Ten years into our involvement in the war in Afghanistan, in the mountains southwest of Kabul in the Tangi Valley, an elite group of Army Rangers were pinned down in a fight, when they called in their “Immediate Reaction Force,” according to reporting by Danger Room. It would be another elite U.S. fighting force, Navy SEALS, who would respond, but would end up blown out of the sky. It’s not Desert One, this mission having an even more desperately reckless cast to it. What was worth risking our finest elite force, around 7% of the total according to some experts, in a country that continues to revert back to it’s origin of a tribal nation?
“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. – Did a New Taliban Weapon Kill a Chopper Full of Navy SEALs?
The Taliban Haqqani network, operating in the extremely dangerous Wardak province, includes the most brutal fighting insurgents in Afghanistan, so any mission against them is high risk. U.S. Navy SEALS, as well as their Afghan counterparts, a translator and a working dow, came in via a U.S. Army A Special Operations MH-47G Chinook helicopter, seen as the best among these fighting machines but incredibly slow, bulky and vulnerable when navigating in between steep terrain. There are no defenses to deploy when a Chinook is within range of an RPG, though there are speculations that a newer weapon was involved. It was the worst single day loss of life since entering Afghanistan in 2001, with reports saying many of the Navy SEAL Team 6 who took down Osama bin Laden perished this day.
As the latest and worst news from Afghanistan continued to sink in, late yesterday, Pres. Obama addressed the S&P downgrade as the stock market plummeted, finishing with words about the horrific carnage that happened over the weekend. With words coming out of his mouth invoking his belief in America, the President’s grim facial features belied the pep talk that was weirdly surreal. It turned into the Twilight Zone when he got to the end, invoking the spirit of the fallen heroes while using the word “succeed” in the same sentence as Afghanistan.
“Their loss is a stark reminder of the risks that our men and women in uniform take every single day on behalf of their country,” Obama said from the White House. “I know that our troops will continue the hard work of transitioning to a stronger Afghan government and ensuring that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. We will press on and succeed,” the US president said. – US will succeed in Afghanistan: Obama
Last year in October, I wrote a piece entitled Getting that 1979 Feeling Again. Today this feeling is palpable.
Every time Pres. Obama comes out to speak now there is a vacuousness to his purpose that goes well beyond what words can hide. It’s like he doesn’t even believe himself anymore, as he babbles on without presenting a single plan. The least he could have done was call Congress back to Washington.
The crisis of economic confidence…
The out of touch talk about “We will press on and succeed” in Afghanistan…
It’s clear individual Democrats in Congress better take up the charge on jobs and growth, because Pres. Obama is acting politically paralyzed.
The good news for Obama is that his poll numbers remain decent amidst his floundering. Everything else, however, is reminiscent of the run-up to 1979 when America seemed incapable of acting like a great nation amidst economic, energy and foreign policy crises that were overwhelming the current occupant of the White House.
America ended up handing the country to Ronald Reagan, who ballooned the deficit, raised taxes over and over, and deserved impeachment after Iran-Contra, but got away with it because it was a different time and an assassination attempt had bonded Pres. Reagan to the people.
There is an out of control, out of touch, out of sync feeling Pres. Obama reveals every time he takes to the podium. He’s been incapable of leading the events playing out during his presidency, instead just reacting to them. Obama needs to change this perception and he has until Thanksgiving to do it.