Political Friendly Fire

One of the worst aspects of war is the fact that it forces young men who are barely old enough to vote to travel far from home and make split second decisions which will affect the rest of their lives. Compounding this already-difficult situation is the fact that those sworn to protect our nation are now in danger of becoming victims themselves in the name of political correctness – regardless of the facts.

According to the Associated Press, the Department of Defense is currently investigating the shooting of an Afghan boy by a U.S. Soldier. At first glance, you would assume that the boy was killed accidently, after being mistaken for someone else or due to some sort of neglect by the soldier. After all, unless some rule or policy had been broken, there would be no reason for further investigation right?

Soldier AimsWrong. According to not only the Associated Press report but also confirmation by Afghan police, the boy approached the airfield perimeter carrying what appeared to be an automatic rifle. The soldier, who was stationed in a nearby watch tower, repeatedly warned the boy to stop. But he did not stop and, after the boy continued to advance, the soldier opened fire. Even locals appeared to agree the shooting was justified as they had initially gathered in protest but quickly dispersed after the circumstances were explained to the crowd. But that does not appear to be enough to the DOD.

If you are still on the fence concerning the need to shoot a “boy” (his age has not been confirmed), lets further examine the weekend activities in and around Kabul. First, it was the Easter weekend so there was already a heightened sense of concern regarding possible attacks. Second, two local police checkpoints were reportedly attacked in the overnight hours preceding the shooting. Third, the Afghan Parliament building was the target of several rocket attacks during the early hours of Monday.  So, even if it was not already known that Taliban forces routinely used youngsters and women as gunmen because they know Western forces are less likely to consider them a threat, the increased attacks in the area would have caused any soldier to be extra vigilant.

I would hope that any investigation is quick, to the point and shows that the soldier did the only thing possible by taking down a potential threat. But the more disturbing aspect is that there is even an investigation to begin with. Although I would agree that there are times when wartime actions need additional scrutiny, and even times when service members are clearly in the wrong, this does not mean that every case needs to be viewed as a potential mistake from the get go.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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