We did it

Well, the yanks did. Or maybe not, it really isn't clear. But what *is* clear is that initial reports that Linda Norgrove was killed by the Taliban were at best unreliable and probably made up. Apparently Cameroon still insists that the reports were "in good faith" which I think is code for "inexplicably wrong but we don't want to criticise the US in public". And indeed the entire rescue may have been pointless. That nice Mr Obama says he'll find out what happened, though.

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Hague's 'the objective of Linda's captors was to pass her further up the Taliban command chain' is tosh. Their objective was to sell her to people who pay good money for ransomable hostages. Taliban people? Define 'Taliban'.

By Vinny Burgoo (not verified) on 12 Oct 2010 #permalink

Hopefully we will realise how most military adventure fails.

Korea- failure all around. Vietnam- France, Auz, US - what a SNAFU. Serbia, Algeria , Costa Rica and on and on.

Now we have Afganistan, a counrty that has spoiled the imperial delusions of western democracies(?) for over a century. As we speak, a few hundred guys with no shoes are fihting the most exepesively equipped and trained army the world has ever seen to a standstill or less.

Forget combat folks it makes the attackee stronger and the attacker irrelavent.

Maybe peak oil will force a choice ( the US is near the choice now) guns oor butter.


By John McManus (not verified) on 12 Oct 2010 #permalink

I wouldn't go so far as to say the initial reports were 'probably made up'. I would guess that it's hard to figure out what exactly is happening when there's explosions and lead flying about - forensics tells us more about events and timelines, and that takes time.

[I think that is two different ways of describing the same thing. It is now clear that we didn't know what happened. But immeadiately afterwards, people were confidently ascribing her death the the Taliban - they blew her up. That was probably a combination of (a) oops, she is definitely blown up and (b) well I sure hope it wasn't us so it must have been them. I'd call the misplaced certainty making things up: the "fact" that They Did It was clearly invented. And that remains true even if a long investigation eventually returns no answer, or even confirms that yes the Taliban did do it -W]

"[Can't think of a decent rhyme for "Taliban" -W]"

Better a dead ally than, one of the Taliban.

So they blew her up to save her from being beheaded?

What a pity that you didn't wait a bit before your rush to judgement.

[Why/ What would I have discovered if I'd waited a bit more? -W]

In the rescue attempt an explosion was monitored. Now just imagine what you might see on night vision equipment. A flare of course and mission command, from experience, concluded it was a suicide vest going off. Later, on reviewing tapes it became clear that a fragment grenade was thrown into a compound in which the hostage had sought refuge and concealed herself. A Seal has owned up as the thrower.

[Ah, I'd missed that. So you're saying it is *definitely* true that the yanks did it? That is more than I asserted -W]

Now imagine the sequence of events. An explosion in a Taliban stronghold and a dead hostage in the vicinity. No one thought of a mistaken action and communicated what they reasonably thought had happened.

[You've gone wrong already. A military operation by night and *no-one thought of the possibility of something going wrong*? Despite the very long history of things going wrong? Something going wrong should have been the first thought, not the last -W]

Now you like to think of yourself as dead cynical so you jumped the shark and looked for someone who you could finger without being explicit.

Prety poor on your part.

[I've fingered the yanks. Not any one person. *You* have said that I'm right, and that they dunnit. So what is your complaint exactly? That you don't like a long-haird weirdo saying it? -W]

The operation was ordered because the Taliban was preparing to move her to a new location where it would be impossible to track her. The Seals killed all the Taliban except one who dragged Linda into a hut. She crawled into a fetal position on the floor which made her difficult to spot on night vision. A Seal tossed a frag grenade into the hut to take out the remaining Taliban. That detail was not noticed until later review of the recorded video. When confronted the Seal admitted to his mistake. A tragedy all around.

[Yes, certainly a tragedy. But you're still seeing too much certainty in all this. Exactly why this was ordered, and whether the information it was based on was correct, isn't known (intelligence of this sort has a long history of being wrong). As far as I can read from the likes of http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gw_2lphcyq4BdGKXvd71… all the stuff you've presented as certainty is conjecture - you're repeating the original mistake. If you have a better source, please present it.

Oh, but since I found that press story, I really have to point out this bit of twaddle from Cameroon: "The responsibility for Linda's death lies with those cowardly, ruthless people who took her hostage in the first place," he insisted. The Taliban may well be ruthless, but they certainly aren't cowardly. Cowardly is bombing frmo 30,000 feet -W]


Typical yankee cowboy nutcases. Why don't we buy our own boys some helicopters so they can do what they do best. From now on, send in either the SSR or the SAS.

I get the impression that in the eyes of That Nice Mr. Barack Obama, the case of Linda Norgrove, like the issue of climate change and everything else, is just a problem of PR -- not, say, a real problem of real people's lives being destroyed. With enough lipstick and enough of that stentorian voice, surely all problems are shallow.