The Taliban's destruction of a Chinook helicopter killed the most U.S. troops in one day since 2001 and called into question the purpose of continuing the American mission in Afghanistan
Last month, CNN reported on a remarkable soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.
Army Master Sgt. Benjamin A. Stevenson, 36, was on his tenth tour of duty in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq when he was killed Thursday in a remote area of eastern Afghanistan...
However, a U.S. military official has now confirmed to CNN that Stevenson was the only U.S. casualty of a brutal two-day firefight against an al Qaeda-related group that erupted when U.S. and Afghan troops attacked an insurgent encampment, killing nearly 80 foreign fighters...
Stevenson was part of a U.S. and Afghan special operations mission that went in to attack the area in Afghanistan's Paktika province.
It was remarkable for several reasons. Master Sgt. Stevenson was on his tenth tour of duty, fighting in wars seemingly for the majority of his adult life. He was caught in a vicious multi-day firefight with insurgents, and helped to kill 80 of them. And he was operating in a remote, barely populated mountain range in Afghanistan's extreme southeast.
In a way, that firefight is a perfect encapsulation of the astounding sacrifice we ask soldiers to endure: enormous costs to personal safety, family, and to their own lives, in tiny battles that don't change the war's fundamental dysfunction: a complete lack of strategy.
This weekend's horrifying deadly helicopter crash is, sadly, just another astounding sacrifice by U.S. troops. The U.S. Army Rangers that the 30 Americans and 8 Afghans in that Chinook were on their way to rescue were pinned down in a vicious firefight, much like Master Sgt. Stevenson.