March 25th, 2011
09:51 AM ET

Army accused of covering up mistakes in Afghan battle

By Drew Griffin and Jessi Joseph, CNN Special Investigative Unit

It will go down in history as one of the U.S. military's worst battles in Afghanistan. And according to the families of the soldiers who died there, the history written by the U.S. Army is biased and inaccurate.

Relatives of those killed in Wanat, at a combat outpost in the rugged mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, say the Army is covering up mistakes made by the dead mens' commanders and placing blame on a junior officer who was simply following orders.

The 9 who died at Wanat

"My personal opinion is that the Army is trying to protect their institution," said Dave Brostrom, the father of 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, who was killed in the battle. "It’s a lot easier to blame a dead lieutenant than it is to blame the chain of command."

The July 13, 2008 battle at Wanat, near the Pakistani frontier, was one of the bloodiest since the Afghan war began in 2001.  A U.S. force of 49, plus 24 Afghan troops, desperately fought off an attack by some 200 Taliban fighters, calling in air strikes barely 30 feet from their own positions during the struggle.

The platoon, in close combat with Taliban fighters, repelled the enemy after nearly four hours of intense fire at a cost of nine Americans dead and 27 wounded.

A military investigation that followed, led by Marine Lt. General Richard Natonski, blamed the deaths in part on dereliction of duty by superior officers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and called for career-ending reprimands for company, battalion and brigade commanders up the chain.

Those recommendations were approved by Gen. David Petraeus, then chief of U.S. Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Army Secretary James McHugh then tasked Gen. Charles Campbell, the chief of the Army's Forces Command at the time, with reviewing Natonski’s investigation and taking appropriate action regarding the recommended letters of reprimand.  After reviewing Natonski’s investigation and meeting with the chain of command, Gen. Campbell concluded that the officers were neither negligent nor derelict and rescinded the letters of reprimand.

Then the Army published their study of the battle – which, according to Dave Brostrom, put a large part of the blame on his son, who commanded the airborne infantry platoon at Wanat.

That report by the Army's Combat Studies Institute is now the official history of the battle, and Brostrom - a retired colonel who is about to send his second son into the service – says the report needs to be re-written.

Up until the day of the battle, Brostrom said, his son was sending warnings up his chain of command that things were not well in Wanat.

Video taken by the soldiers of 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company showed crudely dug defensive positions, a few sandbags and the enemy easily visible within shooting range. The Afghan contractors that were supposed to provide heavy equipment and engineers never showed up to help build an actual defensive position, and troops were left to basically dig into the ground in 100-degree heat while water supplies ran low.

Natonski’s investigation found the officers at the battalion and brigade levels had become preoccupied with other matters - including a visit from Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The investigation also found the battalion and brigade commanders failed to heed warnings that the Wanat outpost lacked construction equipment and supplies, was struggling with a shortage of drinking water and was undermanned days before the battle.

Worse, the Natonski investigation found warnings being sent by the platoon of an increasing buildup of insurgents in the area were either ignored or failed to make their way up the chain of command.

General Campbell’s review of the battle excuses the commanding officers' inattention to a platoon under threat, concluding that due to the busy schedules being kept by the commanders and other troop engagements in the area, "It seems reasonable that these officers' attentions were devoted to more pressing matters."

It was a complete reversal from what Natonski and Petraeus had found in their original report.  And Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee last summer that he disagreed with Campbell’s decision not to punish commanders involved.

“I respect his view in this particular case. I support the process,” Petraeus testified. ”But I did not change the finding that I affirmed after the investigating officers provided it to me."

A source close to the Army’s investigation said the commanders were negligent in the planning, negligent on the supervision and negligent in getting the proper resources to the soldiers who were in harm's way.

"If everyone did business this way," the source told CNN, "we'd be losing a lot more lives in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, asked Army Secretary James McHugh to include the higher commands shortcomings in the Army’s official version of events at Wanat, a report that is intended to be used as a learning tool to train soldiers.

"The study's failure to assess decisions made by more senior leaders makes this accounting a flawed and biased 'implement of learning,' " wrote Webb, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a highly decorated Vietnam veteran.

In a meeting between Army officials and several family members of the nine dead soldiers, Campbell explained his decision not to reprimand the commanding officers was to protect future combat missions.

"I informed the Secretary of the Army of the action that I took,” General Campbell told the families. “And my determination is that the officers listed in the report had exercised due care in the performance of their duties."

Brostrom has asked the Army to pull the Combat Studies Institute report, which blames his son for poor placement of defensive positions at the combat outpost in Wanat. He maintains his son was simply following orders, and died carrying out a poorly planned mission by the command staff.

In a statement to CNN, the Army maintains that they have, “thoroughly investigated and shared all findings with family members, Congress, the media and the Army at large.”

The Army wrote that they understand there are still differing views among those who have reviewed their investigation and published study but say they have tried to be transparent, “Any suggestion that the Army has been less than forthright in this matter is simply not true.”

But Dave Brostrom believes the Army is less concerned about his son and more concerned about protecting their institution.

"It's more important than lessons learned and protecting our soldiers," he said.

Brostrom has asked the Department of Defense’s Inspector General to review whether the higher command, originally found derelict of duty, had an undue influence on the re-writing of history.

soundoff (237 Responses)
  1. pamiri

    This some figures in government (like Karzai, his some ministries such as Faroq wardak the father of Taliban and Izbe Islami, Rahim wardak, Ahadai and etc) plus ISI want and do effort to approved in one or the other ways by cheating and fraud that to show Taliban Aqaeda are very strong, but in fact they are coward, just they can kill innocent people

    March 27, 2011 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
    • pamiri

      We want to declare to all international forces that do not make the mistake that you did in 1991, when the Mujaheedin took the power you left them alone and then the ways paved to ISI Aqeadan that through their slaves like Izbe Ismai and Taliban they killed and tortured many civilians, but this time it is up to all humanity to fight against these figures who are the slave of strangers and to release people from their brutality and barbarism,,

      From Kabul

      March 27, 2011 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
      • Donald H.

        Yes, the biggest mistake we made was to put the warlords northern alliance in power and ignored their inhumane and horrible human rights violations..By arming, funding and empowering those criminals into Afghanistan's politics we have destroyed Afghanistan future. America must support those in Afghanistan without blood on their hands people like the Masood family, Fahim, Rabbani and Sayaf need to be handed over to Afghans and it will be up to them if Afghans want to hang them or jail them. Anyways, from my 40 year experience in Afghanistan we must stand with Afghans from every corner to support them against Young boys Rapping Northern Alliance Warlords and the ISI Taliban...Pamiri, you must also not forget the ISI seven Gulbadeen, Masood, Sayyaf, Rabanni(<brought BinLden into Afghanistan from Sudan before Taliban),etc- Afghanistan must be saved from such criminals.

        March 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Doug W.

    As a retired officer, and one who wasn't on the ground on this day I can only offer this information. As a combat commander you are responsible for all your unit does and fails to do, good and bad. Where was the Company, Battalion, and Brigade Commanders at when this platoon was prepping their defense? Seems someone missed their PCCs and PCIs and it wasn't the 1LT. If he was screwing up the defense plan then the Company Commander should have been there guiding him or releaving him of his duty. Fall on your sword leaders and clear this kids name.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sol Herrera

      My son Spc.Sergio Abad was among the other 8 soldiers. I was there in Atlanta,Georgia with the findings. I want to thank yoyu for your post and I otally agree with yu. Thanks

      March 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Terry P

    Military top brass don't want any negative press – and will go to the extreme to make sure dirty little secrets don't come out. They learned their lessons in Vietnam.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Will 18E

    I do not understand why some have to beat up on CNN here. CNN gives an equal view of both reports, and the reports conclusions Then CNN merely points out the obvious, the rift or disagreement between the dueling reports. CNN has no commentary here, just excellent reporting, comparing and contrasting both.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jed

    Our genius commanders who failed to properly fortify COP Wanat actually closed it after the battle, giving the Taliban a huge psychological victory to boot.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Saint92055

    As a combat veteran and a dad, I can symphathize with the grieving father. I cannot understand though how a lieutenant, presumably trained, cannot see that his defensive position needed to be improved with primary, secondary, and alternate fall back positions regardless of the support he did or did not get from his chain of command. Speaking from personal experience, when one is deep in indian country one must utilize what he has at hand. It sounds like that young officer was poorly trained, too reliant on his higher, and was completely lacking in any sort of competent NCO's to rely on. Tragic.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jed

      They were in the bottom of a bowl. Mountains all around them. It was an almost indefensible position.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Earnán

        Of course they were "in a bowl" surrounded by mountains.

        Their mission was to provide security to the local villagers. The villages are in the valleys, where's there's water and fertile soil and the people won't freeze to death in the winter.

        They could have easily built an impregnable fortress on top of one of those mountains. And they would have sat there uselessly while the Taliban terrorized the local villages, murdered everyone who was pro-government or even just neutral, and moved on to the next valley.

        If you want to win this kind of war, you have to be in among the people you're fighting for.

        March 25, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      You obviously cannot correlate information or develop rational thoughts, possibly from your poor training while in the military.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rrock

    What if they gave a war and no one came, that is no one volunteered for the military. I guess we would still have Sadam but we would have an extra 3 trillion dollars and Sadam and Afghanistan were not threats to us in the first place.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Walls

      "There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare."
      -Sun Tzu

      March 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Earnán

        Tell that to the North Vietnamese.

        March 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Been There

    I've retired after 22 years of service and spent my last deployment in Afghanistan...this story doesn't suprise me...there is too much careerism within the armed forces which leads to a whole bunch of "yes" men....that may be okay for Powerpoint briefings but in combat environment people get killed....too many leaders are worried about how things LOOK and how it will impact their career verses are we doing the right thing with the right assets and resources. Therefore its easy to pass the blame for things like this...

    March 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. billy williams

    I am a Vietnam combat vet and I believe the young Lt. should have been awarded at least a silver star. His superiors who placed these soldiers in this location and did not supply them with the equipment to allow them to be able to dig in better and then to fail to also provide them with adequate drinking water should face court martial. I remember well being in situations where we were obiously expendable. The Army investigating itself. What a joke.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bones

      Here are three relevant points. 1) None of the arm chair tacticians have ever fought in the Pesh, Korengal, Konar or the Kamdesh. 2) Just as before, the wolves are already circling to collect the peace dividend and return your military to the underfunded shell (Army and Marines) it was prior to 03 when we drove to Baghdad in trucks with nylon doors and our aircraft had protection systems made during Vietnam. Criticize all you want – all of you have earned privilege. You were born in a country where the checks have already been written by soldiers. Yea, it was hot that day – most of you couldn’t find it on a map.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jbo

        Bones-Well put. The fact of the matter is that this is an isolated event that is bing treated as SOP by folks that don't have a clue and/or have an ax to grind.

        March 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Katherine T

        Well said.

        March 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dave

        Shell of a military? You mean the one that toppled a sovereign nation with the equivalent of 4 divisions (3rd, 101st, 1st Marine and 1 British)? Driving to Baghdad in trucks that were designed to be... TRUCKS? With aircraft so outdated that not a single one was shot down? Doesn't really sound like a hollow shell to me. Sounds like some HS kid who has watched to many 'Black Hawk Down' movies. As far as this article... unless you were there on that day, it's all heresey. I was in for 7 years and don't trust higher command (and lower command for that matter), but in war very, very bad things happen. You don't need a backhoe to build some very strong defensive positions, and even then when you are faced with overwhelming force, there is only so much that you can do. In case no one noticed, we actually won this battle.

        March 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Earnán

        Dave: Yes, trucks. Trucks being USED AS COMBAT VEHICLES because the service-dodging Secretary of Defense insisted on micromanaging the military's plans and forbid them to deploy enough troops and enough armored vehicles.

        It's not like we didn't know that humvees and 5 tons and PLS trucks aren't bullet or bomb proof. We lost thousands of soldiers driving similar vehicles in Viet Nam. But it was not politically acceptable to Rumsfeld and his cronies to plan for anything other than a quick clean photogenic victory.

        March 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dale

    Just be aware that anyone in the Army upper command would throw your son or daughter under the bus if it meant a promotion or a chance to kiss ass from an Admiral like Mullin I ask I told many years ago, you are the property of the United States Government and the government will do to you what it wishes without a second thought. It does not surprise me in the least that a junior officer was crapped on, it is the Army way, protect those that do not do the fighting from their leaderships stupidity. The officer was a scapegoat and nothing more, despite his attempts to correct the leaderships errors, he suffered the fate of being low man on the totem pole.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jbo

      Dale-I disagree with this blanket statement. Sure there are politician officers that will do as you state but the majority of the senior officers in the Army care very much about their troops. They are in the position of making the decisions that put those soldiers at risk and therefore it is easy to critize but the truth of the matter is that those guys care about their fellow soldiers just as much as the enlisted folks. This is not something you hear about every day...that's cause it isn't common place and there is a reason why it isn't.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • David

        Like the Marine Commandant who visited the US Marine barracks in Beirut Lebannon two weeks before a terrorist drove a truck into the parking area UNDER the barracks and killed 200 Marines. Excellence leadership and intellectual bearing since car bombs were routinely set off in Beirut. I even would want stand next to the fool.

        March 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hot Rod

    Can I ask why is CNN so quick to go after the military when there is an issue or that they made a mistake?Yet when politicians screw up (mainly Democrats) they are quick to hide the story? Lets see the unbiased coverage of President Obama with what war he just started.......this will put you (CNN) in a tough spot to criticize him.

    If this was the Republicans you (CNN) would be screaming for a time table to get out or out of the action. Lets see you post pictures of the dead soldiers that come about as a result of this administrations actions.

    Oh.......NO, I am not a Republican, nor a Democrat, not after what happened to the economy. The way I see it, they are ALL crooks in conjunction with BIG BUSINESS (Banks) running this country for themselves not the people.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jbo

      Congressional Military Industrial Complex...It's not about if a hand is in a pocket, only whether it the left or right pocket.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      >Yet when politicians screw up (mainly Democrats)

      You keep believing one side is any different than the other. How many trillions did we add to the national debt under W Bush? What as much as every president before him put together nice.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jbo

        asdf-I think we are both saying that we don't trust either party...Bush, Obama, it doesn't matter, both parties are not trustworthy.

        March 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • perkpi

      you are a moron

      March 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • rrock

        Spoken like a person with personal experience

        March 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gok

    airstrikes lol bloody cowards dont go into battle unless they are 10x stronger than their foes lol

    March 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • TangoChaser

      Isn't that the idea. Be bigger, stronger and smarter than the enemy????

      March 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Earnán

        Gok sounds like a dimwitted liberal who thinks there's some sort of "moral victory" in getting stomped into a pulp.

        And he'd be more than happy to see plenty of dead Americans for such a "victory"...

        March 26, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • gokless

      lol or how bout you learn to punctuate lol or capitalize, or think lol

      Nothing you said had anything to do with this incident. I'm glad you could laugh out loud at whatever was tickling your fancy. I just don't see anything funny, nor do I see relevance.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • metro

      Moron.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ali

    I think the Army does not have good training program or simply soldiers dont practice it in a war zone.I was a Traslater in Iraq with Army in one operation a brave and very young Soldier died and almost 4 more soldiers died including me because of very poor planing by our comander in charge.........I hope Military would look in to that and make necessary changes.....

    March 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • thorrsman

      von Clausewitz: "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy".

      And Sun Tzu probably said much the same thing a couple thousand years earlier.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Iraq Vet

    I just wanted to say some of your comments irritate me and I started to construct my argument but it doesn't matter what i say. If you have been there you know what its like. If you haven't your welcome! Even if one is KIA on a mission that is one to many. Stop treating soldiers, marines, airman, and sailors like they are just a number. A well planned and executed mission can accomplish this. Command obviously has some blame because the reality is they would have had more assets if properly planned. I remember while in transit from a large base to a fob I stopped off at the TOC. I got to witness the military take away CAS assets from soldiers patrolling to a large base that is rarely ever attacked because a high ranking official was going to fly in. This is how the military operates if you are low ranking you are not important. The findings in this case don't surprise me. I hate the bureaucracy but love my brothers. To the fallen RIP

    March 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jbo

      Iraq Vet-You got it and you are 100% correct. THe bottom line on this one is that these folks hate the politics of the war and the upper echelons of the military so then they transfer that to the entire activity. I thank you and all of your fellows in Arms!

      March 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mkat2

      The solution is simple; bring our troops home! When the last troop leaves, the Arab tribes will go right back to killing one another. We need our brave & valiant troops on our OWN Border, since WE are being invaded! I trust our soldiers 100% & our Gov. 0 % !

      March 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Double A

      Iraq Vet– was there too between 2003 and 2004– and I got to agree with you. I was a CPT. I kept seeing the field grades living it up–smoking cigars on river bank like they won some great battle– freaking drinking champagne (I'm not lying –saw it with my own eyes). Living better than they live here. I couldn't believe they way they were handing out medals –Bronze stars for guys who hadn't ever been outside the wire. We had to pick up some field grades after they made a "combat jump" (right into our arms) so they could pin themselves with combat jump ribbons. Blaming an LT is ludicrous. I didn't trust any field grade officer because they are idiots. Couldnt' stand saluting them. That's why I got out when the getting was good. Don't miss it a bit.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • RVN VET

      I agree, 2 generals review and agree that reprimands are due for a Company CO and two field grades but a Pentagon General has the last word and decides that the Lieutenant is to blame for the whole thing. If the LT and his men had held off the enemy without any losses I guess that the upper command would have gotten all the credit. What do his men have to say about his leadership, they are the only voices that I would listen to.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bigfoot

    I would take the citizen-soldier army of WWII over this one ANY DAY.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • thorrsman

      @bigfoot, yeah, the guys in WWII didn't have nearly the weapons, support and training the modern Army does. If I had to chose, I chose going against the WWII guys too.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  16. James

    The fact they ignored what Petraeus said shows how incompetent the Army has become. I respect him a heck of a lot more than any of those jokers.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  17. bigfoot

    DO NOT believe what the military says. They are clinically incapable of uttering the truth.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jbo

    It is so sad that so many folks posting here have no idea what they are talking about. The officers, NCOs and Enlisted in the USArmy, make up the best Army the world has ever seen. They are good at their jobs, care about their fellow soldiers, both enlisted and officer and they are the most highly educated Army to ever exist.

    The fact of the matter is that there are bad folks in any group of people as large as the Army, however overall, the troops fighting in these two wars are doing an awesome job. The reason that this sticks out is because it is apparently outside the norm. Another fact is that literally only one out of five Americans can even get in the Army and that the modern soldier is held to a higher standard than almost anyone else in the country, to include the president. It is amazing how many folks are on this page bad mouthing an organization that they know nothing about but I especially like the comments from all the “soldiers” with 9 or 13 years that are talking about how they couldn’t trust their leaders…If you were so great, you should have been one of those leaders so in effect you simply walked out on your fellow troops because you couldn’t hack it.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mavent

      And yet, your giant fawning BJ to the Military doesn't bring the dead back to life, does it?

      March 25, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jbo

        Mavnet, good one, I am sure you know all about giving BJs. Probably why you can't get in.

        March 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      As well stated as a club scout could phrase. The US Army has written a history of failure everytime it trips on a battlefield from Vietnam, the associated drug use, and the tail hung between its legs when it exited. It wasn't even smart enough to distroy the main frame computer in Saigon with all its South Viet allies and collaborators – just like the Korean war where it left files in Seoul before running for the North Koreans to read and Kill everyone listed. In WWII although having command of the air and the sea, it let the Germans escape from Sicily with all their men and equipment and even the Italians were able to transport their men to Italy. In Iraq, friendly fire, the failure quard and destroy Iraqi ammo dumps let Iraqs in pickup trucks haul off 155 shells to mine roads and destroy M-1 tanks. very thoughtful of the US Army. Only Morons at every level would want any association with similar behavior or were you one of those taking pictures while on duty at the prison??? Not a single officer was responsible nor the IG, the JAG, medical officers, chaplans, or line officers – some army!!!!

      March 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  19. thorrsman

    As I recall, this outpost was in the valley, giving ALL control of the higher ground to the Taliban. The decision was based on the idea of keeping the American military in close and friendly contact with the villagers rather than having them in a proper defensible position. That could only come about via orders from higher up.

    And as a side note, despite their poor defensive position and the overwhelming numbers arrayed against them, the Americans were NOT overwhelmed.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jed

      thorrsman, "not overwhelmed?" Really? The Taliban actually made it close enough to lob grenades. One Taliban was killed within the compound.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • RVN VET

        JED, have you ever been in the service or ever even been in the neighborhood of combat??? If they held their position they were not overwhelmed – overwhelmed is overrun and that means they hold your position and you haul ass!

        March 25, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • droppingitdeep

        Jed – These idiots here are talking like the soldiers had everything under control, "Not overwhelmed!" The soldiers were surronded by 200 or more Taliban. The would have all perished if not for air support and/or artillery. If they weren't overwhelmed I guess no one got hurt or killed and they could have just gone hand-to-hand with the Taliban. These jokers need to re-asses their definition of overwhelmed.

        March 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bones

      So Patton, what would we have dug with on the side of a mountain covered with bolders? How would we have been able to contract to have proper positions dug on the "the high ground" then support it with supplies? If it can be driven to, it could have been supported. As for the intel – every FOB or COP in RC-E was going to be attacked every day.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  20. mangoz

    If you have a son in the military who will be in a combat situation then I suggest if you love that child and you want them to return...make damn sure they are going into battle with the proper equipment. The military no longer cares if they are. The only reason we knew to provide our son with better equipment is because his dad is retired military. I realize you can't go out and buy their weapon for them but provide as much as you can. Better vests...better ammo clips...that don't jam. Don't leave it up to the military to take care of your child.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  21. chris

    my son graduates the Citadel next yr. and will be commissioned, he hopes, as an infantry 2lt. hopefully he will never have the misfortune of being scapegoated as this lt. seems to have been, and as many (lt. Calley) have been before him.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Bravo

    ....Seems to me DENNIS that you could let all express their opinion without telling people to "shut up". It's called a respecting the opinions of others, or both sides of an argument-something anyone with an education understands to be vital to a productive argument. You might want to put a little factual evidence behind your arguments as well-again taking an educated individual to comprehend.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Jed

    I am an intelligence officer and was covering this very area at the time of the attack on COP (combat outpost) Wanat. I can tell you that I had at least three human sources telling me that the "base" (if you can call it that) was going to be attacked. All of us covering that area knew it was coming. They were sitting ducks and everyone knew it. They built the damn thing right in the middle of a main Taliban crossroads with mountains on all sides. The Taliban attacked it because they couldn't have had an easier target. They had the high ground on all sides and the hesco earth barriers weren't completed yet. Above all, the commanders ignored the multiple (and let me add very specific) intel reports stating the COP would be attacked. Shame on whomever is blaming LT Brostrom.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  24. kgar

    Heres a thought. China will surpass the US as the # 1 economy in the world around 2018 and Brazil will become # 2 by 2023. Common thread, neither nation is dumb enough to waste the $$$ and resources on war. Only in amerika........

    March 25, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      WOW I won't argue about China overtaking us economically but BRAZIL LOL...Have you ever been there!?!? I've been to both countries and lived in Brazil for several years they will never overtake us economically.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  25. mangoz

    When my Marine son went to Afghanistan 2 years ago his father and I BOUGHT a better flak jacket, we also BOUGHT clips for his weapon that did not jam like the ones the Marine Corp issued. We spent a lot of money on articles that the military should have provided. Thank God our son came back to us safely. He has been in 8 years and wanted to make a career out of the Marine Corp but with all the changes we are encouraging him to leave. The military NO longer takes care of those in the military. Now days you can be put on trial and in prison for being in the military and doing what you were commanded to do. We come from a long line of military in our families and it is too dangerous to be in the military today. I'm not talking about the "enemy" in other countries...I'm referring to our poorly run government who is now the greater enemy to these kids and they are now beginning to realize it.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • skurf

      Then you wasted your money, because our protective gear is pretty darn good. As a matter of fact thanks to my SAPI plates I've survived 3 gunshots to the torso. Other then blunt trauma and some bruising, i'm fine.

      stop reading asinine reports just trying to generate controversy and speak to a combat vet. It is amazing what our survivability is these days with MRAPs and SAPI plates running around. dont toll.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frangible

      None of the rifles used by the USMC use "clips". They use magazines. The complaint about the lack of body armor was regarding the National Guard, not the Marines. If there's one thing the Marines lack it's PVS-14 night vision devices for each member of the squad.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  26. FOO

    What is really striking about the Wanat Report is just how poorly the majority of the individually assigned weapons (primarily M4s) failed and jammed during the fire fight...it is one the the critical technology failures identified in the report...

    March 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      Those "problems" were mostly in the minds of the salesmen at Heckler & Koch who tried to use Wanat to sell their rifles to the US DoD.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  27. D.Baker

    The U.S. military would never lie about events leading to the death of its own soldiers. Just ask the Tillman family.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindsey

      Amen...

      March 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  28. ginamero

    I once watched a History Channel bio on 'Sun Tzu – The Art of War' and even with that tiny bit of knowledge I thought to myself, as soon as I seen the video from the soldiers that they sent home...'that is a poor tactical position and the person who chose that site should be flogged!' And let's just go with the well known saying, "know they enemy." They were told the enemy was coming and bringing Hell-0 with them and the upper ranks were too busy kissing General Mullen's back side to care about the boys who were going to die...if not from the enemy then from thirst.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • AF MSC

      Unfortunately, you are all too correct. As an AF Reserve officer, I am "required" to take several Professional Military Educational (PME) courses along the way to get promoted. Any brand new "butter bar" (2nd Lt) could have told you that Rumsfeld was setting us up for failure as we entered Iraq and with how we were fighting in Afghanistan. The civilians gave us all our marching orders, and our job is to execute foreign policy within the realm of the Department of Defense.

      When we failed to know our "enemy" in both AORs (Area of Responsibility), it endangered too many life's. My job is to ensure the wounded get brought back home for medical treatment. We should have never had to bring back the number of casualties that we have.

      The blatant disregard we have for service members and the emphasis to become too politicized is taking its toll. Where are the current Col. David Hackworth's who have the backbone to stand up and stick with the original reports? When are we going to put into practice the things we are "required" to learn, or is this simply another box to check off in order to get promoted?

      March 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Ituri

    We know for a fact that the US military doesn't value honesty, and doesn't value the civilians it pretends to protect.

    Want to flame me for saying that? 13 years experience with active duty USMC. Sorry if you don't like it, but thats the way it is. ANY time the military thinks it will be beneficial to itself, it will scapegoat its own members, destroy individuals AND servicemembers lives, and lie through its proverbial teeth to hide its shame.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave NY USA

      And THAT is a vast understatement.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jbo

      That's because you are prejudice against all soldiers and you have no idea how difficult it is to be one. To make that stupid statement about "killing people all over the world" really shows how little you do know. Go sit and your chair and be safe!

      March 25, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  30. supremeamerican

    Maybe setting up camp in the low ground surrounded by high ground, in the open none the less, was the first mistake?

    March 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bones

      Here are three relevant points. 1) None of the arm chair tacticians have ever fought in the Pesh, Korengal, Konar or the Kamdesh. 2) Just as before, the wolves are already circling to collect the peace dividend and return your military to the underfunded shell (Army and Marines) it was prior to 03 when we drove to Baghdad in trucks with nylon doors and our aircraft had protection systems made during Vietnam. Criticize all you want – all of you have earned that privilege. You were born in a country where the checks have already been written by soldiers using the equipment they were provided, doing what they were told. Yea, it was hot that day – but most of you couldn’t find it on a map without google.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  31. nick

    Its called "war". People die.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Crack Corn

      It's called an education, you should get one.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • nick

        Truth hurts... huh, Jimmy.

        March 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jimmy Crack Corn

        Nick, You really do lack one, dont you? I'll explain. Part of the reason we have a chain in command is to prevent "People from dying". When that chain gets broken, then yes people die. Thus, the reason for this whole article is because soldiers died from the broken chain of command. So trying to get us to accept it by saying "Its called "war". People die." Is just ignorant.

        March 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • nick

        i didn't even read the article. just fishing for angry people... caught one. on to the next topic. later Angry Jim.

        March 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • obsthetimes

      Fruck the Army brass!
      I hate em'!
      They coined the the phrase 'men & materials' which to them is actually 'materials & men'; materials being more important to them mere men whose lives they don't care about. Right from their heroes Patton, MacArthur and Montgomery who considered soldiers less than cattle and sacrificed thousands for their own fame.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  32. JB

    First of all it's Secretary John McHugh not James McHugh. Second, General Campbell was the Commander of Forces Command not the Chief (and he did retire). 3rd – have any of you actually read General Campbell's report to make up your own mind and not just throw out idle condemnations. Its a tragedy these nine Soldiers died, but command negligence is this case is a lot harder to prove if you actually read the report.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Crack Corn

      We don't need to read his report, we can look at the facts and tell there's failure in command. These soldiers didn't have the equipment they needed to survive.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • skurf

        and which facts have you looked at Jimmy Crack Corn?

        March 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  33. herrsonic

    We probably shouldn't be in Afghanistan.
    Never found Bin Laden.
    The majority of 9/11 attackers are from Saudi Arabia.
    Went into a war that cannot be won as long as if Pakistan supports the Taliban and provides safe haven for them.
    All that means is dead soldiers for a far-reaching cause.
    The soldiers even know this and that's why morale is poor.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Crack Corn

      But we have to finish building the schools to make the local villagers happy so little Mohammad can get an education. Even if it cost the lives of young, smart, strong American soldiers.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Dennis

    @George, your ignorance is beyond reproach. There is so much wrong with your post it is difficult to know where to begin and it is doubtful you would ever get it anyway. So I leave it at this: YOU shut-up & refrain from posting anymore comments.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  35. BigRed

    Leave it to the Army to put their troops in harms way without proper logistics or emplacements. They continue to think this is WWII where every trooper is expendible. But at the end of the day after each enlisted soldier has done his duty, they will award their 0-5's and above with medals and rank while the soldier gets nothing.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Matthew C. Tedder

    Why did they build and hold outposts at such glaringly stupid places? Right under hills that stare directly into them? Why? It used to be that the high ground was the ground to hold. The Russians did this, too. As a soldier (formerly), I was told to lead my unit through ridiculously vulnerable places for the sake of the convenience of the commanding officer.

    The NCO core in the U.S. military is solid. Rank is hard earned on merit and has been since the Revolutionary war. On the other hand, officers can only succeed by brown nosing. One bad OER (Officer Evaluation Report) ruins an officer's career, in most cases. Far and wide, the only comprehensively competent soldiers are those who began as NCOs. Ask any soldier with 4 or more years of experience.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • skurf

      You've clearly never been to afghanistan. There is no way to hold every piece of high ground and if you choose to put your position in the "high ground" you essentially cut yourself off from any sort of resupply and seperate yourself from the local population. You certainly find yourself in a fairly bad position, but in counter-insurgency it is essential to put yourself as close to the local populace as you can get and too be able to resupply yourself when you are isolated from supporting units by great distances.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Earnán

        Bullseye. Skurf gets it right in the 10X-ring.

        March 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  37. The King

    These wars were the product of born of privilege, neocon ideologically naive, chickenhawks. Foisted on an obtuse US citizenry gullible enough to believe the childish lies used to justify them. They were unwinnable the day we started them. I'm sorry for the guys killed, but I didn't vote for "The Decider", if you did, you've got blood on your hands.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frangible

      Careful, you'll get spittle all over your hip large soy espresso.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  38. St. Mike

    Typical High U.S. Army Command response to incompetence in their ranks!!!!! It is amazing they didn't classify it!!!! I worked for the Navy for 13 years as a civilian oceanographer!!! The higher up the command the worst they get!!!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  39. emerse

    I would never join the army and if there ever was a draft, they would have to put me in jail or kill me before I would fight for this country. Our government does not care about us at all !!! If they did, they would not be spending $800 million on attacking Libya when the families of dead soldiers are struggling to live and our economy is in a steady quake of distruction! Can you people really not see what our Government is doing to us? Really? Operation Northwoods, 9/11, the war in Iraq and Afg, Nam, Libya, our economy, etc! Really? You people can't see this?

    March 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jbo

      You should move. Canada has alot of room.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      You're free to leave. I'll be more than happy to help you pack. What time should I come by for your lift to the airport?

      March 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  40. b0bc4t

    God Bless our servicemen and women everywhere, doing their best to carry on the mission of peace. If only hindsight could replaced by foresight, to keep us from these conflicts and bring peaceful resolution. Fight the good Fight! RIP

    March 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  41. slupdawg

    Sad. What a waste.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  42. justiniowa

    I think we have a father who wants to exonerate his son. Did higher command make mistakes? Absolutely and I believe history will address what Campbell failed to. It does not mean that 1LT Bronstrom is innocent – given the resources at hand, limited as they were, he failed to carry out his duty in making sure the position was as prepared as possible, especially given that he believed he would be facing imminent contact with Taliban forces. The general state of readiness at the outpost was dangerously low – that is what killed those soldiers. Would proper defenses have helped? Absolutely, but men still would have died because 1LT Bronstrom did not make certain his men were properly prepared to handle the attack.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • PatrickMc

      The loss of 9 lives out of 49 against 200. And the LT was derelict? I'd say they fought pretty well given the situation. But saying the LT is the one that decided on his own "this would be a great place to setup camp" is ill-informed.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindsey

      Jon did not chose to set up at Wanat, he was told to go there even after it was provided by locals that an attack was coming, AND he told his command it wasn't a good idea...they asked for air surveillance and proper equipment, and they never got it? How is that a LT's fault? Go do some research...

      March 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • skurf

      Well said. Absolute lack of aggression on the part of the troops at Wanat and a complete failure in being proactive in the defense failed to deter the insurgents from attacking. They look for weakness and found it. Simply complaining to higher headquarters that you might be attacked won't prevent it. Get out and patrol, develop a defense that keeps the enemy off balance and keeps you looking like a "hard" target.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frangible

      I don't know what happened there. And neither does anyone else here. And neither does the Lt's father, who certainly was not there with him. How does he know how the absolute truth of how things went down, when he was in a different country? The Army report was the best attempt at trying to reconstruct what happened after-the-fact, made possible by examining every level of command and the soldiers who were there. I'd say it's a lot more credible than the guy's father who has little hearsay information at best. He has no proof, only anger.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Why don't you join the Mexican Army to train with professionals. you have no clue as to how the US Army operates or doesn't. The US Army or Marines couldn't even deploy mine resistant vehicles although the South African Army has fielded such vehicles since the '70s. Quite difficult for leadership who has their head stuck.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  43. William

    Ive been reading this discussion with the experience of being in the US Air Force during the Vietnam Era got out in 1980.About our Army i NEVER would have joined, my father enlisted in the Air Force in 1950 to avoid being drafted by our incompetent Army and being sent to Korea as cannon fodder.I avoided our Army to stop them from sending me to Vietnam,i had friends that went there as draftees in the Army and their minds are still screwed up 40 years later.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • justiniowa

      Volunteering and being put in 173rd ABN isn't exactly the same as being a post-'67 draftee in the Electric Strawberry, and anyone with any military mind should know this.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wendell

      Excuses of a coward, Someone went in your place. I served and am not screwed up, you are everything I despise.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • William

        Im a coward cause i didnt go to Nam like you Wendell, if it wasnt for the Air Force bombing in Vietnam every time the grunts got into any kind of firefight more of your asses would have been killed.And im not a coward Wendell those are fightin words, me or my father we served proudly in the USAF.

        March 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Earnán

        Yeah, Willy, you're a coward who let someone else go in your place. And you're the son of a coward who did the same. A wide yellow streak runs down the trunk of your family tree.

        "Fighting words"? Puh-leeze. Tough talk from someone who admits he runs from a fight is supposed to scare anyone?

        March 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iraq/Afghan vet

      Well, as a US Army veteran, I can easily say that the Navy and Air Force will never get the kind of respect from me that a Marine or Soldier will. Being in the Air Force or Navy is like being on vacation....or being military-lite. You can hate on the Army all you want and frankly be the coward you obviously are sir, but i'm proud to serve in the Army albeit mostly for the reason of paying for college albeit it has taught me a lot and i've got to experience more than I ever thought possible. Lastly, i've actually trained with the guys of the 173rd prior to my deployment that I arrived back from a few months ago. They command a lot of respect.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Cody

    Wait...a force of 200 attacked a U.S.-Afghan coalition of only 73, and 9 U.S. soldiers died? I am in no way implying that it's every okay to lose soldiers...they gave their life for the coalition cause. But it IS war and they were heavily outnumbered and still managed to fight off the overwhelming attack. If this was a poorly executed battle, then we're doing pretty good out there.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheMyth

      I think you missed the whole point of the story. That if command had listened to the warning and took proper precautions then this would never had occurred. The army is not perfect please look at Tillman's story. They burned everything of his to hid the incident and covered it up.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigRed

      It was the bravery of the soldiers that carried the day. But it was the utter stupidity of their headquarters that put them in a position that was tactically and strategically inferior. Those soldiers used their wits to stay alive while their 0-5's and above slept soundly in their air conditioned hootches.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Cody, As an Army Officer I just thought I would shed some light in to the numbers. When a U.S. force is attacking a defending force you typically want a 3 to 1 numbers advantage. Anytime you are in a defensive posture, you are in a stronger position, and should expect to kill more of the attacking force than you lose. In addition, thankfully the U.S. Army is a very well trained fighting force. The enemy is trained, but lacks a lot of the advanced training, as well as the physical abilities of their opposition. Lastly, in Afghanistan, the U.S. has the advantage of air superiority, as well as large amounts of indirect fire weapons (cannons), which greatly aid in FOB defense.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Pctech37

    Was not well-written. I thought CNN was supposed to be a NEWS company, not an exaggeration machine. I mean, they didn't state how some "commanders" messed it up. What I see is possibly a failure by the contractor and what's weird is how they don't blame the attackers anymore. Not like the Taliban ambush trying to kill soldiers who can't even shoot them (until the enemy engages first) is to blame for this. Seriously, since when can a 200-man ambush from hte Taliban w/ AKs and RPGs and IEDs on a ground unit not lead to 10 deaths? If our democratic-lead Congress loosened on RoE for TERRORISTS, we might have been able to kill Osama, as the tier one forces were physically chasing multiple times, and had ten or so chances to kill him. Osama's highest insurgents are smart and do not fire on us, so we cannot fire on them. It's called the Rules of Engagement. It's existed only for Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other wars. Notice how we totally won those wars? Anyways, enough of my ramblings.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  46. skurf

    I'm an active duty Marine Infantry officer with multiple combat deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq and have researched this "battle" extensively for my own education. Quite frankly it is obvious that the biggest issue at hand was the fact that this Battalion essentially took what was a model area for counter-insurgency and (utilizing heavy handed tactics and excessive force) turned it into a shooting gallery. At the tactical level of this engagement, the biggest issue seems to lie in complacency at the Platoon level, a lack of agressive patrolling and defensive operations, and poor planning at all levels. A lack of water for a platoon most likely was due to poor planning by the Lieutenant and Platoon Sergeant. The platoon was being actively surveilled from the moment the moved into the area and did nothing to try and deter that activity or deter any sort of attack. The enemy knew their entire layout and defensive plan before the first shots were even fired. Mistakes were made at all levels here, thats what happens after over a year in combat...you start smelling the barn.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • justiniowa

      Exactly. Mistakes were made at the battalion level, certainly, but the sheer lack of action on the part of the outpost commander given that he believed he was under surveillance and was expecting to be attacked is the reason why he holds most of the blame.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Jack

    Is this politically motivated. It makes no sense...

    March 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • xstongue

      Its the pentegon, they start all the wars, worldwide....

      March 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  48. ProperVillain

    "General Campbell’s review of the battle excuses the commanding officers' inattention to a platoon under threat, concluding that due to the busy schedules being kept by the commanders and other troop engagements in the area, "It seems reasonable that these officers' attentions were devoted to more pressing matters.""
    Seems these bozos were too busy politicing and kissing a$$ to care about their own troops. They deserve to be drummed out in disgrace for allowing those 9 boys to die.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  49. keith

    typical of alot of higher eschelon officers...they want to cover their own butts and place blame on the lower eschelon, in this case a platoon commander who is dead and can't dispute things. Petraus atleast sounds like he agrees, yet someone else overrode his opinion. It's officers like this that cause our troops to be killed or othewise become ineffective cause they're not heeding warnings and giving troops in the field what they need

    March 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  50. rrock

    You have to be nuts to join the military because political decisions and incompetence can cost you your life.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • TriXen

      Yeah, you're probably right. Still, I'm glad we have heroes like these who join up anyhow, knowing that they might come home in a box. It might sound cliché, but I don't want to imagine what America would be like without the selfless sacrifices of these brave men. Regardless of whose fault this was, we owe our thanks, our freedom, and our lives to our soldiers. Thank you, Lt. Brostrom, Sgt. Garcia, Cpl. Ayers, Cpl. Bogar, Cpl. Hovater, Cpl. Phillips, Cpl. Rainey, Cpl. Zwilling and Spc. Abad. You are not forgotten.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Jake

    I have the utmost respect and sympathy for troops around the world. I have the utmost contempt and hatred of the military commanders and politicians who's less than optimal decisions result in the death of such troops.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • justiniowa

      Ever made a mistake that cost your company an extra hundred bucks? Ever bought toilet paper when the wife said toilet bowl cleaner? Mistakes happen everywhere. In the military profession, mistakes sometimes cost lives. It's simply the nature of the beast.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • BigRed

        Are you equating buying toilet paper to loss of life in a combat zone? One word: Idiot

        March 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  52. George

    1. In any long war, there will always exist some "worst battles". Obviously, not all battles in a war will be identical.
    2. In this case, 75 of our guys repelled 200 of their guys, with only 9 deaths. And the families are mad?!?!?!?!? Tell them to SHUT UP. If they were concerned about the lives of their precious kids, they shouldn't have let them join in the first place.

    Awesome job, Army, Army brass, and soldiers. Only an idiot would expect all wartime decisions to be perfect all of the time. It sounds like an excellent job was done under extremely harsh conditions on this one. Sorry about the casualities, but it's good that they were so small.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • PeterMc

      Exactly!!!

      March 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • deforge

      @George, try reading the article fully.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2/8

      No such thing as the word "ONLY" when it comes to death, and yes, I did serve downrange.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve harnack

      So the commanders in Afghanistan who originally found the higher ups negligent didn't know what they were doing but the desk-riding Campbell and apparently you in your basement have it all figured out? I think that you are the one who should STFU and apologize.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.M. Beck

      ..yet another "couch-expert" offers his "expertise".

      March 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Bauer

      I'm not quite sure who is more of an ignorant moron – General Campbell, or "George" whose pathetically crass, and incredibly stupid remark can be found above. All I can say is that they're both a disgrace to Americans everywhere.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      None of your points excuses the higher ups in the army from covering up negligence by commanding officers who did not have the time to help make sure American losses were minimal.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindsey

      George, you're an idiot...as a family member, I am deeply shocked you would write such disgusting words...OUR POINT is that our guys were not armed properly or fed properly or given enough supplies to protect themselves properly. They knew it was coming, and tried to tell the big ups, who ignored their request because other things going on were more important. The higher ups dropped the ball, and left our guys w/barely anything to defend themselves.
      Our soldiers knew that war was immenent, and that they could lose their lives...the POINT IS THAT IT COULD HVE BEEN LESS CASUALTIES IF THEY WERE SUPPLIED PROPERLY. Thats what the families want...someone to admit their mistakes, and NEVER put any troops in this poisition again...
      It is soldiers like Chosen Co that give IDIOTS LIKE YOU the right to open THEIR BIG FAT MOUTHS AND SPOUT IGNORANCE...so next time you open your big fat mouth, thank the soldiers who givce you your freedoms...JERK

      March 25, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lindsey

        May I add, that when the engineers failed to come help them build shelter, they took picks and shovels and built "protection" with barb-wire and sand bags...in 100 degree heat with no more water...because no one was delivering them food and water...
        They took what they were given and did what they could...for you t say only 9 died we should be happy? Try telling my SON that who will NEVER see his daddy again...try having the military knock on your door and tell your 6 year old that his daddy died...and we should be happy it was only 9? again JERK thanks and shut your big fat mouth...!

        March 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • justiniowa

        Men die in war. Welcome to the real world.

        March 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Normalguy

        Amen!!!

        March 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Name*Mikeb

        Amen. -- Uraaa

        March 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Lindsey – Nobody asked your husband to enlist. It is not our fault if you fight unnecessary wars.

        March 26, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
      • Lindsey

        saleeno, he didn't enlist he was an officer, they commission, go get some edu-ma-cation...

        March 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        If he was an officer, he was even more wrong.

        March 28, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • BigRed

      Ok, George. Since you are so wise, why don't you go and tell a grieving family to shut up? You go to Arlington on the appointed day of their funerals and roundly tell them to shut up. Having attended my fair share of funerals at Arlington I am sure your point will be well taken. Perhaps you are the one that needs to shut his mouth.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Name*Rafael

    Where can I see the video?

    March 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  54. time

    A diffrent paradise jack? while their husbands are banging 70+ virgins in the other room? that is really sad

    March 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  55. time

    anyone?

    March 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  56. bailoutsos

    Military does not lie. Remember they said Agent Orange did not harm any American soldiers in Vietnam. Only the truth from the military.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      This forum needs an unreport abuse for when we mis-click.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  57. time

    It is said that heaven to muslim men is paradise with virgins. what does a muslim woman receive?

    March 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Muslim women also find themselves in a paradise – one completely devoid of men much to their good fortune.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      I would tell you but this is a family friendly forum.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • 11:11

      She finds out the truth about Islam and realizes its too late.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  58. wow ppl

    Voidoid did you really call someone an uneducated hillbilly for beliving in God then spell people wrong lmao that's funny stuff. Idiot

    March 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  59. John

    They did an initial investigation (a marine General), determined that the officers up the chain were too busy worrying about kissing Adm. Mike Mullen's butt to take care of their poorly equiped and THIRSTY soldiers and those officers got career ending discpline approved by Gen Petraeus.

    The culture of butt kissing officers didn't like their butt kissing friends getting slammed for butt kissing, so they sent a senior butt kisser to cover everyone's butt by rewritting the record to blame a dead LT.

    "General Campbell’s review of the battle excuses the commanding officers' inattention to a platoon under threat, concluding that due to the busy schedules being kept by the commanders and other troop engagements in the area, "It seems reasonable that these officers' attentions were devoted to more pressing matters."

    Absolutely disgusting and why I got out of the Army with 9.5 years instead of retiring.

    March 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      General Campbell clearly needs a career ending letter of reprimand.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      General Campbell needs a life ending execution.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I absolutely agree John. I left after my first enlistment as I did not trust the NCO's and officers above me had the men in the best interests. Fortunately, or unfortunately I went into the Army with 2 years of college which is quite a bit more than most NCO's have. I felt many of them did not have a critical enough eye on orders given and how best to put those orders into effect in the best possible way. Don't miss that.

      82nd Airborne
      LRSD

      March 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jason

        One question, Why didn't you stay in and become what you wish you had? That was mostly my reason for staying in. I had some excellent leaders and some not so great leaders. I took what I learned from each of them and have applied it to my leadership style. Be the change you want to see.

        March 26, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Amen Brother! You hit the nail on the head! I've been there too and I saw all that you speak of. Blame the dead man - the one man that can no longer defend himself. The other branches are just as bad.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ginamero

      Amen

      March 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      I agree with your post, John. I retired from the Navy as a Chief after 21 years. During my tennure, I personally witnessed Officers passing blame upon Enlisted men as easily as drinking coffee. I, myself, was almost brought up on charges when my Division Officer thought he was slick, stating that it was my fault that a 300thousand dollar ROV was destroyed completely. I prevailed in that one and 3 days later he was relieved of duty. I never was a butt kisser, John. I knew that my attention to detail and my exceptional performance didn't warrant me placing my nose in an officers butt crack. I see it as a sign of weakness. Those commanders who had a butt-kissing field day were negligent in thier duties and members of the 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company gave the ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps it would be more satisfying to the soldiers families to see these commanders tried for murder. When commanders make mistakes, people die. It's just that simple. When you give an order to a subordinate, he is expected to carry out that order. It is your responsibility if that order you gave that subordinate results in his being injured or killed. Forethought is paramont. I knew, as an E-7, that I could have easily run a hundred men. I didn't need any brass behind me nor did I want it. Many times I went nose to nose with them. When I made a mistake, I alone, owned that decision and I was willing to accept the concequences of it. We need to have E-7's thru E-9's training these officers. Might save a few lives.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  60. thejudge

    soon the harvest will start, many will be left for the pit that belive should be taken, i weep

    March 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  61. voidoids

    God doesnt exist JimFromOhio you uneduacated hillbilly. grow up peaple stop grasping for fantasies. the invisible man in the sky is santa stupid religion...so illogical

    March 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • War is wrong

      I fear for my son to be sent in to a battle zone where the leaders don't support the grunts. I fear that we have Republicans that wouldn't even pay for funding of ceramics for vests or the right armor for vehicals for IED protection or the best vehicals or an educcational bill for the soldiers when the return home. There are many things wrong with War but when our political parties put $ before the lives, health and education of our finest sons and daughters and we as Americans turn around and support those parties we are to blame for the deaths NOT BUSH, NOT OBAMA WE THE PEOPLE ALLOW WAR and WE ALLOW the needs of corporations to come before the lives of our children. WE ARE GUILTY AMERICA we support a CORRUPT MILITARY and CORRUPT government.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nelson

        A corrupt Military? I have served in the Army 9 years. It may not be perfect but it is far from being corrupt. How long have you served in the Military? How much do you know what goes on in the Military? Say what you want to about the Military, but just don't say it is corrupt.

        March 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • ginamero

        Nelson, you don't think changing the story and blaming the dead guy and saying it's ok the THIRSTY soldiers were attacked is corrupt? You need to go back to school or get a dictionary app.

        March 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • tekpiolt

      89 percent of the people on earth believe in a supreme being as God and creator. It is more preposterous to think the majority are somehow dillusional and the remaining 10 percent are correct in saying there is no God.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • steve harnack

        Damn near everybody at one time believed that the earth was flat. That sure didn't make the earth flatten out to accommodate them did it. No. One day one or two or three people said that the earth was round. They must have been out numbered by about 500 million to one but they were right. History DOES repeat itself.

        March 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • ginamero

        You are not too smart. Love the guy's reply to you about the Earth being flat. Matter of fact those God loving freak Catholics made Galileo retract his round Earth theory under penalty of death...freaks...the man had to lie to stay alive. How proud are you of your God/people analogy now?

        March 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jbo

      I saw a flying spagetti monster!

      March 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      That's ok. God still believes in you (& loves you) even if you haven't realized it yet. But thankfully what He doesn't believe in is the stupid reasons humans find for creating wars & killing in His name. Wonder how many will be truly surprised on how wrong they were on the day they meet Him.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  62. JimInOhio

    I keep thinking I'll try looking at CNN again hoping to find balance, but continue to find this to be the home of those that hate God and those that defend us based on the reporting and most comments here. How utterly sad and disappointing. You'd all be speaking Russian right now if the country were run as you like; or German if it went that far back. Sad, pathetic little people.

    March 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      The soviet Union imploded without any war, and US had a good motivation for WWII as it was attacked. Other wars were unnecessary.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh

      What's your problem with this report? And what's in it that would give you a basis for thinking that anyone hates God?

      March 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pseudonym

        Can you say "manipulative?" He's just a typical example of a poster who just wants to make everyone feel stupid, justified or not. A common ploy when they don't really have much of any substance to contribute (certain trolls notwithstanding).

        March 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      So little Jimbo, God hates the common soldiers because they follow orders? Wasting soldiers lives when they could have been saved if their commanders had been competent gave us victory in WW2 and kept the Soviets out? I find your supposed logic to be highly indicative of schizophrenia.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve harnack

      You don't make one lick os sense. Try again when you sober up.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigRed

      Nice to see Ohio is so well represented in the pantheon of nutcases we tend to see in your part of America.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  63. ben

    I served 12 years in the Army and they cover up stuff like this all the time and tr to put the blame on junior officers or NCOs. The army is dirty and nobody should join it.

    March 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Ben – finally someone with the balls !

      March 25, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pseudonym

      But if you enlist you should not desert.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        It depends from the eventual military wrongdoing. They say one thing, but later they change the rules.

        March 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pseudonym

        village idiot chimes in pointlessly yet again...

        March 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        I pointed out very clearly for people with brain, but you are not in that cathegory. You pointless and brainless.

        March 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kraznodar

        I agree with Pseudonym – don't desert. It is much better to hunt down the incompetent rats that failed to do their jobs and shoot them. That way they can't protect themselves with a cover-up.

        March 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      This is why I joined the Air Force.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigRed

      It's not that the Army is dirty. It's the incompetency of its officer corps. It has the best of soldiers, but the worst of leadership. It is almost if the French commanders of WWI, WWII and Vietnam have been training at the Academy and in ROTC units. The result has been chaos in the battlefield, and demoralized soldiers. Private Manning is a poster child of demoralization in the Army. Very sad.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Pseudonym

    The village idiot has arrived.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Pseudonym – Idiots are those trusting the US military like you. Did you realized the comicality of the article ?

      March 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pseudonym

      And he knows who he is! Perfect.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        The comicality is when an idiot is calling others idiots.

        March 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy

        well said Pseudonym

        March 26, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  65. salerno

    When you sign up to fight a war into a week thirld world country, you may think it is a free lunch, but unfortunately people defending their country are always more motivated, as they fight for their land and not for money. US military call air support as soon as they meet few Taliban, but they are not so clever to fight face to face.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • pamiri

      Come on lets use your mind at least, killing of civilians in a Bank who came to collect their salaries to survive their lives and their families is a face to face fighting, or do suicide bombing in bazaars is the face to face fighting, as a Muslim and human I am afraid of what you are saying and thinking,

      You know yourself better to whom I am saying that all atrocities in Afg since long period is because of your ignorance and being slaves of Pak,Russsia, Iran, Arabia and other far and near countries that you are very infamous in doing services for them to destroy our county and you all and your backing ( supporters ) have to know that we are here the son of the soil with more than 5000 years history of the country and we would not let you to destroy more our country to make happy Pak, Iran , Russia, Saudi Arabia and your other Badaran, do you understood? Salerno and the people are same to you

      March 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Taliban were trained by the US too with other allies like S.Arabia and Pakistan. Haqqani was even received at White House by Reagan. On the other side Russia helped Afghanistan against the British invasion in 1919. So the reality is a lot more complex.
      The bank episode is another history, and has nothing to do with this article. Generally banks are attacked by common criminals, obviouslly the war increases the disorder.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Haqqani was received at white house by Reagan. US trained tham with S.Arabia.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Pseudonym

    Someday maybe the internal military culture will be one of truth and forthcoming rather than ass covering. In the end, just hope the men did not die in vain.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy

      well said again Pseudonym

      March 26, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  67. Roosevelt

    Drew, hope you never come to interview me. You spend time with the client and screw up his rank. You keep calling him a lieutenant colonel and the guy is a colonel. Can only imagine how much of the reporting is in error. The father is obviously distraught but it seems pretty hard to have an accurate picture of the actual event unless you were there. My condolences to the families. Soldiers willling to risk their lives for this country is what makes them great.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh

      Not recognizing the difference between a "Light Colonel" and a "Full Bird" is an easy mistake for a civilian to make. I certainly don't think it's sufficient grounds to dismiss the entire report. As to the situation on the ground, well, we'll never know all the details but you can certainly get some idea from the video.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      Roosevelt's point is important. But it is difficult to trust reporting so unfamiliar with it's subject as to botch something as significant and easily checked as rank. As for other comments, most demonstrate that those who sit around commenting on an internet story about soldiers in combat are unfeeling and inexperienced - and unworthy of carrying the boots of those brave men.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |