March 14, 2012

Did a suicide bomber in Afghanistan almost kill Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta?

The NYT reports:
The Pentagon press secretary, George Little, said that Mr. Panetta was never in danger but he could not explain the Afghan’s motive or whether he was a suicide attacker aiming for Mr. Panetta’s plane. Nor could he explain why the Afghan was on fire. "For reasons that are totally unknown to us at this time, our personnel discovered that he was ablaze," Mr. Little said. "He ran, he jumped on to a truck, base personnel put the fire out and he was immediately treated for burn injuries."
Mr. Panetta proceeded with his schedule. But in a sign of the nervousness surrounding the visit, Marines and other troops among the 200 people gathered in a tent at Camp Leatherneck to hear Mr. Panetta speak were abruptly asked by their commander to get up, place their weapons — M-16 and M-4 automatic rifles and 9-mm pistols — outside the tent and then return unarmed. The commander, Sgt. Maj. Brandon Hall, told reporters he was acting on orders from superiors.

“All I know is, I was told to get the weapons out,” he said. Asked why, he replied, “Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy; we just adjust.”

31 comments:

Rialby said...

Stay safe Secretary Panetta.

CJinPA said...

People burst into flames all the time. It's quite common.

Scott M said...

Supposedly the no weapons policy was made earlier, having nothing to do with the attempted crash, but the commander at the site of the Secretary's speech didn't have that info and had to make it happen asap.

I would believe that more than I would believe the Secretary or his people ordered it for fear of American soldiers and their personal weapons.

Mr. D said...

People burst into flames all the time. It's quite common.

Yeah. I wouldn't worry about it though, it's not a big college town.

Tim said...

"...Secretary of State Leon Panetta?"

The New York Times correctly identifies Secretary Panetta as Secretary of Defense.

Coketown said...

Nor could he explain why the Afghan was on fire. "For reasons that are totally unknown to us at this time, our personnel discovered that he was ablaze," Mr. Little said.

New York Times story on Afghanistan, or Evelyn Waugh's "Scoop"? I'll let you decide.

SMGalbraith said...

I'm wondering in light of these recent events if we're going to require that all Afghans soldiers meeting the SecDef (other top US officials) be disarmed as a precaution?

And in order to look even-handed, we're requiring US soldiers to disarm too?

Or is this just usual policy?

Aridog said...

I doubt we'll ever hear the truth about the flaming Afghan dude, nor the stolen truck that broke through barricades, etc.

A cynic I am ... those from Detroit know our last wacko to burst in to flames was a Christmas bomber on an airplane.

David said...

His pants and his hair were on fire simultaneously. An intense liar.

David said...

For reasons that are totally unknown to us at this time, our personnel discovered that he was ablaze."

I bet they were looking at him and saw the flames and smoke. That would be a reason for discovering he was on fire.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

Did Hillary get canned?

Crunchy Frog said...

Richard Pryor could not be reached for comment.

Scott M said...

Did Hillary get canned?

If she did, I bet the sell-by date is Nov 1994.

CJinPA said...

Well played, Mr. D.

I don't mean to make light of serious incident. I just think it's best left unsolved.

Original Mike said...

What? They've never heard of spontaneous combustion?

cubanbob said...

It would appear to be a serious security breach.

Scott M said...

It would appear to be a serious security breach.

Well, see, the problem was that the idiot that went and killed sixteen civilians was supposed to be on that portion of the cordon, but they forgot to update the duty schedule after he went nuts.

By the by, have they identified that guy yet?

Icepick said...

Good work, CJinPA and Mr. D, good work.

I read an article that it is customary for Afghan troops to be disarmed when meeting dignataries such as the SecDef. The bit with the US troops is the new part. I'm guessing that some of the higher-ups are just running out of clean pants. Can't say I blame them, but this seems counter-productive. Unless everyone is searched, there is no guarantee that all weapons have been left outside. It is unlikely that the whole group would decide to frag the SecDef (or any other dignitary) and disarming them means you might set them up to be targets in a shooting gallery, as in that case in Texas from a few years ago.

edutcher said...

They disarmed the Marines? That is an outrage.

There was no justification and people should be raising Hell about it.

And why the Hildabeast won't be running for anything this fall.

That's the sort of thing that happened with her chi-chi Lefty friends when she was Co POTUS and told the Army and Marine personnel that seeing them in their uniforms "was embarrassing".

The Clinton mentality is still alive.

rhhardin said...

He may have been wearing oily rags.

Carnifex said...

I would have to say, if I were an important government official from America, going into ANY muj country, I would want the Marines as heavily armed, and armored as possible. That they would dis-arm the Marines is an indictment of their true feelings for the American Military man,

But you don't have to take MY word for just, lets ask Janet Napolitano..."Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that she was briefed before the release of a controversial intelligence assessment and that she stands by the report, which lists returning veterans among terrorist risks to the U.S."

I think this Administration knows who it's enemies really are.

Blue@9 said...

I read an article that it is customary for Afghan troops to be disarmed when meeting dignataries such as the SecDef. The bit with the US troops is the new part.

Yeah, I read that too. I think the speculation was that the commanders thought it would be disrespectful to let the Marines stay armed when the Afghans had to shed their weapons.

Not really seeing the outrage here. Kind of a minor issue, IMO.

rhhardin said...

Native people never kill democrats, who are their advocates and friends, is the rule.

Ralph L said...

It's a good thing they weren't attacked when they were all unarmed. Wonder how big his security entourage is, and how it compares with previous SECDEFs.

Ann Althouse said...

I know he's secretary of defense. Sorry for the mistake. Cant correct it from my iPad.

PatCA said...

Man on fire? Just another day at the office, Kabul style.

Freeman Hunt said...

"And that, children, is why we don't tell lies."

wef said...

squalid culture, squalid people, squalid religion

but let's not be judgmental

John said...

Yeah, it was about Vietnam but I can't help thinking of Dave Von Ronk and the Hudson Dusters:

Running through the quagmire,
Hair aflame with swampfire,
Romping through the swamp.

Wonder if it is on YouTube?

Why did I even wonder? Of course it is

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HRM5r9ftYQ

John Henry

Paul said...

Leon 'fat ass' Panetta.. Why in the heck was he even there?

And then, with a terrorist attack, what do they do... DISARM THE GIs!!

Gad, they are making Afghanistan another Vietnam. No, really. Nickel and dime troops (no real 'surge'), Pakistani is a kind of North Vietnam and the Tailbain are the VC.

And Barrack 'LBJ' Obama just stands around for photo-ops and teleprompters.

And get this, the next president, I bet a Republican, will be the one to have to pull the troops out (like Nixon did.)

Déjà vu all over again!!

jadiggins said...

This is hugely disrespectful of our soldiers. If the person who sends them into harms way each day doesn't trust them to be armed in a war zone then we have problems. This is a historic moment and may turn into a moment of clarity for Americans and our nation.bit we are lucky!
AD