Fenger Pointing

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Becky Fenger Fenger PointingObama’s fear factor

Since this is my last column for a while (I am taking a break from the political arena), I want to write about something of extreme importance to our soldiers scattered in the field throughout the world. It was brought to my attention in an article by Major General Patrick Brady, U.S. Army (ret.) and a Medal of Honor recipient. It is sobering, no matter one’s beliefs regarding war, where the winner is determined by how many or our guys die versus how many of yours wind up dead.

General Brady was puzzled by the changes in battlefield aeromedical evacuation in an operation known as Dustoff, which he calls the most outstanding battlefield operating system of the Vietnam War. He credits it for saving some one million lives and resulting in unprecedented survival rates. Dustoff pilots and crew were revered by the troops, who knew that Dustoff was there for them come hell or high water.

That has all changed. General Brady tells of horror stories from our current battlefields where patients are dying because Dustoff didn’t launch or came too late. In his unit in Vietnam, the launch standard was two minutes. Today it is fifteen minutes. The changes to what was an excellent, proven system, he informs us, are a result of the Obama-Panetta Doctrine.

The basic principle is laid out by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in his response to the Obama administration’s abandonment of Americans in Benghazi: “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.” There you have it.

This sea change from the United States’ doctrine in past wars is incomprehensible to Gen. Brady and his friends. “By that standard, there would have been no Normandy or Inchon,” he wrote. “Dustoff has been removed from the control of the professionals, the medics, and put under the control of amateurs, aviation staff officers, or ASOs.”

He thinks he knows the reason for the change, and that lies in President Obama’s lack of understanding of the military (even his discomfort and avoidance of them) and military matters. Obama can’t make decisions, Brady says, and takes an extraordinary amount of time to do so because he is so risk adverse. “He cowers from crisis decisions. He is a politician who thinks only in terms of votes, and his own image,” Brady charges. (What a resume for a Commander-in-Chief!)

It is not patient care, but risk assessment that is now the primary consideration for mission launch, with our soldiers dying as a result. “The ASOs, remote from the battle, have developed time-consuming algorithms to analyze risk while the patient bleeds,” Gen. Brady reports. He lays the blame on Obama’s aversion to risk that contributed to the massacre of Americans by terrorists in Benghazi and has heard that Obama did not even convene the Counterterrorism Security Group while the Benghazi massacre was visually and verbally available in real time.
But of course, once you bring in a group labeled anti-terrorist, Gen. Brady points out, you have to acknowledge that terror exists, something the president is loath to do. That would counter Obama’s claim that he has defeated terrorism.

With the media reluctant to pursue the issue, we will never know the full extent of the administration’s failure.

To add insult to (literal) injury, news of the new military manual for our servicemen surfaced. It’s a doozy of political correctness. Soldiers are not allowed to speak ill of Muslims, Islam or to criticize abuse of women or their other atrocities since that might anger and incite the enemy. Such nonsense is only going to get worse in the months ahead.

The last straw happened at a new restaurant I was anxious to try. As I looked at the menu, I overheard someone at the next table discussing the Benghazi killings. She said that, despite the deaths, we needn’t have Congressional hearings on the matter because, after all, “it was worth it to get Obama elected to a second term.” As I jumped up, I called the manager over and told him I was leaving, thus saving him the trouble of ejecting me over what would have happened had I stayed for my calamari.

There comes a time when a quiet exit is the best thing one can do.

I am going to do something special for our soldiers this Christmas. It is painfully obvious that,
with the Obama-Panetta Doctrine, they are going to need it.