Thursday, March 23, 2006

Knowing where the line is drawn

Something's been bugging me about this article from the Toronto Star of almost a week ago. You have to go to the bottom for the last two paragraphs.

Yesterday afternoon, when the Star's van fell in behind another Canadian patrol travelling through downtown Kandahar, a soldier riding in the back of the vehicle could be seen draining a bottle of water and then pinging the plastic container off the head of a young Afghan male walking along the street.
Pinging? I am presuming that means he tossed it at him.

If the story is true it suggests a serious discipline problem. That soldier should have been hauled up on an orders parade and summarily tried for conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline at the very least. It is that kind of behaviour which leads to extended lapses of discipline and a decline in the integrity of the unit.

For what it's worth, no soldier should be throwing any waste out of any vehicle anywhere.

The question now exists: Did the news crew in the Toronto Star's vehicle report the incident to the proper military authorities? If they did, good.

If they didn't, they need to be reminded that while in Afghanistan they are not absolved of their responsibilities as Canadian citizens.

I would hesitate to suggest that a reporter would intentionally avoid reporting the act of the soldier in question to the proper authorities in hopes that such acts would continue and provide all that good copy.

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