Chalking up last month’s US attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan to “human error,” Gen. Joseph Campbell today announced the multiple troops have been suspended from duty over the attack, and that they may face court-martial for attacking a hospital on the no-strike list.
Campbell insisted the military courts are “independent of decision-makers” and that they will continue to study what went wrong. He declined to say if the court-martials would involve disciplinary or criminal charges for the attacking troops.
The investigation claimed that the warplane that attacked the hospital was given the coordinates of a site suspected of being a “Taliban base,” but that it turned out to be an empty field. The crew on the plane then decided to just attack the next closest thing, which was the hospital.
They attacked the hospital even though no ground troops were within visual range of it and there were no signs of a fire-fight, despite the initial target coming from Afghan troops claiming they were “being attacked.” This suggests that the crew on the plane almost certainly will be among those facing court-martial.
MSF has demanded an independent investigation of the attack, saying it amounts to a war crime. President Obama has opposed the idea, and the military badly damaged the hospital site during its “investigation,” likely precluding any more inquiries.