Or at least – when it comes to the notorious battle of Wanat – nobody important:
The Army’s official history of the battle of Wanat – one of the most intensely scrutinized engagements of the Afghan war – largely absolves top commanders of the deaths of nine U.S. soldiers and instead blames the confusing and unpredictable nature of war.
The history of the July 2008 battle was almost two years in the making and triggered a roiling debate at all levels of the Army about whether mid-level and senior battlefield commanders should be held accountable for mistakes made under the extreme duress of combat.
An initial draft of the Wanat history, which was obtained by The Washington Post and other media outlets in the summer of 2009, placed the preponderance of blame for the losses on the higher-level battalion and brigade commanders who oversaw the mission, saying they failed to provide the proper resources to the unit in Wanat.
The final history, released in recent weeks, drops many of the earlier conclusions and instead focuses on failures of lower-level commanders.
There’s a phrase used at the end of commendatory citations, “in the best traditions of the service”. This latest re-write does not seem to me at all commendatory, not when 9 US soldiers – poorly equipped and positioned – lost their lives. I hope it’s not a service tradition.
Now I’ve got 274 pages of light reading to do.
Update: Uncle Jimbo sees things differently.