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The deadly jihad attack on Camp Bastion: Two years later

By Michelle Malkin  •  September 14, 2014 08:13 AM

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the deadly attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

Regular readers of this website have been fully informed about the horrible jihad siege on the base, which occurred three days after the Benghazi attack. But for most Americans, Camp Bastion holds no significance.

Two years later, there has been little remembrance and scant justice for the families of the 2 fallen American hero Marines who died in the attack and the 17 servicemen who were wounded.

Please do not let their sacrifice go in vain.


Three days after the bloody 9/11 siege on our consulate in Benghazi, the Taliban waged an intricately coordinated, brutal attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. The murderous jihadists released video exactly one month ago this week showing off their training exercises in preparation for the assault. Where are the questions?

Where’s the accountability? Where’s the Obama administration? Where’s the press? Where’s the outrage?

Two heroic U.S. Marines were killed in the battle. Their names — Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell — have not been uttered publicly by the commander in chief. Their arrival back in the U.S., in flag-draped coffins, was not broadcast on network TV. But their brothers-in-arms did not and will not forget. And neither must we.

On September 20, John Gresham of the Defense Media Network wrote a scathing detailed breakdown of this little-noticed terrorist attack on our troops. He called it “arguably the worst day in USMC aviation history since the Tet Offensive of 1968.” Eight irreplaceable aircraft were destroyed or put out of action by Taliban warriors dressed in U.S. combat fatigues — amounting to “approximately 7 percent of the total flying USMC Harrier fleet,” Gresham reported.

His summary is bone chilling: “A Harrier squadron commander is dead, along with another Marine. Another nine personnel have been wounded, and the nearby Marines at Camp Freedom are now without effective fixed-wing air support. The USMC’s response to this disaster will be a telling report card on its leadership and organizational agility.”

On September 21, the left-leaning magazine The Atlantic published an article on the Camp Bastion attack titled “The U.S. Suffered Its Worst Airpower Loss Since Vietnam Last Week and No One Really Noticed.” A few right-leaning blogs raised troubling questions about preparedness and security.

“How did this band of radicals even manage to approach a highly advanced multi-national military base without being detected, much less force their way inside en masse?” asked Kim Zigfeld of the American Thinker. “How were they able to attack so quickly and efficiently that, even though nearly every one of them was killed in the effort, they were able to harm the mighty leathernecks more than they had been in half a century?”

National Review’s Jonathan Foreman wondered whether Pakistan was behind the attack. “It seems likely that the special forces of a professional army planned the raid, and trained, advised and led the raiders — that is if they did not actually take part in it. Those special forces would, of course, be those of Pakistan,” Foreman posited. “This may sound shocking, but it would hardly be the first time that Pakistani special forces have operated in Afghanistan on behalf of Islamabad’s allies and proxies.”

President Obama has referred callously to the murders of our civilian diplomatic staff in Benghazi as “bumps in the road.” Even more maddening, though, is the radio silence from the White House about what happened that day at Camp Bastion — and what, if anything, Obama’s Pentagon did between the last major attack on Bastion in March and the bloody siege in September.

Somehow, a band of 15 insurgents managed to penetrate the wire with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons on 9/14. Their destruction was of historic proportions. The attack came six months after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was the target of a failed suicide attack attempt at Bastion. The (UK) Sun reported at the time that an Afghani was believed to have made the deliberate attempt on Panetta after “he broke through defenses and drove a vehicle towards his aircraft. He then went past the perimeter surrounded by armed security and large concrete block guards. Disaster was only averted when the truck caught fire and crashed into a ditch on the runway close to where Mr. Panetta’s jet had landed or was set to land.”

One Taliban attacker survived. His fate? The death penalty…maybe. Via WaPo’s Dan Lamothe:

Only one of the armed attackers involved in that Sept. 14, 2012, attack on Camp Bastion survived, military officials said. Mohammed Nazeer, now 24, was convicted and sentenced to death by an Afghan court, said Maj. John Caldwell, a Marine Corps spokesman at the Pentagon. But it still isn’t certain the punishment will stand. An Afghan appellate court affirmed the death penalty July 6, but the case is now before the Afghan Supreme Court for additional review, Caldwell said.

The uncertainty has frustrated the families of the two Marines killed, Lt. Col. Christopher Raible, 40, and Sgt. Bradley Atwell, 27, said Deborah Hatheway, Atwell’s aunt. U.S. military officials in Afghanistan contacted them last year asking for victim impact statements and family photographs to help make the case to the Afghan court that the insurgent should be punished severely for his actions, she said. The families were not informed there was an appellate process until this week, and are concerned it will function more leniently than the U.S. version.

“We’re grieving,” Hatheway said. “We lost a loved one, and we want answers and respect from the military.”

The surviving insurgent was wounded in a firefight with coalition forces on the base and captured. The results of a U.S. Central Command investigation released last October said Nazeer told investigators he was recruited to carry out an unknown “big mission” about four months before the attack by a Taliban commander.

Nazeer was in charge of a group of militants during the attack who planned to kill as many coalition members as possible while they were sleeping, he said during interrogation. He received training in Pakistan on weapons handling, communications and maneuvering as part of a military unit.

The families of the fallen remain frustrated by the lack of justice and lack of communication:

Kim Raible, the fallen squadron commander’s mother, said she was disgusted to hear that Nazeer was turned over to Afghan authorities. She has asked many questions about the attack, but did not know about the appeals process until this week, she said.

“There’s never any answers,” she said. “To me, it’s just a total lack of regard for us and the Atwells and the loss that we have here.”


Previous MichelleMalkin.com coverage of the Camp Bastion attack:

September 14, 2012 Jihad Friday gets bloodier: Attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, 2 Marines reportedly killed
September 28, 2012 Deafening silence about the Camp Bastion attack
October 6, 2012 What about the Camp Bastion attack?
November 14, 2012 Camp Bastion families want answers about Afghanistan
May 1, 2013 The Camp Bastion Cover-Up
June 21, 2013 Uncovering the Camp Bastion cover-up
September 6, 2013 One year later: Camp Bastion families still fighting for truth
September 30, 2013 Accountability for Camp Bastion families? 2 Marine generals reportedly fired
October 4, 2013 A Camp Bastion mom’s call of duty
October 8, 2013 Military death benefits outrage: Camp Bastion widow has challenge for Congress and POTUS

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Categories: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Barack Obama, Feature Story, John Kerry, Politics, Terrorist attacks