Chinook Crash-Lands in Afghanistan
After the crash earlier this weekend that killed 38, another Chinook helicopter crash-landed in Afghanistan. No casualties were reported in this incident, and there were no reports of insurgents in the area.
While this latest incident will probably be found to have been completely unrelated to Taliban activity in the area, the previous crash is being considered in the debate over the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. The death toll - both civilian and military - has been on the rise, with August being the deadliest. Some observers are of the opinion that President Obama's stating that he intends to withdraw surge troops in the coming months has spurred Taliban activity. While it may have been politically advantageous for Obama to commit to the withdrawal, it may have been a tactical error.
Staying the course in Afghanistan remains a hard sell for the White House, and there are those are arguments for both sides in the wake of the earlier Chinook crash. Either the recent deaths may steel Americans' resolve to put an end to the Taliban, or it will offer another reason to cease military action in Afghanistan. Banking on a thirst for revenge in light of recent economic problems surrounding the U.S. credit rating from Standard & Poor's may be a dangerous proposition for the administration.
As for the continued use of the Chinook by the U.S. military, that future is much more secure. The CH-47 has served the military well since 1963, and has been upgraded over the years to keep up with the times. While there have been some changes to the aircraft, it has remained a mainstay in the U.S. military fleet of aircraft because of its ability to carry vehicles like Humvees, or like in the case of the recent tragic crash, up to 33 fully outfitted soldiers. While it can survive a fair amount of gunfire, it is most vulnerable when landing and taking off. While the investigation into the fatal crash is ongoing, it can be presumed that if it was the result of Taliban rocket fire, the aircraft was attacked while attempting to land or take off. It has been confirmed that the Chinook was deployed to an area with hostile activity already on the ground. While a tragic loss, the future of the Chinook remains secure.