Monday, July 21, 2008

"So from the get-go that's just...."

Nine of our nation's Soldiers died last week in Afghanistan, and 15 were wounded, after a fierce firefight with the Taliban. From the first reports, we heard how the Taliban "overran" a new outpost, that the fighting was "inside the wire," that the outpost had to be abandoned, and that the attack signaled a new Taliban offensive. In an article published in Stars & Stripes the commander of the Army unit involved in the firefight disputes mainstream media reports that his command was "overrun," that his unit abandoned a base after the fight, or that the fight is sign of worsening conditions in Afghanistan. According to the commander, contrary to media reports, there was no base to abandon; just a vehicle outpost with defensive measures in place. As the commander, told the Stars & Stripes,

If there’s no combat outpost to abandon, there’s no position to abandon. It’s a bunch of vehicles like we do on patrol anywhere and we hold up for a night and pick up any tactical positions that we have with vehicle patrol bases.

We do that routinely.... We’re always doing that when go out and stay in an area for longer then a few hours, and that’s what it is. So there is nothing to abandon. There was no structures, there was no COP or FOB or anything like that to even abandon. So, from the get-go, that is just [expletive], and it’s not right.

The commander also disputed media reports that his unit was overrun. He said,

As far as I know, and I know a lot, it was not overrun in any shape, manner or form. It was close combat to be sure — hand grenade range. The enemy never got into the main position. As a matter of fact, it was, I think, the bravery of our soldiers reinforcing the hard-pressed observation post, or OP, that turned the tide to defeat the enemy attack.

I hope the mainstream media can eventually get it right! Or am I too much of a dreamer?

Of the 9 Soldiers who died, most lost their life at an observation post 50 to 75 meters away from the main position. On Saturday, Stars & Stripes had a great article giving a first-person account of the fight. There's also a multi-media link where you can hear the battle described by two of the Soldiers wounded in the fight.

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