.m. Central: A follow-up article by Taranto in the Wall Street Journal helps drive the point home further.

UPDATE 6/27/2013 at 8:34 p.m. Central:  The Daily Beast gives Senator McCaskill space to fire back at Taranto for his spot-on efforts.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Vietnam Veteran Delivers Untraditional Message

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Below, minus its ceremonial portions, I share excerpts of a speech delivered Saturday by CMSgt. John Stewart (Ret., USAF) at a Veterans Day commemoration event in Inverness, Fla.  Chief Stewart is a veteran of more than three decades of service in Air Force Special Operations that included service in Vietnam.  He is also the father of former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose wrongful conviction is chronicled in my book, “Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.”

Above: Kelly Stewart with his dad, John.

Good afternoon to you my fellow veterans, to our dignitaries present here today, and especially to the Citizen Patriots who came here to honor and remember our nation’s heroes.

I thank you so much for this opportunity.

My wife and I returned a couple weeks ago from a camping trip on our first real vacation in nearly 15 years.

Part of our vacation was spent in Branson, Mo., to see their fantastic entertainment which was truly wonderful.  I found something else remarkable about Branson.

It was one of the most patriotic places I have ever visited.

Every show we attended made a point of honoring veterans in attendance.  Most business signs and theater marquees in town always include something like, “Thank You Veterans for Serving” or “God Bless Our Veterans.”  This occurs in Branson every day of the year.

As it should be done, all across America every day.

Even their city park was converted to a beautiful veterans tribute with, monuments and flag lined walkways with red, white and blue flowers.  Something that would be really nice to see right here in Inverness.

While in Branson I wore my old golf hat that has a Vietnam Veteran logo on the front.  In doing so waiters, theme park workers, and tourists, heck people galore, were continually coming up to me when they saw my hat, to say… thanks for serving our country.  It was a great feeling.

All that display of Branson patriotism kinda got to me, particularly as Veterans Day and this ceremony approached.  On the drive home I gave some serious thought about patriotism around our country and how good, or bad, ALL of America supports veterans…. not only today, but in past decades.

I realized during our long drive back to Florida that somehow we had begun over the past 30 to 35 years to lose some of our inner spirit in this country.

I also realized that many in our great nation were forgetting patriotism and, what is truly sad, more and more they were forgetting our military veterans, especially those in need.  If it continues in this vain our future looks very, very bleak.

It is why I stand here today to speak to you.  I am deeply concerned about the upcoming budget cuts, planned reductions in forces, and the many other military changes currently in planning stages of our government that without a doubt will impact an already existing flawed veterans support system.  Without continued emphasis on supporting those who served our country in uniform I fear we will be forgotten.  That must not occur.  THEY MUST REMEMBER US!

I will personally always remember those who served America, no matter the service branch, no matter the era, no matter the war.

For example, I remember June 6, 1944!  Better known as D-Day.

At dawn, Army Rangers jumped off a landing craft and ran to the bottom of cliffs along white beaches that had been turned red from the blood of heroes. Their mission was to climb sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns trained on the beaches with a mission to destroy our troops and equipment.

The Rangers looked up at a horrific scene.  Enemy soldiers at edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades.

But the Rangers shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up through the withering fire and explosions.

The heroes began to climb. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another one and begin his climb, again, through hell.

Finally, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of those cliffs, they began to take back the continent of Europe from a dictatorship of hell itself.

Two-hundred and twenty-five Rangers climbed the cliffs that day.

After two days of fighting, only 90 of those original 225 heroes could still hold a weapon.

THEY KNEW ONE’S COUNTRY IS WORTH DYING FOR.

They trusted that we would ALWAYS REMEMBER their heroism.

However, does America really remember sacrifices of those Rangers, or the millions of other military personnel who sacrificed everything in the past 236 years to maintain the freedoms provided by our wonderful Constitution?

Sure, moments like today and Memorial Day we always seem to remember, but I do not believe that memory exists year-round.

And there could be many reasons why I believe this has occurred.  I know we are exhausted of war after a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan that, even today, has no true end in sight.

That fact, alone, could lead us to forgetfulness.

However, I think I know when we really began to forget our heroes…

It was the politics and tragedy during, and in the aftermath, of the Vietnam War that caused America to do so.

I was there, and it was a war from hell, fought in hell, and America’s citizens put their heads in the sand to forget.   Unfortunately some of America dishonored our veterans here at home while veterans were fighting in that hell.

Most of America dishonored them when they returned home.

And by doing so… America dishonored all citizens who have served in uniform at any time in our history.

It was not that America did not care.  We just did not want to know… or remember… or honor… or, sadly, even help our Vietnam veterans.

We forgot that over 11,000 of the names on the Vietnam Wall in Washington are 19 years old or younger.

We forgot that 75,000 Vietnam Veterans were severely disabled.

For example let’s use the actual 2010 population figures of Inverness as a comparison and pretend that every citizen in our town served in the Vietnam War.  Seventy-three percent of our town would have lost an arm or leg.  Fifteen percent of us would have sustained multiple amputations.

Those terrible disabilities would not be the only impact upon us here.  Fourteen percent of Inverness would have been killed on their first day in the Vietnam War.

Despite those horrendous statistics, America has looked away for decades.

As example, in 2008 it was reported that our country had 154,000 homeless veterans and America complacently accepted recent atrocious Veterans Administration bragging that things are improving and “ONLY” 60,000 veterans are homeless today.   They did not brag that one-third of all homeless in this country are veterans.

But VA’s leadership quickly brags everyday about many things.  Such as a supposed improvement in areas like veteran unemployment, homelessness, claims improvement, medical support, etc, etc., etc.  They talk a good game but I haven’t seen many touchdowns.

VA ALSO DID NOT BRAG THAT 47 PERCENT OF THE HOMELESS VETS ARE VIETNAM ERA VETERANS.

After the Vietnam War, our heroes returned to a country that was weary and complacent.

The war had finally and tragically come to an end.

It was over and we indulged ourselves in the notion that the world was now safe.

A booming economy was going to be ample substitute for a strong military and we could reduce our forces and forget them.

Somehow we came to accept a belief that freedom under God was free and, if not, we could buy it.

At the same time politics became a toilet bowl operation and we seemed to think that by electing self-serving, uncaring, military hating politicians it would not harm us as a nation.

Why?  Because we stupidly believed there was little need any more to maintain vigilance towards the world’s bad guys.  A strong military was no longer needed.

Peace had arrived in America.  Veterans didn’t need us and they could take care of themselves.

Peace existed on our planet.

Obviously peace did not arrive judging by the events of 9/11, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the recent attack on our consulate in Libya killing our ambassador and others.

We completely forgot that price of freedom has always been eternal vigilance backed by a strong military that is prepared to prevent war.

Not start war, my fellow citizens… a military to prevent it.

But it must be a military that America totally supports.  A military that is remembered and honored.

And it must be a military that America promises to take care of when they return home.  Including families that have suffered for so long from so many deployments or even loss of their loved one.

We are not fulfilling promises.

Abraham Lincoln made a promise to veterans.  He said our country would take care of them, but it is a commitment that is failing in many, many areas.

For example, take a look at supposed programs that would combat suicide among our military personnel.

Suicide rates in our military are off the scale.  In June it was announced we were averaging one active duty or reserve military suicide per day during 2012. That number has since increased to new records.  The Army’s Chief of Staff recently said that suicide is the most frequent cause of death among Army forces, surpassing combat deaths and motor vehicle accidents combined.  The suicide rate for the Army is up 15 percent over last year. For the Marine Corps it’s up 28 percent.  The entire military’s across the board suicide rate is up 22 percent from last year.  38 active duty and reserve heroes took their lives in July, alone.

I could find no statistics for those who have been discharged, but it must be astronomical.

However, I could find statistics for post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD, which is a major cause of veteran’s suicides.

Millions of Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan; on as many as 7 tours of duty in the wars and I am sure there are more tours to come.

A recent VA report revealed that nearly 30 percent of veterans who served in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan that have been treated at VA hospitals were diagnosed with PTSD.  Yet many people in this country have forgotten them.  Even worse, our government is forgetting them.  Headlines seem to appear every single day in the Chronicle concerning budget cuts on our military.

Those same headlines seem to continually report about the Veterans Administration’s struggles to help our troops.

I’ve asked myself, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING IN OUR VA?

Unfortunately, I think I know why.  It is not the every day worker in VA diligently trying to get the job done that is causing our problems.  Despite having to deal with poor management and outdated procedures, VA has some tremendous people doing their best to help us.  As example, we are extremely fortunate right here in Citrus County to have Chuck Fettes, Sam Dinnino and their staff at our County Veterans Service Office who work hard to support veterans.

But the VA has over 300,000 employees around the country, second largest branch in the Federal Government and veterans should be completely taken care of.  It is not happening.

Listen to this example.  About two weeks ago a former special assistant to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs said, “I’ve just never seen an organization that has so much money and so many employees, and such incompetence.”

I believe incompetence comes from failed leadership and failed management.

As example, since 2005, the VA has held over 1,600 employee conferences, if you can believe it, while spending, if you can also believe it, an estimated $300 million. That works out to a conference every one and a half days.

The most expensive meeting totaled a jaw-dropping $6.3 million… In an ironic twist, the title of that conference was, “Financial Management Training.”

Obviously, the Veterans Administration cannot fulfill Abe Lincoln’s promise.  Some of it is has been caused by budget cuts.  But, it is compounded by poor management, unrealistic paperwork, nearly a million backlogged compensation claims, and a huge influx of veterans needing help after so many deployments.

This is absolutely and positively wrong!

Veterans DO NOT DESERVE government red tape.

Veterans DO NOT DESERVE government budget cuts.

Veterans DO NOT DESERVE government broken promises.

Veterans DO DESERVE to get prompt high-quality medical care.

Veterans DO DESERVE to get rapid responses to their compensation and benefit claims.

And our government must make damn sure those who return from battle that are prone to PTSD, divorce, and suicide, GET THE HELP AND COUNSELING THEY NEED.

It is our government’s responsibility to take care of her veterans.

BECAUSE

WE VETERANS TOOK CARE OF OUR GOVERNMENT!

Yes, we must honor and take care of those serving today, but at the same time those we have lost must be remembered by America.

Not just on holidays but very single day of the year!

President Ronald Reagan once said, “Most of those who died in defense of our country were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives – the one they were living, and the one they would have lived. They gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers…. They gave up everything for their country – for us.”

All we can do is remember.”

And we must start remembering before it is too late.

One very important thing we must remember is that our country is only as strong as our people.  We must remain resolved and focused while being prepared to fight for freedom and, if necessary, commit wholeheartedly to fighting for that freedom.

This includes defeating today’s enemy.  An enemy best described as an animal.  An animal becoming stronger and smarter every single day.  An animal that because of misguided ideology uses unbelievable methods on a daily basis to kill our troops.  Even if it means killing or maiming their own innocent men, women and children in the process.

They will put on a uniform that America bought for them, we then train them, and they pretend to be our ally and friend.  Then, as only a coward would do, they kill our young soldiers with a shot in the head from behind.  Over 55 Coalition troops have been killed in 2012 by those we thought were our allies.

Simply said, our enemy is an animal that demands we accept their rule of ideology.

Nothing more, nothing less.

You may think you are far removed from those animals down here in our little paradise.  But, Inverness is as much at risk for an attack as New York and Washington, D.C.

Given the opportunity for another 9/11 atrocity, our merciless enemy would do it today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter.

It could happen anywhere, anyplace, anytime.

The only stopgap from that happening is a strong military.  But it must be one totally, and absolutely, supported by our citizens.  People like you patriots who came today and, Ladies and Gentlemen, I commend you for taking the time to be here.  From the bottom of my heart and all veterans present we thank you.  But, we must consider one point.

We have over 140,000 citizens in Citrus County and we should have standing room only, clear down to the lake and out to Gospel Island.

That did not happen today and it is indicative of how many in our America continue to forget us, to honor us and to support us.

Where are the missing people today?   Watching football?

Perhaps at the Homosassa Seafood Festival?

Maybe down the road at the Citrus County Builders Association Show?

I’d like to know who in the hell has the audacity to schedule such events at a time when they should be honoring America’s heroes?  I am sure they have an excuse, but there is no excuse as far as I am concerned for dishonoring us in this fashion.

Do they care?

Or, are they continuing to put their heads in the sand instead of remembering and honoring those who served and are serving our country?  I’ll let you decide.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have been truly honored to be selected to appear here today and given the opportunity to speak to you from my heart.  I’ve tried to tell you how veterans who served our country are being unfairly treated.

Because of that stance, I simply can’t leave this podium with the usual generic Veterans Day speech signoff.

It would be unfair to those here today that at their moment in our history and at a moment in your history raised a right hand, put on a uniform and swore to offer their lives to maintain our freedoms.

It also would be unfair to those who have lost their lives defending world freedom.

We need to let those who DID NOT come today to know that…

YOU GREAT CITIZENS DID COME.

AND THAT YOU AS AMERICAN PATRIOTS DO CARE.

AND THEY WHO DID NOT COME MUST DO SO IN THE FUTURE!

In a moment, I am going to introduce you to the veterans present here by having them stand up by branch of service to be honored.

I ask that you remain silent as they stand, even after all are standing.  You will have a chance later to acknowledge their service.

By their standing in silence for a couple moments before we acknowledge their service it will symbolize a personal salute by us to our brothers in arms that have been hospitalized, lost, or are being held as prisoner of war.

It will also show OUR SADNESS AS MILITARY VETERANS that so many in Citrus County did not come to honor us today but chose to go to a builder’s show, eat seafood, or watch football on TV.

May the Lord Bless each of you, may He watch over our troops in harm’s way and may He continue to Bless the United States of America.

“Three Days In August”  is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. His second book, “The CLAPPER MEMO,” is set for release this fall.

Barack Obama Makes Jimmy Carter Look Good

Jimmy Carter owes Barack Obama a debt of gratitude.  Why?  Because Obama’s response to recent attacks against U.S. diplomatic outposts in places like Benghazi, Cairo and Khartoum makes Carter’s handling of the Iran Hostage Crisis almost 33 years ago look pretty good by comparison.

Recently-freed Americans held hostage by Iran disembark from their aircraft upon arrival Jan. 27, 1981, at Andrews AFB, Md. (DoD photo)

Carter’s crisis began Nov. 4, 1979, when Iranian revolutionaries invaded the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans — including several members of the Marine Security Guard Battalion — as hostages and held them for 444 days.  It ended Jan. 20, 1981, moments after President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office and completed his inauguration speech.

Though Carter’s presidency will forever be remembered as much for the ill-fated “Desert One” rescue attempt as for anything else, one has to give the peanut farmer from Plains, Ga., credit for having recognized that the violation of U.S. soil and sovereignty that took place in Iran constituted an act of war.

Michael Wardell

The soil upon which each U.S. embassy stands has been considered sovereign U.S. territory, regardless of location, for more than 200 years, according to Michael Wardell, a 47-year-old retired Marine who’s military experience included serving embassy duty at posts in Central and West Africa and Japan.

“Each embassy represents a place where diplomacy can and should take place between representatives of the United States and the host nation — even if relations are strained or past the tipping point of war,” said Wardell.

If you think Wardell’s observations are a bit strong, consider the point of view from which he offers it; Wardell’s job, he said, was to secure and defend the Chancery and then wait for help to arrive.  Until then, he and his fellow Marines were to stand ready to bring pain or death upon anyone who breached the perimeter and violated American sovereignty.

Marine Cpl. Michael Wardell, right, works with a fellow Marine to raise the U.S. flag following the July 11, 1987, presentation of credentials by U.S. Ambassador Stephen R. Lyne in Accra, Ghana.

“Standing ready” in the central African republic of Burundi during the early 1990s meant being prepared at all times as turmoil, Wardell said, even as more than 800,000 host-nation citizens (i.e., Hutu and Tutsi tribesmen), were dying amidst civil strife outside the gates.  Further, it meant being ready to use all means available to stop anyone from breaching the embassy’s perimeter and violating sovereign American soil.

As a result of what happened in Tehran more than three decades ago, Wardell said, the Marine Corps changed forever how it would handle matters of security at embassies around the world.  Likewise, those events resulted in Marines preparing, over and over again, for scenarios exactly like those that have played out in the news media in recent days.

As a result of these most-recent violations of our national sovereignty, Wardell holds some strong feelings about the handling, or mishandling, of recent events.

“Do I believe we should go to war with these countries over these invasions to our sovereign territory? No,” he explained.  “Not yet at least.

“The first thing that needs to happen is we need to boot all of their personnel out of our country,” he continued, “and, if we decide to leave their country as well, so be it; because, once we leave, they have nowhere else to attack.”

In addition, Wardell said, the United States should ignore leaders of countries like Sudan when they tell us our Marines cannot assist in the evacuation of American diplomats.

“We send them in anyway,” Wardell said.  “There will be plenty of time to repair diplomatic relations later.  And on our terms.”

So Few Do So Much For So Many, and They Do It So Far From Home

A signpost points to the direction and gives the distance to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and the City of St. Louis at Combat Outpost Coutu, Afghanistan, June 11, 2011. Coutu is the base of operations for U.S. Marines assigned to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mallory S. VanderSchans/Released)

It’s a Friday afternoon, so I thought I’d share the photo above that I came across today on the Defense Imagery website.  Why?  Because it reminds me of how so few are doing so much for so many so far from home.  While much of their work goes unnoticed elsewhere, it doesn’t go unnoticed here.

Thanks to Fox Company and everyone else serving their country at home and abroad!

Super Bowl Ad Targets Wrong Audience

While many Americans will park in front of their televisions to watch football on Super Bowl Sunday, others will tune in just to see the commercials.  Unknown to most Americans, one commercial will be seen only by members of the U.S. military deployed overseas.  Sadly, it’s a spot that probably needs to be shown to federal, state and local election officials, too.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has arranged for a public service announcement (below) to air on the Armed Forces Network‘s commercial-free broadcast of Super Bowl XLV in Dallas.  The objective of the PSA produced in conjunction with the Federal Voting Assistance Program is to remind overseas military of their right to vote.

Why should the FVAP spot be shown to election officials?  Because election fraud, electioneering, vote fraud — call if what you will — seemed to run rampant during the 2010 election cycle.

Prior to the 2010 general election, several reports surfaced about problems with absentee ballots for military members stationed outside of their states of legal residence:

  • The Buffalo News reported on ballots being mailed after the federal deadline had passed;

The four articles above stand as but a few examples of the voting problems faced by servicemembers deployed to other states and overseas in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

Not surprisingly, the subject — “Allegations of fraud, including illegal voting by felons and a formalized refusal by some states to follow election law regarding ballots for the military, raise the dark possibility of the manipulation of elections.” — finished in sixth place on World Net Daily‘s list of most covered-up stories of 2010.

Let your elected officials know you want to ensure members of the military have their votes counted.  Send each of them a link to this post!

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

UPDATE 2/5/11 at 12:21 p.m. Central: Cross-posted at BigJournalism.com.