By Lorra B.
‘The Naval Special Warfare Development Group.’ That is the cover name that teams such as the Delta Force and Seal Team 6, which officially do not exist, operate under. Operations that are of the most danger or are considered too risky for conventional troops to undertake are performed by these classified top-secret teams. But are these teams being put in unnecessary risk?
The Special Warfare Development Group was formed when, during the Iraq war in 2006, an alarmed United States lacked the manpower to stop the Taliban who were regrouping in Afghanistan. This special Seal Team 6 was then sent on a plethora of missions that a regular unit would not have typically been part of. “Some of those operations resulted in civilians being killed, several former SEALs said in interviews,” according to The Washington Post.
Many of Seal Team 6’s developments have been recognized of late, but not by the Pentagon. Wisely, the Pentagon refuses to publicly acknowledge that name.
The details revealed in the Discovery Channel documentary “Secrets of Seal Team Six,” according to Don Mann, a former Navy Seal Team Leader, could still be a nightmare brewing. Mann stated, “There’s no way in the world they [bin Laden loyalists] wouldn’t want to target a seal Team 6 member’s family.”
“The documentary gives a disclaimer about the video, saying it won’t identify which of these men you see is part of Seal Team 6,” reports Mann. “Still, with all the information about the raid government leaders have given the media, [Mann] fears terrorists could put the pieces together.”
Time reported that the SEALs members confirmed “between 2006 and 2008 …there were intense periods in which for weeks at a time their unit logged 10 to 15 kills on many nights, and sometimes up to 25.”
With great success SEALs have executed thousands of raids and untold kills. With those successes, however, come criticisms and concerns. Were the killings and civilian deaths excessive, some Afghans wanted to know?
Overseers for the SEALs have been limited. “Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees SEAL Team 6 missions, conducted its own inquiries into more than a half-dozen episodes, but seldom referred them to Navy investigators.”
The State Department’s former top legal adviser, Harold Hoh, was asked why civilian military overseers do not regularly monitor the Teams actions. “This is an area where Congress notoriously doesn’t want to know too much,” he said.
Whether you agree or not with the tactics of Seal Team 6, they have, since September 11, 2001, worked to keep every American safe in their beds by serving in thousands of missions in all parts of the world. They put themselves and their families on the back-burner while placing America and its citizens first.
While The Command insists the SEALS are specially trained for complex and different situations, concerns about the SEAL’s kill’s and lack of overseers have been a hot topic for the media. Thankfully, however, so have their heroics as evidenced in the movie American Sniper.
The Command states that, “All allegations of misconduct are taken seriously. Substantiated findings are dealt with by military or law enforcement authorities. But an expert on national security law at Syracuse University cautions on the secret missions from view of the public stating, “If you’re unacknowledged on the battlefield, you’re not accountable.”
James Stavridis, a former Supreme allied Commander at NATO, has a different view. Stavridis expressed that the public knowledge of SEALs deployed to undeclared war zones would certainly not be in the best interest of America or the SEALs saying, “You certainly don’t want that out in public,” if you value what these ‘invisible warriors’ do. Indeed, if you value what they do then you should support them when they “do things that occasionally bend the rules of international law.”
Certainly one result of all the SEAL’s media attention is that it could come at a high risk. Media attention, good or bad, has put the SEAL’s and their families at jeopardy.
The New York Times, in ‘The Secret History of SEAL Team 6: Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines‘ gave up Seal Team operations and names of SEALs killed in action putting all SEALs and their families at risk.
Mann stated, “The people I think are compromised now are the active duty SEALs and their families.”
According to WTKR, there is definitely increased security for members of SEAL Team 6. With every book written, with every movie made, and with every interview granted, a SEAL is once again put in harms way.