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Koran Burners Face Administration Punishment
CBS News is reporting today that up to seven individuals may face administration punishment in the accidental Koran burning incident in Afghanistan earlier this year.
U.S. military officials said the classified report and recommendations for disciplinary action against the service members involved were delivered to the Pentagon more than a week ago. They have been turned over to the Army and Navy secretaries. No final decisions have been made.
According to the officials, one Navy service member and as many as six Army soldiers could face nonjudicial disciplinary actions, which can range from a letter in their file to docking their pay or assigning them additional duties.
I have a lot of issues with this. I’ll append a disclaimer to the end of this post, but I want to reiterate that these are my personal opinions. PERSONAL. OPINIONS.
I’m confused as to why this would be a classified report. Some Korans were burned. The books aren’t classified. The Soldiers weren’t on a super secret mission. In my mind, this is a perfect example of the out of control nature of classifying information in our government. Classifications are not supposed to be used as a basis for hiding classified information. This isn’t just my opinion, either.
Executive Order 13526 signed by President Obama states that in “no case” should information be classified in order to “conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error” or “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.”
The classification of this report that CBS News references seems to violate this directive on face value.
Obviously, I can only comment on what has been released to the media already. Admittedly, I don’t have all the information about this case and must rely on media accounts with which I come up with my perspective. Since information can only be classified if it would damage national security to some degree, one would have to assume it is classified for some reason related to national security. But how could the burning of Korans be a national security risk or even the investigation into said burning.
That’s the first issue I have here.
The second is that administrative punishment is being recommended for “someone” – Or rather seven someones – at all.
U.S. officials have said that the service members did not know what they were throwing into the burn pit and that the books were pulled out by Afghan workers before they were destroyed. President Barack Obama apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the incident.
A preliminary joint investigation into the matter — done by senior U.S. and Afghan military officials — concluded in early March that while mistakes were made in the burnings, there was no intent to desecrate the Korans or other religious materials.
So let me get this straight: mistakes were made but were made because the service members didn’t know they were making them. There was no intent to desecrate the Korans, but President Obama apologized anyway. The mistake was made in honest ignorance of what was being burned and now military leaders are recommending career ending administrative punishment (remember, we’re downsizing and need to shed troops).
Let’s get real. These service members are going to be punished not because they did anything wrong, but because we don’t want to offend anyone by being honest and saying that the reaction to the ACCIDENTAL burning of religious books sparks UNWARRANTED and IDIOTIC protests by extremists making something out of nothing.
We are bending over backwards in the name of political correctness and good troops are going to suffer because of it. In the Army, our first value is Loyalty. Here’s what the Army has to say about this value:
Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone. A loyal Soldier is one who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow Soldiers. By wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army you are expressing your loyalty. And by doing your share, you show your loyalty to your unit.
Where is the loyalty to these troops that made an honest mistake? Where is the “personal courage” (another Army value) to tell it like it is and announce that these Soldiers had no idea what they were doing and there won’t be any punishment levied against them?
With all that said, I have another possibility here that I truly hope is the truth. The Pentagon is going to SAY that they disciplined these troops to prevent more widespread rioting, death, and destruction and these troops will be left to enjoy the rest of their career or military service unhindered by ridiculous charges and senseless punishments.
The information contained in this post reflects the personal opinions of the author and do not reflect the views, opinions, or positions of any branch of government or military unit. The author does not make these statements based upon any inside or official information.