The American media continues to neglect or deflect the Obama Administration’s negligence in the Middle East, at least the New York Times saw fit to put on page 1 yesterday the news of the latest successful Taliban attack in Afghanistan. Like the Benghazi consulate attack, it seems to have involved a serious security breach. (Hat tip to my old drinking pal and loyal Power Line reader JB in Texas for flagging this story.)
Over the weekend, the U.S. suffered the largest one-day loss of aircraft since the Vietnam War. Were they shot down? No: another “well-coordinated” Taliban attack (wait—I thought all Middle Eastern events were “spontaneous” reactions to cheesy YouTube videos?) penetrated the perimeter of Camp Bastion and destroyed six Harrier jump jets. The attackers were wearing U.S. military uniforms. As the Times reports:
While other attacks have caused greater loss of life, the assault late Friday at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, one of the largest and best-defended posts in Afghanistan, was troubling to NATO because the attackers were able to penetrate the base, killing two Marines and causing more than $200 million in damage. “We’re saying it’s a very sophisticated attack,” said a military official here. “We’ve lost aircraft in battle, but nothing like this.”
The complex attack, which NATO officials said was conducted by three tightly choreographed teams of militants wearing American Army uniforms, was a reminder that the Taliban remain capable of serious assaults despite the “surge” offensive against them. Now the offensive is over, and nearly 10,000 American Marines have left Helmand Province, a critical stronghold for the Taliban, over the past several months.
The Times report includes this detail, which ought to be setting off alarm bells at the Pentagon:
The military investigation into the attack at Bastion is now trying to uncover whether the insurgents had help from inside the camp and whether they were trained or aided by neighboring countries, such as Pakistan or Iran, which have allowed the Taliban to take refuge on their territory.
And while news reports say “two Marines” were killed, one of them was the squadron commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Raible. My correspondent JB observes:
Something tells me this was no coincidence. With eyes inside our camp, the Taliban were no doubt well-briefed on what he looked like and where he was most likely to be found. (I’m willing to bet the enlisted Marine died trying to protect his CO.) An attack on the same base in 2010 failed before the Taliban even got inside the perimeter. So far from being degraded, the Taliban’s capabilities are plainly miles ahead of where they were two years ago.
As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, the country’s in the very best of hands.