via DoD Buzz
Air Force Col. Pat Ryder, a spokesman for Centcom in Tampa, specifically denied that an AC-130 gunship was late to the fight, was told not to fire and then was told to fire into an empty field under the rules of engagement to avoid collateral damage.Looks like we have another Benghazi type incident.
“It absolutely did fire” to back up U.S. and Afghan forces in combat with the Taliban, Ryder said of the AC-130. Ryder said he was aware of allegations that the gunship was “somehow prevented from responding quickly, and that’s just not accurate.
“The AC-130 was able to respond very quickly and provide that support” along with 12 airstrikes by other aircraft that killed dozens of Taliban, Ryder said.
Ryder also denied that a quick reaction force on the ground was delayed for hours until nightfall after Army Special Forces Staff Sergeant Matthew Q. McClintock was killed and two other U.S. troops were wounded. He said that a joint force of about 100 Afghan and U.S. troops already on the ground was immediately formed and went into action.
Ryder’s denials followed on those of Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook and U.S. military spokesmen in Kabul in response to charges of delays and overly strict observance of the rules of engagement by Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, and others. Zinke said that his information on the allegedly slow and lax response came from the “Special Operations community.”
Heather Swift, a spokeswoman for the congressman, declined comment when asked whether Zinke’s sources were active duty in Afghanistan or others who passed on second and third-hand information.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Thursday, Zinke and eight other members of the House Armed Services Committee asked for a briefing from Carter on the Marjah operation and the circumstances surrounding McClintock’s death. Swift also said that Zinke would call for a congressional hearing if Carter declined to give a briefing.
“Reports that assets were denied or even delayed, represents a critical failure of the command and such negligence erodes the confidence and the morale of the service personnel,” the letter said.
The tragic thing is that questions like this can even be raised. It should go without saying that we will deploy whatever asset necessary to aid forces under fire but that is NOT how today's US military operates.
Vascilation, failure to make a decision and delay are suddenly desirable leadership traits.
Even worse? Green Berets won't play the game. Word will continue to leak and we will hear the truth. This is gonna get nasty before its over.