What About the Camp Bastion Attack?

Three days after the bloody 9/11 siege on our consulate in Benghazi, the Taliban waged an intricately coordinated, brutal attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. The murderous jihadists released video exactly one month ago this week showing off their training exercises in preparation for the assault. Where are the questions?

Where’s the accountability? Where’s the Obama administration? Where’s the press? Where’s the outrage?

Two heroic U.S. Marines were killed in the battle. Their names — Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell — have not been uttered publicly by the commander in chief. Their arrival back in the U.S., in flag-draped coffins, was not broadcast on network TV. But their brothers-in-arms did not and will not forget. And neither must we.

On September 20, John Gresham of the Defense Media Network wrote a scathing detailed breakdown of this little-noticed terrorist attack on our troops. He called it “arguably the worst day in USMC aviation history since the Tet Offensive of 1968.” Eight irreplaceable aircraft were destroyed or put out of action by Taliban warriors dressed in U.S. combat fatigues — amounting to “approximately 7 percent of the total flying USMC Harrier fleet,” Gresham reported.

His summary is bone chilling: “A Harrier squadron commander is dead, along with another Marine. Another nine personnel have been wounded, and the nearby Marines at Camp Freedom are now without effective fixed-wing air support. The USMC’s response to this disaster will be a telling report card on its leadership and organizational agility.”

On September 21, the left-leaning magazine The Atlantic published an article on the Camp Bastion attack titled “The U.S. Suffered Its Worst Airpower Loss Since Vietnam Last Week and No One Really Noticed.” A few right-leaning blogs raised troubling questions about preparedness and security.

“How did this band of radicals even manage to approach a highly advanced multi-national military base without being detected, much less force their way inside en masse?” asked Kim Zigfeld of the American Thinker. “How were they able to attack so quickly and efficiently that, even though nearly every one of them was killed in the effort, they were able to harm the mighty leathernecks more than they had been in half a century?”

National Review’s Jonathan Foreman wondered whether Pakistan was behind the attack.

“It seems likely that the special forces of a professional army planned the raid, and trained, advised and led the raiders — that is if they did not actually take part in it. Those special forces would, of course, be those of Pakistan,” Foreman posited. “This may sound shocking, but it would hardly be the first time that Pakistani special forces have operated in Afghanistan on behalf of Islamabad’s allies and proxies.”

President Obama has referred callously to the murders of our civilian diplomatic staff in Benghazi as “bumps in the road.” Even more maddening, though, is the radio silence from the White House about what happened that day at Camp Bastion — and what, if anything, Obama’s Pentagon did between the last major attack on Bastion in March and the bloody siege in September.

Somehow, a band of 15 insurgents managed to penetrate the wire with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons on 9/14. Their destruction was of historic proportions. The attack came six months after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was the target of a failed suicide attack attempt at Bastion. The (UK) Sun reported at the time that an Afghani was believed to have made the deliberate attempt on Panetta after “he broke through defenses and drove a vehicle towards his aircraft. He then went past the perimeter surrounded by armed security and large concrete block guards. Disaster was only averted when the truck caught fire and crashed into a ditch on the runway close to where Mr. Panetta’s jet had landed or was set to land.”

Team Obama mocks GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney with snarky lines about bayonets and binders. The thin-skinned commander in chief exploits Seal Team Six to burnish his “leadership” cred. And the president’s campaign surrogates have ceaselessly attacked their critics as “unpatriotic” for questioning this administration’s commitment to national security.

But silence is complicity. The questions must be asked: Did politically correct rules of engagement hamper our troops’ defenses? Who knew what and when? Who was behind the attackers? And what is being done to ensure our front-line defenders of freedom are able to defend themselves?

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  • tagalog

    The people we're training to protect Afghanistan are using their training and their position to attack and facilitate attacks on our own people.

    When are we going to wake up and get the hell out of there? Our so-called allies are killing our people. Time to go. Right bloody now. Let them deal with their former rulers, the Taliban, in their own way.

    Once we're out, we might want to make some effort to strengthen our bonds to India. That should get Pakistan's drawers in a bunch.

    • KuhnKat

      Nope,

      guerilla training for use in base assaults is NOT what we are giving to the Afghanis locals. Taliban do not have hardened bases to attack!!!

      • tagalog

        Ah, I see, that explains everything.

  • Margaret

    But silence is complicity. The questions must be asked: Did politically correct rules of engagement hamper our troops’ defenses? Who knew what and when? Who was behind the attackers? And what is being done to ensure our front-line defenders of freedom are able to defend themselves?

    When will we wake up and stop this? Who will want to serve in the military? We are sacrificing these great men & women—FOR WHAT? To prove we are NICE? It's treason & this admin should be tried and held accountable.

    • tagalog

      The lessons of Vietnam, which once seemed engraved in granite on every politician's and military troops' hearts, seem to have been forgotten. Those lessons are (1) don't go to war without a clear goal in mind for victory, (2) fight to win as quickly as possible, and (3) once you've won, and the enemy is subdued, bring the troops home.

      Some other lessons: don't fight a war in a part of the world where you don't know how to fight your enemy; do your best to avoid fighting an irregular war (our forces are equipped and trained to fight conventional wars, and no army is very good at fighting irregulars, including ours); don't get bogged down in a land war in Asia; don't intervene in civil wars; and don't fight a war where you are unable to identify who should be killed and who should be spared.

      • KuhnKat

        tagalog,

        you forgot the most important one, don't elect a Dhimmicrap President who really doesn't want to win becfause it will insult your enemies!!

        Under Bush and Petraeus with reasonable Rules of Engagement and a real purpose in killing the Taliban and convincing the countryside that they could change their allegiance to the elected officials we had the Taliban pushed out of much of the country. Under Barry with ROE's that mostly keep the troops on bases training the locals the Taliban have retaken much of the countryside and can maneuver with impunity.

        It also doesn't help that the ROE's are so stringent that our guys at times cannot fire at enemy firing on our troops from buildings because there MIGHT be locals inside who would be harmed!!! Our current traitorous leader has lost what our troops had fought, bled, and died for and are now being killed while GIVING territory back due to CIC restrictions on their activities!!

        • amused

          Oh what a croc of partisan BULLSHEET ! The Marine Base Commander is responsible here .NOT the president . No Marine Base so vital should have security breaches that would allow so small and inferior a force to carry out successfully such an attack . ESPECIALLY having knowledge of "Insider Attacks " and the very real pobability that Afghanis working on that base would not dispense full knowledge of the bases fortifications and locations of the Aircraft . The base Commander bears full responsibility Not the president as all your partisan B.S. alludes to .

          • tagalog

            The military usually works along the lines of the commander bears the responsibility. If the ship is in the process of sinking while there's a change of command, the new captain bears the responsibility despite what happened during the old captain's watch. The Commander in Chief is the President. For an attack of this significance, the buck stops at the President's desk.

  • Chezwick

    One thing is certain: The base commander should be court-martialed for dereliction of duty.

    • amused

      Once again Chezwick , I find myself in perfect agreement with you .Having been stationed at Camp Anari /Pleiku ,a much less vital installation than camp Bastion , a breach like this with so small a force would be highly unlikely to succeed . And that was an Army Base . There was something very wrong with this attack and its apparent success . And one cannot blame the President .

      • tagalog

        You were at Pleiku? No wonder we took a beating there.

  • fanlad

    God bless our Marines, and all the men and women serving in the United States armed forces.

  • riverboatbill

    In an unfortunate act of bad timing, security forces were away on politically correct sensitivity training sessions.

  • amused

    Dont blame Obama , blame the Pentagon . What should have followed that attack at camp Bastion would be quite a few carrer ending reprimands . In Vietnam jets were seperated by oncrete walls and strategically scattered on the base . Where were the Perimeter Guards ? Who was on duty when the attackers , a mere 15 men blew a hole in the wall and attacked a USMC Base .Where where the Marines when these same 15 broke off into 3 groups and literally crossed the base itself to destroy the Aircraft . THOSE are the questions that should be being asked .The President does not tell a Marine Commander how to secure his base . And Riverboatbill , even if your stupid statement were true , there is still no excuse for leaving the perimeter of such an important base or ANY base for that matter with such a breach of security . We are in a wartime situation in Afghhanistan are we not ?

  • Anamah

    Too many obtuse , too much indoctrination against American values, too little loyalty and no dignity… We are going to rescue our homeland disinfecting from these purulent progressives, commies and islamist, with the worst intentions. Thanks to our heroes we owe you all.