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The Associated Press reports that Joe Biden threatened to cut support for Israel, and also demanded an immediate ceasefire with Hamas.  “Biden’s message marks a sharp change in his administration’s steadfast support for Israel’s war efforts, with the U.S. leader for the first time threatening to rethink his backing if Israel doesn’t change its tactics and allow much more humanitarian aid into Gaza.”  It is clear that the Biden/Harris administration is grossly incompetent about the realities of war, including friendly fire.

What is friendly fire?

Friendly fire, also known as blue-on-blue fire, occurs when combatants mistake friendly troops and assets for enemies.  (The convention of blue for friendly units, by the way, comes from Prussian war games of the nineteenth century because Prussian uniforms were blue. Helmuth von Moltke was apparently an avid Kriegsspiel player himself, and the purpose of these exercises was to give officers experience with game pieces rather than real soldiers.)  All responsible firearm users know why they must identify their targets before firing, but this consideration becomes far more difficult in the fog of war.

The biblical story of Gideon is highly instructive.  One might wonder why Gideon sent about 99 percent of his army away before the battle and selected only the three hundred most disciplined men for a complicated night attack.  The reason was quite likely that, during the confusion of a night battle, undisciplined men, or even disciplined ones who were suddenly awakened and could not get into formation, might stab one another in the confusion.  Gideon’s men knew who was who; the other side did not.

There are also numerous more recent examples.

  1. The Russian Baltic Fleet, while en route to its disastrous fate at Tsushima (1905), fired on British fishing boats it mistook for Japanese torpedo boats.  The Russians also fired on one another, and apparently didn’t ask how Japanese torpedo boats somehow got into British waters.  This also is known as FUBAR, or F[ouled] Up Beyond All Recognition.
  2. During Operation Cottage in the Aleutian Islands during the Second World War, American and Canadian troops mistook each other for Japanese in a heavy fog and fired on each other.  Twenty-eight Americans and four Canadians died as a result, and far more of both were wounded.  The Japanese had meanwhile left long ago.
  3. I recall reading about a couple of incidents during the Second World War in which Americans fired on one another.  In one case, once the mistaken identity was cleared up, a destroyer informed its target that it had ceased firing, but “you’ll have to excuse the next four salvos.  They are already on their way.”  In another, an American ship shot down an American bomber that was strafing it in another case of mistaken identity.
  4. General William Cohen’s The Stuff of Heroes: The Eight Universal Laws of Leadership describes an incident in the Vietnam War in which an American pilot fortunately disobeyed orders to attack what somebody else thought were communist troops.  They were actually Americans where they had not been expected.

Wikipedia offers a far more extensive list.  During the Napoleonic Wars, HMS Superb sank two Spanish ships, Real Carlos and San Hermenegildo, with their own guns.  Superb sailed between them, fired at both, and then went on her way to leave the two Spanish ships firing upon the apparent source of the mischief, which turned out to be each other.  The British did know their classics, and they may have emulated the goddess Artemis in the story of two invulnerable (except to each other) giants who wanted to storm Mount Olympus.  Artemis changed herself into a deer and ran between them to get them to throw their spears, thus dispatching both.  At Waterloo (1815), British and Prussian gunners mistook each other for French and fired at each other.  The reference adds that the Mexicans continued to lose men at the Alamo after all the defenders were dead, because they fired on each other in the confusion.

While modern command-and-control methods have improved matters considerably during the past decades, mistakes still happen.  Our own country has killed many Afghan civilians our side apparently mistook for al-Qaeda terrorists and their associates.  We must, however, put the blame where it belongs: if al-Qaeda had not started a war on September 11, 2001, none of this would have happened.

Israel apparently killed some of its own people, whom it mistook for terrorists, on October 7, 2023.  The deaths of the World Central Kitchen aid workers, while obviously unfortunate, was simply another version of the same thing, and Israel is already investigating to determine what happened to prevent a recurrence.

If Biden, Harris, Blinken, and so on do not understand the difference between friendly fire and terroristic violence, in which terrorists attack civilians intentionally, they are dishonest, unfit for their jobs, or both.  We must also remember that if Hamas had not done what it did on October 7, 2023, none of this would have happened.

Progressive Democrats Support Hamas

The Biden administration is also pressuring Israel to accept a ceasefire with Hamas, which is exactly what Hamas wants.  To put this in perspective, we did not accept a ceasefire with Japan and Germany in early 1942, when we were actually losing the war.  Most of our Pacific Fleet had been sunk or disabled, and U-boats were wreaking havoc in the North Atlantic.  Imperial Japan hoped, in fact, that we would accept peace in exchange for giving Japan control of the western part of the Pacific Ocean rather than use our industries to rebuild our Navy.  We did not accept that deal.  The United Kingdom had meanwhile lost most of its heavy equipment at Dunkirk, and one out of four Royal Air Force pilots was dying in the Battle of Britain.  Hitler would have offered peace in exchange for control of Europe; Churchill wouldn’t give it to him.  The very idea that Israel should make peace with Hamas when Hamas is hiding in tunnels, holes, schools, mosques, and hospitals is therefore sickening.

Numerous progressive Democrats have meanwhile expressed support for cutting aid to Israel, and we know where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar stand: with the “Palestinians.”  This is a strong argument to “use your head and vote Red” in November, with exceptions for centrist pro-worker Democrats.  See Jonathan Tobin’s “Outrage over aid-worker deaths is about saving Hamas, not civilians” for further information.

Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way.  The author is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to cancel culture for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.

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