Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Wanat: the families respond (III)

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on July 13, 2010. These people are serious. They are feeling let down by the army. Here is a note from another ...

626044_100713_6a00e398b071250001011016adccf5860d-500pi.jpg
626044_100713_6a00e398b071250001011016adccf5860d-500pi.jpg

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on July 13, 2010.

These people are serious. They are feeling let down by the army. Here is a note from another bereaved parent:

I'm the Father of Pruitt Rainey. I gave my testimony and my son's last e-mails to me to Gen Natonski in Norfolk VA at the Naval base. They tell it all. What was going on and what was predicted at Wanat. I sat at Ft McPherson and listened and recorded what both generals had to say. General Campbell and the DOD and especially Gen. Petraeus really let my son down. The briefing was supposed to hopefully bring us some closure. It was supposed to be about integrity. It was supposed to be about the honor of our sons. It was supposed to be about the last respects we all pay to the ultimate  sacrifice our sons gave to our country.  

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on July 13, 2010.

These people are serious. They are feeling let down by the army. Here is a note from another bereaved parent:

I’m the Father of Pruitt Rainey. I gave my testimony and my son’s last e-mails to me to Gen Natonski in Norfolk VA at the Naval base. They tell it all. What was going on and what was predicted at Wanat. I sat at Ft McPherson and listened and recorded what both generals had to say. General Campbell and the DOD and especially Gen. Petraeus really let my son down. The briefing was supposed to hopefully bring us some closure. It was supposed to be about integrity. It was supposed to be about the honor of our sons. It was supposed to be about the last respects we all pay to the ultimate  sacrifice our sons gave to our country.  

It turned out to be a complete whitewash and a smokescreen for the army. I am ashamed my son was even in the army. I feel so disrespected.

I watched General Campbell smile and even laugh during his briefing especially when we were asking him questions. One question I asked him was, did he speak with any other person or soldier that was at Wanat? He answered, “I read some of their statements.” I asked him a second time: Did you speak with any of the other 48 witnesses that were at Wanat? He again smirked and said, “I read some of their statements.” 

I came out of my chair and lost it. I held up a picture, 8×10. I demanded he look at my son’s picture and tell him you made the correct decision today. He walked up to me, looked, smirked, not one word, and walked away smiling again. What else can I say…

Secretary Gates and our president need to step up and do the right thing. Honor our sons, Honor all the sacrifices these soldiers gave to the freedom we have.”

Frankie Gay

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.