Wednesday, February 15, 2006

'Friendly Fire' Misses the Target

The recent episode [13 February 2006] of US Vice President Dick Cheney firing on his shooting mate instead of a quail would be funny were it not for the news that Henry Whittington (at the time of writing) is still in hospital recovering from gun shot wounds and a heart attack.

This accidental shooting is known in military circles as ‘friendly fire’ and it has a grim history. The Pentagon estimates that ‘friendly fire’ was responsible for 16% of the total American casualties in WWII, 14% in the Vietnam War and a horrific 23% in the Gulf War last decade. That’s a lot of pain and wasted lives.

Before we so quickly join those in taking pot shots at poor old Dick, let's recognize that it so often seems to be open season for ‘friendly fire’ in our homes, schools, churches, mosques and business circles. Painful are the pellets we fire on each other intentionally or inadvertently. The bullets we fire can destroy our relationships and leave people wounded for life. Yes, there’s nothing friendly about getting shot by your own side.

Geoff Pound