On the evening of 17 April 2002, "A" Company of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, while conducting a night live-fire exercise in Afghanistan, was struck by a 500-pound GBU-12 laser-guided bomb dropped by a U.S. F-16 flown by an Air National Guard pilot. Four men—Privates Nathan Smith and Richard Green, Corporal Ainsworth Dyer, and Sergeant Marc Leger—were killed. Eight other men were seriously injured.
More than 24 hours later, President George W. Bush responded to this incident with a brief statement of fewer than 160 words. He stated that all Americans were deeply saddened by the deaths. None of the men killed was mentioned by name.
Many Canadians, as well as others around the world, found this response inadequate to the point of callousness. As Margaret Wente, respected columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail, wrote on 19 April, "Thanks, guys. We're your allies. Aren't we?" One result of the apparent U.S. indifference was an immediate and prolonged outcry to withdraw Canadian troops from Afghanistan until U.S. leadership demonstrated appropriate concern for their safety.