Michael's Dispatches

The Linda Norgrove Rescue Tragedy

Published: 11 October 2010

Ms. Linda Norgrove was kidnapped on 26 September during an ambush in eastern Afghanistan.  A trusted and knowledgeable source told me he expected there was a high likelihood she would be killed by these particularly brutal people.  Several days ago, during a rescue attempt led by U.S. forces, Ms. Norgrove was killed.  There is some speculation surrounding the circumstances of her death.

Today, I emailed the office of General Petraeus regarding the tragedy surrounding Ms. Norgrove. After two wars, General Petraeus is one of the sources I greatly trust. I did not speak to him directly about this. The general's staff responded immediately with emails and a phone call.  I asked Major Sunset Belinsky in Afghanistan to email an account of the situation.

This email came immediately from Major Sunset Belinsky:

--BEGIN email --

"Additional information developed by the military commander in charge of the rescue operation prompted Gen. Petraeus to call for an immediate investigation. Review of the surveillance footage and discussions with rescue team members did not conclusively determine the cause of Linda Norgrove's death. The initial report was that the captor set off some sort of explosive device which killed Ms. Norgrove. The review showed what was believed to be a member of the rescue team throwing a hand grenade in the area near where Ms. Norgrove was later found. It's now unclear what the exact circumstances surrounding her death are, and the investigation will attempt to determine the facts."

---END email --

The men who perform these very dangerous missions are the best we have.  As we mourn the loss of Ms. Norgrove, please remember who these men are: men who would give their own lives to save hers.  It serves nobody well to point fingers at men who just risked their lives in a very dangerous operation.  When a patient goes under the scalpel during a surgery in a safe hospital under the most controlled circumstances, there is always a chance that things will go wrong.  Yet during these military operations, the “doctors” often die with the “patient.”  This is dangerous stuff.  This is war.  Everyone knows the risks.

Rest in peace the courageous Linda Norgrove.

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