The US-led 'war on terror' in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to the unintended deaths of countless thousands who are classified as 'collateral damage' and whose stories are rarely told. Yet a select few of these deaths garner special attention, those of coalition servicemen, killed not by the enemy, but by the incompetence of their own side.

Matty Hull was killed in 2003 in Iraq after American pilots fired on British soldiers

Despite huge innovations in battlefield technology, and the promise of waging 'clean wars', so-called 'friendly fire' incidents have not been eliminated.

In Britain such incidents have been particularly controversial, especially when they involve British troops being killed by US forces.

Corporal Matty Hull was killed in March 2003 after American pilots opened fire on British soldiers in Southern Iraq. Remarkably the incident was caught on camera, with the footage playing an important part in a subsequent legal case, where a verdict of 'unlawful killing' was reached.

But to the anger of the families and the British public, those responsible will never face trial. The US will not send its servicemen to appear in British courts, ascribing them 'combat immunity'.

Al Jazeera speaks exclusively to some of the families involved about their attempts to come to terms with the deaths of their loved ones, and their quest for justice – a quest which they feel is being hindered by both the British and American authorities for political reasons.

Watch part one of this episode on Youtube

Watch part two of this episode on Youtube

Friend or Foe aired from Saturday, January 05, 2008.


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