WASHINGTON, July 22, 2015 – Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, was a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Kuwait. He will go down in history as the terrorist who attacked U.S. military recruiting facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing four US Marines and one US Navy sailor.
This is not unique. A similar incident occurred in June 2009, when Abdullhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed one soldier and wounded another in a drive-by attack on a U.S. military recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas.
And who can forget November 2009, when Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on unarmed and defenseless soldiers stationed at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 bystanders?
Islamic jihadists relish going after our military men and women. Though there has been an increase in the number of attacks against US military members, this phenomenon is nothing new.
There was the bombing of the US Marine barracks in Lebanon, the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, and the bombing of the Khobar Tower in Saudi Arabia. In 1988, a Japanese citizen with Lebanese ties was thought to be behind the bombing of the USO in Naples, Italy, killing Angela Simone Santos, a 31-year-old petty officer from Ocala, Fla., who was assigned to a Navy communications center in Naples. Five innocent civilians were killed in that attack, as well.
The jihadists’ most successful venture, was a joint Afghanistan/US military mission known as Extortion 17, not against unarmed, and unprotected, American soldiers but rather against the United States very best… United States Navy SEALs.
In that August 6, 2011 attack a large number of Navy commandos were crammed onto a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and sent into a hot battle zone to assist a group of United States Army Rangers that had pinned down a high-value Al Qaeda leader. Those service people did this knowing there had been numerous warnings that Islamic fighters had plans of shooting down an American helicopter in retaliation for the death of Osama bin Laden.
Even stranger was the fact that there was a second helicopter accompanying this fully loaded aircraft that was left virtually empty. The main Chinook, operated by a crew of five from the National Guard, carried additional Navy personnel in support of the seventeen elite SEAL team members.
One Afghan interpreter was also on board. At the last minute, just before takeoff; seven Afghan commandos were curiously assigned to the mission.
Because the helicopters were accompanied by two fully armed Apache helicopters and one C130 Spectra Gunship, the enemy ran into a tall tower that held civilians. The higher position gave insurgents a good vantage point to shoot down the Americans. They also knew that the Americans would be reluctant to fire on a structure that possibly held civilians.
Under this current administration’s rules of engagement, no strike can be made on any building without assurances that no civilians are inside. Therefore, even though the Apache escort helicopters had the visibility and the firepower to take out the enemy before Extortion 17 delivered the SEAL team, they were denied permission to attack and defend their brothers in arm when the SEALs came under attack.
The enemy is aware of these rules, and that is why the jihadists run into buildings where civilians are located after confronting American forces. Other aspects of this mission remain a mystery, a mystery which has been largely swept under the rug. The SEALs’ bodies were cremated without permission by the service member’s family. The excuse was that they were burnt beyond recognition. Yet, witnesses at the scene have stated that several bodies were not burnt at all.
On our home soil we have a large number of republican candidates vying for the seat of the most powerful office in the world. Americans want to know what these candidates feel about the conflicts we are engaged in, and the questions raised by this instance and Benghazi.
The question of what they plan on doing about ISIS and the war in the Middle East should they become president is important and deserves to be answered. We need to know how our service members are being protected, in the war theater abroad and at home.
Whether or not we should allow our defenders of freedom to be armed, free from the restraints of a liberal society that fears our 2A rights is being hotly debated on the talk shows, online and in our homes and offices.
While Presidents George H. Bush and Bill Clinton are responsible for the policy, the attacks on our military on home soil mean that a policy that made sense decades ago, and that keeps our armed services unarmed, needs to be changed.
Every president to follow shares the blame because any one of them could have rescinded it. Instead of taking away their uniforms, that they earned, because they make military personnel obvious, they should be armed to protect themselves and their fellow Americans.
This is important to know because our family members currently serving in the United States armed forces could be the next to die from a lone gunman who sees military installations as an easy to attack shooting range.
Our present Commander in Chief, who took an oath to protect America and Americans from threats foreign and domestic, should rescind the order. But he most likely won’t, so America’s next president has to put an end to this gun free zone madness. Which will require a republican in the White House.
If this is not addressed, it will continue to be duck season on our men and women in uniform. And ducking from a gunman on their own soil is no way a soldier, Marine, airman, or sailor should die.