My husband and I recently watched a grim, but in my view important movie produced in 2012 entitled “Act of Valor.” It illustrates the movements of Navy SEALS on several continents as they prevent radical Islamists in several American cities from using ceramic ball bearings sewn into vests from blowing themselves up in population dense places like airports and sporting events. They would have entered into America through an extensive tunnel system that starts in Mexico. In addition, the SEALS staged a daring rescue of a badly wounded female CIA agent who withstood unbelievable torture, and they narrowly escaped a heavily armed, well trained narco-terrorism force in Central America in the process. All of it was based on true events, and for SEALS, it’s all in a day’s work.

For me, the film was a painful and dear reminder of what a privilege it was to live amongst the SEALS and Iraqi Special Forces for 16 months on a camp that had once been the haunt of Uday Hussein. What I was not prepared for, however, was the fact that the movie had been dedicated to every SEAL that had fallen since 9/11, and when I saw the name of Marc Lee, the fallen son of Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee whom I have met, come up on the screen, I had a come apart. Marc’s story of self sacrifice has been alluded to in other pieces written in this column, and I won’t say more at this juncture other than I found my hand reaching out seemingly involuntarily to touch his name as the credits rolled.

Now contrast the tales of valor as the SEALS waged the kind of warfare that nabbed Osama Bin Laden with a new report that has just been released that makes recommendations that our troops be reduced as well as refocused on dealing with “climate change as a security threat.” The Unified Security Budget, in cooperation with the Center for American Progress and the Institute for Policy Studies has posited that our troops be reduced by 20% and move toward making “conflict resolution and diplomacy” as one of its goals. Huh? The SEALS job never has and never will be to sit down at the table first. It has always been to get the bad guys so that diplomats can actually do the sitting down, let alone the talking. That’s bad enough, but global warming, even if it does exist, is somehow supposed to be looked on in the same way as jihad?

The authors of the Unified report also want to see the U.S. nuclear arsenal reduced, the Osprey not be produced, laser warfare technology not be developed, a Virginia class submarine be cancelled, and the list goes on. They want the Pentagon to “get out of the way, and handing over any unneeded military installations to be converted into green job incubators.” “Green job incubators,” I guess would be where the SEALS will be working to develop sustainable energy and their diplomacy skills. Do you think they’ll sing Kumbaya while they do?
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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