A very public fight has broken out because a US Marine made a stand. Olivia Katrandjian of ABC News reports:
Marine Who Received Medal of Honor Fights Allegations He is Mentally Unstable
In March 2011, Meyer began working at BAE Systems, a British military contracting company, where he learned the company was trying to sell advanced thermal optic scopes to the Pakistani military.
"We are taking the best gear, the best technology on the market to date and giving it to guys known to stab us in the back," Meyer wrote to BAE Systems manager Bobby McCreight, his former co-worker, according to the lawsuit. "These are the same people killing our guys."
But BAE Systems is claiming that that decision is not up to them.
"The U.S. Department of State, not BAE Systems, makes the decision on what defense-related products can be exported. In recent years, the U.S. Government has approved the export of defense-related goods from numerous defense companies to Pakistan as part of the United States' bilateral relationship with that country," said Brian J. Roehrkasse, the vice president of public relations at BAE, in a statement.
Export control regimes as designed by the United States and allies is an extremely complex subject. The overall guidance is contained in what is known as the ITAR-International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The ITAR takes precedence on addressing the export of military equipment and systems and is administered by Department of State. In addition, the Department of Commerce regulates items controlled because of national security, and antiterrorism among other items. Lawyers specializing in this area can make significant income because it is all very confusing.
In supporting the integrity of ABC reporting I think some preliminary conclusions can be drawn -- a court case or settlement might shed additional light on what occurred.
The simple point as BAE Systems tries to throw up "chaff and flares" is to not confuse the fundamental point of ITAR and the export control regime is to always strive to stop bad things going to bad people. This is not a hard concept.
When a US Marine raises an objection in a profound way relying on his personal combat experience and having his judgement and integrity trashed by BAE-especially their using it is not up to us but in essence "we are only following orders" defense the Company has engaged in a very public fight.
The signal being sent out, because of Sgt Dakota Meyer's stand on moral courage to all former military who work or will work for BAE is simple-challenge us and we will destroy you employment viability in a very ugly way. In addition, shame on them because this entire matter echoes from history on the across the board personal slander directed against all returning Vietnam Veterans.
Simply on the merits his internal BAE e-mail, quoted by ABC, it is fair direct and accurate.
So let's let the reader decide by looking at the public record of both Sgt. Meyer and BAE. -
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
CORPORAL DAKOTA L. MEYER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
For service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. Corporal Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above. Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off, Corporal Meyer seized the initiative. With a fellow Marine driving, Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner's position in a gun-truck as they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team. Disregarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver made three solo trips into the ambush area. During the first two trips, he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom were wounded. When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a return to the rally point to switch to another gun-truck for a third trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush. Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing U.S. team members. Still under heavy enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate and recover the bodies of his team members. Corporal Meyer's daring initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy's attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Now BAE's turn for the reader to judge the veracity of the their integrity.
Department of Justice
Monday, March 1, 2010
BAE Systems PLC Pleads Guilty and Ordered to Pay $400 Million Criminal Fine
Today, BAE Systems pleaded guilty to knowingly and willfully making false statements to U.S. government agencies. The actions of BAE Systems impeded U.S. efforts to ensure international trade is free of corruption and to maintain control over sensitive U.S. technology," said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler. "BAE Systems will pay a $400 million fine for its criminal conduct - one of the largest criminal fines ever levied in the United States against a company for business related violations.
So when a Marine of undaunted courage makes an unquestionable moral stand showing another dimension of his character to protect his fellow warriors all Americans should thank him.
Just because individuals may be able to do something doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. Consequently because of Sgt. Meyer's principles stand the American voter, DOS and BAE may want to look closely at arming Pakistan with state-of-the art weapons. In this case they are selling weapons which would have made the SEAL take down of Osama bin Laden much more dangerous and deadly. Good on Sgt. Meyer for bring this to America's attention.
Ed Timperlake is a former Marine Fighter Pilot