Re: friendly fire

Sun, 14 Jul 1996 11:24:55 -0400

On Sat, 13 Jul 1996 22:40:09 -0400 Ben Friedlander said:
>I just saw "Courage under Fire," a movie which finds a strange way of making
>war heroic post-Vietnam. Not to give away too much of the story, but when
>did friendly fire and PTSD become part of the iconography of the warrior?
>The two are mutually dependant, central motifs in "Courage under Fire":
>friendly fire makes it possible to reconcile the fantasy of invulnerability
>with the reality of casualties (in the movie, the Iraqis are a frightening
>nuisance; the only fatalities are due to American blunders);
> ******************

I can't answer your question; my interest in the war is more at
the tactical and historical level than the iconographic. However,
recently I ran across a comment on friendly fire that removes
it from the category of blunders.

The US Army had a tactic termed the seal and pile-on. US forces
would tightly surround Communist forces. Heavy use of artillery
fire would maximize enemy casualties. Very close artillery fire
would *cause* US casualties (friendly fire) but was considered
worth it because of the increased number in enemy casualties

By comparing enemy and friendly losses due to artillery use in normal
and very close firing paterns, analysts concluded that very close
artillery use resulted in fewer overall friendly casualties.

My point is that sometimes friendly fire was intentional, and not
the result of blunders.

Sick, eh?

Peter Brush