The death of Private Kovco in Iraq has created more questions than answers. Firstly, it was reported that his death was a result of an accidental shooting while he was cleaning his weapon. Then it was emphasised over and over again in the media by government ministers and officials that he did not commit suicide. Then, his body supposedly got mixed up in Kuwait and the wrong body sent over to Australia, much to the understandable distress and anger of the family and friends of the deceased.
Surely the fact that the spin has been so quickly put into action means that there was something about his death that the government does not want to make public. If he did commit suicide as has been rumoured, then his death puts a question mark on the whole image of Australian military personnels’ presence in Iraq. If he was doing such positive things such as restoring democracy and giving freedom to the people, then why take his own life? If he did not commit suicide then why all the fuss and panic?
Personally, with all due respect to the family and friends, the death of Private Kovco looks like a possible suicide. It is very unusual for an experienced soldier, and a sniper at that, to be so careless as to accidentally discharge a weapon into his own head. They usually receive a high level of training in the handling of weaponry and all the risks involved in their usage and maintenance. A soldier of his rank would have had extensive training in assembling and disassembling weapons and meticulously maintaining them to a high standard. Either he deliberately pulled the trigger or there was a serious defect or damage to the weapon concerned.
Personal opinions aside, it is a hard case to call since not a lot of facts have trickled through in the media. Attempting to understand the truth of this incident is like looking at very muddy pond and trying to see what’s at the bottom of it. The bottom line is, though, that Australian and American military personnel are definitely not doing what they have been portrayed doing in the media.