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No More Mistaken Fire

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan will only increase if the U.S. commits more troops.

It sounds like a little boys' toy gun fight, a scuffle that, when the dust cleared, left six Afghan police and one civilian killed yesterday at the hands of shamed U.S. troops.

U.S. Special Forces opened fire Wednesday on the police near a Afghan police checkpoint, according to a U.S. military statement today, right after the police fired at them following an operation to kill an armed militant there. The troops thought the police were Taliban, and reacted -- shooting -- without checking. The troops had not warned the Afghan police that they'd be there.

Col. Jerry O'Hara, a U.S. military spokesman, stated he deeply regrets the "mistaken fire," which also collapsed the police checkpoint roof and damaged a nearby home.

But this "mistaken fire," a tragic result of sloppy planning and disproportionate response, will keep on raging. When more U.S. troops arrive in Afghanistan, they're bound to create more violence, more suffering and more recruits for the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and, of course, civilian "accidents." This accident will be just the beginning.

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