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Cablegate: Afghanistan Friendly Fire Incident: Canadian

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS OTTAWA 001758

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS CA AF
SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN FRIENDLY FIRE INCIDENT: CANADIAN
REACTION TO DECISION NOT TO PROCEED WITH COURTS MARTIAL
AGAINST U.S. PILOTS

1. (SBU) The Canadian Government reacted very evenly to the
June 19 decision by U.S. Air Force LTGEN Bruce Carlson not to
proceed with courts martial against two pilots who mistakenly
bombed Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Prime Minister
Chretien said the matter is now closed as far as the Canadian
Government is concerned. Canadian Chief of Defense Staff GEN
Henault issued a statement expressing sympathy with the
soldiers' families, reiterating the Canadian Forces'
commitment to contributing to international peace and
security (including in ISAF), and pledging to work with
allies to mitigate the possibility of such incidents in the
future.

2. (SBU) The families of the four Canadian soldiers killed in
the April 2002 incident said they had expected the decision,
but most were upset that stronger action was not being taken
against the two pilots. A common refrain among the families
was a concern that the pilots not be allowed to fly again for
the U.S. Air Force. One of the pilots will receive a
reprimand and is leaving the Air Force. The second pilot
still faces disciplinary proceedings that could result in a
reprimand, 30 days confinement to quarters, loss of one
month's pay, and/or no longer being permitted to fly for the
Air Force. The family of one of the Canadian soldiers filed
a wrongful death claim against the U.S. military earlier this
year, and that case is ongoing.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: More than one year after the fact, there is
a greater realization here now that the friendly fire
incident, while tragic, is one of many affecting allied
forces. Canadians will continue to scrutinize disciplinary
measures taken against the pilots, but most consider the Air
Force's handling of the case thus far to have been
even-handed.
CELLUCCI

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