by: LCDR Rorke Denver, U.S. Navy SEAL
Women have been in plenty of gunfights. For more than a decade now, they’ve been banging it out on the battlefield. I know there are women out there with the strength, agility, stamina and utter mental toughness to get through BUD/S, the SEALs’ legendary basic-training program with its grueling Hell Week and 75-percent wash-out rate for the men who try.
If you doubt me, check out the female leaderboard at next month’s CrossFit Games—or that young woman who’s been quietly knocking out weighted pull-ups at your neighborhood gym. Being physically fit is women’s work too.
This comes up, of course, now that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced an official end to the ban on women in combat. The various parts of the U.S. military, including elite tactical units like the Navy SEALs, have been asked to weigh in on this long-expected change. After 14 years as a SEAL officer, the past four running all phases of basic and advanced SEAL training, I have to say, “I’m not sold yet.”
I like to say the SEALs are the greatest man club on earth.
The reason has almost nothing to do with the old concern that “a woman wouldn’t be able to pull an injured teammate off a battlefield.” I’m a big guy, 230 pounds without my body armor. In full commando gear, I’m 280 or 290. If I get shot, it’s the rare SEAL who can throw me over his shoulder like a bag of coal. If it takes two or three of them, that’s who will drag me out to safety. This is not an individual sport we’re playing here, even though SEALs are the battlefield Olympians. We live and die as a team.
There’s a much bigger reason to be skeptical about female SEALs than any concern that women won’t carry their load. It goes to the very heart of what makes SEALs, SEALs. From Somali pirates to Usama bin Laden, on countless raids and assaults in Iraq and Afghanistan, a huge part of our effectiveness comes from this organization we’ve been building. Brotherhood isn’t just a slogan to us. We are bonded together in a culture that is—let’s not sugar-coat this—fundamentally male.
I like to say the SEALs are the greatest man club on earth. The loyalty and drive that flow from that are key to almost everything we’ve achieved. It’s just a fact. Our unit cohesion is forged from testosterone, and look at what that’s produced: The most lethal, aggressive and effective assault teams on the modern battlefield, fighting their hearts out for America.
This isn’t always pretty, but it is something to behold: A bunch of charged-up, gregarious guys suiting up for battle, preparing mentally and physically for the violent mission ahead. Will all this come together in a coed locker room?
I and most of the SEALs I know deeply respect the women in our lives. As responsible men, we don’t want to behave like savages around our wives, mothers and female friends. So how are we supposed to act around our female teammates? Who I am at home is not who I am with my SEAL team. We can transition between the two. But gentlemen don’t make good killers, and killing is what we do.
Maybe there are alternatives worth considering. Women are already integrated into our units as intel pros, interpreters and mission planners. That could be expanded. Or maybe we should experiment with all-female platoons. Let’s send them onto the battlefield and see how they perform.
We’re a military organization. In the end, if our leaders say, “Do it,” we’ll do it the very best we can. But I hope the change won’t be jammed down our throats before we honestly face the implications—on our training, our culture and our extraordinary record of success.
As I write in my new book, “Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior”: “Pound for pound, man for man, our success is hard to argue with. We keep proving ourselves over and over again. We are the most resourceful problem solvers on the modern battlefield, ideal warriors for the kinds of wars America is fighting now.”
Pound for pound, man for man—a warrior band of brothers.
LCDR Rorke Denver ran every phase of training, basic and advanced, for the U.S. Navy SEALs. He starred in the 2012 film Act of Valor. His new book, DAMN FEW: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior, (with co-author Ellis Henican) is being published Feb. 19 by Hyperion.
The ‘kindly’ Auschwitz commander who sent youngsters to gas chambers then
went home to play hide and seek with his children
By day he ordered the deaths of thousands of people – but at home he was a loving father and husband who enjoyed playing games with his children.
These are the two faces of Rudolf Hoess, the ruthless commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland during World War II as remembered by the Polish maid who once worked in his family’s house.
Her memories of life in the Hoess home are revealed in a new book which has given a chilling insight into the family lives of Nazi officers at the infamous prison camp whose day jobs involved mass murder.
‘The Private Life of the SS in Auschwitz’ by historian Piotr Setkiewicz attempts to give a human face to inhumane people in those hours when they were off duty in one of the world’s most horrific places.
The testimony about the killers is unique because it comes from the Polish maids assigned to keep their houses and witnessed at first hand their interaction with their families on a day to day basis.
Hoess, who was hanged after the war at Auschwitz by the Polish authorities for overseeing the extermination of at least 1.2 million people and the enslavement of at least that number, was obsessively kind to animals and his five children.
He would have no moral qualms about ordering the gassing of child inmates of his camp, but in his garden he would play hide-and-seek with his five children and recited poetry to them.
The book contains the memories of Polish maids who once served the SS officers at Auschwitz. Here Hoess (center) socializes with (left) Dr Josef Mengele and (right) Josef Kramer (Commandant of Birkenau concentration camp)
Maid Janina Szczurek, 32, said; ‘He tucked his children into bed every night and he kissed his wife each morning. He wrote poems about the ‘beauty of Auschwitz.’
‘On one occasion, the children came to me and asked me to sew bands with signs for them, just like the ones worn by the prisoners. I was not aware of what the consequences would be from this.
‘Klaus put a ‘capo [trusty]’ band on his sleeve, and the other children had the colored triangle sewn to their clothing.
‘The happy children, running around the garden, met their father, who noticed the signs and took them into the house. I don’t know what happened but he was not pleased.’
Included among the stories are those of Hoess’s deputy Karl Fritsch and Gerhard Palitzsch who personally killed hundreds of prisoners at the Wall of Death – the execution site where inmates were murdered.
The main gate of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, which was liberated by the Russians, in January 1945. The sign over the gate reads: ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (Work Sets You Free)
Palitzsch illustrates perfectly the duality of the lives of the SS at Auschwitz.
At the wall of death he beat prisoners and tormented them before they were killed – while off duty, he was obsessed with being a ‘good father’ to his children and made them tea and bread.
A portrait of him was supplied by Helena Klysowa, his 19-year-old Polish maid, who testifed to authorities after the war that the Palitzch family ‘lived quietly and they loved each other. They didn’t receive guests, they didn’t organize drinking parties.
‘I arrived each day at 8.00 am. I looked after the children. I would go on walks with the girl. When Palitzsch was at home, I could not speak to the prisoners who worked in the house or garden.
‘The prisoners themselves warned me against this. They were afraid that he would write down their number and they would die in the camp.
‘I spoke to them anyway and found that the terror of the camp was Palitzsch. I could not believe it. At home, he was a wonderful man, so kind and loving to his children who he gave tea and bread to. He loved his children madly.’
Palitzsch died in 1944 after being transferred to the Russian front.
SS officer Wolfgang Guessgen, who took turns at ‘the ramp’ selecting those Jews who were to be gassed upon arrival and those who were to be allowed to live as slave laborers, was a cuckolded man whose wife cheated on him at every turn according to the book. He rewarded her with beatings.
Danuta Rzempiel, who was 16 when she worked at his home on the camp periphery, said; ‘Mrs. Guessgen was not a faithful wife.
‘When he went away somewhere,various SS men would appear at the house, or a trusty prisoner from the locksmith shop who won her favor.
‘She was not embarrassed by my presence at all and would lead her guests straight to her bedroom.
‘It would happen that Guessgen, upon returning home, would find one of these guests. Then he would order me to go do the laundry or to the basement, and when I returned, the guest would not be in the house.
‘Mrs Guessgen was often covered in bruises, so I guessed that it was Mr Guessgen.
‘This didn’t seen to dissuade her, and she exploited every opportunity. It got to the point that Guessgen shot a certain SS man, and as punishment, he was transferred to Oranienburg, and shortly after from there to the front.’
Other stories feature the domestic lives of doctors who carried out selection processes of Jews and who performed horrific experiments, as well as the day-to-day lives of camp guards and lower SS ranks.
‘The purpose of the book is to try and show the lives of SS men objectively,’ Mr Setkiewicz told local media.
‘Their image has forever been written in dark colours and in the pursuit of objective truth I wanted to view the subject unemotionally,’ he said.
Attribution: Allan Hall, Berlin
Defending the United States is one of the very few constitutionally mandated functions of the federal government; maintaining an army and navy.
For that reason our country must be able to properly fund the military via a defense budget. The left and right have been debating the balance between defense and other domestic spending it seems like forever, or at least since LBJ’s Great Society. The right, or constitutional conservatives maintain that nothing is more important than funding defense. The left however, believes that domestic spending is as or more important than defense.
The fact is, constitutionally it doesn’t matter what the left or right feels or thinks. Most of the spending the federal government does is unconstitutional. There is no article, section, clause or amendment that allows the feds to take our tax money to spend on college loans, illegal immigrants, mortgages, welfare, Social Security, food stamps, etc. The list isn’t endless, but it’s darn close. None of these programs are truly legal.
Yet here we are – collecting around $2 trillion in taxes and spending over $3.5 trillion every year.
Last year our spineless Congress was once again faced with a decision. Cut spending, increase taxes, raise the debt ceiling. As is their usual M.O., rather than make an actual decision, they decided to punt the ball. After all, is this not what we elected them to do? Off they go to Washington, collect a good salary with endless perks, benefits and lifetime retirement after a few short terms. I know that’s what I’m looking for in an employee; and overpaid primadonna that can decide not to make a decision on any issue.
That brings us to the 800-pound gorilla in the room. My apology to any gorillas reading this. The dreaded sequestration; the automatic spending cuts that Congress didn’t think we would ever have to deal with.
As I stated, last year Congress kicked the spending can down the road once again, figuring, somehow, that a magic fairy would come and solve it for them; maybe a blue ribbon commission of ex-politicians that were unable to make a decision while they were in office.
The right figured it would never get to this point due to drastic cuts in defense spending. See all Republicans are warmongers, ya know. The left figured this would never come to pass due to the potential of draconian domestic spending cuts.
Notice I haven’t mentioned our King. That’s because, I don’t think Obama gives a crap either way. If he really wants something done, he’ll just write an executive order.
Anywho, if you have been watching anything other than TMZ or Entertainment Tonight, you’ve heard of the dreaded sequestration. Among the two, the drastic automatic cuts of $500 billion from the defense budget have garnered the most attention. This is of course purposeful, for the left feels it can pressure the right into caving because of the right’s precious defense budget.
And that’s all we hear. How will we survive? A cut of $500 billion from Defense will cripple us, they say. Yes it would if it were all taken at once. But that $500 billion cut is spaced out over 10 years. It’s not all up front, but it sounds scarier if the 10-year thing isn’t mentioned.
The sequestration cost for this year from Defense is $45 billion. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s a lot of cabbage (money, for you who don’t speak gangster), but with a total governmental budget of over $3.5 trillion, it’s an accounting error.
I am a diehard supporter of the military, but total defense related spending is over $820 billion per year. That includes the military, homeland security, State Department and the like. Is anyone really naïve enough to think that any government agency can’t cut a little over 5% from their budget? Hell, we gave away $47 billion in foreign and military aid in 2012 alone and it’s projected top $56 billion next year. There is so much pork built into every government budget, 5% wouldn’t be missed.
Oh, and by the way; with the scam called government base-line budgeting, the budget will always increase, and the sequestration cuts (after the first year) is merely a decrease in the automatic increase in every departments budget. It’s like marking up a product from $20 to $30 and then offering a $5 discount. What a bargain.
Once again, in my opinion, this is another purposely-created emergency. If you recall, our country was going to collapse if we didn’t spend $1 trillion on TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) under the progressive George W Bush administration.
Then we had to have the trillion-dollar useless stimulus program, lest the world end. Then son of stimulus, second cousin of stimulus, Bernanke’s buyback stimulus, etc. See, a good crisis never does go to waste (thanks Rohm). Everything is always and purposefully pushed off until the 11th hour by both sides allowing for rash decisions to be made by one side and cover for the other.
And does anyone truly believe these cuts will continue for 10 years? They can’t even decide what to do next year. The federal budget will increase as it always does, unfettered and unpinned from economic reality.
So fear not, all you warmongering hawks. Our military will prevail as it always has.
Let the sequestration happen and let the chips fall where they may.
by: the Common Constitutionalist
Beyond the fact that has come out that both Barack and Hillary were both AWOL, terrorism expert Bridgette Gabriel tells of surprises yet to be revealed regarding the Benghazi attack:
Gee, I wonder how accurate our original analysis will end up being. For some of us, it may not be that surprising. At the time, people said we were crazy conspiracy nuts. Well, feel free to reread my article from last October, Benghazi, The Cover Up. What time did I say Panetta met with the president? Oh that’s right; 5 PM. Panetta confirmed just last week, that he met with the president once at 5 and had no more contact with Obama.
How convenient that if this all comes out so long after the election.
If you don’t shed a tear, you’re not human!
Thousands Gather in Dallas to Honor Slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle
The mood was somber at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Monday as thousands gathered to honor slain Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle who was shot to death at a Texas shooting range earlier this month. Photos of Kyle taken throughout his life flashed on the stadium’s giant Jumbotron as loved ones, as well as complete strangers whose lives he touched, remembered his legacy.
While millions of Americans know him as the deadliest sniper in U.S. history, others that knew Kyle closely spoke about the charitable work he did off the battlefield to help struggling veterans and his role as a caring, loving father and husband. It wasn’t his confirmed kills tally that he wanted to be remembered for. The “American Sniper” author said he wanted to be remembered as someone who gave everything he had to help others.
A cross, helmet, vest, boots and a sniper rifle were flanked by flowers on the stage, placed right behind the Cowboy star.
Though Kyle’s wife, Taya, was one of the last people to speak at the memorial service, her message was arguably the most powerful and by far the most emotional. Please Continue
Jeff Kyle, the brother of the American Sniper, Chris Kyle, a Navy Seal and hero, makes a statement of the passing of his brother Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield.
Time for Tony to go to pasture.
I know times are tough, but if you can spare even $10 or $20, please consider donating to the Chris Kyle Memorial, the recently murdered Navy Seal. Click on this link. If a box appears in the center that says “Support My Campaign”, just click on the “X” to close it. Then follow the prompts. 100% of your donation will go to the Charity.
Thank you and God Bless.