About that "pretty lucky shot"


Lt. Gen. James Conway thinks the Chinook that went down in Afghanistan was somehow a bad luck deal.

Lucky shot, my ass general. Look at the details of the mission and what happened is better explained as a purposeful ambush than some one-in-million shot by an RPG jockey. It smacks of stubborn denial otherwise.

Turns out that the MH-47 was responding to a call for help from a four-man SEAL team on the ground. That observation team, which remains unaccounted for at this moment, came under heavy fire from Taliban and possibly al Qaida elements. Eight more members of SEAL Team 10 were rushed to the contact point.

When the Chinook tried to set down it was hit by RPG fire. It is not clear if it was, in fact, a single shot or one of several fired.

These events sound very similar to what happened back in March 2002 during Operation Anaconda when another Chinook was lost and several more shot up. Afghanistan's extremely rugged terrain, marked by steep and narrow ravines gives what are essentially slow-moving, flying buses very little room to maneuver. An experienced enemy could deduce likely approach paths and landing zones and sit on them. That's tactics, not luck.

Further, there is an ugly attrition calculus at work that must be acknowledged. The loss of perhaps a dozen highly-trained SEALs represents the loss of decades of skills and experience which simply cannot be quickly or easily replaced. Such men are rare and will be sorely missed.