WASHINGTON – Former Florida Congressman Allen West is calling for congressional oversight hearings into what he describes as an "alarming trend" of dismissals and firings of high-ranking military officers by the Obama administration, firings that in a number of cases appear to be political.
While he wouldn't assign a particular reason for the high rate of dismissals – and he declined to label them a "purge" – West in an exclusive WND interview said oversight hearings need to be convened to determine why so many officers are being removed.
West, who as congressman served on the House Armed Services Committee, said he recently had been in contact with Committee Chairman Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon – calling for hearings "to determine exactly why" so many officers, especially senior officers, are being given the boot.
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"McKeon needs to look at this problem," West told WND. "There needs to be transparency. It is important to get the truth."
There is also concern, he noted, that military officers still on active duty may be reluctant to testify against their commander-in-chief should the trail of trouble lead back to the Oval Office.
West said congressional hearings also need to determine whether a political cover-up was related to the dismissal of three high-ranking officers to deflect political criticism over the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens as well as Sean Smith, a State Department information officer, and Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both ex-Navy SEALs.
Major concerns arose over whether Stevens and the other Americans could have been rescued by available U.S. forces.
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As WND reported, three of the nine top-level firings of flag officers by Obama this year alone were linked to the controversy surrounding the Benghazi disaster.
In one case, U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham, who commanded U.S. African Command when the consulate was attacked and the four Americans killed, was highly critical of the decision by the State Department not to send reinforcements.
Obama insisted there were no reinforcements available that night. But Ham contends reinforcements could have been sent in time, and said he never was given a stand-down order. Others contend he was given the order, but defied it, and he ultimately was relieved of his command and retired.
Now, new information in the Washington Times reveals Delta Force personnel were in Tripoli at the time of the attack and two members volunteered to be dispatched to Benghazi to assist in protecting the Benghazi compound, contrary to stand-down orders from the State Department.
Another flag officer involved in the Benghazi matter – which remains under congressional investigation – was Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, who commanded the Carrier Strike Group.
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After Gaouette contended aircraft could have been sent to Libya in time to help the Americans under fire, he was removed from his post for alleged profanity and making “racially insensitive comments.”
Army Major Gen. Ralph Baker was the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, Africa. Baker said attack helicopters could have reached the consulate in time on the night of the attack.
West acknowledges the rate of dismissals at the higher ranks is having an adverse impact on mid-level officers and enlisted personnel.
A retired Army Lt. Colonel, West said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "doesn't have a good handle on this and that the trend of dismissals is being directed from the Oval Office."
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In a recent interview with WND, Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, who was the deputy commanding general of the Pacific Command, similarly accused Obama's close adviser, Valerie Jarrett, of orchestrating the imposition of "political correctness" throughout the military, affecting everyone from top generals to the ranks of the enlisted.
West referred to recent reports of some 197 high-ranking officers who have been dismissed during the Obama administration. While acknowledging some had "zipper issues" leading to their being relieved of duty for personal misconduct, West says the most troubling and pervasive issue at play is the radical "social egalitarianism" being forced on the military – rather than the traditional focus on maximizing readiness – which, he says, is bringing the world's greatest military to the point that "we can't fight a war."
He referred specifically to the dismissal of Senior Master Sgt. Philip Monk, who was relieved of his position for refusing to agree with the homosexual worldview of his commanding officer, a lesbian.
Monk had objected to the plans of his commander at Lackland Air Force Base to severely punish a supervised staff sergeant who had expressed his religious opinions regarding the issue of homosexuality.
During their conversation, the commander ordered Monk to reveal his personal views on homosexuality. Monk claims he then was relieved of his position because his views differed from that of the openly lesbian commander.
A similar case of social egalitarianism occurred in the dismissal of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, a 1994 West Point graduate, who was relieved of duty as a military instructor after being publicly condemned by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The reason? Because Dooley allegedly portrayed Islam in a negative way in an approved course titled "Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism."
Action was taken against him after 57 Muslim organizations in an Oct. 19 2011, letter to the Department of Defense demanded that all training materials they considered offensive to Islam be "purged" and the instructors "effectively disciplined."
"There is a demoralization going on at the lower ranks, and they see what is happening at the higher ranks," West said.
As an Army officer, West commanded the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Division and served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation Iraqi Freedom until 2004, when he retired.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, West was involved in an incident in which he had received intelligence that his unit was about to be attacked. He interrogated an Iraqi police officer whom the intelligence suggested was involved in the plot.
Because of the imminence of the potential ambush, West fired his pistol near the ear of the potential terrorist to get names and information.
"At the time, I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received," West said during the subsequent investigation. Although he ultimately was fined $5,000, West was widely supported by the public for his actions on behalf of his men. As West put it, "If it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can."
West is the recipient of the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.
WND has recently published a series of high-profile reports on the surge of firings, suspensions and dismissals of key military commanders under Obama, including earlier this week when the commander of the U.S. Army Garrison Japan was summarily relieved of his duties.
So far, at least nine generals and flag officers have been relieved of duty under Obama just this calendar year – widely viewed as an extraordinary number.
In pinning the blame on Jarrett, reportedly Obama's closest and most influential adviser,Vallely suggested her far-left, politically correct influence is forcing senior officers to watch everything military personnel say and do.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, says in a story by The Blaze, that Jarrett influences nearly every policy issue at the White House.
"She seems to have her tentacles into every issue and every topic," Chaffetz says. "Her name ultimately always comes up."
The Washington Post has written about Jarrett as the president's "mysterious" adviser.
And author Ed Klein, former editor-in-chief of the New York Times magazine, said in a Washington Times report that Jarrett was the secret "architect" of the Obama strategy to shut down the government and blame it on congressional Republicans.
"She convinced the president that a government shutdown and default offered a great opportunity to demonize the Republicans and help the Democrats win back a majority in the House of Representatives in 2014," said Klein.
London's Daily Mail newspaper notes that Jarrett's insider nickname is "Night Stalker" because of her exclusive, late-night access to the presidential family's private quarters.
According to Vallely, Obama is "intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged."
Vallely served in the Vietnam War and retired in 1993 as deputy Commanding General, Pacific Command. Today, he is chairman of the Military Committee for the Center for Security Policy and is co-author of the book "Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror."
In addition to Vallely, a number of prominent retired generals – from Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, a founder of the Army's elite Delta Force, to Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. Patrick Henry Brady – have also gone on the record with WND on this issue.
They've described Obama's actions as nothing less than an all-out attack on America’s armed forces.
Brady, recipient of the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, said Obama's agenda is decimating the morale of the U.S. ranks to the point members no longer feel prepared to fight or have the desire to win.
"There is no doubt he [Obama] is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him" over such issues as "homosexuals, women in foxholes, the Obama sequester," Brady told WND.
"They are purging everyone, and if you want to keep your job, just keep your mouth shut," another military source told WND.
Not only are military service members being demoralized and the ranks' overall readiness being reduced by the Obama administration's purge of key leaders, colonels – those lined up in rank to replace outgoing generals – are quietly taking their careers in other directions.
Boykin, who was a founding member of Delta Force and later deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush, says it is worrying that four-star generals are being retired at the rate that has occurred under Obama.
"Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not necessarily relieved for cause," Boykin said.
"I believe there is a purging of the military," he said. "The problem is worse than we have ever seen."
The future of the military is becoming more and more of concern, added Boykin, since colonels who would become generals are also being relieved of duty if they show that they're not going to support Obama’s agenda, which critics have described as socialist.
"I talk to a lot of folks who don't support where Obama is taking the military, but in the military they can’t say anything," Boykin said.
As a consequence, he said, the lower grades have decided to leave, having been given the signal that there is no future in the military for them.
Brady, who was a legendary "Dust Off" air ambulance pilot in Vietnam and detailed his experiences in his book, "Dead Men Flying: Victory in Viet Nam," told WND, "The problem is military people will seldom, while on duty, go on the record over such issues, and many will not ever, no matter how true. I hear from many off the record who are upset with the current military leadership and some are leaving and have left in the past."
Brady referred to additional problems in today's military including "girly-men leadership [and] medals for not shooting and operating a computer. This president will never fight if there is any reason to avoid it and with a helpless military he can just point to our weakness and shrug his shoulders."
Likewise, retired Navy Capt. Joseph John tells WND that the "bigger picture" is that "the U.S. Armed Forces have been under relentless attack by the occupant of the Oval Office for five years."
"I believe there are more than 137 officers who have been forced out or given bad evaluation reports so they will never make Flag (officer), because of their failure to comply to certain views," said John.
"The truly sad story is that many of the brightest graduates of the three major service academies witnessing what the social experiment on diversity … is doing to the U.S. military, are leaving the service after five years," he said. "We are being left with an officer corps that can be made to be more compliant, that is, exactly what Obama needs to effect his long range goals for the U.S. military."