I know that some may not see this as a big deal. For someone in the military, it is huge. Carrying your personal weapon (whether a 9mm pistol, M-4, or M-16A4) while "in country" is standard. As a matter of fact, you cannot enter any messhall without a weapon. The level of distrust shown to the Marines that wanted to meet SECDEF Panetta is just another in a long line of disrespectful moves towards our military by the current administration. I understand if we are meeting the POTUS, we lay down weapons. His office is a political one and can sew discourse in troops that don't approve of his policies. However, the SECDEF is not a political office. In fact, he is overall responsible for voicing the opinions and needs of the very people that were required to disarm to meet him!
In addition, the General that gave the order to disarm is a pinhead. Many of our General's now-a-days are out of touch, snotty, 10 pound brain types who know nothing of the dirt we chew on the ground. Many of these men have not actually fought in combat. The most combat action they have seen is of the incidental type that happens to occur on their tours of the Area of Operations (AO). These men have read a few books, been to a school or two, and declare themselves "masters of the COIN environment". Sadly, history is repeating itelf in Afghanistan. Vietnam was THE demonstration of what happens when senior officers become involved in lower level decisions. Apparently none of our General's read that in any book.
So, what say you. Is it disrespectful for the SECDEF and Major General Gurganus to require the Marines to lay down their arms?
Marines told to disarm before Panetta speech – CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs