The French military accidentally used real bullets instead of blanks, during a demonstration this weekend, injuring 17 people, including three children.
The demonstration, intended to showcase hostage-freeing techniques, left a 3-year-old child in critical condition. Chief Bernard Lemaire said the soldier who fired the real bullets has been detained, as the apparent accident has not been ruled out as a criminal act. French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited victims at the Carcassonne hospital and promised punishment for the negligence.
In other French military news — Sarkozy now must face critics who claim he exchanged French independence for American domination by deciding to bring France back under NATO's unified military command, 42 years after Charles de Gaulle pulled France out of full participation. The decision also raises questions about France's attitude toward a unified European Union military policy, separate from NATO.
Should Europe embrace NATO as its military future or pursue an America-free defense policy? As for the bullet incident, I hope the victims in critical condition pull through and the cause of the accident is avoided in the future.