AP photo and caption: "An Afghan man stands at the scene of Wednesday's suicide attack in Kajaki, Helmand province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. The suicide bomber blew himself up at a bridge under construction in Kajaki district of Helmand province, according to Mohammad Ismail, the deputy of the Afghan security forces coordination office in the area. Ismail said NATO troops also were working at the construction site, but it was unclear whether any were injured or killed."
Fortunately, my friend the Marine Mom is keeping a close eye on news out of Afghanistan. This week, holes in the news the military is releasing -- as she flagged, for example, in this AP report below on the week's terrible casualties -- seem bigger than usual, seemingly reflecting more than just a chaotic environment.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated. The coalition did not disclose the nationalities of those killed. ...
It was the second suicide bombing in as many days in southern Afghanistan, officials said. The coalition said no NATO troops were killed. It [the coalition] does not disclose information about injured troops. ...
Late Wednesday, NATO reported that one coalition trooper had been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, but [NATO] would not say whether the service member died in the Kajaki bombing, or some other incident. ...
Remember that last bit about the Kajaki bombing, the January 18 attack on a bazaar in which a suicide bomber on a motorcycle wrought bloody havoc on the crowd. The question is, why wouldn't NATO say whether a service member died in the Kajaki bombing? Another question: Why is NATO permitted to make these rules?
More intense scrutiny of the government's war information policy is overdue particularly after USA Today reported this week that it is ISAF policy to withhold information regarding so-called "green-on-blue" shootings -- jihad inside the wire against "infidel" troops by their Muslim "allies," an ongoing murder spree Uncle Sam thinks is OK (France's Sarkozy does not). More than 50 Western troops and security contractors have been killed in the past two-plus years at the hands of such "allies." It is this body count, alongside the greater Afghanistan body count, that is the bloody and concrete testament to the abysmal conceptual and operational failure of US counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy to win "hearts and minds," and train and arm an Afghan army and police force as a means of stabilizing and perpetuating the fighting and "nation-building" of the past decade.
This is why ISAF -- which last time I looked was largely under civilian control out of Washington -- has taken these sinister means to stop this flow of facts to Us, the People. It is an authoritarian power grab.
It was easy to see ISAF censorship in operation this month with the murder of Army Pfc. Dustin Napier, killed by a shot to the head while playing volleyball on his base in Afghanistan by Shafiullah, an Afghan Army member known for his mosque attendance. Those were the spare details gleaned by media and bless them for once; the official story was that Napier died as a result of "small arms fire." It's not that DoD ever exactly overflowed with information on these Muslim-on-infidel shootings, but the suppression has gotten noticeably worse.
And not just about "green-on-blue" violence. We are getting the same runaround on other casualty reports.
On Wednesday, January 18, the AP posted this early report on a large-scale suicide bombing in Kajaki:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Dozens of civilians, NATO coalition troops and Afghan security forces were killed and wounded Wednesday when a suicide attacker blew himself up in a bazaar, according to the top commander of international troops in Afghanistan, who alleged that the Taliban’s leader had “lost all control” of his footsoldiers. ...
Daud Ahmadi, a provincial spokesman, said a suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed 12 Afghans, including two policeman, and wounded at least 23 other people.
A statement released late Wednesday by NATO headquarters in Kabul said the explosion killed and injured dozens of Afghan civilians, Afghan national security forces and coalition troops. The statement did not disclose further details about how many foreign troops had been killed or wounded.
Coalition troops killed and injured -- true or false?
On Thursday, January 19, the Marine Corps Times blog Battle Rattle reported on the Kajaki suicide bomb attack, calling it an "eye-opener for Marines," noting:
The International Security Assistance Force that Allen heads initially reported that dozens of Afghan civilians, Afghan national security forces and coalition troops had been either killed or wounded.
The Marine Corps released an additional story today stating that the dead include three Afghan policemen and 10 civilians. An additional two Afghan policemen and 20 civilians were wounded and transported to a military hospital aboard Camp Bastion, a part of the Camp Leatherneck complex where II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) headquarters is based.
I’ve reached out to Marine officials at Leatherneck for any details that may be available about Marines in the area as it relates to this incident. If there’s an update, I’ll post it here.
No update there, or, really anywhere. Subsequent stories I've read about the Kajaki blast say nothing about US Marine or other NATO casualties.
Then this AP report of early morning, January 20:
PHOENIX (AP) -- A 25-year-old Marine from Arizona has died during combat operations in Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense announced Thursday that Cpl. Philip McGeath of Glendale died Wednesday while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Helmand Province.
He and 13 others reportedly were killed by a suicide bomber. The DOD has not released any details about McGeath's death.
McGeath was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Devision, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
McGeath's mother told 3TV, her son was supposed to come home from Afghanistan in just two weeks.
McGeath is survived by his parents, his wife and five brothers, two of whom are also Marines. ...
The DoD story: McGeath was killed "during combat operations...while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom" on Wednesday (the day of the Kajaki suicide bombiing).
The AP story: McGeath was killed by a suicide bomber. Thirteen others were killed with him.
Also on January 20, a second story about McGeath's death appeared at myFOXphoenx.com:
WASHINGTON - A young Arizona Marine had died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and the news hits close to the FOX 10 News family.
25-year-old Corporal Phillip McGeath of Glendale died Wednesday while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan.
That's the DoD story.
He's the nephew of FOX 10 Producer Karen McGeath.
She said Phillip was apparently killed in attack by a suicide bomber. The family says he was standing with a group of people when someone on a motorcycle cut through the crowd and set off explosives, killing him and a few civilians.
He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
On Friday, Governor Jan Brewer ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for McGeath.
Cpl. McGeath was supposed to come home in two weeks.
No mention of Kajaki. But both the timing and the motorcycle detail fit.
Here's a recap of the Kajaki attack from the AP today (January 21), noted above in the photo caption:
The suicide bomber blew himself up at a bridge under construction in Kajaki district of Helmand province, according to Mohammad Ismail, the deputy of the Afghan security forces coordination office in the area. Ismail said NATO troops also were working at the construction site, but it was unclear whether any were injured or killed.
It seems reasonable to conclude that Cpl. McGeath was killed in the Kajaki bazaar suicide blast. (Afghan bazaars can be fatal to US military, as this December 2010 report on two Americans killed by an ANA soldier-- two more to add to the jihad body count -- demonstrates.)
Why doesn't the US government want us to know the circumstances of McGeath's death? Plus, what does the Afghan deputy mean when he says, "NATO troops also were working at the construction site"? Were Marines working construction in Kajaki when the suicide bomber drove up on his motorcycle? Is that what the DoD considers "combat operations"?
In a COIN world, yes. It's quite possible McGeath was engaged not in combat operations, as DoD puts it, but in some advanced "hearts and minds" busy-work operations -- building a bridge in Kajaki (?) or some other stupid thing for a Marine to be ordered to do in a danger zone (the bazaar).
This is the kind of thing Uncle Sam doesn't want us to know, because we might make it stop.
We might even want to investigate those (Bush, Obama) whose horrendous idea it was to nation-build (bad idea) in the Islamic world (impossible) on the backs of the US military (Petraeus, Mullen, McChrystal and on down the senior brass line), and how to make sure it never happens again.