August 8th, 2011
07:43 AM ET

Tragedy underscores Afghan war's realities

By CNN's Tim Lister

The shooting down of a Chinook helicopter in central Afghanistan with the loss of 38 lives - most of them U.S. Navy SEALs - highlights two crucial aspects of the conflict in Afghanistan, as U.S. forces begin to draw down and Afghan security forces start taking the lead.

The first is the growing reliance on U.S. Special Operations Forces to combat the Taliban and other insurgent groups - in operations every night across the country.

The second is that many areas far beyond the Taliban's traditional strongholds in the south remain very insecure, areas where the Taliban have exploited an instinctive wariness of a foreign force among locals - and punished those who dare to work with them.

One such place is the Tangi Valley in Wardak province, where the crash occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning. Soldiers who have served there describe it as perfect territory for insurgents, with steep mountainsides of shale and boulders overlooking orchards and thick vegetation.

Improvised bombs are regularly planted along the one road that runs through the valley, next to the Logar River, and detonated from vantage points above. (NATO officials say that the IEDs' control wires are laid across the river, making pursuit of the insurgents more difficult.)

Tangi is only 60 miles from Kabul, close to the main highway south. But the Taliban (though not al Qaeda or other foreign groups) have long been active in the area.

In 2009, soldiers in the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division were deployed to this part of Wardak. They encountered 57 roadside bombs in the valley in just three months, dubbing the road "IED alley" and "Walter Reed Highway," a reference to the Army medical center where many soldiers wounded in Afghanistan have received treatment.

Firefights were an almost daily occurrence.

On his blog this weekend, a former member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade recently deployed to Tangi wrote of the village where the helicopter came down. "Juy Zarin is a village we went to frequently during our deployment and never found anything good while out there. In fact it was a wonderful place to go if we felt like getting into contact."

Back in the 1980s, the Soviet Army was never able to pacify the region, and Soviet convoys were frequently ambushed there.

Earlier this year U.S. forces passed control of the military post in the valley to Afghan troops. Lt. Col. Thomas S. Rickard of the 10th Mountain Division handed over Combat Outpost Tangi to a unit of the Afghan National Army.

"As we lose U.S. personnel, we have to concentrate on the greater populations," Rickard told the U.S. Army website at the time. But the afghan Army did not maintain a permanent presence at the outpost, according to officials of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

As elsewhere, especially in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. forces are now returning to areas previously seen as too remote to focus on or too difficult to defend, where the Taliban and other insurgent groups have filled the vacuum. As they do, the risk of casualties grows - as does the role of U.S. special forces.

The use of U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) in Afghanistan has grown exponentially. In a talk two weeks ago at the Aspen Security Forum, the outgoing commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, Adm. Eric T. Olson, disclosed that SOF carried out "somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 operations" in 2010 alone.

"This is now routine, every night....ground forces getting on a helicopter and flying against a target," Olson said.

The template of such operations includes "a quick reaction force on call to render assistance should things go bad," Olson said. In Friday night's attack, it was the quick reaction force, on its way to assist an ongoing mission by Army Rangers, that perished.

Speaking of the Navy SEALs who took part in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, Adm. Olson made their role sound almost mundane. "For the people involved it was another mission and another target....This is not a force that sits on the second deck of the fire station waiting for the bell to ring every 10 or 15 years. We trace our lessons back to what we did last night."

But he also recognized the huge burden now falling on Special Operations Forces to subdue the Taliban.

"We are beginning to fray around the edges. We are asking an awful lot of our people," he said at the Aspen conference, adding that SOF units were seeing "a lot of separations short of divorce." But 82% of SOF troops who have the choice of leaving or staying in choose the latter, according to Olson. And more will be asked of them. Of the 33,000 U.S. troops due to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, none will be special forces.

Special Operations Command - drawn from all four branches of the U.S. military - has grown to a strength of 60,000. With a $10 billion budget it is now larger than the U.S. Coast Guard and about the same size as the entire Canadian Defense Force.

And the caliber of its members reflects its special status. Thirty percent are college graduates. They are more experienced than regular soldiers, with an average age of 30, and they volunteer multiple times. Olson says 60% of SOF have joined since September 11, 2001 - and the aim is to keep them in the military for an average of 20 years.

SOF operations in Afghanistan have at times been controversial, the subject of criticism from President Hamid Karzai because of civilian casualties.

In 2010, then-ISAF Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal tightened rules of engagement after a series of raids involved civilian deaths, although some units remained exempt from the directive. When he took over, Gen. David Petraeus expanded the use of SOF in an effort to drive the Taliban out of Helmand and Kandahar provinces and blunt the Haqqani network further east.

In testimony to Congress in March, Petraeus said: "We have stepped up the tempo of precise, intelligence-driven operations to capture or kill insurgent leaders....In a typical 90-day period, precision operations by U.S. special-mission units and their Afghan partners alone kill or capture some 360 targeted insurgent leaders."

It appears the Army Rangers were involved in just such a mission in Tangi Valley - closing in on Taliban commanders meeting in a village - when they called for reinforcement.

Special Operations Forces remain the sharp end of a multi-pronged approach in Afghanistan. Olson said the strategy marries "the counter-terrorism line of operation and the engagement line of operation - what's been called village stability operations and the development of Afghan local police trying to return neighborhoods back to the neighbors."

It's become known as "clear, hold, build, transition" to win over what are euphemistically called "under-governed spaces."

Such was the aim of commanders in Tangi two years ago.

Lt. Col. Kimo Gallahue, battalion commander for the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, told the Armed Forces Press Service in March 2009: "We'll take the physical terrain from the enemy ... and we'll take the people away, because the people are the prize in this fight."

But even with the surge last year, many areas of Afghanistan rarely see an ISAF soldier. And officers acknowledge that while a platoon can show a presence, it might take a company or more to persuade villagers they are secure. "Successful counter-insurgency is labor intensive," said one officer.

One soldier deployed to Tangi Valley wrote of his experiences on the website AssgnmentAfghanistan in January.

"Few of the villagers are openly hostile towards us, but they are always mindful of the Taliban, who move through the valley at night," he said. "They are in a delicate situation - we Americans have much to offer them, but they know that we will not be in their valley forever, and they know that the (Afghan National Army) and (Afghan National Police) cannot fight the insurgency alone."

Last year, the newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on a planned meeting for farmers in the district.

Two officials from the ministry of agriculture in Kabul backed out at the last minute, fearing for their safety, and not a single farmer showed up, "leaving a handful of American soldiers and a lone U.S. Department of Agriculture representative, sitting on otherwise empty benches in a stiff breeze, with folding tables full of unopened water bottles and unmade tea," the paper reported.

The phrase commonly used in Afghanistan is: "The Americans have the watches, but the Taliban have the time."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Military • NATO • Navy SEALs • Special Operations Forces • Taliban
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  12. rajeev

    Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you’re done... for the day. Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries. This new Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has never been revealed, until now.

    After a U.S. Navy SEAL put a bullet in Osama bin Laden’s chest and another in his head, one of the most secretive black-ops units in the American military suddenly found its mission in the public spotlight. It was atypical. While it’s well known that U.S. Special Operations forces are deployed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s increasingly apparent that such units operate in murkier conflict zones like Yemen and Somalia, the full extent of their worldwide war has remained deeply in the shadows.

    Last year, Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post reported that U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in 75 countries, up from 60 at the end of the Bush presidency. By the end of this year, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach 120. “We do a lot of traveling - a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq,” he said recently. This global presence - in about 60% of the world’s nations and far larger than previously acknowledged - provides striking new evidence of a rising clandestine Pentagon power elite waging a secret war in all corners of the world.

    The Rise of the Military’s Secret Military

    Born of a failed 1980 raid to rescue American hostages in Iran, in which eight U.S. service members died, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was established in 1987. Having spent the post-Vietnam years distrusted and starved for money by the regular military, special operations forces suddenly had a single home, a stable budget, and a four-star commander as their advocate. Since then, SOCOM has grown into a combined force of startling proportions. Made up of units from all the service branches, including the Army’s “Green Berets” and Rangers, Navy SEALs, Air Force Air Commandos, and Marine Corps Special Operations teams, in addition to specialized helicopter crews, boat teams, civil affairs personnel, para-rescuemen, and even battlefield air-traffic controllers and special operations weathermen, SOCOM carries out the United States’ most specialized and secret missions. These include assassinations, counterterrorist raids, long-range reconnaissance, intelligence analysis, foreign troop training, and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.

    One of its key components is the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, a clandestine sub-command whose primary mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists. Reporting to the president and acting under his authority, JSOC maintains a global hit list that includes American citizens. It has been operating an extra-legal “kill/capture” campaign that John Nagl, a past counterinsurgency adviser to four-star general and soon-to-be CIA Director David Petraeus, calls "an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine." This assassination program has been carried out by commando units like the Navy SEALs and the Army’s Delta Force as well as via drone strikes as part of covert wars in which the CIA is also involved in countries like Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. In addition, the command operates a network of secret prisons, perhaps as many as 20 black sites in Afghanistan alone, used for interrogating high-value targets.

    Growth Industry

    From a force of about 37,000 in the early 1990s, Special Operations Command personnel have grown to almost 60,000, about a third of whom are career members of SOCOM; the rest have other military occupational specialties, but periodically cycle through the command. Growth has been exponential since September 11, 2001, as SOCOM’s baseline budget almost tripled from $2.3 billion to $6.3 billion. If you add in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has actually more than quadrupled to $9.8 billion in these years. Not surprisingly, the number of its personnel deployed abroad has also jumped four-fold. Further increases, and expanded operations, are on the horizon. Lieutenant General Dennis Hejlik, the former head of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command - the last of the service branches to be incorporated into SOCOM in 2006 - indicated, for instance, that he foresees a doubling of his former unit of 2,600. “I see them as a force someday of about 5,000, like equivalent to the number of SEALs that we have on the battlefield. Between [5,000] and 6,000,” he said at a June breakfast with defense reporters in Washington. Long-term plans already call for the force to increase by 1,000.

    During his recent Senate confirmation hearings, Navy Vice Admiral William McRaven, the incoming SOCOM chief and outgoing head of JSOC (which he commanded during the bin Laden raid) endorsed a steady manpower growth rate of 3% to 5% a year, while also making a pitch for even more resources, including additional drones and the construction of new special operations facilities.

    A former SEAL who still sometimes accompanies troops into the field, McRaven expressed a belief that, as conventional forces are drawn down in Afghanistan, special ops troops will take on an ever greater role. Iraq, he added, would benefit if elite U.S forces continued to conduct missions there past the December 2011 deadline for a total American troop withdrawal. He also assured the Senate Armed Services Committee that “as a former JSOC commander, I can tell you we were looking very hard at Yemen and at Somalia.”

    During a speech at the National Defense Industrial Association's annual Special Operations and Low-intensity Conflict Symposium earlier this year, Navy Admiral Eric Olson, the outgoing chief of Special Operations Command, pointed to a composite satellite image of the world at night. Before September 11, 2001, the lit portions of the planet - mostly the industrialized nations of the global north - were considered the key areas. "But the world changed over the last decade," he said. "Our strategic focus has shifted largely to the south... certainly within the special operations community, as we deal with the emerging threats from the places where the lights aren't."

    To that end, Olson launched "Project Lawrence," an effort to increase cultural proficiencies - like advanced language training and better knowledge of local history and customs - for overseas operations. The program is, of course, named after the British officer, Thomas Edward Lawrence (better known as "Lawrence of Arabia"), who teamed up with Arab fighters to wage a guerrilla war in the Middle East during World War I. Mentioning Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, and Indonesia, Olson added that SOCOM now needed "Lawrences of Wherever."

    While Olson made reference to only 51 countries of top concern to SOCOM, Col. Nye told me that on any given day, Special Operations forces are deployed in approximately 70 nations around the world. All of them, he hastened to add, at the request of the host government. According to testimony by Olson before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year, approximately 85% of special operations troops deployed overseas are in 20 countries in the CENTCOM area of operations in the Greater Middle East: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. The others are scattered across the globe from South America to Southeast Asia, some in small numbers, others as larger contingents.

    Special Operations Command won’t disclose exactly which countries its forces operate in. “We’re obviously going to have some places where it’s not advantageous for us to list where we’re at,” says Nye. “Not all host nations want it known, for whatever reasons they have - it may be internal, it may be regional.”

    But it’s no secret (or at least a poorly kept one) that so-called black special operations troops, like the SEALs and Delta Force, are conducting kill/capture missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen, while “white” forces like the Green Berets and Rangers are training indigenous partners as part of a worldwide secret war against al-Qaeda and other militant groups. In the Philippines, for instance, the U.S. spends $50 million a year on a 600-person contingent of Army Special Operations forces, Navy Seals, Air Force special operators, and others that carries out counterterrorist operations with Filipino allies against insurgent groups like Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf.

    Last year, as an analysis of SOCOM documents, open-source Pentagon information, and a database of Special Operations missions compiled by investigative journalist Tara McKelvey (for the Medill School of Journalism’s National Security Journalism Initiative) reveals, America’s most elite troops carried out joint-training exercises in Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Germany, Indonesia, Mali, Norway, Panama, and Poland. So far in 2011, similar training missions have been conducted in the Dominican Republic, Jordan, Romania, Senegal, South Korea, and Thailand, among other nations. In reality, Nye told me, training actually went on in almost every nation where Special Operations forces are deployed. “Of the 120 countries we visit by the end of the year, I would say the vast majority are training exercises in one fashion or another. They would be classified as training exercises.”

    The Pentagon’s Power Elite

    Once the neglected stepchildren of the military establishment, Special Operations forces have been growing exponentially not just in size and budget, but also in power and influence. Since 2002, SOCOM has been authorized to create its own Joint Task Forces - like Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines - a prerogative normally limited to larger combatant commands like CENTCOM. This year, without much fanfare, SOCOM also established its own Joint Acquisition Task Force, a cadre of equipment designers and acquisition specialists.

    With control over budgeting, training, and equipping its force, powers usually reserved for departments (like the Department of the Army or the Department of the Navy), dedicated dollars in every Defense Department budget, and influential advocates in Congress, SOCOM is by now an exceptionally powerful player at the Pentagon. With real clout, it can win bureaucratic battles, purchase cutting-edge technology, and pursue fringe research like electronically beaming messages into people’s heads or developing stealth-like cloaking technologies for ground troops.

    Since 2001, SOCOM’s prime contracts awarded to small businesses - those that generally produce specialty equipment and weapons - have jumped six-fold. Headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, but operating out of theater commands spread out around the globe, including Hawaii, Germany, and South Korea, and active in the majority of countries on the planet, Special Operations Command is now a force unto itself. As outgoing SOCOM chief Olson put it earlier this year, SOCOM “is a microcosm of the Department of Defense, with ground, air, and maritime components, a global presence, and authorities and responsibilities that mirror the Military Departments, Military Services, and Defense Agencies.”

    Tasked to coordinate all Pentagon planning against global terrorism networks and, as a result, closely connected to other government agencies, foreign militaries, and intelligence services, and armed with a vast inventory of stealthy helicopters, manned fixed-wing aircraft, heavily-armed drones, high-tech guns-a-go-go speedboats, specialized Humvees and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, as well as other state-of-the-art gear (with more on the way), SOCOM represents something new in the military. Whereas the late scholar of militarism Chalmers Johnson used to refer to the CIA as "the president's private army," today JSOC performs that role, acting as the chief executive’s private assassination squad, and its parent, SOCOM, functions as a new Pentagon power-elite, a secret military within the military possessing domestic power and global reach.

    In 120 countries across the globe, troops from Special Operations Command carry out their secret war of high-profile assassinations, low-level targeted killings, capture/kidnap operations, kick-down-the-door night raids, joint operations with foreign forces, and training missions with indigenous partners as part of a shadowy conflict unknown to most Americans. Once “special” for being small, lean, outsider outfits, today they are special for their power, access, influence, and aura.

    That aura now benefits from a well-honed public relations campaign which helps them project a superhuman image at home and abroad, even while many of their actual activities remain in the ever-widening shadows. Typical of the vision they are pushing was this statement from Admiral Olson: “I am convinced that the forces… are the most culturally attuned partners, the most lethal hunter-killers, and most responsive, agile, innovative, and efficiently effective advisors, trainers, problem-solvers, and warriors that any nation has to offer.”

    Recently at the Aspen Institute’s Security Forum, Olson offered up similarly gilded comments and some misleading information, too, claiming that U.S. Special Operations forces were operating in just 65 countries and engaged in combat in only two of them. When asked about drone strikes in Pakistan, he reportedly replied, “Are you talking about unattributed explosions?”

    What he did let slip, however, was telling. He noted, for instance, that black operations like the bin Laden mission, with commandos conducting heliborne night raids, were now exceptionally common. A dozen or so are conducted every night, he said. Perhaps most illuminating, however, was an offhand remark about the size of SOCOM. Right now, he emphasized, U.S. Special Operations forces were approximately as large as Canada’s entire active duty military. In fact, the force is larger than the active duty militaries of many of the nations where America’s elite troops now operate each year, and it’s only set to grow larger.

    Americans have yet to grapple with what it means to have a “special” force this large, this active, and this secret - and they are unlikely to begin to do so until more information is available. It just won’t be coming from Olson or his troops. “Our access [to foreign countries] depends on our ability to not talk about it,” he said in response to questions about SOCOM’s secrecy. When missions are subject to scrutiny like the bin Laden raid, he said, the elite troops object. The military’s secret military, said Olson, wants "to get back into the shadows and do what they came in to do.”

    Nick Turse/AlterNet and TomDispatch

    Our Commando War in 120 Countries: Uncovering the Military's Secret Operations In the Obama Era

    August 10, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
    • All seeing eye

      Not to burst your bubble commando but most of these black operations are paid for by importation of illegal drugs. Since the war in Afghanistan its importation into the US has increased by 60%. That's why it's so important not to even criminalize marijuana because it takes away from their blackmarket for drugs. The decriminalizing of marijuana in Dutch nations has had a big impact on the nations drug abuse statistics. Since it's no longer a forbidden fruit teen use has declined and adult use has remained steady and now there's less crime because they are no longer influenced by harder drugs when they just want to smoke a time. Other countries who are experimenting with the ditch model are seeing the statistics. Bush tried to do the opposite with the constant raids on dispenciaries and legal pot farms. If its a federal law then why has the federal government had a pot farm in Mississippi since the early 80. American fovernment is nothing but a drug cartel bent on enslaving the average working men and women and we thought slavery was aboloshed: made more comfortable by allowing us to Rhine we have freedom but what freedom do we have today? Most and I'm sure the rest will soon follow have been stripped away without Americans caring because in the mist of chaos and fear we loose our willpower to say no and instead we yell kill them all. Ww2 we were guilty of funding Hitler's Reich, Cold war we had communism to scare us, Vietnam I guess you call that population control. We fund dictators and then we have a war. Same way over and over again. Oh yea instead if jihad we call ours democracy

      August 11, 2011 at 8:55 am | Reply
  13. avis333

    The baby killers were punished for their crimes.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:27 am | Reply
    • Mac

      Really? Last I checked member of Congress were still alive.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Reply
    • F. U.

      Spoken like a true idiot who should GTFO of the USA.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:17 am | Reply
      • Mac

        You're so bright I have to wear shade roflmao. Piss off retard.

        August 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  14. rajeev

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODSnwdThmtw&w=640&h=360]
    MSM: Finally Remembers Afghan War
    This weekend was the deadliest loss of life in a single incident for U.S. troops in all 10 years of the Afghanistan war. Nineteen Navy Seals and three support troops lost their lives, as well as three Air Force controllers, seven Afghan commandos, an Afghan interpreter and one military working dog. We saw the mainstream media respond with heart breaking interviews with wives and family members, they went to their foreign affairs and Pentagon reporters for details, and actually remembered that there's a war going on! But it's not an excuse for their lack of coverage every other day.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:04 am | Reply
  15. rajeev

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmtnZlX5A9U&w=640&h=360]
    MSM: Media Banned From Dover
    The mainstream media continued for a second day to pretend like they care about the war in Afghanistan, as the bodies of those killed in a helicopter crash in the Wardak province over the weekend, arrived in the US. The Pentagon is saying that some of the remains are unidentified at this point, so they won't allow the media access. Yet those that have been identified, their pictures have graced every cable station, their family members have been interviewed and exploited for the tears. So the idea that now the mainstream media has suddenly grown a conscience, and understands the Pentagon's request, isn't one that Alyona is sold on. Take a look.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:00 am | Reply
  16. JMAJIK 82ABN.

    @ Eye for an Eye:

    I have to agree with you regarding 11BP & R380. Not to discredit ANY CURRENT ACTIVE DUTY or VETERANS, because Combat is not pretty (regardless of how long the conflict/war lasts); the cause and effects are still the same; some of us just deal with it in our own individual/collective ways.

    It's not what hollywood makes it to be for the public so they can make tons of $$$ and, after seeing one of my Pathfinder buddies get hit by shrapnel that stuck to his leg, and the smell?; which pops up every blue moon, when I reflect on the comraderie WE ALL share (regardless of branch of service, combat tours, and/or decorations). (COMBAT EXPERIENCES ARE A LIFELONG BOND WE SHARE WITH OUR COMRADES THAT CAME BACK WITH US AND, THOSE WE LOST). . . . .
    I think it's best for ALL current & former Spec. Ops troops not to belittle the people we swore our lives on to protect.

    They just want some closure to this and past conflicts/wars for themselves, their families, and the brave troops/family members they lost. Although the President has authority to invoke his/her rights under the War Powers Act, he MUST get approval from the Congress FIRST!!!

    Prior Service VET: 82nd ABN DIV. . .(Attached) 2nd BN 5th SFG. . .10th MTN DIV. . .101st ABN DIV. . .(Lebanon 82–Grenada 83–Panama 89–Persian Gulf 91). . . . .

    August 10, 2011 at 5:16 am | Reply
  17. drstanley

    I'm not falling for any of The State Department's spin. In fact it's one of the worst lies I've ever heard them come up with.
    There's NO WAY Hose B that chopper was hit from the ground. Period. With that many SEALS on board that Pilot Rest In Peace was also an Elite. Nope The Afghans on board pulled the pins on their grenades en mass and murdered those Brave Men. There's no way that was a million to one shot. It was backstabbing pure and simple. Our so-called leaders are trying to keep the myth of an alliance in play instead of revealing The Real Truth – that The SEALS were murdered by their so-called comrades in arms – The Afghan Military. Just like nobody knew where Bin Laden was right Pakistan? Let's just leave and watch them kill each other. Islam is of The Devil. We won't kick them out of The USA because we're so worried about how we'll be perceived. Manure. I'd rather be perceived as a cruel opponent of evil.

    August 10, 2011 at 2:47 am | Reply
    • All seeing eye

      How can you say Islam is of the devil when they worship the same God as todays so called Christians. The only difference is they believe Jesus wasn't crucified that it was a man made to look like Jesus and that Jesus ascended into heaven. It is a monotheistic religion believing Jesus was a major prophet. Islam is a very devout religion requiring 5 prayers daily, giving alms to needy among other things. It's even looked down upon for anyone to make money from the religion. If that's of the devil then I would hate to know what you would say Christians are. Oh wait I have a few adjectives manipularive, greedy, liars, decievers, hypocrites, sinful. I for one don't believe a man with a child fetish is going to absolve anyone of their sins. It's time people read what Jesus said even though they're quoted by men centuries later; they break apart the whole Christian religion as it is known today. It seems as if Christians have forgot the first commandment. I know what most Christians are saying Jesus was God incarnate. Okay, but that breaks apart God's holiness. It is because God is holy that sin cannot be allowed in his prescence therefore Jesus wouldn't have had to die for mankind sin. Confused now. According to the Bible and other ancient text. Jesus was a only a man but a special one who was to undo what Adam had done when he sinned. If you read carefully Jesus never calls himself the son of God but rather the son of man. It is only the 12 apostles that declares him the son of god. He died for our sins so that we can be made sanctified through Jesus and God can was again be with his most favored creation. Ever wonder why he is so merciful and forgiving with us even though we idolatry material things rather than peace, love, and life? He never forgave lucifer for not bowing down to man. I know many of you think Satan's in hell with a pitchfork but according to the Job he walks to and fro and has to have God's permission to harm us in any way. I really didn't mean to shatter your world where you can do whatever you want and expect to just say some hail Mary s and forgive me father's and you are rid of the sin. Wake up Christians a bible isn't just a a table decorarion. Everyone will be held accountable for what they've done good or bad. God will have his judgement day with Jesus sitting at his right hand judging you. We are to drop our worldly pleasures and follow him( not worship) and try to achieve a life without sin.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:12 am | Reply
    • james

      I agree with your assessment. Considering that witnesses to the crash said the helicopter was on fire, then exploded into 3 large pieces scattered across a 500-700 radius. There is no way an RPG could have done that. I hope the truth comes out one day because those families should be told how their loved ones actually died, considering these men volunteered and gave their lives for their countrys service. I personally dont agree with the occupation of afghanistan but either way, RIP frogmen.

      August 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  18. rajeev

    The cause of the CH-47 crash is still under investigation. “The helicopter was reportedly fired on by an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade,” according to a coalition press release. Which weapon — or weapons — were actually responsible for the copter coming down is not yet known. Several publications claim an insurgent Rocket-Propelled Grenade struck the helicopter.

    One Army insider who spoke to Danger Room went a step further, saying the rocket may have been a special improvised model. A chopper-killer, if you will.

    The so-called “Improvised Rocket-Assisted Mortar” made its debut in Iraq in 2008, although not in attacks on aircraft. IRAMs combine traditional tube mortars with rocket boosters and, in many cases, remote triggers, allowing insurgents to fire them from a distance.

    IRAMs have killed several U.S. troops in Iraq over the years; in June, the weapons killed six Americans. but haven’t factored heavily in the Afghanistan fighting. The weapon’s appearance in Wardak, if confirmed, could be proof of Afghan insurgents’ continued ability to adapt and innovate despite mounting losses.

    Improvised rockets are notoriously inaccurate. But with bigger warheads than shoulder-fired RPGs, IRAMs are potentially much more destructive when they do hit.

    Not that it takes much to bring down a helicopter. Complex, slow and low-flying, choppers have always been vulnerable to attack from the ground. The coalition has lost hundreds of helicopters in Afghanistan over the last decade.

    That the SEALs in Wardak were flying in a National Guard CH-47 probably didn’t make any difference. “Nothing about the aircraft would really make it more susceptible to ground fire than, say, a regular Army aircraft or a Special Ops bird,” the Army insider said.

    Though enhanced Special Operations helicopters boast better navigation systems and, in some cases, even stealthy outer shells, they’re no more able to absorb an unguided rocket than any other copter. And for helicopters, there’s no effective countermeasure for unguided attacks besides aggressive flying, which isn’t really possible while the aircraft is close to the ground and full of troops.

    But in mountainous Afghanistan, a country with few roads, the coalition has little choice but to rely on defenseless helicopters for even routine transportation — to say nothing of combat ops like the SEALs’ doomed weekend rescue.

    That places huge demands on the aircraft and their operators. This is one subject of my forthcoming book From A to B. “My biggest headache is vertical lift,” Army Lt. Col. Thomas Gukeisen, in 2009 the commander of a combined U.S. and Czech force in Logar, told me for the book. “Vertical lift” is Army jargon for choppers.

    The IRAM’s possible appearance in Afghanistan could make helicopters more vulnerable than they already are. At the same time, nothing short of a Herculean road-building effort — or a sudden, massive troop reduction — can quickly reduce the huge demand for rotorcraft.

    In comments to reporters, NATO spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen appeared to swat away the possibility that an IRAM was employed in the Wardak attack.

    “We’re not seeing any specific new types of weapons on the battlefield,” he said.

    Whether or not an IRAM counts as something “new” to Jacobsen is unclear; we’re following up to find out. But even subtracting the IRAM, the result of that awful arithmetic is more crashed choppers and more dead coalition troops, on a regular basis until the war ends. Saturday’s shootdown was an unusually bloody copter tragedy, but it’s hardly the first for the Afghan war. And it won’t be the last.

    Photo and video: David Axe

    August 9, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
  19. rajeev

    Updated 8:36 a.m. EDT.

    The passengers and crew of the twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook helicopter probably never saw the rocket hurtling towards them. The explosion and fiery crash in Wardak province in eastern Afghanistan early on Saturday morning killed all 38 people aboard the lumbering chopper.

    For U.S. forces, it was the bloodiest single incident of the 10-year-old Afghanistan war — and possibly a sign of the insurgency’s continued ability to introduce new weaponry. The attack is also a chilling reminder of the vulnerability of the United States-lead coalition’s indispensable helicopters. “Shock and disbelief,” is how one official characterized the reaction inside the military.

    The dead include: five Army crew members, 19 U.S. Navy SEALs and their three support troops, an Afghan interpreter and seven Afghan commandos plus three Air Force controllers and one military working dog. “Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families,” President Barack Obama said.

    Details of the shoot-down are slowly emerging. “There will be multiple investigations,” a Special Operations Command official said.

    Sometime late Friday, it appears, a team of U.S. Army Rangers got pinned down by insurgent fighters during a patrol in Wardak, a province just south of Kabul that, along with neighboring Logar province, is a major staging area for the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

    The Rangers called in their “Immediate Reaction Force,” a helicopter-borne mobile reserve that orbits nearby during risky patrols. That day, IRF duty had fallen to the Navy SEALs and their attachments, part of the 10,000-strong Afghanistan-based Joint Special Operations Command task force that, in addition to killing Osama bin Laden in May, also conducts as many as 70 raids per day in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2,800 raids between April and July, JSOC captured around 2,900 insurgents and killed more than 800, military sources said. That’s twice as many raids compared to the same period a year ago.

    Normally, JSOC commandos ride in tricked-out helicopters — including stealth models — belonging to the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. But this weekend the SEALs hitched a ride in what was apparently a run-of-the-mill Army National Guard chopper.

    With the SEALs’ help, the Rangers fought back against their ambushers. Eight insurgents died in the fighting, according to a Taliban spokesman. Believing the battle over, around 3 in the morning local time, the SEALs and their allies climbed back into their CH-47 for the ride home. That’s when all Hell broke loose.

    “The Taliban knew which route the helicopter would take,” one unnamed Afghan official tells AFP. “That’s the only route, so they took position[s] on the either side of the valley on mountains and as the helicopter approached, they attacked it with rockets and other modern weapons.”

    “It was a trap that was set by a Taliban commander,” the official added.

    The aircraft fell to the ground in flames.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
  20. rajeev

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/08/taliban-chopper-killer/

    August 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
  21. Eye for an Eye

    @ Anonymous.....Time and time again we see that the people who make decisions to send troops to war are the very people who profit financially from such wars. Today’s troops can see this. It is part of the public record, yet they still do not question their missions. They join the military with a promise never to question orders. Taking history into account, I see no pride in this kind of service, but why pay attention to details if it interferes with our troop worship and flag waving?

    Former US Airborne Army Medic(Bronze Star & Purple Heart Recipient)

    August 9, 2011 at 2:55 am | Reply
    • All seeing eye

      George Orwell was wrote "Speaking the truth in times of deceit is a revolutionary act"

      August 9, 2011 at 4:03 am | Reply
  22. Mary Jo

    Regarding the downing of the Navy helicopter: whoever revealed ithe dentity of the Navy Seals PUBLICALLY to the world, should held for treason!!!! This is NOT OK. Is there no law against this? If not we need one. The right to know should not be allowed to undermine our military operations and jeopardize these missions.

    August 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Reply
    • james

      Umm they are dead. RIP. Whats the difference. Active duty I agree with.

      August 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  23. karen robinson

    Well, it was so good of Cheney, in the Gulf war, to forbid showing caskets coming off planes and no media coverage of caskets. Back in the Viet Nam war, we got to see the war in living color, and lots of caskets coming off planes. It did spoil the dinner hour. Now we have dinner and never know about dead soldiers. It is as if they never existed. And, thank goodness they don't show those military hospitals and rehab centers. That would be a real downer.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Reply
    • Mac

      We've had a regime change and I don't see caskets now. Your blaming the former regime falls on deaf ears. Old news.
      I voted for a promise to be out of the sandbox quickly here it is almost three full years later for our current CIC and still we play, in great numbers, in the sandbox. As a bonus we've added Libya.
      Our troops die. Capital Hill buys more limousines.Obama = Bush. No difference.

      August 9, 2011 at 1:13 am | Reply
      • All seeing eye

        You guys are all blind if you could get tour head out of your asses and look around maybe you could see that we are pushing an agenda to form a new world order. I could care less about what you have to say in response because I know the truth.

        August 9, 2011 at 3:42 am |
      • Mac

        @The Eye
        Old man, you lecture others her about not being rude then do the same. Sober up. The NWO theory has been around for some time this being said if this is the agenda what exactly do you think we're going to do to stop it. We may have a chance if we kick he current two party system to the curb but power corrupts, money corrupts. Are you in the top 1% owning 40% of the wealth of this nation. Didn't think so. Neither am I.

        August 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
      • All seeing eye

        @mac
        Have you lost faith in the principles this nation aS founded on and are we not a nation for the people by the people. In case you didn't see the George Orwell quote above "Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act" So what are you doing to stop it? Maybe it is you who need to sober up and start caring what is happening in our country before we have no country. FYI I wasn't referring to any theory. Both Bushes made references to the agenda in televised speeches and both have steered us into war to push this agenda using democracy as an excuse. Doesn't anybody remember pledging an allegiance of loyalty to the federal flag and the Republic of the United States?

        August 10, 2011 at 2:19 am |
      • Mac

        @The eye
        Lol what principles? Our nation has no principles. None exist in our political machine, business dynamic or our society as a whole. We can't even manage to accept personal responsibility for our own actions it's always someone else's fault.
        No I don't have faith in this nation or its people.As a collective we're nothing more than a bunch or 5 yr old brats or equivalent mentality you're welcome to use your own comparison.
        Examples: We have members of Congress referring to other members as Nazis like anyone on the Hill has the faintest idea of what Nazi Germany was like except what they've read in a freaking book. They didn't live it therefore no basis of comparison exists.
        We have a populace that believes the government is capable of private sector job creation. They're not but that didn't stop our politicians from spending almost a trillion dollars a piece for the Stimulus package, ARRA and a few more billion here and there for the Hire Act among other 'acts'. Oh and then there's the Tax Relief Act of 2010 yet another pit. I won't mention the porkulus slammed into these bills.
        Our last regime sent our troops into a country we helped fight the Russians in the 80s our nice little screw you to Russia over Nam. Now Russia gets the latest laugh don't they? Our current regime maintains our military presence.
        Economically, our current regime, won't even entertain the idea of repealing the Financial Services Modernization Act which lead to our bank debacle – thank you Slick Willy. I could go on and on Wall St, society etc. And you expect me to have faith? Faith in what?
        I like Orwell. Ever read Animal Farm? If not read it. The book's premise is no matter how things change the more they stay the same.
        The NWO theory and yes I used the theory because it's a conspiracy theory. I'm not saying it won't come to fruition, eventually we may have a world with no autonomous states and a world government but I don't see it happening anytime soon. I doubt you or I will live to see it. I disagree with your assertion Bush sent us into the Middle East to further the NWO idea. I see it more as imperialism run amok. Same song different verse.
        What am I doing? The only thing I can do vote for anyone without a D or an R by their name in the vain hope things may change.
        You are mistaken, we were at one time a nation for the people by the people but that ideology died long ago. We're now a country of I'm gonna get mine and the hell with everyone else. This mindset applies most heavily to Wall St., our politicians and our wealthy.

        August 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  24. anonymous

    Everything wrong with America, and the world in general, is right on this message board to see. The American public in general, with the exception of a few, most serving in the Special Forces, are mentally weak. The Taliban knew this in the beginning, even Osama Bin Laden called it out in his letter to President Bush when he wrote that the U.S. would lose because their public would grow tired of fighting. The Fact is: the majority of the American public, ever since the World War II generation, is the largest collection of self-centered pussies on the face of the earth. They would rather watch Jersey Shore than wake up and look at what is going on in the world. The Taliban and most Afghanistans are just harder individuals with better mental toughness and greater devotion to their cause. Look at all the mentally weak individuals on this comment board calling for the U.S. to RUN AWAY from the Taliban with their tails tucked between their legs because they are tired of ALL the deaths. Fact is, though every loss is terrible, America loses more people to murder in it's three major cities of New York, Washington and LA in one year than the combined death totals of Iraq and Afghanistan. Withdrawing troops loosens pressure on the Taliban = more time to plan and coordinate terrorist attacks. I would say let that happen but I think even another 9/11 wouldn't be enough to motivate this pathetic excuse for a national public.

    Eye for an Eye: Why don't you DO SOMETHING instead of just talking about the problem. Anybody can complain...do you have a solution?? You're certainly not going to change anything by posting on comment boards.

    Signed,

    Current Military member

    August 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Reply
    • All seeing eye

      It truly disgust me to see how ignorant you are anonymous. Did you forget that we trained the Taliban ourselves and you want to blame it "the week minded pussies" please take the gun out of your ass because it is most definitely impairing your judgement. Have you already forgotten about the recent debt crisis: Bin Laden is dead our fight is over. It's not out place to police the world.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:58 am | Reply
    • dsp

      Calm down gandu .. i think ur salwaar is too tight lol

      August 9, 2011 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • dsp

      ANNONMOUS .. CALM DOWN LORRU ... UR SALWAAR IS TOO TIGHT AND WET

      August 9, 2011 at 9:47 am | Reply
    • ranger 830

      Well Said !!!!!! Sine Pari

      August 9, 2011 at 11:50 am | Reply
    • blackwolf1

      HEY ANONYMOUS, Looks like there kickin your ass too! Now whos the pussy?
      The american people are and should be tired of funding these wars that are at a stalemate. We all know we could win, but we are trying to win hearts and minds, not pressing the right buttons! Since we wont commit 100%, then get out before the american economy goes bust, paying for policing actions. We are the roman empire all over again , spread too thin, war is fed by blood and money, this is a no win situation, simple, easy too see. We have proven whatever piont we had to make. Democracy cannot work among non-educated, tribal peolples. No amount of bombs will change that simple fact.
      ps- to an eye for an eye. The strength and Honor lies in the preperation and courage to fight for something you believe in. Warriors do not take sides in political debates, They are both republican, democrats, buddhists, catholics, they fight for theier country, freedom and their brothers. Country, God, family are OUTDATED CONCEPTS TOO A PERSON LIKE YOU. BUT YOU NEED US ON THAT WALL, ALL THE SAME. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT HIROSHIMA, remember what they did too my brothers at Pearl Harbor. When we were at peace, not at war. USN, RETIRED

      August 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  25. karen robinson

    The way to get Bin Laden was the way Obama did it, On the QT. Not blabbing, and bombing the crap out of two countries and killing and maiming millions.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  26. AvrgJoe

    This is the 2nd time we have lost SOF warriors in helicopters. Piss poor learning curve for whoever is in charge. We'll end up bringing the troops home with our tails between our legs because of ignorant, self serving idiots. My thoughts and prayers for teh families of teh fallen.

    August 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  27. unobtainium4

    All you guys are nuts. The killing of our navy seals was tit for tat. The killed Bin Laden and our politicians gave them the very seals as a way to even things out. Plain and simple.
    As for the war... Yes it is stupid. As for "civilians", no one is innocent here. The "civilians" aid and comfort the Taliban only.
    They know we will never protect them in the long run because we always leave. I am not saying we will not have a "presence" there, but militarily we will be gone.
    Since we have the capability to "win" wars in less than a week, it shows me the US is not really fighting a war and therefore should not be there.
    Note: If the soldiers are over seas, they cannot shoot us at home. Thank God!!!
    So,,,, WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS????
    I would like to hear some thought on this and not just a bunch of HATE rhetoric.

    August 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • Eye for an Eye

      "The killing of our navy seals was tit for tat. The killed Bin Laden and our politicians gave them the very seals as a way to even things out. Plain and simple." Now that is a nutty statement. I only present the facts Unobtainium and its the facts that you are getting twisted with your own self HATE.

      You typed it yourself ..... " Since we have the capability to "win" wars in less than a week, it shows me the US is not really fighting a war and therefore should not be there."

      So again I ask you..Why are we still there killing individuals? And those highly-trained soldiers that come back home, under oath will guarantee a hot bullet in ya @ss if ordered to. (Marshall Law)

      August 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Reply
      • All seeing eye

        It's the poppy fields that are being fought over. Statistics shows that before the war 20 percent of heroin was being imported into the US; now its over 80 percent. No doubt its being used to fund black operations. Call it a conspiracy theory all you guys want but some people know the truth. I thank all of the men and women who do serve our country but you do it blindly. Chain of command

        August 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • karen robinson

      30 navy seals on one helicopter? real smart. bragging about navy seals.........you think no retaliation? loose lips sink ships, something Americans and especially news media. It is sad, but how many of poor afghans have died and been maimed by us? on woman said my husband was a soldier of Christ. I really don't think Christ approves of killing. Remember those tablets?

      August 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  28. cacbar

    convert those that will to any religion besides islam, kill the rest, they can't be saved because their starting point is the worship of violence, female slavery, child rape and a prophet that practiced all of it.

    August 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Reply
    • All seeing eye

      I'm not Muslim but your wrong about Islamic religion. Every religion as radicals but that doesn't mean all Muslims are radicals. It would help if you educate yourself before speaking about something you know nothing about.

      August 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  29. JoeSixpack

    The real tragedy is the US and its puppet NATO still occupying Afghanistan after 10 years or so.... Time to go home, enough of this phony imperialistic war...

    August 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • karen robinson

      wonder where all those dollars are going.........Afghanistan and Iraq, and all the other 58 or so countries we are in. ya know like in Korea for 60 years.........you might actually be able to educate your own kid, have Social Security, healthcare, pension and a job.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  30. Eye for an Eye

    Let’s make one thing crystal clear, no member of the US military contributes in any way whatsoever to protecting the freedoms of the American people. As a matter of fact, they are more likely to turn their weapons on you than they are to defend your Constitutional rights.

    The only people on this planet Earth who can affect your freedom are members of Congress, local legislators and the members of enforcement institutions who will blindly follow the rulers who sign their paychecks. And, while your beloved troops are murdering people around the globe, yes, I said murdering, your Congress and local legislators are eliminating your freedoms, en masse, without any intervention by our so-called protectors in the armed forces.

    There is no honor in volunteering to go anywhere in the world and kill anybody you are told to, without question, without historical background and without verifying the stated reasons for doing so. In this modern age of information we now know that time and time again our military have been deployed into battle, to kill and be killed, for reasons that in no way shape or form resemble the reasons for which they, or we were told at the time. This is no secret, although many Americans refuse to take off the flag that is wrapped around their eyes and see American history as it really happened. They blindly believe what was told to them by the people who have a vested interest in maintaining myths and misconceptions.

    The US military, not once but twice, committed the single largest mass murders in history by dropping nuclear weapons on civilian populations, including of course, on women and children. Say what you want about how it helped end the war….the bottom line is the US could have exploded these devices over uninhabited territory with the same effect of scaring the heck out of the Japanese. But they followed orders that were lies and murdered almost 300,000 people, without question. As a human being I find it hard to honor such “patriotism.”

    August 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • All seeing eye

      Another eye that has taken off the blindfold but can you see the truth behind the curtain.

      August 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Reply
      • Eye for an Eye

        I definitely smell whats cooking ALL SEEING EYE....

        August 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
      • All seeing eye

        I'm glad somebody can see. It disgust me that people don't care. Everything is there to see if they will just look.

        August 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • cacbar

      boring half-truths that ignore the obvious. you're a troll, but at least you tried to make an educated argument. Next time, address the real issues and admit the weaknesses in your argument.

      August 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Reply
      • Eye for an Eye

        "There is no honor in volunteering to go anywhere in the world and kill anybody you are told to, without question, without historical background and without verifying the stated reasons for doing so"

        Former US Airborne Army Medic(Bronze Star & Purple Heart Recipient)

        August 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Charles

      Go Fuck yourself you Son of a bitch!!! From a US Soldier

      August 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Reply
      • Eye for an Eye

        I only expect the greatest comments from all troops in the military...Being a former airborne medic, and 3 tours under my belt, I would have to say that I can see through the Bullshyt Charles..I will pray for you and your unit...."DONT LET THE GUN SMOKE CLOUD YOUR TRUE JUDGEMENT"

        August 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
      • gorgon bilyas

        u fucking soldier cunt. ur dirty face smells like donkey shit from afghanistan

        August 9, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • ranger 830

      Eye for an eye! You are Right ! But my skin gets a little thin sometimes reading all the BS. uninformed people spew! Should just suck it up as always and Charlie Mike!!!! They would not understand unless they have benn knee deep in shit!
      Were you 68/w ? Thanks for your service Sua Sponte Rangers Lead The Way!!!!
      F oxtrot T ango W hisky How Copy ........OVER !!!!!!

      August 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • karen robinson

      you mean dying or being maimed for Yellow Cake lies? or are you dying and being maimed for Halliburtin? Russians leave Afghanistan and who walks in? USA French leave Viet Nam and who walks in? USA. W e also went into Cambodia, Laos, Thailand.........people there are still dying and being maimed from our cluster bombs.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  31. Howdy Doody

    I guess the civilians killed yesterday and today in Afghanistan are not a tragedy huh? You know- the people that CNN never has stories or pictures of – being ripped to pieces by US arms?

    August 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • karen robinson

      Right on. And, they don't have medical care there.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  32. nancyh

    Please clear up your news reports, navy seals are very brave young men, and I applaud everything they do. But there usually are other special operations men with them from the army and the air force. The 3 air men were usaf combat comtrollers and are always vital to the operation, and the 5 army special ops men were also assisting. Remember to report them too, they have loved ones at home waiting for them. Their training is vigerous for one year and they are just as dedicated to their country. They are in many missions that you never hear off. I grieve for their families and their loss. For the children you can help by supporting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Mother of a spec ops usaf man.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  33. J.P.

    I believe the headlines should have read US Military helicopter SHOT DOWN. This isn't a helicopter crash or accident this is an act of War. Do Americans not realize we are at war? Do they not realize the expence? Do they not realize that there will be no good outcome? This is a no-win situation, and hopefully the American people can convince the government to stop this needless expense of lives and money.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • karen robinson

      Right on. Is 10 years long enough for profiteering contractors?

      August 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  34. Bill

    As long as politicians believe that they can conduct wars are troops will once again die in senseless warfare. We lost Viet Nam due to ignorant politicians and we are losing in Iraq and Afganistan because of them. They have tied the militarys hands with stupid RULES of engagement, there is only ONE rule of engagement in war, kill the enemy with extreme violence, if not bring our people home and let those ignorant backwards fools kill each other off. They know this area is a problem, pull the troops back to a safe distance and bomb and shell it into a large hole in the ground, there are no innocents in that area.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  35. brown

    These men will be seen as the early casualties in the build up to another Great War.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  36. alice

    this war is B.S. in the first place, we have no right to be in A-stan or Iraq or Libya or anywhere. Bring our killers, i mean troops home and save the american budget for better things. They aren't making us any safer by being over there.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Reply
    • nancyh

      put on a uniform and get out there. My son is not a killer, and you are someone who thinks that someone should do the job but not you. Find another country.

      August 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • CZ

      You are ungreatfull and ignorant. i personaly know several great men that have givin their life to prtect this great nation so you can live in a free country like you do. i would like to see you make a fraction of the sacrafice that our men and women make on a daily basis. i am eternaly greatfull for everything these ben have done for all of us.

      August 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Reply
      • All seeing eye

        Yes, it is sorry they give their life for a false cause. My heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones. The people of this nation need to wake and remember the principles this nation was founded on. if we unite as one we can stop the hidden agenda of a new world order. it doesn't matter if you believe; its happening anyway.

        August 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • MILITARY FAMILY

      WHAT A TOOL....ALL MILITARY KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING...WE SIGNED UP FOR THIS SO YOU WOULDNT HAVE TO....BUT YOUR TO STUPID TO SEE THAT....MILITARY IS A WAY OF LIFE...AND I LOVE IT

      August 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
      • All seeing eye

        You have just made one of my points clear. Do you even know what the military is blindly fighting for? Guess not. I'm very far from being stupid little child. If is you who needs to learn the history and the facts.

        August 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Proud Army wife, mother and mother n law

      I feel sorry for such unappreciative idiots. Do you really think there have been no more attacks on innocent americans because the terrorist don't feel like doing it. WAKE UP- although we my never defeat a civilization who is tought to hate us from thier birth,we can contain them in thier own lands, disrupt the flow of money , arms, communication -thereby preserving the everyday freedoms you enjoy. If we bring all our troops home it will only be a matter of time that we are attacked again. Too bad CNN does not report on all the planned attacks our troops and the info they have gathered have been able to stop.GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS

      August 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Reply
      • Eye for an Eye

        From the Gulf of Tonkin to the first and second invasions of Iraq, history now teaches us that lies have led our troops to military intervention more often than not. As a matter of fact, it is hard to find an American military intervention in modern history in which the cover story ends up matching the actual events. A little research will show you this. It will also show you how the same people are usually behind funding both sides of military conflict and those doing the funding and instigating have almost always been, how should I say this, the ‘good guys.’ Yep, westerners on the popular side of conflict are the ones funding the ‘bad guys’ before they ever are labeled the bad guys.

        Prescott Bush, the father and grandfather of George H.W. and George W. respectively, made his fortune by funding the Nazis and Hitler’s rise to power. This is the same clan who went after Saddam Hussein in Iraq after they put him in power and armed him in the first place. But why pay attention to details if it interferes with our troop worship and flag waving?

        Time and time again we see that the people who make decisions to send troops to war are the very people who profit financially from such wars. Today’s troops can see this. It is part of the public record, yet they still do not question their missions. They join the military with a promise never to question orders. Taking history into account, I see no pride in this kind of service.

        Former US Airborne Army Medic(Bronze Star & Purple Heart Recipient)

        August 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • karen robinson

      Evidently half of the people we have in Iraq and Afghanistan are contractors..........collecting our American dollars.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • karen robinson

      oh alice, you are so right. this volunteer army just needs a job; in fact, i hate to say this, but they are partially responsible for the continuation of these wars; one woman said her husband was a soldier for Christ; don't think Christ would approve of that; lot of brainwashing in the military

      August 8, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Reply
      • Mac

        @Karen
        CONGRESS sent our troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. The troops didn't have a vote in the matter.
        People like you and Alice wallow in stupidity. You wear it like a badge of honor. Learn something about the politics, imperialism, the military and corporate interests before you lay the blame for any invasion on our soldiers.

        August 9, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • FILO

      all i hear is bitch bitch bitch...truth is we all go to the STAN knowing what could happen.. i hate the fact that it does happen but those young men knew the risk. just like all my brothers know the risk...."RANGERS LEAD THE WAY" FILO

      August 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Reply
    • Mac

      @Alice
      Nice. Bet ya call cops pigs too. Can the hippie crap Hanoi Jane. The days of spitting on soldiers is over.
      Most of our fellow Americans join the military to learn a skill, get an education or any of a dozen reasons they don't ask to go to war or participate in an invasion. Once committed by our CONGRESS they have no choice but to follow orders or face disciplinary action.
      The killers you refer to are in DC picking our pockets and killing our soldiers. Everyone with half an active brain cell knows the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were folly and in corporate America's best interests not ours. Place the blame where it belongs.
      I'll rather share the oxygen on this earth with a soldier than the likes of you. Btw b4 anyone, especially Mr. New World Order aka The eye, gets a bug up their rear I'm female, young, never served, hates hippies. Get over it.

      August 9, 2011 at 12:28 am | Reply
    • soldier

      Bring home our killers? Only someone like you would post something so stupid and disrespectful and act as if you know what a soldier does because of what you here from the media or see in a movie, but in reality you don't know anything. I have been an army engineer for 18 years and have helped build schools in Haiti and construct roads near the Arizona/Mexico border. My job has taken me all over the globe, including Iraq and Afghanistan, but I have never had to kill anybody. If the need ever arose for me to use deadly force to defend myself or my soldiers I would not hesitate, but that is the difference between a killer and a professional soldier. Its called rules of engagement. The next time you have something to say about what a soldier does try asking a soldier about what he does

      August 9, 2011 at 9:53 am | Reply
  37. RM

    This war is not well thought out. It appears we have no expertise in that area. Whoever is advising us, probably the Indians, is digging us a grave.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  38. ranger 830

    I have to agree with big b and Melanie! Repubs, Dems I dont care what your views are we are all Americans.We must not loose sight of that fact! You dont have to support the wars or the Presidents decissions.But these were american sons who died doing a very dangerous and increasingly thankless job as quiet professionals.These men need no medals
    or recognition!Nor would they want it!! However they do deserve your prayers and respect!!! These men know full well the dangers of their craft and are volunteers.They will all be missed in the JSOC community Hooyah and god speed!!!!

    August 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  39. harlan

    why the heck would we have 30 of our elite navy seals in the same helicopter? thats like having the v. president and the president, congress on the same plane together. our prayers go to the families of our fallen men and women. god help us all!

    August 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  40. Jack

    This war is absolutely insane and unnecessary. The country financial system is going down,were spending billions on this war while we could use the money for other things here for our citizens. Civilians are dying left and right and U.S soldiers are the for no reason at all. Let Afghanistan rule themselves any way they want and let them suffer the consequences. We need to let go of the old mentality of policing the world when our own country is suffering. This war is doing no one any good and good soldiers we keep dying for no reason. That is a tragedy and my prayers go out to those soldiers and their families. God bless them.

    August 8, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Desicanuk

      Why!Are you a quitter?This is exactly what the Taliban and their masters at ISI want.Who is arming the insurgents in Afghanistan?Taliban are only a proxy for the ISI.Go after them and then see how it all changes.It is naive and selfdeluding to think that Pakistan will help the US win in Afghanistan.They want US to quit so then they can move in and turn Afghanistan into their vassal state.Back to the good all days! And this after US,Canada and European allies sacrificed so many men.NO!NO!NO!

      August 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  41. OnTheRoad

    Afghan war's reality is that we can spend as much money as we want, we can lose as many of our good young men as we have to lose, but Afghan is a country that is lost! We sould pack up our men/supplies/equipment and get the you know what out of there as fast as we can. We should have nothing of value in the country on Dec. 31, 2011!

    August 8, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
  42. Michael

    30 more GIs dead. And for what? Iraq and Afghanistan are huge sinkholes that have been gobbling up our young men and women and draining billions of dollars for over 10 years with no end in sight. We have created countless disenchanted and angry people in both countries plus right here in the USA. And when we finally leave, the end result will be millions of destroyed lives, countless numbers who hate the USA, and a trashed economy that may never recover. And for what? Both countries will gradually get back to business as usual as if we were never there...like Vietnam. And the USA will continue to decline like the Roman Empire as we continue to try to police an world that respects us less and less with each passing day.

    August 8, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • All seeing eye

      Finally, someone's waking up. If you can find the answer to your questions you will be able to see the truth. The agenda for the new order of the ages has been in place and it will continue to be pushed forward unless we as one nation wake up and band together to stop it.

      August 8, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • karen robinson

      Another end result will be tons of refugees coming in; like Viet Nam. They will be on the dole for years

      August 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  43. All seeing eye

    It all part of the greater agenda of moving to a new world order. It's sad to see precious lives being lost in in order to control a piece of land. Does anyone know why this valley is so important to both sides? Do not be deceived by what is being told; there is always more than meets your eyes. If only people would step out of their tunnel vision and see the big pictureof what is truly going on; then maybe we as free thinkers could stop what is going on. My heart goes out to the many lives lost and the many more that will be lost as this agenda is pushed forward. We as a nation founded on the principles equal liberty are the only ones who can stop the massacre but we must first have to remove the blindfold in order to see. We as freely thinking people must unite against this agenda and stop the bloodshed.

    August 8, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
  44. Chris

    This is a very sad. Even sadder is that if anyone thinks we will ever bring home all our troops they are living in a fantasy and need to wake up. Yes it is what we need to do but it will never happen. I am a sister of not one but 4 US Marines. I hate the fact that they are going over there but as one of my brother's said"THIS IS MY CHOICE, I WANTED TO DO THIS AND IF I DIE, I DIED FOR YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE IN AMERICA." I dont want to lose one of them, I hate to hear of fallen heros but right or wrong they made the choice to serve. Just remember Freedom isnt free, Just be thanksful for the ones that paid the price and never let them be forgotten. Proud Marine SIS and American

    August 8, 2011 at 10:51 am | Reply
  45. nancy

    As the wife of a marine and patriot, this is a tragedy. In corporate America the CEO, CFO and VP's are not allowed to fly in the same plane on business. Why in the world did they have all the Seals in one helicopter? Why not separate them on 2 or 3 or 4 helicopters? They are valuable assets to our country and now they are a lost
    to everyone – families, fellow Seals, our country, and the free world.

    August 8, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • 11BravoPapa

      It appears you know nothing about military strategy. 4 birds? Yeah that makes perfect sense for a QRF mission smh. Stick to FRG meetings, get back in the kitchen and close your mouth.

      August 8, 2011 at 10:48 am | Reply
      • All seeing eye

        Why sir are you filled with such scorn? Everyone has the liberty to voice things as they percieve them. It sounds as if you might need to close your mouth. Try to be more respectful to others and you might not look like fool.

        August 8, 2011 at 11:33 am |
      • ranger 830

        11 Bravo papa our prayers are with you and yours.In defense of the loud mouth civis who dont know doodly squat about what happens over here! Most dont even know what QRF stands for. Nor do they have the intel or intestinal fortitude to ever be more than couch commandos.Its easy to talk the talk but much harder to walk the walk.
        Sua Sponte Rangers Lead The Way!!!!!! God Bless You And Yours!!! This Is exactly why not everyone is a Ranger,Seal,or SF Operator.Some are born to lead and others to follow.Increasingly we are becoming a country of followers not leaders,its sad, so sad!!!!

        August 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
      • Eye for an Eye

        @ 11 Bravo Papa and Ranger 830....you two make very little sense. As a former combat field medic with the US Army, and multiple tours under my belt, I can only agree with the facts & not the bullshyt fiction. Being you two are on the frontline(Ranger, 11B) I feel your pain, but the truth speaks for its self gentleman. Continue to do your jobs respectively, but hold off on your rude comments towards civilians that are only trying to make sense of this whole thing.

        Former US Airborne Army Medic(Bronze Star & Purple Heart Recipient)

        August 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • karen robinson

      It might be that some of those making decisions haven't graduated high school, are illegal immigrants, or just people who want a college education and the military is the only way to get it. Or it might be those taking us to war based on "yellow cake". Who knows? Really wasn't a good decision; nor was it a good decision to let the Taliban know they got the Seals.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Reply
      • ranger 830

        Sounds like you are so well informed and know everything?Have you been there? NO! Because I have and you dont know doodly squat.Since you are so informed maybe you should run for Pres.Your biggest worry is illegal aliens and crap!!!! My worry everyday is staying alive The only yellow cake we see comes in M.R.E.S and is stale as shit!!!! You must be a native American NO! Then your family are immigrants from somwhere now arent they!!!!

        August 10, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  46. big b

    Looks like as soon as we pull out,The Taliban will be back in full force to take over what our troops have bled for.

    August 8, 2011 at 10:28 am | Reply
    • pete

      america and nato can't win this war infact the already lost it whban they accepted last month to sit down with talian for negociation it's the same taliban which america and nato start fight against 10 years a got and shout a slogan we will eradicate them but see history of last 10 years they got more stronger in last three years and nato and usa is near to defeat as financial and human lossed they beard immense. it's written on the wall Nato and america lost but their arrogance can't let them to read it, hence they are runing life of afghans as well as american and european soldiers and on expense of tax payers money. afghans and pakistan are nation which will never forget their atrocities and take revenge so now america is pouring tax payers money among pakistani and afghani people while with the same money people of both countries writing destiny of USA so called war on terror. to USA and nato please get out your army from these countries so that there will be no more blood shed.

      August 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  47. victor

    The american lives are precious please don't sacrifice any more for a race that will stab you in the back the very moment you turn your back

    August 8, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
  48. Melanie

    What WE are doing to our military is DISGRACEFUL!!!! Our brave men are dying for no reason!!!! Bomb the f@ck out of them or bring them home!!!!! Let's send Congress, our Senators & the president over there with guns if they want to fight a war- besides the politicians aren't helping us at home!!!! We are killing our own soldiers!!!! Shame on USA!!!

    August 8, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • big b

      Well stated,Melanie! If we could come together as Americans and march on Washington in enough numbers (1/2 a million would do) this self-serving filth that run our country might just listen to the people for once!

      August 8, 2011 at 10:34 am | Reply

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