BOOK REVIEW

Sacrificed Warriors

“Betrayed” by Billy Vaughn is a shocking revelation of how the Obama administration handcuffs America’s fighting forces with terrible and dangerous Rules of Engagement [ROE], which have increased the dangers to our forces engaged in combat in Afghanistan. These ROE’s have led to increased casualties with little hope of attaining the utopian aspirations of the Obama and prior Bush administration, as well, of turning Afghanistan into a Western-style democracy. One of the casualties of this futile policy was Billy Vaughn’s only son, Navy SEAL Aaron Carson Vaughn, killed on August 6, 2011 in an ill-fated mission, where EXTORTION 17, the CH-47D Chinook helicopter was shot down in the Tangi Valley by a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade, killing 30 U.S. servicemen aboard, including 22 members of SEAL Team 6, among whom was Aaron Vaughn.

Billy Vaughn describes the CH-47D brought down by enemy fire as their “antiquated” ride to work “normally used for transporting cargo,” where the CH-47, introduced in 1962, had models A, B, and C deployed in Vietnam. It’s been determined that using the CH-47D to drop troops in a hot zone when the aircraft was not equipped with a voice and flight data recorder – the black box, was perilous.

This must-read paperback book begins with laudatory endorsements that hint at what is to come. “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…we see what happens when one aspect of that trinity and senior levels of another, through seemingly willful negligence, eschews the trust of the other two,” opens Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West, US Army (Ret.) and a former member of Congress, who represented the Vaughns. West closes by stating, “…for those who wish to restore Clausewitz’s trinity and ensure that future administrations and military leadership places the safety and well being of our warriors first and foremost.”

“It is one thing when a warrior freely offers his life in military service to his country,” Billy Vaughn writes of his now deceased son, “It is quite another for a country to sacrifice that warrior on a fools errand while trying to appease people who have long proven they couldn’t be placated . . .”

But our forces in Afghanistan are faced with a mission unsuited for them:  “nation building.” Our  armed forces are equipped, trained and supported to protect and defend the United States not to perform chimerical social engineering experiments in foreign countries—especially in one like Afghanistan, driven by tribal feudalism. Yet, the U.S. military has been on an ill-conceived mission better left to non-combat entities like NGOs, but that is what we have been trying to do since originally ousting the Taliban and al-Qaeda a dozen years ago.

Since that time we have spent trillions of dollars in treasure and the blood of our dead and wounded warriors. [The death count has more than doubled under the Obama administration in half the time it took under the Bush Administration; the number of wounded under Obama is almost six times as high in his first term alone.] Clearly, something is terribly wrong in Washington, and Billy Vaughn’s book, Betrayed, exposes the multi-faceted problem with the U.S. military’s ill-advised nation building mission. Two of many examples are that all missions conducted by our Special Forces, including Navy SEALS, have to be vetted by the Afghans; and, during the Ramp Ceremony where the American coffins are loaded aboard air transport for their final journey home, Aaron Vaughn and his dead companions were treated to an obnoxious send off by an Afghani Imam.

The Imam’s screed disparaged the SEAL dead by damning them as infidels, suggesting that if their living companions convert to Islam, things will be different in the future.

The policy of having Afghans vet U.S. military missions breaks well established security for such missions because it assures that many, if not all, of these missions are known by the Taliban in advance—a stupid and deadly way to fight a war, letting your enemy know when you are coming and your force strength.

These are just two disturbing incidents detailed in the book demonstrating the unnecessary tragic deaths of Aaron Vaughn and his SEAL companions caused by an ignorant, callous and malicious utopian policy implemented by incompetent personnel with no prior military experience, in cahoots with high ranking military sycophants, who are more concerned with their own careers than caring for those soldiers under their command.

The role of faith, is a crucial thread of this book. The Vaughn family’s Christian faith comes through as vital to not only coping with the loss of their only son, but steeling their determination to get to of the “why” of his death. Billy and Karen Vaughn’s strong faith becomes evident as they have to overcome obstacle after obstacle of our government’s attempt to keep the truth from them. As these facts were pulled like an impacted tooth from the closed mouth of a reluctant government, it shook a different faith in the Vaughns’ heart. Their faith in the honesty and integrity of that government was, under the Obama administration, both shaken to its foundation and irreparably diminished. This became evident when Billy Vaughn quoted a retired Navy SEAL in the book: “Mr. Vaughn, our leaders, our leaders are watering us down.” In response, Mr. Vaughn wrote, “God help our republic.”

Betrayed by Billy Vaughn with Monica Morrill & Cari Blake is not only about the personal tragedy a family faces when it appears their only beloved son may have died in vain. It also points out the tragic consequences when narcissistic, incompetent politicians and their uniformed hangers-on put their pet political agendas and careers ahead of those who take an oath to defend our Constitution, with their lives if necessary. If this trend continues, the remaining shreds of our tattered republic will vanish and hazardous, troubled, and dangerous times lie ahead. Betrayed should be read by all who are concerned with the dangerous drift of the American nation.


Morgan Norval is the founder and Executive Director of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research and a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.