Unfriendly Fire?

  Aargh 16:04 06 Feb 2007

What is of the greater concern?

A situation where two of the most technically advanced armies can still manage to kill each other by 'accident', or the fact that for political expedience, their governments appear to conspire in denying the truth of the situation?

War in Iraq amy be right or wrong. American pilots may be trigger happy, or victims of an honest mistake.

Either way Matty Hull is dead. He was a soldier and knew the risks.

Does the Pentagon and MOD have the right to deny his family access to the truth which has now taken 4 years to emerge?

  Noldi 17:25 06 Feb 2007

Seems a bit strange they wont let the family see this evidence, if they rearly want to.
I would not want to see it thats for sure.


  Forum Editor 17:41 06 Feb 2007

are any more trigger happy than those of other countries. The fact is that America provides about 80% of the air cover in Iraq, and so the possibility of errors occurring is greater for them.

From what I've heard of the tape the two Americans involved seemed genuinely distressed by what had happened, and it was hardly their fault that their superiors apeared to have given them little or no training in how to recognise British vehicle markings from the air.

Modern weaponry puts awesome fire-power at the disposal of air,sea and ground forces, and an identity error tends to have disastrous consequences. Losing your son in what's called a 'blue on blue' incident is bad enough, having the anguish prolonged by insensitive military commanders in this way is unforgiveable. I fail to see that there could be the remotest chance that America's military security could in any way have been compromised by the release of the video footage to the family concerned. In my opinion there's no justification for the insensitivity displayed by the American government in this case, and I'm delighted that The Sun has made the tape public - with the apparent approval of the coroner.

Some families might prefer not to see the precise circumstances of their son's death, and that's understandable, but they should at least be given the option of knowing the details.

  IClaudio 17:50 06 Feb 2007

Coroner feels frustrated at not being able to present the video in open court... The Sun mysteriously gets hold of the video a day or so later... the Coroner is now able to use the video as evidence 'as it is in the Public Domain'... hmmmm.

And, FE, the pilots may be genuinely distressed, but it seems they're more worried about 'going to jail' than their 'victim'. I agree that they're probably more likely, statistically, to make mistakes, but I don't ever recall hearing about a 'Friendly Fire' incident involving UK forces. Listening to the transcript of the tape today, it seems that there was sufficient room for doubt regarding the identity of the targets... but I can't begin to imagine the pressure that these guys are under.

  Bingalau 18:14 06 Feb 2007

I spent a good many years in the "military" and knew a lot of Americans too. I trained alongside many of them. But the feeling among our lads was and probably still is that the Americans tend to be trigger happy. However I watched the tape this morning on Sky TV and was appalled at the lack of instructions from the "Air Traffic control" center who were repeatedly asked for advice. I think they were more to blame than the pilots. ..Bingalau..

  sunny staines 18:28 06 Feb 2007

"cowboys" springs to mind.

  Zero G 18:37 06 Feb 2007

It seems the US do have a problem with Blue-on-Blue kills, not just in Iraq but in other wars.

Take your point FE on about of sorties they fly, but it happened before when Trooper(now L/Cpl) Chris Finney won his George Cross for rescuing others from a burning vehicle when A10 Tank Busters had shot at them.

And it's A10's again.

  Forum Editor 18:44 06 Feb 2007

The American pilots are known to have wept on their way back to base, and a British military expert is on record as saying they were genuinely distressed when they realised what they had done. A mistake was made, and someone paid with his life - wouldn't any normal person be distressed to learn he/she had been unwittingly responsible?

As for not remembering about any similar instances involving British troops, allow me to refresh your memory:-

1982 - HMS Cardiff shoots down AAC Gazelle (UK) in the Falklands Islands.

1982 - British Army 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment Companies A and C engage each other in an hour-long firefight in the Falkland Islands involving heavy weapons and artillery strikes. At least 8 UK casualties.

1982 - UK Special Boat Service Commando killed in firefight with UK Special Air Service Commandos. Falkland Islands.

2003 - British Challenger tank came under fire from another British tank in a night-time firefight, blowing off the turret and killing two crew members.

There were plenty of such incidents during the second world war, and during the Suez campaign Royal Navy carrier-borne aircraft caused heavy casualties to UK 45 Commando and HQ.

  Forum Editor 18:54 06 Feb 2007

Perhaps you might care to think about what it feels like to be the person responsible for accidentally killing someone on your side in a conflict before making stupid remarks about 'cowboys'.

Young men (it's mostly young men) in a highly stressful situation will occasionally make mistakes, it's predictable and inevitable. Introduce some awsomely powerful ordinance into the equation, and you have the recipe for a disaster. What surprises many people is the fact that there aren't more of these incidents, given the complexities and high speed of modern military aircraft.

What makes this incident particularly tragic is the possibility that the pilots concerned may not have been properly trained in vehicle recognition - they simply weren't able to tell a friend from an enemy.

  Woolwell 19:03 06 Feb 2007

FE - There are more incidents than that of UK blue on blue. (Marine killed in Iraq by a Milan missile is just one).

I had a long naval service and worked with US Forces (Air, Army, Navy and Marine). In my opinion they were generally not as well trained as UK forces however (to echo FE) I don't think that they are any more trigger happy than other forces. Without being present it is very difficult to judge. There were scared people on the ground and in the air reacting very quickly to a changing situation. It was a tragic mistake. In war mistakes happen, people get killed and leave someone without a brother, father, sister, mother, son or daughter. War is brutal and I have found that the most anti-war people are those who have experienced war and that includes Americans. I worry about those who want revenge.

  Forum Editor 19:05 06 Feb 2007

"I worry about those who want revenge."

Well said, me too.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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