In a nation of over three hundred million people, it’s easy enough to overlook the fact that approximately 35,000 of our bravest and most honorable citizens are still very much engaged in a war; living, breathing, and dying far away from all they love… and all who love them. Never in the course of our nation’s history have so few taken on the responsibility of defending so many.
Our warriors, halfway through their thirteenth year of battle, fight night after night against a savage enemy determined to destroy our way of life. And their nation turns its proverbial back. We have bills to pay, people to see, movies to watch.
Our silence is deafening.
But you have an opportunity to act on behalf of one casualty of this forgotten war. This is your chance to stand in the gap for 1st Lt. Clint Lorance.
Clint was born with a defender’s heart. Throughout childhood he aspired to be a police officer. But after the events of September 11, 2001, he knew his lifelong calling to protect and defend would be fulfilled in camouflage rather than blues. In December 2002, on his 18th birthday, he joined the military.
Clint’s military Evaluation Reports read like the nation’s who’s who in leadership and excellence, but none of that seemed to matter on July 2, 2012 when he faced a split-second decision of life-or-death for he and his men. Simply stated, he chose the life of his men over the lives of a potential enemy and ordered fire upon a fast approaching team of motorcyclists who refused to stop when warned. Even though it was later discovered the incoming assailants had residue of bomb-making materials on their persons, they were unarmed at that moment. And the full wrath of the UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice) fell on Clint’s strong, fearless shoulders. He was swiftly sentenced to twenty years in Leavenworth.
“In Afghanistan and Iraq, a common enemy tactic is for unarmed fighters on motorcycles with cell phones to track unit movements. In fact, enemy combatants had previously used the tactics against this same platoon. Lorance, who was operating in a combat zone, saw the scout spotters and assessed them as a threat to his platoon. Aerial surveillance later backed up Lorance’s on-the-ground assessment.” Said Allen West in a 2013 Washington Times article.
In our current war strategy there is no room for a choice to protect your brothers in arms–or yourself–against an apparent threat. Our ROE [Rules of Engagement] have removed all inherent rights of our warriors to self-defense. Rules, that were already stringent, were tightened even further in 2009 under the guise of preventing civilian casualties. Ironically, according to statistics cited by the National Security Law Journal, when the years of 2009 and 2010 were compared, civilian casualties actually went up by 31% percent. Not at our hands, but at the hands of the enemy. In an atmosphere where our troops had to act with extreme caution for fear of reprisal from their own government our enemy forces became emboldened. They increased their use of IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices], suicide attacks, and intimidation tactics. The result? More civilians were killed. But they weren’t the only ones who lost their lives. The same study shows a 105% increase in troop deaths.
On foreign soil, in the chaos of the battlefield, our war fighters suffer the consequences of choices made by people in slick suits who sit in the safety of offices and five star restaurants. These individuals have used their politics to shape an approach to war that favors the enemy over the American soldier in every conceivable way.
Here at home families go to funerals. And brave men like Clint go to jail. It’s time to defend our defenders. The nonsense must stop. Here’s how you can help:
Please visit Clint’s website and become engaged in his battle for freedom. A clemency hearing is just around the corner, so we beg you to act now.
Billy & Karen Vaughn are Gold Star parents of Special Operations Chief (SEAL) Aaron Vaughn, KIA 6 Aug 2011. Billy is the author of Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17. Read more or schedule the Vaughns for a speaking event at http://www.forourson.us.