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Law of Averages?

An inquiry has just confirmed that Afghan journalist working for the BBC, Ahmed Khpulwak,  was shot dead last July by a United States soldier who mistook him for a suicide bomber. War reporting is inherently dangerous and accidents can, and will, happen. But the incident raises some concerns. US troops have killed several journalists in the past few years but they never seem to kill US journalists. Why is that? Have US journalists been lucky so far? Or do they know enough about the training and abilities of their own military to be super-wary of it? Will it take the death of a US journalist to force an improvement in US military training and end the killing of their foreign colleagues. So-called friendly fire attacks on British troops in both Gulf Wars revealed that US pilots were so badly trained that they were unable to recognise the armoured vehicle of allied nations – vehicles that bore no resemblance to any the Iraqis had in their inventory. I’ve wracked my brain and I can’t recall a single recent incident in which British or any other western troops have killed a reporter. Perhaps the law of averages and the size of the US military means American troops are the most likely to be involved in “friendly fire” attacks on fellow soldiers and journalists. Or perhaps there’s something else going on.

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