31 U.S. troops were killed when a NATO Chinook helicopter was brought down by insurgents. Over 20 of the dead were from Navy SEAL Team 6—the unit that killed Osama bin Laden.
31 U.S. troops were killed when a NATO Chinook troop transport helicopter was downed from what seems to be a rocket-propelled grenade, according to the Washington Post.
The Post, quoting a current U.S. official, stated that seven of the dead were Afghan troops and over 20 were from SEAL Team 6—the elite team that assassinated Osama bin Laden.
What exactly are we doing in Afghanistan 10 years later? We’re told that it is to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe-haven for the Taliban and by extension Al Qaeda. Is it worth the cost to our loved ones?
Some will argue that this is the price that we pay for national security. That we simply cannot let the pathos of the tragedy affect our mission simply because over 20 of our best fighters perished in the explosion.
However, it raises an interesting question: why were the best of the best being flown like sitting ducks over an area known to have insurgents? Would it not have been better to transport Seal TEAM 6 through safer environs and order them to penetrate the area?
American and Afghan officials have both been quoted as saying it is an”area of heavy insurgent activity.”
Granted, this is the Navy SEAL’s mission to drop into such areas, more often than not by helicopter, but something seems terribly wrong with the strategic planning. We have to wonder why NATO thought it advisable to put them up in the air in such a dangerous area. It reminds us of the 1994 Blackhawk crashes during the Battle of Mogadishu.
What effect will this have on the planned U.S. withdrawal? Will it cause our government to reassess the move—to entrench and up the ante instead of leave?
It’s possible that it will make our war in Afghanistan truly endless.
We should be reminded of Rudyard Kipling’s magnificent and prescient novella “The Man Who Would be King,” published in 1888, in which Westerners (British in the novella) engage in adventurism in Afghanistan and suffer the consequences of hubris, miscalculation and a lack of cultural understanding.
Not that the Taliban mind can necessarily be understood, but our alliances have not always worked out well, have they? And our hubris has led to miscalculations like the one detailed above.
Hopefully the families of the dead can find some meaning in the ongoing theater of the absurd that is Afghanistan.