Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Seal 6 Situation: Chuck Pfarrer...
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Seal 6 Situation: Chuck Pfarrer weighs in on the bin Laden mission

Rick Coates - May 16th, 2011
Seal 6 Situation: Chuck Pfarrer weighs in on the bin Laden mission
By Rick Coates
Judging by a confusing barrage of news reports over the last two weeks,
exactly what happened during the 40-minute mission carried out by an elite
team of Navy SEALs that ultimately resulted in the death of Osama bin
Laden may never be known.
Conflicting reports of the operation’s details began leaking just after
President Barrack Obama announced bin Laden’s demise on the evening of May
1. But for SEALs Team 6, the details are not important.It is all about
“mission accomplished.” 
Former Navy SEAL and now best-selling author, screenwriter and Bellaire
resident, Chuck Pfarrer, knows the inner workings of the SEALs. He was one
of the first members of the elite unit known as Team 6 and was even its
leader during his tenure that began 25 years ago. Pfarrer, in addition to
writing several books (“Warrior Soul: The Memoir of a Navy SEAL” and
“Killing Che”) and screenplays (“Navy SEALs,” “The Jackyl,” “Darkman”)
also currently serves as a consultant and trainer to companies contracted
to work with the Navy SEALs and has somewhat of a different perspective
about releasing the details of the mission.

“Since I am not a politician I am free to speak my mind and I will start
by saying, had I been in charge of this operation, I would not have made a
public statement at all,” Pfarrer says. “Look, 99% of the operations of
the SEALs are never released, so why this one? I understand the public’s
interest in this but this is just another mission for the unit. I guess if
this publicity accomplishes one thing it tells the people of the world
that we (SEALs Team 6) are capable of going anywhere in world at any time
undetected, so dictators should beware.”
Pfarrer said he is not surprised that politicians, the media and the
public are confused over exactly what took place.
“SEAL teams work outside the typical military protocol; details of
missions are not discussed publicly before or after they take place. So
this is uncharted waters (discussing details of a mission), so details are
going to conflict because people sharing the information were not part of
the mission directly.”
Pfarrer takes it a step further.
“When this mission was put together this SEAL team went into isolation;
they had no contact with their family and the outside world for several
months. This is typical protocol for all missions. The training for these
types of missions is very intense. They started training several months
ago and went through at least two complete dry runs from top to bottom at
a replica compound probably somewhere in Afghanistan,” said Pfarrer.
“Look, this is the most elite fighting unit in the world and while every
possible scenario is reviewed and discussed, here is how works once you
arrive at your destination. Once the first bullet is fired it becomes
somewhat of a chaotic situation and plans have to be adjusted based on
what is presented. The bottom line is to accomplish the mission,
essentially at any cost. So typically the details of the mission after the
fact are not discussed.”

Pfarrer points out that despite obstacles the SEAL team was able to
successfully complete the mission.
“The mission was to take out bin Laden, get his body and collect and
gather up all the data possible. They accomplished this in 40 minutes
despite losing one helicopter and not knowing exactly what they might
encounter,” he said.
“It takes at least two years of training to become a SEAL. Typically half
of those who try don’t cut the physical requirements, but then 75% of
those who do don’t cut the academic requirements. SEALs are well read and
there is a tremendous amount of bookwork required. The required reading
list is extensive and includes the Qur’ān.”
While the American public and the world is fascinated by the operation
that resulted in the death of bin Laden, for the SEALs this was just
another mission.
“I know this might be difficult to understand but SEALs look at every
mission in the same way; each one is important and has a purpose,” said
Pfarrer. “So while I understand the enthusiasm the American people have
with this, it really is irrelevant to the SEAL team. This is their job,
and while Tom Cruise gets on his motorcycle and rides off into the sunset,
these guys have already moved on to their next job. Some of them might
have went out the next night on their next mission. Look, the typical SEAL
will participate in over 500 special ops during his tenure. We don’t get
caught up into politics or placing one operation as more valuable versus

But these missions are often politically motivated.
“As SEALs we understand that, but we remove ourselves from the politics. I
am sure every current and former SEAL had a big smirk on their face when
they saw the photo of the ‘situation room’ with the President and other
high ranking officials watching as the mission unfolded,” said Pfarrer.
“Here is the difference; for everyone in that picture -- their political
career was on the line -- while for each SEAL their life was on the line.
The bottom line is everyone in that picture has never spent one night
outside in their life. For those people in the situation room we are just
a video game.”
Pfarrer knows the language might be harsh and he means no disrespect to
the President or the military; he says it is the reality of the situation.
“To put it bluntly we do not do this job for the people in that room -- we
do it to serve our country. You sacrifice a lot when you serve in the
military and your family sacrifices right along with you. So I chuckle
when I look at that picture because not one person in that photo is
concerned about the individuals carrying out the mission; their only
concern is with poll numbers. We know that it is just the reality of the
So exactly what was the President and others observing in the “situation
“They were not tuned into the radio frequency so they were not hearing the
audio, but they more than likely had aerial images of the mission and that
is what they were watching,” said Pfarrer. “They also would get updates
from the commanding general who is in contact with the command center.”

Pfarrer agrees with the administration’s decision not to release the photo.
“It would just inflame the situation. I know that this is somewhat of a
celebratory thing that bin Laden is dead, but I am not sure that type of
information needed to be released. SEAL units operate in secrecy and the
less information provided to the public the better. Typically these units
go in, complete the mission, and nothing is said and the local government
is left wondering who was here and exactly what happened. Remember, we do
not do local work -- SEAL units work overseas. I am sure these team
members were told the name of their target but typically that information
is irrelevant to the mission.”
As far as secrecy goes it is a trait that comes naturally for SEALs.
“It really is easy for us. There are no second chances. If you share
information you are out. In our line of work the smallest error could
result in the end of your life,” said Pfarrer. “The difficulty is really
with family and friends, they have the harder time with all of the
Today, training and developing SEAL units requires the assistance of
private contractors and Pfarrer serves in that capacity.
“There are so many operations going on around the world and with these
units essentially working outside of the typical military it is necessary
that private contractors be involved in training,” said Pfarrer. “Every
retired SEAL I know is working in this capacity. We feel an obligation.”
When not consulting or training Pfarrer continues to write books and
screenplays. His current screenplay “A Man Without A Country” has not
found a taker so Pfarrer has converted it into a novel that will be
published later this year.
He also has been fighting an ongoing battle with cancer that he and his
oncologist have been winning. Pfarrer moved to Bellaire 10 years ago and
still travels the world on various assignments, including making numerous
media appearances over the past two weeks. He is also very excited about
how technology is changing the world’s political landscape.
“When I was a SEAL it was MTV that helped to bring down the Soviet
Empire,” said Pfarrer. “Now it is Twitter that is bringing down the rest
of the dictatorships in the world.”
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