Almost two years later, the families of special forces soldiers sent to die in what was virtually a suicide mission are still searching for answers – and the United States government is still covering up. Once again, the mainstream media is AWOL. So, why are the SEAL Team six Afghan deaths still a mystery?
On June 1st, the Las Vegas Guardian Express published a report on the deaths of 22 members of the elite Tier-one counter-terrorism unit more commonly known as SEAL Team six, when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in August of 2011. Although the official line is that none of those killed in the Afghan crash took part in the team’s May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, one source said that at least a couple of them were involved in both missions, according to a report in The Hill. Regardless, it seems that SEAL Team six’s problems stem from that very mission.
One of those men killed was Michael Strange. His father, Charles, appeared on Michael Savage’s radio show Wednesday night to discuss how his son felt in the months before he was killed. Charles Strange has been vocal in his criticism of the Obama administration’s behavior towards the Navy SEALs and their families, as well as its apparent reluctance to provide all pertinent details. It began when the SEALs were identified as the unit that had killed bin Laden, setting them – and, potentially, their families – up as targets for revenge attacks.
Just two days after the strike against bin Laden’s compound, US Vice President Joe Biden revealed the SEALs’ part in the raid, whilst speaking at a dinner in Washington. As reported the following day in The Telegraph, Biden – during his speech – said “Let me briefly acknowledge tonight’s distinguished honorees. Admiral James Stavridis is a, is the real deal. He can tell you more about and understands the incredible, the phenomenal, the just almost unbelievable capacity of his Navy SEALs and what they did last Sunday.” Later in his speech, he added “Folks, I’d be remiss also if I didn’t say an extra word about the incredible events, extraordinary events of this past Sunday. As Vice President of the United States, as an American, I was in absolute awe of the capacity and dedication of the entire team, both the intelligence community, the CIA, the SEALs. It just was extraordinary.”
These remarks, of course, should never have been made. Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense at the time, was critical of the leak. Gates was aware of the potential dangers posed to the elite unit. During a town hall meeting at Camp Lejeune, NC, in mid-May 2011, He admitted “There is an awareness that the threat of retaliation is increased because of the action against bin Laden.” He also disclosed that, during a recent meeting with SEAL Team 6 members, they had expressed concerns regarding their identities and safety – particularly the safety of their families.
In the days and weeks that followed the raid, many more operational details were released. The SEALS were suspicious and concerned about the leaks. Charles Strange told Michael Savage that his son, before leaving on what would be his last mission, mentioned several times that he was working on a will. Strange also recounts his son saying “Something’s going on with the team. Somebody’s leaking things out. Something’s going on.” When Savage posed the question “Your son knew he was being sent to his death?” Strange replied “They knew. They knew something was up. Every one of them.”
Strange also revealed that the documents he had obtained which related to the crash showed that, in the wake of the helicopter crash in the Taliban-held valley, no rescue team was sent in. The special forces soldiers were flown into the heavily defended valley in an aging Chinook helicopter, rather than the state-of-the-art, better equipped and more heavily armored choppers that are usually deployed. They also had no support, which is completely contrary to operational norms, for such a mission. When the bodies of the fallen men were recovered, they were all cremated.
Charles Strange inquired into whether the helicopter’s ‘black box’ was recovered; he was told that it had been washed away in a flash flood. “This was all planned,” said Strange. “I have it in the paperwork.”
The final insult to the men and their families was a ceremony that was held for the fallen at Bagram Air Base. No Christian minister was allowed to preside, but an imam said a prayer. The families had several translators work on rendering the imam’s words into English. His eulogy was, in fact, a condemnation of the soldiers and spoke of them burning in hell.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security, has worked hard to unearth answers in what appears to be a cover-up that will rival the Benghazi scandal. Congress has finally launched an investigation into the incident. Chaffetz is determined to provide the families with the answers they seek. “That’s why you do an investigation. I want to be as factual as I can.”
The SEAL Team six Afghan deaths may remain a mystery for some time, as the wheels of congressional hearings slowly grind along. The families of the fallen heroes may, at least, find a small amount of comfort in the fact that – after two years of inaction, on the part of both Congress and the administration – the matter will finally be given the attention it deserves.
Graham J Noble