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Category Archives: War on Terror

Drone Strike to Kill U.S. Citizen on American Soil Legal?

Holy time warp Batman, according to news reports the United States Attorney General thinks it could use military force to kill an American on U.S. soil in an “extraordinary circumstance”; no we’re not talking about George W. Bush’s administration here, we’re talking about President Barrack Obama’s, but fortunately it has “no intention of doing so,” at least according to a letter from General Eric Holder.

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The letter was disclosed by Republican Tea Party (GOTP) Senator Rand Paul, who had asked whether the Justice Department believed the President had legal authority to order a targeted strike against an American citizen located within the United States.

According to Holder, while the President rejected the use of military force where “well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat.” Theoretically, it’d be legal for the him to order such an attack under certain circumstances, he claimed.

“The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder wrote.

“For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001,” Holder continued, referring to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Holder said he would “examine the particular facts and circumstances” if such an emergency were to arise.

On this issue the Attorney General needs his head thoroughly examined; there are no legitimate uses of drone strikes within the United States on its own citizen’s, period. There is no “theoretical” for which this would ever apply, period. Would the Attorney General also “theorize” there are legitimate times when the President would authorize the use of nuclear weapons by the government on American soil against its own?

Just as the Bush Administration was wrong on everything from failing to protect the United States against terrorists, to lying about WMDs in Iraq to approving water boarding and torturing of prisoners, so too is the Obama Administration wrong on this. Fix it Mr. President; if we’d wanted more of the same we’d have elected the other guy.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2013 in War on Terror

 

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To Drone, or not to Drone …

Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

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When citizens become operatives for terrorists organizations they are in “rebellion” against the United States; further, the “public safety” of the citizens requires action being taken – as habeas corpus may be suspended in these circumstances taking them out by drone is not in violation of the Constitution. In short, we don’t have to bring them to trial. And yes, I know the difference between incarcerating someone and executing them, but the point is, the government can suspend certain “rights” under a given set of circumstances, “rebellion”, “invasion” or interests of the “public safety” being those times.

These two “citizens” had American blood on their hands, and I have no issue with the President having them “removed” from the world stage, nor do I have issues with drone strikes against terrorist leaders in Pakistan or elsewhere, the alternatives are do nothing – not acceptable – or sending boots on the ground, placing American lives at risk. The individuals in question chose to rebel, they chose their fate when they did so, and I will not support sending US troops into harms way on foreign soil to “arrest” someone who’s chosen to side with terrorism, sorry, but when they make that choice they’re denouncing their citizenship in favor of 72 virgins, and the Constitution nor its protected rights no longer apply.

We are not talking about drone strikes against tin foil hat wearing tea party members, we’re talking about drone strikes against known terrorists, there’s a big whopping difference. And if the tea party’s worried about being “taken out” they should be more concerned with Karl Rove than President Obama.

War is ugly, and innocent civilians are going to die, that’s why the United States should never go running gleefully into making war on anyone; however, conversely, the rest of the world should think long and hard before it makes war on us, or before it allows terrorist groups to establish training bases or safe havens within their borders. 9-11 changed forever how the United States will turn a blind eye to such activity. You don’t want drones raining missiles from the sky into your villages? Take out the terrorists yourselves, or better yet, don’t let them in to begin with.

Of course in an effort to make everyone feel better, I suppose we could just carpet bomb the villages like we did in WWII and Vietnam.

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All-in-all, I think a drone strike is much more preferred.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Constitution, War on Terror

 

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Ryan P. Hall, Nicolas S. Whitlock, Justin J. Wilkens and Julian S. Scholten

Four Florida-based airmen were killed Saturday during an aircraft accident in Djibouti, the Defense Department announced Monday.

The airmen were aboard a U-28 at the time of the accident, which occurred near Camp Lemonnier, according to the Pentagon.

The killed airmen include:

Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colo. He was assigned to the 319th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla.


Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Ga. He was assigned to the 34th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt.


1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Ore. He was assigned to the 34th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt.


Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md. He was assigned to the 25th Intelligence Squadron at Hurlburt.


The crash does not appear to be the result of hostile fire, Staff Sgt. Ryan Whitney of the 1st Special Operations Wing said Monday. “But that won’t be completely determined until there is a thorough investigation.”

Whitney said there is no way to know at this point how long an investigation will take.

According to Whitney, Hall was a U-28A pilot on his seventh deployment. He was commissioned through ROTC at The Citadel in 2004. He had been assigned to the 319th SOS since 2007 and had 1,300 combat flight hours.

Whitlock was also a U-28A pilot, Whitney said. He was commissioned in 2006 through the Officer Training School. Whitlock had been with the 319th since 2008 and had logged 800 combat flight hours.

Wilkens, a combat systems operator assigned to the 34th Special Operations Squadron, was on his third deployment. He joined the Air Force in 2009 after graduating from the Air Force Academy. He had 400 combat hours.

Scholten was a mission’s system operator assigned to the 25th Intelligence Squadron. He enlisted in 2007 and had more than 900 combat hours, Whitney said. This was his third deployment.

The airmen were the only people aboard the aircraft when it crashed at about 8 p.m. local time during a routine flight, according to a statement from U.S. Africa Command. More details on what caused the accident were not immediately available.

The accident is under investigation.

Capt Hall, Capt Whitlock, 1LT Wilkins and Senior Airman Scholten are the 1,896th, 1,897th, 1,898th and 1,899th Americans to die supporting operations in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in War on Terror

 

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Paris S. Pough

A sailor assigned to the USS Carl Vinson, home-ported in San Diego, died during a port visit in the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Defense announced Sunday.

Petty Officer First Class Paris S. Pough, a 40-year-old hull technician from Columbus Ga., died on Friday in Dubai, according to a statement.

Details of Pough’s death were not immediately available.

PO Pough is the 1,895th American to die supporting operations in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in War on Terror

 

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Jerry D. Reed II

A soldier with the Germany-based 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade died in Afghanistan on Thursday, the Department of Defense reported.

Sgt. Jerry D. Reed II, 30, of Russellville, Ark., died in Paktika province, according to a press release. The cause of his death was not provided. Reed was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, based in Grafenwöhr.

The 172nd deployed to eastern Afghanistan in summer 2011 for a 12-month tour.

SGT Reed is the 4,496th American to die in support of operations in Iraq … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in War on Terror

 

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Cesar Cortez

A 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command soldier died in a vehicle accident Saturday, 11 Feb 12, in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.

The Fort Bliss Soldier was PFC Cesar Cortez, 24, of Oceanside, Calif. He served as a network switching systems operator-maintainer with the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. He deployed to Bahrain in December 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Cortez joined the Army in March 2011 and arrived to Fort Bliss in October 2011.

Cortez’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.

He is survived by his parents and brother.

PFC Cortez is the 4,495th American to die in support of operations in Iraq … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror

 

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Osbrany Montes De Oca

A New Jersey family is in mourning after getting word one of their Marine sons was killed in Afghanistan.

It happened in the most dangerous part of Afghanistan, the Helmand Province, where hundreds of Americans have lost their lives.

Family members said 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca had just walked off base when a sniper bullet hit him in the back, killing him.

“He was a great guy. He was a hero,” said Frankin, his 15-year-old brother.

The Montes De Oca family lives in North Arlington, within sight of the World Trade Center.

“He was such a nice kid growing up, friendly. And fighting for our country,” said neighbor Linda Tromans.

Tromans knew the brothers their entire lives. She told CBS 2′s Don Dahler that she knew something was wrong last Friday.

“When I seen the Marine Corps knock on the door ’cause they don’t come to say hello, I knew something happened,” she said.

“He was the best man I knew,” Frankin said.

Osbrany and his identical twin, Osmany, enlisted in the Marines shortly after graduating from North Arlington High School a little more than a year ago.

Osbrany played lacrosse and football there. Their older brother enlisted a short time after.

Unlike in the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” brothers and sisters who are enlisted do not automatically get discharged if they lose a sibling in combat.

However, a family friend told Dahler that the Corps gave the two brothers still in active duty the option to not go back to war. They declined, saying, more than ever, they want to get back in the fight.

Montes de Oca is the 42nd service member from New Jersey to be killed in Afghanistan.

Lance Cpl. Montes De Oca is the 1,894th American to die in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror

 

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Billy A. Sutton

The military says a soldier from Mississippi has died from a medical condition unrelated to combat in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon said SFC Class Billy A. Sutton died Feb. 7 in Uruzgan province. Mississippi National Guard spokesman Tim Powell says the 42-year-old soldier lived in Mooreville.

Powell was member of the 288th Engineer Sapper Company based in Houston, Miss. He was married with a wife and a stepson.

He enlisted Sept. 5, 2001.

SFC Sutton is the 1,893rd American to die in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror

 

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Terence J. Hildner

A one-star U.S. Army general from Fairfax County was found dead in his Kabul sleeping quarters Friday, and Defense Department officials said he is the highest-ranking officer to die during the war in Afghanistan.

An investigation is pending into Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner’s cause of death, but the 49-year old father of four died of apparent natural causes, not in combat, said Christopher Haug, chief of media relations at Fort Hood in Texas, where Hildner was based.

His father, Robert Hildner, a retired Air Force colonel in Port Tobacco, Md., said it was likely his son had a heart attack. Robert Hildner said his son was found sitting in a chair where he appeared to have been playing a video game the night before.

“That was one of the ways he used to burn off the stress of the day,” Robert Hildner said. “It’s too bad. He was very much a rising star in the military.”

Hildner deployed to Afghanistan in December to assist the NATO training mission. He managed and distributed all the military supplies in the area — from clothing to ammunition to medical equipment. Hilder was the commander of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command at Fort Hood.

As of last month, 1,850 American service members had died in Afghanistan since 2001, according to military records. About 375 of those deaths have been classified as “non-hostile,” which includes deaths from accidents and natural causes.

Growing up in a military family, Hildner moved frequently. He was born in New Haven, Conn., and lived in Tokyo, Rome and Colorado as well as Chantilly, where he attended Brookfield Elementary School. Hildner graduated from Autauga County High School in Prattville, Ala., in 1980, and he joined the University of Notre Dame’s class of 1984. He began his Army career in Fort Bliss, Tex.

His father described him as an ambitious and dedicated military man.

“From the Irish side of the family, he inherited a sense of humor and exuberance about life,” Robert Hildner said. “And from the German side, a singularity of purpose and a very keen analytical mind.”

Hildner was married twice and had four children, ages 17 to 22, from his first marriage. His second wife, Cindy Hildner, is a civilian employee for the military. He met her about seven years ago after she began monitoring the condition of one of his injured soldiers at what is now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Fairfax was what Hildner considered his home base, even as he moved from place to place in a nearly 30-year military career that included tours in Germany, Iraq and Kuwait. His parents lived in Fairfax near George Mason University from 1980 until last year, when they moved to Charles County. He also is survived by his mother, Susan, and a younger brother and sister, Steven Hildner and Elizabeth Edwards, both of whom live in the Washington area.

Hildner commanded troops in Kuwait and during the Persian Gulf War in Iraq. He also conducted the last U.S. patrol along the East-West German border before reunification. His combat missions earned him various service medals, including two Bronze Stars.

From 2003 to 2006, he was in charge of the 13th Corps Support Command’s Special Troops Battalion at Fort Hood. The battalion provided supplies to units stationed around Joint Base Balad and Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq war, and to troops responding to Hurricane Katrina.

More recently, he was stationed at Fort Lee, Va., where he trained tens of thousands of soldiers for deployment.

“We are truly saddened by the loss of Brigadier General Hildner,” Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, said in a statement. “This is a tragic loss for the Army, III Corps and for our Central Texas community.”

BG Hildner is the 1,892nd American to die in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror

 

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Edward J. Dycus

Mississippi’s first casualty this year from the war in Afghanistan died at the hands of an Afghan soldier who was guarding a joint operating base with him in the Helmand province, officials said.

Wednesday’s death of Marine Lance Cpl. Edward Dycus, 22, of Greenville is under investigation, military officials say. Details were not released.

“He’s not just another dead soldier,” said childhood friend Kayla Bevill. “He wasn’t killed by ‘the enemy.’ He was killed by someone that was supposed to be helping him guard, and that’s what hurts the most.”

Dycus was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, Mississippi has had 70 military personnel killed in action, according to www.militarytimes.com. In 2011, Marine Staff Sgt. Jason A. Rogers, Army Staff Sgt. David D. Self, Army Sgt. Christopher R. Bell, and Navy Master-at-Arms 1st Class (AW) Stacy O. Johnson were Mississippi’s casualties.

Western Line School District Superintendent Larry Green said talks are in the works to have a candlelight service for Dycus, and about making the school grounds available for his funeral when arrangements are made.

Plans for a memorial service also are pending, officials said, but they believe Dycus’ body will arrive in Greenville on Saturday.

Lonnie Moorman, a friend, said Dycus entered boot camp in 2010 and hadn’t been in Afghanistan more than a few months when he was shot.

“Eddie was born for the military. He thrived in a situation like that,” Moorman said.

Dycus’ friends said he grew up in a tight-knit family, but switched schools a few times, and sometimes saw himself as a bit of an outsider.

“It was hard on him growing up, but he never let that show. He always had a smile on his face,” Bevill said. “No matter how his day or anything in his life was going, he was going to be there to put himself aside and make you smile. He was always more worried about someone else than himself.”

Elizabeth Scrivner, Dycus’ sophomore biology teacher at Riverside High School, said Dycus had a potential greatness about him even when he was younger.

“He was one of those students that when you see him walk into the room, you see more than he sees yet,” she said.

When he came back to visit the school recently, Scrivner said, he was wearing his uniform, and his demeanor was one of pride.

“I couldn’t even say anything at first, it took me aback,” she said. “I could feel the confidence he had in himself that I saw years before. And the way he held himself in that uniform, the Marines couldn’t have been any prouder than I was of him at that moment.”

Dycus graduated from Riverside High in 2008. Principal Donald Coleman said he wasn’t there while Dycus was in school, but he knows him because a brother and sister are still enrolled there.

Coleman said the death hit hard for more than one reason.

“I went to Afghanistan myself in 2005, and had a lot of young soldiers under me,” he said. “I made friends who didn’t make it back, and I had to stand at attention as they drove their bodies by to fly them back home. I’m proud that they risked their lives so we can have freedom.”

Green said it’s always a tragedy when a soldier gives his or her life in the fight for freedom. On the whole, he said, people tend to have more sympathy and empathy for soldiers now than they have in the past.

“We never get over it. It always stops you and hits home,” he said. “When it’s one of our own, it’s much closer, so it’s been pretty tough on us and the kids and the faculty.”

Greenville Mayor Chuck Jordan extended his sympathies to Dycus’ family.

“His death was not in vain,” he said. “It is a reaffirmation of the importance of the effort he and our servicemen and women are working for and fighting for each day.”

Moorman said his friend taught him an important lesson about life.

“Just not to waste time, not to second-guess yourself,” he said. “One thing he made perfectly clear to me is always go after what you want.”

Since high school, Dycus had wanted to be in the military, Bevill said.

“It was one of those things he was born to do,” she said. “He was beyond brave.”

http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20120203/NEWS/202030342/Marine-from-Miss-killed

Lance Cpl Dycus is the 1,891st American to die in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror

 

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