Friday, November 27, 2015

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY


Look, war is shitty and nasty and bad things do happen but it would be far too easy to blame the bombing of the charity hospital in Afghanistan run by doctors and nurses from Medecins San Frontiers on the so called 'fog of war'.

The attack lasted 29 minutes, killing 30 and injuring dozens of others.   The incident was properly described by US General John Campbell, Commander of US forces in Afghanistan, as a 'tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error'.    The reality is that it was a chapter of errors including the fact that the crew of the C130 gunship left earlier than planned, without a proper mission brief and without the vital information identifying the location of the 'Doctors without Boarders' hospital.   Further, there was an equipment malfunction which eliminated the ability of the aircraft to transmit electronic or video information and further still, that the gunship's targeting systems had been degraded caused by the aircraft deviating from its planned route due to a suspected missile threat.

Nothing the Americans can do will bring the dead back to life.    Sure, compensation will be paid to the families of the dead and to the injured but that is nothing more than 'blood money'.     But it's right that the US takes responsibility for the tragedy and it's equally important that those directly responsible be held to account.    Were this not to happen would leave the US military in the same moral space as the insurgents 'we' are fighting.

There is a real difference between incidents caused by the fog of war and this.



14 comments:

Anonymous said...

All these years after the Erebus disaster we are making the same mistakes when it comes to reliance on computers and sometimes instruments. The "Human error" is utter reliance on what the computer tells us and with each generation it just gets worse, if the great God computer says it's right then it's right.

In four years 37 NZ soldiers were KIA Vietnam. In four years 37 overseas tourists have been killed in NZ by "human error" in the adventure tourism industry.

Lord Egbut



Anonymous said...

What did we learn from the Erebus disaster? Very little it seems. Each generation trusts computers more than the previous one and if the computer says yes then yes it is.

A milestone was reached with latest Glacier deaths. In four years we had 37 KIA in Vietnam. Today we have 37 overseas tourists dead in four years, all killed by "human error" in the adventure tourism industry. There is something badly wrong here. We are not learning from our mistakes and confusing human stupidity with human error.

The USAF has a long and tragic history of Blue on Blue.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Anonymous said...

Had to have a couple of bevvys to think this one through. So, why did not we take responsibility for the killing of a young security guard in transport compound by the NZSAS when it was patently obvious they were set up with dodgy intelligence supplied by a rival transport company.

The NZ MOD has consistently denied any responsibility for anything with the whiff of controversy for a 100 years. This of course makes the Americans look almost human while not doing us any favours at all.
The last time the MOD had the chance to redeem themselves was over the Afghanistan contact where we lost lives firing at Govt. troops. What a load of bollocks that cover up was. Fog of war maybe, responsibility never. Gallipoli casts a long shadow and to criticise the military is tantamount to treason 'cos the military leadership can do no wrong. One of the pitfalls of living in a very small society where a wrong word can destroy a career.

Lord Egbut

JC said...

There's also the fog of command. Despite the Vietnam experience this war is the most micro-managed in history.. its the lawyers who determine whether a strike is carried out or not. Something like 75% of missions are aborted because of civilian welfare concerns.

Thats the real reason they like drones so much; someone in the US can organise the whole thing, fly the drone and control the strike and most important better hide the numbers of strikes, failures, accidents, aborted missions etc. Its the war within the war that few know about and where there's little accountability.

The ROE will be impressive but probably oppressive and counterproductive too.. in the end they may cost more lives than they are attempting to save through prolonging the conflict and allowing the enemy to adapt.

We probably will never know the full story on the hospital but I bet there are several correct but opposing viewpoints.. that it is a hospital, that it is also some sort of base for the Taleban and that some doctors knew about it.. there's certainly going to be pages of instruction on how to handle all of these and arising from them some elements of confusion and frustration created a bad situation.

JC

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... In Vietnam 36 KIA (or DOW) and 1 suicide with the first in 1965 and the last in 1971 (six years). I can accept fog of war but I cannot accept 'avoidable human error'. I don't know enough about the incident you refer to to comment but you're right on the money with the last sentence of your 8.43 post.

JC ... the US report has it that the base for the Taleban was several hundred metres distant from the hospital.

JC said...

Vet,

Sure, but the odds in this sort of warfare are very good the hospitals are seen as a resource by the Taleban.

JC

Howie said...

You're really just a squawking, creepy fact free zone of racist bullshit aren't you JC?

JC said...

Err, Islam isn't a race Howie.

Climate change really does seem to affect people with anger management problems. Did you march with the others today? They understand your issues.

JC

Noel said...

Why do the media say the were bombed when factually they were gunned and shelled.
Terrifying time for the recipients.

Noel said...

If the Vulcan had fired for the complete 29 minutes it would have putdown 170000 20mm rounds into a concentrated area. Not surprising there were so many casualties.
Sad.

Anonymous said...

Gosh Veteran, you mean our adventure tourism deaths exceed our Vietnam deaths by two years I'm sure that makes a huge difference. Just love these people who reduce mass killing to statistics (Wow 170000 rounds).

Medicin sans frontiers staff must be over the moon with JC's comment. The clue is in the title son. Transalation..we don't care who you are or what beliefs you hold we will help you if you are in need.

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Rupert ... no difference at all ... just putting you right as to fact. You attempted to make a link between the two ... not me.

The Realist said...

Like Minqar Qaim?

The Veteran said...

Realist ... at best there is a 'cone of silence' around Minqar Qaim ... (at least in NZL) but not so this one.