Four seconds in Afghanistan: Was it a crime, or combat? – latimes.com

Sgt. 1st Class Walter Taylor’s life collapsed in four interminable seconds in a dusty field in central Afghanistan.

His convoy was reeling from a roadside bomb, his fellow soldiers were engaged in combat with insurgents — and a mysterious black car had just screeched to a stop in the middle of the firefight. Some nine minutes later, a black door opens.

Second 1: A figure dressed in dark, bulky clothing emerges.

Second 2: The figure begins walking toward the trunk.

Second 3: Taylor, with five wounded comrades behind him, sees a thin trigger wire seeming to snake directly toward the black car. Could there be a second bomb in the trunk?

Second 4: Taylor squeezes the trigger on his M-4 carbine. The figure crumples to the dirt.

The figure was not an insurgent, but Dr. Aqilah Hikmat, a 49-year-old mother of four who headed the obstetrics department at the nearby Ghazni provincial hospital. Also dead inside the car were Hikmat’s 18-year-old son and her 16-year-old niece. Hikmat’s husband, in the front seat, was wounded.

via Four seconds in Afghanistan: Was it a crime, or combat? – latimes.com.

First, read the whole article. It’s not entirely black and white whether SFC Taylor is innocent.

We have a moral and legal obligation to minimize casualties among the civilian population in places of war. There’s also the common sense goal of not alienating the very people we’re trying to fight for.

But we as an army and a nation also have an obligation to our soldiers to give them the tools to fight successfully. More than just weapons and radios, that includes Rules of Engagement and command guidance that aid in accomplishing the mission. And most importantly, soldiers have to have faith that their chain of command will support them. I don’t trust the LA Times enough to make a determination from just this article, but it sure hints that SFC Taylor is being thrown under the bus to placate Afghan sensibilities.

 

5 thoughts on “Four seconds in Afghanistan: Was it a crime, or combat? – latimes.com”

  1. War is hell and stuff happens. Young men go in harm’s way and they’re expected to absolutely, positively, 100% of the time be exactly perfect. Give me a break.

    Why did the woman, with children in her car, stop where bullets were flying? I can’t believe a thinking, caring mother would do that. She’s a doctor. Supposedly intelligent. And here stupid act causes a disaster.

    Now, in our PC world, a horribly wounded soldier has his life torn further asunder. It’s just not right!

  2. Such things happen in “Police Actions.” The AFG is a war zone, and the Army and Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children are not Police forces. If they throw him under the bus, then I will actively campaign for kids not to go into the service. period. At present I just say that if asked, and I don’t encourage young men to go into the PC Military because every day is a potential political IED.

    What happened is tragic. But I seriously doubt that what he did was wrong from what he saw under stress of combat. If we can’t someone slack under those circumstances, then we need to get out now. Now.

  3. Combat, no doubt. He has just a few seconds to decide and he uses this few seconds in the best way he knew.

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