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I absolutely agree that is serves no purpose to add details about a soldier’s death in hostile action. There is just so much confusion with young people scared to death doing the best they can under extreme and impossible circumstances. In WWI and WWII it is commonly known that a very large percentage of deaths were due to friendly fire. We (U.S. and other modern armies) have actually gotten much, much better and the number of deaths due to friendly fire have decreased drastically. The story is correct — adding details, like, “he cowered in his foxhole and did not charge the enemy as ordered, but got it anyway” adds nothing positive to anybody, so why characterize how someone acted (and died) under extreme circumstances.
In Desert Storm we were very aware of this possibility and we went to extreme measures to avoid friendly fire deaths. When we had a fire mission, we challenged the person or computer calling for the fire — using secret codes and other means. We then plotted the location of the target and compared it to know friend/enemy positions — using GPS, we were able to get “friendlies” to update us on their exact position, and we always wanted “eyes on” target — someone we knew and trusted (not civilians or foreigners) — to insure that we were targeting the bad guys. Even with these measures, accidents happen. Powder gets wet, people move and don’t update their GPS locations, the weather changes and the enemy moves unexpectedly.
Anyway, in the past we accepted honest mistakes and characterized the deaths as, “died of wounds sustained in combat — he/she was a hero and represented his/her unit and his/her country with honor.” Think about it — the soldier volunteered, trained for months/years, went into a hostile environment, and tried to do good — let him/her have the honor of their overall intent and actions and not judge them by one moment in hell.
With today’s litigation prone society — “nothing is my fault, someone has to pay” thought process — we always seem to look for some advantage. Just look at the Virginia Tech incident. The libs want to embarrass Bush, so this situation (the two incidents in yesterday’s testimony) are brought up to gain some political advantage. This situation naturally makes people act in ways that are not good. “Cover your butt” is also an American term. People wouldn’t feel required to cover their butts if they didn’t feel they had to.
A young Lieutenant or the Colonel looking to make General knows that in today’s environment (everything looked at for some political advantage) that a single mistake can ruin their career. In business the result of a mistake could be a five cent hit on quarterly earnings, but in the Army it can be that someone dies.
I have seen many Military careers that were ruined utterly due to one mistake — with a zero defects mentality, some people lie. However, there are many — the vast majority —- of military people that will not lie — under any circumstances.
I remember that I made a very big mistake when I was a Lieutenant — part of the incident was observed by a General in a helicopter and he landed in my area and asked what had happened. I took full responsibility, made no excuses, took the blame for me and my people, and he said only one word, “OK” and walked off and got back in his helicopter. I thought my career was over.
Well, a year later I got promoted — earlier than my peers — and I asked my boss why he though that happened. He told me that the General had put a word in for me based on the biggest goof up in my career — because I told the truth even though it would have been easier to lie to cover my butt (I had actually forgotten about the incident). The point is that it is always better to adhere to the code of honor that is taught and stressed in the Army. My General might have used me as a scapegoat, but by doing what was right I placed my career in his hands and he judged my character and he did the right thing too.p>We can not make specific actions on the ground subject to a microscope — for the reasons cited in the story. br> — Dave Pfleeger br> Charlotte, North Carolina /p> p> After Charlie Rose interviewed President Bush on Tuesday, he gave what seemed to be a defense and/or near apology for having the President of the United States on his show to talk about such things as the Iraqi War. He seemed to anticipate that people (liberals; cocktail circuit people) would be criticizing him for giving the President a chance to talk. We have come to this in our nation.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?