The parents of Navy SEAL Team 6 members killed when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in 2011 held a news conference on Thursday, proclaiming that the U.S. government is “as much responsible for the deaths of their sons as is the Taliban.”
The two-hour plus news conference was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and was facilitated throughout by Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch. Klayman is also acting as legal counsel for the families.
In describing these families as “victims of our system, victims of our political establishment who would rather protect radical Islamist than our own people,” Klayman leveled serious charges against the Obama administration and top military leaders.
Amid charges of a coverup, the families raised a number of concerns, including:
Exposing the identity of SEAL Team 6 placed targets on their backs.
The use of a lumbering CH-47 Chinook helicopter into a “hot area” without gunship escorts and without suppressing known enemy positions.
Units being restrained by constrictive rules of engagement intended to win “hearts and minds.”
Seven members of the Afghan military that were to accompany the team were switched out just prior to take off, yet the flight manifesto was never changed.
Allowing an Imam to “desecrate” the bodies of the dead American soldiers.
SEAL Team 6 is credited with executing the successful raid on the bin Laden compound in Pakistan, and family members are upset that President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “unnecessarily” released the units identity after this raid, thus putting targets on their backs.
Former SEAL Benjamin Smith spoke Thursday, talking about the mystique of the Navy SEALS being part of what makes them the best, and how in the last year and a half, “everything is out there.”
In very compelling testimony, Smith strongly condemned the actions of this administration and asked, “Are we not sharia-compliant already?”
Two months after the bin Laden raid, the elite quick reaction force was called on to reinforce an engaged unit of Army Rangers when the CH-47 transporting them was shot down by the Taliban. The crash killed all 38 people on board, including 17 Navy SEALS and 5 Navy Special Operations support personnel.
“Why was there no pre-assault fire?” the mother of fallen SEAL Aaron Vaughn asked. “We were told as families that pre-assault fire damages our efforts to win the hearts and minds of our enemy,” Karen Vaughn said.
“So in other words, the hearts and minds of our enemy are more valuable to this government than my son’s blood.”
And it’s possible the Taliban knew they were coming, as Afghan military and police forces are involved in planning every special operations mission and may have compromised operational security.
Klayman also drew attention to the military allowing an Imam to pray over the bodies of American soldiers, calling it a “shocking display of how we honored our troops at the end of this tragedy.”
“A funeral held in Kabul where you couldn’t even mention the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he said. “But yet a Muslim cleric gets up and damns these fallen heroes to Hell as infidels.”
Rep. Louis Ghomert expressed outrage over a Muslim Imam “gloating” over the flag draped bodies of American soldiers, implying that “anyone who challenges the warriors of Allah will be killed and go to hell and burn forever.”
“To add that kind of insult to injury is more than anyone should have to bear,” Ghomert continued.
There is some discrepancy over the interpretation of the Imam’s prayer and The Blaze has done an extensive analysis of it, but there’s little disagreement that it was inappropriate. The prayer is captured in this video:
Current and former members of Congress, as well as a number of top-ranked, retired military officers where present Thursday in support of the families of the fallen American servicemen, to include:
Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Louis Ghomert (R-TX), and former Rep. Allen West.
Admiral James “Ace” Lyons (US Navy, Ret.), Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, (US Army, Ret.), Lt. General William G. “Jerry” Boykin (US Army, Ret.), Lt. General Thomas G. McInerney, (USAF, Ret.)
The powerful and riveting press conference can be viewed in its entirety here: