January 25th, 2012
06:20 PM ET

Special Ops' burden of success

By Adam Levine

If there was any question that the Obama administration sees the shadowy world of special operations as an instrumental element in their vision for the military's future, the drama around the State of the Union and the speech itself removed any such doubt. That point will be driven home further on Thursday when Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta reveals the first details of its budget decisions to deal with half a trillion dollar in cuts over the next 10 years.

It was the heroics of the Navy SEAL team's killing of Osama bin Laden that Obama used to open and close his State of the Union speech. But a few hours later, the world would learn that even as Obama headed to the floor of Congress to speak, a Special Operations team was just finishing up a raid to rescue two hostages, including an American, in Somalia.

These elite troops operate in daring and dangerous ways, and the administration sees them as an integral part of the military's future with a continued focus on counterterrorism.

Special operations and related new technologies that allow for less 'boots on the ground' - such as drones; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities (referred to as ISR); and cyberwarfare and defense capabilities - will be spared and in some cases see budget increases as the administration prepares to cut back on ground troops and related capabilities.

That reflects a reality the Obama administration sees about the nature of warfare in the future, placing a "premium on flexible and adaptable forces that can respond quickly and effectively to a variety of contingencies and potential adversaries," Panetta explained earlier this month.

The teams are hard to generate given their skills and the support staff needed to make the operations possible. Across the services there are close to 60,000 special operations forces and support staff, including 20,000 trained to Special Operations Forces operators in the field.

The high demand for their skills to degrade the insurgencies - as they were used in Iraq and are still being used in Afghanistan, as well as train and work with partner nations and conduct raids such as the one on Osama bin Laden's hideout and the Somalia hostage rescue - has the force "fraying at the edges," as the previous commander of Strategic Command told Congress in 2011.

Since September 11, 2001, special operations manpower has nearly doubled, its budget nearly tripled and overseas deployments have quadrupled, the admiral noted when he testified to Congress in March.

The return on investment is great, noted current commander Adm. William McRaven when he testified before Congress this fall.

"With an annual budget of $10.5 billion, [U.S. Special Operations Command] comprises only 1.6% of the Department of Defense" budget in 2012, "put simply, provides a tremendous return on the nation's investment," McRaven said.

That these troops are more affordable, have a lighter footprint than using massive forces in ground wars than those of the Army and Marines, and puts fewer people in harm's way, is a major attraction for the president and his national security staff, said American Enterprise Institute's Mackenzie Eaglen.

Eaglen said the emphasis started before Obama, but this president, having ended the war in Iraq and declared a target end to the war in Afghanistan, is "de-emphasizing counterinsurgency, which is manpower intensive, and emphasizing counterterror capabilities."

The challenge, Eaglen said, is that elite troops are not easily "scaleable" and the pace they are being used is "unsustainable."

"Many special forces are in double digit tours overseas," Eaglen noted. "There is a very real chance that you can break this force. If they haven't already crossed the invisible red line, it is close."

With the anticipated cuts of tens of thousands of marines and soldiers, the pool from which to recruit will shrink dramatically, observed Eaglin.

Her concerns were reflected in a 2011 Congressional Research Service report that noted shrinking the Army and Marines carries an additional risk.

"These force reductions might also have an impact on the creation and sustainment of Army and Marine Corps "enabling" units that [U.S. Special Operations Command] is seeking to support operations," the report said.

While reliance on special operations can lead to spectacular results, like the bin Laden raid and the Somalia rescue, it carries incredible risk.
"There is a tendency to turn this into a movie rather than a serious mix of operational skills and talents," Anthony Cordesman, military analyst at Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. The tendency, I would caution, is to talk about this as perfect warfare."

Cordesman said that in these carefully planned operations, "something can happen that changes the facts on the ground quickly." Like when the helicopter in the bin Laden raid crashed into the compound.

"When you focus on the strategy, you still take significant risk because you are taking a very limited number of truly talented people and putting them in harm's way to do something you would traditionally use larger forces to do," he said.

But operations like this week's are not the norm for special operations.

"This was a mission to accomplish an important goal, but it was not really a demonstration of what the new strategy was talking about," Cordesman said.

Instead, it is missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan to degrade al Qaeda and the Taliban where the skill set is being honed and taken advantage of.

"They've been doing it for more than a decade," in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cordesman said. "Having watched some of these things. The level of sophistication ... has generally improved."

But William Hartung, a military analyst at New America Foundation, said de-emphasizing boots on the ground and emphasizing a more flexible force is "a logical way to go." But the success can be blinding, warns Hartung.

"The only issue I would have is are they oversold on this? Are they going to try to use it more often than needed or have a sense of hubris of what they can accomplish."

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Filed under: Navy SEALs • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism • USSOCOM
soundoff (224 Responses)
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  9. PoliSciGuy

    There are two glaring issues with over-emphasizing our Special Operations Forces: First, while they may be cheaper to maintain, they are also exponentially more difficult to train. The skill sets required for these operators is high, as is the rate of attrition. There's a reason the training schools average over 90% failure rates. Couple that with a low number of qualified candidates, and you have an issue. Second, in the possible (however unlikely) event of a ground war with a major foreign country (particularly one that has ground forces such as China, Russia, etc), then we've cut our abilities for traditional engagement by a large number. The ultimate point of this rant is that while smaller, more flexible forces are undoubtedly a wonderful theory, they also come with major, inherent risks that need to be understood.

    January 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  10. george-washington

    Obama is using The Special Forces for his own political gain, his re-election campaign.
    The Timing of the Operation is not coincidental with his SOTU speech. They had MONTHS

    To do This, but CHOSE They very DAY of SOTU To use The US Special Forces.
    Obummer is using The US MILITARY for his own personal and political benefit.

    his own re-erection.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply
    • Get Real

      Yeah, I'm sure the hostages would rather still be there because it was Obama instead of a repucklatian that sent them. They surely would rather have died, perhaps you should go take their place.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
    • Voice of Reason

      Yeah, if he was a republican, he'd be a "Great American" keep your racism and bigotry on Faux Noise

      January 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • Okay

      Okay, Georgie-Boy, so what you are saying is that the next time we finally get a bead on a bad guy after 10 years of fruitless hunting, we ought to have a nationwide vote to see if the timing is politically correct.

      This redefines wing-nut.

      February 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  11. OIF/OEF Retired

    We cannot defeat insurgents or terrorists with simply large numbers of boots on the ground. Security gains are only temporary. We need to fight them at their level with our special ops commandos, drones, ISR.etc VP Bidens COA for the surge) We will pick them off one by one as we have done in both Iraq and AFG. Just a matter of time. As soon as all our troops leave AFG it will implode into chaos like it was before. (Look at Iraq) now. Why should the citizens of AFG trust a central government that is corrupt and is not doing anything for them anyway? If local Afghans side with NATO forces they are dead people when we leave. Let's be involved via with diplomacy, sanctions and special ops. There is no military solution for thisto drag on. Bring our troops home, give them jobs and focus on the US economy. This is our greatest security weakness.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  12. Hypocrisy

    What is really wrong with you rightwing lunatics? This article isn't about giving credit to anyone but our Navy SEALS. Furthermore, President Obama could care less if our foreign policy success is the result of his authorization or another person's. And isn't this whole mission about making America and the world safer? Why are you people so obsessed over a black President getting credit for something? Isn't it true that if our commander-in-chief succeeds it means we all succeed? Remember the phrase united we stand divided we fall? Perhaps if you people were to burn that damn confederate flag you might start feeling a true sense of patriotism for a change.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • TechGeekJim

      To hypocrisy – I am betting you are black. Do you want to know the TRUE definition of racism? Anyone who screams "Racist!" when a fault is pointed out, a hardship encountered, or an opportunity is missed. Own up, be a man and get over it. Obama is crap because Obama is crap. That's the simple version. Quit complicating things.

      January 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
      • Chris

        I bet your no that smart since you can't really explain why the President is "crap". Try looking up the definition of racist and I'm sure it would look more like what your sounding like by saying the other poster is black because he doesn't understand why people like you hate the President yet can't articulate why.

        January 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
      • Tom

        @Jim: More likely he is a guilt-ridden liberal apologist.

        January 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
      • JeftyJ

        If Obama is Crap, can you tell me about "GeeDubu"? If he wasn't the worse, who was?

        January 26, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
      • mdbill

        no his comments do not indicate he is black, or green for that matter. hypocrisy = all of you GOP defenders that support newt gingrich while having been hell bent on crucifying bill clinton for doing far less than gingrich. i'm a proud democrat because we do live by the golden rule (not apologizing for being a Christian), because when we hear about someone without insurance we care and want to help – we don't chant let him die (teabag hypocrites). we see an analogy b/w the state of affairs in mexico and Jesus's story of the rich man and lazarus. i am a financially well off physician in the south and am white as can be. i assure you that much of the distrust in the south has everything to do with the fact that obama is black and is racially motivated.

        January 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  13. Kick

    What about Master Chief he's a pretty cool guy, he kills aliens and doesn't afraid of anything.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Voice of Reason

      Yeah, send him after Fox News HQ, they obviously are from another planet

      January 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  14. Paul W from Santa Clara

    This is a profound change in Policy from the top, which had traditionally gone with the Military's view that more is better, the Surge being the latest example. In the culture of Generals, the more people you have working for you, the bigger the General, and your quest is always to get more, 10,000 troops, 100,000 troops, 1,00,000 troops. In the Army.

    Not the Navy, which is enjoying the payback from a culture of Quality over Quantity, Force over Forces. Not a surprise since in the Navy, a single Fighter pilot can sink an aircraft carrier or a missileman on a Submarine can unleash a Nuclear holocaust or a handful of crew can manage a large supply ship or a SEAL Team can take out the terrorist face that launched 1,000,000 troops. Another reason this is significant is in the past we would pit vast numbers of troops against another vast number of troops to get to it's well-bunkered leadership. If we can take out the leaders, we can end the war. But unfortunately it would require the acceptance or creating legal exceptions for Assassination. I think it is better to take out those that instigate evil rather than wipe out the many who implement evil by honorably, or by duress, fighting on a field of battle for their country.

    I think it is appropriate that SEAL Team 6, a Navy Special Ops force, help instigate this profound change in Executive view away from more boots to better boots. But when you do more with less, each life gains a catastrophic value. That picture of Obama, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta and Mike Mullen watching the raid says it all. It was never easy, now it'll be much harder, but Man's skill at warfare evolves and we have to keep up.

    Excellent article, good research, and good questions. Please keep it up.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  15. Roger

    I would call them the A-Team, except no one ever dies in that show.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • Chet

      Recalls do not prevent pepole from buying Toyotas. As all new Toyota vehicles have been refitted with new parts. Also, the highest amount of recalls for any car company is GM, followed by Ford. The American media likes to focus more on foreign recalls for obvious reasons.Obama bought GM stocks, gave them cash and replaced their corporate leadership. He saved GM and over 300,000 American jobs that would have been lost if GM had went under. Lose your racism moron.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:05 am | Reply
  16. Roger

    Bush would of used the special forces instead of going to war. Except his intelligence wasn't too intelligent, joke of the decade WMD. Good job guys.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  17. JOEL

    My God. Are we giving Obama credit for Spec-Ops? The man who built JSOC(Joint Special Ops Command 2003-2008) ground up from nothing was Gen Stanley McChrystal. His ideas and leadership is what has shaped Spec Ops into the beast it is now not Obama. We are now reaping the benefits. Incidentally Obama FIRED McChrystal and forced him into retirement over politics. One of our greatest generals since Patton was retired over politics by Obama in the middle of a war.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • Xman

      You need to look up your facts, tool. Obama fired him because he made disparaging remarks against his chain of command, something even a boot camp dropout knows not to do. He got what he deserved and I am glad Obama gave him the boot. It wasn't over politics, 1diot, he got loose in the mouth and that's what cost him his career. Get your facts straight, d1psh..

      January 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • Cal Vet

      McCrystal was a clown....Obama has shown he knows how to allocate the military resources to win. Bush didn't have the cojones to go after Al Qaeda the way Obama did.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
      • Tom

        Bush went after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan back in the fall of 2001 while Obama was still a community organizer.

        January 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
      • Arias


        Haha Tom. That's funny. Bush went after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001 AND FAILED to get the guy responsible for the largest attack on American soil in history. Then he began imagining that Saddam was a member of Al Qaeda and working with Bin Laden, making his utter incompetence indisputable. So much so that it took a community organizer to show him how he should have done his job. By kilingl public enemy number 1, Obama has trumped republicans at their own game by expertly out managing his predecessor in national security.

        February 8, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Yeah, Delta has been around since '77 and the SEALs/BUDs around since the sixties, and the Rangers have been leading the way since WWII. And yet, another republican trying to take the credit for something somebody else did right, why am i not surprised?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
      • Momo

        Just by saying you're going to vote for Sarah Palin eihter 1. Proves you never voted for him in the first place. Or, 2. Even worst, you've been unemployed so long that you've allowed the right-wing news-media brainwash you into voting against your own interest. If you're unemployed now you want to live in a Republican dominated society get use to the propensity of facing homelessness and precariousness. Guess who voted against the anti-outsourcing bill? The Jobs Act? etc. Haha IDIOT

        May 21, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • AC

      McChrystal forced himself into retirement by not keeping on top of his people and their drinking. President Obama had the grace and decency to allow him to retire at his current rank.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  18. You are dumber than you are stupid.

    You are all idiots. Obama uses the SEALS for pr haha you morons. Why don't you do something productive with your time, rather than arguing with equally ignorant clowns on a message board hahaha.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Xman

      1diots like you don't give credit where it is due because... well, you're a tool. You blast Obama when he does something right, and you blast him when he does something incorrectly. You can't fix stupid, stupid.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
      • mdbill


        January 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • JOEL

      The SEALS have real and difficult missions which they bleed and die for. While it is nice for them to get credit, agree with you that they don't need to be paraded ad used as a tool for Obama's reelection campaign. These men are quiet professionals where the less anyone knows about what they do the better, anything more endangers these men and their families.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
      • Arias

        You are a tool JOEL. If it was Bush that had been using the Special Ops effectively in saving American hostages and killing Bin Laden you would be praising his smarts in doing more with less and talking about what a great CiC he is for the military and protector of the American people. But because it's Obama, Special Ops are just pawns in his re-election strategy.

        The comical part is that you really seem to be oblivious to how much of a tool you actually are for not recognizing the blatant circles of hypocrisy from which you spin.

        February 8, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • Cal Vet

      If it was a PR stunt, he would have used it in the state of the union address....he didn't. the job needed to be done, and Obama made the call. end of story.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
      • Um..

        He did use them in his speech didn't he? Didn't he bring up how well they did taking Osama out? Didn't he point at Leon and tell him how good of a job he did tonight?

        I think special ops teams are great. IF they get the job done instead of sending 1 million troops over, great. Its too bad though their aren't many of them and they sound over worked.

        And I do agree, Obama has been parading them around for PR to try and get re elected.

        January 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Tom

        @Cal: I guess you didn't actually watch the SOTU speech, did ya? Which means most of your comments here are the postings of a tool.

        January 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Yeah, if a republican did it, everybody would be agree that it was a good operation, but since we have a Black Democratic president, it's all about re-election. Keep your BS on Faux News, the rest of us enjoy actually using our brains

      January 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  19. crusader12

    Special forces are pretty cool. They get to kill and rape and destroy without public scrutiny because they are special. Good on you special forces, hope your blood-stained $150,000 a year is worth it.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • Simmy

      YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!!!

      January 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
      • JOEL


        January 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • wow_really??

      I don't know who in spec ops you know but 150K a year?? dang.....

      January 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • Cal Vet

      You would have to be a Colonel to be making that kind of money moron....most of the teams are made up of enlisted men, maybe E-6s. Their pay is at best a third of that.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • wobh

      Crusader is confusing special ops with Blackwater.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • Voice of Reason

      Even if you were right, i'd say it'd be damn well worth it, they go on dozens of missions a week while the hostage takers on this planet demand millions each time they take one hostage on a backwater peace mission. They pay for themselves, it's economics, stupid

      January 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  20. Andy

    It never ceases to amuse me that the responders here are quick to give credit/blame to whomever or whatever party they support in any situation. The economy is failing so it must be Bush's/Obama's fault or Republican/Democratic congress's fault. The general tone here is that Obama got Osama and these hostages out of Somalia in and of his own. Let's be clear. Intelligence gained in GITMO led to Osama's capture so Bush gets some credit there and Obama gets credit for making the tough decision to send our troops in. The real credit goes to the soldiers on the ground putting their lives at risk, and not their "political lives". I want all of the responders to remember that when one of these missions fails, don't jump to conclusions that Obama or whomever is the sitting president is solely responsible either. You can't play both sides, no matter how much you want to.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Voice of Reason

      I agree, there are successes on both sides

      January 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  21. txjack

    OK let's get one thing straight..
    They did not get and kill Osama bin Laden.
    He was probably already dead or close to death.
    Is it was so true, then why all the secrets and burial at sea.
    Sounds more like a cover up then respect for the fact that he was already dead.
    If it was true then they would have done it a long time ago.
    As far as Somalia, we should have been doing that from day one.
    That is where a NATO force needs to go and clean house not Iraq or Libya.
    Come on folks wake up the president has no back bone.
    His is only doing what he is told by his handlers.
    He is a figure head.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • JimfromBhm

      Close to death when he helicopters landed....dead about 5 minutes later when SEAL Team 6 entered his room.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
      • Miss Demeanor

        Death by fright? C'mon... even al Qaeda admits Bin Laden was killed by the US. Try to keep up.

        January 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Is there any evidence that Bin Laden was already dead?

      January 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
      • txjack

        Is there any evidence that we even killed bin Laden.
        You got nothing except the goverments word.
        No proof no pictures nothing.

        January 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • Voice of Reason

        Yeah, US Senators were shown the photos of his brain bursted like a melon and missing his right eye from the bullet that did it. Sen. John McCain himself said it was a good decision to not show the public while other Republican senators said the public had the right to see. It's great, if the govt DID release the pictures, there would be cries of photoshopping, you morons are never satisfied

        January 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • bugmenot

      You been honkin' on too much crystal dudette

      January 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • Cal Vet

      NO BACKBONE???? this President is a stud! Drone attacks in pakistan are off the charts, Spec Ops raids in somalia, at sea, Pakistan, and afghanistan. he is even deporting more illegals than Bush was. you have no basis for your statement.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
      • txjack

        And you think those are all of his doing?
        Isn't he the one that was in a hurry to pull out?
        Oh an speaking of drones how about the freebie we gave Iran.
        Not even a self destruct if we loose contact with one.
        Oh that is smart, let enemy get your technology.
        He is actually allowing more illegals to stay then Bush ever did, get your facts straight

        January 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • mdbill

      what are you, one of rush's sheep? never heard that conspiracy nonsense before. i've got another one for you sheep, our government caused 9-11. have you heard that one yet? hey, how about obama being born in kenya? yeah, another good one.... sheeez what a waste of oxygen

      January 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
      • txjack

        No one’s sheep. Unlike you baahh
        I don’t believe everything I’m fed.
        I question the facts until I see proof.
        9/11 you should have more respect for the people that died there.
        Well so where was he born? Why so many alias’s?
        What ever you make think you know it is all lies.
        He is just a figure head and put in office by George Saros.
        About time we starting doing something about Somalia.

        January 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  22. TeaBag

    Its just too costly. Outsource this work where it can be done cheaper – like China.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • JimfromBhm

      With our philosophical expert in assymetric warfare (i.e., GEN Petreaus) now the head of the CIA, I suspect our presence in Afghanistan and other areas of conflict will be driven by CIA ops and contractors once US military forces withdraw.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
      • Tom

        Petraeus, Petraeus. Oh yeah. This is the same General Petraeus that Obama couldn't be bothered to attend his retirement ceremony. Nice way to show appreciation for a job well done, eh?

        January 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  23. Andy

    People are forgetting what "Special" means...it means they are not scalable. There is a finite number of people who can complete the training AND want to.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply

    So where were you on the night America wave Ole Glory and sang patriotic songs and chanted...Obama got Osama...Obama got Osama...Obama got Osama? I'm proud to ba an American! Yes we can! I'm proud to be an American! Yes we can! I'm proud to be an American! Yes we can!

    January 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      Obama didnt get him. No more than Bush got Hussein. Obama doesnt even give the orders to do these things. The JCS does. Obama was merely sitting as President.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
      • 4 More Years!!!

        Oh yeah Bill. As if you know anything at all.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
      • Sandman

        Bill, the Seals got him. everyone else just watched.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • steven

        You must be a baffoon or delirious. Where do you think the Joint Chiefs get there orders? GOP dogs need to stop trying to take away credit from Obama where he duly deserves such credit. Because if the mission had failed and us lives were lost, im sure it would be 100% obama's fault right?

        January 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
      • Mike

        You might want to look at the Chain in Command before you make comments like this.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
      • Cal Vet

        Obama green lit the mission.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
      • Tom

        @Steven: You dreamer. If the mission had failed you would never have heard about it.

        January 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  25. ART

    Jerry Boris is an idiot

    January 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  26. agavemike

    The only thing this article points out is the need for better training and equipment. Armies are no longer a numbers game.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • crusader12

      unless your standing army is 600,000,000 ants...like China. Good luck sending your 20 SEALS against that lol

      January 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
      • bugmenot

        Some FAEs can handle that.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  27. Hypocrisy

    The reality is these rightwing trailor trash will be complaining for another four years when President Obama gets re-elected. But one has to wonder what these unpatriotic rightwing lunatics will do for excitement and entertainment when there is no longer an African-American President and First Lady in the White House to dislike and hate.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • wobh

      Just wait for the first gay athiest president and her legal spouse who happens to be of a different race.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
      • Church of Suicidal

        I'll vote for her just to watch your head explode.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • Cal Vet

        If she can get the job done, then she has my vote.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Cal Vet

      Watch Nascar I guess.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • txjack

      Be happy!

      January 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  28. wobh

    Special forces get all kinds of attention following spectacular raids or rescue missions but that is a small part of their total mission. Special forces teams are located in areas of insurgency and train local people to defend themselves from terrorist groups and prevent recruitment to those insurgent groups. They assist with improvements to local community infrastructure and provide education and medical assistance.

    In this way they develop relationships with the locals and gain their trust which provides intel about insurgent movements and actions in the area. The bulk of SF work is relatively low tech, less costly, and highly effective as a counter insurgency force.

    On the other hand reducing the conventional force may reduce the pool from which SF candidates are recruited which could be a detriment to the SF mission. Further, there is need for a strong conventional force to deter nations like North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia from flexing their muscles.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • pam

      Good post!

      January 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  29. Maria

    Why is there always a complaint? No one is ever satisfied...We are talking about things that carry inherent risks! There will never be a perfect solution...stop whining!

    January 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  30. rad666

    It was a shame that America's Nation Park Service used these Special Ops teams a few years ago to arrest legal permit holders hunting wild pigs on Santa Cruz island in the Channel Islands group off CA. The park service wanted to revoke Island Packers concession rights to the island. They must have been proud putting a 12 year old female in handcuffs.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
    • Iceman

      That wouldn't be a special ops mission. Are you kidding me ?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
    • Leatherhead

      You're an idiot and you've probably never served anytime in the military. Special Forces are used wherever and whenever they are deemed necessary both foreign and domestic operations.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
      • rad666

        Guess you don't know the power of America's National Park system. They used Los Angeles county sheriffs to raid a home in Santa Barbara county and killed the owner because he did not want to sell his land that was adjacent to a national park.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • rad666

      Iceman That wouldn't be a special ops mission. Are you kidding me ? --– National Park system has access to any "law" enforcement they want to use.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
      • The Tugg Boat

        Which is fine, except the military can not be used for law enforcement. Little law known as the Posse Commitatus Act.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • Bill

        Posse Commitatus Act prevents federal military from acting in any law enforcement role. Stop believing everything you read on the internet.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • Archie

        PC Act does not apply to National Guardsmen, unless a Title 10 is used – meaning that National Guardsmen become Federalized. When Title 10 is used, then they cannot be used to enforce laws. There are Spec Ops NG units that can be used to enforce laws, such as fighting drug trafficking.

        February 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

    @Dan, TX & Rick Right

    And what if the one unknown American was you? How would you have felt if our government turned its back on you while you were being held at gunpoint? Remember Daniel Pearl? Well, he was not the only Westerner who was kidnapped and killed by terrorist abroad while GWB ignored an outcry from the international community to act. And I guarantee if President Obama was in charge, Mr. Pearl would have been alive today. But just keep voting for and defending your millionaire republican politicians and one day when it your turn to face the heat, see if they come running to your rescue. Remember how many US citizens they murdered in Iraq? Just keep being ignorant and stupid and see how far it carries you people. And remember Dick Cheyney? He said he has "no regrets whatsoever" despite the fact that we lost so many troops in Iraq and are continuing to suffer casualties in an Afghan war that was deliberately and recklessly prolonged to start an illegitimate Iraqi war.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • TheLord

      Smoke I agree, but you are up against ideology, they think the GOP is annointed by God and therefore cannot make mistakes because God doesn't make mistakes. What's really sad is they are mostly poor or lower middle class who want so much to be rich and look at wealthy people as Gods.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • Charlie

      I don't think you could guarantee anyone Mr. Pearl would be alive no matter who was President. I was not a big fan of GWB, but to think he "let" someone die is irresponsible and niave. Unfortunately, these things don't always end well, no matter how hard people work to make it happen otherwise.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • ComeOn

      You seem to have forgotten when President Clinton walked away from Somalia after the world saw our Soldiers being dragged through the streets - so much for the nobel democrat. You also seem to forget that President Obama was a millionaire before he was elected - so much for those evil republican millionaire politicians. Don't throw stones at republicans when dems do the same thing.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  32. a disgrace

    what happens when these people get caught and publicly executed?

    January 26, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
  33. Pliny

    Can we have a constitutional amendment that takes the vote away from idiots like joeinalabama.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
  34. rad666

    I have a pesky neighbor that needs to be dealt with. How do I get in touch with Special Ops team?

    January 26, 2012 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • Eric

      There is a group of ex-special forces out there, striving to take away injustice for the common American. You need... the A Team!

      January 26, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
      • MrT

        DA ta DA, dadadaaa DA DA DA DAAAAA Da dada daaaaaaa *que black van jumping over explosion*

        January 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
      • ray


        January 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  35. Barry G.

    You have to give them credit. These Navy Seals sure can get thngs done.

    Way to go guys!

    January 26, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
  36. TheLord

    As a Canadian, if there is one thing that the Americans can be proud of its your special ops. Although training helps, it is the people who make the team and they are a class act above the rest. No bragging, no chest beating, just in and out and get the job done. They have my utmost respect.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
  37. djfpga

    They're just another private police force for our terrorist president, along with the SS Marine Corps.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • guest

      You must be from Iran trying to impersonate an American

      January 26, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Dan, TX

      Another Romney supporter...

      January 26, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • spikemanlou

      If you don't like it I'm sure the Taliban or al Qaeda could put you to work, we're knocking them off left and right, I'm sure they need some replacements.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • James D. Hall

      You're Welcome!!! My military service ensured you have the right to say this. Now I have the right to say GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!! HOO YAAA!!!! SEMPER FI!!!!

      January 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • fred

      and you are still chanting the muslim mantra [even for pirates as long as they are Muslim] "woe is me, woe is me, [insert: The US, The UK, the west, germany, france, denmark, the Jews, the zionists, Israel, the hindus,] are responsible for our misery."

      January 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
    • bugmenot

      You is an MSM -meth-suckin' maggot

      January 26, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  38. Rick Right

    It is only the Obama administration that exploit’s the SEAL’s. No other president has ever used the SEAL’s for such shameful political gain.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
    • Jom Bob

      Rick "right". Hmmm. On the far-right of the political spectrum, and always think you're right. Shocker, there...

      January 26, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Dan, TX

      Your right, Romney would never have risked rescuing one unknown American whom no one had ever heard of. IF the mission went bad, he'd take the blame, but if there was no mission, no one would have said a thing. If the mission succeeds, people will criticize you for only making the risky, gutsy call because you want to score political points. No way Romney would approve such a mission, the political benefits don't justify the political risks.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:46 am | Reply
      • Tom

        Dan, quit being such a tool. First of all, get over the Romney red herring. Second, what ever makes you think that *anyone* would have heard about a failed mission if things had gone south in Somalia? Just who is gonna leak that bit of info? The Seals? Their leadership? You think BO is gonna announce in the middle of kicking off his campaign (otherwise known as the SOTU speech) that "oops, I authorized a mission and it failed?" No, it simply would have been buried. It never existed. Such is the nature of special ops.

        But keep sipping that Koolaid and shooting that Hopium and enjoying your dreams.

        January 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • Marilene

        “Why the security is tight on Muslim names in USA”It is not a qeoitsun of famous Indian Icon being screened at the airport. Things as they are of the terror world belong predominantly to the Muslim world.Prior to terrorism making its step into life, Muslim religion on the whole was perceived to be seen of its inherent religious loyalty of oneness. Now, (religious loyalty is different from secular loyalty in the sense that religious loyalty stays imprisoned as passion of a religion whereas Secular truly speaking accepts the oneness of all religions; rather is supposed to accept as such but in today’s world cannot be seen as such wholly because of the religious dividing lines alive with individual basic loyalties and amongst those, Muslim is one religion that inherently remains aligned within the self from within of its separate class from others and therefore security norms have even come to apply on the secular category of Muslims overpowering the secular sense they come to project as moderators)? The reason for that obviously is the age old sense of Muslim brotherhood belonging to the cult of privacy or the personal law of religion whereas other religions by and large are guided by norms and not laws that makes them subtle to the core in oneness? This qeoitsun mark should ring all the wise and others because that is the thin line dividing laws and norms.Therefore, where Americans predominately look at “from their security angle”, they inherently go through the channel of Muslim personal law of oneness not of its moderation but of subtlety that they think has brought terrorism of a blind nature into life. In other words, for the security persons on the job they just go by the security norms meant for such a probe to search that element in a Muslim that is of basic loyalty only meant for Muslims and that is where their routine starts of the nature independent even on the name of a famous celebrity to protect their rule of basic security law. At this stage American government has not relaxed such a law with exceptions and that is a thing pertaining to the house of their independent psyche on it remaining reactionary of reactions by others for whom that appears like a dilemma out of the blues – why not because security perceptions of different countries have their own models in play and those cannot be equated under a universal sense because each country’s horizon for it remains in a blank filled with feeds for their employment either with absolute strictness or with some moderation at times depending upon the angles of security where even zero plus security angle comes into the picture to avoid security lapse of the nature that America’s 9/11 has already witnessed. I think India’s Khan with his good intelligence base has understood that and that is why he has not insisted on the word “sorry” and has accepted himself in routine without any kind of ill feeling on it. However, a point of reference in this context that can be made is “while it is true that total security clearance cannot be given at the level of the grant of visa because departure and landing of a passenger in journey or transit are not covered under the security angle of the country concerned, a via media of it can certainly be evolved to maintain the dignity and honor of the passenger as is the case in reference and also for other known dignitaries who are public figures of repute or who have been as such known where name alone should not reflect as scar on a community. I am sure American intelligence would pick up this idea at a human level without even involving Ministerial views at the diplomatic level of the countries. “A good taste is always better than what leaves behind quiet bitterness”. Amitab Bachan, I am sure would appreciate the last line to speak his own volume as the social reformer for his good friend Khan who already seems hurt with a void that was beyond his ethical imagination just because Khan’s heart speaks and flows for others with all the love he gives and also expects the invisibility of love of others keep filling into him. That is the personality of a smiling sha-rukh Khan meaning “rukh” (ways or directions) for all in the class of celebrities and for the masses that he carries for himself.

        May 21, 2012 at 6:28 am |
  39. bentelom

    I'm pretty sure the U.S. could make dramatic cuts in the military budget and not have to harm SF. The amount we spend on defense compared to other nations is truly mind-boggling: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    January 26, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
  40. boyamidumb

    My question – what are these stupid people doing is Somalia where they know we are hated, and where criminals with guns (not like ours with pens and computers) rule. They go there, get captured and then young American men have to risk their lives to bail them out. Stupid and unacceptable. If these people are dumb enough to go to places like that – they are on their own. Another question – who had the influence to make this happen or was it just a little political grandstanding at the risk of can cost of lives?

    January 26, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • Fred

      They were giving aid and help to the suffering people of Somalia, what were you doing?

      January 26, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • Del

      I believe they were there disarming land mines placed by these criminals you were talking about.

      "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" – Edmund Burke

      January 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply


    And your take on operation Geronimo that took out OBL? Was President Obama wrong in sending our Navy SEALS to execute this operation? Or perhaps he should have waited untill his next SOTU address? Furthermore, how do you compare the Somali operation to Iraq? This mission was legitimate but the Iraqi war was not.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • John

      Oh so the US military is a humanitarian force?

      And really what do you know about intel on Iraq? Trust me to reveal the facts are to reveal sources..

      Bet those WMDs appear in Bekaa when Syrian regime falls...

      January 26, 2012 at 11:33 am | Reply
      • Here&Now

        No John. I wouldn't trust you to go to the store for beer.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:51 am |
      • Norm

        My taxes pay for the US military and I say it can be used for humanitarian missions.
        Any more questions?

        January 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Tom

      You may have forgotten by now, but when OBL was killed the White House staged a sudden press conference and conveniently leaked enough details such that all major TV networks preempted regular programming and were breathlessly poised waiting for O's grand entrance. Furthermore, over the next few days following that announcement the WH slowly trickled out more details to ensure that they made the most of each news cycle. And in the crowing touch of cold calculation, the WH made the details of the OBL raid available to a Hollywood producer for use in a movie. Details that the WH still won't release to the public.

      The hostages in Somalia were held captive by a ragtag group of amateur criminals, not trained hardened terrorists. A relatively easy takedown with minimal risks.

      Seals = O's best PR tool.

      Attempting to drag Iraq into the conversation is a typical liberal use of a red herring and has no relevance to the discussion.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
      • Dan, TX

        So you think Romney would not have approved the mission, or do you think that he would not have told anyone we killed Bin Laden? Romeny said he'd have done exactly what Obama did, and you can be certain, Romney would have had the same press conference and said pretty much the same thing.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • Here&Now

        Head back to reruns of Days of Our Tom you don't know about anything else.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • Tom

        @Dan: Dragging Romney into the conversation is yet another weak liberal attempt to inject a red herring. You might as well use "Dan, TX" for all the relevance it has to the discussion.

        January 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
      • spikemanlou

        And my question to you Tom, how much time did you spend in the military? That's what I figured, none, you spent your time at a University riding your rich mommy and daddy's coat tails. When you have served in the military then I think you would be able to address these type of issues, until then have your maid bring you more tea while you express your opinions of which you know very little about.

        January 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
      • Tom

        Gees, Spike. I thought Dan was a master of the red herring, but you've taken it to a whole new level. Was there a point to your rambling?

        January 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • Jamo

        @ Tom

        Uh, Bin Laden's death was a pretty big deal. I was traveling through Moscow when the news broke, and every TV in the airport had Russian news channels announcing the development. I'm sure others, perhaps yourself, were mortified when their favorite reality TV show was interrupted, but I certainly welcomed the news that America's most hated man had been shot dead by Americans.

        You must understand that the WH had to be very careful with the extent of the information they were releasing. It didn't help in the following days that the media, including FOX and CNN, ran extensive footage surrounding the background of SEALS, where they trained, etc. This is dangerous for not just a community that takes pride in being silent warriors, but also their family members. Of course, in your eyes, this is just one giant, vote-garnering PR tool, orchestrated carefully by the Obama administration purely for generating support.

        January 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  42. rage

    This article forgot to mention one critical thing about budget. That 10.5 billion dollar budget doesn't include R&D. Everybody knows that the SF have all the newest toys. If the government was to cut funding for R&D, the SF would not have a lot of shiny new toys to play with.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • elperro

      R&D isn't on the chopping block

      January 26, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
      • rage

        Oh, I beg to differ. The R&D budget is getting a big axe. R&D is one of the bigger budgets so the percentage that it will be cut is huge.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Marcus

      but it's not being cut for SF, especially if the number of SF is increased. SF will always get whatever they want and need, ALWAYS.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • NN

      Military R & D is a well-known ripoff, very little bang for the buck there. Major reforms and cleanup are needed. But just like the parasites they are, they want to hang on to the coat tails of people who actually perform to get their cut of the pie, which they don't deserve. The DoD inhouse activities are a standing joke.

      January 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  43. US

    Congress needs to cut its selfish Divorce Industry $1.6 billion u n c o n s t i t u ti o n a l VAWA laws and give those money to SEAL – they are the once who do all the job for America.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • guest

      Exactly. If they were paid more, they wouldn't have any recruiting problems when the Marines and Army get personnel cuts.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
      • Here&Now

        Exactly wrong. The recruitment problem is not money, but finding the qualified people.

        January 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Biliu

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      May 21, 2012 at 1:34 am | Reply
  44. abnguy

    The special ops community takes the to % of the regular forces. As you decrease the amount of regular forces you decrease the pool that the community can draw from. Less regular forces will mean a decrease in scope/capabilities of the speacial forces.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • SchlomoBoy

      US Special Ops Forces must beable to exterminate terrorists at will. What if it is discovered that they killed the 9 Somali pirates in cold blood? Should they be held accountable? I say no; that judgment call must be retained by God and in no way transacted by human governments.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • PatriotDude

      US Special Ops Forces must beable to exterminate terrorists at will. What if it is discovered that they killed the 9 Somali pirates in cold blood? Should they be held accountable? I say no; that judgment call must be retained by God and in no way transacted by human governments.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
  45. Tim

    You interpret events to fit your ideology. If it was a republican administration doing this you would call them murderers. For people that are supposed to be open minded you aren't very objective. I think the term for you is a hypocrite.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
    • Luigi

      Tim, who is the "you" that you keep referring to in your post? I find it very difficult (impossible) to understand since you haven't identified the person you mean when you wrote "you."

      (By contrast, I started my post by writing the name "Tim" so that it would be clear, I hope, who I mean by "you.")

      January 26, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • Dan, TX

      That is clearly not true. Under no president has rescuing of hostages, the pirates at sea or this hostage crisis been criticized. Really, you think George Bush would have been criticized if any of this happened on his watch? No way.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • Jonathan

      Lets expand of that Tim. When you say "if Republicans were doing this you'd call it murder". Doing what? Reducing our Armed Forces or fighting wars? I believe we were in these wars for 8 years under a Republican president and 2 years under a total Republican majority. No one was saying these wars were murder? Iraq may have been pointless, but no one was screaming murder. No one was acusing our brave troops of murder. If they were, it was a VERY SMALL minority.

      Wake up to reality buddy.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
  46. Thankful

    I have only one thing to add:

    We (the citizens of the United States) should make VERY sure that the special ops folks (and ALL the capable and hard-working members of military service) have a decent job at home.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • Tim

      Yea, Taco Bell or Pizza Hut?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
      • Gabi

        I'm about 2/3 through the book now. I ctunione to find Obama profoundly evenhanded in his analysis. Clearly a thoughtful man. I was particularly impressed by the chapter on Faith, which is a serious testimony of a sincerely committed individual. He's a little pedantic sometimes, giving 5 examples where 3 would do, but that's a matter of style. The point is that he KNOWS there are 5 examples rather than having a shallow understanding of the topic.

        May 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      I think businesses would profit greatly from hiring former military personnel. I think the private market can handle that. We shouldn't need to offer a tax break to businesses to encourage them to hire veterans. Just having that on their resume would put them in the top 10% of applicants.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:04 am | Reply
    • dt

      Absolutely positively correct. It makes me sick to see returning soldiers finding unemployment when our do nothing Congress and their fat cat pals have no worries.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
  47. bigshot

    a cost saving and effective idea. too bad benefits of this kind of strategy goes over most republicans' pea brains

    January 26, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • Tom

      What Republicans might tend to notice is that, while the two workers (only 1 of which was a US citizen) were seized last October, BO waited until the eve of his SOTU speech to send in the Seals, hoping for a favorable bounce. Even including the supposedly "candid" remark about a "good job" that BO loudly made to Panetta on his way into the chamber, loud enough that the mikes were sure to pick it up. If that isn't a cold, calculating, manipulative use of human suffering AND the Seals to aid one's reelection campaign, I don't know what is.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
      • Dan, TX

        First of all, if the mission had failed and the seals and hostages had been killed, where would Obama be? It was a BIG risk that Obama took politically to authorize the rescue of one unknown American that almost no one knew was even a hostage to begin with. This operation had more political downside than upside. So, I thin completely the opposite that you do. Eventually, one of these mission WILL fail, because that is the nature of these missions. When if fails, you will be first in line to spit venom at Obama for that and to call him a weak leader. So, what you say now has no credibility. You can look at EVERYTHING that any politician says or does and ascribe a cynical interpretation. And that is what America has become – that is what separates America of today from the good old days.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • dt

        People like yourself need serious help sometimes. The President does not control these missions or their timing. In case you are ignorant of the process, as opposed to being here for political attack, special ops are need to know and the President had no need to know. Operations are planned and executed when a commander finds the right combination of natural and situational advantages for projecting a success and minimizing collateral damage. Politicians find out about it later – sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • Pliny

        Face facts tommy-boy. You don't know much of anything.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:47 am |
      • Cody

        I understand your point. Everything Obama does is a PR move. Unemployment going down... how convenient, he's just trying to get votes! Killing OBL, just getting votes! Withdrawing from Iraq, PR move. Regulating banking, just a PR move! I guess if all his PR keeps aligning with my interests, I'll keep supporting it.

        January 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • pat

      Right on!! Another thing that bugs me is that today it seems no one has much respect for the Military in general.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
      • Soylent

        If they want my respect they need to quit urinating on dead bodies. There's a fine line you have to walk if you want respect when your job is to kill people.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:18 am |
      • Fred

        Actually, their job is to defend your sorry butt from being annihilated by terrorists and other enemies of the free world. If you knew anything you would realize that the vast majority of frontline soldiers only fire when fired upon, otherwise known as self defence.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:49 am |
      • bigshot

        It's not about "respecting the military". It's about cost-effectiveness of relying on smaller, highly skilled groups of soldiers for precision operations as opposed to recruting massive numbers of ground troops in every corner of small towns and sending them to take over countries. It's about cleverly using europeans' resources (think Lybia) instead of being the loud front runner in every conflict. We simply cannot afford that attitude any more.

        January 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Luigi

      Pat, one thing that bugs me is the over use of "no one." It is clearly untrue that nobody respects the military. For starters, there's you. You respect the military. (And even if you don't, I do.) My brother, the CPO, respects the military but then he's in the military.

      Please don't use "no one" unless that is really what you mean. Nobody, AFAIK, has survived being at ground zero of the nuclear blast. A statement like that works.

      One way to remember is the saying "never say never." Of course, that statement is flawed. Remembering that it's flawed can help avoid mistakes like misuse of no one, nobody, never, always, etc.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply

    @Jerry Borris

    Then go get some help!

    January 26, 2012 at 10:17 am | Reply


    January 26, 2012 at 9:21 am | Reply
  50. Bill

    The deployment rotation for the SOF is overtaxed-they arent capable of sustained operations, and multiple rotations, as they have been. This is a serious, serious issue. These men are the cream of the crop; your average SF soldier has millions of dollars invested in him, in training. Literally losing even ONE of these soldiers is equal to losing a platoon of grunts (I myself was an infantryman for 13 years, and served twice with SF boys for support for deployments). Their specialized training is what sets them apart. They are seasoned, professional soldiers, capable of being a force multiplier. They rely on a training rotation to keep their skills up-by constantly being deployed, these soldiers dont get the opportunity to get their training in, which is what they rely upon for their operations. This is a dangerous, dangerous road to go down. Remember Panama? There was an attempt to use special forces (SEALs and Rangers) as regular infantry, but in lighter roles-and it failed miserably. Cutting our military down is a bad, bad idea-from any view except a financial one. Cut congress' pay, cut the amount of staff, That will save millions alone.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:11 am | Reply
    • Ron

      Hi Ron, I agree with alot of your post but most SF now days have a pretty good deployment schedule. Usually 4 months a year rotations compared to their BIG Army counterparts who deploy for 1 or 2 years at a time. Doesnt mean there is not strain on them as they are hitting it hard while deployed.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
      • Joseph

        You are wrong. The 4 month deployments you are referring to are not restricted to "once a year." They are part of a cycle that is often ignored. Furthermore, not being deployed does not mean you are at home. Pre deployment training, non-warfare deployments, and individual training drastically cut into the supposed down time of SOF. Sorry bro, but you are incorrect in thinking that 4 months deployed means that you have eight months to yourself.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • mdbill

      i disagree with you sir, with all due respect for your service. we spend over 6 times the amount on our military than even our closest competitor (china). you can add up the next 10 "competitors" including russia and we still spend way more. let's get realistic folks, there is no need for a WWII budget in this day and age. Eisenhower warned us of the danger of the military industrial complex and now we are reaping the rewards for ignoring him.....

      January 26, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • ThaGerm

      Saving millions is great, but we need to save trillions and cutting Congress's pay isn't even going to scratch that. Annnd, your points about SOF are valid, but saying that we cannot cut down the military at all is just not true at all, we just can't go overboard with it. Oh, and your use of the – character is wrong in every case, usually I don't do the whole English lesson thing, but that is really annoying. real-time or multi-tiered, it is used to join words into a phrase or thing, not to join ideas or sentences.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:12 am | Reply
      • Soylent

        He's trying and failing to use em dashes (he's using en dashes instead and omitting the trailing space). Look it up. This is a test to see if Cnn's comment system supports HTML entities. —

        January 26, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • Soylent

        It does. So you can type... & mdash; Without the space after the ampersand.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Chris

      Yes, cut congress' staff. Great plan. That way the only "experts" they can rely on to understand the implications of the bills they vote on are lobbyists. Solid idea. And yes, cutting a few hundred Congressional staff positions would easily pay for hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply

    Next SEAL's mission? Crawford Ranch! Sure has a nice ring to it!

    January 26, 2012 at 8:16 am | Reply

    I dislike Obama because he's intelligent, smart and successful President. Hahahahaha!

    January 26, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply

    Thank you President Obama. You're the Greatest President in US history!

    January 26, 2012 at 8:12 am | Reply
    • Dan, TX

      He is not the greatest president ever. I'll agree that he's above average, maybe with the potential to be in the 20 or even in the top 10 if he wins a second term, but no way he's the best.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • Fred

      For what? Washington led this country through the Revolutionary War, Jefferson nearly tripled our land, Lincoln ended Southern slavery and led us through the Civil War, Teddy Roosevelt developed the concept of national parks and fought big business, Woodrow Wilson led us through WWI and tried to start the League of Nations, FDR led us through the depression and part of WWII, Truman ended WWII, JFK brought us through the Cuban missle crisis, Ford eased tensions after Watergate, Jimmy Carter was utterly terrible, Reagan freed the Iranian hostages and basically ended the Cold War, Clinton had sex in the oval office and Bush had to put up with September 11th. . . in comparison, what did Obama do again?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
      • Linc

        @ Fred
        Let's see; Obama worked to ensure that health care was available to all for the first time in this country's history, ended the Iraq war, was the acting president in an economic time that was the worst since the great depression (and helped us avoid a second depression), and has made a huge impact on the war on terror that started with the September 11th attack that you mentioned. Stop the Obama hate, it's pathetic!

        January 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
      • Tom

        @Linc: Gees, Linc. And don't forget the Nobel prize. You remember, the one Obama "earned" within weeks after taking office. You know, before he ever actually "did" anything? Here's another "accomplishment:" for your list: Obama has increased deficit spending 4X over Bush since he took office. Be sure to get all puffed up over that, too.

        January 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  54. michaelfury

    "It was the heroics of the Navy SEAL team's killing of Osama bin Laden that Obama used to open and close his State of the Union speech"


    January 26, 2012 at 7:26 am | Reply
    • AllThatsLeft

      It was the heroics of a President that had the guts to authorize a covert operation where he sends troops in on the ground, invades a sovereign nuclear power in the middle east knowing the consequences if it were not successful. As for using it in the speech it was extremely relevant to the sate of our union. The number one most want terrorist in the world, the leader of the group that carried the worst terrorist attacks in our countries history, is now no longer a threat. I'd say that has a lot to do with the state of our union. Maybe the Right would have preferred him to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a band playing and a huge banner announcing it, all while wearing a flight suit. GOP= Bitter hypocrites...

      January 26, 2012 at 9:22 am | Reply
      • mdbill

        nicely written but i would add: GOP = faux Christian, racist, ignorant hypocrites.....

        January 26, 2012 at 10:55 am |
      • Daniel

        MexDF.Independient.Press report:A week ago, the very well known TV fuutre teller was arrested by Colombo city sri lankan Police because he preticted the President of the Nation would be removed from the Government of Sri Lanka. Without giving details of statements about the e-mail sent to President Rajipakse, the argentinian horoscope man also added in his homepage, wwww.zodiacguille.com, two URLs, one corresponding to Mr. Chandrasiri Bandara and, of course, the other: His Excellencyb4s official site. Up to now, I couldnb4t log in Chandrasirisb4blog; it seems stars arenb4t helping he joked. but to Presidentb4s site is quite interesting and easy to contact His Excellecy Many astrologers all over the world are on esoteric expectation about the Sri Lankan Government decision. To finish, Don Zodiac Guille said: I would respectfully like to have a look on the Mundane Astral Chart already built by Mr. BANDARA because the Police want a logical explanation about those political predictions on President Manida Rajipakseb4s destitution .Don Zodiac Guille ended saying : Astrology is a millenary social practice so we have to moderate our concepts when a Country Chart is going to be published specially if the land situation is difficult

        May 24, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Mark

      Whether you hate Obama is not anyones problem; he is, however, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States military, and he gives the final green light if it involves incursions across any foreign border – these people do a very difficult, dangerous job – but he assumes responsibility. I wonder if you would have been just as ignorant if it were a Republican president. Yeah, that so.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
  55. Sayan Majumdar

    Adam (Levine), Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) have “progressed” (yet seldom discussed) to more threatening Intelligence, Surveillance, TARGET ACQUISITON & Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities.


    January 26, 2012 at 7:12 am | Reply
  56. Geoffrey Hamilton

    This article was right about a few things. Our Spec Ops men and women are carrying a heavy workload, and modern warfare is no longer condusive to conventional tactics. More and more we are going to have to specialize each position. Oh and to all those who serve, thank you.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:24 am | Reply
  57. joeinalabama

    The Seal Teams are well trained and good at their job, and I wish them the best, but if one of these operations goes bad, BO will throw them under the buss in a instant.

    January 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      What proof do you have of this? A crystal ball? Did he throw anyone under the bus when that helicopter crashed and killed 30 special forces people? Or when a top secret drone landed in Iran? Any president wouldn't be so stupid to do that they should know from Carter that they take the risk if a rescue or some other operation fails that they green lit.

      Besides Obama is to busy being a fetus devouring Marxist Fascist Radical Christian Muslim do nothing overreaching power hungry impotent asylum giving mass deporting tyrant.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
      • Dan, TX

        nicely stated 🙂

        January 26, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Dixie Normous

      joeinalabama is well trained and good at his job, but if one of those McMuffins gets dropped, Manager is gonna throw him under a bus. (<–That's how you spell "bus" in the other 49 states.)

      January 26, 2012 at 4:14 am | Reply
      • Helen

        To TH,Obama could have visited the wudnoed without press and everyone would have understood and respected that.And he knows that.Also, in my experience the military goes out of its way to avoid public spatzs with VIPs.That the mil would say he knew he was welcome but not the press is telling.IMO he made a very poor decision.You're bang on about other issues he's weak on.The FISA flip-flop comes to mind.The whole 20 years in Wright's church has still not been addressed.For example, even if you buy the "I never heard the sermons" excuse there are the "Didn't Michelle tell you?" and "Didn't anyone else in the church tell you?" questions.Best,John

        March 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Sayan Majumdar

      @joeinalabama, A fair proportion of Special Ops go unnoticed irrespective of their success or failure, especially when threats are ‘nipped in the bud’.


      January 26, 2012 at 7:28 am | Reply
    • Franny

      joeinalabama, This is just the type of voter that scares the heck out of me.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
      • sayer

        I feel ya, Franny. Our education system really does need a fix. Let's say we start with SC, AL, and FL.

        January 26, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Mark

      @Joe - just another ignorant, backwater, conservative idiot without a clue but full of opinions. You have not one thread of evidence to prove that. And you insult the OFFICE of the President in remarks such as this. Your a disgrace.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
    • Pliny

      ignorant hillbilly

      January 26, 2012 at 11:48 am | Reply


    January 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Mr. Trump, please step away from the keyboard !

      January 25, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • Jason

      Caps lock is cruise control for cool.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply
    • GonzoG

      And please, we LAY OUT your meds–don't forget to take them DAILY. Don't MAKE us hire another private nurse for you–you REALLY didn't like the last one and Honestly, Nurse Ratched didn't like you either.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Reply
    • midgick

      you are so off base and wrong, I am almost speechless. In case you didn't know, it was The President's call and his call only. His advisors had recommended that he did not take the risk, but he did, he had faith in our special forces and unlike the last admin. had the stones to pull the trigger. You again, have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Reply
      • Franny

        Thank You midgick, and you're right, but unfortunately? As Ron White says " You can't fix stupid". I'm guessing that joeinalabama may not be too well versed on Political issues. Ignorance can be fixed. It's called an Education with social skills on a global level.

        January 26, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • AreYouSerious

        Did you actually just say that the military advised Obama not to take out Osama bin Laden? You're blind and foolish. He OK'd the operation, but it absolutely was not of his own initiative. The military has been hunting Osama for a great deal of time.

        February 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Dixie Normous

      JERRY is the most Muslim name ever. Too bad it was already chosen and you had to go along with it. Also, BORIS is Arabic for Canadian, so stop pretending you love this country.

      January 26, 2012 at 4:10 am | Reply
    • Mark

      Yawn, next. All that work for nothing eh Boris?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • Dan, TX

      Jerry Boris, typical Romney supporter.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • MrT

      Yo Jerry. Its cool baby its cool. *slowly backing away, hands clearly visible* Now why don't we put down the themal detonator and just relax. We all hate the Muslim Zoinist Chirstian Taoist extremist President we have. Don't we fellas. *looking around nodding* Hey look, the fish sticks are done. You like fish sticks don't you Jerry.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • vatoloke

      Be careful with the Caps Lock thing because you might say something you don't really want to. Like: Would you please help your Uncle Jack off his horse?
      Now Jerry Boring, imagine the meaning of that sentence in ALL CAPS. Get it?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply

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