Diana West

Even so, the battalion commander chose to drop a whopping 500-pound bomb on the enemy position near the Marines. Probably the only reason I am not now describing a scene of carnage is that, unbeknownst to either Galvin or Homiak, there was a canal that shielded the Marines from the worst effects of the colossal explosion. Meanwhile, the enemy had fled to another position to continue fighting.

Another request for fire support came in. Galvin again recommended precision munitions, given the proximity of Marines to the enemy, and Homiak again went for the biggest available bomb -- this time, 200-pound warheads. Finally, although the firefight would continue for a total of four hours, Homiak denied any further fire support. Thankfully, all the Marines came home.

I have to interrupt the narrative here to flag Homiak as a counterinsurgency (COIN) enthusiast, a true believer in fighting to win Afghan hearts and minds through what, in a Department of Defense news report, Homiak discusses as "the concept of restraint" and "being nice to people."

But maybe not so nice to Marines. In conversation with Galvin the following day, Homiak justified what a layman might see, first, as a reckless use of munitions too close to Marines under fire, and, second, as a reckless denial of munitions to Marines under fire. According to the documents filed with the Pentagon inspector general, which include the corroborating results of a polygraph test Galvin took, Homiak told Galvin he "was willing to sacrifice the lives of these Marines for the greater good."

Homiak even repeated this appalling statement, a point additionally supported by Galvin's polygraph results.

Homiak went on to say that if Galvin "had 'a crisis of conscience' with supporting or executing Homiak's philosophy ... Homiak had to know."

Willing to sacrifice Marines for the greater good?

Did I mention that Galvin, unable to accept Homiak's COIN-baked philosophy, requested to be relieved of duty? That Homiak subsequently gave Galvin two adverse fitness reports? That Galvin has seemingly exhausted all avenues in his quest for an investigation into this incident? Galvin triumphed in the board of inquiry examination into his fitness to remain a Marine, but a thorough, deliberate investigation, certainly by Congress, into this incident and the COIN mindset it exemplifies is urgently required.

Because the bombshell is still ticking.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).