Declan Walsh, The Guardian/UK, July 26, 2010
Brevity is the hallmark of military reporting, but even by those standards the description of one disastrous event is remarkably short: “The patrol returned to base.”
It started with a suicide bomb. On 4 March 2007 a convoy of US marines, who arrived in Afghanistan three weeks earlier, were hit by an explosives-rigged minivan outside the city of Jalalabad.
The marines made a frenzied escape, opening fire with automatic weapons as they tore down a six-mile stretch of highway, hitting almost anyone in their way – teenage girls in fields, motorists in their cars, old men as they walked along the road. Nineteen unarmed civilians were killed and 50 wounded.