“My chain of command won’t let me die” 2

Today,

America honors her heroes in recognizing Veterans Day, including our brave SEALs.

Mark Baisley spells out what “SEALs” stand for – their name and their cause:

That virtuous moniker is actually an acronym for Sea, Air, And Land, indicating that these guys cover every quarter and every dimension. Members of the United States Navy SEALs are a special kind of human, incredibly smart athletes with unthinkable endurance and unimaginable tolerance for pain. The greatest attribute of a SEAL is devotion.

But in a brand new book, a tragic truth is revealed about the Obama Administration’s unrequited devotion from our most selfless of heroes. Aaron Carson Vaughn is honored by his heartbroken dad in Betrayed, The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father. The book chronicles the events that led to the death of Aaron Carson Vaughn and was authored by Billy Vaughn, with co-authors Monica Morrill and Cari Blake.

Aaron Carson Vaughn “once wrote a note of assurance to his concerned parents about his chain of command saying, ‘They won’t let me die‘. But they did.

The book details the events of August 6, 2011 in Afghanistan surrounding the shooting down of an American Chinook helicopter that held the evocative name of “Extortion 17″.

A high-value Al-Qaeda leader was pinned down in a village by U.S. Army Rangers. Three hours into the intense ground engagement, Extortion 17 was tasked to carry seventeen SEALs into the battle with the onerous task of capturing the Al-Qaeda leader alive.

The Chinook was operated by a crew of five from the National Guard and carried an additional 22 Navy personnel in support of the elite SEAL team. One Afghan interpreter was also on board and, just before taking off, seven Afghan commandos were curiously assigned to the final flight of Extortion 17.

As the Chinook approached its destination, the enemy could be seen running into a building with a tower that gave them an advantageous shooting position. The two Apache escort helicopters had all the visibility and firepower to resolve the battle before Extortion 17 delivered the SEAL team. But the Apaches were denied permission to attack.

Under the Obama Administration’s new rules of engagement, no strike could be made on that building without assurance that no civilians were inside. The enemy knows these rules, which is why they run into buildings where civilians may be located.

Just as in Gaza, where Hamas terrorists do the same. And PLO fighters in Lebanon used to place their guns on the roofs of schools and hospitals, and use UNRWA schools as arsenals. Such is the honor of the Muslim warrior.

Under the protection of Obama rules, the enemy set up on the tower of the building and shot down Extortion 17 using three rocket-propelled grenades. The Chinook fell to the ground in a tremendous explosion, killing all 30 people on board.

The parents of those SEAL Team members who died were gathered for a briefing and were given hundreds of pages of information from the investigation of the event. Betrayed includes many pages of that original material; material that raised enough unsettling questions that Billy Vaughn wrote a book.

One question asked at the briefing was why, even in the minutes following the shoot-down of Extortion 17, America’s massive firepower was withheld.

Three-star Admiral Robert Harward explained to the parents that a drone strike wasn’t used because, “we need to win their hearts and minds”. 

Can a three-star admiral actually believe in such a goal? Did he manage to say it with a straight face?

What the Commander-in-Chief was really after becomes terribly clear only with the knowledge that he put Afghans in command of American troops who were in Afghanistan to defeat Afghans:  

Evidently, this policy of social politeness on the battlefront motivated the Obama Administration to relegate authority over American troops under Afghan command one year before the Extortion 17 crash, the greatest loss of U.S. military SEALs in a single incident.

Social politeness? It may look like that. But a commander-in-chief who puts his troops under enemy command is not just being socially polite. He is not trying to “win hearts and minds” like a missionary. He is helping the enemy to win. He is making sure that the enemy will win. 

All knowledge, forethought, and mission planning for American troops within that country are under the joint oversight of the Operational Coordination Group, a command of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

And win the enemy did:

While George W. Bush was in office, we were treated to a steady drumbeat of casualty reports. But the silence of American media over the past five years has covered up the fact that far more of our troops have been killed and injured under the Obama Administration’s rules of engagement.

It could not have been otherwise. That’s what those rules of engagement were designed to do.

During the seven years of war in the Bush Administration, 630 Americans died in Afghanistan and 2,638 were wounded in action. During the first four years of the Obama Administration, 1,544 Americans have died in Afghanistan and 15,036 have been wounded in action.

Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He has invited Muslim Brotherhood members into his administration as advisers and consultants. He is letting Muslim-theocratic Iran become nuclear-armed. He has had all critical references to Islam purged from army training materials. He withdrew all American forces from Iraq so letting Iran become a force of influence in that land whose soil is soaked with American blood. And his crippling rules of engagement have allowed the Taliban back into power in Afghanistan.

But today he will be seen honoring American veterans, in the posture of mourning for the heroic dead:

 

A surge of restraint 0

Again it is Diana West who says what needs to be said about the war in Afghanistan.

From the Washington Examiner:

Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s long-awaited testimony before Congress on the Afghanistan “surge” was, according to one account, “uneventful.” The general himself, another story noted, was “a study in circumspection.” And questioning from lawmakers was, said a third, “gentle.”

“Ineffectual” is more like it. Throw in “callous,” too, given House members’ obligations to constituents in the war zone, operating under what are surely the most restrictive rules of engagement in U.S. history.

But not a single lawmaker appears to have ventured one question about these dangerously disarming ROEs, which, in McChrystal’s controversial view, are key to the success of his “counterinsurgency” strategy. What kind of a commander puts his forces’ lives at increased risk for a historically unsuccessful theory that depends not on winning battles against enemies, but on winning the “trust,” or, as we used to say (and as Gen. David Petraeus put it in Iraq), the “hearts and minds” of a primitive people immersed in the anti-Western traditions of Islam?

That would have made a nice icebreaker of a question for any lawmaker troubled by the Petraeus-McChrystal policy of elevating Afghan “population protection” over U.S. “force protection” to win “the support” of this 99 percent Islamic country, and the rules that American forces must follow to do so. If, that is, there were any lawmakers so troubled.

Things really tightened up back in July, when McChrystal essentially grounded air support for troops except in dire circumstances. … The McChrystal counterinsurgency rules now include: No night searches. Villagers must be warned before searches. Afghan National Army or Afghan police must accompany U.S. units on searches. Searches must account, according to International Security Assistance Force headquarters, “for the unique cultural sensitivities toward local women.” (“Islamic repressiveness” is more accurate, but that’s another story.) U.S. soldiers may not fire on the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first. U.S. forces may not engage the enemy if civilians are present. U.S. forces may fire at an enemy caught in the act of placing an improvised explosive device, but not walking away from IED area. And on it goes.

Here’s another ROE that McChrystal should have been asked to justify to all Americans who hope to see their loved ones return home in one piece. The London Times recently reported that Marines, about to embark on a dangerous supply mission, were shown a PowerPoint presentation that first illustrated locations of IEDs along the way and then warned the Marines “not to fire indiscriminately even if they were fired on.”

The Times story went on to note: “The briefing ended with a projected screen of McChrystal’s quote: “It’s not how many you kill, it’s how many you convince.”

Another question: How many you convince of what, general? Of the depravity of child marriage? Of the injustice of Shariah laws that subjugate women and non-Muslims? Of the inhumanity of jihad?

Of course not. In an oblique reference that likely took in Islam, McChrystal told Congress: “I think it’s very important that from an overall point of view, we understand how Afghan culture must define itself, and we be limited in our desire to change the fundamentals of it.”

Fine. I don’t want to change Afghan culture, either. But acknowledging its roots in an ideology that is anti-Western is crucial to devising strategy for the region. That’s obvious. But not to any of our leaders.

Final question: Are such leaders, civilian and military, doing their duty when they send the nation to war with a strategy that totally ignores jihad, the war doctrine of the enemy?

Posted under Afghanistan, Commentary, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 13, 2009

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