Afghanistan war video: see how my son died

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Smersh

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This was shown on Channel 4 News in the UK a couple of days ago. It shows the tragic result of troops being sent into battle without enough helicopters and other equipment to support them. The video has since been posted on Youtube and I'll post it here in case anyone wishes to see it who is unable to do so on the Channel 4 News site. It was filmed from a fellow soldier's headcam.

Exclusive: the mother of British officer Mark Evison killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan tells Channel 4 News she wants the world to see the video showing the moments leading up to her son's death.

Warning: you may find the accompanying video and details of Lt Mark Evison's death distressing.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itMKRRUt24A[/youtube]

Full story: http://www.channel4.com/news/afghanista ... y-son-died

I'm guessing that British troops aren't alone in having insufficient equipment supplied in battle, which leads to uneccessary deaths and injuries and it probably happens in US and other forces as well. But WHY? :roll:
 
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grokme

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I didn't watch the video because I don't want to our soldiers being killed.

War has always been like this, where there aren't enough helicopters or other equipment. It is nearly impossible to ensure that all troops have all the equipment they need all of the time, especially in mountainous regions like Afghanistan. Then, we have the problem with Pakistan cutting supply lines, etc.....
 
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mental_avenger

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I am not being insensitive here. I understand the pain the mother must be going through. Perhaps part of the problem here is the relatively instant video on the front. While a little over an hour may seem too long, in battle that is probably extremely fast. In WWII, and even in Korea, it was sometimes days or even weeks before soldiers could be evacuated to a hospital. Even in Vietnam it could easily be days. Helicopters are easy targets in a combat area, and cannot be released without evaluation of the situation. Even then, it is possible to lose a 4 man helicopter crew attempting to save the life of one soldier. If the rescuers are shot down, no one wins.

IMO, without further information, the fact that the helicopter got him out in just over an hour is a credit to the level of technology currently available.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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Smersh":1mod7z5u said:
...I'm guessing that British troops aren't alone in having insufficient equipment supplied in battle, which leads to uneccessary deaths and injuries and it probably happens in US and other forces as well. But WHY? :roll:
You can have one helicopter for every man on the ground and there's still going to be a time when someone can't get one. Well, I think you understand my meaning - Sometimes, the world ain't fair.

But, I think most people are aware that commanders have requested more of everything. I know that in the UK, people are especially sensitive to this due to fairly recent focus on that sometime earlier this year. (I forget what the specific controversy was about.) In the US, we're particularly sensitive to it due in no small part to inadequately protected troops during the opening phases of Iraqi Freedom. (Body Armor, HVee Armor plate, etc..) There's also the whole "surge" issue that is still fresh in many people's minds.

It was implied that the corpsman was not adequately supplied. (One "tin" of medical supplies.) At first, I was worried that they didn't have a corpsman because his letter sounded as if they were on their own with nothing but a band-aid kit. I'd be interested to see if they had a properly equipped corpsman. They'd certainly rate one.

It seems there's a bit of a breakdown in communication and authorization for rescue flights. There should be someone standing by on 5 minute delay at the very least. That they had to jump through hoops in order to request a medivac is a bit troubling. I'd say of all the problems they faced in this situation, that was the worst.

But, people die in war. That's what it's all about. I hate it. You hate it. We all hate it and Murphy and his Gremlins roam the battlefield, causing mayhem. This man died because he was unable to get prompt medical attention. Well, he might have died anyway. The helicopter could have crashed. He could have bled to death on the operating table. He could have been run over by a bus. (During Desert Shield, more casualties were caused by accidents than by the enemy.)

What do we do? Make sure those troops have what they need. If they ask for it, then give it to them. If they don't use it, put it in storage for the next war. You know we'll just have to have one sometime.. Not like it's going to go to waste.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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grokme":398z2q4r said:
I didn't watch the video because I don't want to our soldiers being killed. ..
I understand.

However, I'll take the opportunity to tell you what I tell anyone who looks away when they see the face of war -

You don't like it? Don't vote for it.

If you can't stand watching a fellow citizen's head explode after being nailed by a .50 cal round, get upset at the level of collateral damage and civilian casualties or are mortified that fifty enemy soldiers got burned alive in a bunker because they left the light on and were spotted, then maybe war isn't a good thing?

I know, you weren't saying that. I'm just writing to those who may be outraged that a soldier is dying on film yet gleefully parade up and down the streets chanting "Kill the enemy!"
 
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a_lost_packet_

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mental_avenger":1bq2ejnw said:
...IMO, without further information, the fact that the helicopter got him out in just over an hour is a credit to the level of technology currently available.
/agree with reservation

Baiting a helicopter isn't exactly a new trick. There's a definitely possibility they were looking for one. But, that they were able to retreat back to a secure area (I assume they've got good visibility and field of fire at their PB) should be in their favor for a medivac. I don't know and can't second guess that situation.

But, if takes a minute longer than it should to get the request in and get it reviewed, then some grease needs to be put on the wheels.
 
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grokme

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a_lost_packet_":22wciszm said:
grokme":22wciszm said:
I didn't watch the video because I don't want to our soldiers being killed. ..
If you can't stand watching a fellow citizen's head explode after being nailed by a .50 cal round, get upset at the level of collateral damage and civilian casualties or are mortified that fifty enemy soldiers got burned alive in a bunker because they left the light on and were spotted, then maybe war isn't a good thing?
Nope, I could watch it if I felt it was necessary for me to understand the war. I understand what's happening. I feel it cheapens the person's life to view their death in a two minute video clip, as if it's entertainment. I feel ghoulish watching a person die in battle. Oddly I don't have the same reservations about older wars, such as WWII. Maybe I see those for what they were, documentantation of the actual war. It feels like some percentage of the modern populace looks at the current videos as entertainment.
 
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Smersh

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a_lost_packet_":l0nzt0ud said:
... What do we do? Make sure those troops have what they need. If they ask for it, then give it to them. If they don't use it, put it in storage for the next war. You know we'll just have to have one sometime.. Not like it's going to go to waste.
Absolutely ALP and that's the whole point of the lieutenant's mother wanting the video to be seen by as many people as possible I would think. And it's not even as if we've only just arrived there. We've been in Afghanistan now for what - eight years?

Here's a short video from ITN in which David Cameron comments about the death of Lieutenant Everson and the shortage of helicopters etc. He says the situation is improving:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiTT_Ijfv8Q[/youtube]
 
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cosmictraveler

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Let me see now, the "enemy" has only rifles, RPG's, IED's and other hand held weaponry and no jets, tanks, drones, satellite pictures or other "modern stuff that the allied forces have yet they are not losing the war and in many instances winning battles that they get into. The allies have everything that a modern military needs including med evac helicoptors and on the battlefield medical teams to help with the wounded. With all of the advanced military might that the allies have many say they need more while the "enemy" has very little except themselves. It cost over 100,000.00 to kill one enemy for the allies but only pennies to kill from the enemy point of view.
 
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Smersh

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cosmictraveler":3ucy23p3 said:
... The allies have everything that a modern military needs including med evac helicoptors and on the battlefield medical teams to help with the wounded ...
Not in the case of Lieutenant Evison however.

cosmictraveler":3ucy23p3 said:
... With all of the advanced military might that the allies have many say they need more while the "enemy" has very little except themselves. It cost over 100,000.00 to kill one enemy for the allies but only pennies to kill from the enemy point of view.
But I can still see the point you're making, although we rarely, if ever, get figures for Taliban casualties which I would imagine are astronomical. I'm not sure they place much importance on things like evac 'copters and medical teams though, because their whole philosophy is different to we in the west. In fact they are happy to become "martyrs" apparently, so I guess that factor alone would keep their war costs down quite considerably.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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Smersh":2aecpmfm said:
Absolutely ALP and that's the whole point of the lieutenant's mother wanting the video to be seen by as many people as possible I would think. And it's not even as if we've only just arrived there. We've been in Afghanistan now for what - eight years?
And, we'll be there for another eight years unless someone makes a deal - Pashtun Taliban Insurgency

Afghanistan isn't the big problem, it's Pakistan and it's Pashtun malcontents. Maybe they have a legitimate beef? I dunno. But, giving them virtual autocracy, as Pakistan has done in the past, and then expecting them to stay happy when their major problem seems to reside in Afghanistan isn't the answer.

Past deals have always broken down. Huge amounts of money have been given to tribal leaders only to have them backstab Pakistani negotiators. It might be something that can't be resolved. There may only be two possible answers: Drop very large bombs on all their heads or leave. IMO, it's a situation of constant blackmail, with al Queda and the various Taliban groups trying to take advantage of the situation. Break the connections between the Pashtun tribes and the Taliban and there will be a chance for peace. To do that, Pakistan may have to concede some points it doesn't want to conceded. In that, I don't blame them. But, it's THEIR fault this has gotten out of hand. They already conceded their own sovereignty in the region, years ago, in all but name. Now, nobody should be surprised that these groups have found a haven from which to operate.

Here's a short video from ITN in which David Cameron comments about the death of Lieutenant Everson and the shortage of helicopters etc. He says the situation is improving:
Good points. We have a couple of Afghan vets at SDC. It'd be interesting to read their takes on this.

He mentioned that "We are there to help the Afghan people secure their own country. After that, we can come home." (paraphrased) I think that's something people have to remember. It's important. We can not afford to have any country operating in chaos without an effective government or one that supports fundamentalist terrorism. The whole world bears the costs for such negligence even though the whole world is not putting forth an effort to stabilize Afghanistan. People certainly don't like their soldiers dying. People may even resent lives spent for what appears to be the sake of others. But, fail to rise to the occasion and people will be even more upset when 3000 of their fellow countrymen get murdered by nutjobs flying passenger jets.
 
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Smersh

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a_lost_packet_":2v0hb0t3 said:
... Afghanistan isn't the big problem, it's Pakistan and it's Pashtun malcontents. Maybe they have a legitimate beef? I dunno. But, giving them virtual autocracy, as Pakistan has done in the past, and then expecting them to stay happy when their major problem seems to reside in Afghanistan isn't the answer.

Past deals have always broken down. Huge amounts of money have been given to tribal leaders only to have them backstab Pakistani negotiators. It might be something that can't be resolved. There may only be two possible answers: Drop very large bombs on all their heads or leave ...
I agree with your points about Pakistan and it seems to be quite a complicated situation there, with a whole bunch of different warlords vying for a large share of whatever cake is on offer. We've tried dropping medium-sized bombs on some of them in Pakistan I believe but I don't see how we could escalate that to a major bombing campaign without alienating large sections of the Pakistan population against the west. And even if we did do that, surely we still wouldn't get quite a few of them who would either melt away into their mountain hideouts, or be quickly replaced by others.

The other option you suggested, leave, has already been announced as policy by David Cameron's coalition government here in the UK with a target date of 2015. However, I can't realistically see it happening and I wouldn't think the US or any other NATO forces in Afghanistan would have it on their radar to leave either. So it seems to me the situation has no end in sight.

Going back to what David Cameron said in the video btw, as you probably know he only became Prime Minister a few months ago and his references to him calling for sufficient helicopters and other equipment in the past were in debates in parliament whilst he was in opposition. So I'm hopeful that what he said about the situation improving (partly because of closer involvement with our friends in the US forces) will prove to be true, particularly if we're all going to be there for the next >insert any number you like here< (how long is a piece of string?) years.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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Smersh":7p8zua6y said:
..We've tried dropping medium-sized bombs on some of them in Pakistan I believe but I don't see how we could escalate that to a major bombing campaign without alienating large sections of the Pakistan population against the west. And even if we did do that, surely we still wouldn't get quite a few of them who would either melt away into their mountain hideouts, or be quickly replaced by others.
Yeah. The problem is that Pakistan can't "let" us conduct a bombing campaign in their own territory. If they do, they are either willfully abrogating their sovereignty in the region or they're seen as cooperating with the Great Satan. The funny thing is they've lost sovereignty in the region already and acknowledged that by granting some regions their own status. I guess they just can't cooperate.. because of something... What the heck that is, I haven't a clue.

.. So it seems to me the situation has no end in sight.
True. There's really no end on the horizon until the Pakistan problem can be solved and it either becomes too expensive for tribe/faction leaders to embark on such campaigns or someone greases their palms and convinces them they can have more money and power simply by cooperating with Coalition/Pakistani forces.

So I'm hopeful that what he said about the situation improving (partly because of closer involvement with our friends in the US forces) will prove to be true, particularly if we're all going to be there for the next >insert any number you like here< (how long is a piece of string?) years.
It's definitely a situation where we all have to work together, share military resources and combine operations in order to get the fighting part of the job done. As to the rest, only time will tell.
 
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EarthlingX

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Here are some of the numbers :

www.guardian.co.uk : Wikileaks' Afghanistan war logs: how our datajournalism operation worked
Posted by Simon Rogers

Tuesday 27 July 2010 12.12 BST


Wikileaks Afghanistan data: click image for the graphic. Illustration: Paul Scruton for the Guardian

Well, we always wanted stories from data: now we've got it. In spades. With bells on. The Wikileaks' Afghanistan war logs are a fantastic victory for investigative data basedjournalism, not only here at the Guardian but at the New York Times and Der Spiegel too.
...
 
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brandbll

Guest
mental_avenger":1fn89ar3 said:
I am not being insensitive here. I understand the pain the mother must be going through. Perhaps part of the problem here is the relatively instant video on the front. While a little over an hour may seem too long, in battle that is probably extremely fast. In WWII, and even in Korea, it was sometimes days or even weeks before soldiers could be evacuated to a hospital. Even in Vietnam it could easily be days. Helicopters are easy targets in a combat area, and cannot be released without evaluation of the situation. Even then, it is possible to lose a 4 man helicopter crew attempting to save the life of one soldier. If the rescuers are shot down, no one wins.

IMO, without further information, the fact that the helicopter got him out in just over an hour is a credit to the level of technology currently available.
My Great Grandpa got wounded three days into the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne during WWI and didn't get to the hospital for a whole month...
 
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CalliArcale

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mental_avenger":2nqp1aqf said:
IMO, without further information, the fact that the helicopter got him out in just over an hour is a credit to the level of technology currently available.
Hell, if you wipe out on a ski slope and break both legs you're lucky to be in a hospital in *three* hours, and that's not even a war zone. I think it's frankly incredible that we can evac people in just an hour in any circumstances, much less the middle of a firefight.
 
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Smersh

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CalliArcale":1atqloei said:
Hell, if you wipe out on a ski slope and break both legs you're lucky to be in a hospital in *three* hours, and that's not even a war zone. I think it's frankly incredible that we can evac people in just an hour in any circumstances, much less the middle of a firefight.
Yes but even if an accident on a ski slope did result in a three hour delay to get the person to a hospital, it is that person's choice to go skiing and he/she should be aware of the risks before going skiing for enjoyment. I suppose one could argue that soldiers going into battle also have a choice about whether or not they join the army in the first place, but if nobody joined the army, then who would fight the battles in Afghanistan and elsewhere that are deemed neccessary by the PTB to be fought to protect us all? Surely we should strive to put in as much effort as we possibly can to support these heroes shouldn't we?

In the case of Lt Evison, there was a 39 minute delay from when the helicopter had been called for before its dispatch was even authorised. Surely there has to be quite a bit of room for improvement there doesn't there, war-zone or not?
 
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CalliArcale

Guest
Skiers accept the risks, but nobody seriously plans on breaking both legs. Well, you may plan as far as knowing what to do if it happens, but if you expected it to happen, you wouldn't have gone skiing in the first place. Deciding to join the armed forces is similar. You don't go in expecting to die. You go in knowing the risks but hoping to avoid them, figuring that the benefit to your country and your comrades in arms is worth the risk of making the ultimate sacrifice.

War and skiing are not the same thing, but in this particular instance there is one rather large commonality: mountains. They're pretty, but they're a hell of a nuisance to get around, even without them sheltering unknown numbers of people who are trying to kill you. Most of the reason ski rescues tend to be slower than military evacs is because helicopter pilots are not real anxious to fly close to mountains. The updrafts can be lethal. So instead you get carried down in a toboggan, and put in an ambulance, which has had to drive all the way around the mountain from wherever the nearest hospital is, and which will now have to drive all the way around again, usually on narrow and winding roads. Sometimes they might risk a helicopter from the base, and in very rare cases, use a helicopter to lift people directly off the slopes, but it's rare. The objective is to get the patient out alive, after all, not add a bunch more casualties when the helicopter crashes. (And yes, that does happen, even in ski slope rescues where their only enemies are time and Mother Nature.)

Yes, absolutely it can be improved upon. But remote rescues are not typically fast, even without the added complication of war. I do not know why it took 39 minutes to authorize the helicopter's dispatch. I can think of a lot of possibilities without even contemplating incompetence; this stuff isn't easy. Maybe there was incompetence, maybe there was malice, but it is also very possible that it just took that long to be sure the helicopter crew would have a decent chance of getting in and out of there alive -- or that long to get to the point of saying "hell with it, it's not safe, but you're going anyway". That happens too.

And so does insufficient equipment. There is an old adage that the most important thing in any military isn't the fighting stuff, it's the logistics. Doesn't matter if you've got the best guns, the best sharpshooters, the best armor, etc if you can't get them where they're needed and keep them adequately supplied. Even in the civilian world, they say that 90% of everything is logistics. It's not sexy and it's not cheap, but if you screw up the logistics, nothing else will matter.
 
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