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Old 01-08-2003, 03:48 AM   #41
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Look you are totally right. I wouldnt have mentioned it if it wasnt a person i knew that was killed. So? Just because it has been brought to my attention now doesnt make my arguement any less valid.

If your US soliders arent getting apologies from your gov't or the gov't that is responsible for their accidental deaths then you are certainily friends with the wrong ppl. And if your country isnt even giving your soliders an apology then there is something definitly wrong with your gov't. I cannot believe how anal you are being over a apology. I dont care if you give us an apology or not, but are what you are saying that your own soliders dont deserve an apology. If this were resverse i know for a fact that our gov't would apologize. No question. But hey i guess that is something that makes our countries different.

I really seems aparent to me that your argue for the sake of arguing. I really dont think you have anything to stand on in your arguement, and am totally convinced everything you are saying is just to spite me. So as far as i'm concerned you really could never convince me one way or another.
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Old 01-08-2003, 05:13 PM   #42
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As I have been following the story......This is the first time I have seen some of the facts presented in this article. Some of this evidence indicates there were mistakes made by BOTH sides.



Questions haunt 'friendly-fire' probe Critics say U.S. trying to appease Canada
By Debbie Howlett
USA TODAY


SHERMAN, Ill. -- The last word folks in this middle-America farm town would use to describe Majs. Harry Schmidt and Bill Umbach would be ''criminals.''

The two Illinois Air National Guard pilots left their families last March to go halfway around the world to fight in the war on terrorism. ''They're heroes, pure and simple,'' says John Russo, commander of the nearby Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Springfield.

The Air Force sees them differently.

The F-16 pilots are charged with involuntary manslaughter, assault and dereliction of duty. On April 17, one of them dropped a 500-pound, laser-guided bomb on a Canadian unit training at night near Kandahar, Afghanistan, because they thought they were being fired at. Four paratroopers were killed, and eight were injured. If convicted, the pilots face up to 64 years in military prison. Pentagon officials say it's the first time the Air Force has filed criminal charges against pilots for action in combat.

The bombing is one of at least a dozen ''friendly-fire'' incidents in the 15 months that U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan. For example, U.S. helicopters strafed an Afghan wedding celebration near Kandahar on July 1. At least 40 people died, and 100 were injured. In October 2001, U.S. bombers struck a Red Cross compound in Kabul twice in 10 days, killing one woman and injuring three others. No charges were filed in those attacks.

Death from friendly fire has been part of combat as long as there have been wars. In the Civil War, Gen. Stonewall Jackson was shot by his Confederate troops who mistook him for the enemy. In the 1991 Gulf War, 35 of the 146 U.S. deaths were attributed to friendly fire.

The U.S commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Tommy Franks, acknowledged in March that friendly fire was to blame in several civilian and military deaths. He said such casualties are unavoidable: ''The fact of the matter is, this is a war.''

Air Force officials won't discuss why they filed criminal charges in this case. Some military experts wonder how it might affect troop morale, especially among the National Guard and Reserve units expected to account for about half of the 200,000-250,000 U.S. forces in the region for a possible war against Iraq.

''If this is a warning to pilots in the future, it may be badly timed,'' says Loren Thompson, a military analyst who teaches at Georgetown University's security studies program. ''It's a given in combat that many errors in judgment will be made. What needs to be attended to are the problems that can be prevented, such as tactical and logistical issues.''


Keeping Canada 'on board'

Francis Boyle, an international law professor at the University of Illinois who has closely tracked the case, says he thinks the pilots were charged, in part, to mollify Canadian officials. ''These pilots have been made scapegoats by the Pentagon,'' he says. ''No one in his right mind believes these men deliberately targeted Canadian forces. This was done to keep the Canadian government on board and happy in Afghanistan and in Iraq.''

The four deaths were Canada's first combat casualties since the Korean War 50 years ago. Prime Minister Jean Chretien said the ''circumstances . . . defy understanding.'' A Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper columnist wrote on the front page: ''We went to help the Americans with their war and they used us for target practice.''

The official military report of the incident that night is 4,000 pages, but the U.S. military's board of inquiry released only a 56-page summary. It details 11 ''findings of significance'' -- key issues that did not cause the accident but reveal communication flaws:

* The U.S. pilots were never told that the Canadians were training with live ammunition -- the tracer fire the pilots saw -- because the command center did not require such exercises to be reported down the line.

* Canadian ground commanders failed to stick to their timetable for their training exercise.

* No one, including the Canadian commander on the Airborne Warning and Communications System (AWACS) jet that provided traffic control for the pilots, knew what the Canadians were doing on the ground.

In the end, the inquiry board placed the blame on the F-16 pilots. The report concluded that ''clear and convincing evidence'' showed that Schmidt and Umbach failed to exercise appropriate flight discipline, disregarded rules of engagement, used inappropriate lethal force and showed a reckless disregard for the foreseeable consequences of their actions.

On Monday, the Air Force will begin what's known as an Article 32 hearing, similar to a preliminary hearing, to determine whether to proceed to a general court-martial later this year. Both the prosecutor and defense lawyers will present their cases to a hearing officer. The officer will give his recommendation to Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, the commander of the 8th Air Force, who will decide.

Schmidt and Umbach serve in the 8th Air Force, based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, La., where the hearing will be held.

''This is a travesty,'' says David Beck, a Knoxville lawyer defending Umbach. ''You have two extremely capable, qualified pilots who believed they were under attack. They reasonably and honorably acted in self-defense. . . . How can that be criminal?''

Just after 6 p.m. on April 16, Umbach and Schmidt took off in separate F-16s from Kuwait's Al Jaber Air Base, according to a chronology compiled by U.S. and Canadian military investigators.

The fighter jets streaked east at 600 mph, following the Persian Gulf to avoid Iran's restricted airspace. At Pakistan, they turned north to northeast Afghanistan. After the four-hour commute, their job was to circle in case they were needed to support ground troops.

The patrol was uneventful, like the previous 12 missions they had flown in their first month in the Middle East. They turned for home about 1 a.m., and both pilots popped ''go pills,'' amphetamines supplied by the Air Force to help pilots stay alert.

Less than an hour later, over Kandahar, Schmidt spotted the phosphorescent glow of tracer bullets, which ground forces use to see their shots. The pilots' pre-flight briefing did not mention any training exercises. Schmidt radioed the controller in a nearby AWACS jet for permission to fire at the shooters. According to radio transcripts, he was told, ''Stand by.'' Umbach, in charge of the mission, said, ''Let's make sure that, uh, it's not friendly.''

Ninety seconds later, Schmidt saw more tracer fire. He estimated it was rising 10,000 feet and appeared to be tracking Umbach's jet. Umbach confirmed he could see trailing heat plumes from the bullets on his infrared display screen. Schmidt told the AWACS controller, ''I've got some men on the road and it looks like, uh, like a piece of artillery firing at us. . . . I am rolling in in self-defense.''

Umbach and Schmidt ran through a series of checks to line up the laser sights. Schmidt fired and said, ''Bombs away.''

Schmidt radioed that it was a direct hit. Ten seconds later, the AWACS controller ordered: ''Disengage! Friendlies Kandahar.''

Umbach asked: ''Can you confirm they were firing at us?'' The controller responded, ''You are cleared, self-defense.''

''I hope that was the right thing to do,'' Schmidt said to Umbach as they flew back to Kuwait. ''Me, too,'' Umbach said.

Mounting a defense

Schmidt's lawyer, Charles Gittins, says, ''It should be unconscionable for the U.S. government to put on trial two military pilots who gave absolute best effort in defense of their country.''

Gittins and Beck plan to defend their clients by using the flaws cited by the board of inquiry:

* First, the lawyers say, is the issue of the go pills. The Air Force gives out the stimulant dexamphetamine as part of a ''fatigue management'' program. There are also ''no-go pills,'' usually the depressant Ambien, to help pilots sleep. The investigative report says the go pills were ''not a factor.'' But Clifford Saper, a Harvard University neurology professor, says the drug ''may make a pilot misjudge his abilities or a situation.''

* Both Schmidt and Umbach were nearing the end of what would be a 20-hour workday. Air Force regulations limit shifts to no more than 12 hours.

* The pilots wore night-vision goggles, which can distort peripheral vision and depth perception.

* Gittins says Schmidt told investigators that the pilots were warned before their flight that al-Qaeda forces posed an imminent threat on the ground near Kandahar. ''They were briefed that there are bad guys out there near Kandahar, and they're planning to ambush them. And ambush is the word they used,'' Gittins says.

Weeks after the incident, Umbach and Schmidt were sent home.

Schmidt, 37, had moved to Sherman in 2001, just before his unit shipped to Kuwait. He went to the Navy's storied ''Top Gun'' flight school in San Diego and later returned as an instructor. There he met his wife, Lisa, a Navy nurse.

Umbach, 43, learned to fly as a teenager here, soloing at an age when most youngsters are getting driver's licenses. A United Airlines pilot for 15 years, he flies international routes while serving part-time in the Air National Guard.

Supporters in Sherman -- population 2,900 -- have raised $150,000 with bake sales and barbecues to help the pilots with their defense. The VFW post sold T-shirts and buttons. The local Hardee's hamburger stores donate a portion of Monday night receipts. Illinois Gov. George Ryan hosted a $50-a-plate dinner to raise funds.

Schmidt and Umbach report daily to the Guard offices at the Springfield airport. Their commander usually allows them to work on their defense.

It has been difficult for Schmidt, says his wife, Lisa. Perhaps the hardest moment came at the dinner table last month, when their 5-year-old son, Tucker, asked, ''Daddy, why did you drop a bomb on those men?'' Schmidt swallowed hard and said he made a mistake. He thought the men were trying to hurt him and ''Maj. Bill,'' but they really weren't. His answer seemed to satisfy the boy, Lisa Schmidt says. ''It should be enough of an answer for everybody.''Cover storyCover story
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Old 01-08-2003, 08:31 PM   #43
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Bonoman,

You know sometimes I wonder if you actually read what I have to say. I've asked several questions but you don't answer them. Again! How would you explain to the families of US soldiers who were killed in friendly fire incidents why the four Canadians deserve better treatment than their loved ones? I find that question to be very relevant! I don't think its Anal. If you don't want to answer, thats fine.

Apologies are giving to soldiers who die in all sorts of accidents but not necessarily from the President of the United States in every single case. Same with other countries. To me, your making a Mountain out of Mole Hill and have unfairly single out the President Of The United States for not doing something that no one else does.

You have failed to appreciate the feelings of other families that have experienced a similar tragedy by suggesting that the Canadians deserve special treatment over their loved ones. Its just an apology to you, but the President does not want to do something that might offend a lot of other people that have suffered from a similar tragedy. I'm sorry you refuse to understand that.

You know, I have not personally judged you in any way shape or form. I was simply debating a topic. I don't think its a good idea to start calling people "Anal" or say that they "Argue for the sake of Arguing".

I think if you took a look at some of the things I have said you might understand what I'm saying, but you have yet to directly answer some of my questions. You can believe what ever you want to believe, and don't have to answer any questions I have asked. I'm not hear to brainwash anyone or personally judge a member of intereference. You could agree to disagree without refering to someone as being "Anal". What purpose does that serve or accomplish?

I stand by what I said and provided good reasons for doing so. I think I have a very solid arguement but it seems you refuse to listen to it. But thats ok.
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Old 01-09-2003, 03:43 AM   #44
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I tend to think of myself as being open to all sorts of views.

Your question: Why should the Canadians be singled out and how would that make Us soliders feel.

Well i thought i had answered it many times. Ok here we go again. If your gov't doesnt say sorry if it were to accicently kill one of its own then I digress. But i dont believe they would do that. I think (though i dont know for sure) that if a solider were to be killed in a FF accident involving only the US that your gov't would send them a letter of apology and thank them and their fallen. If your gov't doesnt do this then...well really i cant believ your country doesnt show some sort of apology or symapthy for your soliders. I really dont think that the Canadians are being singled out. When Canada agreed to help the US in any way after 9/11 they lent their forces to the US (there wasnt much to lend but they offered) with the Canadians being under full control from the US i believe that the Canadians soldiers and US soldiers are one in the same. They are fighting together and fighting for the same outcome. My countryman is your countryman.

I dont believe this is singling out. I believe it is something you do for a friend something you do to keep your ties strong and something you do for someone when you have maken a mistake, just like i would say sorry for hurting or killing you (by accident). If this hasnt been the protocal in previuos incidents do you not think that this should be something that should be done?

Also i think this incident is very different from other FF incidents. I dont really think this is a full accident. These men are being prosecuted, they didnt follow expressed order, ignored their superiors twice and killed men that shouldnt have beeen killed. I think it is your gov't responsibilty to respond to their soldiers being very careless and being under the influence of drugs and they should say they (military as a whole) screwed up.

Also for you to say i'm making a mountain out of a mole hill seemes to be very disrepectful to myself and the men killed. I dont care if it was 4 men from my country or 100 men from yours i would be equally pissed off.
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Old 01-09-2003, 06:23 PM   #45
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Bonoman,

I thought it was a formal apology from the President of the USA that was needed. I am sure that a form of sympathy or apology at a much lower level through military or State Department was issued by someone, somewhere even if it was not publicized. Most such things in the USA are not publicized out of sensitivity to the families.

If treatment, no matter what it is, is given to Canadian soldiers that is not given to US or other soldiers, regardless of the need or merit for such treatment, then that could be offensive to many others. If what is formally done in all Friendly Fire cases, regardless of who is involved and the number countries, needs to be changed, then I think that would be an arguement I could at least consider.

I have seen nothing to indicate that Bush did something that was not the norm for heads of state in his behavior to this situation. It is therefore unfair to single him and the USA out for something that is not normally done. In this case I believe that is a well publicized apology directly from the President.

If you do not believe this event is an accident, then you believe that the Airmen new that there were Canadian troops performing a night fire exercise and decided to drop 1,000 pound bombs in order to kill as many Canadians as possible. According to the Airmen, they were recieving incoming fire or at least they felt they were recieving incoming fire from what they consider to be enemy forces. From my understanding, the Airmen had never been told of a live fire exercise in the area by Canadian troops. The question is did they ever have a good reason to override a direct order not to fire. There can be compelling combat situations where disobeying a direct order would be justified, but that is rare, and I tend to think this is not one of those cases. We certainly do not know all the facts of the case, but I'm sure that eventually this case will be resolved.

I don't buy into this implication that the USA recieved help from Canada and in turn the USA has mistreated Canada. I used the Mountain and Mole Hill comparison because you have been inflating the tragedy of four Canadians over the tragedy of many other soldiers around the world who have died in similar incidents. It would make more sense to be concerned about friendly fire in general rather than to exclusively care only about such incidents when it happens to your soldiers and then demand a form of treatment not given to other victims of similar tragedies. These are all terrible accidents that we have to continue to try and reduce the probability of any of them occuring in the future. What is not right though is to accuse the USA and George Bush of unfair treatment. It is also important to recognize how requesting special treatment for Canadian soldiers in this situation may be offensive to other families who have suffered in similar tragedies in the USA and other countries.

The United States and Canada are allies and will continue to work closely together in the future. Both are apart of NATO and are obligated to come to the aid of each other in case of a foreign attack which 9/11 certainly was.
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Old 01-09-2003, 06:53 PM   #46
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...and decided to drop 1,000 pound bombs in order to kill as many Canadians as possible.

i hope this never happens...

ok, North and South of the River, Canadians are not used to this messy business, and Americans are deficient in graciousness.

Tom Cruise movie marathon my place 8pm.
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Old 01-09-2003, 07:22 PM   #47
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Yes sting all i and many other Candians were looking for is a mention or at least him acknowledging it in his passings. He did not. I just think that if it were the other way around my leader or many others leaders would go out of their way to make such somments. That is the difference.

About the Airmen. Well they must understand that the people who give the orders at base know of things they do not. They must trust their surpiors.

I think we have both exhusted eachothers arguements and i would like to thank you for this informative debate.
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Old 01-09-2003, 08:22 PM   #48
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I understand and agree we have exhusted this this debate. Remember though that forces in the field often see and know things that their superiors do not. I'm not saying that to get the Airmen off but it is a fact. Hopefully the case will be resolved in a fair and successful way.
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Old 01-10-2003, 12:51 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
I understand and agree we have exhusted this this debate. Remember though that forces in the field often see and know things that their superiors do not. I'm not saying that to get the Airmen off but it is a fact. Hopefully the case will be resolved in a fair and successful way.
yes, as shown in Black Hawk Down about Somalia

i'm still on the movie kick...maybe i'll add Less Than Zero, makes a nice statement, too.

i'm really feeling for those airmen, they need more than bakesales to help them, for sure.
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Old 01-10-2003, 04:32 AM   #50
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Yes but remember supirors and ppl at base know things that airmen do not.
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Old 01-11-2003, 03:35 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonoman
Yes but remember supirors and ppl at base know things that airmen do not.
apparently they know a lot about drugs
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