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Canada Does Not Need to Compensate Civilian Killed

March 2006
Regarding the innocent civilian killed in the wayward taxi by Canadian troops in Afghanistan, Canada should not be giving any compensation to this man’s family. Although innocent civilians have died in conflicts throughout history, this case goes beyond this concept.


The war in Afghanistan, and make no mistake about this being a peacekeeping mission, is not a traditional war. It would be a different case if the ‘enemy’ in this war wore easily distinguishable uniforms, fought battles on the battlefield (not a crowded marketplace with innocent civilians) and followed what could only be described as ‘the soldiers code’, that being not purposely targeting civilians.

In the war in Afghanistan, much like in Iraq (and all the countries that have been attacked by terrorist organizations), the combatants purposely dress like ordinary civilians in order to blend in with the crowd. The combatants use guerilla tactics and suicide bombers to launch their attacks. The combatants are men, women and even children. In other words ‘ ANYBODY.

Although in traditional wars, innocent civilians sometimes become ‘collateral damage’; terrorists target military AND civilian targets with little care other that causing as much damage as possible. It is a different case if a uniformed soldier walks or drives up to a military convoy or establishment, even if he is approaching under a white flag of surrender, and then attacks without warning. Terrorists use surprise and deception to effect their attacks.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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