Thursday, August 8, 2019

JOUR107.1001--Joseph Maguire for DNI Post---& the 2005 AFGHAN SUICIDE MISSION

J. L'Angelle
University of Nevada, Reno
Fall 2019

The Crash of MH-47

   (The Tarmac)--Following the withdrawal of what's his name for the top spot as Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the President has selected former Navy Admiral Joseph Maguire and current Counterterror honcho.  The admiral has a distinguished past and as just about everybody some rather questionable credentials, in particular while he commanded the Special Warfare forces in Afghanistan in 2005.
     A Stars & Stripes report by Giordono and Chudy indicated the MH-47 crashed on June 28th, a Tuesday, in rugged terrain on a rescue mission;
     "The first official report of the crash came around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in Afghanistan, when CJTF-76 officials distributed a news release about the downed craft. According to The Associated Press and CNN, a purported Taliban spokesman called news agencies just before the release and claimed the Chinook had been shot down by members of the deposed religious militia." (Stars & Stripes)
Something was not right about the rescue mission from the outset; reflecting a rather hasty decision flying in the face of terrain, weather and time of day. Had this been VietNam, the mission would not have been flown, the recon team on the ground would have had to fend for itself.

     The helicopter carried a combined unit on Navy SEALS and US Army 160th Special Ops Regt. soldiers from the Combined Joint Task Force-76, there were 17 casualties in the crash and three out of four of the recon team didn't make it either.  It was hit with a rocket propelled grenade. In an AP report published in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald on 12 July 2005, Rear Admiral Joseph Maguire of Naval Special Warfare Command had this to say;
     "There's no greater honor for a man to have the opportunity and the privilege to be the commander of such brave men and be associated with them." (AP)
However, there didn't seem to be much of an opportunity for the admiral to do a close followup of why the mission was called in the first place. That was left to Bush nominated Joint Chiefs CO Marine General Peter Pace at his confirmation hearings;
     " News of the copter crash clouded a Senate confirmation hearing for Pace whom President Bush has nominated to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. : (Halima Kazem,LA Times)
Other than calling the dead soldiers some "very, very special folks who were on a mission for this country," nobody seemed to question the rationale of the "mission" that all but bordered on suicide;

     " 'When we've got four SEALS on the ground, four brothers who say, 'We're under fire, we've been shot, we need help now,' we can't wait for the night,' Maguire told reporters on Friday here at the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, after a memorial service that drew more than 2,000 people. "The covenant we have with each other is that we will leave no man on the battlefield.' " (James Dao, Wisconsin State Journal)

     "We can't wait for night," just doesn't add up in a poorly executed, hastily contrived mission that should have been anticipated considering the variables involved: terrain, weather, length of field patrol by the recon unit. Bordering more on a wild guess that some villager spotted Bin Laden in the neighborhood, it appeals more to the senses that eager to get headlines officers sent talented and highly qualified soldiers to their deaths on an ill botched suicide mission.

Followup Reading: The February, 2018 Niger Ambush, Business as usual for the gung-ho generals:

Works Cited
Giordono, j., Chudy, J.,
AP, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, 12 July 2005, Page 3.
Kazem, Halima,LA Times, 30 June 2005 Page 145
Dao, J., Wisconsin State Journal via NY Times, 09 July 2005, Page 4