Camp Bastion cover-up
By Michelle Malkin
Published: Sunday, May 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Do you remember what happened last year on 9/14? Where are the White House phone calls for the families who continue to grieve? What is being done to prevent another fatal attack like the one on 9/14? And why is the full truth being withheld from the American public?
Benghazi isn't the only bloody disaster being covered up by the Obama administration. Three days after the deadly siege on our consulate in Libya, the Taliban waged an intricately coordinated brutal attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. Two heroic U.S. Marines — Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell — were killed in the battle.
Family members are angry that military brass still are trying to suppress details of the fateful budget and strategic decisions that led to the attack. But they won't stay silent. “This is political,” one Camp Bastion relative told me this week. “Just like Benghazi, they don't want people to know.”
In case you were sleeping or had forgotten: The meticulously coordinated siege at Camp Bastion 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 and nearly a dozen injuries, but also in the most devastating loss of U.S. air power since Vietnam.
Eight irreplaceable U.S. aircraft were destroyed or put out of action during the raid. A trio of refueling stations was decimated; a half-dozen hangars were damaged. The attack came exactly six months after a failed jihadi suicide attack targeting former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Camp Bastion family members are hearing that U.S. and British military leaders left their loved ones vulnerable to attack by outsourcing watchtower security to soldiers from Tonga, who were known to fall asleep on the job.
Deborah Hatheway, aunt of Sgt. Atwell and the family's spokesperson, is naming names and mincing no words. She says Maj. Gen. Charles “Mark” Gurganus, who recently returned to the U.S. after commanding coalition forces in Afghanistan, was ultimately responsible for skimping on security patrols. “He might as well have made it easier for the Taliban by cutting the perimeter fence himself and putting out the welcome mat,” Hatheway says.
In addition, Hatheway says families have learned that those on the ground did not have “proper protective gear available ... or properly functioning weapons.”
In the meantime, a few officers in the know have begun leaking to the press. A little-noticed article by Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran two weeks ago reported that “several officials with direct knowledge of the assault said in recent interviews that staffing decisions by U.S. and British commanders weakened the base's defenses, making it easier for the insurgents to reconnoiter the compound and enter without resistance.”
Neither the Marine Corps nor NATO plans to release the results of their separate investigations — in part, The Post reports, “to avoid embarrassing the British for leaving towers unmanned.”
There's a whole lot of CYA going on. Sgt. Atwell's family wants America to know: “This must end.”
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.
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- LaBar: Bryan winning world title at WrestleMania 30 is only option
- Police continue to investigate 3-year-old’s injuries in Butler
- Penguins’ leads evaporate in loss to Sharks
- Sharks praise ex-teammate, newest Penguins player Goc
- Martin would consider extending stay with Pirates
- Valley’s Fields penalized for prematch handslap, leading to loss
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- Qualifications of Peduto nominee for building inspection chief come up short
- Uniontown man sentenced to 12 years for burglaries
- Wreck closed Leechburg Road in Lower Burrell until early Friday