Skip to comments.Paying the Price for Defending Your Troops
Posted on 01/31/2015 1:47:32 PM PST by xzins
Imagine this: You take command of an Army platoon stationed near a "Taliban-influenced" village in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The area has been described as a "hotbed of enemy activity," and unfortunately, your platoon has lost 10 percent of its men (including the former platoon leader) within the last couple months to insurgent attacks. You are familiar with intelligence that suggests motorcycles--specifically red motorcycles-- have been used in the area as enemy getaway vehicles, as well as being a vehicle of choice to implant IEDs. They are also used by suicide bombers who choose to ram themselves into groups of innocent civilians or military patrols and detonate explosives. The first day you take your platoon out for a patrol, you come under enemy fire, but manage to escape unscathed. The second day, while patrolling a road that is known to be frequented by the enemy, you encounter three men on a red motorcycle speeding towards your patrol. You have a split-second decision to make: Do you stand down and pray they don't detonate an IED causing more casualties to your platoon? Or, knowing everything you know about motorcycles and the dangers of the area you are patrolling, do you order your men to engage?
What choice would you make?
Army 1st. Lieutenant Clint Lorance, 29, found himself in this very situation and apparently, made the wrong call when he gave permission for his men to fire at the motorcycle, killing two of the three men. Now, Lorance is serving a 20-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth prison for violating President Obama's rules of engagement.
In 2009, the Obama Administration implemented the COIN (counter insurgent) strategy and new rules of engagement, which among other things, forces troops to stand down until there is evidence of "hostile action or "hostile intent". Unfortunately, these rules have deadly consequences for our heroes who are forced to choose between "winning the hearts and minds" of the Afghan people and keeping their troops safe. Consider this startling statistic from Col. Allen West's website: "In the first seven-plus years of war in Afghanistan (October 2001 December 2008) we lost 630 U.S. soldiers. In early 2009, the Obama administration authorized the implementation of the COIN (Counter-Insurgent) strategy...and over the next five years, the U.S. death toll nearly tripled. Seventy-three percent of all U.S. deaths in Afghanistan have taken place since 2009."
If you aren't familiar with the story of Lt. Lorance, it's likely through no fault of your own. Last summer, as the media salivated over the courts martial of the "disgruntled worker", Maj. Nidal Hasan, and Wikileaks groupie, Miss Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning), there was barely a whisper about Lt. Lorance's case. What the Lieutenant's trial lacked in main stream media sensationalism, it more than made up for in exposing the true colors of President Obama's Rules of Engagement.
EXCLUSIVE: Details from Lt. Lorance's Trial
Are Motorcycles a Threat?
A significant portion of the trial was spent examining the dangers posed to U.S. troops by motorcycles in Afghanistan and testimony varied as to the threatening nature of the vehicles. Some witnesses claimed the mere presence of motorcycles posed no threat to their safety, saying villagers and farmers also used them as a means of transportation. However, others acknowledged the dangers the vehicles present. One Lieutenant who testified said, "Typically in our AO (area of operations) red motorcycles specifically would be used in our area by IED emplacers. They would drive the motorcycle up to a certain location, drop in an IED or activate an IED that was already in place, and then hop back on the motorcycle and drive away."
For years Taliban or enemy combatants have used motorcycles as a means of attack. For instance, in 2009, NATO reported that a motorcycle IED killed at least 6 Afghans. In 2012, a suicide bomber drove his motorcycle into an Afghan and NATO patrol killing 14 service members. In 2013, a motorbike packed with explosives targeted a military convoy killing two U.S. troops. A more extensive list of motorcycle attacks can be viewed here.
Womack believes that those who testified motorcycles were a non-threat, "felt that their role was to help the government to imply that these motorcycles were everywhere and that they were all just alike and they saw nothing dangerous about the motorcycle."
A Desire to Serve
The son of a welder and a stay at home mother, Lorance was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas and Oklahoma. An aspiring police officer from the time he was young, he had a change of heart after the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001. Realizing there was a greater purpose to fulfill, Lorance joined the Army on his 18th birthday in December of 2002.
RELATED: Army Documents Paint a Glowing Portrait of Lorance
According to his cousin, Jamie Garza, Lorance always "went by the books," even when he decided to join the military saying, "Before he signed up for the Army, he got packets of information, made flashcards and studied everything about the Army before he even signed the paperwork. Before he jumps into something he always analyzes and evaluates his scenarios." Garzas opinion of her cousin seems to fall in line with court testimony from one of Lorance's ROTC subordinates who said, "he would quote Army manuals to you about your uniform, the way youre marching, which was great because if youre going to go lead a platoon or youre going to go out and be an officer you need to know how to do it right. And he always knew how to do it right."
While he is meticulous and serious by nature, Garza says Lorance also has a strong moral compass and a dedication to family. Ever since he joined the Army, the Lieutenant would make a direct deposit of $200 into his grandmother's account every month because she was on a fixed income. Knowing that she would never accept his money, Garza says, "Clint had to tell our grandmother that the money came from an Army program to help senior citizens. He did that up until the day he went to jail." Garza also recalls a story where Lorance gave his jacket and the shoes off his feet to a homeless man outside of a local Walmart.
Will Political Correctness Stand in the Way of Clemency?
Currently, Lt. Lorance and his attorney are reviewing the Record of Trial which was released late February. Their next step is to seek clemency from the commanding general at Fort Bragg who could choose to set aside the conviction or provide sentencing relief. Should the conviction not be set aside, the appeals process will begin.
According to the Record of Trial, Lt. Lorance's actions while leading the platoon were far from perfect. He was--after all-- convicted of making threatening remarks to Afghan civilians as well as obstruction of justice for omitting several details about the incident to his superiors. Even taking this information into consideration, the punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime.
Lorance has been called a "scapegoat" for the U.S. government; with his harsh sentencing an indicator to Afghan officials that America is more committed to winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people than to winning the War on Terror (or as we now call it, "Overseas Contingency Operations"). Rather than defend our men, American officials prefer to send our troops to hostile and dangerous countries without the proper resources or rules of engagement needed to succeed, and then throw them under the bus the moment something contrary to their "politically correct" war agenda occurs. Mind you, all of this done in an effort to appease a country that will endlessly despise the United States of America.
On July 2, 2012, Lorance had a split-second, life-or-death, decision to make. It is comparable to the decision that Navy SEAL and author of Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell was forced to make in 2007: While on a covert mission to capture an extremist leader, he and team came across two unarmed goat herders and rather than kill them, the men let them go and had to hope they would not run back to the village and expose the SEAL's location to the Taliban. Within an hour, dozens of enemy forces ambushed the men and ultimately killed 19 Americans. What would have happened had Lorance not ordered his men to shoot the motorcycle riders? What if they were enemy scouts, tracking the location of the patrol, readying their men to strike and cause the platoon to lose even more men?
Again this author asks, what choice would you make?
Last month, defying the feeble demands from the U.S., Afghan authorities released 65 prisoners linked to attacks that killed or wounded 32 American and coalition service members. According to a Pentagon document, "25 of the Afghan prisoners were linked to the production or placement of IEDs, 33 tested positive for explosives residue when they were captured, and 26 were associated with attacks that killed or wounded 57 Afghan citizens and Afghan National Security Forces."
These killers are now free to roam the streets able to strike again, while 1st. Lt. Clint Lorance potentially has more than 19 years to serve in prison.
**For more information on Lt. Lorance, you can visit his website or follow his story on Facebook.
The US government recently traded 5 high ranking terrorists to have a deserter, Bowe Bergdahl, returned. They will not release the investigation results on Bergdahl.
At the same time, we’ve convicted a US Lieutenant, who in the split seconds of oncoming motorcycles decided to take them out. Second-guessing his call, higher ups tried him, convicted him, and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. US troops had been killed in that area, on that road, using the same tactics. Lorance had been briefed just that information. Follow-up research indicated that those Afghanis killed had a probable association with the terrorists.
So, Bowe Bergdahl free. 5 Terrorist Generals free.
Lt Clint Lorance imprisoned for 20 years.
Thank you so much for this posting!
What is even more frustrating is that NO congress critter so far has stepped up to defend this officer.
I just signed the petition.
If I were president, I would immediately get on-the-ground info on any of our troops accused of so-called ‘battlefield-crimes’. I guarantee you that ALL of those that were decisions made in the heat of battle would be pardoned.
One of George W. Bush’s greatest mistakes in my mind was that he didn’t immediately pardon every one of the Haditha and Hamandaniya accused. He let them go to trial.
Fog of War — they’re pardoned.
It is breaking that a missile took out Saddam’s chemical guy today. Are they sure it was him? Was there a wife in the convoy? Kids? Others?
If any of that is true, then Obama just violated the rules of engagement he has imposed upon our own people. And we don’t even know for sure the deceased is really the right guy yet.
Send it to Senator Cruz. He’ll speak up.
It’s time to stand up for this young man. Please sign the petition for presidential pardon
I agree with you.
Excellent! You not only signed his petition, you’ve posted the link!!!!
Thank you both for your posts, 1st Lt Lorance needs all the support he can get.
0bama and the ROE he’s responsible for in Afghanistan absolutely did not support our military people putting their lives on the line for us all. The numbers of casualties since he’s been in office don’t lie, he talks like he supports the troops but like everything else that comes out of his mouth it’s just lies.
The ROE for the US Military in foreign wars and the ROE for US police in America - are backwards.
I'm thinking that's not a coincidence.
Ping all the old Haditha crew that you remember, Jaz.
This appears to be a clear case of persecution of one of our own.
Meanwhile cops harass, abuse, shoot & kill innocent citizens and it’s oopsie!
Yes, sign the petition.
Also, Lt Lorance should have the verdict set aside and the case dismissed since the prosecution withheld evidence during the trial that may have cleared him.
You’re 100% right.
xzins, it took a little bit but here’s the Haditha Ping list.
All...Lt Lorance deserves support as did the Haditha Marines, please take the time to read xzins posted article.
Lt. Lorance has been hung out to dry for Obama's R.O.E.
This just isn't right.
Their next step is to seek clemency from the commanding general at Fort Bragg who could choose to set aside the conviction or provide sentencing relief.
Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson assumed command of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg on 6 June 2013. He also served as Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command (IJC) and Deputy Commanding General, US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from January to December 2014.
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