Michael's Dispatches

Tippity Top General attempts to Deceive Congressman (in writing)


14 February 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day.  It isn’t Valentine’s for those who will get hit with bullets or bombs today.  And it will happen.  So let’s get down to business.

The top officer in the US Military is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The Chairman is the principal military advisor to President Obama. 

Recently, Congressman Todd Akin from Missouri has taken up the cause of repairing the Army MEDEVAC failures.

Previously, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) provided Congressman Akin with a deceptive, error-filled letter whose content could have been written by Baghdad Bob for Ripley’s Believe it or Not!   You have to see it to believe it.

Congressman Akin continued to push, but he was stonewalled.  Mr. Akin was undeterred and responded by redoubling his efforts.  For example, he marshaled other concerned Members of Congress, and altogether 17 Members sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. 

The response by Mr. Akin and other Members of Congress is heartening.  This is how a democracy should work.  We citizens raised valid, important points.  It took some time to get their attention, but once we got beyond those hurdles, Members of Congress have taken on the cause by first searching for the truth.

On two occasions, Mr. Panetta did not respond to Mr. Akin.  On the second occasion, Mr. Panetta passed the buck back to General Dempsey, the Chairman of the JCS.  General Dempsey’s response to Mr. Akin avoided the most important questions.  General Dempsey’s response was also demonstrably deceptive.  General Dempsey clearly states that he is responding on behalf of Secretary Panetta, meaning that Mr. Panetta endorses the deception.

With that realization, we have exhausted the military chain of command.  And so this has finally become a matter for the Commander in Chief:  President Obama.

If General Dempsey has provided a briefing to President Obama that parallels what we see below, General Martin Dempsey should be fired.  If in good faith President Obama should make the mistake of repeating this from General Dempsey, at best he will look clueless to most combat veterans.

Despite those who wish to politicize this, the MEDEVAC problems did not arise under the watch of President Obama.  They’ve been going on for years.  I believe that if President Obama is properly informed, he will intervene.

President Obama: Please speak with Congressman Todd Akin in private, and with experienced Army Dustoff and Air Force Pedro pilots, before saying anything on this subject publicly.  If you speak to Mr. Akin and to those pilots, you will know the truth.

The duplicitous letter from General Dempsey:



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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Navybuff · 10 years ago
    Same old Sh&% from this administration... God Bless our hero's and thanks Mike for keeping your finger on the pulse of this...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim Manley · 10 years ago
    "The specifics of the unfortunate circumstances of Specialist Chazray Clark's death are still being formally reviewed."

    Translation: We are trying to find a way to cover our ass.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Serge · 10 years ago
      General translation is: Please, be assured, we know what we are doing and we have more important things to deal with you have no f**king idea about, because you are poking your nose into things that are way beyond your ken. Therefore, please, f**k off and spare us the nuisance of your stupid questions as they are more than inappropriate and unwelcome down here when it comes to issues dealing with people in uniform.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark Brower · 10 years ago
    This whole issue is stupid beyond comprehension. What can possibly be a good enough reason to stonewall on this issue when a simple decision to fix the problem would create so much good press and make the issue go away? Too many cooks in the kitchen that don't want to get the sauce on their apron.....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Dettmer · 10 years ago
    What's so effing difficult about taking the G-D red crosses off the damned helicopters. It could be done in about two hours, for all the MEDEVAC helicopters in Afghanistan.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Serge · 10 years ago
      Perhaps, MEDEVAC helicopters pilots should take a grass-roots action by removing the red crosses overnight. It would be great to see the faces of their commanders in the morning. :P
  • This commment is unpublished.
    a&n · 10 years ago
    Good luck with that one Mike. You've got about as much chance as we do here in Arizona on finding out whose big idea it was to sell Arizona guns to the drug cartels. If you want to call that politcal of me to say...go ahead. But we here in Arizona are the ones put in danger on that one and know whereof we speak. You are right..at best Obama will look clueless...have you thought about how he will look at worst? Believe me....he isn't dumb....but it has become a nice excuse. Getting bad advice? Don't be so naive. He doesn't take advice.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Randall Hannaway · 10 years ago
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rudy · 10 years ago
    My cat wrote the same damn thing.. :cry:
  • This commment is unpublished.
    matt · 10 years ago
    The Marine Corps operates in AO's far distant from the Army and has its own organic helicopter force. How can the good General argue legitimately that the Army provides Joint Force medevac?

    Further, both Air Force and Marine aircraft used for medevac are currently armed with no visible deleterious effect on their capabilities.

    In a theater where we are regaled with $100/gallon gas, that the Army also chooses to send in attack helicopters with every medevac does not reflect well when in fact the other services are operating both more effectively and economically.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Denn7is · 10 years ago
    Michael, What these guys are saying is sooo wrong, I'm doubting they believe it either. So could there be another reason? Chazray was a triple amputee, does the Army want guys that can't make it an hour and 15 minutes to die? Does that reduce some down range costs? It's gotta be something... Vaya con Dios!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      tigerfish · 10 years ago
      I have been thinking this myself as well. It seems to me plausible that given the extent of the injuries, that the Army high ups may be thinking behind closed doors that the outcome in the end was better for all of those directly involved. And that if they just keeping the buck passing along that it will eventually get dropped. Especially because it seems so simple to me to paint over the red crosses in this theater and add weapons to the helos. Why keep the debate going all the way to the President? Are the Taliban signatories to the Geneva Convention?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    TheOldMan · 10 years ago
    As is often the case, it would be easier to just do the right thing instead of continuing to claim that there is no problem.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Donald Watkins · 10 years ago
    Weight of one M240C machine gun: approx 22 lbs
    Weight of 7.65x51mm d. link ammunition: approx 7 lbs per 100 rounds

    Typical load for the M240 coax configuration on a tank, 11,500 rounds, weighing approx 805 lbs. This amount of ammunition should be sufficient for two door gunners on an evac.

    The Black hawks we use for evac can carry roughly 10,000lbs. With the cabin stuffed with bodies the extra 849lbs would still be insignificant to the weight carrying limit.

    While certainly not the capabilities of an Apache, I dare say that the addition of two machine guns to the aircraft would make a significant difference in the hazard level an evac could extract from confidently.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Josh · 10 years ago
      Once again, the "only dedicated MEDEVAC platform" and "issues regarding weight" have been dragged out and repeated, as well as the accusation (implied but obvious) that what we ask violates a sacrosanct Law of War (in the form of the GC).

      But as Mike, and his congressional and MEDEVAC pilot allies have pointed out, the king is altogether as naked as the day that he was born.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tammy · 10 years ago
    Sadly while this is being debated by top brass - lives are still in jeapardy. Prolonging the fix only gives them more bad press I'm with Denn7is what else is in the mix here? Thanks for staying on it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marathon John · 10 years ago
    The argument for Red Cross' and being in accord with the Geneva Convention is unfounded at best. As in SE Asia the Red Cross' become targets. This enemy cuts off heads and drags bodies through the streets. Geneva Convention, indeed!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Puckett · 10 years ago
    What do you expect from "politicians in uniforms"? Surely not the courage to stand up for what's right at the risk of their all important careers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Frank · 10 years ago
    This never seems to end. We continue to throw rocks at each other. If I was a Congressmen I would side-step the Military Brass and go right to the source. The past and present US Army soldiers on the battlefield. No we don't need a big Fact-Finding Mission with John Kerry or some other wind bag.
    Is anyone in Washington reading these forums? Think Outside the Box!!!! Lets spent some taxpayers money for a change that will actually have a positive impact.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tony · 10 years ago
    I have to admit I read the first page twice as I thought the Official JCS response was quite valid.

    Then I started page 2. Ah, the Geneva Convention defence.

    It seems to me that they are slowly manipulating their stance. Given enough time, they will say that RCs were always going to come off and guns were always going to go on.

    Unfortunately, time was something Chazray had! Until this BS is sorted, there will be others who run out of time.

    Mr Obama, do something good and get this issue sorted from the top. Now! While YOU still have time (I feel I have to add "in office" at the end of that to avoid any mis-interpretation from the CIA)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tony · 10 years ago

    FYI. Associated Press has picked up your cause, writing a short article by Deb Riechmann, Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan regarding Spec Chazray Clark and his unarmed rescue Army Medevac chopper. My paper the Tacoma News Tribune, has this story on page 12, (back page) Tuesday February 14. Keep up the great work and maybe the results of your efforts will be heard loud and clear and not falling on deaf ears at the Pentagon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ricochet · 10 years ago
    Just to remind everyone how POTUS described our servicemen and how he can help them from becoming the first description in my subject line. Thanks for keeping up with this Mike.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Wayne · 10 years ago

    If you're going to call BS here, please show us. Run a side bar to CJCS' letter and point out the BS. I have been following your articles, so I understand. But, without a point by point showing I can't take CJCS' BS letter and prove it to anyone that doesn't have the context that those of us that follow you do.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MikeMc · 10 years ago

    you can't post a new comment but you can append to an existing comment.

    Someone is doing regular post (unknown if it's actually LTG Dempsey).

    I'm planning to ask about Army MEDEVAC failures and append it to a random post.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Josh · 10 years ago
    Mike, you're right in saying that it's now at the CinC level, and the President needs to stop the buck himself. But if he doesn't (don't hold your breath), there's one more level to take it to. Bring the issue to the the "We Really Do Support Our Troops" party's campaign rallies, and get the Republican candidates to weigh in on the issue and what they'd do about it. Maybe the POTUS will do his job if the opposition threaten to do it for him.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Ryden · 10 years ago
      And since when do Republicans always do what's good for the military? I recall a certain Republican saying something along the lines of "you use the army you have, not the one you wish you had" as an excuse for even elite units such as the 101st driving around in Iraq in old Hummvees, with vinyl doors, defect kevlar helmets, a lack of SAPI plates that forced most to only wear one, lack of transport that made it neccessary to use abonded Iraqi Army trucks, etc. And the stop-lossing, the reduction of troops against the advise of commanders on the ground, the constant deployments, letting the whole business in Afghanistan become forgotten (and thus allowing the Talibans to come back), etc.
      By the way, MEDEVAC birds had Red Crosses on them back then too.

      I'm not saying that Republicans want to jump on the military's head for fun, but rather that they're not really better than any other party just because they say so all the time. The old "Democrats want to destroy the military, Republicans love it"-rant is getting old, and it's naive to believe in it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MikeMc · 10 years ago
    I didn't expect they would leave up:

    General Dempsey,

    Can you please comment on your letter to Congressman Atkin (7 Feb 2012) specifically about Army MEDEVAC failures in Afghanistan. I have been following this closely reading from several reputable news outlets and online sources which contradict your official response to the Congressman.

    The facts reported by one correspondent who was embedded and had video footage to prove that MEDEVAC’s can’t launch with an armed escort. One could easily conclude that this MEDEVAC failure was a factor in the death of Spc Clark and possibly other personnel.

    Sir, my question to you is this: when will you address this problem and direct your chain of command to follow a corrected SOP?

    Follow-up post to General Dempsey's FB:
    to the person monitoring the generals FB. Deleting my post rather than answering my question show again a lack of understanding of how upset the American public is/will be when this issue gathers more momentum.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Brockman · 10 years ago
    What if it had been Whitney Houston (or some other "celebrity") who died as a result of the delayed care instead of Specialist Chazray Clark? Do you suppose we'd even be having this discussion now?
    Thank you for keeping a light shined brightly on this issue.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Ryden · 10 years ago
      That's like asking what would've happened if water had started burning; It'd never happened, because whoever is responsible for calling the MEDEVACs (let's call him Bloke A) would've sent half a dozen choppers loaded with Pedros two seconds after the 9-liner was finished. Let's face it, one Spc dead among 1800 others is no damage to Bloke A compared to an even remotely famous person.

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