by Marcus Luttrell
GLENN: We have Mr. Marcus Luttrell on the phone. Marcus, how are you, sir?
LUTTRELL: Good, sir. How are you doing?
GLENN: Very good. How was your holiday?
LUTTRELL: It wasn't too bad. How about yourself?
GLENN: Very good. Marcus Luttrell, in case you don't know, is the author of the book Lone Survivor. He is was in one of the biggest battles of Navy SEAL history and it was I mean, it was an amazing, amazing story. He obviously is the lone survivor of that battle in Afghanistan and a true American hero. His brother is as well. Your brother had an accident in a helicopter recently. How is your brother?
LUTTRELL: He's doing okay. He broke his back in four places and his pelvis, but we're down here doing it's kind of funny because we're both in the same hospital now doing our physical therapy. But he's getting better, you know. He's moving around a lot better. He was getting some paralysis in his lower extremities and stuff like that, but he's pushed back that. He's back on his feet. He's got a body cast on and he's doing good. He's trying to get ready to deploy back overseas. So
GLENN: How is you guys are animals, man. How exactly is he going to deploy again overseas in a body cast from a broken pelvis and broken back in four places?
LUTTRELL: Well, we got a few months. So I mean, you know, he can get up
GLENN: Oh, okay. You didn't tell me he had a couple of months to get past all of that. Now I understand. So Marcus, I wanted to get you on the phone because I would assume that you have a few things to say about the capture of one of the most wanted terrorists, the guy who was responsible for hanging the Blackwater guys and burning their bodies and hanging them off a bridge. The Navy SEALs captured this dirt bag, gave him a fat lip. They are now being court martialed because he claimed abuse.
LUTTRELL: Correct. Well, you know, one thing I just wanted to say, came on the show to say was it's important not to jump to any kind of conclusions whatsoever. I mean, obviously the armchair quarterbacks and everything like that, no one has any idea. Not even me. I don't even have any idea what went down over there. Now, I will tell you this, that these, that the terrorists, especially this one, as high ranking as he was, you know, he's not stupid, okay? And I was watching on the news the other day and a guy, they were talking about a manual that these guys read that tells them how to act mentally ill or, you know, stuff like that to play on: Our values and stuff like that.
GLENN: Use our own system.
LUTTRELL: And that really does exist. They are coached to do that. I mean, no one knows if they were driving, if they were moving that detainee from one place to another. Now, I remember there was plenty of times when we do that, as soon as we get these guys in the truck, they start pounding their faces on the side of the truck, you know. I mean, they jump out of the back of the truck trying, you know, trying to hurt themselves. And as soon as we hand them over to the proper authorities, they are just like, hey, they beat me. And they would shut us down. They would actually take, you know, their words over ours. I mean, you've got to think, you are about to court martial probably a $12 million asset over a fat lip, you know. I've seen 4 year olds give each other fat lips. I mean, I don't understand the problem here. It's not prisoner abuse. This guy could have been I mean, a lot of them will urinate on us and do all this other stuff. Now, if someone wants to come over and urinate on me, he would get more than a fat lip. I'd probably still be beating his ass but I mean, you just can't jump to conclusions like everybody has and, like, oh, this, that and the other.
GLENN: Okay, hang on just a second. Hang on just a second. I think I'm going to have to disagree with Marcus Luttrell and we don't disagree on very much, Marcus. But I'm going to have to disagree with you. I don't think that anybody gives a flying rat's butt if they just saw him and he was all under control and one of the SEALs went, you know what? Boom! And hit him in the face. I don't think there's anybody that gives a flying crap about that. You didn't from what we understand, it was a fat
LUTTRELL: Somebody does. Obviously they do. That's why they are on trial. It shouldn't be any of their business. It shouldn't be in the news that Navy SEALs caught this guy. I mean, it should have been, yeah, we caught him, not who did it, though. But whatever. Somebody needed the notoriety.
GLENN: So what happens to the mentality with guys like you and your brother as you're over on some of the toughest missions I mean, we're not calling out the Navy SEALs for, you know, it's like Pat and I were joking. We're not SEALs. We're like Navy barnacles. We just kind of like attach ourselves to things and eventually we have to be scraped off. You guys are the ones called in for the hardest, most difficult, most intense jobs that anyone can ask another human to do. That's when you guys are called in. When you guys are then being looked at and accused and your word is not being taken over the word of a dirt bag terrorist, what goes through your head when you're on a mission?
LUTTRELL: It's just one of those things that it happens. They tell us to be rigidly flexible, you know. We don't have the luxury of bitching and complaining. Other people do that. So, you know, it is tough but that's what separates us from everybody else. Yeah, you're going to tell me I can't go in there and shoot this guy if I'm getting shot at? Fine. I'll do it. That's the job. That's what I signed up to do. If you don't like it, it's voluntary. I volunteered to be a SEAL. If you don't, quit. You know what I mean? And no (inaudible) hard headed.
GLENN: But wait. What I guess but what I'm asking you is, is there a point to when you say to yourself, "I'm serving a bunch of people who are above me who treat me as the enemy and I just, I'm not doing this anymore."
LUTTRELL: Yeah, that point comes either when you die or you get out. That's it.
GLENN: So Marcus, what do you think's going to happen to these guys? Are they going to go do you think they will go all the way through with the court martial? Because the SEALs have asked, we want you're not going to give it what was it? It's an admiral something or other, some discipline?
LUTTRELL: Admiral mass?
GLENN: Yeah, what is that?
LUTTRELL: Well, it's a lot of times like when the frogs, you know, when you get in trouble, there's some steps, you know. You normally don't go straight to an admiral's mass. That's the old man. He's going all the way to see the old man. Normally you are like, basically what happens is when, like, a guy gets in trouble, he gets through the chain of command. So a chief's probably going to be the guy who takes care of this guy, who yells at him and reprimands him. If that doesn't work, then he goes above the chief and then it will make it to the XO of the team. Then it will make it to the CO, XOI. If it makes it to the captain, it's called a captain's mass. Okay? Then they have what's called DRB, disciplinary review board. Now, if you skip all of that and go straight to the old man, to the admiral, I mean, that's kind of a big deal. We'll see what the admiral does to him, you know.
GLENN: So wait.
LUTTRELL: Obviously since it's out in the open and the media has their claws in it, they're looking for blood. So I mean
GLENN: So are you
LUTTRELL: Beat him down with baseball bats and everything like that and he got a fat lip, you know, whatever. I mean, that's kind of
GLENN: Do you suspect that there's more here that we don't know because it went to the admiral? I mean, a fat lip doesn't seem like that big of a deal.
LUTTRELL: I know. Exactly. And like I said, I can't even speculate, sir.
LUTTRELL: I mean, I wasn't there. If it's going to see the old man, then there probably is. I don't know.
GLENN: But I know enough, I know enough SEALs to know that they're not stupid and they're in control of themselves. I can't imagine that the SEALs would say, "No, we're not doing the admiral's mass; we're going you court martial us. You have a problem, you court martial us." Because they were the ones that asked for it, that would lead me to believe that they want people to know the story.
LUTTRELL: Yeah. Yeah, we're going to keep I mean, it's important for everyone to know that I mean, as much money as they dump into us, I mean, every time I mean, rape, revenge and robbery are things that we just don't deal in, okay? We don't have we just don't need to do that. So people just don't realize how smart the enemy is that we're fighting, you know, and that they use every single rule that is implemented on us against us. And they know it will work. No matter what it is, no matter what it is, I mean, we blew up some cars one time because they came up positive for explosive resin which obviously they are going to use for IEDs, right? So the whole car was covered in explosive resin. And the next day we're like, hey, you know, people are just like, did you torch some cars? We're like, yeah, we did. So they shut us down for two weeks while the jags come in and investigate us. And this, you know, we're not just the guys that go out for the simple bomb. You know, we go out to the heads of the snake and they shut us down because someone somewhere said that we did something. And instead of coming and asking me, that's it, you know. I think if the guys who are in trouble right now, one of the main reasons, the biggest thing in the SEAL teams is integrity, okay? Our unit can't function without integrity. So if you lie to I mean, once you are busted, you are busted. If you get away with it, whatever. But if you are busted, if you straight up get caught and then you lie to the old man about what you did, you are going to stand by. You are going to get it because that just, we can't tolerate that. We can't tolerate a liar in the squad.
PAT: Marcus, I've been hearing some rumors that this might go back even to when the Navy SEALs took down those Somali pirates that because of the rules of engagement that were put in place by the executive branch, they didn't necessarily follow them exactly to the letter and they were looking for a chance to take these guys out, and they did. And then this might be some sort of repercussion from that? Have you heard any of those kinds of rumblings? That, you know, people have been angry with the Navy SEALs for taking that matter into their own hands and not following the rules of engagement?
LUTTRELL: Taking the matter into our own hands? You know, I can't comment on that. It was a top secret mission and, you know, I don't know anything about it.
STU: Are you saying Pat's question was wrong to even ask? That's what I took.
GLENN: So I can't, so I can't ask you will you have to kill me if I ask if your brother was part of that mission?
LUTTRELL: I can't tell you that.
GLENN: All right. Well, you could tell me but then you'd have to kill me. And what's really frightening is... you would. So
LUTTRELL: You know, the most important thing is you've just got to keep I mean, nobody knows exactly what happened out there. And you've just got to keep an open mind. These guys, they are good guys, you know. They are squared away if something happened. You know, the military needs to police their own, but somehow, you know, it slipped out and the government, you know, the civilian populous and the government feel that they, you know, they need to police us.
GLENN: No. No, no, no. No. Don't misread the civilian population. I think the civilian population has about had it up to here.
PAT: Oh, yeah.
GLENN: With their treatment of the military in all regards. I think what's happening over in Afghanistan is an abomination. We're sticking these guys out and we're not I mean, we're repeating Vietnam. I mean
LUTTRELL: Somebody's got to say something. I mean, I'm not trying to point fingers at anybody but I mean, if no one's to blame, then why is there a problem?
PAT: Go ahead. Point some fingers at somebody.
LUTTRELL: We're busting our ass getting it done and somehow something's going on back here and if no one knows where it's coming from, then that's a huge problem.
GLENN: So do you think, Marcus, I said last week on the air that I
LUTTRELL: I don't watch the show.
GLENN: I know you don't. That's why I'm telling you. You've got to watch yourself, man. I know karate. I will take you down. I said last week on the air that I can't tell my own family members you should re enlist because I can't I made a promise to myself that I would not be a part of a society that did to another generation of soldiers and sailor and airmen what we did to the Vietnam veterans. I won't be a part of that. And I think we're, I think we're starting it all over again. I think we're doing it. We're not giving these guys everything that should be given to them. Anything that they want they should have. I mean, if we are asking people to fight and die in our name, then everything that is the best of the best they should have. And we've been walking a very fine line on that for a very long time. But now I think that the scales have tipped to where it's just a meat grinder. We're just, nobody seems in this, in this congress or this administration, nobody seems to deeply understand the sacrifices that these guys are making or have some sort of appreciation for who these people are over there. Now, maybe I'm wrong, and I hope I am.
LUTTRELL: But you've got to understand. I mean, that's not something that they do. It's something that, you know, that they are. I mean, you can't it doesn't matter how bad the country treats us or whatever, however it is. When you look us in the mirror, bottom line is you are one of two people. You either call 911 or you are 911. And those of us who are 911 and doesn't I mean, you get up and you do it. And to say, you know, not to re enlist or whatever, you can't, you can't quit, man. You can't quit. You've got to keep going. You just, you can't have that, you know, you can't stop. And yeah, the Vietnam guys, they got it bad. But if you asked every one of them, they were like, you know what, I'd grab my rifle and go back over there and fight just because it had to be done, you know.
GLENN: Oh, no. But see, there's a difference. To me there's a difference. I've talked to enough Vietnam vets and they are like, they are the ones who want to go now. They are like, I'll go over there and kick their butt.
LUTTRELL: Oh, yeah, exactly, yeah.
GLENN: I mean, there's a difference between the military and Washington. There is we were supposed to learn our lesson from Vietnam that you let the Pentagon fight the war. You don't let Washington fight the war. And that's what's happening again. It happened for a little while under George W. Bush and now it's happening on a grand scale with Barack Obama. And I mean, there is a difference there. You can't just throw lives away for political reasons. You can't just throw lives away and say, well, okay, we're going to do this halfway. No, it's war, it's killing. You either do it or you don't.
LUTTRELL: Right. If you didn't want that to happen, then you shouldn't have sent us over there.
GLENN: Right. Or you should pull them back. Right now you should pull them back.
LUTTRELL: Exactly. I mean, if you are not going to jerk the chains off and let us get after it and do what, basically what you pay millions and millions of dollars for us to do, then yeah, jerk us back, man. Don't just sit there and tack us to the ground and tell us, you know, what we can and can't do from a desk in a $2,000 suit because you don't have any idea what's going on over there. I mean, it's so dynamic that, you know like I don't even know what's going on in the war anymore. I couldn't tell you from my perspective as a former gun fighter, you know, as a SEAL over there, I don't have any idea what's going on. So I can't make any assumptions because the war changes probably just about every three days. And, you know, it's impossible, you know, to keep up with it unless you are over there in the mix. And if someone in a head shed over there says we need more help, that means we need more help, if you want to and there's only one thing that's going on over there and that's the win. We're going to win. We don't go in to, you know, to piss everybody off over there and I don't know what else. I mean, I've heard a million different explanations. I sat there and watched somebody on the news. I don't name drop but they are just like, you know, there's two ways to do this war. If we want to win it, we do it this way and if we want to politically, politically what in Afghanistan? You're going to have to run a telephone line and a TV line to every frickin' village out there in the mountain. You think you can get that done? Because them villagers know what's going on. Those people one side of the mountain have never even met the people on the other side of the mountain. You are like, all right.
GLENN: Here's what I want to do, Marcus. Here's
LUTTRELL: in and out of Al Qaeda that flew two jumbo jets into our towers.
GLENN: If I were the king of the world today, here's what I would be doing: Hey, SEALs and everybody else, go over and kill the bad guys. Get the terrorists. Kill them, in a cave, I don't care where you find them, kill them. And then come back home. Just
LUTTRELL: You don't even have to put it like that. Just say go do your job and this is the country you need to do it in and that's it. We know what that's all you have to say, period.
GLENN: That's what the president should say.
Marcus Luttrell, my best to you and your brother and our prayers are with you every night, my friend. Good to talk to you.
LUTTRELL: You, too, brother. Thanks, man.
GLENN: You bet. Bye bye.
Good friend and good friend of the program, Marcus Luttrell.