August 6th, 2011

Bad news: helicopter shot down in Afghanistan, SEALs on it

A helicopter carrying 31 Americans, including 22 Navy SEALS, was shot down while on a mission in Afghanistan to rescue other US forces engaged in a firefight.

The SEALS are reported to have belonged to the same unit as the ones who got Bin Laden, although none of the same men were on the flight. It ranks as “the single deadliest incident since the start of the decade-long Afghan war.”

I noted in this recent post that SEALs are executing missions on a regular and almost daily basis in Afghanistan. We just don’t hear about them. Unfortunately, we’re hearing about this one because the news is tragic.

32 Responses to “Bad news: helicopter shot down in Afghanistan, SEALs on it”

  1. Steve Says:

    It is sickening to think of the sacrifice of these men and then look at the gutless wonders we have as politicians. Thank God for the tea party.

  2. Curtis Says:

    Bring them home to a hero’s funeral and let us pay our respects to the dead.

  3. Lee Merrick Says:

    How was the Taliban able to shoot down the helicopter? What did they use?…..that’s what I want to know.

  4. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    The Taliban have access to stinger missiles. That would be a threat. However, the rumor is that a rocket propelled grenade brought down the helicopter. We’ve been smart and fortunate because we’ve been able to fly our aircraft over there without too much difficulty. Unlike the Russians who losta lot of helicopters when they were there. That said, the Taliban have been closely observing our operations, looking for openings. This may be one of those times when they saw a pattern and were able to use it to their advantage. We’ll probably never know, because such information will be highly classified.

    It seems shocking to us. We are so used to our casualties being light, at least in comparison to Vietnam, Korea, or WWII.

    My thoughts and prayers are with all the famillies and friends of these courageous warriors. There is grief and sadness for many tonight. May God’s Grace be with them and comfort them.

  5. virgil xenophon Says:

    The after-action rpt will, of course, be classified, and all we’re likely be able to learn is via leaks by people w. axe’s to grind one way or another. I DO wonder about the ROE’s that guided the decision to use them as reinforcements (reportedly) for a unit already pinned down. SEALS are best used/inserted when no one knows your coming. Using them as a reinforcement element is all too predictable, and heavy, overloaded helos at high, hot altitudes are especially vulnerable when landing/lifting off. Why wasn’t airpower used to suppress the enemy and relief those pinned down? Was it because of fear of civilian casualties? Were these men sacrificed on the alter of the PC Gods? Too soon to tell–but NOT to raise the relevant logically obvious questions.

    Secondly I would posit my belief that the ego of Obama is in no small way responsible for this. All of that excessive PR about a team that is supposed to operate in secrete just to satisfy the need to burnish the Obamassiah’s image could only come to no good. It,at the very least, caused/goaded the Taliban/Pk intell services favoring the Taliban to redouble their efforts to target SEAL 6 via informants in the Afghan Army, etc. ALL of that White House PR campaign was NEEDLESSLY harmful to the overall mission of the SEALS and of American overall efforts to advance our policy in that region.

  6. virgil xenophon Says:

    ** “you’re” and “relieve” –a whiskey front came in low and early tonight..

  7. Peter Says:

    Right now it’s not really time to worry about how the bad guys did it, it’s time to pray for those men and their families.

  8. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I’d like to know the timing of two items: The notification of the next of kin and the release of the info about the unit(s) involved.
    The first should be complete before the second occurs.
    If that did not happen, some unspeakably miserably morally rotten bastard was grandstanding for ego gratification, or there was a message sent–to the SpecOps community.
    As, after the SEALs shot the pirates in the Maersk incident without specific authorization, several were prosecuted when a HVT got a fat lip.
    I notified next of kin a couple of times. Once, pulled up in front of a house several down from my goal since that was where I could park. A carload of people leaving a home across the street froze in horror, seeing me. I can only guess at the guilt they felt at the relief that it was somebody else who’d been killed.
    Effing around with this issue is about as bad as it comes, and there is absolutely no reason to doubt that the current crop of no’counts would do it in a minute if they felt like it.
    I could puke.

  9. rickl Says:

    See what Ann Barnhardt has to say.

    http://barnhardt.biz/index.cfm

    That link just goes to her website. She doesn’t have links to her individual posts. Scroll down and read. You should probably be sitting down.

    I do not consider her to be a flake or a conspiracy nut. I believe that she is a person to be taken seriously.

  10. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Ann Barnhardt is a very young, intelligent, tough-minded, and apparently successful commodities broker and a bold, well-armed, defiant, militant, conservative Catholic from Colorado who, some of you might know, put up some videos on Youtube a few weeks ago (http://www.youtube.com/user/AnnBarnhardt?feature=mhum)–which have had a half a million views so far–in which she read some of the major hateful passages (it must have been hard to choose between so many possible good candidates) from a Qur’an marked with bacon strips, and then set those pages on fire.

    She had also challenged any Muslims who object to come to her doorstep—she gives her address at the end of the video—and she promises them that she will defend herself.

    Since then, she has been interviewed on several talk radio shows, has put up several more videos, posted several articles on her website (barnhardt.biz) giving her views about Islam, the Jihad, Muslims, and the Obama Administration, and she is now contributing articles to the “American Thinker.”

    I don’t agree with Ann’s take and her analysis on everything but, as regards Muslims I think that Ann is right on target. As well, she despises Obama, and flat out calls him a Marxist and a Muslim who is out to destroy America, and I think that she is pretty much on target there as well. In sum, she wouldn’t put anything past him.

    Today, she is writing that she believes that the evidence is stacking up in a way that points to the conclusion that the downing of the helicopter carrying a good number of Seal Team 6 members—the Seal Team that “killed Bin Laden”–was, in fact, an attempt by the Obama administration to try to get rid of witnesses to what she believes was a stage-managed, phony takedown of Bin Laden (whose dead body we have never actually seen a picture of, whose DNA test to confirm his identity was supposedly done in record time in a helicopter under field conditions, and whose body was conveniently dumped in the ocean—all within 24 hours of the commencement of the Op) who she believes has actually been dead for several years. Ann is writing that, between the MSM reportage and the information her contacts within the military and ex-military types are feeding her, the picture being created seems, more and more, to confirm her suspicions.

    Things, for instance, like the type of helicopter the Seal Team was in, the targeting of this particular team, and the immediate announcement of the shootdown acknowledging the presence of dozens of Seal Team 6 members on the downed helicopter, when such information is usually very closely held and not reported, and certainly not immediately, or so quickly that it was likely on the air before the next of kin had even had a chance to be notified.

    You may recall that this take down of Bin Laden happened at a particularly opportune time for Obama, who was facing some particularly bad problems, and once this story hit, it monopolized the MSM and pushed those problems off center stage. Given all that has taken place so far, I can certainly conceive of Obama being ruthless and Machiavellian enough to have such a coup as a phony “killing of Bin Ladin” ready in the wings to be employed when it would help him out the most.

    I am usually not a fan of conspiracy theories, but I might remind people here that just a few short years ago many of us would have considered it “conspiracy theory crap” and impossible that a President of the U.S. would spend as utterly ecklessly as Obama has, or nationalize whole sectors of the economy and emasculate commercial contract and bankruptcy law in the process, would try to stir up so much class warfare while living a Louis XVI lifestyle, would deliberately exacerbate Black-White tensions, would run rough-shod over and disregard the Constitution in so many ways, appoint so many radicals to positions of power, push policies that drive unemployment up and employment down, have managed to put almost 50 million people on the food stamp rolls, have the gall to tell us the other day that “extending jobless benefits past 99 weeks was the surest way to create immediate employment,” have wholesaled so many bare-faced lies, presented as true what many experts have called a phony long form birth certificate, or preside over the first ever downgrade of the credit rating of the United States; all the while blaming everyone else in sight (“Bush did it”) for these deliberate lies and acts and resultant catastrophes except himself, his administration and its policies, and the Democratic Party.

    In fact, one could say that everything that comes out of this administration—every policy, every decision, every appointment, every statement and justification—turns out, upon examination, to be in some way or other either a deception and/or a lie.

    When the Obama administration first came into office I wrote here of us having to use a totally new and radical “template” when trying to comprehend and gauge Obama, and I must admit that I am wondering just how radical and ruthless the actions that that new template covers just might be.

  11. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Wolla
    On Blackfive, I think, somebody more current than I made a couple of points; you can’t, without a huge amount of luck, take down a specops Chinook with an RPG. In addition, they have substantial defenses against the more sophisticated weapons such as a Stinger or its equvalent.
    Thus, the guy concludes, it was volley fire of a bunch of the Stinger types, most of the terrs’ inventory.
    Thus, a kill trap which wouldn’t have been set up without intel.
    Scary

  12. daxypoo Says:

    the terms snafu and fubar exist for a reason

  13. Richard Aubrey Says:

    daxypoo
    You’re speaking of the last presidential election?

  14. rickl Says:

    Well said, Wolla. Great synopsis.

  15. holmes Says:

    I supported this war and the Iraq war. I really think we have done all we can do there and it is time to draw down. 10 years is enough.

  16. holmes Says:

    Wolla- that is idiotic. Sorry- do you even know if the SEALs who were on the OBL mission were on that plane? And every other witness who saw the body including those on board the Naval ship? It’s nonsense like this that conspiracy theorists spout that discredit the Right.

  17. Parker Says:

    “I supported this war and the Iraq war. I really think we have done all we can do there and it is time to draw down. 10 years is enough.”

    Agree, in spades.

    “It’s nonsense like this that conspiracy theorists spout that discredit the Right. ”

    Usually conspiracy theories spring from the left side of the spectrum. This particular ‘theory’ assumes hundreds of military personnel are conspiring to cover up an elaborate ploy to fake the assassination of OBL all to the benefit of BHO. 20 year Greek bonds are a safer bet.

  18. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Parker–First, I said that Ann Barnhardt raised this possibility, and I said that, in light of everything else that Obama & Co. have pulled off in these last few months such a scenario as she is positing is getting to be less and less “unbelievable.”

    Leaders have been known to use doubles.

    I am not assuming active cooperation by our military in a deception, rather that it might be possible that they may have witnessed things that, on reflection, call the whole “narrative” into question.

    For one thing, as I understand it, DNA tests to identify a person are not things you can do in a few hours, or–if you want reliable results–in anything other than the very controlled and sterile conditions necessary to prevent contamination, yet we are told that such DNA testing was done in a few hours in battlefield conditions–essentially “on the fly” in a helicopter, does this seem likely to be true?

  19. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Wolla.
    If field DNA testing is possible, Abby is going to have to get another job. She’ll just be mailing Gibbs fresh kits to wherever he and the crew are.
    Maybe they’d better start pretending, or some folks are going to wonder why the stuff didn’t come back from pisstain to a fabulous lab for a day’s anxious automated testing.
    Good thought.
    OTOH, though, if you know what you’re looking for, which is just a match, maybe there’s some version of those little paper strips we used in HS chem to find p.h….. Prepare in advance with the proper DNA proxy, wait ’til it turns purple….
    Naw, me either.
    Good question.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Wolla Dalbo: Barnhardt is right up there (or down there) with 9/11-truthers in my book.

    I don’t like Obama’s policies, I believe he’s a man of the left (feinting to the right lately, but a man of the left), and I think very little of his abilities as a leader. But I think he is incapable of the acts Barnhardt alleges.

    The whole thing reminds me not just of 9/11-truthers, but also of those who think LBJ killed JFK and who think Clinton killed Vince Foster.

  21. Richard Aubrey Says:

    neo.
    Apparently Jackie figured LBJ was in on it. New tapes out.

  22. SteveH Says:

    Neo, i don’t know anymore. This administration seems to be all about doing the absurd and then using allegations of such absurdity as proof the opponents are unhinged and obviously racist to even suggest such a thing.

    If that is the case we’d have to say it’s the Big Lie as a rule and not the rare exception. Plus big lies would lead to evidence of big problems. And we got big problems.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey: yeah, I saw that. Was going to link to it, but was unmotivated to find it and actually read the article.

    But I will say this: I don’t care what Jackie thought, except as insight into her own personality and experience. And I give her a pass on thinking that way, a pass I don’t give to other people, because of the extreme trauma of what she underwent.

    If you read the first 200 pages of the Bugiolsi book, you will get a graphic description of how truly terrible it was for her, and how psychologically traumatized she was afterward. And I don’t blame her.

  24. Richard Aubrey Says:

    neo.
    Conspiracy theories thrive on unanswered questions. Some are manufactured. “Since kerosene fire doesn’t melt steel, why did the WTC strenght members fail?” Answer, of course, is that they didn’t have to melt to fail, only become the slightest bit malleable. The falsehood is an axiom planted in the question.
    Other questions are legitimate since they actually refer to the real world. Wolla’s question about how fast a DNA test can be done and if so, can it be done under field conditions ought to be answered since aficionados of the variants of CSI are alarmed at the apparent speed. So, somebody, tell us how fast it can be done and where the testing apparatus was and whether searching for a match to a known person is easier and faster than searching a near-infinite data base. And so forth. Otherwise, every time we see CSI, we’ll wonder. And if CSI folks, surprisingly–unexpectedly and conveniently–begin carrying DNA testing kits in their cars, I think we’ll be even more worried.

  25. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Again we circle back to my original “new template” post of two plus years ago, and with more urgency.

    Ann Barnhardt may or may not be right in her suspicions, but I think it would be fair to say and emphasize, as I did above and as I did two years ago, that we have constructed a “consensus reality,” a “template” about our President’s possible ideologies, viewpoints, plans, and actions that is based on our past experience with and the history of the Presidency and Presidents, a figurative space for action, with borders whose boundaries define what we think that a relatively well-educated, rational, and patriotic President of the United States is likely to do or not do, and anything outside those boundaries, particularly way outside these normal boundaries, is “beyond the bounds of possibility,” and “unbelievable”

    At the time I first wrote about this “new template,” there was a lot of resistance to the idea–that I increasingly pressed as the months went by and Obama took more actions to create a track record and I found out more about him–that by his history, associations, words, and especially actions, Obama was showing himself to be a Marxist and perhaps a crypto-Muslim, and that Obama was attempting–with every policy decision and appointment, every statement and initiative–to carry out a campaign of deliberately trying to sabotage and bring low the U.S. as we knew it.

    I believe that the last two plus years have piled up innumerable pieces of evidence proving my contentions, and I suspect–and I hope–that there is a lot less resistance to my contentions now.

    My basic question, now as then, is just how far do the boundaries of the actions that Obama is willing to take extend, and how far do they extend past what we thought were the boundaries that surrounded and contained the field of action of our elected Presidents? What things would be “beyond the bounds of possibility” for Barack Hussain Obama? Unfortunately, looking at the wreckage so far, I cannot point to any boundary fence (whose upright supporting posts are, I suspect, honesty, of which none can be found in this administration); thus, my calling attention to Ann Barnhardt’s suspicions, and my uncertainty as to whether they could just be dismissed out of hand as “beyond the bounds of possibility.”

    I think that with Barack Hussain Obama as President, it is getting harder and harder to dismiss anything that it might be suspected he might have done or will do as “beyond the bounds of possibility.”

  26. Parker Says:

    “I think that with Barack Hussain Obama as President, it is getting harder and harder to dismiss anything that it might be suspected he might have done or will do as “beyond the bounds of possibility.” ”

    I think you give BHO too much credit. BHO is a Chicago machine sock puppet. He has not a clue about anything under the sun beyond the mirror in his mind that tells him he is the fairest of them all. I will grant you the slim chance that his handlers would conspire to attempt to fake the assassination of OBL; but I can not wrap my mind around hundreds of military personnel, including the JCOS, giving cover to such a plot.

  27. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    On the issue of Ann Barnhardt’s suspicions and the key question of “would Obama & Co. do such a thing,” I cite the evidence that is unfolding in the administration’s deadly Mexican gun running fiasco, which is not being reported in any depth by the MSM in line with their “look the other way” policy with regard to Obama & Co.

    I remind people that if, as increasingly looks to be the case, Obama and functionaries at the White House and Attorney General Holder and his Justice Department minions approved Projects “Gun Runner” and “Fast and Furious” etc., in which the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agency (ATF) in cooperation with other government agencies like the DEA and FBI, deliberately pushed U.S. gun dealers along our border with Mexico to ignore the procedures in place to block such sales and, instead, to sell something like 2,000 pistols and rifles to illegal purchasers who the ATF knew were buying those guns for extremely violent Mexican drug gangs–weapons that have reportedly, so far, been used in the killings of an estimated 150+ Mexican police officers and two U.S. border Patrol agents–then Obama and Holder and their various minions have engaged in conduct that by the standard used in courts of law, the standard of a “reasonable and prudent” person, were actions that any “reasonable and prudent” person would or should have known were likely to result in people getting injured and killed with those guns, so that we have “depraved indifference” or even more serious charges than that.

    From the testimony so far, it appears that the whole point of this exercise was not to serve the at least arguably legitimate purpose of finding and prosecuting major Mexican drug cartel purchasers of guns from the U.S., but was rather to artificially increase the chances of gun violence in Mexico in which guns purchased in the U.S. were used, so as to create “evidence” that could be used to bolster the administration’s shaky assertion that 90% of all the guns used in Mexican drug cartel violence come from the U.S., and their case for increased gun control; a major policy objective of the Left.

    This conclusion is based on the fact that the cover story of trying to find these major Mexican drug gang purchasers is belied by the Congressional testimony that, while the ATF had these participating gun shops wired up the wazoo and recorded every transaction in detail, contrary to its core raison d’etre, the ATF had no plans or means in place to track and retrieve those guns once they crossed the border, and only some vague, notional idea of informing the “Mexican authorities” if and when they found any major buyers in Mexico—which they didn’t, since the purchases turned out to be made by many individuals and were not part of any massive buying scheme run by a few key individuals, something that it is looking like the ATF knew all along i.e. that there were no major buyers to find.

    So ask me the question again, “would Obama & Co. do such a thing?”

  28. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Wolla’s idea that we have a template restricting oiur ideas of what zero would do, which restricts our ability to analyze what he is actually doing, is tempting.
    Really, really tempting.
    Knave or fool? Anybody holding out for fifty-fifty about now?

  29. richard saunders Says:

    Richard Aubrey and Wolla:

    The Afghans have been ambushing people for 2300 years that we know of, and probably thousands before that. Do you actually think they don’t know how to stage an ambush anymore because our uniforms are a different color than those of the Russians, the British, the Indians, the Persians, the Greeks, and they have to use RPGs instead of spears and bows and arrows?

    They didn’t have to be either lucky or smart to pull this one off (and you don’t know whether this was the 1,000th time they’ve tried it), because the mission plan was exactly the same as the “Lone Survivor” rescue mission! You don’t need Afghan traitors when you have idiot US commanders to do the job for you. The mission planners and the commanders who authorized the op should be court-martialed.

  30. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Richard Saunders.
    I know how to stage an ambush. So does practically anybody who’s been in the military. It’s a pretty unsophisticated concept.
    First thing, you have to know where the other guy is going to be and when….
    So far, we have two separate assertions: One that the SEALs and the others were going to the aid of troops in contact. The other that the Taliban had set up a fake meeting of big shots just guaranteed to get a HVT team’s attention. Can’t both be true.
    An RPG has a range of a couple of hundred meters, less and less accurate as the range increases. Which means the RPG guys had to be within a couple of hundred meters of the LZ. How many practicable LZs were there? Did the Taliban line up guys to cover them all? Could have been a big effort.
    It turns out that the subhuman who spilled the beans said it was the Night Stalkers flying the Hook. That would have been one thing, since the Stalkers’ Chinooks are specially armed, armored and with state of the art protective measures. But it further turns out that the chopper may have come from the 158th Avn Rgt, a Guard outfit with standard Chinooks.
    In addition, there was no reported attempt to clear the LZ prior to the chopper landing. No tac air, no gunships, no artillery. So either there were none, or the reports are incomplete. If there was some pre-landing air to ground firing, somebody missed pretty good. Given the necessary ranges, the shooters on the ground had to be pretty close, which is to say not dispersed, and a number of them had to survive. Odd.
    If there was no prep fire, I’d like to know why, and quoting ROEs won’t make me very happy.
    My questions, were there some other president, would be about pre-landing suppressive fires, LZ recon, and timing between the op order and the landing. The longer, the more chance for getting it blown to the Taliban.
    OTOH, if you expect to have heavy contact with the Americans, you can expect support for the troops in contact. So you maybe check out the ground and decide that a particular spot is so likely to be a LZ that it’s worth ambushing it.
    I figure the Taliban got lucky. Wolla’s point is that, given this president, presuming on the old template is unwise and thus this current catastrophe might be thought of differently than if, say, Bush were president.
    Only thing is, I can’t figure out how he’d do it. Any more than I can figure out how a guy could survive telling a Ranger that he’s got to shoot his platoon buddy Tillman for the greater good.
    With the exception of the guns-to-Mexico thing, most of what Obama has been doing he’s been doing in plain sight. You don’t have to worry about being busted that way.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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