MISFIRE: A big misfire is warranted for whoever it was that let U.S. Special Operations weaponry fall into the hands of the Taliban. A recent propaganda video posted online by the Afghan insurgent group prominently featured a militant in a black headdress carrying an FN SCAR 7.62mm rifle, a weapon commonly issued to U.S. special operators, such as Marine Raiders and Army Rangers. A close look at other parts of the video shows the Taliban wielding other pieces of gear and accessories that are most-likely American made and purchased by the U.S. Defense Department. A spokesman for U.S. Central Command said he had no idea how that stuff fell into the hands of the enemy force in America’s longest war. A good bet is that the gear was at some point passed on to weak Afghans soldiers who abandon it when the Taliban attacked one of their many poorly defended checkpoints. Or some corrupt Afghan troops who sold it on the black market. Either way, it’s a misfire for which the blame is shared by many.
Enough of bread and water
To be sure, getting sent to the brig for three days of bread and water sucks. So for that reason alone, it’s probably an effective disciplinary measure. But it’s time to let this antiquated and arcane punishment fade into history along with rum rations and the lash. For now, bread and water remains on the books as an option for dealing with unruly sailors. Yet in today’s highly professional Navy, there are better ways for commanders to dole out discipline aboard a ship. That’s why Congress deserves a (rare) medal for voting to officially end the practice. Now the follow-on question is whether President Trump will warrant the same medal for signing off on the removal, as the law requires. He has until December to make the decision. We’ll let you know what he decides.
Casting heroes as heroes
MEDAL: Clint Eastwood can be so damn gruff and crusty, yet he never ceases to tug at our heartstrings. His role as a Korean War vet in Gran Torino had us bawling like a baby, and now here he comes hiring real-life heroes to play themselves in a Hollywood film. Give this man a Medal. In his new film, “The 15:17 to Paris,” Eastwood will tell the true story of former Air Force Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone, Oregon National Guard Spc. Alek Skarlatos and civilian Anthony Sadler, the three men who tackled a terrorist on a train traveling to Paris in 2015. In a stroke of brilliance, the three men will play themselves. These men don’t have real acting chops (although Skarlatos placed third in season 21 of “Dancing with the Stars”), but they clearly have grit. With Eastwood behind the camera, that’s all they need. Sidenote: Eastwood also cast Jaleel White, aka the guy who played Steve Urkel in Family Matters, in the film. We’ll just have to trust Eastwood on that call.