When I got back to Florida and had a glimpse of some of the news, I was sick (and honestly, almost wished I could be out of the mess in this world). Every time I get into what is happening, I get physically ill. It is so hard to believe America is just accepting the total takeover of our freedoms. I recently read the following book and I’m sick that the Obama administration has such disregard for life. I’ve quoted many of the endorsements and introduction for Betrayed as their words are much more powerful than any I could write. Please read this book and ask everyone you know to read this book. We MUST make a stand for our country before it is too late.
“. . . the Afghan theater has become a fiasco…a fiasco that turned a war we were once winning into a killing field with our troops the victims…the war that went sour when Barack HUSSEIN Obama allowed politicians to run the war instead of listening to the generals on the ground. Four times between 2009 and 2011 Obama rejected the generals recommended advice concerning the Afghan theater…including announcing the dates for our troop’s withdrawal…and in 2011 things started to seriously sour.” Diane Sori
“Obama Administration’s politically-correct “Rules of Engagement” in Afghanistan have devastated our military. In 87 months under the Bush Administration there were 630 killed and 2,600 wounded. In 58 months of Obama there were 1,547 (increasing every day) and 15,000 wounded.” Where is the outrage America?
Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father
Copyright © 2013 by Billy Vaughn
“Classical military strategist Carl von Clausewitz wrote of the ‘paradoxical trinity’ encompassing the collective wills of the government, the military, and the people in order for a Nation to successfully prosecute a war. In the breathtaking book Betrayed, we see what happens when one aspect of that that trinity and senior levels of another, through seemingly willful negligence, eschews the trust of the other two. As a former Member of Congress and member of the House Armed Services Committee, I was briefed on the classified details of the mission infamously referred to by call sign Extortion 17. Having been a Combat Arms officer in the US Army for 22 years, I was disturbed at several instances where standard TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures) were not followed. As well, having been Billy and Karen Vaughn’s representative, I know the hurt and anguish of the parents of an elite warrior, their son Aaron, whose life was lost because of a blatant betrayal of the trust they put into their government to protect those who support and defend our Constitution and way of life. Betrayed is a must read for those who wish to restore Clausewitz's trinity and ensure that future administrations and military leadership places the safety and wellbeing of our warriors first and foremost.” Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West, US Army (Ret.) Member of 112th Congress
“Betrayed is a book that must be read. It is the story of American heroes and how America let them down. While combat losses are sadly inevitable, failure to support our war fighters with every means at our disposal, prioritization of foreign lives over American lives, deference to the enemy ideology of jihad and sharia, and blatant cover-ups about what really happened to the brave men on board Extortion 17 were not inevitable. We need to know the truth so we can reassert a national policy based on core American principles. Betrayed begins that critical process.” – Clare Lopez, Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy
“Betrayed provides a detailed account of a tragic incident involving the single largest loss of life of our elite special warriors, which could have been avoided if proven warfighting principles were adhered to. The book correctly points out how ‘political correctness’ by our military leadership directly contributed to this tragedy by
needlessly exposing the lives or our military personnel in the failed hope of winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of a tribal society. Unconscionable!” — Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons, Jr., US Navy (Ret.)
“When our government and media make our most covert warfighters a public spectacle, putting the operators, their families and the SpecOp Community in clear and present danger, we must ask ‘why?’, figure out what went wrong, hold people responsible and make sure it does not happen again. Simple. The bodies of American military men (my friends) were damned by an Islamic Imam at an official Ramp Ceremony at the Bagram Airfield, all allowed by US officials. This is pure sacrilege. We the People need to hold our government accountable and the families of the fallen particularly deserve a coherent explanation. Political correctness, the counter-insurgency strategy and our Rules of Engagement have neutered our warfighter in life or death situations that WE/ our government have sent them to do. In a chaotic world on the brink of a religious world war we must, as a people, identify and define our willingness to accept what our warfighters can commit in our defense. This is not an attack on the community or the Navy but a conversation that must be had. Our lives depend on it. It is our civic duty.” --Ben Smith, (Former SEAL), US Navy
Introduction: Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, US Army (Ret.) As the sun rose over the beaches of Normandy on the morning of June 6, 1944, thousands of young Americans waded through the surf and raced toward the German defenses, intent on bringing WWII to an end and destroying the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. Each man on those beaches knew that he had the full support of his nation and of his chain of command.
General Dwight Eisenhower, the Allied Commander, had taken a huge risk with an expectation of a huge payoff when he ordered the invasion. He was there to win and he never contemplated anything less. Although Ike wrote a letter before the invasion accepting responsibility for the failure if the invasion was not successful, he still intended to win the war even if it meant multiple attempts at establishing a beachhead on mainland Europe. Those men who he had ordered into combat would have his full support, and he would trust commanders at all levels to do all they could to defeat the enemy and to protect the lives of their troops. His gamble paid off, the coalition that he lead succeeded, and Hitler’s forces were defeated, restoring sovereignty to the nations of Europe.
For the United States, a new warfare paradigm exists that would make the success of the D-Day efforts doubtful if executed today. In fact, warfare has always been an extension of politics, but after WWII, politics began to impede American war fighting to the extent that victory is fleeting at best and unlikely at worst. Furthermore, the risks to the troops have increased as a result of this shifted paradigm. Commanders are often unable to employ their full capabilities or use their preferred tactics in order to defeat the enemy. The reason is simply that the political considerations have become so dominate that it is nearly impossible to win. Undoubtedly the nature of warfare has changed since WWII, but the imperative to defeat the enemy has not. “Winning hearts and minds” is a poor substitute for victory over a determined foe. If America does not intend to win, then US Forces should never engage an adversary. “Nation Building” should be done through the NGO and PVO communities and not using trained warriors of the US military. Humanitarian projects are often effective and beneficial in areas where warring factions have disrupted and destroyed the local infrastructure, but the use of the US military for these activities is ill advised due to the overpowering and irresistible political influences. The imperative of providing American Forces with the tools and authority, including the appropriate rules of engagement, to achieve victory and to protect themselves and their coalition partners should always dominate American war fighting. When commanders can no longer make every reasonable effort to ensure the safety of their troops, they should terminate combat operations and withdraw from the battle space. Unfortunately, American commanders in Afghanistan have been forced to deal with an unacceptable choice between meeting the ubiquitous political demands and fighting to win.
The Counter-Insurgency (COIN) strategy that has been pursued by the last two administrations has not succeeded in destroying the Taliban nor in winning the war. Moreover, this strategy has produced the most restrictive Rules of Engagement in modern warfare, jeopardizing the lives of every military member serving in Afghanistan. Commanders have been forced to fight an enemy who knows the US rules well and leverages those restrictions on our warriors to kill and wound our men and women. The days of boldness and audacity by small unit leaders in closing with and destroying an enemy are gone. That type of tactics and strategy has been replaced by a COIN strategy that focuses more on preventing collateral damage at the risk of US lives. There is no greater example of the results of this approach to warfare than the tragedy of August 6, 2011. It occurred in the Wardak province of Afghanistan, where a US Chinook helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, was shot down in a Taliban ambush, killing thirty Americans and seven Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel and one interpreter. Fifteen of those killed were some of America’s finest and most dedicated warriors from Seal Team Six, the same unit that killed Osama Bin Laden. One of the SEALS on Extortion 17 was Aaron Vaughn, the son of Karen and Billy Vaughn. While seeking the details of the shoot down that took Aaron’s life, Billy and Karen uncovered some startling facts about the mission that Extortion 17 was on the night that their son died in a fiery crash west of Kabul, Afghanistan. After receiving a heavily redacted copy of the after action report of the incident, Aaron’s parents began to have serious questions about the events surrounding that Special Operation. Simply wanting to know the facts about Aaron’s death, the Vaughns asked some hard questions of the chain of command. They were shocked to discover that no effort was made to eliminate known threats around the landing zone (LZ) before the Chinook landed even though there were multiple opportunities and means to do so. The Vaughns were also surprised to discover that the Chinook that Aaron and his mates were on was not a Special Operations helicopter with the most modern technology. Rather it was a nearly fifty-year-old aircraft with minimal capabilities flown by courageous pilots with no experience with Special Operations.
The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Tampa has spent untold millions of dollars equipping their SOF helos with the finest technology available; why were these SEALS not on one of these? The Vaughns simply wanted to know why. Was it because there were none available or were there higher priorities than this mission? These are not unreasonable questions from a grieving family. They were also startled to find that seven of the ANA soldiers who died in the crash were not even manifested for the flight. In fact, they were substituted at the last minute for seven other ANA personnel who actually had been manifested. The conclusion that they came to was that neither they nor the other families were being provided with the whole story about the operation that took the lives of their sons, husbands, and brothers. Overhearing a senior commander tell another family of one of the dead SEALS that the primary focus in Afghanistan was to “win the hearts and minds,” the Vaughns were enraged. The idea that the sensitivities and feelings of the Afghani people were more important than the lives of America’s warriors was more than they could tolerate. Was that the message or did they simply not understand the words and meaning of the senior officer? They decided that they must act and call for accountability and truth. In their minds and that of other families, there were simply too many contradictions and half-truths for them to accept the story that they had been given regarding the events of August 6, 2011, and they would not rest until they had been provided accurate details. Was there some kind of cover up? Were their sons targeted deliberately because of their team’s involvement in the Bin Laden operation? Who were the seven ANA soldiers that were added at the last minute? Why was a Non-Special Operations helo used? These and myriad other questions have yet to be answered but must be before the Vaughns and other families will cease in their efforts to get to the facts of the deaths of their sons. This book is part of their painful quest for a full accounting. It is a fascinating story of incredible courage and sacrifice, government deceit, and the changing nature of warfare.
Please read Betrayed.