For the first time in history, U.S. Marines in Afghanistan were asked to disarm before attending a speech given by visiting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta according to the U.K. Telegraph.
Less than a week after a US staff sergeant allegedly massacred 16 civilians in Kandahar, American soldiers were banned from bringing guns into a talk by Mr Panetta at a base in Helmand province.
Around 200 troops who had gathered in a tent at Camp Leatherneck were told "something had come to light" and asked abruptly to file outside and lay down their automatic rifles and 9mm pistols.
"Somebody got itchy, that's all I've got to say. Somebody got itchy – we just adjust," said the sergeant who was told to clear the hall of weapons.
For politically correct reasons, all 200 of them were made sitting ducks:
Major General Mark Gurganus later said he gave the order because Afghan troops attending the talk were unarmed and he wanted the policy to be consistent for all.
"You've got one of the most important people in the world in the room," he told the New York Times, insisting that the decision was unrelated to Sunday's killings. "This is not a big deal."
Not a big deal huh? In a time when violence in Afghanistan is on the rise, this order is insane. The area where Panetta landed in Afghanistan was attacked upon his arrival and even he admits it is a "war" area.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is speaking out about the attempted attack on an Afghan base as his plane was about to land Wednesday, saying he doesn't believe he was the target.
"I have absolutely no reason to believe that this was directed at me," Panetta said in a news conference. "This is a war area and we're going to get these kind of incidents," AFP quoted him as saying.
Not to mention, wouldn't it make sense to have 200 Marines armed should an attack occur simply to protect the secretary?