5 years, 11 months ago
As we discussed in Mission Kill or Mission Capture the administration just can’t get the narrative straight. The situation isn’t improving with time. One U.S. official said “Our Special Forces weren’t raiding a girl scout troop looking for overdue library books. They were on a kill mission for Osama bin Laden.” Very well. I’m okay with that. But the administration continues to botch the narrative with discussions about justification for the raid. He had access to guns, and “He was not compliant. He did not surrender.” So the rules for killing (between our previous discussion and this one) now include the possibility that he may be wearing an explosive vest, having access to weapons, and being noncompliant.
In addition to having to kill insurgents, my own son had to lay football style tackles down on people in Fallujah 2007 because they didn’t have weapons and yet needed to be detained or brought down for whatever reason. And every house he entered had weapons. And as for the possibility that someone may have explosives, that might have been a justification for shooting in almost any domicile they raided (and there is a difference between entering and raiding, and they did raid and perform room clearing operations).
There is more though. Senator Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, gives us more insight into just what happened.
”I hope they went in with the idea of killing him, not capturing him. We needed to take this guy out. And I know that’s what the executive order said.
“The other thing you have to remember is that this was pitch dark. When they got into the room with bin Laden, they already had to go through some other folks downstairs, two of which they killed. And they were having to use explosives to blow doors open. By the time they got to him, they didn’t know what they would find.”
Well, being pitch dark is irrelevant and doesn’t affect the rules of engagement. That’s just one more justification in an attempt to hide the apparent executive order to kill Bin Laden. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still have no problem with the order, if it was issued. It seems to comport with the other information that has been unearthed. I have a problem with Marines in the Helmand Province operating under different rules, rules that force them to arrest known Taliban IED emplacers, who have blown the legs off of fellow Marines, and then who are seen walking by waving and smiling while the Marines are on patrol a week later because the prison system is so corrupt in Afghanistan.
Try to convince the Marines in Helmand that Bin Laden was a higher value target than the Taliban who just made sure that their buddy would never walk again. Try to convince my friend John Bernard – who lost his only son Joshua Bernard in Dahaneh, Afghanistan on 8/14/09 and won’t see him again this side of heaven – that SEAL Team 6, however much we might appreciate their work in this raid, should be operating under rules that make them any more safe than the Marines in Helmand or U.S. Soldiers in the Pech River Valley.
It’ll be a mighty hard sell to me.