Marines told to disarm before Panetta speech
Troops stacking their weapons at Camp Leatherneck.
March 14th, 2012
11:17 AM ET

Marines told to disarm before Panetta speech

By Chris Lawrence, with reporting from pool producer Larry Shaughnessy

U.S. Marines waiting for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to speak at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan Wednesday were ordered to leave the room and place their weapons outside.

The request, relayed by Sgt. Maj. Brandon Hall, was unusual because it's not customary to disarm for a defense secretary visit, but the Marines did as they were told. About two dozen unarmed Afghan soldiers also were in attendance.

Panetta arrived in Afghanistan Wednesday for a two-day visit amid heightened tensions after an American soldier allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians in their homes Sunday.

The order to disarm came from Maj. Gen. Mark Gurganus, who commands troops in Helmand province.

Asked about the move, Hall told the New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller: "Somebody got itchy, that's all I've got to say. Somebody got itchy; we just adjust."

Gurganus later told reporters the decision had nothing to do with the weekend shooting, and said it was because the Afghan soldiers in attendance were unarmed and he did not want them treated differently than the Marines.

"This is not a big deal," Gurganus said. But he then added that "you've got one of the most important people in the world in the room," referring to Panetta.  When it was pointed out that this had not been the custom, Gurganus - who is new to the post - replied, "There's a new sheriff in town."

A senior defense official told CNN that Gurganus made the decision to have all coalition troops disarm on Tuesday, but "the order never got passed down the line to the individual units. So, unfortunately, it wasn't until all the Marines were sitting down Wednesday that anyone realized what the general really wanted. It looked bad. But at that point they needed to comply with the order."

Several Marines said they had never seen a situation like this, although they do not believe the decision resulted from any security concerns. The senior defense official said Gurganus was under orders to make partnership a priority, and he felt that "it wouldn't be right to have armed Marines sitting next to unarmed Afghan soldiers. He wants to promote the mission of partnership."

Security procedures involving the handling of weapons vary according to protocols issued by International Security Assistance Force command, as well as the discretion of individual regional and base commanders.

At some bases, troops entering mess halls are required to remove the clip from their weapon and clear any rounds from the chamber. The senior defense official also said security has been increased in varying degrees in the past month or so, following the Quran burning.  For example, in Kabul, as recently as seven days ago troops were required to carry their weapons everywhere, with the ammunition clip loaded but no round chambered, the official said.

The order for the Marines to disarm at Camp Leatherneck was not connected to a separate incident that took place Wednesday at an adjoining British military base in Afghanistan, the defense official said.

In that incident, an Afghan national stole a vehicle and drove it through at least one layer of perimeter security onto the runway at Camp Bastion around the same time Panetta was arriving there from a previous visit to Kyrgystan, a defense official said. A British soldier  was injured by the vehicle before it was driven into a ditch, a defense official said.  The driver ran out of the vehicle on fire. Coalition troops were able to extinguish the fire and he was transported for treatment, according to Pentagon spokesman George Little.

The Afghan national was wearing a "desert utility uniform," similar to the ones coalition troops give to translators and other unarmed locals working with them, a defense official said. Coalition troops searched the man after putting out the flames and apprehending him, but they did not find an explosive device on him, according to the official. No motive or the Afghan's intent was known.

NATO officials said Panetta was never in any danger during his time at Camp Bastion. His plane was diverted upon landing, according to Little.
Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion are adjoining bases located in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. The United States runs the facilities at Camp Leatherneck, while the British oversee Camp Bastion.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Marines • Military
soundoff (1,255 Responses)
  1. hmm

    Well Peneta was simply afraid to be shot and then that his body would be burned. Can we blame him? The only surprise is that he thinks Marines are like Army. Or maybe he thinks they are worse?

    BtW, why does it say 'Publicar' at the bottom of text box? Any illegals working for CNN?

    March 15, 2012 at 3:57 am | Reply
    • rmmora160 is "publicar," mañana it will be "No use Inglés, por favor"... relax, patriot, we hispanics have had half our resources stolen by your country and many of ours killed by your soldiers or through your foreign policy machinations. And we are still bombarded by English language. No danger of Spanish becoming endangered because of that, however. It will not be the language, it will be DEMOGRAPHICS that do you in.

      March 15, 2012 at 5:46 am | Reply
  2. hmm

    Interesting, so according to Pentagon there is a statistic that let's say 1 out of 10 marines could be nuts? That is some sad sh*it.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:52 am | Reply
  3. ozzyy

    he should ask also marines to remove their boots and shouses

    March 15, 2012 at 3:43 am | Reply
  4. Saber

    I used to live in Monterey County where Leon Panetta represented us during his tenure in the House of Representatives. He was very good for the County, but he is just not cut out for the position of Secretary of Defense. He is a very nice person, but he's just not cut out for that position. Obama, likewise is not really cut out to be President of the United States. I love this country dearly, but the politicians we have running the country right now are the wrong folks for the jobs they are in, and are completely out of touch with the common working folks, and those that are out of work. When I see things like this, this is simply more of the same out-of-touch material. Lastly, we no longer have a reason to be in Trashcanistan. We got Osama Bin Poopy Head, and all of our guys just need to come home and let those third world arm pits fight it out for themselves. Nuff Said Here!

    March 15, 2012 at 3:41 am | Reply
  5. Drillbilly

    No big deal, Marines adapt and overcome. God bless em. Semper Fi

    March 15, 2012 at 3:24 am | Reply
    • Pete/Ark

      We're also flexible ... my 2nd generation Marine daughter taught me "semper gumby"

      April 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  6. Jose Velazquez

    "you’ve got one of the most important people in the world in the room," referring to Panetta........hmmmmm, my U.S. Marine son SERVING in Afghanistan is THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD, to me his family and his friends.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:33 am | Reply
    • Unclesan

      Get real my friend, he is just another spendable artifact at the command of a bunch of incompetents!

      March 15, 2012 at 6:26 am | Reply
  7. Brian

    Pretty sad.. when the US Secretary of Defence is afraid of getting shot by his own people (US Soldiers) or the Afghanistani security people. It shows that the USA (US Govt) is hated by all people!!!

    March 15, 2012 at 2:27 am | Reply
    • frederick warner

      as in Hamlet: "someting is rotten in the state of Denmark" or "the fish is rotting from the head down—all is not well at the top of the political hierarchy".

      May 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  8. John

    Panetta did not go to Afghanistan to rage against the Taliban or the insurgents who have slaughtered over 32,000 innocent Afghan civilians. He didn't go there to draw attention to the terror induced on civilians by the insurgents. He didn't go there to do anything but prop up our current president who won the Nobel Prize for doing nothing. This is the greatest "Do Nothing" adminisration we have yet to endure. They are so afraid they disarm our own troops. I would have refused to disarm and refused to enter the arena where Panetta was having his show. You never disarm troops in a combat zone, for any reason. The fear our current administration has is unreal. May God protect our Troops from our own administration!

    March 15, 2012 at 1:54 am | Reply
    • American

      Interesting comments, so the point is Marines do as told by higher rank. Setting your sidearm outside is not a moral question of making your own decision. Do they tell them that by the way?-"You follow orders, but we prize an actual brain to think for self in a Marine, if confronted with illegal or immoral activity." Anyway, so they must do as told. But I also agree, what a stupid order. If that entourage is trying to promote as a business meeting, or some gathering conference, its just more crap. It is a war zone, we are occupying there and if they want this to be a nice, friendly, sit-down chitchat, they are deluding themself. They are tolerating us there, barely. Yeah, big expensive heli ride. Who pays?

      March 15, 2012 at 7:31 am | Reply
  9. SAL

    Panetta SHOULD be shot along with Obama,the Entire Bush Admin.,Congress, Senate, Clintons,Top Brass that go along with the TREASONOUS/TRAITORUS ACTS that have destroyed our country-AS WELL AS Iraq,Afghanistan,Libya,Egypt,Syria,and now Iran!

    March 15, 2012 at 1:20 am | Reply
  10. Bob

    How sad to be afraid of the very troops your in charge of! Maybe we need to relook at what what his purpose was and wha tis our pupose!

    March 15, 2012 at 12:10 am | Reply
  11. EEXpat

    I prefer president who lands in military jet on aircraft carrier and serves turkey to troops on Thanksgiving day..

    March 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Obama 2012

      How about a President who actually pursues the war on terror rather than invade countries that had nothing to do with 9-11? Obama in 2012.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
      • EEXpat

        I thought your Chosen One claims there is no “war on terror”..?! But I have to admit that The 0 to certain degree does continue the fight.. The Gitmo camp is doing pretty good job, and at least 0 doesn’t stay in way of certain operations.. And the way he took out and killed Kaddafi was good blow in war on terror. The Nobel Peace Prize was well deserved! Pity the Libyan oil is not holding the gas prices down..

        March 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • wovoka

      Style before substance wins every time.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply
  12. TopView20

    To the commentors of exaggerated negative statement, I suggest that you assume the necessary degree of respect for an important White House cabinet member, and for our military troops in Afghanistan. I will not defend many recent recent actions of our troubled government and our politicians. However, I see no reason to detract from our combat soldiers. For goodness sake, these are active duty U.S. MARINES. Show no disrespect for our dedicated soldiers abroad!

    March 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  13. joel

    Didn't Hitler require his top generals and officers to disarm before attending meetings with him?

    March 14, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Reply
    • cteckyw

      I believe that is why Hitler's (the German one) inner circle tried to blow him up with a briefcase bomb. No guns.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  14. Jimbob

    You can't trust anybody after what happened with that soldier killing all those kids

    March 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Reply
    • Sovereignty

      This has been a long time in coming and you amerikans have not seen it coming..... you realy need to step back and see how the joooss have made you their bitches from the Fed to the foreign held territory called your congress and see the tools that you have now become.... while you were watching basket ball these zio neocons took your bullshit country and now your are a pathetic joke .... wake up and smell the coffee.... we want you back but you have to ditch these bitches before we will play with you again....

      March 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
      • maybe

        Now that makes perfect sense! Thank you for your brilliant insight.

        March 18, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  15. volsocal

    Over 200 unarmed soldiers and SECDEF in a tent in a war zone. Our enemies are taking notes. Our allies are not gaining respect.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
    • Jimbob

      Ok, thanks

      March 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  16. FenseSitter

    It is a sign that our leaders are not for us, they think we exist for them.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  17. EEXpat

    This is what happens when you apologize for burning of books and don’t demand apology for killing of our soldiers. This is what happens when you bow down to leaders of rag-tag backwards countries and don’t expect gratitude for liberating them. This is what happens when you send our kids to harm’s way but tie their hands in red tape to be politically correct. This is what happens when you go around world, cleverly painting America as being the reason of problems, cleverly trying to connect with world-wide leftists and unite against the “rich”. You know who I talk about of course Mr. President?

    March 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Reply
  18. Mister Cool

    I am a politician. I send my people to fight and die in wars. But I personally am afraid to die and will save my skin at all cost.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Reply
  19. Mister Cool

    HA HA HA. The political leaders afraid of their own troops. It's like a dog owner afraid of his own dog.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  20. Huldah1776

    What happens next time Panetta? What happens when the Marines need their weapons? Now the enemy knows when there is a meeting that the Marines are ALL disarmed.

    Brainless. Petraeus, happy?

    March 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  21. Moose

    During the last visit of Honorable Robert Gates in Afghanistan we were carrying weapons magazines with ammo, no rounds chambered. Mr, Panneta is afraid of his own troops. Shame on him.

    March 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Reply
    • Jimbo

      Yes... so telling. The King mistrusts his knights. Knights who swore an oath to this "king"... LOL Panetta is Italian for Pathetic.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Reply
  22. ammo18jwm

    Panetta is scared of US military, isn’t he suppose to be US Secretary of Defense or is it Secretary of Taliban. Soon he will take all military weapons away and make the troops just throw money at terrorist.

    March 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  23. Dana

    Even that Jew can feel the burnout factor going on over there. I wonder how the soldiers feel seeing Obamas face on the American Flag?

    March 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Reply
    • mike

      your comments speak to the average intelligence of our volunteer force. If the room were filled with people like you, with so much disrespect for a cabinet member, i would also want everyone disarmed. Nice example you are setting.

      March 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      Jew! who Jew? Panetta?
      His parents are Italian

      March 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Reply
      • Tom Lowe

        Are you saying that there are no Italian Jews?? That one can either be Italian or Jewish, but cannot be both?? Please explain yourself, fully and clearly!

        March 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  24. Skorpio

    The US should ban the Koran in all military bases, it is more dangerous than any weapon. In addition, Muslim clerics use the Koran as a weapon to incite, instigate the masses against Americans. In comparison to Hitler's book: "Mein Kampf", the Koran is more violent, discriminatory and ant-Semitic. The same way Saudi Arabia confiscates and bans BIBLES because they are perceived as "subversives", the US should ban the Koran. The Koran is extremely offensive to NON-MUSLIMS, it insults, denigrates, humiliates and attacks Non-Muslims taking away their dignity and respect.

    March 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Reply
    • Ian

      Some of the best people I served with were Muslim...jackass.

      March 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Reply
    • flo

      PENETTA is a WAR CRIMINAL and TRAITOR ! HE SHOULD BE EXECUTED AS SUCH!...takes orders from U.N...NOT US!!!

      March 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
      • Dana

        Flo where do you think the order to disarm came from? Penneta is worried.

        March 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  25. we all know

    Leon Panetta served! Look it up!

    n 1964, he joined the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant, where he served as an officer in Army Military Intelligence.[8] There he received the Army Commendation Medal, and was discharged in 1966 as a First Lieutenant.[9]

    March 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • haloguy628

      Panetta has only ARCOM and he got out as O2 only? He did not even make it to Cpt O3? Wow, what a stellar career.

      March 14, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  26. TheLastIndependent

    It's not that he doesn't trust them...

    March 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  27. Lt Col, USAF (Ret)

    If there was any doubt in your mind at all…this should erase it. We have officially entered and are progressing through the bowels of a parallel universe…emphasis on bowels.

    March 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • flo


      March 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  28. Portland tony

    All I can say is there is a lot of Crap disseminated about absolutely nothing. _

    March 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      Opinions are lie arse-holes. Everybody has one.

      March 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  29. Barney Fife

    This officially marks the beginning of the end of the Afghanistan war. When the leadership does not trust the troops, there is no reason for the troops to trust the leadership. Who wants to fight and die for a man who thinks you can't be trusted? More importantly, what exactly does Panetta fear ,and why? What has he done to make him think someone would be out to get him?

    March 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
    • Big George in Big D

      Well said. Its high time to get the hell out of there.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  30. Isabel

    Its war, its a shame, everyone's head is bowed in disbelief – BUT – disarm the Marines? Did the Taliban disarm after they cut off the heads of our Americans and hung them from bridges? Where's our backbone, our sense of pride - are we just weenies on the world's playground being bullied by the Taliban in the name of Islam? These guys are criminals and they use their own people (innocent women and children as their shields) and then they cry and whine.... Just sick of this administration and their bowing and apologizing and now this!!!!

    March 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      Makes you wanna go shoot some children in the middle of the night dun it ?

      March 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
      • Brian

        Yeah let's honor the brave US soldiers who slaughtered, beat, shot then burned the sleeping children in Afghanistan... such brave men served their country proud and well. (NOT!) I saw we feed those trigger happy murdering US soldier a*holes to a school of hungry Great White Sharks...

        March 18, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  31. patfiuman

    That's what i thought you little turd.Try looking up what patrot means

    March 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
    • pol

      I looked up patrot-nothing! huh?

      March 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  32. patfiuman

    Hey Bruce,what have you ever done for your country?

    March 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      I vote. I pay taxes. I volunteer in my community fixing houses for older citizens (Rebuilding Together). What about you?

      March 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  33. Anonymous

    As currently serving in the Marines with having multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I would be insulted to have to stack weapons anywhere. Regardless of who visits, service members are still deployed in a country where a threat could be anywhere and happen at anytime.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
    • Buzzer

      You may have been "insulted" but you would have been gotten over it and complied after you were pre-briefed on why you were ordered to do it. Namely the follow-on security concerns of pissing of the Afghan military members in attendance and given the rash of incidents of us getting killed by these folks. I don't think your "pride" is worth you fellow Marines lives.

      March 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  34. Respect

    Leaders who are afraid of those who serve them having guns are leaders who have something to hide.

    Most likely, Panetta is scared of a mutiny, considering how poorly this war has been run as well as the decision to stay in Iraq. The troops should have disobeyed that order and shown up with their arms.

    +1 for the troops, -100 for Panetta.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • US citizen

      Agree!!! This act jeopardised the whole camp. If Taliban fighters learned about it, they would attack. If Panetta is scared of people who protect him, he should not hold the title he is holding. He can stay at home and water his garden. Plus, why is he " the most important person in the world"? Wake up people ,the world is bigger that you think, and Panetta is nothing to the world.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Reply
      • Buzzer

        And how many Marines at the installation do you think disarmed and attended the event? All of them? 50%, 10%? Oh wait, that included the security forces! Think before you engage you mouth and post.

        March 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  35. Bruce

    This is muc ado about nothing. It's not even an issue and people are getting their undies in a bunch. Calm down people. Some soldires were asked to leave weapons outside a tent. The weapons were returned after the speech. Nobody here knows how the soldiers felt about it. Talk about making mountains out of mole hills.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Clinton

      Bruce, have you ever served in the military? Do you have any real insight into this other than just feeling like you should have an opinion about everything?

      March 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
      • Bruce

        No. I have never served in the military, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express. THis particular discussion is about opinions and how people feel about it. There is no right and wrong here. There are only differing opinions. THe only way one could say that the decision was wrong is if the troops involved said so, and then you would be right. The other way would be if they left the US troops armed and Panetta was asassinated. then you would be proven wrong. In the absence of those two things, it's all conjecture and opinion. You know what they say about opinions, every .................

        March 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
      • Bruce

        btw. Using your circular logic, would we have to be politicians to discuss politics? Do we have to be fotball players to discuss football? I will say that your opinions, given that you are/were in the military, do hold more sway than somone that wasn't in the military, but doesn't mean that you are correct.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
      • Phineas

        Having been a soldier doesn't give you any more or less right to an opinion than it does him because of not having served (assuming that's the case). You can keep waving your resume at everyone if you chose, but good arguments can stand alone. MOH recipient Bob Kerrey, when asked why he would not support an amendment banning burning of a US flag in protest said that his receiving the medal was irrelevant to the question. He was right. His reasoning, right or wrong, is the only thing that mattered. You may be intelligent. But you're certainly not intelligent simply because you were a soldier.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
      • jh

        Actually, having served DOES make the difference in this debate. Its not a matter of "having a right to an opinion". Its a matter of speaking on a technical subject without any technical experience or knowledge. When discussing something about the mlitary, clearly, those that have actually been IN IT would have more knowledge on the subject.

        March 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

      Marines, not "soliders"...was it an insult? I know if I was forced to listen to this hack I'd be insulted, doubly so if I was disarmed.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
    • US citizen

      Bruce, you go to Afghan without a weapon and you will feel how soldiers felt.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Reply
      • Bruce

        Did it say that the entire base was disarmed? No. Only those in the tent with Panetta were disarmed. THis was also inside a secure base. Nobody is recommending that soldiers go to Afghanistan without weapons.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • flo

      nice try, bruce.

      March 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  36. Marinemom

    I just don't get the down grading of our soldiers ? ? These people volunteer and offer their lifes to DEFEND us and your families if needed . They do not go in looking for the WAR REGISTRY to sign. Thier Boss is ? They work for who ? THE PRESIDENT. . . . . . These YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN have to do as they are ORDERED -WHY- if not or if they decide to leave and never return, that is know as going A-WALL and what happens then ? ? They are found and spend time in Military Jail ! with a dishonorable discharge which then means GOOD LUCK SURVING in the civilian world cause most places will not hire you with a dishonorable discharge. . . . . . These kids are not fully informed when they sign up on what is really going to be going on when you come aboard OUR FINEST ! They are just promised this and that and this and that.....
    One indiviual goes biserk and that means the rest of our men and women are SHIT ! ?. . . REALLY ? ? . . . .
    But those of you that do want to down grade them , you go ahead but DO NOT CALL ON THEM WHEN SHIT does go bad in America oneday (bcause its going to happen), do it on your own. YOU take care of you and your families cause the FINEST PRES we have will be locked down in a bunker with his family SAFE AND SOUND and MILITARY ALLLLLLL AROUND IT . . .

    March 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      Geeze. Chill dude. I'd hate to be around you when the waitress gets your order wrong. The only people that could potentially be insulted are the soldires in the tent. We haven't heard from them, but you are sure that they are insulted. Do you charge for your psychic readings?

      March 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
      • Bruce

        or dudette 🙂

        March 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
      • Sgt Adams

        They were Marines not soldiers. Get it right. There is a difference you know.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Marinemom

      By the way this PRES SUCKSSSSS !

      March 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
      • Bruce

        I have no reply to such a pithy comment. On the debate team at school?

        March 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Clinton

      Marinemom – with respect, I am a former soldier and i knew exactly what i was signing up for. Yes some things you can't know until you're there... but I joined my country's army in War time. If you join not thinking you're going to War then you're a fool. I joined to start a life for myself and have an opportunity to go to college which i wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. I don't like it when people say, "they're just kids that don't know what they're doing when they sign up, because seriously, they're adults and they make a choice"
      I do wholeheartedly agree that people should respect our soldiers sailors and airmen and i do also feel that this war has gone on quite long enough and we should leave since we don't really have any defined goals or at least any goals that a military should be tasked with achieving... but again, it's not just a bunch of blind morons joining the military, there are many smart intellectual individuals in there that went in with eyes wide open.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
      • Bruce

        Well said.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • Marinemom

        CLinton . . . .let me say first THANK YOU for your service. . . I will admitt when i am wrong on things and mayb in some repsects to others i maybe but in regards to these people signing and knowing what they are in for , TO ME , is not always true. I have had several fmailies members that went in on one MOS but due to a high scoring they made on test they were moved to another MOS and were never given a choice about it. I think I just get so SICK of feeling like the MEN and WOMEN in our Armed Forces getting knocked down here lately everytime i turn around and I start reading comments and it just ANGERS me to no end.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • bob


      I just don't get the down grading of our soldiers

      Stupid comment, with no basis in reality.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply

      It's not A-WALL LOL It's AWOL .It means Absent Without Leave

      March 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
      • bob

        TIM HAWKINS U.S.M.C.

        It's not A-WALL LOL It's AWOL .It means Absent Without Leave

        SEE: George Bush.

        March 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  37. mm

    NOT uncommon to disarm like so many of you "I know everything about the Marines/military" may think.
    Did it ever occur to any of you that maybe orders came to disarm to put the unarmed Afghan troops at ease especially after the rampage just a few days ago?
    Tired of people using politics and ignorance as an excuse for everything.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • Clinton

      Again, i point out it's one thing to ask a foreign soldier to disarm while in the attendance of a high ranking official it's quite another to have your own commander ask you to disarm... it shows lack of trust, but okay whatever. continue being ignorant.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
      • Bruce

        Ummmm. You do know that nobody EXCEPT your commander can order you to disarm. Please read the article. Who does it say asked them to disarm? Hint:(spoiler alert) "The order to disarm came from Maj. Gen. Mark Gurganus, who commands troops in Helmand province."

        Did it say that the order came from Panetta? HInt: Nope
        Did it say that the troops were upset? Again, Nope
        Did it say why the troops were ordered to disarm? Yep (another spoiler alert) "The senior defense official said Gurganus was under orders to make partnership a priority, and he felt that "it wouldn't be right to have armed Marines sitting next to unarmed Afghan soldiers. He wants to promote the mission of partnership."

        TO sum things up you are angry about things that you made up in your mind. There is NO reference to any of your delusions in the article. You really have to read more than just the headline.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • mm

        I beg to differ. I am an active Marine and it is NOT uncommon that we disarm and the perimeter guarded. I myself have stood watch many times and long before the recent events in Afghan. Just four months ago, Saudi while a Colonel visted our base, Marines disarmed and I as well as others stood guard. Next?!

        March 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • jiim

        Garganus also has to answer to higher ups , its called chain of command , right up to the commander in chief, who's to say he didn't receive his orders from his superior. A commander isn't going to say he was told to tell you. he's just going to tell you , and you listen

        March 17, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Bruce

      Wow. You show a lot of common sense. That won't fly around here. People want conflict. They want to hate and for that they need a scape goat. They chose Panetta since his name is in the title (they really don't read any further).

      March 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • ALT

      Careful mm - you are starting to speak with reason & common sense instead ot politicizing the issue. Some folks here may not be able to take it if a military member agrees with a common sense decision vs. blasting the Obama Administration, liberal Democrats, or the media!!

      Thank you for your service.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply

      LOL...yeah right...last I checked the US body count due to "friendly" afghan fire was still quite a bit out in front of afghan casualties...

      March 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  38. Clinton

    In the end I think this is what people aren't getting, whether the Secretary of Defense or his security detail requested the marines disarm or the General acted on his own, This sends a bad message to those who follow these men's orders, it smacks of lack of confidence and cowardice. IF what people are saying below is true, that the order was given as not to offend the afghan troops who were in attendance and asked to come disarmed, that still doesn't change anything... In Iraq we didn't let the Iraqi police or Iraqi National Guard walk around our bases armed regardless, it's not offensive.. It wouldn't offend our folks if the Afghan president asked that we be disarmed in his presence but when the order comes from your OWN COMMANDERS that's different. That shows lack of trust, and that's very important to those of us who have served, We risk our lives following the orders you give us, in turn, you better respect and trust us.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  39. dreamer96

    Are the Chinese getting back into brainwashing our soldiers again?..Can anybody say Manchurian Candidate...

    March 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  40. Sad Day

    Says it all right there. This is a disaster and we have our own leaders afraid for their lives due to their miserable decisions.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  41. dutspup

    This actually worked out perfect! Now the Afgans and the world can see for themselves who the real enemy is.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  42. Damo

    Seems like a good enough call in the final analysis. Other soldiers not listening to the speech would have been armed, and it was done to make sure the Afghan soldiers didn't feel singled out.

    Of course everyone there knew the Afghan soldiers were still the reason nobody had their weapons...

    But this way instead of them just standing there feeling belittled they got to roll their eyes at the transparent attempt at making everyone feel equally special and loved. "See? I'm not playing favorites!" And frankly, diffusing tension, even unintentionally, by giving everyone something to roll their eyes at is a good thing.

    We may want to look into employing it as a tactic more often.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      I think that it was a good move, too. THe only other choices were to ban the Afghans. That wouldn't work since we need them to trust us. Or to let everyone listen armed. Of course that would allow for the assination of Panetta. SO the best choice was the one chosen. Again, not a big deal. It was only the people in the tent that were disarmed. Everyone else on the entire base was armed.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • Clinton

        Bruce, you just don't get it do you? Afghan soldiers are likely ordered to disarm inside of US compounds all over afghanistan, regardless of whether a high ranking official is there or not. In Iraq we didn't allow Iraqi police or Iraqi National Guard into some of our compounds armed... It's not disrespectful it's a security measure... They could ask us not to be armed in their President's presence if they wanted to... it's not that disrespectful... it's disrespectful when your own commanders ask you to disarm.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • mm

        Carfull there, Bruce. You might educate some of these folks.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
      • Bruce

        Clinton – It would be nice to hear from some of the actual soldiers involved, to see if they were offended. I take that you would be offended, and that's your right. I don't agree that it's an insult. Quite frankly, if I were commanding there, I would likely have done the same thing. We have to gain the Afghans trust, but we don't want them armed around our leaders. If they are standing next to armed US soldiers, then it's possible to wrestle a gun away and get one shot off before being killed. I wouldn't take that chance.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
      • LarryC213

        Bruce, I see where you have made this statement repeatedly and I am curious as to why you feel this way. Why would you think that Panetta would have been in more danger if the marines were armed? I feel that the exact opposite would be true. And of course, you don't have to answer that question. I'm just curious.

        March 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • jiim

        Bruce , it HIGHLY unlikely that an Afghan would wrestle an arm from a Jarhead, I was in USAF Security Forces one wrong move from an Afghani and he'd be meeting his virgins.

        March 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  43. Byrd

    It's good to see our so-called leaders running scared from us. It's a good indication that they're hiding things for which they hope not to be held ultimately accountable. So run rabbit, run.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  44. GOUSA99!

    A leader affraid of those he leads is only posing as someone worthy of being followed. It's really that simple.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • mimi jacques

      Secr. of Defense and his underling Maj.Gen. Mark Gurganus' 'This is not a bid deal= disarming US Marines attending their Secr.of Defense Leon Panetta's speech in a 'war zone'. IIf US were the only country in Afghanistan- but they have ISAF/NATO troops in Afghanistan and THIS IS A BIG DEAL- it sends out to each and every friend and foe the kind of message that US cannot even muster being the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It was a very serious mistake disarming those who are willing to die for shielding DoD Panetta in the line of fire.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  45. Justin

    This is not the first time U.S. soldiers, or Marines, were asked to disarm for the SecDef. When I was stationed at Fort Bragg, Donald Rumsfeld flew in to watch us as we were training for another deployment. We were conducting live fire exercises, and before he would speak to us, we had to unload all our ammo, as well as take the bolts out of our weapons. This left us with a poor impression of how the top U.S. commanders felt about our military.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • Phineas

      Justin, many soldiers would probably have the same feeling you did, and from a soldier's perspective is entirely understandable. But if you would, step back for a moment and ask yourself what you would have done as the base commander when asked by the agents charged with protecting the life of the Defense Secretary to have your soldiers carry out such a request. You may still disagree, but the point I'm trying to make that each of the actors involved–you (soldiers), the base commander, the security detail for the Defense Secretary all have roles and sometimes there's competing interests. Whatever the case, hopefully you and your fellow troopers didn't get too demoralized over it.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      In that case it sounds like common sense prevailed. Someone might have shot Rumsfield, what an idiot he was as Secdef.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
      • Bruce

        Rumsfeld, while a horrible SoD, was a hoot to listen to on TV. I loved when he'd get interviewed. THe interviewer would ask a deep question. Rumsfeld would say, "The question you should be asking is............." He would then go on to answer his own questions. Brilliant.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  46. Rude

    How about when they come home?? They can buy military grade weapons everywhere. In Twin Falls Idaho, some nut threatened a Muslim woman and her child. He was arrested and his gun confiscated.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • ?


      Just because one person does something stupid it doesnt mean we all are. After 9-11 we did not kick that MOM and her child out of the country. We understood that their are some dumb people in all area's. Just like you!

      March 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  47. FNWO

    “This is not a big deal," Gurganus said. But he then added that "you’ve got one of the most important people in the world in the room," referring to Panetta.

    This comment and others like it show why there is no equality and therefore no justice for all. If people keep thinking one person is more important than the next, then how can there be equality? He is in the military and the soldier is the most brainwashed of them all, so I'm not totally suprised by this comment. (I have served in the military and there are those with honor and practce the core values instilled from basic training at all times) At some point, this thinking will change for the better or cause there to be one person left because the others aren't important enough to keep around.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      THe quickest way to defeat an army is to kill it's leaders. They ARE more important. Sorry. We don't all have equal importance in this world.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  48. Whackwaco

    That was a stupid decision.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  49. JustSpiltMyDrinkOnMyKeyboardArghhhh

    "Gurganus said reason to disarm was that the Afghan soldiers in attendance were unarmed and he did not want them treated differently than the Marines."

    It's because he doesn't want any of the afghans soldiers to turn on him like they did the soldiers who burned the Quran. It's no different than most other standard security procedures in any other foreign country. I am sure there were soldiers around the base who were armed that were not attending the meeting. Hence why we have Master At Arms/Military Police as a job rating.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  50. haloguy628

    Why is anybody surprised? Didn't the cabal that this bozo is member of call veterans a potential terrorists in their secret memo that got out? I am starting to feel like I am back in communist block where I was born. Very sad for the formerly great United States.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      Please go back to your communist bloc. The fact is that there has always been a high incidence of crime and suicides by those returning from intense combat situations, especially in recent wars where there are so many brain injuries. So now we have tens of thousands of highly trained veterans, many with brain injuries. There will be trouble. THe issue is that the memo should have been kept secret. The truth isn't always pretty.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • haloguy628

        I am medically retired 18D with two combat tours under my belt. I take being called "potential terrorist" personally.

        As for going back to "communist block", I earned my right to be in this country with my military service and service to the Federal Government. It is idiots like you who generalize who should leave this country. What did YOU do for this country except running your ignorant mouth Bruce?

        March 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
      • flo

        do you enjoy working at the c.i.a. bruce?

        March 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • bob

      "I am starting to feel like I am back in communist block where I was born"

      Any time it's too much trouble for you, feel free to fuck right off back to whatever hell hole you crawled out of.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
      • haloguy628

        Hey bob nice language. It is people like me who experienced government that had absolute power and operated behind closed doors who are the ones seeing the creep to the same system that is occurring in this country. Of course ignorant idiots who shoot their mouths do not understand until it's too late. Have a nice day.

        haloguy628 twice over combat vet.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • bob


        Hey bob nice language
        Aw, gee, did your shell-pink little ears get all hot when I said that?

        Toughen up, boy, it's a hard world, and with the load of stupid you are packing, harsh language is the least of your problems.

        March 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
      • haloguy628

        Relax boy

        March 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  51. JMorcan

    "One of the most important people in the world"? History will show Panetta to be an insignificant little mole on the face of a dying country.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  52. joeinalabama

    I'm sure that one of the reasons Panetta went was to help troop morale, but making them leave their weapons outside probably did more damage than he did good. Had it been me the only way I would have gone back in the room was if I was ordered to.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  53. psbfla

    We disarmed our own troops to protect our own Defense Secretary? What message does that send to the Afgans and the rest of the world? That America can no longer trust its own soldiers?

    March 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
    • BEAR

      Well it's true

      March 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • Glenn

      I trust them....

      March 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      OK. It's time for Reading Comprehension 101. Read the article. You said "We disarmed our own troops to protect our own Defense Secretary?" The article didn't say that. It did mention that Afghan soldiers were in the room and that they didn't want them to be the only ones without weapons. We're trying to gain their trust, Remember?

      Then you said "That America can no longer trust its own soldiers?" Same thing. Read the article again. We didn't want the Afghans to be armed. Please learn to read AND comprehend (that means try to understand what you read)

      March 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
      • jrzydvl

        Disarming the Afghans doesn't build trust, but it was still a good idea

        March 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
      • psbfla

        Thanks for the reading comprehension, 101. I read into it. And still, I think that the fact remains that the US soldiers should not put down their arms for anyone. And that certainly includes our own kind, especially while they are deployed over there, where slicing off one's head in that territory is considered to be a perfectly normal punishment for crimes commited.

        March 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • ALT

      The soldiers did not put down their weapons because of any threat to Panetta.

      "Gurganus said reason to disarm was that the Afghan soldiers in attendance were unarmed and he did not want them treated differently than the Marines." This is common sense diplomacy. Why is this so complicated for people to understand??

      March 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  54. TPF

    This Country is in sad shape and getting worse. Not because of the great people here, but because of our WEAK leaders. All our military are stressed to the max, and this could of happened anywhere. Look at the suicide rate among soldiers that have returned from duty. This order was given by the Commanding General and he alone should take full responsibility for his actions.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  55. jim campbell

    The disarming of Our Marines in a combat zone, by any member of any administration, is outrageous and demoralizing. The terrific men and women who give it up everyday deserve better and it shows how perilous it can get when you have such weak, political command. Pannetta should be ashamed of himself.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      You're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts. Pleae point to the paragraph in the article that said that Panetta gave the order. You won't find it since you made that up.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • Saleem

      Perhaps you didn't read this paragraph: "Gurganus said reason to disarm was that the Afghan soldiers in attendance were unarmed and he did not want them treated differently than the Marines." This was a military decision, not a decision made by any member of the administration.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
      • ?

        Yeah sure it wasnt. Who do you think orders the soldiers to do what he wants. The generals give the orders that the administration wants followed. The SECDEF is going to walk up to a private and say" Put your weapon outside". DUMB@$$

        March 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • mm

      Speak for yourself, sir. Do NOT speak for me or any of my brothers who are here in this hole.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  56. Fortunate

    What is to discuss? That is a usual practice during Camorra and Ndrangetta meetings to have their leutenants disarm, so Panetta apparently didn't see there anything exotic from his point of view. Our Secretary of Defence has not much connection to military and his firearm of choice is a pen. People in military uniform and with sidearms make him 'itchy', in fact. Thus, standards from Godfather movie are applied to meetings with them. Also, to answer some suggestions. Panetta is not in charge of Generals or Admirals, the President is. However, Panetta is in charge of their pay, so he can hurt Generals more than even Commander in Chief and without much ado.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  57. AnniB

    No, Gurganus, it's not a big deal, it's a HUGE deal. I'm so offended. How dare those pompous asses. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was so offended and angry by the abject stupidity on constant display by "the most important people in the world". Take your self-aggrandizement and SHOVE it.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • bob


      No, Gurganus, it's not a big deal, it's a HUGE deal. I'm so offended. How dare those pompous asses. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was so offended and angry by the abject stupidity on constant display by "the most important people in the world". Take your self-aggrandizement and SHOVE it

      So did you vote for that AWOL punk Bush, and his chickensit "5 deferrments" Cheney?

      Take your BS and shove it.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  58. Dan

    Democrats are just scared to death of guns. If you don't know what Freud said about the fear of firearms you should look it up.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Shane

      Its nothing to do with Democrats. It has everything to do with what he said. He didn't want the Afgan soldiers armed, and in order to not treat everyone differently he wanted the Marines unarmed too.

      People are making a bigger deal out of this than it really is. Nobody is trying to take your guns away, especially from the military.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
      • jrzydvl

        Disarming soldiers in a combat zone(and all of Aghanistan is a combat zone) is risky, at best. During WWII, Iwo Jima or Okinawa, soldiers ammo was taken away "after" the battle was over. That night the Japaneese attacekd, and the soldiers had no ammo. All the pilots stationed there died, as well as army. Risky, at best.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • TheMovieFan

      I looked it up. I found that he never said nor wrote that.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      I think that you have it backwards. People that think they need firearms are the weak ones. They're scared to be without guns. Strong, secure people don't need to carry weapons.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
      • Dan

        Tell that to all the Australian and British crime victims. Also, telling an 80yr old woman to just be strong and resist with your bare hands is a bit callous.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • Bruce

        Dan – THe US has 13 times more murders than Western Europe (where guns are outlawed). Please explain why you are safer with a gun? You may feel safer, but the statistics say otherwise.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  59. crusader12

    The fact that the marines were asked to disarm shows COMPLETELY that our soldiers have been over-taxed and forced to fight an unwinnable war and occupy a country that doesn't want to be occupied (and can you blame them, if the Russian built a base in Chicago here and decided to start killing women and children – and don't kid yourselves our troops have acted brutally [more stories to come, trust me] you wouldn't want them there either). It is a disgrace we are there, 9/11 was CIA/MOSSAD beyond a shadow of a doubt and this will be a black eye that we didn't need as our power in the world begins to wane. I hope that these "dirty Arabs" we have been killing, raping and torturing for NO REASON have it in their heart to forgive our governments, and us for standing for these war crimes. Black eye on all our soldiers, I don't care if they didn't commit atrocities, they knew it was happening and did nothing about it. I feel for the innocent people our power-hungry war machine has ruined. Anybody who would tell me I am wrong has no compassion and no sympathy for their fellow man. Your enemy is not Islam, your enemy is the war-mongering industrial complex we have allowed to go unchecked in our country since the end of WWII.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • Ken

      Well Said!!!

      March 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • JaneMarsee

      Crusader, You are an obnoxious, lying traitor! The perpetrators of 9/11 were Saudis–and none other!

      March 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
      • Osama

        Thats why they dumped the evidence in the sea right?

        March 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
      • SDunlop

        You might want to check that fact, most be not all were Saudi.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Shane

      Asking them to disarm has nothing to do with them being overtaxed or burdened.

      And yes, unfortunately some soldiers have acted improperly, but a vast majority of them have actually tried to do their best to help these people out. When I was over there I saw it countless times. Marines handing over their MREs, Marines going into fire to grab a civillian in harms way.

      There are plenty of acts of valor there that just are not reported.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • Osama

      Very well said! I wish more Americans felt the same way as you! Salamu Alukum Brother!

      March 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • rippedoff

      Crusader 12, go spend some time in these areas and we will see if your opinion changes. In any military, organized or not, you have unstable people. The actions by one individual cannot identify an entire military structure.

      Be careful of judging the actions of the few emotionally.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • TomHank


      March 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • John K

      Let me first say that on point #1 I agree this war is unwinable, as to point #2 that 9/11 was CIA.Mossad lead that is stupid and foolish. On point #3, you call Arabs dirty yet you have a double standard for say we kill them and it is a disgrace, you logic here is illogical. The big question is, why are we in this country now? It is not to fight terrorism, it is to support the military/industrial war machine complex, for it is killing we do best and yes it is very profitable! In the long run, we will leave this God forsaken country and it will return to what it has always been a backward place that continues to fight and argue among itself with the different religious secs. America NEVER learns from its past foreign mistakes, how pathetic!

      March 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • Rob

      I surely hope you are from some OTHER country. Most likely you are hidden in a cave somewhere in the middle east . The things you said are lies plain and simple. With a little luck the next drone attack will be on your little cave since it obvious you don't have the guts to fight and can only slander honest soldiers who are risking their lives for us. Regardless of you stupid opions, they are their on orders and not by choice. I hope you find the life you want in Iraq or Iran. I dare you to go there and speak your mind and then we can watch your execution on CNN Live

      March 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • Marinemom

      I just don't get the down grading of our soldiers ? ? These people volunteer and offer their lifes to DEFEND us and your families if needed . They do not go in looking for the WAR REGISTRY to sign. Thier Boss is ? They work for who ? THE PRESIDENT. . . . . . These YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN have to do as they are ORDERED -WHY- if not or if they decide to leave and never return, that is know as going A-WALL and what happens then ? ? They are found and spend time in Military Jail ! with a dishonorable discharge which then means GOOD LUCK SURVING in the civilian world cause most places will not hire you with a dishonorable discharge. . . . . . These kids are not fully informed when they sign up on what is really going to be going on when you come aboard OUR FINEST ! They are just promised this and that and this and that.....
      One indiviual goes biserk and that means the rest of our men and women are SHIT ! ?. . . REALLY ? ? . . . .
      But those of you that do want to down grade them , you go ahead but DO NOT CALL ON THEM WHEN SHIT does go bad in America oneday (bcause its going to happen), do it on your own. YOU take care of you and your families cause the FINEST PRES we have will be locked down in a bunker with his family SAFE AND SOUND and MILITARY ALLLLLLL AROUND IT . . .

      March 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  60. rippedoff

    This had nothing to do with Marines having ill will towards the Secretary or the cowardice of Panetta. To win hearts and minds of the locals you have to show that you respect your foreign counterparts regardless of how the war is fairing. As an adviser in Fallujah we had to do the same to maintain cooperation.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • Paulo

      Exactly. There is one person here who is not a slow learner.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  61. Phil

    This new Commanding General should be relieved of command by the President. He clearly believes he is in command of third world troops rather than United States Marines. If their commander doesn't have any faith in them how can we expect the Afghans to have faith in their presence? Shameful.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • BEAR

      Well you have it half right. The general is in command of Third World Troops!!! Americans have become lazy and sloppy and the failure of our efforts in both Iraq and Afganistan are testament to the collapse of U.S. military discipline!

      March 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  62. John Paul

    "There's a new sheriff in town." Too bad he's an idiot. Disarming American Marines before they stand in front of their Secretary of Defense sends a very bad message to the entire world and an incredibly bad message to all of America. Most especially to our young people in uniform and to those who were thinking about putting on a uniform.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • ts

      seems like the idiot is you. read what rippedoff wrote. i totally agree with him. been there done that. im willing to bet you got no military experiance.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  63. bluemax77

    Speaks volumes of the confidence level in the US Armed Forces...Where were these guys trained, Guatemala...??

    March 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  64. Byrd

    Not to worry. They can still throw a mean combat boot! Semper Fi, Mac.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  65. KeithTexas

    If you are afraid of your own troops it is time to strike the tent and come home.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  66. marzxyz

    Ridiculous! Perhaps the Marines should have been asked to pee before the SecDef arrived too.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  67. Desert1

    After being around some people more important than Panetta and was not asked to disarm I think this incident was uncalled for especially in a enviroment where people can walk up and shoot you any minute,as far as I am concerned I would have been given the right to leave the meeting or get court martialed for not disarming,if you arm that scared of your own troops then what are you scared of ?

    March 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • Clinton

      Desert1 agree – this was a seriuously weak move on the Sec of Def's part... you can't be in charge of the Military and afraid of soldiers...... as far as i can remember, no secretary of defense has ever been shot by a soldier... and in the end he actually put everyone in that room in more danger by disarming them. stupid cowardly move.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
      • Paulo

        What? Do you think the Secretary of Defense was only around soldiers during that meeting? You don't think he had a personal security detail? It is pretty obvious that he was skittish about the Afghans. The US soldiers were only disarmed to put the Afghans at ease – not Panetta. Use your head.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • Clinton

        Yeh but it's a respect thing, you can ask the Afghans to remove their weapons, and not have the Marines remove theirs.... In Iraq we had Iraqi police disarm while on base because of security concerns as well, it's one thing if another nation's leaders want you to disarm, it's an entirely different thing when your own command asks you to do it.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Paulo

      I don't know if you have heard or not, but there have been 3 or 4 Afghan soldiers go nuts lately – killing many NATO and American soldiers. The Afghans were disarmed for the meeting – probably because of the recent freak outs on their part. It would have been an insult to just have the Afghans (who are supposed to be our allies) disarm.

      I don't doubt that Panetta trusts our guys fully as he was around them during much of the trip while they were armed (to protect him).

      March 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
      • ?

        Yeah because for the last 10 years we have been wining their hearts and minds. Fact of the matter is we have not. So whats more important possible offending the Afghans or letting our troops look incompetent to the rest of the world?

        March 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  68. john

    We mustn't let Mr. Panetta fret. Perhaps he will need a diaper.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  69. Bhari

    No one was wishing Panetta any harm. Suppose an attack had taken place while all the troops were disarmed. I agree with "?" – if he was afraid, why didn't he just video chat from his big leather chair in DC?

    March 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Clinton

      Agree, No reason for him to be there especially if he's so afraid of being attacked that soldiers have to change their security posture in his presence. If he can't walk around without causing a problem why even show up just phone it in.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  70. Kj

    So it has come to this. The top brass is openly acknowledging that they have pushed their troops to the breaking point. The point where they can't even trust their own soldiers to not try to klll them.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • pfauenauge

      Yes in deed. The top brass has been pushing the troops to its limits for yearsw without regard for teh consequences. Now, they blame somwething else. May be they will get shot in teh back. I know I would. I advise Panetta to borrow the Pobs car teh safety glas bubble. Iagine teh Pope and the American top brass need protection. What does that tell you about these cats? dishonest yes for sure.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  71. Opinion3142012

    Let's get our people out of there for good and Panetta won't need to visit at all. We should start with the people who have more than one tour and work our way out. That ground was never worth one American life to begin with.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  72. James

    You know what ended WWII? Two nuclear bombs. Not on military targets. On two Japanese cities. American ideals and values have been eroded and degredaded by those we have appointed to lead this country. The ONLY reason why we are still in Afghanistan is because we are not fighting a war to win it. We are too busy trying to win hearts and minds. Political correctness has invaded our military to the point where it has gotten a lot of service men & women killed, and it will continue to do so. Here's a tip to those in charge, unless you are willing to do everything; use every weapon we have, bomb every town, kill every person, don't engage in a war. The only way to win a war against anyone is to so badly decimate them that they lose the will to fight. That the cost, whatever that may be, to again go to war with America is just to high for them. We have not done that in Iraq, Afghanistan, ect. That is why we have wars that last for decades.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • Kj

      You know what else we had in WWII? A clearly defined enemy. Using your (conservative) logic, we should bomb entire states because there are some criminals living within the borders.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
      • pfauenauge

        Which States would you bomb first? Any preference? Start in Washington DC. We can do without it much better.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • mistamista

        I'm begging for Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina to be the first targets. They're full of hotheaded religious zealots who need to KNOW if their bad ideas of life after death are accurate. God knows we can do without them (Pun).

        March 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Hub

        KJ, Do not confuse clearly defined enemy and clearly defined strategy. Japan gave us the luxury if you will of the clearly defined enemy because the majority of the fighting was NOT on their home island. Had we actually had to invade the Japanese mainland we would have found ourselves in similar circumstances as now in Iraq and Afghanistan. The difference was, in WWII our military leaders had a clearly defined strategy unlike now.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Phineas

      It sounds like you got your history from the back of a cereal box. The Japanese had attempted to surrender; they were screwed over by the Soviets, who were, like all victors, looking for a bigger piece of the pie. Several votes had been taken to surrender to America, and the "yes" votes got increasingly stronger. In fact, the vote for surrender taken after the Nagasaki bomb prevailed by a single vote. They were interested in surrender before the bombs ever fell, and inching closer with each vote. Your reasoning is specious as best. What you're advocating got MacArthur fired (he wanted to drop 30-50 atomic bombs on China).

      March 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • Hub

      Yes, James...well stated even though Phineas didn't get his history entirely correct before attempting to correct yours. (Allies made it clear that unconditional surrender was only option and Japanese votes prior to bombs tried to put conditions on it so you get 1/2 a point for that one.)

      March 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
      • Phineas

        The only condition attached was that the Emperor's place in society be retained, which they ultimately got. No conditions were attached to the final votes in the weeks preceding the bombings. Before you attempt to speak, please check your facts.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
      • Hub

        Phineas – Here is one of many link for you since you don't believe anything that you haven't ready yourself.
        Initial attempts were to convince Soviets to side with Japan against Allies. After that it was an attempt to surrender but unonditional was not an option "But so long as England and the United States insist upon unconditional surrender in the Greater East Asia War, the Japanese Empire has no alternative but to fight on with all its strength for the honour and the existence of the motherland." July 12, 1945 from Togo.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • Phineas

        Surrender had been discussed beginning sometime in Jan or Feb 1945, and had taken place routinely. If that quote is proof of anything to you, you're easily convinced. Also, note how you failed to acknowledge that the Emperor was allowed to remain. You're free to believe that the atomic bombs ended the war with Japan. You can make that case since the surrender was announced shortly after the second bomb was dropped. But don't pretend that there were no overtures by the Japanese to surrender–they occurred regularly.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • Hub

        I so love when people put words in your mouth.....

        "Surrender had been discussed beginning sometime in Jan or Feb 1945, and had taken place routinely." I never disputed that fact. Check the previous posts. History shows it was discussed a lot even up to the end but hardliners in Japan wouldn't accept unconditional, thus it allowed times bombs to be dropped.

        " If that quote is proof of anything to you, you're easily convinced". If that were the case I wouldn't be having these conversations. lol Link was put there as one of many references to allow you to see the point I was making. Don't really care whether or not you believe it. 🙂

        "Also, note how you failed to acknowledge that the Emperor was allowed to remain." Never disputed that fact either. (Seems to be a repeating theme here.....) Also, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the items originally discussed. Emperor allowing to be in place was never the deal breaker as far as surrender talks. Unconditional was the deal breaker prior to atomic weapons being used. (Also Emperor stayed in large part to Gen MacArthur's input from his time in the area and understanding of Japanese culture.)

        "You're free to believe that the atomic bombs ended the war with Japan. You can make that case since the surrender was announced shortly after the second bomb was dropped. But don't pretend that there were no overtures by the Japanese to surrender–they occurred regularly"
        Again, you are putting words in my mouth. I never stated that there weren't overtures to surrender. BUT do you really believe that the dropping of the 2 bombs didn't hasten the inevitable.......?

        Anyway, not trying to change your mind on anything, just enlighten you to other tidbits of information that are out there that you may not have heard before. After all, just because you haven't heard it before doesn't mean it is incorrect. Have a great Wednesday. 🙂

        March 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Krsty

      I understand what you are trying to say. We can't afford to just "be" over there. My husband is there for the 3rd time now, advising and assisting Afghans to protect themselves is an now an oxymoron.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  73. Alex Gessong

    Smart move. Most troops are dependable, disciplined, professional warriors, but as we all know now, there are a few who go on rampages. Better safe than sorry. This should be standard protocol for all high profile visitors.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • KeithTexas

      You have never been in battle, you are full of opionions and crap

      March 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
      • bob


        You have never been in battle, you are full of opionions and crap

        Same to you, bub.

        March 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  74. TerryG

    With all the strange things happening over there I can't say as I blame them for taking precautions. They still have Limbaugh on the radio throwing his bombs at the administration too so ya just can't be too careful.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  75. Mirroview

    As for past military members questioning orders new soldiers take we have to remember that after the Korean War there seems to be more reluctance to follow what I would call Poor Orders. Too many Brass give orders that are bad to begin with. Also we have seen Washington Politicians lie and manipulate the facts. Only when we have truthful clear leadership in mission and reason for US involvement can we ask our troops to obey their sworn oath. Also when I was in I swore to R. Regan I wouldn't want to swear oath to Jimmy Carter.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  76. Clinton

    As a former US Army Soldier I know that the Marines or any armed services member would go ahead and do as ordered, but seriously, as a soldier, my personal opinion, is that Panetta looks like a coward in my eyes. You got over a hundred thousand soldiers, marines, and airmen in Afghanistan dealing with life and death every single fricken day and you come in and disarm everybody so you feel warm and cozy, you're a coward. You want safety, well you choose to send us into harms way, then don't be a coward when you come to visit... i wouldn't have wanted to see the guy at that point.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • sane

      The order came from a general, not Panetta, you moron.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
      • Clinton

        sane – the order came from a General because the General is in charge of the troops... MORON... Panetta isn't going to go around giving troops orders, he's not in charge of troops he's in charge of Generals... DIPSHI%

        March 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • James

        That order came from a General BECAUSE of Panetta, you moron. When I met the Sec. of Def., the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and various Gov.'s while in country I never disarmed, nor was I asked to. But that was before Obama.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
      • Clinton

        Thanks for the back up James... kind of strange this guy goes spouting off about me being a moron when he doesn't know the first thing about being a soldier... I've been in the presence of high ranking officials while in uniform and NEVER asked to disarm. Besides, i don't care if Panetta thinks it's safer that way he's wrong... There's nothing safer than being surrounded by armed Soldiers... when was the last time a Soldier turned his weapon on a High Ranking Official? Seriously can anyone answer that? I don't know of it ever happening.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • Chuck

        Why do you think the General gave the order, duh, an aide of Panetta's I am positive, said something to the effect, you know, I am sure it would be safer in here if we had all of the armed soldiers and sailors probably leave their arms out
        side so no "accidents " take place.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • KeithTexas

        The order came for someone needing diapers

        March 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • pfauenauge

        No, you are both wrong. I gave the order. I remember smoking a joint and than I saw the big picture.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • Bruce

        Hey CLinton: The story doesn't say that Panetta gave that order. It does mention the General, specifically. Since you don't know that Panetta gave the order AND the article mentions that the General gave the order..... what the heck are you talking about. You're attacking Panetta for no reason. I think that Panetta is the best SoD that we've had in years. Better than Gates, and definitely smarter than you.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • Clinton

        Bruce you're a fool... have you ever served in the Military? You shouldn't really have a hard time understanding this... the Secretary of Defense has a detail, they would be the ones to set the security posture, the marines being disarmed would have come from him or someone in his detail that ran it by him in the first place, one way or another Panetta was given the choice for this, If you don't understand that, i don't know what else to tell you. and by the way, you're stupid for insulting me, you had a valid counter-question then ended it by being an idiot and insulting me randomly.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Mirroview

      Great Point! Does Sectary of Defense have to be former military person? If not that should be mandatory for job!

      March 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • Sue

      Clinton is a moron.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
      • Clinton

        Sue –
        Great insight, not even an attempt to argue or provide a reason as to why you feel that way, just an insult, well, how bout this one, you're ugly and nobody loves you. How's that? are we getting anywhere on this debate?

        March 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Lburk

      Clinton: General Gurganus should have never asked his Marines to disarm. The first thing to go through my mind as a Marine from long ago is we're not trusted by our own commander. In a word that's Bullshi*.. Our Marines can go in harm’s way, we can handle life and death situations, we handle millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and we're not trusted? Our Marines are not Afghan soldiers. They're Marine's. They should be treated different than their counterparts because they are different. They are better trained, better disciplined and better educated. General Gurganus should never had issued that order or made the stupid comment that there's a new sheriff in town. I believe he should be recalled immediately by the Commandant of the Marine Corp. I wouldn't follow him to an outhouse if I had dysentery.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
      • Clinton

        Absolutely agree, when i was in Iraq we didn't let Iraqi police walk into our outpost armed... It has to be done in some cases, but it's an entirely different thing when your own Command asks you to disarm... that shows lack of trust from YOUR command.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Rocket

      I used to work PSD for the Army, the order came from his security detail, not an aid, not the general not the SGM, they may have conveyed the order, but it came from the security detail. We used to do it all the time when escorting generals in germany.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Phineas

      I'm hardly a fan of the current (or previous) Administration, but it was a matter of security, not cowardice. The general did absolutely the right thing in asking his own troops to do the same thing that had been demanded of the Afghan friendly troops. That said, I'm inclined to agree that if it's considered too dangerous for the normal protocol, perhaps the SECDEF should have reconsidered the arrangements and only met with personnel who were considered within the threshold of safety. You're also correct in that the Marines did exactly as any good Marine should–they followed orders. I can't believe I just agreed twice with a former soldier in the same day.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  77. ?

    Why did Panetta have to fly to Afghanistan anyway? Couldn't he have talked to however he needed to via video conference? Just wasting more money we do not have! Thanks a lot!

    March 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  78. Marvs257

    You can disagree with the Administration,but it's disgusting when you start wishing for the Sec of Defense to get hurt. We are still one country after all.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • mfx3

      The Secretary of Cowardice, you mean?

      March 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
      • Eric

        Are you talking about Rumsfield?

        March 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • bob


        Are you talking about Rumsfield?


        +1 – good one!

        March 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Clinton

      Marvs257 – don't let it get to you, There's a lot of Anti-American sentiment on these blogs, partly from a lot of folks outside of the United States chiming in and a number of folks inside the US that want to blame their failed lives on the "guvament" because they're losers and failed in life... Don't let it get to you... In General, those who post on topics are people who have radical opinions that not many share... they want attention but know if they talk to people in the real world they'll be labeled correctly as stupid... so they go online to try and get people to agree with their stupid ideas.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • Not Chicken Little

      "We are still one country after all"

      Maybe not for long if Obama gets re-elected. The divide between those who want individual freedom with accountability and responsibility and those who want the government to provide for them and control everything, is about as big a divide as we have had in this country since our Civil War. Only tyrants and cowards who want to control the people are afraid when the people have guns...

      March 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
      • Clinton

        Not Chicken Little –
        I don't care if Obama gets re-elected or not, if gun toting psycho's think that the election process in the United States is unfair and decide to try and take matters in their own hands i'll be right there to defend this nation from those morons and i know i'm not alone.... There's a line kid, you cross it, and i'll be right there to put you down. that goes for all the tea partiers and morons that think Democracy fails whenever they don't get their way.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
      • KeithTexas

        A republican could lose the country just as easily. It is about class warfare now, the problem with that is you never know how it will go. Sometimes the rich win sometimes the poor win.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Sue

        Chicken Little, or as you're normally referred to : right wing teabag conservative. President Obama will be re-elected so take your hate and spew it somewhere else. You wish for pre-civil war days because he's not "one of you". Thankfully the nasty little hate-filled people like you are dying out. Your government healthcare iaka MEDICAID s the only thing keeping you trolls alive.

        March 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • mike

        to all party loyalists your blind voting is ruining this great Idea (nation). We must always question authority since its made up of humans. We all know what the problem is and it is us the people of this planet. This article is about the disarming of the Afgan soldiers in fear of them taking action in responce to the American soldier. If the peoples A. D. D. takes over as it has is these responces above and below we cannot get anything accomplished and thats what the U. S. politicians play on.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • Clinton

        mike – i absolutely agree, it's the party system and those who play off of people's fears of the different parties in America that cause the divide... people in general want the same thing but many are dumb and think that a specific party stands for Democracy and the other stands for Socialism or regressive policies or whatever, it's not about that, but it's been played like that, i personally don't care which politician is in charge and which party gains favor in the public's mind, i think in the end people should look at one thing and one thing alone, Who is the best, most capable, intelligent person for the job, party offilliation is bull#@! built for the weakminded who need someone to tell them what to believe.

        March 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  79. Lejaune

    This is sad. If he can't trust the Marines who else can he trust to protect him? How can you be a defense chief if you don't even trust your best trained soldiers?

    March 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • Randy

      Read it a little closer. He wasn't going to speak in front of armed Afghani soldiers. They didn't want to shame the Afghanis by disarming only them. This article is a cheap shot because it ignores the situation they were in. If you were the commander, do you shame the troops you're supposed to be trying to turn into a real military? Criticize the mission if we must because it appears nearly impossible. The big thing they're doing is a hearts and minds mission and this was part of that. This story was hung out as a piece of tripe for people to play with. "O the shame! What are we coming to?"

      March 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
      • Buzzer

        You're many other knuckleheads are going post an ignorant comment getting pissed that "Marines never disarm!".

        They need to look at the bigger picture on WHY this was wasn't that Panetta and the command leadership didn't trust our Marines.

        Anyone that has been keeping up on the situation in Afghanistan and our deterorating relationship with the Afghan population (yes, that INCLUDES members of the Afghan military...they aren't in a vacuum and are most likely "up to speed" on current event within their own country) and half a brain on the CONSEQUENCES of pissing off Afghans that have access to guns and our military know that saving our Marine's LIVES are more important than hurting their "pride".

        You can be the Marines at Camp Leatherneck were briefed on this reasoning, weren't "offended" to an great degree and smartly complied with the reports of a "mutiny" from ANY Marine involved.

        March 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  80. Matt

    Disarming in a combat zone is NOT normal during a formation. Just because you disarmed in boot camp doesn't mean you know how a war zone works! Since we have Afghan soldiers shooting at our own troops on a fairly regular basis I find this order RIDICULOUS!!

    March 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  81. jp of arlington

    Disarming the Marines in a combat zone? My God, Chesty Puller must be rolling-over in his grave.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • mfx3

      My thoughts exactly...Jesus, what kind of idiot is this guy? If you can't stand in the same room as armed Marines, stay home. Don't travel into a war zone, jeopardizing everyone around you.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
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