Families deserve answers
While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton boozed it up in Australia and the Pentagon grapples with more floozy eruptions, outraged military families are still waiting for answers about the forgotten Sept. 14 attack on Camp Bastion.
Muckrakers and distraction engineers are having a front-page field day with the so-called “sex scandal.” But for surviving relatives and colleagues of heroic Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell, it's the national security scandal at Afghanistan's Camp Bastion that deserves headline coverage.
There's been a virtual blackout of the alarming story in the national press. The meticulously coordinated siege by 15 Taliban infiltrators — dressed in American combat fatigues and armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons — resulted not only in two deaths, but also in the most devastating loss of U.S. airpower since Vietnam. Six Harrier jets were destroyed; three refueling stations were wiped out; six hangars were damaged.
The attack came six months after a failed suicide attack targeting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and three days after the deadly attack on our consulate in Benghazi.
Yet, on Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that President Obama is standing by beleaguered Marine Gen. John Allen. He's the four-star general and lead U.S. commander in Afghanistan who is now entangled in former CIA Director David Petraeus' sexcapades soap opera. Allen reportedly exchanged hundreds of “flirtatious” emails with Petraeus family friend and married Florida socialite Jill Kelley.
While Petraeus stepped down, Obama “has faith in Gen. Allen, believes he's doing and has done an excellent job” overseeing security in Afghanistan, Carney said.
Are families of our Marines at Camp Bastion happy with Allen and the Obama administration? Donella Raible, widow of Lt. Col. Raible, was blunt. “I'm not,” she told me Tuesday afternoon by phone. “I'm mortified. It shows the corruption in the whole Washington/Arlington culture.” Mrs. Raible, who is now raising three children (ages 11, 9 and 2) on her own, said, “I couldn't sleep at night if I were (Obama). If they're happy with things in Afghanistan, they should come look at the faces of those left behind.”
If not for the heroism of Lt. Col. Raible, Sgt. Atwell and their brothers-in-arms, the entire Harrier squadron and a barracks full of sleeping Marines could have been lost. Another Camp Bastion Marine wife and mother of two told me: “My husband survived, and I am so grateful, but I am also heartbroken for those who died. ... I blame this administration for these recent preventable losses of life.”
Deborah Hatheway, aunt of Sgt. Atwell, said the family received a standard-issue condolence letter from the White House last week. “That means nothing. This was not supposed to happen,” Hatheway told me. She blasted the “negligence, irresponsibility, incompetence and plain ignorance” that led to her nephew's murder.
“And after the incident with Panetta, the security should have been so tight there that even a suicide mouse couldn't get through,” Hatheway told me. “How could they let this happen?”
Obama's military leaders were asleep on the job — or sleeping with others instead of doing their jobs. Who will answer for this deadly disgrace?
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Agent: Polamalu undecided whether to play in 2015
- Toddler found wandering alone in Bloomfield, grandmother arrested
- Reports: Actor Ford seriously injured in small-plane crash in L.A.
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is planning a summer to remember
- Spring training breakdown: Yankees 2, Pirates 1
- Pitt instructor witnesses history in China’s ‘Wasteland’
- NFL notebook: Raiders’ Jones-Drew retires; Woodley released
- Previewing the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- Starkey: In defense of Mel Kiper Jr.
- Mt. Lebanon deer-culling corrals sprayed with urine, repellent
- Stocks snap losing streak as ECB reveals stimulus start date