Afghanistan isn’t worth the loss of the lives of so many brave and exceptional Americans.
Two things wrong with the story I’ve heard from the AP and CNN reports; (three things, why are the only reports on this tragedy coming from those dubious sources?) First, what were such high value troops doing in a big and slow transport helicopter with no advanced defensive systems? Second, what were Seals doing on a mixed operation as indicated by the presence of Afghan troops on board? If this was Seal Team Six as has been reported then the loss of thirty members of that team is a stark tragedy. Based on published accounts of the size of the special unit, this would mostly wipe them out. Team Six is the only Seal unit that has it’s own aviation unit and dedicated aircraft so either the reports are fundamentally wrong or someone gave some stupid orders.
Update: from Glenn Reynolds site, Instapundit.
READER JOHN LUCAS EMAILS:
I hope you will consider this, as it is from a slightly different perspective than I have seen elsewhere. Perhaps this is a result of my background and the fact that I have a son in special ops on his fifth combat deployment. Maybe if you say something about this, someone in the government will see it and think twice before they run their mouth the next time we suffer significant casualties.
One of the most despicable reactions I have seen from the US to this incident was the fact that the initial press reports quoted an unnamed government official as confirming that the KIAs were from Seal Team 6 and the 160th Avn. Bde., which is the special ops aviation unit. This unnamed person requested anonymity because the families of the KIAs had not yet been notified. Whoever this irresponsible government official was, he should be drawn and quartered. I can tell you from personal experience, when families back her he reports of a downed helicopter or some other incident with significant casualties, they are on pins and needles until the names are announced. Their hearts race every time the telephone rings. The fear is magnified if you think the casualties are may be from the area where your loved one is deployed.
The Specials Ops community is very small. And, the number of Navy Seals and 160th Aviation personnel in Afghanistan is even smaller. From the time this government creature could not resist making his unauthorized disclosure, he put every family of every deployed Seal and 160th crew member through unbelievable mental anguish, waiting to hear if their loved one was one of those killed. Having identified the units that the KIAs were from, he put every family on notice that there was a very high chance that their husband, father or son was dead. Is this guy so stupid that he didn’t know this or did he just not care? That some government official would do this shows how out of touch they are with the military and military culture.
On another note, I hope this puts the stake through the heart of Bill O’Reilly’s tasteless promotion for the “Navy Seals-1 Bin Laden-0″ t-shirts. I have been offended by them ever since he began pimping them on FNC. My objection was that they treat this as if it is a game, keeping score like a soccer match. It is no game as this incident starkly reminds us. Such efforts to trivialize war should be shunned by decent people.
And more fuel for thought, this WSJ story from 2010.
Guidelines on Afghan Nighttime Operations Add Safeguards for Civilians to Ease Tensions With Karzai, Officials Say
Yes, lets make the job harder and more dangerous for our Special Ops troops to placate politicians and the press. Did these changes in 2010 have anything to do with this disaster and will we ever know the truth?
WSJ story on yesterdays crash.
RIP, and may these men be the last wasted by this unappreciative CIC.