Sunday, February 06, 2011
The Bridge Over the River TarnakYou see, it was only a few miles away that a major international base had been going about their daily lives, many of whom had watched the Super Bowl, er, Olympics Hockey Game. They were not "on duty," but relaxing at the end of a long day of work or short night of sleep. The bridge was between them and Khandahar and as is normal, there was no General guarding it. Generals have more important things to do, and more than one General had joined the Troops to watch the game.
On a cold morning of March 1, 2010, a suicide bomber attacked an American Convoy on a bridge in Kandahar Province. Afghan Security were protecting the bridge and the blast was sufficient to throw a multi-ton Mine Resistant vehicle off the bridge, killing a Soldier and several Afghan Civilians. It was another day in Afghanistan and this time the enemy had gotten lucky.
Normally, such a story would get little press, but this one would be different. The bridge was important, but not as important as the aftermath. It was clearly a target, as another explosive was found on it, but that one was not exploded by the enemy. It was a tactical victory by the enemy, but not as big as it became at the hands of an American Journalist. It caused an international uproar, but the outrage was founded in emotion rather than logic.
It was a coalition post and so it isn't certain if British General Carter cared enough to watch a game pitting two allies on the ice, or not. While it can be argued that it would have boosted morale to have an impartial leader cheering the actions of sports stars on ice, or not diplomatic of him to be in a position of choosing sides, there is little doubt that Americans and Canadians alike were, for one night, entertained by events far removed from the battles they fought daily.The question, though, is not if those of Northern climes enjoy Hockey like Southern boys enjoy NASCAR, or Americans of all stripes enjoy the Super Bowl, but who was guarding the bridge while they did? The question is not should a General guard a bridge, but who was responsible for what on that night? The question is not if every car can be checked, but who was responsible for deciding which cars to check? The question is not whether some were enjoying a little down time, or if they had earned it, but were Troops watching a game instead of guarding a bridge?...
WOTN has the rest HERE, as he sets out many more questions; and proceeds to answer every question raised in a clear, concise, thoroughly researched chronology. JUST the facts, and it is a MUST READ. Really it is.