OPERATION FRESH AIR - JUNE 2nd - Walter REed and Bethesda
Milbloggers talking to MKH

Who's Got the Special Operations Marines' Backs?...WE DO!

An important message from Ilario Pantano about Special Operations Marines apparently being thrown under the PC bus.  I ask you to take a look and see if you can help.

Three years ago, I was leading Marines in Fallujah. Two years ago, with lawyers that many of you helped pay for, I walked into a courtroom at Camp Lejeune to face off against prosecutors in a fight for my life.

Today, I am back in the fight, and ask for your help in defending a team of true American heroes. Drawn from the elite ranks of "Force Recon," the hand-picked men of Marine Special Operations (MARSOC) are literally the best of the best, and instead of being honored they are being investigated for simply doing their job. Our commandos became the latest victims of rushed judgment and political posturing when they were accused of using "excessive force" to defend themselves during a suicide car-bomb triggered ambush targeting the Americans because some purportedly innocent Afghanis got caught in the cross-fire. But that day on March 4, 2007 in the town of Bati Kot, Afghanistan, our Marines became the victims of more than just suicide bombers, they were caught in the teeth of a thoughtfully engineered media ambush that has ensnared them, and by extension the U.S., in the Taliban's fight to wrest control of Afghanistan from the Karzai government.

The Taliban was banking on world opinion arriving at the simple and "obvious" conclusion that our men were responsible for the tragically inevitable loss of life consequent to commandos responding as they are trained to do when faced with the kind of attack that days later would kill nine troopers from the 82nd. The story, neatly packaged for global media consumption, made the April, 15, 2007 cover of The New York Times with the accusatory headline: "Marines Actions in Afghanistan Called Excessive." Not the first time they've gotten it wrong. The paper has a history of incendiary finger pointing that, put mildly, is at odds with the realities of ground combat. For example, last year they decried Task Force Black's methods as extreme (NYT, 3/19/06:"Task Force 6-26: A Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse"). Of course, the Times never acknowledged that three months later (as a result of those methods) one of the most notorious terrorists in the world, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, was brought to justice by the very same men of TF Black...

Be sure to read all of Ilario's message

Ready to help?  Visit Defend the Defenders.org to find out more.  There's links to more reports about the incident.

And more here at the Marine Corps Times.  Plus, Major Hap Gilmore, Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) Public Affairs Officer (PAO) provides a question and response page from MARSOC about the incident in question which, due to the nature of the investigation, provides little more info than that the leadership was relieved.