Saturday, June 9, 2012

Not much changes

The June 2008 blog entry, 'Reflex', reflected that not much had changed since this blogger first wrote (in 2002) re how the "... The DoD's first reflex after any error is to deny everything, then to deny everything, then partially admit the error (if the evidence becomes irrefutable) while obfuscating the issue, but never to forthrightly admit that an error has been made...."

Fast forward to 2012, the basic pattern remains, although apologies and cash payoffs have been added to the mix.

First word came of 18 deaths due to an ISAF air strike, subsequently confirmed by Afghan officials. First ISAF denies, providing a detailed counter-narrative:

"An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to detain a Taliban leader in Baraki Barak district, Logar province, today. The leader plans and participates in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout the province. He also commands multiple insurgents and acquires weapons for use in insurgent attacks against Afghan and coalition troops. During the operation, insurgents attacked the Afghan and coalition troops with small-arms fire and a grenade. The security force returned fire and requested a precision airstrike. While conducting a follow-on assessment, the security force discovered two women who had sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The security force provided medical assistance and transported both women to an ISAF medical facility for treatment. As a result of the operation, multiple insurgents were killed and the Afghan and coalition security force seized several weapons and a quantity of explosives..."

Later, while still "unable to confirm or deny" ISAF announces an investigation will be done.

Then an admission of sorts - "...The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has completed its initial assessment of the circumstances surrounding its June 6 mission to detain a Taliban leader in Baraki Barak district, Logar province. ISAF confirms that in addition to the insurgents killed during the operation, it’s also responsible for the unintended, but nonetheless tragic, death of Afghan civilians... ISAF continues to investigate the unfortunate circumstances surrounding this airstrike and remains committed to taking any and all appropriate actions to minimize the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future..." and General John R. Allen, commander, International Security Assistance Force, flew to the area to personally apologize.

Now, it must be admitted that the admission and apology only took two days, as opposed to the weeks or months it often seems to take. Some marginal improvement, however not much has changed....

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