Notes: A hearing began last week to determine whether or not two Air Force pilots should be court-martialed. It arises from an incident on April 17, 2002, in Afghanistan where four Canadians were killed by friendly fire -- a 500-pound bomb dropped from an F-16 fighter jet.

The pilots were Majs. Harry Schmidt and William Umbach. According to David M. Halbfinger's report in the January 15, 2003, New York Times, "each took the amphetamine Dexedrine, dispensed by Air Force medics" because of the length of their flight." This is supposedly a common practice in the Air Force. A defense attorney has claimed that the so-called "go pills" impaired the pilots' judgment.

Amphetamines are called "speed" on the street. During the 1960s the slogan "speed kills" became popular. It later became a part of an ad campaign against the use of amphetamines. Later the slogan was used against fast driving. This cartoon, of course, uses the original slogan "speed kills" as it was used for amphetamines.

The Canadians were conducting live fire exercises which the two pilots took to be enemy fire directed at them. Tragic mistakes followed and the bomb was dropped. Some are saying that the pilots were flying too low and were under direction to pull up and away from the scene until the situation was cleared up. Others have said that the Canadians did not have the flashing red light that identifies friendlies from enemies. Additionally, some are claiming that the two pilots would never be in this position were it not for relations between Canada and the United States. Regardless of how this matter turns out it was a sad tragedy.