At some point in the chain of events leading to friendly-fire death, someone misidentified friend for foe, failed to provide critical information in an accurate or timely way, failed to determine accurately a location, misinterpreted an order, or the like.
friendly-fire incidents appear to involve the Air Force (and its predecessor Army Air Corps) and Army and Marine Corps ground forces.
One of the most puzzling and seemingly avoidable friendly-fire incidents occurred during the American enforcement of a "no-fly zone" in northern Iraq as part of Operation PROVIDE COMFORT.
The application of the military justice system to this friendly-fire incident again proved controversial.
Some friendly-fire incidents, while tragic, are also understandable and should not rise to the level of court-martial offenses.
Equally puzzling, given the relative historical frequency of such accidental killings, is the almost complete dearth of friendly-fire courts-martial.
For some the failure of the military justice system to hold criminally accountable those responsible for friendly-fire deaths is a travesty of justice, the product of a system that places too much authority in the hands of commanders and of an institutional culture of self-protection and unaccountability.
First, there will continue to be friendly-fire incidents.
Steve Komarow, "Air Force Punishes 7 in Friendly-Fire Case," USA Today, 16 August 1995, p.