QUOTE(English Horn @ Jun 27 2005, 08:56 AM)
Taking the case described above as an example, or using Canadian troops killed in a friendly fire accident
(both pilots acquitted as well), is there a a notion in American military that there's a lower "responsibility threshold" in the line of duty?
The first case is appalling, but as the article does mention
, the US offered to pay the victims families compensation. However, it does raise eye brows that nothing more happened to the pilots. HOWEVER
, the mention of the Canadians killed in a friendly fire accident is strangely different.
The Canadians were operating a live fire training operation in the middle of the Afghani Desert, AT NIGHT, in a combat zone, without notifying anyone of their presence.
This poor pilot thought that the troops below were shooting at them, and after repeatedly asking the command and control, fired back in what he thought was self-defense
. Major Schmidt was in a precarious postion. Should he allow what he thought was aggression towards himself and his commanding officer???
Being a reserve pilot, with the Marine Corps 41st MAG, I fly a UH-1 (helicopter) for mostly infantry fire support and transport. I am far less experienced than Major Schmidt, as he was active duty for an extended period of time and had logged countless combat hours (Bosnia, the First Gulf war, etc). While I mourn for the loss of the Canadians, and of course for their families, I can understand how something like this would happen.
What you have to understand is that in a combat zone, there is a limited window of opportunity to make decisions to save your life or those of your men. These Canadians were using live ordinance at night in the middle of a combat zone without notifying anyone. Major Schmidt's career is ruined, he has to live with the deaths of these men on his conscience, and has been all over network news for years...
Friendly fire accidents will
happen, as unfortunate as it is. If we'd have thrown this man in the "Gulag" as the Russians had for an accident of this nature... it would've been a sincere injustice.