This is an Al Jazeera video sent by a reader who asked, "why didn't we bomb the cop when we left it?"
Many of our friends fought here, some died here.
Lots of reasons, possibly, on why we didn't destroy the base entirely. But, looking at that video, now sure seems like a good time for a proper introduction of Mr. JDAM to Mr. Taliban...but that wouldn't sit well with "the master plan" to let the folks in the Korengal Valley sort their own problems out...
Sebastion Junger of the NY Times writes this appropriate piece about giving up the Korengal:
...I’m a civilian, though — not a soldier — and I may be entirely wrong. The men at Restrepo seemed to make “sense” of combat in a completely personal way. They were not interested in the rest of the war and they were not much concerned with whether it was just, winnable or even well executed. For soldiers, the fight is what gives a place meaning, rather than the other way around.
In that sense, the Korengal was literally sacred ground. Every man in Battle Company lost a good friend there, and every man was nearly killed there. These soldiers did not require “strategic importance” or “national interest” to give the place value — it already had that in spades.
Outpost Restrepo was named after Juan Restrepo, a platoon medic who was killed on July 22, 2007. He was one of the best-liked men in the platoon, and his death was devastating. The men took enormous pride in the outpost they built, and they can now go online and watch videotape of it being blown up by an American demolition team. It is a painful experience for many of them, and in recent days, e-mail messages have flown back and forth as the men have tried to come to terms with it. One man became increasingly overwrought from watching the video over and over again, wondering what all the sacrifice had been for. Another soldier finally intervened.
“They might have pulled out but they can’t take away what we accomplished and how hard we fought there,” he wrote to his distraught comrade. “The base is a base, we all knew it would sooner or later come down. But what Battle Company did there cannot be blown up, ripped down or burned down. Remember that.”
While some (here in the U.S. and elsewhere) may celebrate our departure from that valley, we remember the men who fought and gave their last full measure, not for that valley, but for each other.