COMMENTARY | One suspects that a thus far unidentified lance corporal in the Coldstream Guards Regiment of the British Army will not have to buy his own drinks for a while. Smoking six Taliban with one shot is a record not likely to be beaten any time soon.
It seems that a group of six Taliban was approaching the sniper’s position. The British soldier took a shot against the man in the middle, apparently touching off the suicide bomb vest he was wearing, blowing him and his five fellow terrorists up.
The same sniper, incidentally, killed a Taliban machine-gunner from 1,465 yards during his first tour of duty in Afghanistan.
The war on terror has created a new type of military hero, that being the skilled sniper. The late Chris Kyle, the U.S. Navy SEAL with 160 confirmed kills, is another example of the silent, deadly, long distance warrior.
Snipers have been around ever since rifled gun powder weapons have been used in battle. German and Soviet snipers dueled at the Battle of Stalingrad. American snipers proved to be a terror against the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War.
The current wars, with new, high tech weapons and techniques that have been honed over decades, have created a kind of sniper mystique. Operating in a concealed position, patient, and accurate, a sniper can reach out across astonishing distances and send death in the form of a bullet to an unsuspecting enemy. There is no warning before the target falls dead.
Sniping combines a particular skill set with the latest technology to make the killing inherent in war fighting a kind of personal thing. Modern weapons can snuff out hundreds, even thousands of lives at the push of a button. A sniper takes out one enemy at a time, precise, even surgically. In a way it is a kind of cleaner type of war waging that rarely if ever involves what is euphemistically called “collateral damage.” It is as pure as not much is these days in the art of killing people and breaking things that is warfare,