Yesterday I theorized that the airstrike on a Pakistani border station that killed 26 could have had been the result of three possible circumstances; 1) Hanlon’s Razor, 2) front-line forces so accustomed to think of the Pakistanis as their enemy that due diligence is neglected, or 3) the path of least strategic resistance to getting the Pakistani border re-opened is throwing soldiers under the bus. Grandpa Bluewater astutely noted that the possibilities were not mutually exclusive.
And so it goes, in a NYT article entitled “U.S. Report Faults Two Sides in Deadly Pakistan Strike“:
A United States military investigation has concluded that checks and balances devised to prevent cross-border mishaps with Pakistan failed to avert a deadly NATO airstrike last month in part because American officials did not trust Pakistan enough to give it detailed information about American troop locations in Afghanistan.
A report by the inquiry concluded that mistakes by both American and Pakistani troops led to airstrikes against two Pakistani posts on the Afghan border that killed 26 Pakistani troops. But two crucial findings — that the Pakistanis fired first at a joint Afghan-American patrol and that they kept firing even after the Americans tried to warn them that they were shooting at allied troops — were likely to further anger Pakistan and plunge the already tattered relationship between the United States and Pakistan to new depths…
The episode, the worst in nearly a decade riddled with fatal cross-border blunders, underscored gaping flaws in a system established in recent years to avoid such mistakes. American officials acknowledged that the policy of not divulging to Pakistan the precise location of allied ground troops in Afghanistan — for fear Pakistan might jeopardize their operations — contributed to the accident and underscored what the chief investigator called an “overarching lack of trust between the two sides.”
The party of the first part distrusts the party of the second part because that party is sheltering and providing material aid and comfort to those who are killing members of the party of the first part. The party of the second part distrusts the party of the first part because that party is aware of the party of the second part’s perfidy.
Thus, both sides are to blame.