Soliders die by friendly fire

The numbers are in, and the facts are set in stone: U.S. forces have suffered more fatalities this month than in any other since the Afghan campaign began in October.

In early December, a UH-1N crashed at Rhino Base in southern Afghanistan. On Dec. 5, three American Green Berets were killed by friendly fire. Two weeks later, Private Giovanny Maria died while on duty guarding an airbase in Uzbekistan. He was struck in the head with a bullet from his own M-4 rifle. On Jan. 9, seven Marines were killed when a KC-130 refueler crashed into mountains in southwest Pakistan. And on Jan. 20, five U.S. Marines were injured and two more were killed when their helicopter crashed in the mountains of northern Afghanistan during a supply mission south of Kabul.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld released a statement to the press saying there is no evidence that the helicopter came under hostile fire.

“It appears to be, at the moment, a mechanical problem with the helicopter. Your heart just breaks every time something like this happens,” Rumsfeld said during his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Exactly whom are we fighting again, and why? It seems that bin-Laden is winning this war without having fired a single bullet. Faulty mechanics, sloppy military tactics and overall dumb damned luck seem to be a burden on America’s so-called “War On Terrorism.” What kind of terrorism is it – domestic? With nearly every casualty we hear of on the news, the words “friendly fire” seemed to be attached. In fact, the first casualty from enemy fire wasn’t until Jan. 4, when an Army Special Forces soldier was killed in an ambush.

The United States is the home of the best fighting force in the world. Too bad it seems that the higher-ups are sleeping on the job. It’s costing America one of its most precious resources – soldiers.

That doesn’t seem to bother Rumsfeld. When he was asked if more Americans would be used, Rumsfeld replied, “You bet. We’re doing it now.”

Too bad.

– J. Danielle Daniels for the editorial board