The Washington Times
Comment by Jim Campbell
As a former propaganda writer, I’ve repeatedly published on this site my inability to buy the story the White House and the “media” was trying to sell us. I mean think about it, has Obama ever lied to us?
Equally important, just as in the alleged take down of Osama bin Laden this president violated all protocol in announcing the mission who was involved and naming the unit.
In situation of the Chinook shoot down, could a case not me made that Obama had given aid and comfort to the enemy by disclosing the horrendous lost of our most technically advanced SEALs? It had to play well on the Arab TV networks.
Should this not have been kept from the media, and been a top secret issue with only the immediate family and those in command in the know? Who did what and when in a special operations mission is not divulged unless there is as in this case a probable political agenda.
This may well prove to become another case of Media Cover Ups and Government Lies. Thank you Washington Times and Rowan Scarborough for doing some serious reporting rather than manufacturing the nonsense we are led to believe. It’s time for other serious reporters to dig deeper into this issue.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, I’m JC and I approve this message.
A CH-47 Chinook helicopter, like this one used for training, was shot down by the Taliban in Afghanistan, killing all aboard. A special-operations officer questions the use of the craft for such “hot-LZ” purposes. (U.S. Navy)photograph
By the time the CH-47 transport helicopter descended to 150 feet above an unprotected landing zone in Afghanistan around 2 a.m. on Aug. 6, the element of surprise had been lost.
Hours earlier, two other Chinooks had deposited 47 Army Rangers at another nearby landing site, undetected. The landing triggered a nighttime ground and aerial firefight that raged for several hours as a few Taliban “squirters,” as the military called them, tried to escape from the targeted compound and regrouped with other fighters.
A bevy of surveillance and attack aircraft buzzed overhead, telling the Taliban in a collection of mud-brick homes in Tangi Valley that they were suddenly in the middle of Afghanistan’s 10-year-old war.
When the third chopper — carrying 38 passengers and crew, and one dog, in a reinforcement known as an “immediate reaction force” — approached, a small group of Taliban on a rooftop stood ready. They fired rounds of rocket-propelled grenades. One clipped a rotary blade, sending the CH-47 into a violent spin and then a fiery crash.
All onboard died, including 17 elite Navy SEALs.
The loss of so many high-echelon special warriors drew criticism from some in the special-operations community. They said it was a needless waste of lives, a highly risky mission to round up or kill a relatively few enemy forces that the Rangers and air power could have subdued.
As funerals for the fallen sailors played out in small towns across America, ArmyBrig. Gen. Jeffrey Colt and a team of specialists had landed in Afghanistan for a full-blown investigation. He would determine the cause of the crash and whether commanders made the right call.
In his report summary, Gen. Colt, a helicopter pilot who had served in Army special-operations aviation, disagreed with the mission’s critics and cleared the commanders. He said the decision to load all the reaction force onto a single helicopter was “sound.” He said the “squirters” might have included the mission’s original “Objective Lefty Grove”— a Taliban leader named Qari Tahir.
His summary does not tell the whole story. U.S. Central Command released hundreds of pages of interviews and exhibits that showed there were at least two tactical moves that came in for second-guessing.
For months, the special-operation task force in Afghanistan that vets targets and shapes commando strikes had been under pressure to clear Wardak province. Eliminating Taliban leaders was seen as a way to improve security in nearby Kabul.
The first Ranger strike arrived in two Chinooks, escorted by two Apache AH-64s, whose night-vision scopes give pilots a way to monitor the landing area for any ambushing Taliban. The Rangers, on foot, converged around a compound thought to hold the Taliban chieftain. During the attack, four fighters escaped and started joining others whom the military calls “movers.”
One Apache killed six “squirters” with 60 30 mm rounds. That left two, with 11 movers, who congregated amid trees or in another compound.
At some point, the Rangers and special-operations commanders talked about sending in reinforcements to catch them all. A mission was set, at first with 17 troops, then a total of 38, including SEALs, other Navy personnel, Afghan commandos and the air crew.
As the reinforcement Chinook approached, it — unlike the first two choppers — had no AH-64 Apaches for surveillance or fire suppression. The Apaches had stayed fixed on trying to shoot the squirters and movers.