We’ve all by now heard of the tragic death of Linda Norgrove, the British aid worker who lost her life Friday during a rescue attempt gone horribly awry in Kunar province, northern Afghanistan.
We owe such a debt of gratitude to people like Ms. Norgrove, who are willing to risk their lives to help people in some of the world’s most dangerous places.
Making the story unalterably sadder, she may have died because of a grenade thrown by US forces trying to rescue her-“friendly fire.” But I hope that this won’t be used as an excuse for criticism of US forces in Afghanistan. In a piece on Ms. Norgrove death, Max Boot explains why not:
A Special Forces friend of mine once vowed that, if he were killed by “friendly fire,” he would come back from the grave and haunt any family members who dared to complain about the manner of his death. His point was that battle involves the risk of getting killed, and it doesn’t much matter whether the bullet was fired by your side or by the enemy. He didn’t want the kind of spectacle made of his death that has occurred over Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who, while serving as a Ranger in Afghanistan, was accidentally killed by fellow Rangers.
In the case of Tillman’s death, the military appears to have compounded the tragedy by trying to conceal the truth about how Tillman died. The US is investigating Linda Norgrove’s death, and that is the right thing to do. We mourn Ms. Norgrove’s death, we admire her life; but the world is a dangerous place and bad things happen.