President Biden, SecDef Austin, General Milley: Your Statement of Charges is Ready

 

When I was a young Army E-1, I learned that two of the most dreaded forms that could cross my path were the Statement of Charges and the Report of Survey.  The first form was an admission of liability for lost or damaged property (which could range from a blanket to a jeep) and an agreement to pay for it.  The second form served to document the circumstances concerning the loss, damage, or destruction of the property.  It is the military’s way of saying, “You break it; you bought it”.

During my 27 years in the military, I saw more than a few folks that screwed up and had their monthly checks significantly reduced until the amount of the lost or damaged item had been recouped.  If the individal’s ETS occurred before the loss had been paid off, the government was allowed to dog the individual until the charges were paid.

As I was reading my morning newsfeed, I came across a story from DefenseOne that made me think about the enforced accountability that we expect from our troops.  I was especially taken by this verbiage:

“The ultimate winner of two decades of war in Afghanistan is likely China.  The aircraft and armored vehicles left behind when U.S. forces withdrew will give China-through their eager partners, the Taliban-a broad window into how the U.S. military builds and uses some of its most important tools of war.  Expect the Chinese military to use this windfall to create-and export to client states-a new generation of weapons and tactics tailored to U.S. vulnerabilities, said several experts who spent years building, acquiring, and testing some of the equipment that the Taliban now controls.”

As an example, take the simple Humvee; just four wheels and an engine, right?  Wrong, very wrong.  “It’s not just a Humvee.  It’s not just a vehicle that gets you from point A to point B.  It’s a Humvee that’s full of radios, technologies, cryptosystems, things we don’t want our adversaries getting a hold of.”  But now, our adversaries have a firm hold on it; and they’re not going to let go.

OK, now let’s go back to that E-1.  Damage your rifle?  Probably an Article 15 plus damages.  Lose your night vision goggles?  Probably a special court-martial not to mention a hefty fine and loss of rank.

However, if you make decisions that cause billions of dollars of sensitive equipment to be lost to the enemy, you simply shrug your shoulders and move on to your next fiasco.  Sound fair?  It is if you’re President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.

Given his overall ignorance concerning military hardware (not to mention his fast-approaching senility, it is possible that Biden could not appreciate the effect of his actions. (I realize I’m cutting him a lot of slack.)  However, Austin and Milley do not have a single excuse.  At best, their actions were malfeasance; at worst, their behavior was treason.

Because of this, I believe that Austin should be recalled to active duty and that he should join Milley in being court-martialed.  They should be just as accountable as any E-1 under their command.

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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    If wishes and good intentions were nickels, we’d both be rich, and Milley and Austin will remain untouched. 

    • #1
  2. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    If wishes and good intentions were nickels, we’d both be rich, and Milley and Austin will remain untouched.

    Perhaps but one of the points I was trying to make is when we have senior leadership so corrupt, young people should think twice before entering the military.  The concept of “different spanks for different ranks” has always been with us but not to the extent that we’re seeing now.  Giving up billions of dollars of super-sensitive equipment because of political expediency?  That’s a military that’s not going to win many wars.

    • #2
  3. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    CACrabtree:

    Edited for excessive cynicism…

    • #3
  4. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree:

    “The ultimate winner of two decades of war in Afghanistan is likely China. The aircraft and armored vehicles left behind when U.S. forces withdrew will give China-through their eager partners, the Taliban-a broad window into how the U.S. military builds and uses some of its most important tools of war. Expect the Chinese military to use this windfall to create-and export to client states-a new generation of weapons and tactics tailored to U.S. vulnerabilities, said several experts who spent years building, acquiring, and testing some of the equipment that the Taliban now controls.”

    Are we sure the CIC and his son and family didn’t sell the equipment to the Chinese, and arrange for the our new partners, the Taliban, to take possession and arrange transport for the goods? If so, does this explain why there is no accountability? I could almost accept that, rather than gross negligence/incompetence of the professionals.

     

    I wouldn’t be surprised at anything Biden and his bunch do, however, I don’t believe I could ever refer to Austin or Milley as ‘professional”.  Maybe they were at one time, but not anymore.

    Both of them had the opportunity, and the duty, to say “no” to Biden’s withdrawal plan but they did not.  Integrity would have dictated that they both resign.  They did not.

    • #4
  5. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    Perhaps but one of the points I was trying to make is when we have senior leadership so corrupt, young people should think twice before entering the military.

    Let me be clear.  I absolutely agree with you that Milley and Austin (and Biden) should, absolutely be held responsible for their incomprehensibly thoughtless actions.  They should be, but won’t be.

    Re: the quoted text above, I saw no reference to young people not being advised to enlist, but, to that end, if that was your goal, and intent, I agree with it.  Not during this administration.  Mrs. Nohaaj’s son just got out of active Marine duty, thank goodness. His post military intentions were to pursue law enforcement. In today’s anti-police culture, we hope and pray he doesn’t do that either.  

    • #5
  6. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    Perhaps but one of the points I was trying to make is when we have senior leadership so corrupt, young people should think twice before entering the military.

    Let me be clear. I absolutely agree with you that Milley and Austin (and Biden) should, absolutely be held responsible for their incomprehensibly thoughtless actions. They should be, but won’t be.

    Re: the quoted text above, I saw no reference to young people not being advised to enlist, but, to that end, if that was your goal, and intent, I agree with it. Not during this administration. Mrs. Nohaaj’s son just got out of active Marine duty, thank goodness. His post military intentions were to pursue law enforcement. In today’s anti-police culture, we hope and pray he doesn’t do that either.

    I agree, “by the numbers.”  I retired from the Army Guard when I did in part because of what I was witnessing of the manner in which the Clintons were treating the military.  I have a background in law enforcement, and count many retired and active LEO’s among my friends.  Young people have sought my counsel re: both fields, and this has been my advice as well.  

    • #6
  7. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    Perhaps but one of the points I was trying to make is when we have senior leadership so corrupt, young people should think twice before entering the military. 

    Encourage them to join state militias instead of the federal army.

    • #7
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    CACrabtree: As an example, take the simple Humvee; just four wheels and an engine, right?  Wrong, very wrong.  “It’s not just a Humvee.  It’s not just a vehicle that gets you from point A to point B.  It’s a Humvee that’s full of radios, technologies, cryptosystems, things we don’t want our adversaries getting a hold of.”  But now, our adversaries have a firm hold on it; and they’re not going to let go.

    The author of that opinion piece is wrong, I believe. If we left U.S. unit equipment, complete with radios and crypto gear, that would be bad. We did not do so. We dumbed down the vehicles / aircraft we transferred to the ANA over the past decade plus to low level export models. So, it is extremely unlikely they had current generation U.S. communications gear. We sell the same or better to any number of foreign customers, some of whom have friendly relations with China, so just might be letting Chinese agents examine the gear we sell. 

    We can kind of know there was no crypto communications gear on U.S. built ANA vehicles because the gear only works with 24/7 competent communications personnel from smallest unit to senior headquarters. That was never going to happen with largely illiterate to semi literate troops. So, the only radios they would be able to use are single channel unencrypted radios.

    • #8
  9. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    I respect your expertise Clifford but I’m afraid I can’t be as sanguine as you.  Even if  the equipment is not top of the line it does, as the article states, give the Chinese information on “how we configure things; how we protect things.”

    Yes, it may be “extremely unlikely” that the Afghans had our current generation of communications gear, but can we really hang our hats on that?  (The same goes for writing off those “largely illiterate or semi-illiterate troops”; sometimes those guys are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.

    I also considered my source.  DefenseOne is a largely left of center site; I notice that many of their writers are in Atlantic Monthly.  If they were going to err, it would be in Biden’s favor.

    • #9
  10. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    I don’t ‘bleeping’ care if the towel-heads got WWII military surplus jeeps and radio gear, ANY equipment left behind is too much!

    • #10