May 07, 2002


I HAVEN'T WRITTEN ABOUT THE AFGHANISTAN FRIENDLY-FIRE incident involving Canadian troops because (1) I don't know much about it; and (2) the reports I saw initially suggested that neither did the journalists reporting on it. However, Canadian military blog Flit has some extensive writing on the subject suggesting that there was near-criminal incompetence at work -- though this later post pulls back just a little on the near-criminal part, if not the incompetence part.

Friendly fire is inevitable in warfare, of course, and too many safety rules may actually be counterproductive (you don't want troops in a battle zone to think too long before shooting). But this doesn't seem like a "heat-of-battle" case so much as a screwup. I hope that it will be properly investigated, not just whitewashed, because it's very important to study these events in order to figure out how to prevent them in the future. And because we owe it to our Canadian allies. Canadian politicians may not be in especially good odor, but I've never heard anyone who has served with Canadian soldiers say anything bad about them.