Several US Special Operations air and ground team members have been suspended for a stunning and fatal series of mistakes that resulted in an AC-130 gunship repeatedly hitting the wrong target in the Kunduz hospital strike last month that killed 30 people, said the US commander in Afghanistan.
“No nation does more to prevent civilian casualties than the United States, but we failed to meet our own high standards on October 3” in the airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders trauma center, said Army Gen. John Campbell, commander of the NATO Resolute Support Mission and US Forces- Afghanistan.
“This was a tragic, but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error,” Campbell said in giving a long-awaited preliminary report on the findings and recommendations of a continuing Article 15-6 investigation into the incident under the Uniform Code of Military. The investigation could potentially lead to courts-martial.
In response, Doctors Without Borders said in a statement, “The frightening catalogue of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of US forces and violations of the rules of war.”
Pardon me, but this is totally baloney. I did appreciate the Doctors Without Borders (DWB) for what they do, but if they want to quote the rules of war, let’s include the fact that those rules require all combatants to wear identifiable uniforms and to avoid hiding in or striking civilians and medical places—things our enemy there totally ignores—thus identifying them very, very difficult. This cheap-shot by DWB marks them as unworthy of any support by any fair-thinking person.
Secondly, if you’re going to be in a combat zone, you’d better be prepared to get bombed; that stuff happens. Contrary to the totally wussy rules of engagement that the US Government has forced on our combat troops—our combat troops’ mission is to kill the enemy—not to pick which place they might have been and whether to shoot in that door or this one—in a combat area you shoot in every door. Non-combatants will never be targeted, but it’s their responsibility to stay out of the way—or their government’s responsibility to keep them out of the way. We don’t send our troops to another nation to play mommy and wipe noses—we send them to kill people and break things. If that’s not what they’re supposed to do and do with great violence—then let’s keep them home.
The intelligence available to our troops on the ground and in the air during that strike was a mixture of input from all kinds of sources. Since our president won’t let us put troops on the ground to do the fighting—and provide intell, we can’t be responsible for the quality of all the information we get—and use. To hold these brave combat troops criminally responsible for this unfortunate action is to tell every combat troop in the US Armed Forces that neither our senior military leaders nor our government has their backs—when they put their lives on the line to protect our nation.
I would not advise any person to join or stay in our military under this horrible leadership environment. To make an understatement, our nation is defenseless. God help America.