On Saturday, the DoD released the names of two paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne killed in Miri, Afghanistan (try to find that on a map, let alone understand the airborne’s mission there!)
An IED, or roadside bomb, hit their vehicle, the release said. They are Staff Sgt. Casey D. Combs, 28, of Auburn, Wash., and Sgt. David A. Stephens, 28, of Tullahoma, Tenn.
The news release was at least 48 hours after they died. (This is actually a quick turn around of information by the military’s standard.)
They were killed on Thursday(4/12). The so-called "NATO" press office released a statement Friday(4/13) that two "NATO" soldiers were killed, and third soldier wounded during two separate attacks on convoys.
The Reuters report actually states, “As part of a new NATO policy the alliance refuses to detail where attacks occur, saying that could identify the nationalities of the dead before families have been notified.”
The AP has their own disclaimer for not knowing more about the casualties….”NATO did not identify the killed and injured soldiers. Most of alliance troops in the east are American.”
So that’s 11 “NATO” troops killed in the past week in Afghanistan. Eight were Canucks, three were our guys. So what was the coverage? A couple of AP wire stories ran in North Carolina – home to the 82nd airborne – and more wire copy in the soldier’s hometowns.
Seattle PI: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/311758_tl116.html?source=rss
AP Fort Bragg WIRE COPY: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070414/NEWS01/70414012
But there is more....Also on Saturday, the DoD released the name of another soldier killed in action - Sgt. Edelman L. Hernandez, 23, of Hyattsville, Md. They said he died April 11 in the Korengal Valley, which is way up near Asadabad in Kunar province. His unit, 1/32 infantry is part of the 10th Mountain Division. His death was not mentioned in any NATO statement or press report in the three days following his death.
On Monday, (April 16) the Washington Post wrote a local story about his death – in fact, Sgt. Hernandez, 23, was apparently under stop-loss from leaving the Army – under order to fight in Afghanistan, where he drown in a river. This was a veteran who had also served in Iraq. And he dies a nameless NATO soldier – a blip on the news radar and America will never know of his sacrifice.
WASHINGTON POST: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/15/AR2007041501044.html
There is a continuing effort to mask US casualties in Afghanistan, by avoiding discussion of the soldiers’ deaths, labeling them as nameless coalition troops under NATO. Now it’s common for NATO to not name the unit or even the area where the attack occurs, because reporter could decipher what nationality the troops are. The press are buying into this - saying, well it's the NATO policy. They don't even attempt to report around the restricted information, they take the NATO party line, report essentially nothing and move on to the next piece of insanity from Afghanistan. So NATO hides the truth and the press in delivering a cloudy message to the public.
So, why does NATO want to disguise the nationality of the troops killed? Why can’t we honor our fallen brothers in arms with the respect they deserve for their sacrifice? This is adding up to the ongoing smoke and mirrors that is the marketing of the war in Afghanistan.