On Tuesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill and Leahy talked to One America News Network’s Neil McCabe about the war on warriors within the Pentagon.
Towards the end of the segment, Gill also questioned why the US military has not yet addressed the rules of engagement as they pertain to ‘non-traditional’ enemies who use cell phones and key fobs as weapons.
Leahy: And Steve our guest now is a regular on Tuesday mornings is Neil McCabe. Neil welcome.
McCabe: Michael, Steve, how you doing guys? Good to be with you.
Gill: Good morning.
Leahy: You talked about what you wanted to discuss this morning and you told me something that’s kind of shocked me and I’m wondering if you can tell us a little bit about this. An Army Green Beret Major has been charged with murder related to charges he killed an alleged Taliban bomb maker 10 years ago in Afghanistan. This is a trial apparently going on in Fort Brag, North Carolina. Why is this trial going on?
McCabe: Well I guess you can deal with it individually. You can sort of deal with it big picture. We just had the Eddie Gallagher, the Navy Seal Chief. He was acquitted of murder charges. We have Clint Lorance the Airborne infantry officer who killed some Taliban bomb makers. Everyone knows they were bomb makers. They were found with bomb-making material on their bodies and everything. He’s now serving a 20-year sentence for murder. And so Matt Goldstein is a Green Beret major. He was a Captain at the time and I think that there is a section or a faction inside the Pentagon that is at war with the warriors. And they’re looking for these scalps particularly in the JAG core that’s sort of the attorneys… (Inaudible cross talk)
Leahy: Now JAG, that’s a Judge Advocate General group. That’s the military attorney’s who are called JAG right?
McCabe: Right. And so that’s not always a term of affection Michael. I think there’s a fraction inside this group of JAG where they’re really sort of want the scalps of the war criminals and it’s creating a detrimental effect among our trigger pullers. Because the guys that kick indoors that’s really the heart and soul. So I served in Iraq for fifteen months.
I was a combat historian. I wasn’t kicking in doors, right? (Scoffs) Maybe ten percent of the people who were serving in Iraq were kicking indoors when I was there and yet you have a guy named Matt Goldstein, Green Beret. He was leading a multi-service detachment. He had Marines, he had Army, and he had other people involved and he was getting the job done.
In fact, he personally hunted down a sniper who was tormenting his detachment and he was given a Silver Star for that. A Silver Star that was withdrawn after he was accused of killing a Taliban bomb maker.
Leahy: So why Neil is there this cadre of attorney’s within the Pentagon, JAG officers who decide that they want to go after the warriors? Aren’t armies just there to kill people and break things. Isn’t that how we win wars?
McCabe: Yeah you would think that. And I think a lot about this. I think that something happened to us after we dropped an A-bomb that we just sort of felt that any war we were in wasn’t really a fair fight because if we really wanted to win we could drop an A-bomb. You saw it in Korea. You saw it even worse in Vietnam. Where we had the opportunity to bring lethality to the enemy and we pulled back. There were times in Iraq where we had people surrounded and we let them go.
There’s something inside sort of the American Military minds now where we don’t want to go for that killer instinct. We don’t want to take people out. We want to let them off the hook. And I think part of that is that there are still Americans want to take the fight to the enemy and they’re seen as monsters and war criminals. It’s absolutely out of control. In fact, this guy Goldstein, he’s on trial now. He’s been arraigned and the actual court Marshall begins in the fall.
There’s no evidence that he actually did what he’s accused of. He had a conversation, he was up for a CIA job and he had a conversation with the guy who’s giving him a lie detector test where he described how his unit ambushed this Taliban bomb maker after two Marines had been killed when they opened a door that had been booby-trapped by this guy.
And he said to the lie detector guy, he said, “You know, maybe I should have just taken him and killed him myself.” And they said, “What? That’s just like murder.” Because when you hold somebody in custody right? You’re supposed to treat them like a prisoner. An army investigator found out about this conversation and so they were off to the races. And it’s really almost…
Leahy: But this investigator himself was later convicted of stolen valor charges wasn’t he?
McCabe: Yeah. The whole thing is for Kaka. (Leahy chuckles) I just don’t understand the motivation beyond the fact that there is a culture inside the military that hates the military.
Gill: Well and this war on warriors Neil is really nothing new. Again I’ll just go back 20 years ago. There was a Rolling Stone reporter who was embedded against his will at West Point. And while he was there 9/11 happened and so it became a tremendous book and a really good insight into the men and women that go to West Point and how they are created into the soldiers and military that’s the finest in the world. And yet there were warriors that were teaching there that were under fire because they were warriors teaching warrior tactics to the military.
I mean it set forth in that book. And I had a chance to embed a couple of times in Iraq and one of the complaints on the rules of engagement that I was hearing at the time was that we’re not engaging a traditional enemy. That a guy with a cell phone standing on a building watching when a bomb goes off to see where US hum-v’s move. Where we assemble. How we react to that so that their next attack can have secondary bombs where they know we will go.
That guy with a cell phone may not have an AR-15 or AK-47 strapped to his chest, but he’s an enemy combatant and that cell phone is a weapon. Or somebody with a key fob who simply pushes a button and explodes a car bomb as a US Hum-V rolls past it. Those are weapons and we need to treat them in a new weaponized system as enemy combatants that are armed in a different way. And yet our military has been slow or reluctant to do that.
McCabe: I was in theater so I was at Camp Boser for most of that time when I wasn’t traveling. And we were rocketed constantly. And it wasn’t towards the end of my tour that I found out we knew exactly, we knew more than just like the area, we knew the rooftops in the city Bosra where the rockets were coming from. And we did nothing about it. Like, we just let it happen because the idea was, “Well, we’ll just get in our bunkers. We’ll absorb the rocket attack. Hopefully, no one will be killed.” Because I guess we didn’t want to expand the war. Or we didn’t want to make the people rocketing us angry. (Scoffs) For someone that was in those bunkers right, I don’t understand it either.
Gill: Yeah and about the third time some guy shooting rockets gets blown up the next guy they’re saying, “Ok, I’m mad you’re going to go on the rooftop and shoot rockets. (Leahy chuckles) Are you talking to me? I’m not going on that rooftop!”
Leahy: Last question for you Neil.
Leahy: Why hasn’t President Trump done something about this anti-military cadre within the Pentagon?
McCabe: I will tell you he has been told directly about the situation of Lieutenant Lorance in Fort Leavenworth. He was deeply involved in the Eddie Gallagher story. Congressman Duncan Hunter briefed the President on it. But the Gallagher team felt that a pardon would always have that sort of linger that there might have been some guilt. The Gallagher wants to go forward with the court Marshall because they knew that they had the evidence to show and clear them and they also wanted to expose the misconduct by the prosecutors. Goldstein’s going forward. The President knows about it but the actual court Marshall starts in the fall and so we’ll have to see what happens.
Leahy: Well Neil McCabe, keep us posted. Neil McCabe, the White House correspondent and Washington correspondent for One America News Network.
Listen to the full segment here:
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