31 US Troops, 7 Afghans Killed as Helicopter Goes Down August 6, 2011 by PaulM Posted in Current Events, History, Lowell 7 Comments Read the report from AOL/Huffington Post. 7 Responses to 31 US Troops, 7 Afghans Killed as Helicopter Goes Down PaulM says: August 6, 2011 at 5:45 am It says something about where our nation’s mind is at that some media outlets online do not have this report out of Afghanistan as the top story. The headlines are about the economy, credit rating, debt ceiling, etc. Bob Forrant says: August 6, 2011 at 6:33 am With everything going on in the world including the latest in Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East, debt in Europe, esp. Italy and Ireland and Greece, the lingering problems in Haiti, the horrific starvation of young children in Somalia, and our own problems here at home, including a lingering drought across much of the south and southwest, which will certainly drive up food prices, the grinding unemployment in this country (approx. 30% of people out of work, working pt time wanting full time, or dropped out of the search entirely), and the infuriating ineptness of our political leadership, we are indeed at a very important crossroads as a nation. We can no longer fulfill our humanitarian mission abroad and here at home without new sources of revenue and a much curtailed worldwide military mission. Why so many bases and troops in places like Japan, South Korea and Germany, for example? But, the days of any sort of courageous leadership able to tell us the truth about just how broken the global system really is are passed. What happened to the ‘ straight talk express’ and ‘yes we can’? Now we get soundbite pols on all sides confusing loudness with sense and sensibility. And, we have what amounts to me anyway to be the knee jerk impulse to blame somebody (domestically that means immigrants, internationally that means Muslims), circle the wagons, and resort to the sad act of depriving the most hurt and broken among us of any sort of help. Thus we get things like: the horrific murder at the Lowell Transitional Living Center months ago because the nation’s mental health system is broken to pieces; a rise in teen pregnancies because our public health system is shattered; foreclosures because our financial institutions in in ruins; and higher failure rates across our nation’s public school system. Sorry to be the voice of doom here, but as an historian of the US condition I believe we are poised for another recession, years of economic stagnation, growing inequality, and the end of what most of us took for granted in terms of generational upward economic and social mobility. PaulM says: August 6, 2011 at 7:07 am I’m thinking of our friend and fellow blogger Greg over there and Ali in Iraq. I get sickish thinking we are in a reverse version of “Charlie Wilson’s War” with people who hate us supplying the rockets for use against US troops. I know it’s not unfolding on the same scale in Afghanistan in terms of losses, but it’s blood from thousands of cuts. Bob Forrant says: August 6, 2011 at 7:30 am Yup! And my sad guess is that much of the carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan is being done with materials once supplied by the US to suspected allies gone bad. The ultimate irony in that US weapons are inflicting deadly destruction on our own troops while here at home we continue to do remarkably little to help with the relocation/reintegration of war vets back into society. We recall how badly some troops were treated when they returned from Vietnam yet veterans services are woefully inadequate to deal with the family stresses and strains caused by extended tours overseas for going on ten years now, with no believable exit strategies in site. To our friends over there – – stay safe – – and when you return we need to do a blog-apolozza at any place you choose in or around Lowell! Dean says: August 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm You can not put 38 military personal and all their equipment on one CH-47 Chinook.(to much weight)(high altitude flying). The Chinook has a crew of four.(nothing was said about the crew.) So that is 42 personal on one helicopter? Question authority. Dean says: August 7, 2011 at 11:15 am In January,1967, a slingshot (hit the rotor) brought down a helicopter in Brazil. The Afghans threw rocks at the Russian helicopters when they flew through or into the valleys during the 1980’s. Helicopters are venerable to a massive RPG-7 (rocket propelled grenade) attacks in Iraq. That is why helicopters where not used in mass in Iraq like Viet nam. We learned that lesson in Somalia. RPG-7 is probalby one of the best close range weapons used today by many nations. Greg Page says: August 8, 2011 at 11:49 pm Paul, you’re right to point out the difference in terms of scale. Our logistical resupply effort here involves hundreds of helicopter flights, all day and all night, all across the theater. With mountains in every direction, and a generally subpar road network, Chinooks are the workhorse in this war. In nearly ten years, we’ve had about two dozen helos lost to enemy fire. Each one of those involves tragedy, but, still, we have to maintain a sense of overall impact to the war effort, so some of the comparisons to the Stingers in the 1980s that we’re seeing in the news now aren’t totally fair. As Dean said, the RPG-7 is the problem, and the insurgents who know when and where to aim are always trying to hit us in the jugular. And on a far lighter note, a blogapalooza always sounds great…somehow this site makes it past our “blog filter” at work so it’s a great way to keep up on Lowell/MV stuff in the meantime (to get to blogspot sites or LiL I have to rely on the spotty Wi-Fi out this way).