General Richard Clark, Commander of the US Special Forces, ordered the verification of the morale of the units under his command. This is the official newspaper of the US Armed Forces Stars and Stripes. The reason, as the publication informs, was the numerous facts of violations of the charter and laws by American special forces.
“The American people must trust their defenders, including professionals who conduct special operations under the leadership of this command,” Clark quotes Stars and Stripes. “Trust is the most important thing, it should never be lost ... In the light of recent incidents, our cultural and moral values have been called into question, and the trust placed in us has been compromised.”
As stated by General Clark, soon the unit should visit the high command. Check, according to Stars and Stripes, should begin "immediately" and be completed by fall.
Murders, rape, drugs
A statement by a senior US military coincided with a wave of information about crimes and abuses committed by the most elite parts of the US military. So, in July, the Navy Times reported that a platoon of "fur seals" (US special forces) shamefully sent home from Iraq for breach of discipline. According to Stars and Stripes, the US military is accused of aggressive sexual behavior and drunkenness.
A few days earlier, the court acquitted the 1st grade petty officer Eddie Halacher. Fur Seal was accused of killing a wounded militant IG *. However, the process revealed numerous cases of alcohol abuse among the military. It also turned out that the "cats" loved to be photographed with corpses.
- Eddie Galacher with his wife
- © John Gastaldo
Another lawsuit that drew the attention of American public opinion this year was the trial of the “fur seals” and special forces of the Marine Corps who were convicted of the murder of the “green beret” (that is, special forces of the ground forces) Logan Melgar during a mission to Mali 2017.
As the investigation found out, the “seals” and the marines strangled a colleague. Media reported that the criminals in uniform even intended to rape the unfortunate person by filming the whole process on camera.
The trial of the Green Beret by Major Matthew Holstein is ongoing. According to investigators, in 2010 he killed a civilian in Afghanistan, who had previously been detained by the US military, but then decided to let go. The officer himself believes that he eliminated the Taliban fighter ** and that was the "legitimate target."
Other sins of US special forces reported in the media over the past two years include cocaine use and drug trafficking on military transport aircraft, as well as numerous rape and sexual assaults.
“Before us is no longer military units, but a kind of semi-gangster structure, so it is natural that the command wants to establish a certain order,” Alexander Zhilin, head of the Center for the Study of Public Applied Problems of National Security, said in an interview with RT.
However, the expert expressed doubt that the Pentagon leadership will be able to radically change the system.
"Inability to discipline"
General Richard Clark is not the first American commander who pays attention to the decline in the moral character of his subordinates. According to The Military Times, in November last year, Lieutenant General Francis Bodet, head of the United States Special Forces Command, made a similar statement. According to him, in the light of incidents recently taking place in the ranks of the army special forces, the trust “on the part of the American people and the country's top leadership” was threatened.
- General Richard Clark
- © Michael Reaves / Getty Images
In December 2018, Clark's predecessor, General Tony Thomas, raised the alarm. However, the Pentagon check did not find anything reprehensible in the actions of the American special forces.
“The general conclusion of the final document is as follows: The US Armed Forces Special Operations Command and its constituent entities are full and active participants in programs developed by various types of troops and the Department of Defense in order to ensure compliance with ethical standards. They do everything and even beyond what is required of them in accordance with the standards in force in each area considered, ”said Candice Tresh, Pentagon spokeswoman, in March 2019.
Despite the gracious comments of the Ministry of Defense, in July 2019, Rear Admiral Collin Greene, commander of the special forces of the Navy, said again that there were problems with discipline in his units.
“Some of the units subordinate to us showed an inability to observe proper order and discipline, which is why the cultural values of the special operations forces of the Navy were quite rightly called into question,” Green Times quoted the Military Times as saying. “At the moment, I’m not sure whether we are facing a problem in terms of cultural values, but there is a problem with order and discipline, and it requires an immediate solution.”
Mind under attack
In turn, in February 2019, CNN outlined yet another problem with U.S. special operations forces. Referring to the data provided by the command, journalists reported that among the commandos, the number of suicides has almost tripled over the year - from 8 cases in 2017 to 22 in 2018. Commenting on these numbers and data on suicides among military servicemen already on the pages of the Military Times, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, former army ranger John Hollis announced a growing mental health crisis among special forces.
According to experts, one of the factors causing problems among the elite units of the United States is overstrain. According to the official website of the US Special Operations Forces Command, forces subordinate to it are now present in about half of the 54 African countries.
Another area where special operations by US forces are officially conducted is the Middle East. However, according to the information of the American portal TomDispatch, which refers to data provided by the Special Operations Command, in 2017, American special forces were present in 149 countries around the world. This is 75% of all states on Earth. In 2018, journalists counted 133 such countries.
“If these units are actively used, it is natural that the moral burden is very heavy, and this cannot but affect the psychological state of the military,” said Alexander Zhilin.
"The Lights of Democracy"
According to information from the US Congressional Research Service, in 2019 the number of special operations forces was 71,612. In 2020, the Pentagon asked to increase them to 73,204 military. In the budget for 2020, the Ministry of Defense also plans to increase funding for special forces to $ 13.8 billion. This is $ 381 million more than was allocated in 2019.
According to experts, it is the continuation of global expansion that is “guilty" of the fact that the US military, especially special forces, go beyond the law and charters.
“Traditionally, the American command sets its units to the fact that the solution of certain global tasks depends on their actions, so American soldiers sometimes have a rather false feeling that the development of states depends on them for many decades to come, and they themselves are the bearers of democracy” - said in an interview with RT the head of the Bureau of Military-Political Analysis Alexander Mikhailov.
According to experts, often the American command turns a blind eye to the actions of its subordinates. So, in 2017, 30 people, including 10 women and children, including an eight-year-old girl, died as a result of a fur seal raid in Yemen, according to Al Jazeera. No one was held responsible.
In April 2019, The New York Times reported that command officials had forbidden seals to inform the investigation of war crimes during the investigation of the Eddie Halacher case.
The Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian Foreign Ministry accuse the US of forcibly holding refugees in the Rukban camp near At-Tanf base in Syria. On the basis of the American commandos are training militants of the Syrian opposition.
- US military in Syria
According to Alexander Mikhailov, the values that are being instilled in the US military are "similar to the Nazi." In turn, Alexander Zhilin notes that "the entire system for training American special forces is aimed at getting a real beast on exit."
According to experts, the only thing that can prevent moral decay in the elite units of the US military is a change in the approach to training special forces and the rejection of messianic ideas by the country's leadership.
“If the US were to solve its problems and leave the whole world alone, things would get better,” says Alexander Zhilin.
* “Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIS) - the organization was recognized as terrorist by decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014.
** “Taliban” - the organization was recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of February 14, 2003.