Mission Unnecessary?

National Journal

There are growing indications that the U.S. military should never have launched the ill-fated helicopter mission that sent 38 U.S. and Afghan troops crashing to their deaths in eastern Afghanistan.

The military initially said that the troops — including 22 Navy SEALs — who died on Saturday were on their way to rescue a contingent of Army Rangers who were pinned down by insurgents, only to drop that account on Wednesday. Now officials say the troops were sent to apprehend fleeing militants, a far lower-level mission that could have been carried out by smaller numbers of conventional forces. The Rangers had been sent to Wardak Province, a violent and sparsely-populated region of the country, in pursuit of a local Taliban commander thought to control a small network of local fighters.

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