Monday, August 08, 2011
A Dark Day In AfPak
Sunday, the news came across the wires.
A Chinook helicopter transporting reinforcements to an ongoing battle in Wardok province southwest of Kabul had been shot down by the Taliban, resulting in a death toll of 38.
22 US Navy SEAL commandos and three Air Force Special Ops members from the 160th Aviation were killed, along with Five US Army personnel, seven Afghan commandos and an interpreter. The SEALs were from Team Six, famed for getting Osama bin-Laden.
The back story is that this was a trap laid by Taliban commander Qari Tahir. He apparently lured US forces to the ambush site by using disinformation, planting a tip that a Taliban gathering was taking place.
Apparently there's only one feasible route in. So the Taliban simply took up positions on either side of the Tangi Valley in the mountains, waited for the helo to fly by and then took it out with rockets and RPGs.The Chinook is a tough beast, but it took multiple hits and went down. Right now, our military has secured the area and recovered the wreckage - both mechanical and human.
One of my sources on the ground told me that they can tell from the shrapnel that some of the missiles came from Iran.No surprise there.
One thing that did shock me was the stories that came out Sunday explicitly naming the unit involved. The initial news reports were given to the media by some unnamed government official to the media. Unnamed because 'the families of the KIA's have yet to be notified'. And the media ran the stories as given.
I realize that a large contingent of the media is essentially without ethics or character of any kind, but even they should have been able to figure out that the SEALs and the 160th are small, elite units...and that every family member of our warriors in those units went through agony until they were able to hear from their loved ones or were notified by the Navy or the Air Force with the names of the KIAs.
That's one of the drawbacks with a volunteer military - a disconnect between those who serve and the elites who don't, and thus remain clueless or simply don't care to think about what that involves.
In Israel, where the majority of citizens serve, no news story about a training accident or deaths in battle identifying a specific unit would ever be broadcast or released without the final line 'the families have been notified'.
I admit to a disconnect of my own here.I can't imagine how the government drone or the media types that okayed this story function on a daily basis, or live with themselves.I simply can't comprehend how someone can be that clueless, that ignorant of honor or human feeling.
As for the fallen...well there's not much to say. Not much that means anything in any real sense, except that Almighty G-d has His plans that we don't understand, He wastes nothing and that I know as sure as I sit here writing this that you will see your beloveds again in the World to Come. All I can offer is my very inadequate condolences from a stranger, and a traditional tribute that heroic fallen warriors in a noble cause receive: