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Camp Bastion Families Want Answers About Afghanistan

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While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton boozes it up in Australia and the Pentagon grapples with more floozy eruptions, outraged military families are still waiting for answers about the forgotten 9/14 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. As I reported last month, 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 exactly 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. Kelley is the alleged "other other woman" who told the FBI she was harassed by alleged Petraeus mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell.

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 fellow 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. ... There is no excuse for this. We are the United States of America and supposed to be the badass of all badasses, and we are constantly made out to be fools and caught off guard. ... 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 she believes the failures in Benghazi are tied to the fate of the fallen at Camp Bastion.

Off the record, several family members of Camp Bastion Marines have voiced persistent concerns about security in what was touted as one of the safest places to be in Afghanistan. "It is not a matter of if, but when" the compound is attacked again, one told me. Another relayed how a few weeks before the 9/14 attack, razor wire on the perimeter kept disappearing — but Marine sentries were barred from firing on suspected thieves to avoid causing civilian casualties. Others wondered why security hadn't been stepped up given the public threat by the Taliban on September 10 to kill Prince Harry, who was stationed at Camp Bastion.

"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? Someone has to speak up."

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 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.

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Comments

5 Comments | Post Comment
Ma'am; ... I will be happy to tell those folks what happened if they cannot figure it out on they own...
This country was dragged into war with a whole people because they were harboring an enemy of ours...That was a mistake.
Then we took the fine military machine we had, designed to attack, and take positions, and even countries, and tied it up doing garrison duty... Intead of having the targets that we dispersed, we became targets all but inviting our enemies to kill us when it was least convenient... And that was another mistake...
We gave our enemies the choice of battle fields and interior lines; and those were mistakes...
We abused them for their culture, and tried to change it, and that was a mistake...
We have tried to buy their affection with money, and have become as corrupted by it as those we have corrupted. and that is a mistake...
We have tried to fight an expensive war in a distant place when it should not have been fought at all on the cheap... Instead of many layers of protection and lines of defense we have had only a few... Our easy money is paying for the enemies who are dying to fight us, and their religion that keeps them primitive also keeps them strong and rejuvinated, in touch with their honor as we will never be... We are fighting out of our financial poverty and moral bankruptcy, digging our grave deeper and deeper for fear of taking one step back once we have moved forward... These are all mistakes, and costly in money and men...
If we truly felt it was necessary as a nation to engage in this war, we should have all decided so democratically since we would all know the price of it sooner or later...Then to fight it most effectively would be to not fight it at all, but rather engage the enemy and drive him out, and then leave... Then try to engage the enemy, and if not successful with that, then go in against a formed up enemy and depart again... Then try again to engage the enemy and find agreement... If not successful, then go in against a formed up enemy, and everytime we leave promis to return ... We may have been able to go in ten or twenty times for the price of staying once, and when we leave now we will leave too broke to ever return, and with plenty of enemies if we do, or do not return...
Wars are a luxury people only think they can afford...
And if we cannot afford the peace, we certainly cannot afford any more war...
What we really cannot afford is any more of these West Point generals who have not the least part of sense about fighting Muslims which we should avoid at all cost anyway... If you think you can win with high technology you cannot afford- what you cannot win with grunts on the ground whose loss is too politically expensive to bear, then give up the whole idea of offensive war...99% of war is engineering, and all the numbers that make war possible, materialized... You still need that part that is human will, and moral right...
You see the stink you want to make about a few incidental deaths...I would bet you were one of those urging attack to begin with...It is too bad that all those who want war contrary to all sound thinking don't have to bear the cost with their own dollars, and with their own lives...If some one wants to go to war, I would say: You first...
Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:36 AM
Well said, Sweeney, she was one of those urging attack to begin with. STILL urging full on attack....again. She makes a buck whether we live or we die, she stays in her safe and comfy cocoon. Michelle Malkin... SUCOKKIE!
Comment: #2
Posted by: morgan
Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:01 AM
Mr. Sweeney (and sycophant Morgan) your statement about harboring Bin Laden made the most sense. As I remember the vast majority of Americans, and of course Congress, was all for getting into it with Afghanistan. Now that we are there it is our duty not to forget those who go in harms way to protect the rest of us back home. It seems as though the media has completely forgotten that we have American service men and women still fighting and dying in Afghanistan. I do agree with you about not using our unequalled military in nation building exercises. We should reserve them for what they do best…. destroying other nations
Comment: #3
Posted by: david
Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:48 AM
Re: david... The idiots who put our young people in those positions ought to be tried and executed... Will they ever learn otherwise??? Frederick the Great said: If you try to hold everywhere, you hold no where... A military is for winning wars and battles, and holding ground is the job of gravity... Some one, and I would bet at least a few some ones tried to explain the expensive realities of maintaining a huge outpost like that in indian country...The place is as large as Texas, and I can only imagine how large it would be if you could smooth out all the up and down of it... It is on the far side of the earth with interior lines of communication...It is entirely possible for us to put pressure on neighbors, but about impossible to do so in any meaningful way without widening the war...
David;... What the congress did following political pressure reveals the weakness of our limited example of democracy... You might say that every good leader is a good follower, and I might some times agree...To ignore the lessons of history and go into that place that has so often been the grave yard of armies and ambitions without some good plans to get in and get out, and without clear objectives possible to achieve within a reasonable time was nothing short of insanity... You could put any of those hillbillys is a space suit and it would not change them a fraction... You will not change those hillbillys a fraction no matter how you try... Give them more modern weapons and they will turn them on you and say fck you very much, and now I am going to kill my brother in law for marrying my sister, or some other stupid thing if I get to it first...If those people were in any sense conscious of their condition they would be screaming in pain and begging for change, and they are not, but thanking God for their miserable lives...
If people confuse me for a hillbilly it is because I have had to deal with them, and what is the point of beating on anyone who will not be improved by the experience... If you beat Joe, then on will come his older brother Ed, and if you beat Ed, then on will come older, older brother Tom, and if you beat Tom then you are going to have to fight the whole mess of them at once, and if you carry that off well then they will expect you to date their fat sister with the crooked teeth and bad breath, and if you don't want to then they will take it as an insult to their honor...If they got any...
The slightest reading of recent or decent history will tell you the place is a lost cause for no promise of gain...There are times the military should educate the government, and it is always time for the government to educate the people...Ya... So it is dangerous to political careers... Lincoln as a member of the House, funded the war with Mexico; but dared to tell people it was illegal, and that it set a dangerous precedent in foreign affairs, and for that he lost his job...It turned out to be the best thing for him, but only dying may have prevented his ruin as a president by all the radical forces lined up against him... He wanted a moderate reconstruction... That was do-able... What we are trying in Afghanistan is not do-able, and never was, and if you cannot get truth out of your government, then what particular purpose does it serve???
Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #4
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:34 AM
The military should be held accountable and there should be an investigation.
As an ex military site Coordinator, and then as a compliance officer for a PSC, I reported the RPG's being stored, transported and redistributed at Bastion along with other illegal activities to the military.
The Military then advised me via an email that they passed the reports to the civilian owned logistical company at Bastion who has no jurisdiction over anything but actually hired the insurgents and those involved so there should be an investigation and negligent homicide should be Highly considered by the families of those KIA at Bastion.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Ben Timmins
Sun Dec 9, 2012 8:16 PM
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