Pt. 13 in a series on the court martial of 1LT Clint Lorance
Military Times surveyed 2,300 active duty troops about the quality of military life, and the results are troubling. The survey said morale is “on the decline in nearly every aspect of military life” compared to 5 years ago. Salaries, benefits, healthcare, and the quality of leadership were considered.
When you consider political targeting of the military, from budget cuts to criminal justice, the lack of morale is a logical response.
Salaries aren’t looking good. Senate Democrats who hold the majority until January, 2015, again chose not to prepare a budget. In order to continue funding the government, Republicans did what they often do. They compromised with Dems, and there will likely be salary and some benefits reductions for our troops.
Only 27 percent of those surveyed believe the senior military leadership has the troops’ best interests at heart.
There is no more perfect example of why our troops are demoralized than the case of former 1LT Clint Lorance.
Day on the Day has covered the controversial court martial and imprisonment of 1LT Clint Lorance in a series of articles. Lorance was railroaded into prison after he permitted his men to fire on “military age” males in a war zone in Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama has been aggressive about prosecuting the military since he first took office. I’ve covered several cases where Navy SEALs and a US Army captain faced charges that probably wouldn’t have even been filed in the civilian sector. Those cases had good outcomes for the defendants.
Not Lorance’s. The July, 2012 incident occurred at a time when US-Afghanistan politics were in a quagmire. Politicians in the military apparently wanted a sacrificial lamb and they chose Lorance for that purpose.
The choice to charge and convict Lorance illustrates the dilemma for soldiers in war zones. If you fire at someone to protect your men and yourself, you can be prosecuted.
Contrast that approach to a soldier who allegedly deserted his post in Afghanistan and was reportedly seized by Taliban. The US government negotiated with terrorists to retrieve him. No charges have been filed to date.
Meanwhile Lorance sits in a prison cell, facing 20 years, for a judgment call about “military age” males he believed presented a threat. To this day, we don’t know what country those men came from, what they were doing in a hostile area, or what they might have had in their pockets before they were fired on. One man escaped and was never found. The US military even obstructed further investigation into the identities of the men. Evidence was also withheld from the defense counsel.
Salary cuts, housing cuts, questionable leadership, and foreign policy that often makes no sense are but a few challenges members of our military face. Toss in the fact you could be prosecuted for choosing to respond to those you honestly believe are enemy. It should come as no surprise that those who serve are demoralized.
That anyone joins the military under the current “progressive” leadership is a miracle.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Dec. 8, 2014)
Disclosure: My advocacy for Lorance is based on a quest for justice. I receive no compensation or benefits for attempting to raise interest in his case. I include this disclosure as a response to comments by some on social media. I learned about the case via a former US congressman.
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Previous stories in Day on the Day series on Clint Lorance
For judgment call similar to president’s, soldier got 20 years in prison (Part 12)
New errors surface in Lorance trial: Evidence withheld (Pt. 11)
Doocy’s SEAL interview addresses issue in Lorance trial (Pt. 10)
Soldier’s mother and brother appeal for clemency (Pt. 9)
On Veterans Day, Lorance waits for justice… (Pt. 8)
After error-plagued court martial, soldier needs support (Pt. 7)
Criminal justice advocacy needed for veterans (Pt. 6)
After controversial trial, soldier’s fate rests… (Pt. 5)
Confusion at heart of Lorance case… (Pt. 4)
Government secret: Witnesses had immunity (Pt. 3)
Political prisoner Clint Lorance… (Pt. 2)
Dilemma facing boots on the ground (Pt. 1)