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No Easy Day

I went out and bought “No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL” and read it over the weekend. It is, indeed – as the SEAL has said in interviews – not a political book with any particular political agenda.

The book is a first-hand account of the raid in Pakistan that took out Usama bin Laden, written by one of the SEALs who was actually there – in the house/on the stairs – when they got “The Pacer.” Obviously, a very interesting book. But while it wasn’t political, one aspect of it SHOULD be…and there’s blame to be laid on elected officials of BOTH parties.

That would be the outrageous and ever-increasing “lawyering-up” of warfare for the military men and women we send in harm’s way.

Indeed, author “Mark Owen” (a pseudonym to protect his identity) points out that after numerous overseas deployments and missions to Iraq and Afghanistan over a number of years, one of his SEAL colleagues hung it up, telling Owen that “with all the new rules it has taken all the fun out of the job.”

And by “fun,” he wasn’t talking about the Space Mountain roller-coaster at Disney World. He was talking about doing the job they were trained to do without politically-correct rules of engagement, mountains of post-mission paperwork, and fighting a determined enemy with one hand tied behind their backs.

Here’s how Owen described the deteriorating situation over his years of service:

“Everything in Afghanistan was getting harder. It seemed with every rotation we had new requirements or restrictions. It took pages of PowerPoint slides to get a mission approved. Lawyers and staff officers pored over the details on each page, making sure our plan was acceptable to the Afghan government.

“We noticed there were fewer assaulters on missions and more ‘straphangers,’ each of whom performed a very limited duty. We now took conventional Army soldiers with us on operations as observers so they could refute any false allegations.

“Policy makers were asking us to ignore all of the lessons we had learned, especially the lessons learned in blood, for political solutions. For years we had been sneaking into compounds, catching fighters by surprise.

“Not anymore.

“On the last deployment, we were slapped with a new requirement to call them out. After surrounding a building, an interpreter had to get on a bullhorn and yell for the fighters to come out with their hands raised. It was similar to what police did in the United States.

“After the fighters came out, we cleared the house. If we found guns, we arrested the fighters, only to see them go free a few months later. Often we recaptured the same guy multiple times during a single deployment.

“It felt like we were fighting the war with one hand and filling out paperwork with the other. When we brought back detainees, there was an additional two to three hours of paperwork. The first question to the detainee at the base was always, ‘Were you abused?’ An affirmative answer meant an investigation and more paperwork.

“And the enemy had figured out the rules.

“Their tactics evolved as fast as ours. On my earlier deployments, they stood and fought. On more recent deployments, they started hiding their weapons, knowing we couldn’t shoot them if they weren’t armed. The fighters knew the rules of engagement and figured they’d just work their way through the system and be back to their village in a few days.

“It was frustrating. We knew what we were sacrificing at home; we were willing to give that up to do the job on our terms. As more rules were applied, it became harder to justify taking the risks to our lives. The job was becoming more about an exit strategy than doing the right thing tactically.”

Owen and his colleague half-joked that at the rate things were going, it wouldn’t be long before they were fighting the enemy with “BB guns maybe. Tasers and rubber bullets?”

This continues to be an almost completely ignored scandal of the so-called “war on terrorism” – and both the Bush and Obama administrations are guilty of perpetuating it.

How many members of our military have died or been seriously wounded thanks to the absurd but politically-correct rules of engagement we’re forcing our people to fight under? And how many of our most experienced and talented soldiers, Marines and special ops personnel have quit the service rather than be forced to act like a Brooklyn street cop?

“Mr. bin Laden, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.”

Good grief.

Look, if we don’t trust our trained warriors to fight and do their jobs they way they have been trained to do them…BRING THEM HOME! Now. Right now. Screw Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president who constantly whines about how Americans go about defending his nation. His life ain’t worth a thousand Mark Owens.

Let them fight…or bring them home. Enough is enough.