Michelle Malkin

This is the same Gurganus who ordered Marines to disarm -- immediately after the failed jihadi attack on Panetta last year -- because he wanted them "to look just like our (unarmed) Afghan partners."

Hatheway says her family has learned that "it took over an hour before any of the other coalition forces arrived to help the Marines, who were already engaged with the terrorists and had it under control." In addition, she says, they've learned that those on the ground did not have "proper protective gear available ... or properly functioning weapons."

Bastion families have raised questions with politicians and Pentagon officials in Washington, but are being forced to jump through Freedom of Information Act hoops to get to the bottom of the story. If ever.

In the meantime, a few officers in the know have begun leaking to the press. A little-noticed article by Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran two weeks ago reported that "several officials with direct knowledge of the assault said in recent interviews that staffing decisions by U.S. and British commanders weakened the base's defenses, making it easier for the insurgents to reconnoiter the compound and enter without resistance."

Cue the stonewalling. According to the Post, "When the House Armed Services Committee asked to see the initial Marine security review earlier this year, senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff deemed it insufficient for release and ordered the Marines to conduct a fuller review, military officials said. But that examination still fell short of an official investigation." Neither the Marine Corps nor NATO plans to release the results of their separate investigations -- in part, the Post reports, "to avoid embarrassing the British for leaving towers unmanned."

There's a whole lotta CYA going on. Sgt. Atwell's family wants America to know: "This must end."


Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).

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