Sunday, August 26, 2007

No so trigger-happy

In its reporting of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's nothing the mainstream media loves more than stories about 'cavalier' and 'trigger-happy' American forces causing civilian casualties. However, as these stories from The New York Post and Michael Yon testify, US commanders will often run the risk of allowing bad guys to get away, rather than firing on a target that hasn't been positively identified.

Both pieces offer an insight into the procedures that are followed before the decision as to whether or not to attack a target is made, the technology employed and the sheer number of people involved.

Aside from the front-line correspondents, the media's experience of combat is largely confined to fighting their way to the bar after work on a Friday. Yet they feel qualified to judge soldiers for decisions made in the heat of battle, carelessly tossing around terms like 'blunder', and demanding that those responsible for tragic accidents face 'justice'.

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