Pharyngula

We have seen evil, and it is us

Here is why we need Wikileaks — because when our soldiers carry out Collateral Murder, we should know about it. Good journalism should be exposing this stuff for us.

This is a video shot from an American helicopter gunship in Iraq. It shows real human beings being shot to death. I wish I could unwatch seeing it now, so be advised before you click on that play button…it is horrific.

A couple of Iraqi journalists working for Reuters are slaughtered in the above clip, gunned down from a distance by American troops who claim their cameras are weapons, that they’re walking around with AK-47s and RPGs…which I simply don’t see anywhere in the clip. I see a small group of civilians casually walking down a city street.

Perhaps the killers were merely mistaken, as happens in war. Perhaps they had better views of weaponry than can be seen in this video. But that doesn’t explain what happened next, when a van pulls up to help a wounded man and they open fire again, fully aware of what was going on below them, and fire several bursts into the people and into the van.

Maybe they could see weapons more clearly than I can. But then how did they fail to notice two small faces peering out of the passenger side window of the van? They shot journalists and children, all the while laughing and congratulating themselves on the ‘nice’ pile of bodies they had produced. And when they see soldiers on the ground rushing injured children to aid, they say, “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

I am ashamed. We are the storm troopers, the murderous invaders, the butchers of children, the laughing barbarians. We aren’t in Iraq to help those people, our troops are there to oppress them…when we aren’t gunning them down outright.

Oh, and go ahead, turn on your TV news. The top stories on CNN are the iPad, Jessica Alba planning to adopt a baby, and Tiger Woods. Doesn’t that fill you with confidence?

(via John Cole)

Comments

  1. #1 erutheone.eric
    April 5, 2010

    I wish they had a version without the arrows describing what and who was actually on the ground, and that they forced you to watch that first. Our solders over there don’t have the luxury of instant replay.

    I only wish that the government hadn’t tried to cover up the indecent. I do, however, understand why they tried to.

  2. #2 Aquaria
    April 5, 2010

    I can’t look, PZ.

    I was one of the Veterans for Peace who did what she could to stop this crazy thing.

    As you can see, it didn’t matter what someone like me (or anyone else for that matter) thought. And it doesn’t feel good at all to know that everything I suspected would happen…did.

  3. #3 Sioux Laris
    April 5, 2010

    “That’s the way we are. We’re pigs.”

  4. #4 Ol'Greg
    April 5, 2010

    I was just about to head to see if this was in the endless thread yet.

    It’s very disturbing.

  5. #5 transmogrifier
    April 5, 2010

    Oh great! I just saw this video on Andrew Sullivan’s blog and was livid with anger. I came to your blog to read something else so that I can go back to work again. But here you have it too!

    This video is horrible. I didn’t see anyone with weapons in the video either. Especially despicable is the fact that the soldier in the helicopter wanted the wounded reporter to make any movement that may look like he is picking up a weapon so that he can shoot him some more. And then they shot the children! Simply horrible!

  6. #6 Andyo
    April 5, 2010

    Right now scouring the internets, but has Reuters said something yet?

  7. #7 MAJeff, OM
    April 5, 2010

    Has there ever been an imperial occupier that hasn’t acted this way?

  8. #8 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    Holy shit. For once, I’m glad that being on dial-up prevents me from watching video. I don’t think I could take it.

  9. #9 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 5, 2010

    So why isn’t this all over our supposed “liberal” media?

  10. #10 JagyrEbonwood
    April 5, 2010

    PZ, why do you insist on blaming America first?
    [/sarcasm]

  11. #11 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    Saw this on your twitter feed earlier. Truly awful.

  12. #12 applescrapple
    April 5, 2010

    It is just plain murder.

  13. #13 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawk8Er0xHwr5oQ2bWARUzonh6Ov_ijL0Dbw
    April 5, 2010

    So why isn’t this all over our supposed “liberal” media?

    We have no liberal media. We have corporate media. I’m guessing you were being sarcastic and already knew that.

    I can’t watch this–or the lousy TV news that ignores this horror.

    Peg

  14. #14 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 5, 2010
  15. #15 The ghost of Rod Serling
    April 5, 2010

    I don’t know enough about the war to know whether it was (In theory) a good idea or not. Still, when you corral a bunch of teenagers into your armed forces with Kid rock songs, product placement in Michael Bay movies and subtle/not so subtle xenophobic propaganda you have to expect results such as this.

  16. #16 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    It’s pretty sad that Pharyngula is probably the place this will get the most exposure.

  17. #17 hje
    April 5, 2010

    I hope they identify the SOBs who pleaded for permission to fire and fire again, and make them watch the video every fucking day of the rest of their fucked up lives.

  18. #18 David Marjanovi?
    April 5, 2010

    PZ, why do you keep saying “we”? You are not in the army or in Blackwater, you’re not a congresscritter who voted for the illegal war, you most likely didn’t even vote for any of those congresscritters…

    Patriotism is a bug, not a feature.

  19. #19 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 5, 2010

    I’m guessing you were being sarcastic and already knew that.

    Yeah, well you know. I can’t be expected to put a sarcasm tag every time I make a sarcastic remark. :P

  20. #20 paulnaveau
    April 5, 2010

    Read the post,
    started watching the clip,
    stopped watching right after they opened fire and the first people where going down,
    people …
    real people…
    not actors (i’m sorry, i made a mental connection to the movie “Black Hawk Down” which i found quite disturbing, but nowhere near to this) but actual footage of people getting gunned down from above…
    don’t know if i even want to watch the rest of it,
    Horrible!

  21. #21 Feynmaniac
    April 5, 2010
  22. #22 Valdyr
    April 5, 2010

    “Well, that’s their fault for bringing their kids to a battle.”

    Some battle. The men were completely surprised when the chopper opened fire. I didn’t see any weapons. I counted maybe one suspicious guy, and I would hope that would warrant a “let’s keep watching him, what did he just do?” reaction rather than a “spray the crowd with exploding bullets” response.

    The thing I found most disturbing was the gunner waiting eagerly for an excuse to kill the wounded man that would fulfill the letter of the rules of engagement. “C’mon, all you gotta do is pick up a weapon…”

  23. #23 Stuart
    April 5, 2010

    It’s been top story on Al Jazeera English for most of the day… but of course that has minimal coverage in the US.

  24. #24 dboy
    April 5, 2010

    “We are the storm troopers” …Obviously. It amazes me that so many people do not realize this. The US invaded and occupied a foreign country without cause, murdering people at will, apparently just for the hell of it.

    Glorification of the military is rampant in America, and blending that with the ignorance that christianity encourages leads to a uniquely American brand of fanaticism.

    Why do they hate us? Watch this video and open your eyes. I have no doubt that most Americans will remain oblivious to this particular incident, and if they accidentally find out about it most will explain it away as an “accident”. The most idiotic among us will say “why are you blaming america first?”. Statements like that are only made by complete morons.

  25. #25 n1l0c2501
    April 5, 2010

    As someone else posted on the comments for this video, it makes me wonder how many other incidents like this have taken place that we’ve never heard about.

  26. #26 tziedel
    April 5, 2010

    Full uncut version also posted by Wikileaks – no arrows, more visual details and transmissions. Horrifying.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik&feature=channel

  27. #27 Glenn G
    April 5, 2010

    “We are the storm troopers, the murderous invaders, the butchers of children, the laughing barbarians”

    You doubted this for a second about the USA professor Myers?

  28. #28 nigelTheBold
    April 5, 2010

    Saw this on Slashdot. Cried. Saw it referenced here. Want to cry again.

    Yeah. I’m a big fuckin’ bawlbaby. I get that way when I see routine atrocities.

  29. #29 nichalai
    April 5, 2010

    This is what happens when you deify the military.

    I’m all for supporting the troops that aren’t fucking worthless subhuman trash, but I unfortunately know too many of them that are.

  30. #30 BlueEyedVideot
    April 5, 2010

    This is real Christendom in action, folks. This is Jesus in all his glory.

    Game over, man. These war-lovin’, bible-thumping, jingo-freakin’ Corporations are running things. Black is white, good is evil, right is wrong.

    Oh, we are so screwed…

  31. #31 JeffreyD
    April 5, 2010

    Horrible is too soft a word, but do not feel like cursing. Being me, I watched it so can expect nightmare duty tonight. Just went through a bout of that and was getting better – my mind has been dry cleaning itself.

    It is a horror for the Iraqis and the Afghans when it happens there. It is also a horror for the soldiers who did it and they will face it in the future in their dreams and memories. War cheapens and ruins the lives of both the civilian victims and the soldiers who fire upon them.

    Yes, it can be stopped. Commanders have to issue orders about rules of engagement and what they should and can do and enforce the rules. Collateral damage does happen for real at times, but too often it is an excuse. This was not responding with fire when ambushed, adrenalin pumping and fear twanging the nerves. This was at long range and the people had time to think and look. Hell, the things I did which are justified are hard enough to face.

    Enough, need to try and switch off.

  32. #32 The ghost of Rod Serling
    April 5, 2010

    Oh, one more thing before I forget. I wrote a little show a few years before I died. Episode ten of the first season may be quite relevant in a, ‘I can’t handle the reality of this situation so I’m gonna escape into a fictional world in which justice exists’ kind of way.

    The first part can be found here (the following two parts can be found in the related videos section) … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2LLPmqzgSE

  33. #33 Aquaria
    April 5, 2010

    #1:

    This is what happens when you go to war, and especially when you go to war with an idiot leading the charge from the White House. Even if some other war happy prick put us in this mess, it would have happened, because we went to war for the wrong reasons, without proper planning, without anything guiding the CiC except OIL FEAR KILL OIL FEAR KILL OIL FEAR KILL OIL FEAR KILL. Anyone who had been in the military who wasn’t a retard ideologue could see this coming.

    That’s why Iraqi human rights was one of the first items I brought up when I was at my Congressman’s office to let the prick know how moronic this Iraq thing would be. I asked him what would be done if the soldiers committed another My Lai, which would inevitably happen in war, so it had to be addressed. Did we want that on our consciences, especially if we went to war for the wrong reasons. Do you know what answer I and other concerned citizens got?

    “Our military is a more professional fighting force now.”

    He didn’t even hesitate to say it.

    This is ignorance at best, and at worst denial of reality on a dangerous scale. This incredible mentality is what creates My Lai, Abu Ghraib, and this incident. The rot starts at the head, as the old saying goes, and this travesty started with half the body already rotten from cynicism, narcissism, and flat out greed.

    As soon as I heard that remark, I knew we were facing another Vietnam, because we had learned nothing from its mistakes–or its misery.

  34. #34 dboy
    April 5, 2010

    “This is real Christendom in action, folks. This is Jesus in all his glory.”

    Echo that! This is the real face of christianity in action.

  35. #35 andrew h
    April 5, 2010

    “We are the storm troopers, the murderous invaders, the butchers of children, the laughing barbarians.”

    hasn’t it been this way for centuries? it’s not news. it’s been going on since we got here. we Americans have never been the good guys. come to grips with it and keep your head down.

    on the other hand, Jessica Alba has never adopted a baby before. this is *news*.

  36. #36 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    “This is real Christendom in action, folks. This is Jesus in all his glory.”

    Echo that! This is the real face of christianity in action.

    Onward Christian soldiers.

  37. #37 Katrina
    April 5, 2010

    Saw it this morning on Rachel Maddow’s blog. I expect there will be mention of it on her show tonight.

  38. #38 Ol'Greg
    April 5, 2010

    “C’mon, all you gotta do is pick up a weapon…”

    Sport killing.

    Up high, looking down on them through a screen, and needing nothing but the pretense of suspicion of weapons as a reason. I imagine this happens a lot more than we will ever know.

    Apparently picking up a weapon wasn’t needed though. Coming to a dying man’s aid was enough.

  39. #39 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 5, 2010

    Onward Christian soldiers.

    I can’t remember how many times Christian TV programing have said that this war will bring Christianity to the middle east. Jesus did say he brought a sword.

  40. #40 David Marjanovi?
    April 5, 2010

    Absolutely read the Guardian article mentioned above.

    And while you’re at it, read another Guardian article and watch the video in it. It’s about the <headdesk> stuff that was dropped on Falluja and its <headdesk> effects.

  41. #41 mothra
    April 5, 2010

    I have no intention of watching the macabre video. When did this incident occur?

  42. #42 Jimmy-boy
    April 5, 2010

    Without wanting to sound superior in anyway here (there’s nothing to be smug about in this) but did anyone reading this blog (of all places) have any doubt that this is what your troops (and far too often, ours [UK]) are like? This is what they are like. Stressed and trained to kill mercilessly and with impunity. What do you think happens at Guantanamo?

    And let it make us utterly determined that we will do everything we can to stop our troops being deployed overseas ever again. This is what troops do in poor countries with dysfunctional Governments. This is not news though…

  43. #43 Prometheus
    April 5, 2010

    This will get covered in the media for certain.

    I don’t think it is a fair inference that the helicopters saw the children or that the cameras were not Klashnikovs and RPGs.

    The jovial mood that soldiers have in face of the horrors of far is despicable.

    Islamic militant groups do have a habit of brinking noncombatants with them so it makes the US look bad. This is the essence of the soldier’s comment on the children: The Islamists killed them long before the soldiers fired a bullet.

    Of course, we know know that the van was not full of militants and the inference was not valid at the time. The firing on the van should not have occurred, and indicates the soldier behaved barbarically.

    More telling than all this would be what the military procedures are for this sort of engagement. If the helicopter guy violated procedures, that would be small injustice in a war ordinarily fought with more regard for civilians. If the helicopter guy followed procedures than we don’t need to see it on video to know that it happens all the time everywhere.

  44. #44 Seth
    April 5, 2010

    Remember this video the next time you fill up your gas tank or gripe about the cost of gasoline.

    This is the reality of war. Stupid, senseless, murderous, insane, cruel war.

    Sometimes you have to go to war. Most of the time, however, you don’t.

    Iraq is one of the “you don’t have to” examples.

    But we’re there – dammit – and our only intelligent move is to get the hell out of there asap.

  45. #45 Demonhype
    April 5, 2010

    dboy @ 24:

    This has been my point for years, and it’s frustrating how people deflect it. That deflection is part of the problem and the first part that needs to be fixed before anything else can be done. Much like the “War” on Drugs, it’s turned into a witch hunt against anyone who offers legitimate criticism. Criticize the witch-finders and you will be in the defense stand. Criticize the anti-drug zealots and their methods and you are marked as an addict by definition. Criticize the troops and you are marked as an inhuman monster who hates the troops and should be forcibly impressed into the military, deported, or even killed. (I’ve been hit with all three numerous times.)

    How the fuck can we begin to fix this if any criticism of the military is drowned out in a sea of ignorant patriotism? How can you fix any problem when legitimate criticism is punished severely or simply shut down? How can you make anything better when the very act of asking a simple question is anathema? (very similar to religion over the ages, actually)

    I haven’t watched it yet. I want to wait for my dad so I have some damn moral support. Some part of me doesn’t want to see it, but I feel it’s important.

    I’m thinking of it this way: if it’s hard for me to watch, imagine how much harder it is for the people who were gunned down on their own streets? And how can anything be done if this is ignored because it’s “too distressing” to watch? If I can’t even be prevailed upon to suffer the distress of being informed (at minimum), then how will this sort of thing not continue to happen again and again forever?

    I’m glad BBC is covering it at least (or so someone commented). It’s disgusting that in all the deified-military cheerleading the media can’t be bothered to report on something that’s actually relevant, if not pleasant or fitting in with the bizarro-world they’re trying to sell us.

  46. #47 JSug
    April 5, 2010

    Apparently, the truth is a threat to national security.

  47. #48 David Marjanovi?
    April 5, 2010

    It’s been top story on Al Jazeera English for most of the day…

    Of course, I can easily provide the link to that article. It goes without saying that the video is on the Arabic front page, too.

    As soon as I heard that remark, I knew we were facing another Vietnam, because we had learned nothing from its mistakes–or its misery.

    What’s the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?

    Fearless Flightsuit had an exit strategy for Vietnam. That’s what.

  48. #49 lautrec85
    April 5, 2010

    Wow, I remember having been in a couple of demonstrations against this–7 years ago. It was 2003 alright, the same year America murdered José Couso, a spanish journalist, by bombing down the hotel where he and many other journalists from all over the world were placed. Thank good we got a new president that got us out of that illegal, hideous invasion as soon as he could.

    The rest of the world have been watching what’s been happening in America last year. We thought your president would create some hope not only for domestic issues but also for the neverending hell of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine.

  49. #50 Aquaria
    April 5, 2010

    #43:

    How about this for how well clear the video was, and how the photographers can be clearly identified from the footage?

    n the recording, the helicopter crews can be heard discussing the scene on the street below. One American claims to have spotted six people with AK-47s and one with a rocket-propelled grenade. It is unclear if some of the men are armed but Noor-Eldeen can be seen with a camera. Chmagh is talking on his mobile phone.

    One of the helicopter crew is then heard saying that one of the group is shooting. But the video shows there is no shooting or even pointing of weapons. The men are standing around, apparently unperturbed.

    The lead helicopter, using the moniker Crazyhorse, opens fire. “Hahaha. I hit ‘em,” shouts one of the American crew. Another responds a little later: “Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.”

  50. #51 Andyo
    April 5, 2010

    Patriotism is a bug, not a feature.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I wonder how our American rationalists and atheists feel about this. I don’t see it mentioned too much. Patriotism (not only chauvinistic nationalism, which is obviously worse) has bugged me for years, almost as much as religion, but it doesn’t seem to bother other people.

  51. #52 hagnes10
    April 5, 2010

    Hurrah for the freedom fighters!

  52. #53 ChrisD
    April 5, 2010

    The people who did this are fools with a will to survive. Combatants often stand out in the open after spotting an attack helicopter? Fuck me sideways if they do. Their was or should have been reasonable doubt per their actual intent.

    What the victims did wrong won’t excuse the manslaughter, but the one fatal error made was the camera man ducking around a corner aiming some black thing at a military vehicle suspiciously. If I was in the chopper with them I would have some increased fear for my safety at that point, yes.

    What I imagine is the most grotesque thing about it is the bloodlust, the callous disregard for human life, the lack of remorse, the sickening inhumane comments afterward. Yet I suppose they have to compartmentalize like that when they murder for a living.

  53. #54 Rebelest
    April 5, 2010

    David Marjanovic wrote:

    “PZ, why do you keep saying “we”? You are not in the army or in Blackwater, you’re not a congresscritter who voted for the illegal war, you most likely didn’t even vote for any of those congresscritters…”

    Because he’s a citizen of the United States of America and pays taxes most of which go to prop up it’s bloated, murderous military machine.

  54. #55 zhcchz
    April 5, 2010

    #1 you can see an annotated timeline here: http://www.collateralmurder.com/en/timeline.html

  55. #56 David Marjanovi?
    April 5, 2010

    When did this incident occur?

    July 2007, as it says in the Guardian article, the BBC article, the Aljazeera article…

  56. #57 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 5, 2010

    I have never understood the reasons for invading Iraq. However I knew as soon as the US did invade that incidents like this would take place with some frequency.

  57. #58 nichalai
    April 5, 2010

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/12/AR2007071202357.html

    Here’s an article from the American media describing the fight in the video.


    During the fighting, an Apache helicopter fired bursts of 30mm rounds toward several people who had been directing machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades at U.S. soldiers. The helicopter also fired on a silver Toyota minivan in the area as several people approached the vehicle, soldiers said.

  58. #59 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    The incident just makes me sick. I can barely focus.

    There was another blog that posted this that got swarmed with defenders rushing to defend the unjustifiable, find some way that an atrocity could be nice and legal, understandable, merely “unfortunate”.

    It sickened me even more. There is a rot at the center of American culture, an idea of toxic masculinity built upon the deaths of the weaker, the different. It is a drive so strong that many wanted to dissuade any detractors who ever say war is fundamentally a bad thing. That these atrocities are a part of war and why war shouldn’t be a fucking dalliance of occupation and aggressive invasion.

    Even in the last “good war” for America, we committed atrocities like they were going out of style. Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Japanese internment camps. And that’s before a thousand incidents on the ground like this that we’ll never know about.

    Even this would have disappeared, only to have been known by “our enemies” that we would have responded to in a daze “how could they hate us” if not for the victims being our own, our hired reporters.

    This rot doesn’t just stop with the Bush junta, this goes through our society. This careful seeking of the indefensible is heightened, unleashed in the chaos of war, but it’s built of the racism and fear of the other seen in lynch mobs and teabagger protests. The rapes of war are built in the sexism of the rapes at home. And the belated justifications and “acceptable targets” are so often felt in the dead bodies of “its”, I mean trans people, and also hookers.

    And again, I feel sick not only that this occurs and we can’t seem to get anyone of political will to stop it, get our troops out or build any framework to prevent the next “wargasm”-style invasion on flimsy pretense, but how it reveals the depravity in our fellow citizens who will do anything to try and erase this incident, what it means, about us and about war.

    In short, we suck.

  59. #60 Samia
    April 5, 2010

    I lived in the US at the beginning of this war. One friend, who was otherwise smart, supported it. ‘When will you leave?’ I asked her ‘And how will this be different from a colony?’ ‘Oh’ she replied ‘we would never accept becoming a colonial power’.

    That this depth of naďveté could exist in an otherwise thoughtful and throughly educated person…I have to say I learned a lot that day.

  60. #61 David Marjanovi?
    April 5, 2010

    Because he’s a citizen of the United States of America and pays taxes most of which go to prop up it’s bloated, murderous military machine.

    That’s not his fault.

    It could at most be called his fault if it stays that way because he’s not doing enough against it… but so far, it looks like he is doing against it what he can.

  61. #62 Feynmaniac
    April 5, 2010

    Reuters is now covering it:

    Leaked U.S. video shows Iraq deaths, including Reuters staff

    Interesting:

    Video of the incident from two U.S. Apache helicopters and photographs taken of the scene were shown to Reuters editors in Baghdad on July 25, 2007 in an off-the-record briefing.

  62. #63 Ol'Greg
    April 5, 2010

    DavidM, I read about and saw photographs from Fallujah not long after the battle where the white phosphorus was dropped. Horrifying. I’m not surprised that there are long lasting effects. It seems like after three wars where we used weapons that cause 20 years of birth defects, poisoned suffering civilians, and latent deaths from cancers and various syndromes… you’d think we’d quit it.

    What’s the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?

    The American public at large cared more.

  63. #64 PenguinFactory
    April 5, 2010

    I watched the video creafully since I like to be informed before making judgement calls. To give the soldiers the benefit of the doubt the guy rouching behind the wall was acting pretty suspisciously, and I can see why someone in a helicopter would freak out over the threat of being fired at with an RPG, but the crowd they actually fired into was quite clearly made up of unarmed people.

    The van bit was even more insane- what possible threat could a few guys picking up bodies have posed to the helicopter? The fact that they took the time to track down and shoot unarmed people who had run away from the blast is just mind-blowing. Seriously, what was going through their heads at the time?

    And then there’s the blatent lie thatno innocent civilians were killed deliberately. The soldiers quite clearly fired at a crowd of unarmed people and then chased down fleeing survivors. And as for how the children were injured….. well how do you think it happened? The giant gun firing at their van might have had something to do with it.

  64. #65 Darren Garrison
    April 5, 2010

    People, people, people! We need to SUPPORT our troops!

    A good, strong rope would support them nicely.

  65. #66 Steve LaBonne
    April 5, 2010

    What an appropriate time for this post, for yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of Martin Luther King’s great “Beyond Vietnam” speech.
    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm

    One of the greatest people this country has produced tried to teach us- but we’re still not willing to listen.

  66. #67 acr228
    April 5, 2010

    Not to defend the actions of the pilots but as for someone who has seen many an AK and RPG the people did look like they were carrying weapons. The way they were carrying their camera’s look like AK’s slung on the shoulder and being carried by one hand. The guy who also pokes his head around the corner carrying an object also looks like an RPG launcher.

    After that though is where things break down extremely fast. Since there were no American forces in the immediate area they should have continued to observe instead of requesting permission to engage and there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse to fire upon the van. ROE at the time was positive identification of target before engaging and as soon as you lose the PID you are no longer supposed to engage. They didn’t have PID. They only had suspicions.

    The ROE’s suck but they are in place to protect the civilian population. What I mean by the ROE’s suck is that if you’re engaged you can’t fire back if you can’t ID the source. You can get shot at, know the general area it came from but because you don’t see the man who was just shooting at you holding a weapon in his hand anymore you can’t do anything about it. Failure to follow the ROE’s results severe punishment for junior enlisted. Hell, the higher ups will try to fry you for following the ROE’s. Not so much if your senior enlisted and these pilots where anything but junior enlisted, most likely Warrant Officers, not the teenagers the ghost of rod serling automatically assumes.

    Those pilots violated the ROE’s plain and simple as did higher who gave them permission to engage. They’ll get off easily because they are warrant officers/officers.

  67. #68 David Marjanovi?
    April 5, 2010

    I have never understood the reasons for invading Iraq.

    Fearless Flightsuit wanted to be a war president (even before 9/11), Richard the Lying-Hearted wanted oil, Faux wanted news… I think it’s all very simple.

  68. #69 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    I wonder how our American rationalists and atheists feel about this. I don’t see it mentioned too much.

    I’ve never really understood patriotism either. I support freedoms, not countries. Patriotism is just another way for people to split humanity into us vs them instead of realizing that, for better or worse, we’re all in this together.

  69. #70 mothra
    April 5, 2010

    Thank you David. The closest to ‘good news’ here is that there are fewer U.S. and ‘coalition’ troops in Iraq today than in 2007. Does nothing for the victims though.

    On the collateral damage front, these horrific acts will also supersede the RCC child rape, cover-up and not-pology stories and so enable a different corrupt and immoral organization to survive a bit longer.

  70. #71 Ordeneus
    April 5, 2010

    This is pretty sick, but I think you have to expect that this is happening ALL the time. Were it not for these being reporters I’m sure this would never have come out.

    Americans are occupiers, torturers, killers. In your name this happens…

  71. #72 davem
    April 5, 2010

    when I saw the video (the full one), I thought I saw two armed men, and several unarmed (the photographers and others). There also seemed to be a a guy with an RPG (he peered down the street, pointing the weapon in the same direction).

    One can understand why an anxious gunner thought that they might be combatants. Ok, so far it’s a bad mistake.

    However, when the civilians come to pick up the wounded (only one left alive), the f***g gunner can’t wait to kill some more – he keeps repeating that ‘they are picking up the bodies, can I engage’, which is an obvious lie.

    Later on, it’s perfectly clear that the men in the building destroyed were all unarmed. As he shoots, there is a passer-by walking past the building.

    The worst bit is when they all have a good laugh as the tank goes over a body. Hilarious.

    Fuck Tony Blair for dragging us into that shit with allies like that. I’m reminded that the majority of British dead in the war were killed by Americans.

  72. #73 Menyambal
    April 5, 2010
  73. #74 Doug
    April 5, 2010

    Are these Christopher Hitchens’ “brave men and women”?
    Is this the collateral damage that Sam Harris makes excuses for in “The End of Faith”?

  74. #75 Happy Tentacles
    April 5, 2010

    That was utterly horrifying. Does anybody know what happened to the children?

  75. #76 amk.myopenid.com
    April 5, 2010

    Glenn Greenwald has a timely post discussing the propaganda-like US media war coverage. He mostly discusses an Afghan example, linking to this in an update.

  76. #77 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    And for those commenting about “well maybe I could understand”, this is at the root of the banality of evil. We get so used to it. Oh, yes, there would be a great reason to gun down underarmed people first for no reason and keep firing, there would have to be, cause otherwise, we’re just committing evil to avoid admitting a mistake and every time we approve a war, we will see a thousand atrocities. Or even start viewing war itself as an atrocity.

    Evil is not all powerful, evil is banal. Something we’ll slip into because it’s in the culture, everywhere. And only the long scope of time will truly make us see how vile we used to be.

  77. #78 Ziggy66
    April 5, 2010

    Dugg! at http://digg.com/political_opinion/We_have_seen_evil_and_it_is_us_Pharyngula

    I’m still in tears, this just makes me angry!

  78. #79 Feynmaniac
    April 5, 2010

    YEah, that guy on the tape anxious to shoot reminds me of a quote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life:

    Better than staying at home, eh sir! At home if you kill someone they arrest you. Here they give you a gun, and show you what to do, sir. I mean, I killed fifteen of those buggers sir! Now at home they’d hang me. *Here* they give me a fucking medal sir!

  79. #80 WP
    April 5, 2010

    An AK-47 and RPG are clearly visible at 3:45 if you bother to look, taking out the group was perfectly legit. As for the van, if it where marked then that would have been a clear cut war crime, but it wasn’t and as such has no protective status. Personally I would have never fired on it, but ultimately until you surrender you are still in the fight. Being wounded does not make one not dangerous.

    Lastly, as far as I know the ROE from day one stipulated that anyone injured from a US or coalition asset was automatically granted treatment at the CSH. Maybe that was changed prior to 2007, but still bad judgment on the commander’s part to say the least.

  80. #81 Bobber
    April 5, 2010

    This is what empires do. Somehow Americans have never gotten over the myth of their “divine mission”, that somehow we are special, and that very specialness makes us immune to the excesses of militaristic imperialism.

    I’ve often thought that if we’d learned the lessons from the Philippines, Vietnam might not have happened. Now I despair that we just learned the wrong lesson.

  81. #82 aratina cage
    April 5, 2010

    All I want to know is when the killers and their enablers are going to be arrested, prosecuted, and locked up for this war crime. I have significant doubts that the Obama Administration will do jack shit about it (other than go after Wikileaks) now that it is public knowledge, but they should.

  82. #83 MAJeff, OM
    April 5, 2010

    This is what empires do. Somehow Americans have never gotten over the myth of their “divine mission”, that somehow we are special, and that very specialness makes us immune to the excesses of militaristic imperialism.

    Yup. We believe our own PR, despite all evidence.

  83. #84 https://me.yahoo.com/a/AKp_B_gSkpRDRUl5yBtgnnB0OHZG#94c23
    April 5, 2010

    WP beat me to the punch.

    Yes, if you advance the video to about 3:51, and look at the two guys standing in front of the (telephone?) pole, you can see one guy clearly toting a long object that appears to be an RPG, and the other guy (in the striped shirt) lazily swinging something which looks an awful lot like a rifle.

    So saying that the entire group was unarmed is dishonest. That being said, I still found the soldiers’ scorched-earth attitude ghastly and over-the-top.

    –Raynfala

  84. #85 Ziggy66
    April 5, 2010

    CBS News just aired a report and showed SOME of this footage. They left out the part about the children.

  85. #86 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    Ol’Greg @ 63:

    What’s the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?

    The American public at large cared more.

    True, at least to a point. There was more outcry against the Vietnam war. One of the legacies of the Vietnam war is the current “support the troops” meme. That came about as a result of the way Vietnam vets were treated upon returning home. There’s been a large shift to blind patriotism once again, where people don’t want to hear any sort of criticism; all it gets is a “love it or leave it!” or “do you want the terrorists to win?!” bumper sticker screed back.

    I remember the outrage over the My Lai massacre. It’s sad indeed that there seems to be very little outrage over atrocities now.

  86. #87 Alpinist
    April 5, 2010

    This was posted over at Reddit by a person who was there (soldier in Iraq):

    –quote:

    War is an ugly, atrocious action. Bad things happen every day; good things only rarely. It’s a waste of money, time, potential, and especially lives. What’s in this video is distasteful to say the least, but it’s also intentionally inflammatory (presumably so WL gets more clicks, and we all obliged them). This video is from a period of increasing, and increasingly violent, action by insurgents. Mortar and rocket attacks, IEDs/EFPs, executions in the most grotesque manner, were all becoming the norm.

    The men you hear are reacting to stress from a variety of sources: lack of sleep because of indirect fire attacks, stress from friends being WIA/KIA, stress from feeling little support from the Iraqis at that time, from being away from home and family. In all that stress, they still behaved according to the rules of engagement. They positively identified small arms (which are a threat) and misidentified an RPG. Had I not known, I would also have called out RPG. It unfortunately looks like it, and that was amplified by the pose he took. WL added in captions to let you know there were cameras to amplify outrage, but having flown around Baghdad in helos everything looks like a threat after they shoot at you.

    Shooting the van was also justifiable because the “insurgents” were going to collect their wounded and weapons. Clearly the aircrew were wrong, but not unjustifiably and probably only in hindsight. They followed the ROEs, received approval to fire, and did so efficiently. Further, the initial statements that said they were engaged with a violent group also does not strike me as “cover up.” If you’ve ever been involved with an emergency situation you know the first reports out are usually wrong. The later reports, however, I find repugnant. Events like this make me want to stay in the military because I don’t want the bastards trying to cover up what was a horrific mistake thinking I won’t be right over their shoulder next time.

    I have found virtually all the military members I was with in Iraq serious, professional (at least on duty!), and genuinely concerned for civilians. You saw the soldiers running out with the kids. Genuine concern there, from fathers, older brothers, cousins that know kids like that back home. The amount of work we did to keep civilians out of harms way was breathtaking sometimes because it put us in much more vulnerable situations. I’m good with that. I signed up, they didn’t. As for the attitude and demeanor of the aircrew, yep, it’s stomach-turning. I did see this on occasion, and it’s not something I’ve seen many redditors say they teach you in training. It’s a defense mechanism to deal with the privations and violence you see. Dehumanizing the enemy makes it easier to deal with it. If you’ve never read or seen a synopsis of On Killing you absolutely should. That’s why running over a body was seemingly funny. I’m ashamed to say I’ve had similar gut reactions of really terrible things, and like those guys I feel awful about it when I reflect.

    This post isn’t to justify the killings, but hopefully to tone down some of the hyperbole. It’s a terrible tragedy; it’s a waste; I’d love to see us out of Iraq as soon as feasible. It’s not a war crime. It’s not 18-year-old kids just wanting to kill people for the fun of it. Now, let’s all be pissed together that it took this long to get the real story out. OK, too long of a ramble but I needed to get it off my chest.

    –end quote

  87. #88 amk.myopenid.com
    April 5, 2010

    Some posts further up try to link this to Christianity. Having watched the video there is no reason to make that link. This is secular brutality.

    Patriotism is in-group bias, with group membership predicated on national identity. More poetic definitions (“the patriot wishes to make his country better”) are wishful thinking, and rationalisations.

    The pedant in me wants to say that the Abrams is not a tank. It’s an infantry fighting vehicle: like an armoured personal carrier but more heavily armed.

  88. #89 redmjoel
    April 5, 2010

    Perhaps this will cause some of the outrage of the My Lai Massacre, and finally turn public opinion against the wars. Of course, one would have though the Abu Ghraib would have had the same effect.

  89. #90 Alpinist
    April 5, 2010

    @ #88:

    “The pedant in me wants to say that the Abrams is not a tank. It’s an infantry fighting vehicle: like an armoured personal carrier but more heavily armed.”

    The pedant in me wants to say that it was a Bradley IFV in the video, and that an Abrams IS a tank.

  90. #91 Valdyr
    April 5, 2010

    Personally I would have never fired on it, but ultimately until you surrender you are still in the fight.

    What fight? Please tell me what part of the video shows any of these people doing anything more than crouching at the corner of a building and peering down the street while holding an unidentified black object. And please tell me how the danger from one, maybe two guys with AK-47s is so great to a couple of Apaches hundreds or thousands of feet away that justifies ripping a group of people standing around unawares to shreds with 30mm cannon fire.

    How do you surrender to a attack helicopter that mows you down while you’re talking on your cellphone doing nothing wrong?

  91. #92 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 5, 2010

    Some posts further up try to link this to Christianity. Having watched the video there is no reason to make that link. This is secular brutality.

    No, Christianity has a lot to do with. It isn’t the sole factor, for sure, but the Christianization of the military and the militarization of Christianity supports this kind of action. Look at how evangelicals are picking up on military imagery to promote their cause. Look at how they use the invasion as a way to spread their religion. Look at how they glorify the war as a righteous act against heathens. With this kind of attitude, soldiers than see this as a justification to act violently against their enemy. There are a lot of patriots who are evangelical Christians. They believe America has so divine right to invade a heathen country like that.

  92. #93 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkK3Cosm9nnFw8tuX2VjPQYU5NY0754clw
    April 5, 2010

    The Guardian may have reported it, but using absurdly understated wording.

    “Wikileaks video prompts US criticism”

    Shouldn’t that be “US soldiers massacre civilians?”

    “Footage of July 2007 attack made public as Pentagon identifies website as threat to national security”

    National security my ass. Soulless idiots that carry out actions like this are threats to world security. Why not focus on the right things? That’ll be the day.

  93. #94 Steve LaBonne
    April 5, 2010

    It’s not a war crime.

    In the end I’m afraid can’t agree with this, but I do say we should never forget that by far the biggest war criminals are the politicians who sent these kids there.

  94. #95 Cath the Canberra Cook
    April 5, 2010

    Jingoism isn’t patriotism.

  95. #96 tutone21
    April 5, 2010

    The question I have is, What did we expect? I served for 4 years in the Marine Corps (1996 – 2000) as a machine gunner. What I can tell you from my experience is that our best and brightest (the US) aren’t the ones enlisting in our Armed Forces. Now, I loved my brothers very much, and still do, but the truth is we weren’t even given the choice to think for ourselves even if we wanted to. The men and women in uniform likely had 2 choices. Enlist or work at Long John Silvers. Get the Fuck out of Po’dunk nowhere and try and start a life for yourself! At 18 and no $ for college, it was an easy decision. Luckily I didn’t have to kill anyone and no one was trying to kill me.

    We are killing people for natural resources. People that have rocks to defend themselves and cars that barely run. If they have weapons it’s because we (the US) probably gave them the weapons. This is all being carried out by the people that avoided taking your order at Taco Bell, but still share the same skill set.

    How do we stop it? Who can we rely on to say, “this isn’t okay with me.” They have to be on the inside seeing what happens in Iraq everyday don’t they? The men and women there are all “Patriotic” duty-bound soldiers that will be seen by their peers as “Huge fucking pussies” if they choose to speak out against this type of behavior.

    I FEEL HELPLESS!!!

  96. #97 ChrisD
    April 5, 2010

    An AK-47 and RPG are clearly visible at 3:45 if you bother to look, taking out the group was perfectly legit.

    Clearly they also weren’t being fired upon. At all. Also, when did it become OK to kill people who simply have weapons, who you have no ability to contact and warn them to disarm? Even if you are correct in your assumption that those were weapons, I want to know why you think it’s necessary to kill people who carry weapons in an area of the world beset on all sides by violence. They could have been bodyguards. They could just be civilians arming themselves. If our second amendment is so great, maybe we should allow it to apply in the areas we’re illegally invading.

  97. #98 hitblade
    April 5, 2010

    Wow, that sucks.

    However, on this crappy video, I can’t see any difference between a camera, an AK47, and a spatula, and the guy on the corner really looks like he has an RPG. Perhaps people who have been shot at by guys on street corners with RPGs, or know people who have, are prone to false positives? Especially hopped up on adrenaline! In places where guys with RPGs happen!
    If someone told you that it was a video of americans gunning down actual combatants, could you tell the difference? If the victims were actually going to shoot down the helicopter, would you still be outraged?
    The kids are barely visible, I didn’t see them and I even knew they were there before I started the video, I was looking for them. Their heads are like 2 pixels wide in b/w.
    People get desensitized, it’s natural, stop whining when soldiers are happy after killing a bunch of people. Yes, it looks really unreal to the rest of us, but this is their job.

    However(2), they are just walking around, talking on their phones. They don’t look anything like soldiers. And the guy they said was going to shoot them with an RPG, why didn’t he move when the helicopter went behind the building? the whole “he is getting ready to fire” thing doesn’t make sense. And if he actually DID fire an RPG from there, he would have bbq’d everyone behind him. It doesn’t make sense.
    CAN’T THEY READ THE TEXT WITH THE ARROWS!? :D

    However(3), they really seem to believe there were guys with RPGs and AK47s that were aiming at them. Why would they shoot them if they were civilians? This doesn’t make sense either.

    So, how about cutting the soldiers some slack instead of judging them by a crappy video. And aim your flame at the faggots who are trying to cover this up.

    If these helicopter dudes were just too stupid, I hope they get sent home to flip burgers or something. If they are monsters, like most seem to think, i hope they crash and burn. If not, I hope they can find some way to deal with it before they lose they become any of the above.

    This video makes me hate the following:
    Warmongering
    Politicians
    Cover ups
    Stupid people
    War
    And people who see this and go “omg they murder innocent people! even children!”
    Mankind in general

    Peace.

  98. #99 Utakata
    April 5, 2010

    “An AK-47 and RPG are clearly visible at 3:45 if you bother to look, taking out the group was perfectly legit. As for the van, if it where marked then that would have been a clear cut war crime, but it wasn’t and as such has no protective status. Personally I would have never fired on it, but ultimately until you surrender you are still in the fight. Being wounded does not make one not dangerous.”

    Presuming what you said is true, I don’t care if they where waving around fracking ICBMs, WP @ #80, killing people hostile or otherwise is never legit. Killing bystanders is even less. Idiot!

  99. #100 gravityloss.wordpress.com
    April 5, 2010

    This made me think earlier already, probably in ways it was not intended to do: http://www.thewarriorsong.com/video.html

  100. #101 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 5, 2010

    And aim your flame at the faggots who are trying to cover this up.

    Just who the fuck do you think you are, and just where the fuck do you think you’re posting? Watch your mouth.

  101. #102 ChrisD
    April 5, 2010

    shitblade

    stop whining when soldiers are happy after killing a bunch of people.

    I don’t. I simply mourn the loss of their humanity.

  102. #103 Feynmaniac
    April 5, 2010

    As for the van, if it where marked then that would have been a clear cut war crime, but it wasn’t and as such has no protective status.

    Wow, some of the excuses….

  103. #105 khaos.theorem
    April 5, 2010

    I honestly don’t understand how anyone could be surprised by any brutality done by our, or any other, volunteer military. It is entirely full of people who signed a contract that says that they are willing to kill people for money.

    I wouldn’t want to not have a military. I understand the need. I just can’t understand why people seem to worship and give adulation to what are literally hired killers.

    These people did what they are paid to do: kill. The only part that deems investigation is whether they killed the people we did not direct them to and if they did it in proscribed way.

  104. #106 cjmackay01
    April 5, 2010

    Ah yes, but at least we managed to impose a constitution anyone would be proud of!

    http://www.ihec.iq/content/file/cor_laws/iraqi_constitution_en.pdf

  105. #107 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    hitblade:

    So, how about cutting the soldiers some slack instead of judging them by a crappy video.

    No, I don’t think I will. Unlike you, I use my brain, whereas you rely on blind patriotism and shit pulled from your ass.

    And aim your flame at the faggots who are trying to cover this up.

    Watch your mouth, you ignoramus.

  106. #108 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 5, 2010

    Sorry all for making my first post on this thread about hitblade’s “faggot” remark. I’m dumbstruck with horror at this video, and can’t even compose a coherent post. That just tipped me over the edge for its sheer nasty gratuitousness, but the real horror is in this video.

  107. #109 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    ChrisD @102

    Yes.

    It is tragic, the loss of humanity in the killers, how their souls get drained in the chaos of war. It’s why we SHOULDN’T fucking engage in it like it was the Superclassico and we hope our team will score a magical goal that’ll make all our dicks hard and bring purpose to sad little lives.

    War murders the weak, gives excuse for the petty tyrants, slaughters living, breathing, loving humans by the thousands, and drains the humanity of even the side with the moral high ground.

    And when we don’t even have that…

    There is no end to the atrocities you’ll get your people to support to avoid thinking about that. Yeah, sure, torture some people in Abu Ghraib, kill random cameramen and beg for a chance to keep shooting, anything to keep me from realizing that I’m one of the baddies.

  108. #110 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    That just tipped me over the edge for its sheer nasty gratuitousness, but the real horror is in this video.

    That’s fine by me. It irked me much more than usual too.

  109. #111 davem
    April 5, 2010

    WP:

    Being wounded does not make one not dangerous.

    Wtf? Being wounded, clearly not being armed, and being horizontal, in the arms of two other unarmed guys, and he’s still dangerous? Fuckwit.

  110. #112 WP
    April 5, 2010

    If anybody wants to rewind four years and debate the merits of OIF then fine, do so. Personally I thought at the time, and still do, that it was an unjustified and foolish endeavor, and that whatever good that may have resulted would be utterly dwarfed by the massive destruction and human suffering that the process was sure to entail. If someone says otherwise I’ll debate them all night, but I’m not going to waste my time in a pointless discussion of basic military realities with people who at all appearances have never been in combat and have no serious interest in the matter.

  111. #113 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    Prometheus: I don’t think it is a fair inference that the helicopters saw the children or that the cameras were not Klashnikovs and RPGs.

    I don’t see how you can have it both ways. If they had a clear enough view to distinguish a camera from an RPG — which one would have to be able to distinguish to justify shooting on civilians in an urban center who aren’t pointing anything at you — then you can see the kids in the van.

    I couldn’t even understand why the gunner kept on talking about eight men with AK’s (multiple) and RPG’s from the video. You can’t see a damn thing, other than one man or two appear to be carrying something. Was he just making shit up for the recording? Was he insane, seeing AK’s that weren’t there in his mind?

    The helicopter is perfectly safe. There are no troops on the ground that need immediate assistance. This is just civilians milling around, with the unconfirmed possibility that someone might have a weapon in a city in the middle of a civil war.

    Are these our “rules of engagement”? Shoot if you have a suspicion that someone might be your enemy? In an urban zone? When all your troops are safe, and you can perfectly well stay out of range until you have real confirmation? Is the plan to just kill anyone who might be a “militant” — screw the costs in civilian lives?

    Isn’t that the very definition of a war-crime — to engage in war without any consideration for civilians?

  112. #114 amk.myopenid.com
    April 5, 2010

    Gravityloss,

    This made me think earlier already, probably in ways it was not intended to do: http://www.thewarriorsong.com/video.html
    This made me think earlier already, probably in ways it was not intended to do: http://www.thewarriorsong.com/video.html

    Ugh. For a more sensible comment on the “warrior”, I offer Hericletus:
    ?Out of every 100 men you send me to fight, 10 should not even be here, 80 are nothing but targets, 9 are real fighters ? we are fortunate to have them ? they the battle make. Ah, but the one, one of them is a warrior. And he will bring the others home.?

  113. #115 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 5, 2010

    Wtf? Being wounded, clearly not being armed, and being horizontal, in the arms of two other unarmed guys, and he’s still dangerous? Fuckwit.

    This. Seriously – what the hell? “Whoa there – no second chances for you! We meant to kill you dead the first time, so don’t even bother crawling away.” It’s depraved. It’s as if those fuckers in the helicopter were offended that their quarry had the audacity to still be alive, to struggle for his life.

    Sometimes I hate humanity so. Watching this has affected me far worse than I would have thought. Were I religious, I’d describe it as feeling like a piece of my soul was killed. Damn it, damn it.

  114. #116 hznfrst
    April 5, 2010

    Thanks for the warning so I can pass on watching this.

  115. #117 Ted Zissou
    April 5, 2010

    If McCain/Lieberman get their way, it can happen here.

  116. #118 AccidentalCommenter
    April 5, 2010

    This incident is definately one of the worst I’ve seen/heard of from the war in Iraq, and is an example of what happens when soldiers have been hardened and brutalised by long tours of duty and exposed to a culture of disregard to the people they’re supposed to be helping.

    A few comments however, to those who think the best thing to do is pull out- Iraq is *very* slowly clawing at some form of legitimate government, and to leave now would be to potentially throw that all away. Like it or not, rebuilding efforts in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan require security first, and the Iraqi army and police alone cannot provide that at this stage. Invading Iraq was ridiculously stupid, both from a moral and strategic perspective, but now that we’re there, we have a responsibility to try and get the best result out of it for Iraqis- and the US has been trying since the 2007 surge (which was a lot more than just throwing troops at the country) to work with Iraqi communities and the government to achive that aim. That is the other terrible thing about this incident in my opinion: that it goes completely against and does extreme harm to the overall strategy that the US and allies are trying to pursue- namely to work closely with local communities and the government in order reduce the impact of the extremists on the population.

    For anyone interested in the strategy behind Afghanistan and Iraq, and combating terrorism in general, I highly recommend The Accidental Guerilla by David Kilcullen- he makes a very good argument for what strategies we should be pursuing, both in the current situation and in future, and why incidents like this one are very detrimental to them. Current strategical thought has progressed a long way from the opening of the war; the hard part is getting forces on the ground to apply those strategies reliably in a difficult operating environment.

  117. #119 Ol'Greg
    April 5, 2010

    I’m just surprised that people are surprised by war still.

    That’s not an excuse for it.

    I don’t think the people shooting are really monsters, although my post may have sounded like it. I do think that some people do at points get pleasure or satisfaction out of it. I think that propensity is in more people than we realize so when we are confronted with it, the fact is horrifying.

    I think the pilots are acting the way that people do in war (no not all, but enough not to be surprising to me). Which is why it’s so important not to start so many damned wars.

    The most shameful thing really to me though is the attempt at cover up from the military later.

    The blatant lies about what occurred are what have me particularly upset.

  118. #120 Newfie
    April 5, 2010

    Full uncut version also posted by Wikileaks – no arrows, more visual details and transmissions. Horrifying.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik&feature=channel

    yup between..2:10 and 2:28 you can see one RPG that could have been mistaken for an AK. And then at 2:33 you can see another one, and it then being aimed at the chopper at 2:44.

  119. #121 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    I wrote this on the other blog to another crowd of “well, war, you’re not military so you wouldn’t understand, ROE” types:

    War is like the patriarchy, it sucks for everyone involved. The ?top dawgs? lose their souls. The victims, their lives.

    I guess, I just don?t want this minimized, just another ?what do we do?. What we do is we don?t fucking go into war!

    Cause, this, this is what war is. It?s not cheering parades and kisses on the docks. It?s banal atrocities, friendly fire, meaningless battles, one-sided massacres based solely on nerves or someone?s need to unleash the evils of their hearts on someone they?ve been trained to view as inhuman. It?s rapes and the destruction of societies for generations and massive PTSDs that will be taken out on the innocent for generations to come.

    And yet, so often, we treat it like some John Wayne film. Some people will do awesome special effects and then there will be cake and partying and feeling really good about how awesome it will be. And every atrocity gets swept under with ?oh, well, what do you expect, these things happen, can?t blame anyone, etc??
    It?s all connected. And things like this need to be highlighted precisely because this is war. People so cracked under stress that they?ll laugh and beg for the chance to keep gunning down a bunch of same-side reporters through a ?video game? screen. It?s banally evil.

    And the sooner the majority of Americans realize this, the sooner we can stop being quick to enter wars and slow to leave them and treat them solely as means for rich white conservatives to get their jollies off on how much the hippies are weeping.

  120. #122 hitblade
    April 5, 2010

    Fair enough ChrisD. (shitblade? I invented that)

    Caine and Josh, are you defending the people who are trying to cover this up? If you ask me, they are the really bad guys in this sad story.

    Caine again, I’m Swedish and not by any standards a patriot of any kind. I use my brain for things like relativism. If you accept the premises, you have to accept the conclusion:
    i) The helicopter crew believed they saw armed men aiming at them.
    ii) Their job is to shoot such men, if armed and aiming at them.
    ——–
    iii) Their job is to shoot those men.

    They didn’t shoot the wounded guy cus he was unarmed. They shot at the van cus they were “collecting weapons”. They assumed that the van-people were armed. I saw no evidence of this, but in the heat of battle, I assume it’s very possible to make such a mistake.
    And taken out of it’s context, “Being wounded does not make one not dangerous.” is true.

  121. #123 Rebelest
    April 5, 2010

    David Marjanovic wrote:

    “That’s not his fault.

    It could at most be called his fault if it stays that way because he’s not doing enough against it… but so far, it looks like he is doing against it what he can.”

    Whatever, David…you asked for an explanation of why Dr. Myers kept using “we”. I gave you an answer…maybe you’re just a little peeved because the answer implicates ALL US taxpayers, whether you supported the war or not(you’re just one step removed from the baby killers)!

    Of course, there is no way not to pay taxes…if you are feint of heart!

  122. #124 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 5, 2010

    @WP in #112

    “but I’m not going to waste my time in a pointless discussion of basic military realities with people who at all appearances have never been in combat and have no serious interest in the matter.”

    Bravo, thank you for reminding me why it is pointless to engage in this and similar topics on this particular blog.

  123. #125 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 5, 2010

    Caine and Josh, are you defending the people who are trying to cover this up? If you ask me, they are the really bad guys in this sad story.

    Are you seriously so fucking stupid that you don’t understand what we’re objecting to? Look at my name, for Christ’s sake. Don’t call people faggots. It’s not a general epithet to be used at people you don’t like. It’s a nasty slur. If in doubt about when to use “faggot,” see if you think subsituting “nigger” would be acceptable.

    Shithead.

  124. #126 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    hitblade:

    Caine and Josh, are you defending the people who are trying to cover this up? If you ask me, they are the really bad guys in this sad story.

    Speaking for myself, no I’m not defending those who covered it up. That would be the military. I was offended by your use of the word faggots. Unnecessary, childish and ignorant. I take it you weren’t calling those in on the cover up cigarettes, right? When you speak like that, you make yourself out to be an idiot.

    As for the rest of your assessment, I disagree.

  125. #127 MAJeff, OM
    April 5, 2010

    Caine and Josh, are you defending the people who are trying to cover this up? If you ask me, they are the really bad guys in this sad story.

    So, “faggots” are bad guys? There are more than a few of us “faggots” on these boards.

  126. #128 hitblade
    April 5, 2010

    faggot = gay.
    good night ignoramuses.

  127. #129 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    Furthermore, to the point of this is war.

    War deliberately trains men to be sociopaths. The point of training is so that you will without thought of conscience of empathy blow away another thinking, breathing, human being without a thought in the world.

    Oh sure, you’re supposed to pay lip service to friend and foe, civilian and “bad guy”, but the point of being “molded into a soldier” is so you’ll kill so fast that no one has a chance to shoot you or your squadmates. If this means dead civilians, meh, collateral damage, who will check? As long as your “team” has more living, you win.

    And that’s when everything is going right. When people are doing their jobs and the orders make sense and the battlefields are drawn.

    Turn it into an occupation, have a sadistic gunner looking for an excuse to mow down some brown people for a laugh, have ROEs that will excuse any murder of a brown person anywhere, even those on our side (hell, even hero Pat Tillman was gunned down by friendly fire).

    And the atrocities build and build.

    But war is atrocity. Maybe we do it for a reason that we pray excuses our involvement, but it doesn’t change the price we pay in our humanity in undertaking it.

    So maybe, we shouldn’t undertake it for a lark and maybe we should get the fuck out when all we have left is “but gosh gee whilikers, we’d lose if we stopped now”. Cause it’s not a fucking football match. These are peoples lives, not a position on the league table.

  128. #130 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 5, 2010

    Further to #125 –

    What’s even worse, hitblade, is that you obviously are too goddamned uninformed to understand it’s not OK to use “faggot” as a general pejorative. It didn’t even occur to you, it’s apparently normal vocabulary for you, in public with no qualms on your part. Hugely depressing to be reminded that people so callous and boorish exist. Everywhere.

  129. #131 hitblade
    April 5, 2010

    damn it… i mean “faggot =/= gay”. i need sleep.

  130. #132 watchingthedeniers
    April 5, 2010

    Honestly, one of the most horrifying thing’s I’ve seen.

  131. #133 MAJeff, OM
    April 5, 2010

    faggot = gay.
    good night ignoramuses.

    Don’t you mean “good night faggots” since you’re talking to gay men?

  132. #134 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 5, 2010

    Holy shit MAJeff and Caine, look:

    faggot = gay.
    good night ignoramuses.

    I’m actually (not rhetorically) shocked. He really (and you know it’s a “he”) actually doesn’t get it. He tries to defend it by saying it’s equal to “gay,” you know, just another neutral pejorative. Like we’re the ones who don’t understand, and if we understood that faggot=gay we wouldn’t be upset.

    Oh, I need a drink.

  133. #135 amk.myopenid.com
    April 5, 2010

    “faggot =/= gay”

    You were calling people bundles of firewood?

  134. #136 MAJeff, OM
    April 5, 2010

    damn it… i mean “faggot =/= gay”. i need sleep.

    REally? Then why do I get called that as an anti-gay slur when walking down the street?

    dumbfuck.

  135. #137 Seth
    April 5, 2010

    Some of you see an RPG.

    I see a collapsed tripod.

    Some of you see an AK-47

    I see a camera with a long lens.

    I’d love to know who was right.

    I’d love to know what hard evidence there was indicating that these guys were doing anything that warranted the attack by the helicopters.

  136. #138 jafafahots
    April 5, 2010

    What pisses me off most is the argument that if the situation is unclear then the soldiers have no choice but to act as if its a threat and defend themselves even if it means killing some innocent people.

    BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT.

    Soldiers, you’re the ones with the superior firepower, you’re the ones with the body armor, you’re the ones with the massive advantage, you’re the ones with the massive backup.

    You’re the ones who consciously decided to become a cog in a death machine. You’re the ones who are getting paid hazard duty. You’re the ones who are there by choice. You’re the ones lauded as gorious, macho, as “armies of one.”

    If there’s a situation where you have a choice between making an error and shooting an unarmed civilian, or making the opposite error and taking a bullet…

    TAKE THE FUCKING BULLET.

    They are NOT there by choice. They aren’t going to be lauded as heroes by a massive propaganda machine. They aren’t being paid, they’re just trying to live their lives in a country we invaded and fucked up, trying not to die at our fucked up hands.

    If its a choice between a member of an invading force shooting an unarmed victim of that invasion or taking a bullet himself, the moral choice is to… well, it’s to not have joined an imperialist death machine in the first place but if it’s too late for that,

    TAKE THE FUCKING BULLET.

    In any other circumstance, dying because you’re trying to save an innocent or a child is honorable. Only in our fucked up army of conquest and victimization is killing a child because as the oppressor and conqueror you THOUGHT you might be at threat from those you oppress considered a moral, reasonable and responsible action.

    Posed with a situation where you might be at risk if you wait to see for sure that someone who appears to be shopping for turnips actually, truly means you harm?

    TAKE THE FUCKING RISK, macho soldier man.

  137. #139 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 5, 2010

    damn it… i mean “faggot =/= gay”. i need sleep.

    No, you need some common fucking decency.

  138. #140 aratina cage
    April 5, 2010

    you can see one RPG that could have been mistaken for an AK. And then at 2:33 you can see another one, and it then being aimed at the chopper at 2:44.

    OK, I watched from 2:33 to 2:44 and Newfie #120 is totally right. One of them does sneak around a building and aim an RPG directly at the chopper. I guess it is possible that it is a camera, but it is ambiguous and does appear to have a handle when it is dangling where a camera wouldn’t. And why would a journalist hide behind a building and then suddenly jump out and point the camera at the chopper? That looks hostile and could be interpreted that way whether or not it actually was. If this is the same video, why is that not being reported?

  139. #141 watchingthedeniers
    April 5, 2010

    Video at 15:32, voice over.

    “Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into battle. That’s right.”

    I’m sure there are enough words in the English language to convey my disgust and outrage.

  140. #142 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 5, 2010

    Oh, I need a drink.

    There is a recipe waiting for you in the Thread.

    RE: Faggots

    Oh yes, when evangelicals says that us faggots are going to hell, they really mean a bundle of sticks will be going to hell. /sarcasm

  141. #143 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    Caine and Josh, are you defending the people who are trying to cover this up? If you ask me, they are the really bad guys in this sad story.

    I seriously doubt he didn’t know what you guys meant. Just another dumbfuck of a troll.

  142. #144 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    hitblade:

    faggot = gay.
    good night ignoramuses.

    damn it… i mean “faggot =/= gay”. i need sleep.

    You need a brain, you flaming fucking moron. So, it doesn’t mean gay, does it? It means what, a bundle of sticks to start a fire? How does that constitute an insult, o brainless one? It damn well does mean gay, it’s a slur, used by ignorant assholes such as yourself. You’ve sure as hell insulted me, Josh, MAJeff and Cerberus, (and probably more) on just this thread alone.

    Go to sleep. You can go to hell too.

  143. #145 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    hitblade: The helicopter crew believed they saw armed men aiming at them.

    That simply not true. That’s no where in the video — at best they believed that the men on the ground had the capacity to shoot at ground troops, if the ground troops came closer

    They’re in a fucking helicopter, quite a distance away! You don’t shoot at helicopters with AK’s and RPG unless they’re right on top of you, as far as I know. No one is pointing anything anywhere in the video, as far as I see. Never does the pilot or gunner say that they’re under fire, or someone is about to shoot at them.

    It’s an absurd statement to say “they saw armed men aiming at them.” They didn’t even believe that they saw “armed men aiming at them.” At best they believed they saw “armed men”. At best.

    How does that justify shooting into a group of civilians? Because one or two men may be armed — but you are safely half-a-mile to a mile away? And can perfectly safely retreat quickly if you actually do feel you’re in danger?

    The entire video makes no sense unless you assume that these soldiers believe that they can legitimately shoot at civilians on the least suspicion that they may possibly be “militants”. In other words, that they feel authorized to shoot whenever they see males gathered in any area where conflict has or may occur.

    That seems pretty clearly a war-crime — to act as if you had standing orders (or worse still, to actually have orders) to shoot into crowds of civilians because they are in the conflict zone.

  144. #146 JD
    April 5, 2010

    This is what happens when people watch too many Kid Rock promotional videos for the United States Army. Awful…

  145. #147 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    Seth @137

    Well, there was the inconvenient fact that

    WE KNOW WHO THE FUCK THEY ARE!

    We know that it’s a collapsed tripod, a long-lensed camera, etc… because we know that these were Reuter’s photographers preparing to head out and meet up with their colleagues. We have identification of who they were.

    Reuter’s spent long hours getting to the truth of their men’s deaths. Why the military lied and covered up what happened to their men.

    And now we know why.

    The video drains me.

    But the people on even the liberal threads. Desperate for an excuse where this can be excused or explained away, somehow less than it was.

    They’re the ones who have me weeping for humanity.

    No, somehow, this was totally legit. Don’t make me think bad things about war, you can’t make me, you can’t make me. Tanks are the only things that still keep me hard. Waah!

    Fuck, man.

    This right here is the banality of evil. The corrosion on our souls. And what lust for war breeds in our common culture. This is the fruit of all of our most hated qualities as a species.

  146. #148 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    Red John:

    I seriously doubt he didn’t know what you guys meant. Just another dumbfuck of a troll.

    Sorry, not buying that. He obviously did know exactly what we meant, he showed that when he posted his “faggot =/= gay”. He just didn’t expect anyone to be insulted by it, which goes to show the extent of his assholism.

  147. #149 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 5, 2010

    @aratina:

    One of them does sneak around a building and aim an RPG directly at the chopper. I guess it is possible that it is a camera, but it is ambiguous and does appear to have a handle when it is dangling where a camera wouldn’t.

    You could be right – trouble is, I don’t know what I’m looking at, or what to look for. I have no idea whether it would be a reasonable inference to think that guy had an rpg (or how much more detail those in the chopper could see that we cannot in this video).

    Even if that were an RPG, the blood bath that followed. . .I can’t see how it can be excused. The sheer delight those bastards took in it nauseates me (running over a dead body. . hahah. . .wounded guy crawling around in his own blood. . .comedy gold).

  148. #150 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    aratina cage @ 141:

    I guess it is possible that it is a camera, but it is ambiguous and does appear to have a handle when it is dangling where a camera wouldn’t.

    It’s possible you aren’t overly acquainted with serious camera gear, either.

  149. #151 Shala
    April 5, 2010

    You’ve sure as hell insulted me, Josh, MAJeff and Cerberus, (and probably more) on just this thread alone.

    *raises hand*

    I actually don’t care if someone calls me a fag. I can usually determine when someone is being either homophobic with it or just equating it with the term ‘stupid’.

    But shitblade has no place using that word when it comes to an act this atrocious, and should certainly own up when called on it. It’s just beyond tasteless to be calling people fags after an incident like this.

  150. #152 Shala
    April 5, 2010

    Even if that were an RPG, the blood bath that followed. . .I can’t see how it can be excused. The sheer delight those bastards took in it nauseates me (running over a dead body. . hahah. . .wounded guy crawling around in his own blood. . .comedy gold).

    It’s like they’re treating the battle as a video game. It’s incredibly scary, isn’t it?

  151. #153 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 5, 2010

    On the subject of marked vans and for all those inclined to make excuses, I suggest that you look into the case Terry Lloyd.

    Lloyd was an experienced ITN journalist, one of several members of the press in two clearly marked vans near the Shatt al Basra bridge. There had been a US/Iraqi fire-fight earlier but it was over. US marines fired on the vans despite their markings. A local citizen with a van came to pick up the wounded and the marines fired again into what was by then an ambulance. Several dead, of course, one still listed as Missing Presumed Dead. All unarmed, all civilians, most of them press.

    There are at least four war crimes there: just identify them for yourselves, will you, as I want to get to bed. Start with a search on the BBC News site and then you’ll discover much more all over the internet.

    The US authorities exonerated the personnel involved and refused to cooperate with the inquest on Lloyd.

    And all this was in March 2003. How can anyone with 3 braincells not know? How can anyone with 5 braincells not have forseen? My knees have still not recovered from all the marching I did in the months before that illegal, unnecessary and unplanned war.

    Right, I’m off before I put my fist through this screen.

  152. #154 Danish
    April 5, 2010

    Does anybody know if we are seeing the exact same thing as the pilots saw? Or do the pilots have more visual options in a situation like this?

  153. #155 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    Right, I’m off before I put my fist through this screen.

    Smart move, Maureen. I should do the same.

  154. #156 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    Sorry, not buying that. He obviously did know exactly what we meant, he showed that when he posted his “faggot =/= gay”. He just didn’t expect anyone to be insulted by it, which goes to show the extent of his assholism.

    I stand corrected. There were some posts inbetween mine and his that I had missed. To quote Dr. Watson, “What an arsehole”.

  155. #157 davem
    April 5, 2010

    And why would a journalist hide behind a building and then suddenly jump out and point the camera at the chopper?

    He’s in a war zone, and people at the end of the street are fighting, and he doesn’t want to be a target? Or because it allows him to rest his long lens against something solid?

    I agree, it could be interpreted as an RPG in the heat of the moment, although I disagree it’s being pointed at the helicopter – with the benefit of hindsight, you can see it’s a camera at 4:16. He’s certainly not aiming it anywhere except below the line of sight to the helicopter – it looks like he’s taking photographs of the street.

  156. #158 aratina cage
    April 5, 2010

    damn it… i mean “faggot =/= gay”. i need sleep.
    -hitblade

    Unfortunately, it does mean that in the non-South Park world. But whatever, it doesn’t make sense under any definition of the word in your sentence:

    And aim your flame at the faggots who are trying to cover this up.

    What in a Can of Spam did you mean by that? The people covering this up are not loud biker-gang members or gay and even if they were it would have nothing to do with it. So please tell us what you meant by that.

  157. #159 acr228
    April 5, 2010

    @147 S

    Someone somewhere else on a base completely independent of the base where the Apache came from might have known who they were, but to assume that everyone outside the wire knew who they were, what they were doing and where they were going is ignorant. Many things don’t get passed along because of people operating on different frequencies, not having anything to do with their mission, because someone deemed something “super secret squirrel”, plans changing or just plain laziness.

    There’s the inconvenient fact that

    WE KNOW WHO THEY WERE NOW BECAUSE WE ARE TOLD WHO THEY WERE. THOSE APACHE PILOTS MOST LIKELY HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THEM BEING IN THAT AREA, IF THEY EVEN KNEW WHO THEY WERE WHICH IS HIGHLY DOUBTFUL.

  158. #160 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    aratina-

    It’s a fucking camera. Specifically one of those super-long-lenses types you often see at sporting events. If it was an RPG, then his position would have meant he would have blown off his own face firing it as well as blowing up or severely crippling several of his fellow enemy combatant terrorists (or you know, the Reuter’s photographers and crew they really were).

    Wouldn’t have justified half the shit they did even if it was an RPG though. The whole thing sickens me and it sickens me that we are so fucking cowardly as Americans to accept our shit sandwich. Yes, we did wrong in war. That’s what war is, that’s why we don’t invade.

    This is supposed to hurt, burn in our guts, and blind us with shame. It’s so the next time someone wants excuse to use their shiny new tech on live test fire civilians in some heavily brown country, we know better next time. This video should be required viewing for every American until we stop viewing war like a fucking Michael Bay movie.

  159. #161 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    aratina cage: OK, I watched from 2:33 to 2:44 and Newfie #120 is totally right. One of them does sneak around a building and aim an RPG directly at the chopper. I guess it is possible that it is a camera, but it is ambiguous and does appear to have a handle when it is dangling where a camera wouldn’t. And why would a journalist hide behind a building and then suddenly jump out and point the camera at the chopper?

    Wow — folks with magical eyes. “It could be a camera”. When they ask to engage, they say “We have five to six individuals with weapons.” We’ve seen two individuals with bags/guns/etc. They are sighting five guys with no apparent weapons.

    Then they “see a guy with an RPG”. You can see a guy looking in the direction of the helicopter from around a corner — he might have an RPG, it could be a shadow, or his arm. Then “We’ve had a guy shooting” — but they don’t say at them, and we see no “shooting” on the video, or any sound of shooting. I can’t tell what they’re talking about, or whether they’re just repeating something they think they heard the other guy say.

    They come around the hotel. There’s a bunch of guys still milling around — apparently getting close to the buildings because they’ve noticed a helicopter overhead, one would assume.

    We know two of the folks were journalists — matching the two bags/rpgs/weapons we see. We never see the civilians reacting like soldiers/militants. They don’t break up and go opposite directions. No one fires while the rest go in another direction quickly.

    No one ever suggests that they might be unsure of this — that anyone has to be sent in to “make sure” of what they saw. It’s all blase, calm, quiet.

    This isn’t a hot situation, where you’re within striking distance of an opponent and you either shoot or you’re dead. This isn’t a helicopter coming down under fire to pick up the wounded. This is a fucking patrol over a fucking civilian area which is perfectly capable of backing away if they think someone is actually fucking capable of harming them.

    I don’t know what you people are seeing. If you think that because you could “think you might be seeing an RPG” on a video like this, that that justifies shooting into a civilian crowd in a city —

    well, you’re clearly not my kind of people. Not at all.

  160. #162 JeffreyD
    April 5, 2010

    “So, how about cutting the soldiers some slack instead of judging them by a crappy video.”

    No, I do not think I will cut them any slack. For this poster, and WP and others, been there, got the scars. Served in Vietnam, been a Foreign Service Officer in Burma’s 1988 civil war and served in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent times. Afghanistan was in the boonies.

    Please do not insult people with the, “oh, you don’t understand military realities” crap. Yeah, some of the comments here may, repeat may be over the top and no, most people here have never seen combat or served in the military. I have and I do not accept what happened in the video as justified. Like I said in my first post, they were not taking fire, no troops were present or in danger. They were over eager and their report made it sound like they were observing a heavily armed group and that they were in imminent danger, at least that is how I would have read it if I was the control officer back at base. They wanted to shoot, they reported in a way that supported their desire, they shot.

    People here are reacting viscerally to something both real and horrifying. Had it been an armed group in uniform firing at the helicopter (unlikely in this type of war) it would still be horrifying. The fact that the people did not seem to pose an imminent threat does make it hard to view. The children make it worse, although I have to admit I probably would not have noticed kids in the van from what I saw. Insurgent wars are harder because you do not have the luxury of shooting at a uniform a different colour than yours. The guy selling melons is just as likely to be an armed insurgent as any one else. The fear and the constant strain mean you must be more careful, that senior officers must be more diligent. From the video, seems to me that the ROE needs review.

    Support the troops? Yes! Best way I know to do that is to bring them home alive and as soon as possible.

  161. #163 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    davem:

    He’s in a war zone, and people at the end of the street are fighting, and he doesn’t want to be a target? Or because it allows him to rest his long lens against something solid?

    Yep. I commented up above that aratina cage might not be overly acquainted with serious camera gear. It can be mistaken for a lot of things if all you have is a quick look. As a photographer, I can vouch for the highly bizarre positions you’re willing to get into in order to get a photo. Large lenses in particular, which are meant to have a tripod support, can be supported with a portable mount, which is a platform and a handle, so you can move with them.

  162. #164 Shala
    April 5, 2010

    This video should be required viewing for every American until we stop viewing war like a fucking Michael Bay movie.

    That’s still not going to stop some people. I wonder how many at this moment are watching this video and thinking “wow that was awesome”?

    I’m too disturbed to find out.

    War needs to be spoken out against as exactly what it is – barbaric.

  163. #165 Ted Zissou
    April 5, 2010

    Thought I’d try and clarify comment ? 117,
    Check out Senate bill 3081. It seems to me that almost anyone can be classified as an “enemy belligerent” if they are a “person of interest”.
    Soo hopefully that bill goes nowhwere.

  164. #166 Ted Zissou
    April 5, 2010

    Umm, nowhere that is.

  165. #167 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    I suppose nowhwere is also a suitable place for the bill to end up.

  166. #168 aratina cage
    April 5, 2010

    Even if that were an RPG, the blood bath that followed. . .I can’t see how it can be excused. The sheer delight those bastards took in it nauseates me (running over a dead body. . hahah. . .wounded guy crawling around in his own blood. . .comedy gold).
    -Josh, OSG

    I agree, but I can’t bring myself to watch that far into it.

    It’s possible you aren’t overly acquainted with serious camera gear, either.
    -Caine, Fleur du mal

    You’re right, I’m not. And that combined with what Cerberus wrote in #147 makes it still seem likely that this was a war crime.

  167. #169 Meathead
    April 5, 2010

    To all the people who seem to be defending this shit, let me just ask you a few questions, assuming you’re not just trolls who rolled in from Redstate.

    1) I’ll admit I can’t see much in the video. The quality is shit. The guy with the camera might well have had a rifle too. He might also have had a kitten in a Hannah Montana shopping bag. The main argument I’m hearing is “well you see it MIGHT have been a gun”. Funny though, it seems to me that if you’re going to kill someone you need more reason than “he might have had a weapon”. but…

    2) You will argue that this was like when the cops shoot a guy reaching for a cellphone thinking he was going for a gun. Tragic, but they HAD to act. Which brings me to…

    3) Really? Last time I checked the Apache was an armoured ship. It can take a few rounds from an AK assuming that it was even possible for the people on the ground to hit the thing. This is not a traffic helicopter that you could shoot down with a 9mm. The RPG (if it was even real) is more serious but again, last time I checked the RPGs the Iraqis have are mostly old Soviet junk. Can they even track a gunship?

    4) Finally, as someone upthread pointed out, Iraq is a gun culture paradise anyway. Everyone is armed and it’s legal for each household to have an assault rifle. How do we know the “gang” wasn’t just going to the gun range?

  168. #170 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    @159: Someone somewhere else on a base completely independent of the base where the Apache came from might have known who they were, but to assume that everyone outside the wire knew who they were, what they were doing and where they were going is ignorant.

    How hard is this? You’re not allowed to shoot into civilian groups unless you’re under threat, or you have a clear military objective.

    They had neither, with the information they had. If they didn’t have the information — they shouldn’t shoot.

    This isn’t a battle. It’s a fucking civilian street, with civilians walking around in the middle of the day. You have to be fucking sure to shoot at them when they can’t shoot at you.

    What’s with the stupid apologetics? The only justification is if the copter believes they have a weapon that can reach a patrol helicopter before the helicopter can retreat — that’s the only basis that you should be able to shoot civilians on “suspicion”.

    It’s only more damning that they didn’t get info from “base”. They weren’t in a firefight — they didn’t wait until they got shot at — and we know that several of the objects that looked like RPG’s were not, in fact, RPG’s but cameras.

    Which means that they couldn’t see any better than we can, if they mistaked them. Why? Because they were to far away to see them — which means they weren’t in imminent threat.

    This is a fucking city! With men, women and children! With people carrying unclear objects — because they’re doing jobs!

    Unbelievable.

    And if you had any question about their attitude, well they fucking shoot at a car that passes by to pick up someone who’s wounded. Apparently, that justifies shooting as well — a possible militant is being picked up by a truck, with no sign that they’re militants either. But they shoot!

    Why? So the militant can’t get to the hospital? After they’ve torn him up with heavy caliber weapons that, if he survives, will leave him utterly useless as a military asset? Where he’s no threat to them, the truck is likely (and as a matter of fact is) civilian?

    That’s their fucking attitude. That all the Iraqis are combatants. That’s the only explanation. Trying to find some little excuse for that takes us back to the WWII era, were civilians were fair-target. After all, they might be…

  169. #171 ivankaramazov
    April 5, 2010

    I don’t mean to be the callous one here, but if they are looking through the same black and white camera we’re looking at, the strapped cameras did look like weapons, and one of the individuals had a long cylinder looking object that resembled an RPG. And when one of the individuals was around the corner, it looked like he was aiming an RPG at them.

    I think we realize they were holding cameras, only because we’re made aware of it after the fact, but as a former marine I can quite well see why the soldiers though they saw weapons.

    The soldiers seemed to honestly believe they were individuals carrying weapons, and the individuals in the van were coming to aid insurgents. I didn’t notice the children in the van, until it was zoomed in later in the film, nor did the soldiers even once mention seeing them.

    They followed the rules of engagement, but this time it was a tragic consequence.

    I understand that individuals here are taken back by the apathetic nature of the soldiers, because our own privilege doesn’t allow us to see how apathetic human beings easily become when exposed to violence quite frequently, when violence is just a part of everyday life. People die, and we loose the ability to sit there and sob over it.

    This is just the nature of war, and how we encourage our soldiers to be. Conscientious objectors don’t make good soldiers, and defeat the purpose of even having a military.

  170. #172 Shplane
    April 5, 2010

    Depressing. Horribly so.

    I remember when I was young and uninformed enough to think we were actually going to do something helpful with all this. :/

  171. #173 whistlepete
    April 5, 2010

    I’m not 100% positively sure, but if you go to the YouTube link above and watch the video at about 2:40 it looks like the guy they thought had an RPG actually had a camera with a long lens. At one point it looks like the whole thing is out from behind the corner and it appears to be short with a square base, like a camera. When the helicopter swings around you plainly see a guy with a camera, the same guy who initially tried to run when the firing first started.

  172. #174 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    WE KNOW WHO THEY WERE NOW BECAUSE WE ARE TOLD WHO THEY WERE. THOSE APACHE PILOTS MOST LIKELY HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THEM BEING IN THAT AREA, IF THEY EVEN KNEW WHO THEY WERE WHICH IS HIGHLY DOUBTFUL.

    Right, but you’re forgetting the fact that we have people still trying to claim that the guys had RPGs when we know that they didn’t. I’m obviously not referring to people who look at the video and say that they could understand how something might be misinterpreted as an RPG. I have seen people stating matter-of-factly that the men in the video were carrying RPGs. Well, guess what. They fucking weren’t.

  173. #175 Valdyr
    April 5, 2010

    Then “We’ve had a guy shooting” — but they don’t say at them, and we see no “shooting” on the video, or any sound of shooting.

    At that distance, you wouldn’t hear the sound of the gunfire, but you’d be able to see the shooting easily enough. And people with rifles who are using them or about to use them move in very distinctive ways–compare the posture and gait of the group of Iraqis to the American ground troops later in the video.

  174. #176 Newfie
    April 5, 2010

    Soldiers are mentally trained for combat as well. It can seem like a “macho-video game player” mentality.. and it is. You want people to be able to make good and timely reactions, automatically.

    These guys looked to be on patrol for insurgents, and were in communication with others. We see what one camera sees, and hear what more than one are saying, some that have a different angle and larger field of view than that one camera, and we don’t know the detail, though I’m assuming less than the camera’s optics.

    I saw what looked like RPG’s in the video, and the crew asking superiors for permission to fire, after describing the situation as they saw it.
    Yes, I saw guys with photo equipment also. And at one point a voice is heard identifying a weapon, while the guy with a camera was centred in the frame. Same with the tank rolling over the body, it’s highlighted, but how can you derive intent from that?

    Yes, if you follow the arrows in this edited video, after watching a sympathetic introduction, you’ll likely come away with the view that the edited version intended you to come away with.

    It’s propaganda.

    I’ll wait for a transcripted analysis by experts, as I can’t actually know what happened here.

  175. #177 darthcynic
    April 5, 2010

    Most days I drive to and from classes at my uni, all I have to worry about is incompetent Irish drivers and I can see them.

    I have not spent months or years of repeated deployment living in fear of unseen IEDs going off and taking my legs or worse. I have not been shot at by snipers, took heavy fire from assault rifles and rpgs or wondered if the seemingly innocuous vehicle / people are actually intent on facilitating my death.

    My point is that it is all very well for us in our comfy homes, sat on our comfy desk chairs to hurl self righteous anger and opine on just what the soldiers should have seen, should have done and acted afterwards. Fact is that hardly any of you have even the slightest idea of what war is like ? which is fortunate, what it does and how it feels. You have no idea of the stress or mental toll, and no idea of how things look on the ground. Hindsight is just bloody wonderful, as is slow careful examination of the footage. Until you walk in their shoes, in their environment then you have no real understanding from which to make an informed decision.

    Whether right or wrong the US invaded Iraq, having invaded and overthrown Saddam’s regime it just could not up and leave the mess it had created. America had to administer the mess it created and the troops are there because of that. The soldiers are there because their job is to go where their government sends them, it is not a pleasant job, it is not a fun job. It is a dull job of boredom punctuated by spells of sheer terror, where grievous injury and death are never far away. The people trying to kill them look just like everyone else as do the vehicles they drive. These people also routinely detonate themselves or the vehicle they are in to kill soldiers, or more commonly their own countrymen. This creates a very tense, stressful environment where mistakes can and will happen, and where hesitation may result in your own or other civilian deaths.

    Me, I’ll need to see an investigation that finds fault with their actions, I’ll not condemn them or hurl abuse at them on foot of one video and my stunning, fortunate lack of comprehension of what war is like at the front. I’d suggest that all the other similar arm-chair experts do likewise.

  176. #178 Meathead
    April 5, 2010

    The soldiers seemed to honestly believe they were individuals carrying weapons, and the individuals in the van were coming to aid insurgents. I didn’t notice the children in the van, until it was zoomed in later in the film, nor did the soldiers even once mention seeing them.

    The children were hard to see but the fact that the van was there to carry off the wounded was something the soldiers were well aware of from the dialog. Why they ever got permission to fire on what was essentially an ambulance is beyond me.

  177. #179 Jarred C.
    April 5, 2010

    @ Alpinist #87.

    Thank you for posting this. I wanted to write something to that effect, but I didn’t have the words.

    War is hell. I’ve been through two. Things I witnessed while I was in Iraq (2003): friend in gunner hatch beheaded while driving down the road, due to wire pulled taught across the road. Iraqi kids dropping large rocks on me and friends in the back of an open-back vehicle (broke a friend’s arm); We didn’t fire back because they were kids. Friend lost his elbow from insurgents placing ball bearing in an IED. Friend electrocuted to death. Vehicle suicide bomber killing over 50 innocent Iraqi civilians (they were working on our post). Same incident, a friend survived the blast, he was standing 3 feet away from the car when the bomb went off.

    Second hand witness (heard from friends who witnessed, and saw aftermath): passenger side of vehicle blown completely off; few to no remains of passenger (I didn’t know the guy). Mortar hit a cement wall, shrapnel hit friend along his side and leg. Insurgent blew up only iraqi (civilian) hospital within 50 miles, because americans helped build it.

    We were hit with mortars on a daily basis, sometimes multiple per day. I’ve seen civilians used as shields by insurgents. I was on radio duty on day, and listened to a sister unit in a fire fight. I listened to a trained man lose his mind that day, and break down crying on the radio when the rest of his crew was killed in front of him. He was a lieutenant. I’ve seen insurgents steel Iraqi police uniforms, and wore them, so we wouldn’t be able to tell the enemy from friend. I saw a man’s leg sliced clean off from a shotgun blast (iraqi police officer firing upon an insurgent); it was the first time I learned how inaccurate shotguns are portrayed on movies.

    On another war front (Kosovo), I saw the aftermath of a macedonian soldier kidnapped by two serbian soldiers. They tied him to the back of their car, and drug him along the freeway. Then they started torturing him. Then they carved his name into his chest before releasing him. I never found out why.

    War is hell, and you need serious training to be able to handle it psychologically. I had that training, and I still had problems when I came home. A good friend of mine didn’t have that training (he was a mechanic, who was unlucky enough to be caught in a firefight). He shot a man who surrendered, because he thought the man made a signal to other insurgents. He was wrong. It’s been years, and he still has issues.

    When you’re out there, you make on-the-spot decisions that cost people their lives. Usually, and if you’re right, they were the enemy. Sometimes, you’re wrong, and you live with that the rest of your life, like my friend is right now.

    One of the things that makes it worse is Armchair Generals, or people who’ve never been to war (or any intense, extreme environment), and judge you from their armchairs. You get judged for an on-the-spot decision that may or may not have been right by people who’ve never experienced what it’s like to have to make split decisions while your adrenaline is pumping, while you’re sleep deprived and stressed. We trained hard just to be able to act and make decisions in environments like that. Back in the civilian world, I’ve seen people crumble, collapse, pass out, or just go blank, in extremely stressful environments (I worked as an EMT after the war for two years, and I volunteered for the Red Cross).

    I don’t know if the men in the video were right or wrong. I didn’t watch all of it (got to the part where they shot the unmarked van), as I got tired of seeing just more war. I’ve been of the opinion that we need to abandon this war for a number of years now.

    However, For those of you who are being Armchair Generals, please stop making it worse than it already is.

    Thank you,
    – A veteran

  178. #180 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    ivan @171

    Which is exactly why we shouldn’t be in wars when we can avoid them and we should get the fuck out when we’re dicking around “nation building”.

    Wars are de facto atrocities. They will breed atrocities against the civilian population on a level of mass misery unsurpassed by most aspects of human existence.

    And we go, so often, war, hell yeah, oh atrocities, they happen, collateral damage, can’t be helped.

    Yes, it can be helped by not jumping into war willy-nilly. By using examples like these as the reason why you don’t engage in a war of aggression, period, not without a moral reason so big it will justify the atrocities you WILL enact pursuing it.

    And Americans in particular have gone so long without a war on their soil, that war has become entirely cinema. Something that occurs and oh well, who cares? That show sucks now, sort of deal.

    We need to stare these atrocities in the face because this is what war looks like 24/7 when it occurs where you live. And the fact that it’s our own men, means we can actually empathize more, sad to say.

    But this is war, yes. And that’s why we shouldn’t be treating war like a big football match to see who’ll top the league table. War is not heroic, triumphal, a means to make men out of boys.

    War is misery, death, meaningless violence, and endless streams of atrocities like this.

    Cause every dead body, every “nice kill” whether armed or not, whether “insurgent” or “civilian” had parents, had friends, had dreams, had loves, had a beautiful mind snuffed out.

    And every killer loses a piece of their soul being molded into a machine that would sooner snuff out a random stranger’s life than blink, devoid of empathy or humanity so that “our side” will have more survivors than “their side”.

    War is deliberately hell.

    So we should start treating it as such instead of treating it like Captain Awesome’s Excellent Adventure of Sandbox Toy Fun!

  179. #181 acr228
    April 5, 2010

    @ FROG INC. #170

    I am in no way defending their actions, see my post way back up at #67 where I point out what they did wrong in regards to the ROE’s. I was just pointing out where someone tried to pass off their assumption as fact in my post at #159

  180. #182 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    ivankaramozov: I think we realize they were holding cameras, only because we’re made aware of it after the fact, but as a former marine I can quite well see why the soldiers though they saw weapons.

    So what? They “thought” they saw weapons. They were wrong — so apparently they didn’t see well enough to distinguish a camera from an actual weapon.

    So they shoot into a crowd, then shoot into a van. Even though they could justify shooting into a crowd because of their super-vision — they couldn’t stop from shooting at children, because apparently their supervision doesn’t extend to children.

    This is just BS. They weren’t on a battlefield. They weren’t approaching a village on a patrol. They weren’t surprised by hikers.

    They were patrolling a city. They have to know that the false positive rate is going to be huge. That they’re much “safer” than the folks on the ground.

    No, it’s not justifiable. If that’s justifiable, then I’m justified shooting at someone at a bar who picks up a bottle looks like they might break it to use as a weapon.

    Let’s put some numbers — how many Apache’s have been knocked down over Baghdad? Unless this is a common occurence that we haven’t seen reported, all apologetics are bullshit. Unless, in fact, Baghdadis have been knocking down helicopters, you can’t start shooting at them because you’re “afraid”. The only case I found was in 2003 an Apache was knocked down when attacking a “terrorist training camp” — presumbly a fortified position.

  181. #183 MadScientist
    April 5, 2010

    Ol’ Greg: But Dubbyah’s masters said no phosphorous incendiaries were used – only illumination rounds. (Even though reading the accounts of people on the ground, they would either all have great familiarity with the phosphorous warheads or else those weapons really were used despite claims to the contrary.) And there *are* weapons of mass destruction! And nukular bombs! Yeah, don’t you just love dumbshits? Don’t forget we’ll only be there for a “few days, not weeks”. I wonder if the Iraqis are missing their old murderous dictator and how the “incidental casualties” in this war compares with Saddam’s murder sprees.

  182. #184 JeffreyD
    April 5, 2010

    For the last damn time, being in war and being shot at does not justify random and/or over eager shooting. Yes, the stress is huge. That is why people need tighter control and tighter ROEs and finally why they need to be jerked out of there and brought home. PTSD is going to be major problem from both of these wars simply because there is no front line, no safe areas. Let us not make it worse by letting the troops dehumanize themselves even more by making Baghdad a free fire zone. Most of these soldiers are going to regret anything they did which was questionable, but that will be way in the future when no one cares anymore…just another set of screwed up vets whining about nightmares, eh? Bring them home now.

    Heading toward 2am soon, going to bed.

  183. #185 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 5, 2010

    I rarely post here, especially on these topics and Jarred C. in #179 sums up why.

    Great post. If I may, I would like to nominate it for a Molly.

  184. #186 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    JeffreyD, thank you for your posts. Your experience matters and you’ve given an excellent viewpoint on a difficult subject.

  185. #187 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkbsu50FTcW-y2QCgN20AJH5MYsgFm_bFc
    April 5, 2010

    Yeah, I bet these pregnant women who were shot and then had bullets dug out of their dead bodies to cover it up were huge threats as well http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/world/asia/05afghan.html and here is a video of a man talking about Nissour Square when blackwater fired on a crowd of unarmed civilians, killing at least fourteen, one of them this man’s nine year old child http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100215/scahill_video

    From ABC news, http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/blackwater-chief-accused-murder-gun-running/story?id=8258915&page=1 here’s a description of the words contained in an affadavit of an Iraqi man involved in legal action against Blackwater

    “Blackwater personnel routinely attacked and killed innocent Iraqis who posed no security threat, sometimes without informing the State Department of the incidents, and that they sometimes used powerful automatic weaponry that was barred by their State Department contract. He also said that Blackwater personnel destroyed videos that showed them conducting criminal acts of violence.”

    Here’s info from the case of Abeer Kassem, who was a fourteen year old who was raped and murdered by American soldiers http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1543650/US-soldier-jailed-for-100-years-for-rape.html:

    “Sergeant Paul Cortez, 24, admitted he was among five soldiers who broke into an Iraqi home, raped the 14-year-old girl, then shot her and her family and set fire to the house. ”

    This isn’t a one time mistake, this has become the MO of the US military and the Blackwater mercenaries. Murder, rape, and cover up, welcome to US imperialism.

  186. #188 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    @182

    Actually a lot of Apache’s have been taken down…

    By our own forces.

    Friendly fire has been the casualty of a good number of helicopter crews in the two wars, including several incidents where Apaches crashed into each other and the government tried to report it as “insurgent fire”.

    And frankly, if we are frightened by the lawlessness of the country we are occupying, that we broke, we’re not going to fix it. I know, the moral weight of leaving it to decay, blah blah blah. But guys, we broke it. They don’t trust us, they shouldn’t trust us, and we’re still making a habit of killing them left, right, and center because “we don’t feel safe”.

    We need to stop treating this like a video game, like we’ll just reach the next boss if we keep at it. It’s real life and real lives and as long as we’re still blowing their shit up? There just will never be enough safety for anything to spring up that’s any level of stable.

    We’ve created terrorist states that hate us. That’s what we get for engaging in wars of aggression (much less wars of aggression and occupation against countries that had little to nothing to do with what we were upset about). We need to accept that and the atrocities we have done and stop making it worse.

  187. #189 tylerofmanyminds
    April 5, 2010

    If you’ve ever wondered what results when the military attracts people like Eric Harris…well, here’s your answer.

  188. #190 Yubal
    April 5, 2010

    …this crap reminds me why I was once called a ‘militant pacifist’…and expelled from school for 2 weeks… :/

    Anyways, here is the IBC Database entry k6936 for the incident

    ————————
    10, including 2 Reuters staff in clashes between US and militants, Al-Ameen, Baghdad IBC Incident : k6936

    Type : gunfire, US air fire, mortars, rockets

    Deaths recorded : 10

    Targeted or hit : clashes between US forces and militants, dead including 2 Reuters employees

    Place : Al-Ameen, Baghdad
    Date and time : 12 July 2007, 11:00 AM

    Individuals for whom personal or identifying details were reported

    Daughter of dead woman, Unrecorded age, Sex Female
    Namir Noor-Eldeen, age 22, Sex Male
    Saeed Chmagh, age 40, Sex Male

    Individuals for whom only demographic or other non-personal information was reported

    Number killed – Occupation – Age – Sex
    1 – Unrecorded – Adult – Female
    2 – Unrecorded – Child – Unrecorded

    Of the 10 deaths recorded here, some personal information was reported for 3 of the dead.

    Only demographic information, without any identifying details, was available for 3 other people recorded killed.

    Neither personal nor demographic information was reported for 4 other people killed in this IBC entry.
    ————————

    Red John #16

    It’s pretty sad that Pharyngula is probably the place this will get the most exposure.

    Uhm…?! You got to watch news channels from foreign countries if you want to learn about what’s going on in the US of A dirty business.

  189. #191 amphiox
    April 5, 2010

    This is an example of what I think is the difference between “responsibility” and “fault”. (Others may disagree.)

    This monstrosity was committed in our names, justified at least in part as for our benefit/protection, and ultimately sanctioned by a political process we participated in, benefited from, and continue to choose to participate in and benefit from.

    We are responsible for this, and we share this responsibility with every other U.S. citizen, even though we are not at fault.

    And by disseminating this information, and criticizing it, PZ is accepting his portion of the responsibility, assuming ownership or it, if you will. As are all the rest of us who are participating in this discussion.

  190. #192 Deiloh
    April 5, 2010

    Reminds me of some of the problems police departments have had. Prejudice, plus inexperience, plus adrenaline fuck with the brain. Even worse, the greater the number of people pumped up in the situation, the less likely critical thinking.

    I’d be willing to bet that the soldiers 100% believed they saw weapons and enemies.

  191. #193 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    @179

    Yes, war is hell, and it makes monsters of all those fighting and victims of all those caught in it. It occasionally releases the best in us, but far more often releases the worst as the only way to survive is to lose one’s humanity until the only people that matter are one’s immediate family or squad.

    I think many of the “armchair generals” at least on the hippie peacenik side, understand that and understand the unique and hideous position soldiers are asked to be put under for reasons that one eventually hopes were good enough and will end up with nightmares that the vast majority of us at home will never have to suffer.

    And I think most of us hippie peacenik types understand this so thoroughly, that things like this serve as great underlines for a fact so often lost in especially American culture. Which is that war is hell so we shouldn’t be actively diving into it, actively seeking it out and shoving our weight around and treating it like a fun game.

    It is a hell, dehumanizing for the soldier, life-ending for the civilian, traumatizing for generations for everyone involved. And yet, in America, we’ve had at least one conflict every decade. Almost all in 150 years, wars of aggression or occupation, heavily cheered into and with forces slow to leave.

    It’s a cancer that needs to stop, because war is hell. I can understand how those pilots could be reduced to doing that. But this horror is what war is. It’s not bunting, it’s not hero’s processions, and kissing your lady at the dock. It’s atrocities and death and endless nightmares for the rest of your life.

    And this shit needs to be pushed back on for all of our sakes.

    War isn’t a rite of manhood, war is hell.

  192. #194 aratina cage
    April 5, 2010

    I don’t know what you people are seeing. If you think that because you could “think you might be seeing an RPG” on a video like this, that that justifies shooting into a civilian crowd in a city —

    well, you’re clearly not my kind of people. Not at all.
    -frog, Inc.

    My excuse is that I don’t like being lied to or having information withheld from me in news reports, and Newfie gave the exact places to look for an RPG on the leaked video, and I looked, and I saw what had been called an RPG. So fuck me for not knowing it was a special camera that was whipped out and pointed at the chopper. No, it doesn’t justify the slaughter when they swing around the building, nor does it justify a single bullet fired by the US military in that situation, not for a moment. Nothing that happens on that video is sane. It really illustrates how badly this unethical preemptive striking policy we see taking over the military and law enforcement in the USA needs to be stopped.

  193. #195 Newfie
    April 5, 2010

    Uhm…?! You got to watch news channels from foreign countries if you want to learn about what’s going on in the US of A dirty business.

    yup.. just like China, eh?

  194. #196 Red John
    April 5, 2010

    Uhm…?! You got to watch news channels from foreign countries if you want to learn about what’s going on in the US of A dirty business.

    Right. I could have been more clear that I meant coverage in US media. The foreign media seems to be much more on top of it than we are. Sigh.

  195. #197 tacroy
    April 5, 2010

    I’d just like to point something out: as an example, the maximum range for an RPG-7 (the Soviet mass-produced RPGs that are most common in the Middle East) is about 1000 meters. That’s maximum, at which point the thing self-detonates.

    If you look at the Wikipedia article, you’ll see that the US Army has determined that the hit probability on a 5 x 2.5 meter target moving at 4 m/s at 500 meters is about 4%. The helicopter is somewhat larger than that, but almost certainly at least a kilometer away and moving much faster.

    The helicopter crew would have been briefed on these numbers. They knew there was no chance in hell that a guy with an RPG could hit them at that range.

    There was zero reason to engage right then and there without any further confirmation, unless they just wanted to see a pretty pile of bodies.

  196. #198 Yubal
    April 5, 2010

    Oh, by the way, how is Tiger Woods doing this year?

    I heard he had trouble with his marriage and started above par this year….can’t really tell, because I trashed my TV :)

  197. #199 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    @JarredC: However, For those of you who are being Armchair Generals, please stop making it worse than it already is.

    You’ve got it all backwards. It’s bad because those in “armchairs” have let generals and politicians be in charge, have refused to hold people responsible for their wars, have “supported the troops”.

    War is too important to leave to soldiers. Wars continue because folks back home feel comfortable leaving it in the hands of the soldiers — who’ll keep on fighting as long as they’re asked to, as long as they’re paid, as long as someone is telling them it’s the right thing to do.

    If it wasn’t for the “armchair generals”, we’d still be fighting in Vietnam. Soldiers are in no position to judge — precisely because they’re in the middle of the shit. Precisely because they have huge psychological commitments. Precisely because they’re being asked to deal with very dirty things, and do dirty things.

    Who would you say is best judge of whether the Iraqis should “rebel” against the US? Militants or civilians? Do you think the militants will ever stop as long as the civilians back them in what they’re doing?

    Why do we make efforts to cut out the support of civilians for insurgents? Why do we try to make them the judges?

  198. #200 amphiox
    April 5, 2010

    Some of the camera equipment did sort of look like possibly a weapon to me, too.

    But I kind of expect professional, trained, U.S. soldiers to be better at identifying weapons than I am.

    But even if those were weapons, there was no indication of anything remotely resembling hostile action prior to the chopper opening fire.

    And after the first shots were fired. Well, if you were a civilian who suddenly had something rain destruction on your position, wouldn’t you try to duck and cover? And if you had a gun, wouldn’t you be tempted to try and shoot back? And if you were a reporter with a camera, and you noticed the helicopter, your professional instinct might well be to try and take a picture of it.

    If this was done in accordance with the ROE. If the ROE actually allows the arbitrary snuffing of anyone just carrying something that looks like a weapon. . . .

    Well, then the ROE itself is evil.

  199. #201 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 5, 2010

    “War is too important to leave to soldiers. Wars continue because folks back home feel comfortable leaving it in the hands of the soldiers –

    …which is a very good argument for universal mandatory conscription. That would probably get a lot of Americans to think twice before voting for the hawks.

    How many of the “armchair generals” here would support that? (Granted it will never happen.)

  200. #202 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    Red John:

    Right. I could have been more clear that I meant coverage in US media. The foreign media seems to be much more on top of it than we are. Sigh.

    That’s been going on a good long while. I’ve lost track of how many years ago I gave up on U.S. news for info; I mostly watch BBC news. U.S. stuff, Rachel Maddow, mostly. CNN is a joke. I don’t have TV at the moment, we’re running a generator for power right now, and can’t afford to run the TVs, but I’m not sorry I can’t see just what the main U.S. news channels are covering at the moment. I am wondering about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert though.

  201. #203 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    aratina cage: My excuse is that I don’t like being lied to or having information withheld from me in news reports, and Newfie gave the exact places to look for an RPG on the leaked video, and I looked, and I saw what had been called an RPG.

    Who was lying to you, or withholding information? The video has the sound track, points out the people. When you see the “rpg”, you can hear the gunner, I believe, saying that he “sees an rpg”. ‘Cept it looks to me like a shadow, or an arm, or a camera, or a reflection.

    What is newfie’s great “discovery” that isn’t clear on the video? That there’s a smudge spot that kinda looks longer than it’s wide? Seriously?

    Are you that sure of anyone’s perception for a second or so? Wikileaks never says what the smudge is — they don’t comment one way or another. They just give the facts — who was known to be there, what equipment they were known to have, etc.

  202. #204 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    amphiox:

    But I kind of expect professional, trained, U.S. soldiers to be better at identifying weapons than I am.

    I have that same expectation. Supposedly, they have equipment for doing just that.

    And if you were a reporter with a camera, and you noticed the helicopter, your professional instinct might well be to try and take a picture of it.

    Speaking as a photographer, the answer to that is a resounding yes.

  203. #205 Jarred C.
    April 5, 2010

    @Cerberus, 192

    “Which is that war is hell so we shouldn’t be
    actively diving into it, actively seeking it out and shoving our weight around and treating it like a fun game.”

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    I wasn’t arguing or discussing whether we should be at war (or whether it is right), I was talking about those who criticize on-the-spot decisions in a time of extreme stress, while at the same time never having experienced such a thing themselves, and somehow believe that they would have acted differently or better in the same scenario.

    In the comfort of my own home, while sitting in my chair in front of this computer, I have all the time in the world to dissect an issue and determine the best course of action. I do this all the time with me college homework (by the way, thank you to all you tax payers for supporting my college education via the gi bill). Just like all of us do.

    During timed tests, however, I see my classmates get anxious, nervous, and often make simple mistakes they wouldn’t make on homework. It’s a minor version of a stressful situation. Imagine what kind of simple mistakes such a person would make in an extremely stressful situation. Such a thing could cost someone their life. Perhaps in such an extreme situation, you pull a fire-arm instead of a taser, and kill someone. Or you mis-identify an object as a weapons, and you fire. Or you honestly believe that item someone is pulling out of their inside jacket pocket is really a pistol, and you shoot first. Or the opposite happens, and you’re now dead. Or you believe that the pothole on the ground you saw out of the corner of your eye is innocuous, and the next thing you know, your friends are dead from the IED.

    And yet, we somehow feel justified in condemning and criticizing those on-the-spot decisions, because we believe we would have acted differently; but in reality, would we?

    The only way you can answer that is to experience it.

  204. #206 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    yahoo @ 200:

    …which is a very good argument for universal mandatory conscription. That would probably get a lot of Americans to think twice before voting for the hawks.

    A lot of us didn’t vote for them in the first place, you moron. The draft wouldn’t cause any of the jingoistic assholes to think differently, they’d enjoy going off to kill.

  205. #207 Susan
    April 5, 2010

    They hate us for our freedoms. [H/T Glenn Greenwald] Good on you for getting this out there more, PZ. I feel sick, too.

  206. #208 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 5, 2010

    Caine:

    Moron am I? I didn’t say you voted for any hawks.

    “the draft wouldn’t cause any of the jingoistic assholes…”

    I think it would and I think you are kidding yourself if you believe even the tiniest fraction of those that vote for hawks see combat or even want to see combat.

    You can chill with the invective. It’s unnecessary.

  207. #209 VermelhoRed
    April 5, 2010

    “I wasn’t arguing or discussing whether we should be at war (or whether it is right), I was talking about those who criticize on-the-spot decisions in a time of extreme stress, while at the same time never having experienced such a thing themselves, and somehow believe that they would have acted differently or better in the same scenario.”

    “And yet, we somehow feel justified in condemning and criticizing those on-the-spot decisions, because we believe we would have acted differently; but in reality, would we?”

    That’s no excuse… yes they are under pressure, but they’ve been trained to keep cool in those circunstances. Hear their voices again. Do you hear despair? Those shooters were calm, that was just another routine occurence.

    How many situations like that happened and didn’t leak out?

  208. #210 aratina cage
    April 5, 2010

    frog, Inc.,

    I did not watch the video before Newfie pointed out the specific points that at the time seemed to refute the news reports (I’m not really interested in seeing real gratuitous violence). BBC does not say that a camera which could be mistaken for a weapon is clearly pointed at the chopper in the video and neither does the Guardian article, so it seemed like they were both glossing over that fact.

  209. #211 octopod
    April 5, 2010

    Thanks for boosting the signal for statesiders, PZ.

    $50 to Wikileaks from me. Worth it, even from a grad student’s budget.

  210. #212 Ol'Greg
    April 5, 2010

    yup.. just like China, eh?

    Not like China. China = 1984 USA = Brave New World. There’s no top down censorship, only “better stories”

  211. #213 Jarred C.
    April 5, 2010

    @frog #198,

    I think you are arguing against a point I didn’t make. My post at #204 expands slightly.

    I was not commenting on whether we should be at war, or whether it is right and just. I was not arguing that civilians should not be involved in decision making in regards to war. Hell, I live in America, and swore to protect a republic/democracy. If the population doesn’t want to be at war, then we shouldn’t be at war. I am a part of that population that doesn’t want to be at war.

    This is different from the point I was making, and by reading my post at #204, I believe you’ll see that.

  212. #214 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    @200: which is a very good argument for universal mandatory conscription. That would probably get a lot of Americans to think twice before voting for the hawks.

    Only if it’s very general conscription. Say all men and women between the ages of 18 and 50. Without loopholes. If you vote for war, you are likely to go. Not some kids, not poorer people, not another gender.

    Universal, for real.

  213. #215 https://me.yahoo.com/a/o30.x9duv_EuLh6A2BOYwc3u8WzOVw--#2a57d
    April 5, 2010

    I am writing this and identifying myself as veteran who served in OIF and OEF, because apparently this gives you more credibility or something when you are commenting on the atrocious behavior or military members.

    I am writing this simply to say that any American citizen has every right to comment on any action taken by any military member at anytime that is representing the United States in an official capacity. This is our country and military members serve the nation. It is a sacrifice that one makes when they wear the uniform and that necessarily makes their life subject to greater expectations of higher performance. Each and every mistake will be scrutinized and criticized and that is tough but it’s part of the chosen life. If you don’t like it then you are free to not renew your contract with the government when that time comes.

    The military is an extension of America whether we like it or not. For some reason people act as though it is some autonomous entity that’s above critique from the average citizen. How dare anyone say that American citizens don’t have a right to judge their military, especially someone who should know what service is about.

    This is a representative democracy and we make the collective decision to go to war together even if we all don’t support it. We are the owners of this war and we ultimately sanction it with our vote. We have every right to be armchair generals all we like, and members of the military must serve all the same.

  214. #216 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 5, 2010

    “Only if it’s very general conscription. Say all men and women between the ages of 18 and 50. Without loopholes. If you vote for war, you are likely to go. Not some kids, not poorer people, not another gender.”

    Yes, that’s exactly what I meant. I didn’t used to think so, but more and more these days I am beginning to believe it’s the right answer.

  215. #217 Maslab
    April 5, 2010

    Sickening. Just sickening.

    The bastards even had the gall to say that everything was being done for the children.

    Even if they had done everything they could, that wouldn’t have mattered.

  216. #218 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    @ 214:

    I am writing this simply to say that any American citizen has every right to comment on any action taken by any military member at anytime that is representing the United States in an official capacity.

    Thank you.

  217. #219 TheMoodyOne
    April 5, 2010

    While I do think this is Horrific I dont think the Helicopter pilots/Gunners were totally wrong.

    I watched it a few times and I saw what appeared to be 1 AK 47 and 1 RPG held at ease (never pointed anywhere but at the floor) my guess would be these were “bodyguards” for the newsreporters.

    As the helicopter circles around I can quite clearly see someone kneelying at the corner (when the gunner says he sees shooting) since the people i saw with weapons hadnt reached the corner yet I think this was the photographer taking photos of the circling helicopters (a good shot to have)

    With weapons seen and what they misinterpreted as shooting I can understand why they opened fire

    I can remmeber a quote from a BBC reporter who was being airlifted by a helicotper and asked what the constant banging noise was – the pilot laughed and replied “Thats the bullets bouncing off the hull”, helicopters came under regular attack at this point (and maybe still do) and this has to put the pilots on edge

    The problem is all they had were the eyes from 2 cameras constantly moving – when they decided to shoot they couldnt even see the targets due to cover – why air support is allowed to engage withhout eyes on the ground confirming hostiles is just beyond me and is an utter recipe for more horrifcaly bad situations like this to happen – the pilots wernt at fault – the system which allowed them to fire with no confirmation of hostilities from the ground is at fault (ground troops wer ein the area but hadnt even seen the group)

  218. #220 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 5, 2010

    “How dare anyone say that American citizens don’t have a right to judge their military,”

    I don’t think that’s what Jarred was saying, it seemed to me that he was just making the point that having the right to judge someone doesn’t necessarily make you wholly qualified or an expert on judging such things.

    I am thinking he will clear this up for us though.

    -Another vet

  219. #221 amk.myopenid.com
    April 5, 2010

    The draft wouldn’t cause any of the jingoistic assholes to think differently, they’d enjoy going off to kill.

    Operation Yellow Elephant made a rather amusing point of inviting young Republicans to join the military. Max Blumenthal did the same thing.

    The “jingoistic assholes” are chickenhawks.

  220. #222 Yubal
    April 5, 2010

    @ frog

    What is wrong with the good old theme “Never again war!” ??

    No soldiers -> no war.

  221. #223 Jarred C.
    April 5, 2010

    @ #214

    “We have every right to be armchair generals all we like, and members of the military must serve all the same.”

    I’m assuming this is directed at me, since I brought it up.

    Of course you have the right to judge another’s on-0the-spot action during violent and extreme situations from the comfort of your own home, never knowing what it is like to experience a similar situation. I was not arguing that you should not have that right.

    I was arguing that a person should not engage in such an activity, because it does not help the situation; it only makes it worse.

    Yes, we should evaluate what happened, determine if there was fault or not, determine if punishment should be administered, and determine if (and what type of) further training is necessary for the soldiers involved.

    But it doesn’t really help to say, “you did that? you’re a vile and contempt evil person, and I would never do such a thing in your shoes.”

    There is a difference.

  222. #224 Ted Zissou
    April 5, 2010

    If those guys fill out enough forms, they’ll be OK.
    More paper = cleaner ass.

  223. #225 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    @JarredC: I think you are arguing against a point I didn’t make. My post at #204 expands slightly.

    No, I think I am arguing the same point. It’s not enough to judge the overall strategy — to judge the generals and politicians.

    We have to judge the actions of the soldiers on the ground. Now, I understand that many of the situations are difficult, people fuckup, hell, people are dying and killing — we can’t judge soldiers in battle the same way we judge our neighbors cutting the lawn.

    That’s understood. War is hell, and all soldiers must do things that outside of war would be monstrous.

    But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t and can’t judge the limits of what is acceptable. If that’s too onerous for the soldiers — if we’re demanding something unrealistic — then the soldiers shouldn’t fight.

    If society isn’t willing to accept the moral responsibility for what the war entails, then the war shouldn’t be fought.

    You talked about what you saw in Kosovo. Shouldn’t the Serbians see what soldiers did in their names? Shouldn’t they take responsibility? Shouldn’t they say — if you can’t fight within these bounds, we don’t want you fighting for us at all? If they don’t do that, aren’t they consenting to those acts?

    War is an evil mess. Sometimes it’s unavoidable and necessary. When a society chooses to go to war, they should do it with a clear mind on what are their limits to the war. It should be clear to everyone — soldiers and civilians alike. If the moral price is too high too bear, if winning requires acts which we are unwilling to do for that victory as a society, then we shouldn’t fight.

    If we did that, we’d only fight defensive wars. Atrocities that are often necessary in war can only be justified if you are defending your survival and independence.

  224. #226 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    Jarred @204

    Which is a what you did versus what you are kind of deal. I have great empathy for the unique way war makes temporary monsters of honest men, the pressure cooker situation. But what men will do in such a state is monstrous.

    We get that excuse all the time with regards to the number of unarmed black males gunned down by police. Well, stressful, split-second decision. And I can empathize, indeed, with that unique environment, but those atrocities keep occurring and not all of them are for innocent reasons. When everything can be blamed on stress and you’re trained to view the enemy as inhuman, you can do things you would never do.

    And if you are a bastard, you can have all the excuse to do whatever you want, release whatever dark piece of your soul resides in the split second decision. Not all, not even most, but a deadly, vile some.

    And even among the all, that split-second decision will lead to mistakes, to out-of-character moments, of all sorts of behavior, things that are in the “what you did” aspect, atrocities, murders, the snuffing of human lives.

    The context means I have sympathy on the “what they are” scale and slow to call them inherently evil, only that the circumstances or some piece of dark soul unlocked by the circumstances has led to them performing an atrocity. Cause “what they did” is monstrous.

    And good men of conscience who do this will carry those what they did when they’re safely at home and the nightmares flood back in and that’s tragic.

    As I’ve said a lot, war breeds atrocities. I can understand the how. The how is in the nature of war, how it twists all involved in painful, horrible ways.

    It’s why war is bad.

    I know, crazy concept. And we do need to highlight the bad of “what they did” often, because these atrocities are part of it and occur and have a negative effect and as we’ve seen with the shooting of unarmed black men by cops, as long as we allow “circumstance” to dismiss the “what they did” because we have sympathy for how the circumstances means it doesn’t so much affect “what they are” as it would in other circumstances, well, there is a problem. Cause it just means they keep doing it and we keep ignoring it.

    Oh war is fine, another atrocity, we understand. Oh, cops have rough jobs, this unarmed black man is just another collateral damage.

    This would be part of the banality of evil and it doesn’t take long for those circumstances to attract the unbridled id of those who really have a “what they are” problem and for the atrocities of “what they did” to get worse and worse as a whole.

    It means, essentially, we need to change how we police and it means we need to stop fighting these stupid “prove the manhood of a new generation” type wars.

  225. #227 Jarred C.
    April 5, 2010

    @ Frog #224

    “No, I think I am arguing the same point. [and all the rest]”

    I agree with you on these points. And, as I mentioned probably while you were writing that post, there’s a difference between evaluating a situation in order to determine what happened, and what should be done (what type of further training, what to look out for next time, etc) – and complaining with the idea that you could handle it better (general you, not you specifically).

  226. #228 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    Yubal: What is wrong with the good old theme “Never again war!” ??

    Because the world is filled with people ready to fight wars. Because unilateral disarmament isn’t an option, if you don’t want the other bastards getting you. Humans are wild animals — violent struggle is part of any large society.

    I think Gandhi was wrong in principle (even if he was tactically correct for his time and place).

    I agree with Orwell, that our peace is safe-guarded by rough men ready to fight. Of course, they safe-guard us against other rough men, ready to fight. Unless you can find a way to universally change all rough men, defense is necessary.

    But it can be rare, if we choose it to be so. We can do everything possible to use war only as a last resort, instead of as an extension of economic policy (aka, as a way to steal — and thereby become the “aggressive rough men” ourselves, against which the rest of the world is defending itself).

    Given the number of nukes we have and infrastructure, the US could handle our defense with a pittance of armed forces. The coast guard could probably handle it.

  227. #229 Ol'Greg
    April 5, 2010

    I was arguing that a person should not engage in such an activity, because it does not help the situation; it only makes it worse.

    I disagree completely. While it may not be helpful to the military or anyone in the short term I disagree on these counts:

    1- When faced with disturbing information people may react emotionally. People who do not have the experience will be more prone to this.

    2- The only way to ensure that the information gets looked into however is exposing it to the public. This was covered up. It would have remained covered up if the public did not get emotional about it.

    Following your logic then the only way to keep the public and armchair generals like “us” I guess from doing what people do when confronted with upsetting facts is to keep those facts from them.

    Thus the second step can never happen.

    It’s all left to the experts, no scrutiny. Of course we can trust them can’t we?

    Well really, so far I would say no we can’t. We most certainly can not. We can trust them to torture people, kill civilians, rape each other…. and we can count on the government and military to cover it up to keep people from talking about what they don’t know.

    Now I can believe those soldiers really did think they were being shot at, and I can accept that they made a mistake, and I can accept that their nasty attitudes are a product of ignorance and hyper-exposure unique to soldiers.

    However, that does not make it ok. It does not mean we need to shut up about it. It does not make the lies and cover up ok either.

    So yeah… and by the way I’m sitting in a little hard spindle chair. The kind that aren’t really made for sitting in. It hurts my rear.

  228. #230 Jarred C.
    April 5, 2010

    @ Cerberus, #225

    I agree. Those situations should definitely not be forgotten, or swept by the wayside. It is of my opinion that we should use those situations to train people about to go into similar situations.

    It’s also key to look at the individual handling the situation. Is this person thriving on the violence, and inherently racist? Or is it a rookie, or a good person in a bad position? Or something else entirely.

    I think you and I are on the same page.

  229. #231 thedarwinreport
    April 5, 2010

    Why do we coddle and worship our military without question?

    When the enemy steals it’s called looting, when the US military does it, it’s politely called souvenir collecting.

    In the not too distant past soldiers caught looting or raping were hanged.

    The troops must be kept in line, and if the only to accomplish that is executing a few of them, well I can live with that.

  230. #232 https://me.yahoo.com/a/o30.x9duv_EuLh6A2BOYwc3u8WzOVw--#2a57d
    April 5, 2010

    @#222

    I have to disagree with you. I think it is right and necessary for Americans to judge whether the action of the military as a whole is moral and whether the behavior of individual members is contemptible or vile. It is part of the decision making process we must make as a nation to determine whether to continue to wage war or not. If we come to a decision that a certain behavior isn’t what we want as a society, then we change our standards and practices. That involves intense scrutiny of all aspects of American public life. It also involves making judgments on people or tactical or strategic decisions that we may or may not be qualified to make but must do so anyway because it’s necessary in a democracy. If your standard for casting judgment on matters of public policy was exercised in all matters then no one would be qualified to have an opinion on most things.

  231. #233 Pierce R. Butler
    April 5, 2010

    erutheone.eric @ # 1: I only wish that the government hadn’t tried to cover up the indecent.

    Inspired freudian typo of the month. (And are you sure that’s the only thing you wish regarding this incident? C’mon, wishes are cheap, and I can think of a few more, more appropriate…)

  232. #234 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    Jarred @229

    For the most part, yes. Though I go a little further and want to use this also for educating us civilians on why we shouldn’t fucking support invasive and aggressive war unless it’s a last resort for a damn good reason.

    Too often, both elites and civilians treat war as a game, rather than the atrocity factory it is. Sure, we need to use it to train the soldiers make less atrocities, but also to show why we shouldn’t be keeping them around in colonial occupations.

    The troops need to be home, like 10 years ago. If we care about peacekeeping, we can donate a bunch of material aid to a peace-keeping force of NATO soldiers and aid agencies, but we screwed the pooch on being taken as anything other than occupiers and we need to accept the consequences of that.

  233. #235 Maslab
    April 5, 2010

    Of course you have the right to judge another’s on-0the-spot action during violent and extreme situations from the comfort of your own home, never knowing what it is like to experience a similar situation.

    I would agree if those men had been on the ground, tramping through the streets with adrenaline pounding through their veins, knowing that behind every corner or door a man with a gun could have their name on a bullet. Because then shooting someone is just a reflex, and automatic reaction to danger. That is forgivable.

    But they weren’t. These men were sitting behind several tons of military equipment with a good eye on what was going on. They were playing a computer game. They sat there and talked, waited, and then they mowed those people down like blades of grass beneath a lawnmower.

    So please, forgive me if I don’t entirely agree with your position.

  234. #236 frog, Inc.
    April 5, 2010

    Jarred: I agree with you on these points. And, as I mentioned probably while you were writing that post, there’s a difference between evaluating a situation in order to determine what happened, and what should be done (what type of further training, what to look out for next time, etc) – and complaining with the idea that you could handle it better (general you, not you specifically).

    Well, the question is — if it was me specifically, and I acted in this way, what do I think should be done to me? Not just for future “we should do better” — but for justice.

    I don’t doubt that under certain conditions, I would behave very badly. That’s the human condition. I don’t know that I couldn’t end up like the gunner — but what would I wish done to me, if I did end up like him?

    It’s not about me, in one sense, and yet in another it’s all about me. Knowing that I might be capable of banally executing civilians under the right history — how would I judge me, and people like me?

    That’s always the root of moral discussion. In that sense, “original sin” isn’t terribly off the mark — some of us don’t commit some acts, simply because we lack the proper context and history. So when we judge others, we are judging ourselves and our societies.

    And we must do that. Otherwise, the wheels come off. It’s not sufficient to “be wiser in the future”. We have to be just now. We need a military justice system we can trust — if we can’t do that, we shouldn’t fight (once again).

    We shouldn’t almost ever fight, as a matter of fact.

  235. #237 cicely
    April 5, 2010

    “And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, “O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.”

  236. #238 Becca
    April 5, 2010

    Universal service might be a good thing *if* there was an option to serve in something like AmeriCorps, rather than traditional military. There are some personality types who just are not good fits for military service: for example, I cannot imagine either of my children being successful in the military without major psychological damage being done. The military stresses uniformity, and doesn’t deal well with people who have cognitive deficits, for example.

    by all means, get the chickenhawks into the service – make them put up or shut up. But leave my kids, and other people like my kids, out of it.

  237. #239 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    Becca @237

    In my dark heart, I want a law that says if you support a war you get sent to the front-lines, no exceptions, not even for age. Would dramatically cut down the number of wars we fight.

    But the reality we live in, the fight isn’t just about wars. The attitude this is based in is based in casual racisms, American exceptionalism, military fetishism that is based on being the only true way a boy can become a man, and a toxic masculinity that posits that killing a man makes you more of a man and kissing a man makes you less of one.

    There are interconnected aspects of toxic, horrible behavior that leads to incidents like this one and the constant support for war in general.

    Things like civil rights activism, feminism, queer rights, education, anti-war activism, global initiatives, etc… will do the work slowly of untangling the crap piece by piece.

    But it’s nice to dream of how many will be spared the horrors and atrocities by literally scaring the chickenhawks out of their vicarious desire to kill people without suffering personal risk.*

    *Though it wouldn’t work. Reagan figured out that a great way to get a “good” quick victory was to invade the weakest country possible to get a “win” for the troops to feel good about. So Grenada got to pay the price so wingnut war supporters could feel rock hard about the military. I have no desire to make the nation of Vanuatu suffer the wingnut wars of the future that would result from such a law.

  238. #240 Multicellular
    April 5, 2010

    I spent 20 years in the Air Force and have seen some very ugly gun camera video but that was one of the worst. Sadly, it’s an example of the “fog of war” which the Apache pilots filled in with preconceptions – they wanted insurgents carrying guns so that’s what they saw.

    I’m curious if these pilots ever found out who they had killed and what their response was, and if they can sleep at night.

  239. #241 Yubal
    April 5, 2010

    frog,

    I wasn’t saying pacifism should be unilateral, it should be universal.

    Screw the nations, yours and all the others, too.

    The soldier makes the conflict become a war, not a couple of bad guys with bad intents in high positions.

    If your country calls you to the arms, don’t go. If nobody goes, there will not be a war.

    War is always unnecessary, it always was in the past and in the future we will abolish it.

    My country had conscription, I didn’t go when I had to. They took me to the barracks by force, but I refused to wear the uniform. They punched me, I said nothing. They handed me a rifle and I threw it on the ground. They beat the crap out of me and I cried like a little girl. They took me to a ‘doctor’ who gave me drugs. But I still refused to wear a uniform or to touch a gun. Then I spent 14 month in prison. I used the time to read Kant and Spinoza.

    Y.

  240. #242 Comeback
    April 5, 2010

    speaking of evil – http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/man-threatens-deadly-force-to-stop-abortion/story-fn3dxity-1225850399006 – and I believe so strongly that religion has, and continues to, cause such harm and damage in the world that I demand the right to take down their leadership!

  241. #243 Professor Farnsworth
    April 5, 2010

    I don’t often respond to things I disagree with (or agree with for that matter) on the interwebs, and in fact this may be only my second or third post here in quite a few years as a reader. But now I feel compelled to disagree with most of what’s been written here, both by PZ and my fellow commentors.

    First, I would like to point out what a great leap it is to go from one (or even several, as this is not the first “war crime” we’ve seen) incident to labeling the American military as “the storm troopers, the murderous invaders, the butchers of children, the laughing barbarians.” We’re the “stormtroopers?” Whom would that make the plucky rebel alliance? Al Qaeda in Iraq, the ones who deliberately target crowds of civilians? or is it Would-be warlord Muqtada al-Sadr and his merry band of thugs? But I don’t want to get too tu quoque here.

    “We aren’t in Iraq to help those people, our troops are there to oppress them.” Interesting that this comes so soon after Iraq experiences its third free election in my lifetime. I did not support the run-up to the war, didn’t vote for Bush, and am under no illusions about weapons of mass destruction or aid to Al-Qaeda, however, I think it is pretty undeniable that Iraq has an opportunity for a brighter future, if the violence stops, than it did without Saddam. There is always the problem that one cannot know the counterfactual, but I must inquire about your opinions anyway, what do all those with these harsh words about American involvement in the region think would be the situation and outlook for Iraq without the war? For the Sunnis? The Shiites? The Kurds? Would they all be joining hands and singing songs together?

    But these are not the central point of my disagreement with the post and subsequent comments. It is the kernel of hatred that I see here, the designation of those in the video (and even the US military as a whole) as the Others. As somehow inhuman, or at least not like Us. I see far too much of the Fundamental Attribution Error occuring in this thread. The gunner is judged as a bloodthirsty murderer on account of his actions, but no one has asked if perhaps the situation he was in contributed to those actions.

    This helicopter was not simply on a patrol where they decided to open fire on what they thought was an armed group. They were called in as air support for ground troops who were pinned down by enemy fire.

    The chopper gunner who we’re all demonizing here, is some 18-19 year old kid, who probably knows some of the soldiers that are currently engaged in a firefight. He’s probably spent months in a war zone risking his life each day he’s there, and he undoubtedly knows fellow soldiers who’ve been wounded or killed. Contrary to what seems to be the prevailing belief here, people don’t join the military just to shoot something. It’s a major life decision that likely isn’t made lightly.

    In his mind he’s doing his job and defending the lives of not just the soldiers currently on the ground, but the soldiers who would encounter those gunmen at a later time as well as all the civilians who are put at risk from the continuing violence.

    And let’s look at the actual situation, because lacking the benefit of hindsight, those in the helocopter saw (or thought they saw) two AK-47s and an RPG in a region where US troops were under fire and made a decision to fire. I don’t believe that journalists should be fair game as military targets, even if they’re interviewing militants (as I think could be the case her), however they aren’t exactly wearing nametags that can be seen by those on the helicopter.

    But even PZ, argued that the initial firing could have been a mistake. What of the firing on the van. Here I would point out that the helicopter’s occupants didn’t have the benefit of arrows pointing out the children in the van (which itself was likely informed by the following events, rather than something anybody would have seen in the video without such knowledge). Additionally, this was not an ambulance, which they would have been notified about (and we certainly would have heard if several paramedics were killed, as we have with the children and journalists), and it’s not just some helpful passers-by as it arrived with intent to aid the survivors. The remaining option is that it was an “militant” vehicle.

    Does any of this make the actions of the gunner or anyone else correct. No. I think the initial firing was done with too little regard for collateral casualties, and I deffinitely wouldn’t agree with firing on even an enemy “ambulance.” Something certainly went wrong here, and I might even agree that the actions were criminal. But I find something extremely disturbing in how everyone here has reacted to this.

  242. #244 PZ Myers
    April 5, 2010

    You are making excuses for a fucking atrocity. That is unconscionable.

    If we’re going to war, we have to accept responsibility for the horrors. You don’t get to wave it away as maybe reasonable, somehow.

  243. #245 Ol'Greg
    April 5, 2010

    Yubal, I aplologize. I don’t know what country you are from though you may have said it in other threads. I’m curious though, if you don’t mind?

  244. #246 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 5, 2010

    I won’t watch this. It doesn’t matter to me if there were really guns or not, or RPGs or whatever…this kind of shit is …damn, I don’t even…

    Fuck.

  245. #247 Garrett
    April 5, 2010

    @Cerberus (#59, #121, #129, #180 et al.),

    Well said.

    But how do we stop going to war? Rather, how do we (those of us with a conscience, who aren’t jingoistic and xenophobic) convince others that wars should be prevented?

  246. #248 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 5, 2010

    I wonder how our American rationalists and atheists feel about this.

    Personally, I reject the assumption that therre is a “social contract”. It’s not a contract worth the paper it’s not written on if you’re born into it and there’s no alternative.

    I was fortunate to be born into one of the nations that’s at the top of the heap, and I’ll unashamedly enjoy the benefits of my good luck, but I don’t have anything to do with how the US is constituted, how it’s governed, or any of the decisions it makes. And, before someone says “we can change the government” or “it’s our responsibility” – please – don’t be naive. Our government is carefully constructed and evolved to perpetuate itself; that’s why our votes are nullified behind a sham of representation, and there’s a revolving door between big money and leadership, to the point where we’ve practically got hereditary aristocrats in the Bush and Kennedy families.

    The guys in uniform are either well-meaning ignorant patsies or cogs in the machinery; there is no moral position that can be taken to justify going onto someone else’s territory and shooting them for their own good – an argument that the patsies in uniform or cogs of oppression choose to fall for over and over again. Unlike most americans today, I am comfortable speaking ill of our brave men and women in uniform; they are the ones who chose to, uh, just follow orders. There is, further, no moral argument (that I can think of) that supports the “it was OK that I shot him because it was war-time and he was trying to shoot me” viewpoint unless you’re the guy who was in his home, shooting at a complete stranger who came thousands of miles on a fine day, to point a gun at you and tell you what’s what. Everyone who wears a uniform has chosen to align themselves with the state and its monopoly on violence.

    There were other people who got that helicopter to Iraq, who maintained its engines and fuelled it, who loaded the guns that were fired, who paid the taxes that bought the damn thing, and who taught those pilots to fly and taught them pretty marksmanship. They probably consider their hands to be clean. I don’t.

    It’s fashionable to try to excuse our heroes in uniform by saying they’re good people in a bad situation – or something cute to that effect – but they’re volunteers who chose a lifestyle that was going to potentially put them in the position of killing complete strangers because cowardly old plutocrats who live in plush armored rooms told them to. They’re in a bad situation of their own making; nobody should respect a person who went out of their way to become a minion of the power elite.

  247. #249 Yubal
    April 5, 2010

    Germany

  248. #250 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 5, 2010

    @ 242:

    Something certainly went wrong here, and I might even agree that the actions were criminal. But I find something extremely disturbing in how everyone here has reacted to this.

    Really. You find shocked, horrified, dismayed and upset reactions to murder disturbing? How is a person supposed to react to murder? Pardon me if I’m not all cool as cucumber.

  249. #251 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 5, 2010

    Rather, how do we (those of us with a conscience, who aren’t jingoistic and xenophobic) convince others that wars should be prevented?

    Teach your children that killing is wrong. But mean it.

  250. #252 Professor Farnsworth
    April 5, 2010

    This is where I apologize for what I assume to be my failure to communicate my thoughts. I wasn’t excusing or trying to excuse anything. I was attempting to explain how a decent human being can commit an such an “atrocity” without being “evil” for lack of a better word.

  251. #253 Pierce R. Butler
    April 5, 2010

    AccidentalCommentator @ # 118: This incident is definately one of the worst I’ve seen/heard of from the war in Iraq…

    Haven’t been paying much attention over the last seven years, have ya?

    As noted above, and in conversations with many Iraq veterans, this is routine – except for the video getting out.

  252. #254 Ted Zissou
    April 5, 2010

    Professor Farnsworth ? 242, How should we react? What in your mind would be appropriate. You didn’t think we should be there, but you’re cool with this because they’re doing their jobs? How does action like this stop violence? The attitude among these ahem, professionals, seems to be “kill ‘em all and let God sort them out.”

  253. #255 Steve LaBonne
    April 5, 2010

    If we’re going to war, we have to accept responsibility for the horrors.

    And I would add, understand that since war IS horror, wars of choice are irredeemably immoral.

  254. #256 Cerberus
    April 5, 2010

    Garret @246

    Liberalism, leftism, etc… Standing up against racism, religion, sexism, and the thousand ways the different are demonized, fighting against bloated military budgets, resisting the calls to fear and encouraging and educating everyone else to do the same, speaking truth to power about wars of aggression, do not shy away when the powerful claim you hate the troops and are weak.

    Fight for feminism and the decoupling of masculinity from rites of passage involving murder and death. Fight loudly and proudly against all wars of aggression except those obviously necessary by the most dire of circumstances and the most obvious failures of other methods. Fight loudly to teach history, real history, including the bloody reality of our “glorious” wars to anyone and everyone you can.

    Basically, the same way we fight every other goddamn battle of progressivism. The long fight.

    For the most part, it seems to be working. The number of first world countries in the colonialism, war for kicks game has dramatically fallen off and there’s little sign that once notorious countries like the UK, France, or Germany show any sign of starting anytime soon.

    USA is slow, but they are younger and stupider for a first world nation and behind on so many barometers of progress. With education, with the long fight we can decouple it too from the machine of harder wang via unnecessary war.

    With the problem of terrorism and the new landscape of war, like with many things, Denmark shows us the way to handle it. By treating it as a police problem, they have prevented all acts of islamic terrorism on their soil despite being the number one target in the muslim world and all without revoking the civil liberties of its citizens and while taking on a large number of refugees from war-torn regions.

    It sucks that there is no quick fix, but it is not hopeless, just hard, long, and painful.

    What we can do first is rub things like this into the wounds of every American until the majority stop flinching and reaching for well-worn excuses.

    Cause war = atrocities. Period.

  255. #257 Ruzhyo2000
    April 5, 2010

    I served for 15 months out of FOB Rustamiyah. I almost lost faith in humanity (and in myself) out there. It was there that I decided I would be an atheist for the rest of my life, no matter how difficult it was, and it was quite difficult for me over there at times (no atheist in a foxhole, after all).

    I will say this; it is easy to look at these soldiers and the way they treat their ‘victims’ and proclaim that they are evil beasts, but they are not beasts; they are children. Children who had a gun thrown in their hand and told to shoot at the person-shaped target before they ever had a chance to grow up, before they are even allowed to consume alcohol or even, sometimes, purchase their own cigarettes.

    Sometimes laughing after having ran over a human body is the only way to put aside the reality of what it is you are doing and seeing. The less you view your targets as human (and, coincidentally, the more you consider them as merely person-shaped targets) the easier it is to kill them, and the easier it is to kill, the easier it is to survive.

    If you honestly think you could have been thrown in a similar situation, after experiencing what these kids experienced and feeling what those soldiers felt on a day-to-day basis, and you still think you would have felt yourself to be in a position to judge their actions, then you simply do not understand what it is to be at war.

    This is not a problem with individuals. The guys in those Apaches were any more inherently prone to desensitizing theirselves with human suffering than the next guy or the next guy. The problem is war and the human response to it. It is in essence a human problem.

    Wherever there is war, these evils will exist and propagate, now matter how much ignorant and self righteous societies would like to think their own men and women in uniform are honorable, disciplined individuals. They aren’t. They are just people; and they are weak and stupid like the rest of us, and they cope with their forced crimes against humanity in ways the average Joe or Jane isn’t going to find very polite or honorable at all.

  256. #258 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 5, 2010

    It should be made clear to those considering enlistment that they may be put in a position to kill a person innocent of wrongdoing. They may then weight their other options.

  257. #259 windy
    April 5, 2010

    it’s not just some helpful passers-by as it arrived with intent to aid the survivors.

    That’s exactly who it was, asshole:

    “Reporters working for WikiLeaks determined that the driver of the van was a good Samaritan on his way to take his small children to a tutoring session. He was killed and his two children were badly injured.”

    And even if you don’t believe the reporters for some reason, how the fuck does the video tell you what the driver’s ‘intent’ was before he saw the injured man?

  258. #260 Steve LaBonne
    April 5, 2010

    It should be made clear to those considering enlistment that they may be put in a position to kill a person innocent of wrongdoing. They may then weight their other options.

    That’s very easy to say when one is far better educated and has far more choices in life than most of these kids. Nobody should excuse atrocities, but we also should never lose sight of the fact that the far greater criminals are the politicians who put the guns in the hands of these kids. Yet they’re the ones who always get off scot-free.

  259. #261 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 5, 2010

    Steve–Word. The only way to handcuff the criminals in charge is by educating those they would use as their minions.

  260. #262 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 5, 2010

    I will say this; it is easy to look at these soldiers and the way they treat their ‘victims’ and proclaim that they are evil beasts, but they are not beasts; they are children. Children who had a gun thrown in their hand and told to shoot at the person-shaped target before they ever had a chance to grow up, before they are even allowed to consume alcohol or even, sometimes, purchase their own cigarettes.

    Let’s be honest with ourselves, for a minute. The way that soldiers are trained has been carefully designed/evolved to promote sublimation of the will to authority, group-think, and to hijack human’s pack hunting/raiding behaviors. The military carefully inculcates “esprit de corps” and reliance between peer-groups to socialize its members to form bonds of interpersonal loyalty that facilitate the function of exactly the kind of behaviors that several people in this thread put forth as an excuse for killing: “they shot at my buddy” When a young person comes out of military training (me: summer class of Ft Dix, 1983) they’re part of a “band of brothers” that has been programmed to behave as a pack; they’re a weapon ready to be used. People can be trained to be weapons in the service of the state, and they have been since ancient times. Our “children” in uniform volunteered for it – and the US shifted to a volunteer military because they fight better than mandatory service soldiers. It’s probably got something to do with the cognitive dissonance (cue: psychobabble) of having chosen to be part of the collective, and feeling required to go through with what you’re told to do because of those carefully constructed bonds of comradeship. It’s not an accident – it’s a process, an evolved process, of turning people into killing machines.

    But be honest – those “children” did not have a gun thrown into their hand – they asked for it. They wanted to sublimate their will into the collective; the military has appeal for people whose nature is to be a minion; it is carefully and attractively packaged and marketed as such, from Alexander’s Companions, Napoleon’s Guard, and the handsome Marine Corps ads – “be one of the few, the proud.” Be “an army of one” – join the collective and don’t be an untermensch. We’ll put you and your band of brothers in harm’s way and you’ll kill everyone you need to, to get home again in one piece. Don’t think for one second that the people who build armies don’t understand and leverage that dynamic at every step of the way.

    The beauty of a volunteer military is that you can see exactly who has committed to defend their in-group in preference to common humanity. It’s that simple. Nobody shoved a gun in their hand – they asked for it.

  261. #263 ckitching
    April 5, 2010

    Maybe the soldiers had a justifiable reason to open fire, maybe they didn’t (I don’t have all the evidence). Their callous indifference to taking away other’s lives is disturbing, but not really evidence for or against this.

    All I do know for sure is that the decision to cover it up does not reflect well on any that were involved. If it were truly an accident caused by a misidentification, the military should’ve said so in 2007, shortly after it happened. Since this didn’t happen, I can only assume there is far more to this incident.

  262. #264 Professor Farnsworth
    April 5, 2010

    Caine, Ted Zissou, I won’t presume to tell you how to react or how to feel, but you can’t throw logic and reason out the window when you’re upset. That’s exactly how things like this happen. Do you not see that?

    I’m suggesting that if you sat that young man (the gunner) down and spoke with him he wouldn’t seem like a bloodthirsty murderours villain and, in fact, he probably is not. The point I’m trying to make, and seemingly failing utterly, is that the responses in this thread have been trying to dissociate from this man and the military in general, as if they don’t share our humanity. Moreover, it seems like anyone offering a dissenting opinion on the war in general is made out to be somehow culpable for what we see in the video. It is, as I see it, the kernel of the type of hate that causes murder and war and genocide. I am trying my best to ask the commenters not to become what they’re arguing against (reading this back it sound far more dramatic than I was aiming for, but I’m not really eloquent enough to resolve that).

    I did put up two paragraphs somewhat defending the war (or at least playing the devil’s advocate), and I think this has confused people into thinking I was trying to defend the video in my latter paragraphs. I am not.

  263. #265 RickK
    April 5, 2010

    We must openly admit our mistake.

    We must see that regardless of our technology, this kind of horror is exactly what happens in war.

    We must see that “a lot of war over there” to prevent any hint of “war over here” is actually NOT the answer. The answer is to prevent war anywhere.

    Our violent reaction to 9/11 turned a world that was sympathetic to the United States into a world that is horrified by the United States.

    If those young men in the helicopters, and all their fellow soldiers in arms were instead at home here on American soil, investigating shipping, working for the FBI, analyzing terrorist financial transactions, shutting down weapons manufacturers and distributors, and helping the poor and victims of natural disasters – then the United States would still hold the moral high ground, fundamentalist Islam would be MUCH smaller than it is today, and we might even have a new tower in place of the WTC.

    Instead, we spend our trillions on ways to make the world hate us, we destroy cooperation, we legitimize and strengthen our enemies while handing them the moral high ground.

    You can’t fight shadowy terrorists with helicopters! You fight them with allies, informers, information, money. You win the hearts and minds of the people supporting them.

    Our economy, not our military, was our greatest weapon. Our military didn’t end Soviet tyranny, our economy did. We could have used our economy and our open minds and our capacity for global compassion to marginalize the Islamic hate mongers. But instead we used the wrong weapon on the wrong enemy and gave a billion people reason to actively loathe us for generations.

    How much safer could we rest at night if we had a billion fewer enemies? How many young men and women will pledge their lives to kill a few more Americans on the strength of this video alone?

  264. #266 pnrjulius
    April 5, 2010

    Here’s what I don’t understand:

    1) Even if they thought the cameras were weapons, why did they give permission to engage? It’s legal in TEXAS to carry firearms in public! Maybe it’s illegal in Iraq… but so illegal that it’s all right to shoot you even if you aren’t acting in any way threatening?

    2) Why did they give permission to engage the van? Even if their story had checked out—these guys were carrying weapons and threatening to shoot at us; we engaged and killed several of them while wounding a few others. Now, a van has arrived to collect the dead and the wounded. THAT VAN IS AN AMBULANCE. IT IS PROTECTED UNDER INTERNATIONAL TREATIES REGARDING THE TREATMENT OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL IN WARTIME.

    Even IF your story had checked out up to this point, you DEFINITELY just committed a war crime. In fact, as far as I can tell, you had no probable cause to engage in the first place. But even if you HAD, you have no right to fire on an ambulance.

  265. #267 Tuxedo Cartman
    April 5, 2010

    I do not want to wade into this debate, since it seems a lot of people have made good points on both sides. However, there is one thing I would like to address…

    Some commenters keep bringing up that the helicopter was in no danger of being hit by the alleged RPG. Now, I can excuse civilians on the ground walking around with AK47’s; but what is the excuse for having what appears to be an RPG? It’s not home defense. And if he looked like he was aiming it at something (even if it’s not the helicopter), that’s a bad situation. People just trying to get by the best they can in a war-zone don’t tote anti-tank weaponry. So I can see how the gunner’s judgement of the group was colored by what he thought he saw.

  266. #268 Professor Farnsworth
    April 5, 2010

    Windy, then I was incorrect that it was not a passer-by. And with the benefit of hindsight and a helpful internet commenter I now know that. Then again, I am not in a war zone, don’t have the weight of the lives of dozens of soldiers in my hands, and I meet no repercussions for having initially been incorrect. The gunner was not so lucky.

    But again I am trying to understand him, not defend him, and to that end I don’t think it’s helpful to dehumanize him.

  267. #269 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 5, 2010

    The guys in those Apaches were any more inherently prone to desensitizing theirselves with human suffering than the next guy or the next guy.

    I disagree. They were self-selected, then put through an elaborate training process. At many points during that process, it is possible to leave (I did!) or be rejected – you can think of military training as a massively scaled version of Milgram’s experiment, and those who come out the other side are, in fact, inherently more prone to desensitizing themselves to human suffering than the next guy. The more expensive (in terms of training cost) military specialties are reserved for the most willing to participate – you will not, for example, get through a special forces school without repeatedly expressing a willingness (and interest in…) killing. You will not be taught to fly a very expensive bomber until they have checked out carefully that you’ll drop a bomb, and in training you’ll do it in simulation over and over without hesitation or they’ll wash you out of the school.

    Military indoctrination is a massive winnowing process that is carefully designed/evolved to decouple people’s trigger fingers from their brains. It’s why those guys were flying an apache and not a helicopter ambulance for Medicins Sans Frontieres or the local hospital.

    Read almost any first-person account of warfare and you’re almost sure to find an expression along the lines of “eventually, I only cared about not letting my buddies down.” That group dynamic is deliberately created and constantly manipulated. (BTW, religion has also been ruthlessly and effectively used as a tool for building armies and pre-selecting the youth with high minion-potential)

  268. #270 https://me.yahoo.com/a/o30.x9duv_EuLh6A2BOYwc3u8WzOVw--#2a57d
    April 5, 2010

    Since people are giving personal testimonies, here’s mine.

    I served in the Army during OIF and OEF as an intelligence analyst. I was stationed at Central command, so I was in a joint environment and was involved in operations involving every branch of service (to include ones like this very one in the video). When I left the army I took a job with a civilian intelligence agency. During my time there and after many years of contemplation over my role as a cog in the military industrial complex, I changed my beliefs on my outlook of war and American foreign policy (among other things). I could not reconcile my personal beliefs and moral and ethical convictions with my chosen profession, so I left.

    This is what you have to do. You have to own up to your actions and take responsibility for the things you do, if you are compelled to do so. I feel sympathy for young kids who find themselves in the middle of something that corrodes ones moral center in a way that no one should go through. Now, I try to vote so that they don’t have to go through this. I personally, have done and said things that I’m not proud of and I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. However, because I was young during much of it doesn’t mean that I can’t be judged. Because I personally believe that most people in the United States aren’t emotionally capable of doing many of the things that I and others in the military do or have done doesn’t excuse my behavior. It doesn’t make right the callous things that I or anyone else might have said or done. It’s all unfortunate that so many go through this and this is a major reason to support veterans organizations, but it doesn’t leave one immune from judgment. In fact, I judged myself and changed my behavior that I deemed to be unacceptable.

    This is precisely what the public should be doing, in fact, it’s our responsibility as citizens.

    I am glad that this video was made public because it shows the public the reality of war. The types of decisions military members are confronted with regularly are in this footage. These hard choices are repeated over and over until you have 100s of thousands dead and wounded (I don’t discriminate between Iraqi or American deaths or wounded). Hopefully, this harsh reality will encourage people to realize that war is almost never worth while.

  269. #271 lisainthesky
    April 6, 2010

    The attitudes of the soldiers are appalling…

    Its the sort of hot shot attitude that you might take into a computer game or lazer skirmish, NOT the attitude you should take to war when civilians are at risk.

    To me it looks like they woke up with the attitude “lets go huntin’n’killin” like a bunch of hicks.

    Disgusting. Humans can be so disgusting.

  270. #272 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 6, 2010

    Our military didn’t end Soviet tyranny, our economy did.

    1) No, their economy did.
    2) It didn’t end, it “re-branded.”

  271. #273 halo.lcfr
    April 6, 2010

    Seriously? A few guys make a mistake and suddenly the United States is the oppressor? Whoever said war was perfect? Do you not realize that during WW2 many innocent civilians, including *gasp* CHILDREN were bombed indiscriminately? It happens.

    Also, if you look at the video, not only can you spot the two guys with Ak-47s (oddly enough not pointed out by the video..this omitting of the facts was obviously done for a good reason) but this is a group of guys walking around with weapons with a guy PEERING AROUND A CORNER (???) and looking all kinds of shady. Also, there are troops nearby for whom this group poses a danger (the AKs and the “RPGs”). They have plenty of good evidence to rock the s out of these guys.

    The van is a little different. First of all, the video zooms in on these kids and not even then can you tell that they are kids. We can only “see” them because we KNOW beforehand that they are kids. As I was watching the video in real time for the first time I could NOT identify the kids and I was wondering if they were in the back seat or something.

    It’s an honest mistake and it’s war. S*** happens.

  272. #274 Old Rasputin
    April 6, 2010

    *vomits*

  273. #275 Ruzhyo2000
    April 6, 2010

    To the person the replied to me (your name appears as a URL for some reason) I completely agree. These people who sign up for the service are completely willing (I signed up, after all, and I never blamed anyone for signing the paperwork but my own).

    When I say ‘thrown’ I do not mean ‘thrown unwillingly.’ I mean merely the the process is quick (basic combat training is 9 weeks for a non combat MOS after all, and then you are supposedly ready for war) and with careful consideration for preparing that person for efficiently taking the lives of other human beings (as you say) and little else.

    You think you are the same person after basic, but you aren’t; you’re indoctrinated. The military mentality is instilled in you, and you are ready to kill and even potentially die on command and it only took 9 weeks (at least for the Army, with a ‘non combat’ MOS).

  274. #276 PZ Myers
    April 6, 2010

    a group of guys walking around with weapons with a guy PEERING AROUND A CORNER

    Yes. Peering around a corner is a mortal offense, and he deserved to die.

  275. #277 windy
    April 6, 2010

    Windy, then I was incorrect that it was not a passer-by. And with the benefit of hindsight and a helpful internet commenter I now know that. Then again, I am not in a war zone, don’t have the weight of the lives of dozens of soldiers in my hands, and I meet no repercussions for having initially been incorrect. The gunner was not so lucky.

    Neither was the DRIVER OF THE VAN, but that didn’t stop you from speculating about his suspicious intent, did it? So excuse me for not being impressed by your ‘understanding’ of how people behave in war zones.

  276. #278 tacroy
    April 6, 2010

    TuxedoCartman @266:

    Some commenters keep bringing up that the helicopter was in no danger of being hit by the alleged RPG. Now, I can excuse civilians on the ground walking around with AK47’s; but what is the excuse for having what appears to be an RPG?

    I totally agree – civilians walking around have no excuse to be walking around with an RPG, a weapon that’s basically only good for taking out war materiel or groups of attackers depending on the ammunition.

    I disagree with your implicit point that therefore, it was okay to kill those people. It was not a life-threatening situation, and did not have to result in death. This isn’t even in hindsight, there’s no reason for him to have fired on them with such sketchy identification.

  277. #279 halo.lcfr
    April 6, 2010

    Lastly, this is the reason why war is so hard on the soldiers. Because as soon as someone makes a mistake, the media turns on them. And the public turns on them. They are all instantly vilified the second something goes wrong despite the fact that most of these people have no understanding of what it means to be a soldier.

    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate because you are uneducated in the subject and in no position to make any constructive judgments. There are already rules of engagement, these soldiers followed them to the best of their ability and that’s all you fools need to know.

  278. #280 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 6, 2010

    Prof Farnsworth writes:
    I am trying my best to ask the commenters not to become what they’re arguing against

    I don’t think commenters here are advocating “the tree of liberty, blood of martyrs” stuff or grabbing our rifles and heading to Washington – or anything close to it. Personally, I just keep my head down, pay the taxes I’m compelled to, smilingly do whatever the man forces me to do, and I don’t believe the bullshit when I hear it.

    The problem I keep confronting is that I think Mao was right: power does come out of the barrel of a gun. Nationalism is not going to go away if we ask it nicely; we’ve all seen what happens. If you look closely at how the state indoctrinates the military, it turns former citizens into potential weapons that can (and will) pull a trigger on their former neighbors. You don’t need to have been at Tienamen Square or Kent State or in – well, any part of the world – to realize that.

    Vote? The mice voted to bell the cat. Like many on this forum, I voted for “change” – actually – I voted for a man who promised he’d close Gitmo and get us out of Iraq. As an atheist who grew up in the 70s I can only laugh because the first thing that comes to mind is The Who “…and I get on my knees and pray – we don’t get fooled again.” I can’t even pray.

    Is there an alternative? I have been assembling a philosophy of passive/aggressive anti-statism for the last decade or so, but I don’t think it’s worth even trying; I just want to stay below The Man’s radar screen until I die of old age somewhere. That might be the best revenge, really.

  279. #281 halo.lcfr
    April 6, 2010

    Yes. Peering around a corner is a mortal offense, and he deserved to die.

    Hey, good job ignoring the context of the statement.

  280. #282 Ted Zissou
    April 6, 2010

    Farnsworth ? 263 It is, as I see it, the kernel of the type of hate that causes murder and war and genocide. I am trying my best to ask the commenters not to become what they’re arguing against (reading this back it sound far more dramatic than I was aiming for, but I’m not really eloquent enough to resolve that).

    Wow, my disdain for the war in Iraq and my comments might cause me to kill? Now I’ve effin heard it all. What hate are you talking about? We simply shouldn’t be there doing this shit.

  281. #283 https://me.yahoo.com/a/o30.x9duv_EuLh6A2BOYwc3u8WzOVw--#2a57d
    April 6, 2010

    To all of the people leaving comments like, “It’s war” “sh*t happens”, you’re absolutely right. This is war and this is what happens, and that is the problem. This is what people should take away when they watch this video, and hopefully they will see that war is hell and is almost never worth it.

  282. #284 messnerd
    April 6, 2010

    This is the first post I’ve made on here, and it is to disagree with the bulk of the comments.
    Try imagining the video again, without the introduction telling you what you’re going to see before you see it, and without the arrows, and it completely changes the video.
    If I had watched that video I’d probably be happy, thinking our military had done a good job. A patrol had come under fire, and the supporting gunship saw a bunch of men on a deserted street, several of whom had guns (they sure as shit looked like guns to me, although I admit I’m not trained to tell the difference), and shot them before they could use them.
    As for the unmarked van that showed up less than 2 minutes after the shooting stopped, I couldn’t see any children even with the arrows pointing them out.
    The two things that did bother me were the soldiers wanting the guy to pick up a weapon so they could shoot him, and the “it’s their fault for bringing kids to a battle” comment. But I don’t think either one of those is terrible, they seem like pretty normal human responses to being in a situation like that.
    Basically, if you want to say that this kind of situation is inevitable in any kind of occupation, and therefore we shouldn’t use our military this way, I can understand (and agree, occupying and “democratizing” the Sunni triangle is not a job for the American military). But to try and say this video shows how American soldiers are murderers and butchers doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  283. #285 Garrett
    April 6, 2010

    Cerberus,

    I stand up to those things by educating myself via books by folks such as Tim Wise (on white privilege) and Naomi Klein (on disaster capitalism) and Noam Chomsky (on US imperialism) and Michael Eric Dyson (on structural racism). I don’t watch TV–instead, I consume alternative media (such as Democracy Now). I’m a substitute teacher currently, and I have made a point to explain to students why “that’s so gay” is offensive, though I admit that I have ignored those remarks quite frequently.

    But I rarely have the opportunity to stand up to bigots and jingoists. Sure, I could attempt to engage in conversation the stranger with the “God Bless America” and “Support the Troops” ribbons on his/her car. Or the person I saw this morning wearing a cap that read, “Redneck” alongside a Confederate flag. The person will more than likely tell me to get lost. Perhaps I should organize a weekly town hall discussion forum here in Salem, Oregon, but those who would attend are probably those who are already inclined to expose themselves to reason and facts. Maybe we make it a national requirement, along with a certain number of hours of community service?

    When schools are teaching to the test and the mainstream media is owned and operated by a handful of giant corporations, we’re really fighting an uphill battle. Public education and the media should be weapons *against* ignorance and fear, not weapons *of* ignorance and fear.

  284. #286 soliussymbiosus
    April 6, 2010

    I didn’t read all the comments, but war is painful! And, that is all the more reason for a one world government. The UN functions reasonably well, and without the bullshit of the security council, we could probably all live in peace.

    Ban the US, China, Russia, France, and Britain from any discussion that affects anyone else.

  285. #287 Professor Farnsworth
    April 6, 2010

    Windy, I’m not sure I understand your comment. I speculated on the intent of both the driver and the gunner. Incorrectly in the case of the former it seems, and it’s entirely possible that I did so with the latter as well.

    But even if my assesment is incorrect it does not validate the comments that dehumanize him.

  286. #288 Garrett
    April 6, 2010

    It just occurred to me that I’m using militaristic jargon by talking about “weapons” against ignorance and fear. Not unlike “war on poverty.” Maybe that isn’t a big deal, or maybe it is. Food for thought.

  287. #289 https://me.yahoo.com/a/o30.x9duv_EuLh6A2BOYwc3u8WzOVw--#2a57d
    April 6, 2010

    http://file.wikileaks.org/file/rules_of_engagement.pdf

    These are the rules of engagement in Iraq in 2007. If you read these very carefully, you will see that the Apache gunners did not follow the ROE with regards to Positive Identification of the good Samaritan, as he has been described, who showed up to help.

    Positive Identification. Positive Identification (PID) of all targets is required prior to engagement. PID is a reasonable certainty that the object of attack is a military objective in accordance with these ROE

  288. #290 Cerberus
    April 6, 2010

    Cartman, tacroy?

    It’s a fucking camera. Not an RPG.

    We know this, again, because the only reason this saw the light of day is because the people killed were our own fucking men, a group of Reuter’s photographers trying to hook up with an earlier group.

    And the apologia just makes me vomit. I mean, the video is bad. It’s really bad, the atrocities inherent in war. But the responses, the desperate willingness to find something, anything to excuse those actions, find some way to blame it on the victims, make these atrocities less fills me with endless gallons of bile.

    This is the banality of evil in no uncertain terms, the quickness many have to horror, especially horror to which we are partially responsible for, by seeking anyway the shit can’t stick to them. How quick we are to erase the horror of the rape culture by willing to jump on the victims and claim they must have done something slutty to deserve it. How quick we are to try and erase the horror of how many unarmed black men are shot to death by cops by trying to paint them all as doing sketchy things that deserved it.

    And how quick we are to erase filmed atrocities like this by trying somehow desperately to find a reason it would have been perfectly reasonable to blow away members of the press and their rescuers in an area safe enough for said members of the press to spread out and relax as they did.

    This was one small piece of a pattern. The atrocities inherent in war. Not everywhere, but just enough and constant. This is the faces, the stories behind thousands upon thousands of stories regarding “collateral damage” and “nests of insurgents” in a war we have no business fighting.

    And the vile antics of Freeper troll halo.lcfr show the twisted way we’re so willing to corrupt ourselves to avoid the shame of what we have wrought.

    This is on us, all of us, because war is atrocity, will breed atrocities like cancer cells dividing.

    It’s why we shouldn’t treat it like a game, shouldn’t try and hide from the reality, and shouldn’t just hope it all goes away. Every second we spend stupidly occupying nations like Iraq and Afghanistan, every day we fight any war no matter how noble, a tragedy like this is occurring, someone’s mother is being raped, someone’s father is being gunned down for no damn reason, someone’s child is hit by ricocheting shrapnel, some displaced family is starving.

    War brings out the worst in us. This. This right here, this is what war is. Not the strutting pilot in front of a Mission Accomplished banner, not some shaky-cam action sequence in a movie, but this.

    It’s why we shouldn’t engage it unless we have a DAMN good reason.

  289. #291 truebutnotuseful
    April 6, 2010

    halo.lcfr wrote @ #272:

    Seriously? A few guys make a mistake and suddenly the United States is the oppressor?

    A mistake? A mistake is when the kid at McDonald’s gives you a small fry instead of a large fry. This is a fucking atrocity.

    Whoever said war was perfect? Do you not realize that during WW2 many innocent civilians, including *gasp* CHILDREN were bombed indiscriminately? It happens.

    So two wrongs make a right? The fact that senseless violence was perpetrated against innocent human beings in the past justifies this senseless violence? Show me one person here who is speaking out against the atrocity in PZ’s post but who thinks that past war atrocities were OK.

    Also, if you look at the video, not only can you spot the two guys with Ak-47s (oddly enough not pointed out by the video..this omitting of the facts was obviously done for a good reason) but this is a group of guys walking around with weapons with a guy PEERING AROUND A CORNER (???) and looking all kinds of shady.

    That’s a fucking joke, right? Peering around a corner and looking “all kinds of shady” (whatever the fuck that even means) is license to be gunned into bloody pieces?

    The van is a little different. First of all, the video zooms in on these kids and not even then can you tell that they are kids. We can only “see” them because we KNOW beforehand that they are kids. As I was watching the video in real time for the first time I could NOT identify the kids and I was wondering if they were in the back seat or something.

    I don’t care if the van had 20 kids or no kids at all. It was a random passer-by stopping to help a wounded person, and the gunner opened fire on them for daring to come to the aid of a fellow human in agony.

    It’s an honest mistake and it’s war. S*** happens.

    Fuck you and your fucking callous disregard for human life.

  290. #292 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 6, 2010

    halo.lcfr writes:
    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate because you are uneducated in the subject and in no position to make any constructive judgments.

    What constitutes being educated? Agreeing with you?

    Some of us have served in the military, some of us have thought about this stuff long and hard, and did not form our opinions lightly or out of ignorance. Your attempt to just lump everyone into “us versus them” is indicative of exactly the kind of simplistic mindset that underlies the problem.

    Do you know why philosophers seldom get into actual fights? Because, by the time they’re finished defining their terms, it’s dinnertime and nobody wants to miss dinner.

  291. #293 PZ Myers
    April 6, 2010

    This is insane.

    Look at the video. The “bad guys” aren’t shooting at anything. They’re walking around in a loose group, and no one is taking fire. The helicopter crews are looking for weapons, looking for an excuse to kill these people.

    The people in the van are not carrying weapons. They’re trying to pick up a wounded man. There is no threat at all there.

    Listen to the audio. The crews are calling in inflated claims of arms present to get permission to execute them. They want to murder a wounded man, and are hoping he’ll pick up a gun to give them an excuse.

    This was a completely unnecessary massacre committed by a bunch of American hot dogs spoiling for a fight, as if it were some kind of video game — and it was to them. Yes, these soldiers were murderers and butchers. They should be punished. The chain of command ought to be stomping down hard on soldiers who pull that kind of cowboy shit. Because this attitude that murdering civilians is excusable is the kind of thing that loses wars.

  292. #294 aratina cage
    April 6, 2010

    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate because you are uneducated in the subject and in no position to make any constructive judgments.
    -halo.lcfr

    Hey now. What gives you the idea that you are in any position to boss people around here?

  293. #295 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 6, 2010

    @ 263:

    Caine, Ted Zissou, I won’t presume to tell you how to react or how to feel, but you can’t throw logic and reason out the window when you’re upset. That’s exactly how things like this happen. Do you not see that?

    Who says I threw out logic and reason? I didn’t. You obviously didn’t read every comment of mine in this thread, many of them well before you decided to grace us with your presence.

    So, soldiers committing murder, the reason it happens is because people’s reactions are emotional? Yeah, I know what you’re trying to say, you fail. There is zero excuse for such barbarism, and you have no business attempting to relate people’s reactions by claiming the “soldiers were emotional!, just like us!” That’s an idiot take on the situation.

    I’m suggesting that if you sat that young man (the gunner) down and spoke with him he wouldn’t seem like a bloodthirsty murderours villain and, in fact, he probably is not. The point I’m trying to make, and seemingly failing utterly, is that the responses in this thread have been trying to dissociate from this man and the military in general, as if they don’t share our humanity.

    Yeah, yeah, doing a play on the old poem, I see. Look, I saw enough (and know enough) Vietnam vets, that yes, they got good and haunted by their actions some time later. The gunner might not be a bloodthirsty asshole, that does not excuse his actions in any way, shape or form. As for those of us in this thread attempting to disassociate, how about addressing the disassociation of the soldiers busy murdering people? Where, exactly, was their humanity? Where was their compassion, thinking about “oh, if this man weren’t an enemy, we might sit down and have a drink together?” For fuck’s sake, you don’t get it both ways here.

    I am trying my best to ask the commenters not to become what they’re arguing against (reading this back it sound far more dramatic than I was aiming for, but I’m not really eloquent enough to resolve that).

    Oh, right. Like I’m going to run off and dehumanize myself to the point I think it’s fun to murder innocent people. You’ve been idiotic in every post, all you’re doing now is digging that hole deeper. Much earlier in the thread, when comparisons to Vietnam were taking place, I noted that there was mass outrage over the My Lai massacre, and that it is, indeed, sad that we in the U.S. no longer seem to have that outrage in regard to war atrocities.

    I am not about to “cut a break” to the men who committed this atrocity. They did wrong and they, along with those who gave their behaviour a pass should be held accountable. Full stop.

  294. #296 Cerberus
    April 6, 2010

    @284

    The goal is not the enemies, but the mushy middle, the slightly lefters. Look at this discussion thread. Lots of people having to flinch and grow and deal with their implicit biases to see no wrong in our awesomest military.

    We win by educating the critical mass, radicalizing them, making it so more and more people have read Zinn and Chomsky and Klein. The 27%ers will almost always be out of reach, but we can marginalize them so they end up like teabaggers, screaming into the darkness in sparsely attended rallies.

    Eventually even them just won’t have it in them to keep fighting for the way things were.

    See Neo-nazi movements in Western Europe, Anti-Irish movements in USA, anti-suffragist movements in the 1st world, etc… Eventually the bigotry just isn’t shared enough by the critical mass and we just sort of win.

    It’s slow, it’s painful, but step by step, we win. And it really all begins by radicalizing ourselves as you have done. Now, just stand up for yourself. Argue against the ignorant even if you are dismissed, radicalize the mostly agreeing, and reach out to the mushy middle and corrupt them with your existence.

    It won’t always feel like winning, but it is.

  295. #297 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    Interesting that this comes so soon after Iraq experiences its third free election in my lifetime.

    “free elections” my sorry ass. form over function once again, elections of any sort as the sum total of democracy. what crap. these elections weren’t free, they do not symbolize anything other than the US-supported cargo cult “democracy” which will collapse at the latest when the US leaves (and eventually they will); maybe even earlier.

    It is the kernel of hatred that I see here, the designation of those in the video (and even the US military as a whole) as the Others. As somehow inhuman, or at least not like Us. I see far too much of the Fundamental Attribution Error occuring in this thread. The gunner is judged as a bloodthirsty murderer on account of his actions, but no one has asked if perhaps the situation he was in contributed to those actions.

    and

    I’m suggesting that if you sat that young man (the gunner) down and spoke with him he wouldn’t seem like a bloodthirsty murderours villain and, in fact, he probably is not. The point I’m trying to make, and seemingly failing utterly, is that the responses in this thread have been trying to dissociate from this man and the military in general, as if they don’t share our humanity.

    you’ve either not actually read this thread, or you’re lying. People have repeatedly stated that they understand that the situation made the monster, and this is why there shouldn’t be war unless abso-fucking-lutely inevitably necessary. stop making shit up.

  296. #298 https://me.yahoo.com/a/o30.x9duv_EuLh6A2BOYwc3u8WzOVw--#2a57d
    April 6, 2010

    I should say that I don’t think you can expect everyone to apply the reasonable certainty Positive ID standard to the initial group that was attacked by the Apaches. This is fairly obvious if you read some of the comments here. Apparently, many people are willing to excuse an attack on anyone holding a cylindrical object. The van that pulls up is a different story as it is a completely unknown quantity. There is no way for the gunner or anyone else to discern the intent of the occupants of the van other than what they are observed doing on camera, and this was rescuing an injured person. Any attack on this van with the information available is a violation of the ROE.

  297. #299 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 6, 2010

    halo:

    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate because you are uneducated in the subject and in no position to make any constructive judgments. There are already rules of engagement, these soldiers followed them to the best of their ability and that’s all you fools need to know.

    Oh, do tell. No one is allowed an opinion except you, right? I have news for you – we are allowed an opinion, assclown. “Rules of engagement” don’t mean a fucking thing if they endorse murdering civilians. These “soldiers” took delight in murder. That is not right, no matter how you slice it.

    Take your assholism some where else. It’s not welcome here.

  298. #300 x62617
    April 6, 2010

    I see an RPG between 3:43 and 4:00. every iraqi in baghdad in 2007 knew that carrying an RPG was punishable by death.

  299. #301 Ol'Greg
    April 6, 2010

    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate

    No actually we don’t. Our opinions are part of the debate because we’re talking about the military our tax dollars pay for and that is our national face across the world. Every US citizen has a right to voice and act on their opinions in this case because as has been said before our military represents us all. We have a right to demand a trial and a real investigation and that’s where the experts come into play. So long as you’re just talking on a blog your opinion is as good as mine.

    When they invite you onto a congressional investigation committee then you can come back and tell us out opinions don’t matter.

  300. #302 Cerberus
    April 6, 2010

    truebutnotuseful @ 290

    Peering around a corner and looking “all kinds of shady” (whatever the fuck that even means)

    It means brown.

    Basically, it’s the same casual racism that makes an unarmed black male “dangerous” just for existing, necessitating extra caution among police and a greater willingness among them to see innocuous actions as “reaching for a gun”.

    “Looking all kinds of shady” means they were Walking While Brown. They looked like “the enemy” which would mean any random Iraqi therefore good to shoot as long as you pretended they were insurgents.

    Shit like this is common in every war. Atrocities like this and the petty racism that fuel it create horrors. On larger levels, they create genocides.

    It’s why WAR IS OFTEN A BAD IDEA and should only be engaged in under the direst of circumstances for very good reasons.

    Basically, for every war, we should be thinking, is doing this worth eliminating a city’s worth of people off the map, shooting our own heroes in the back like dogs, and gunning down our own reporters for being the wrong color? If not, we shouldn’t be doing it. Because war means we will be engaging in all sorts of atrocious behaviors. Tortures, genocides, cold-blooded murders of unarmed people, rape, starvation, the destruction of homes, families, and lots of dead children and mothers and fathers.

    So if we’re doing it for a lark?

    We shouldn’t be fucking doing it.

  301. #303 Notkieran
    April 6, 2010

    It’s been over two hundred comments, but nobody’s pointed out the obvious yet:

    This is exactly the kind of atrocity that occurs when you deploy soldiers to do police actions.

    Soldiers have one set of reflexes and training, optimised to kill the enemy before they get killed, and those selfsame reflexes simply do not make for good patrolling, the same way that a flamethrower may make for a credible threat but is not what you want lighting your cigar.

    And you can’t train a soldier into someone who can do that, because you can’t overlay the reflexes needed to be a policeman over the reflexes needed to be a soldier.

    Note that this does not excuse the soldiers; it doesn’t. I’m simply saying that the situation is analogous to letting a known mass murderer free because you think he’s repented; when he kills again, he is still to blame but so is th judge who let him out. Likewise, the soldiers are at fault, but so are the idiots who put them in a police action in the first place.

    The soldier’s job is identical to that of a gun: his job is to kill quickly and efficiently. You don’t wield a gun to “protect yourself”; you wield a gun to kill. Likewise, you send soldiers to war to kill the enemy. That’s all a combat soldier is good for.

    Any other use of an army is like standing around posing with two M-60s.

    ________

    Disclaimer: I’m not a full combat soldier; just a signaller.

  302. #304 halo.lcfr
    April 6, 2010

    So two wrongs make a right?

    No, I’m making that statement to reiterate the fact that a war doesn’t become unjustified when children die. As others have said, it happens. I’m not saying it’s right or that I enjoy it when it happens. Just that IT HAPPENS.

    And once again you guys manage to take the PEERING comment out of context. If you see a group of armed men peering around a corner, you don’t consider that to be shady? At all? In a battlefield?

    It was a random passer-by stopping to help a wounded person

    This kinda stuff happens all the time in Iraq. You know, where they use children as human shields, ambulances as offensive military vehicles during a battle, civilian taxis as troop and weapon transportation etc. I’m not saying that it’s right or justifiable to shoot anyone or anything because of that, but I only say this to reiterate the fact that differentiating between a target and an innocent civilian is very hard. The people were perceived as helping a group of insurgents and collecting weapons. It’s an honest mistake.

    Fuck you and your fucking callous disregard for human life.

    Don’t act like you know me. I’m a humanist and I value life very highly. The reason I say that is because I’m also a realist and I accept the fact that during a battle in an urban environment inhabited by innocent civilians, some of them might get caught up in the action despite how careful you try to be (the military spends a ton of money to decrease the risk to civilian life).

    What constitutes being educated? Agreeing with you?

    It’s great when you guys take single quotes and put them out of context. Don’t you hate it when creationists do that to you? My reasoning behind my “uneducated” comment preceded said comment. Please read it and if you disagree, say why. Else, pipe down. As for the lumping thing, yes I generalized. My mistake.

    looking for weapons

    yeah because, that’s what their jobs entail. Looking for “insurgents” and dispatching them. Here, they saw weapons, AK47s and what to them looked like RPGs. nearby where troops in lightly-armed vehicles, you know the kind that are susceptible to RPG fire. They identified insurgents and fired. Job done.

    The van is the arguable part of the video and really, when you see some dudes with guns get shot up just effing leave, please. Leave the medical stuff to those authorized and trained to help.

  303. #305 FoxholeAtheist
    April 6, 2010

    @ Jarred C:

    Thank you times a thousand. You said what I wanted to say, only better. And welcome home, brother.

    – Yet another vet.

  304. #306 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate because you are uneducated in the subject and in no position to make any constructive judgments.

    wrong. we need to be louder, so we can end this shit and prevent it from reoccurring. sugarcoating or being silent about the monstrous crimes and atrocities that are inevitable in warfare only helps those who want to turn more people into monsters and kill more people by creating more wars.

    If I had watched that video I’d probably be happy, thinking our military had done a good job.

    then you’re part of the problem. killing someone is never a “good job”; it means somewhere down the line, someone failed at their job.

  305. #307 Meathead
    April 6, 2010

    Farnsworth, what the fuck are you talking about? The Apache was called in to support ground troops pinned down by enemy fire?!? WTF? The only ground troops I see arrive at the end – in support of the APACHE it would seem. They saunter in casually and survey a bunch of corpses.

  306. #308 halo.lcfr
    April 6, 2010

    so we can end this shit and prevent it from reoccurring

    No, that’s just not going to happen due to:

    inevitable in warfare

    only helps those who want to turn more people into monsters and kill more people by creating more wars

    I would use this as an argument against war. The second we can convince everyone in the world not to go to war, we’ll be free of these war-related incidents…

  307. #309 https://me.yahoo.com/a/o30.x9duv_EuLh6A2BOYwc3u8WzOVw--#2a57d
    April 6, 2010

    @ halo.lcfr

    What’s the point in stating the obvious? Saying ‘It Happens’ isn’t useful if you believe that ‘It’ is immoral. What if I say, “People get Aids and die people, get over it”? That’s a stupid comment if I regard the scourge of Aids as something that is not useful to humanity. The fact that I see Aids as negative implies that it’s something we should eradicate, at least if I label myself a humanist.

    Your implication in all of your posts is that War is hell, even though you don’t like it, but as a realist you’ll deal with it. I just don’t think anyone is going to take you seriously with that position, when at the same time, you call yourself a humanist that presumably values human life.

  308. #310 Ol'Greg
    April 6, 2010

    If I had watched that video I’d probably be happy, thinking our military had done a good job.

    Really? Even without the captions I would think something was off about it. It did not seem normal to me, even if I assumed those were weapons. If I thought they were shooting I would have shot, yet there’s just something completely wrong and if I viewed the video and audio separately I might think I was seeing to completely separate incidents.

  309. #311 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 6, 2010

    But remember American is a Christian NationTM.

  310. #312 skeptifem
    April 6, 2010

    I find all the talk about how much the camera looks like an RPG a bit silly. Invaders from another country don’t have any right to fly over cities and attack people, even if they are holding weapons. If this was happening to us instead of them it would be extremely obvious. Rejoicing in violating the rights of others is the definition of sociopathic behavior.

  311. #313 Travis
    April 6, 2010

    @Ol’Greg #309

    When I first saw the video that is exactly what I thought. These seem like really different events. The description being given vs. what we see seem rather disconnected and played up. If I closed my eyes my imagination would have filled in the blanks with a rather different picture. It makes me wonder what the people on the other end of the radio were imaging when these requests were being made.

  312. #314 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    Do you not realize that during WW2 many innocent civilians, including *gasp* CHILDREN were bombed indiscriminately?

    WW2? the one that would have never happened had the winners of WW1 not fucked up with the Treaty of Versailles and enslaved a nation and consigned it to starvation and poverty to enrich themselves, so that a decade later the country was ripe for a “messiah” that promised them freedom from and revenge on their slave-masters, and gave them an easy scapegoat to live out their frustrations on?the war which should have taught us not that there’s such a thing as a “good war”, but rather that even the inevitable and necessary war is a failure and an atrocity?

    that WW2?

    fucker.

  313. #315 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate because you are uneducated in the subject and in no position to make any constructive judgments.

    FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

    I just watched men from my country beg to hit a dozen plus human beings with what is essentially a meat grinder. I then watched them beg for a man to look like he was reaching for a weapon just so they’d have an excuse to hit him again. As a final atrocity, I watched a good Samaritan, only doing what should be expected of me, you, and any decent human being, get mowed down. Knowing that his kids were forced to watch their father get slaughtered like a cow for trying to help a wounded man is just the last nail in the coffin.

    How can you expect me to not be angry at that?

  314. #316 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    The second we can convince everyone in the world not to go to war, we’ll be free of these war-related incidents…

    or we can stop being reactive, and instead get our heads out of our collective asses and prevent the situations that cause wars from occurring, instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and then being surprised when wars break out, and proclaim them inevitable.

  315. #317 halo.lcfr
    April 6, 2010

    What’s the point in stating the obvious?

    Because some people act as if children should never die in a war. Ideally that is a great concept but war being what it is, it happens. And as I said in a previous comment, that’s the perfect argument against war.

    “People get Aids and die people, get over it”

    My point is that this is not a reason to call a war unjustified–you know, an event that rarely occurs and is in the very definition of war–but I am by no means saying that it isn’t sad or to “get over it.” If those were my kids, i’d cry probably for a while and I’d spend the rest of my life in the worst mental condition imaginable. “Get over it” is really the wrong phrase to use. “It happens.” When I was 16-17 I got rammed by the driver of an SUV that never stopped to help me or face their consequences. “It happens” but I still felt the pain.

    it’s something we should eradicate

    War is not good and I agree. We can all work hard at eradicating it but it’s not just up to us. There are other people in the world and they disagree highly with the idea of war not being an option and until the whole world agrees on no war, war is going to be around.

    I just don’t think anyone is going to take you seriously with that position, when at the same time, you call yourself a humanist that presumably values human life.

    What does my being a realist have to do with how I value life? I am not naive enough to think that this world is perfect and/or that war can be perfect so therefore I don’t value life as highly as others?

  316. #318 Cerberus
    April 6, 2010

    troll @299

    No you don’t, because IT’S A GODDAMNED CAMERA.

    Those desperate to hide from the atrocity with victim blaming, listen up. One more time, the reason, the only reason, we have this video recording, is because REUTER’S has been spending years pressing the army to release what happened in the massacre of their cameramen. We know who the people gunned down were, we know they weren’t insurgents or RPG-wielding terrorists, because we know they are a press crew who were making plans to catch up with another set of press crew who had left earlier.

    These are the raw unavoidable facts.

    This can’t be justifiable. There is no RPG, there were no insurgents, there weren’t even shots fired or a warning shot so people could scatter.

    And again even if these were jihadi women-rapists, we do not nor should we ever have the right to go into a country and decide that certain groups of people have a death sentence for existing. It is a war of occupation and we want the right to shoot to kill because we think they might want to defend themselves against their OCCUPIERS? Yeah, I wonder how atrocities like this occurred.

    I mean besides the fact that war=atrocities, always.

  317. #319 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 6, 2010

    For the last damn time, being in war and being shot at does not justify random and/or over eager shooting.

    I’d like to encourage you to consider another possibility – namely that it’s never “justified” to return fire.

    I think one can make a plausible argument that self-defense can be justified. But how do we justify defending ourself against someone who is defending themself? I’m serious – “self defense” is not an acceptable justification coming from an aggressor; it’s just “more aggression.”

    Militarists have long offered the doctrine that “it’s OK to kill someone in war because you’re both shooting at eachother” but does that really make sense? Isn’t it always the aggressor’s responsibility? It seems to me that “he attacked me and wouldn’t stop and was endangering my life, so I had to defend myself” carries some weight – and it’s why, if someone attacks you in your home, you can’t just say “I defended myself” you need to show that you tried to negotiate a resolution before you resorted to violence.

    The obvious conclusion is that, since the Iraqis don’t want us in Iraq, didn’t ask us to come to Iraq, and are trying to make us leave, they are defending themselves against us. If I were dealing with Iraqi troops driving around my yard here in Pennsylvania, I might be able to claim self-defense. But the fighting is not in Pennsylvania; we are not defending ourselves, we are trying to prevent them from defending themselves.

    The doctrine of pre-emptive warfare is morally dubious. It’s not even sufficient to show ability, stated intent, and plans to attack before pre-empting someone because if you have that information you’ve got a recipe for a successful ambush. If someone started emailing me telling me they were going to come kill me next friday at 2:00pm, and I thought it a credible threat, it might be good strategy to be having a cookout for my lawyer and a few members of the State Police (or on a plane to someplace else) but it doesn’t justify attacking them first because they might have just been trying to sucker me into a losing strategy (like we did to the Japanese in WWII with economic warfare that convinced them they had to try to pre-empt us. Looking at the history if warfare, it seems to me that strategic surprise is very seldom achieved and it doesn’t have a vast affect on outcomes anyway. Aggressors seldom attack thinking “this has a chance of working, only if I take them by surprise…” which, of course, reveals the ridiculousness of Bush and Blair’s claims that Iraq was a clear and present danger to anyone. Militarists sell events as sudden and surprising, like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (that was clearly in the works for a year before it got heavy) or Pearl Harbor (which was a reaction to deliberate strategy attempting to bring Japan into the war) – pre-emption presupposes surprise might be dangerous and ignores the reality that surprise is practically impossible to achieve.

  318. #320 truebutnotuseful
    April 6, 2010

    halo.lcfr @ #278 wrote:

    Lastly, this is the reason why war is so hard on the soldiers. Because as soon as someone makes a mistake, the media turns on them. And the public turns on them. They are all instantly vilified the second something goes wrong despite the fact that most of these people have no understanding of what it means to be a soldier.

    Well, y’know, except for all the soldiers and vets who know exactly what it is like to be a soldier, and who agree that this event was an unjustified atrocity.

    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate because you are uneducated in the subject and in no position to make any constructive judgments.

    Well tough-fucking-luck. We fund the military with our taxes and we vote on the Commander in Chief. We’ll say whatever the fuck we want, thank you very much.

    There are already rules of engagement, these soldiers followed them to the best of their ability

    If what was done in this video really was in accordance with the ROE, then they are in dire need of revision.

    and that’s all you fools need to know.

    We cower in deference before your monstrously tumescent e-penis.

  319. #321 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    My point is that this is not a reason to call a war unjustified–you know, an event that rarely occurs and is in the very definition of war

    oh, no. the war has always been unjustified, from start to finishnow. These atrocities should however serve as a lesson against war. this war, and any other war. because all wars are atrocities, even the “justified” ones. that this one wasn’t justified makes it so much worse.

  320. #322 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    Because some people act as if children should never die in a war.

    Are you honestly saying that children should die in a war?

    Please tell me that was a spelling error on your part.

  321. #323 skeptifem
    April 6, 2010

    post 261 got me thinking- I am not exactly responding to it so much as giving my impressions of the american style military:

    “Let’s be honest with ourselves, for a minute. The way that soldiers are trained has been carefully designed/evolved to promote sublimation of the will to authority, group-think, and to hijack human’s pack hunting/raiding behaviors. The military carefully inculcates “esprit de corps” and reliance between peer-groups to socialize its members to form bonds of interpersonal loyalty that facilitate the function of exactly the kind of behaviors that several people in this thread put forth as an excuse for killing: “they shot at my buddy” When a young person comes out of military training (me: summer class of Ft Dix, 1983) they’re part of a “band of brothers” that has been programmed to behave as a pack; they’re a weapon ready to be used. ”

    In “Homange to Catalonia” George Orwell talks about the military he belonged to in the spanish civil war. It was a volunteer military devoid of hierarchy, where underlings annoyed the hell out of the people training them by asking tons of questions before agreeing to engage in violence. The equiptment was shit, it was freezing, and food was not abundant. It still worked, and without a bunch of bs where people can pass the responsibility for actions up the chain, or be suckered into doing inhuman things. The idea that top down, authoritative style military operations are the ‘evolved’ version simply isn’t true. It is only evolved in the sense that it is compatable with the extreme level of inequality in our society. I am not even sure that unthinking pack animal like soliders are the best kind for military operations; I would think that any task requiring thought would be more difficult to accomplish with the weapon-people. I know that people who have had their psyche altered in the way you describe are ideal for comitting atrocities without hesitation. Defending our communities when it is needed can be accomplished in different and interesting ways.

  322. #324 halo.lcfr
    April 6, 2010

    Please tell me that was a spelling error on your part.

    Not a spelling error, but I did use the wrong word. Caught it as soon as I clicked Submit and waited to see how long it took for someone to find it. :)

  323. #325 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    Not a spelling error, but I did use the wrong word. Caught it as soon as I clicked Submit and waited to see how long it took for someone to find it. :) Yeah, I looked at my comment and saw that spelling should have been “grammar” or just “a poor choice of words.

  324. #326 Cerberus
    April 6, 2010

    Notkieran @302

    I just wanted to highlight this comment, which is really spot on.

    Part of the specific problem in the war on terror is that unlike the Danes, we’ve been trying to solve a police problem (terrorism) with a military force and it just ends up with a lot of “collateral damage” and endless occupations of sovereign nations that now have a really good reason to hate us.

    Soldiers don’t make good police, but do make a large amount of corpses. And changing the ROE so that soldiers are to be used as police and to deploy military tactics against criminal organizations just ends up with a lot of martyrs and atrocities like this.

    So yeah, just wanted to highlight their comment because it’s key to understanding why the war on terror is so fucked up.

    And yes, terrorism is best dealt with by police action. That’s what Denmark has done. And they’ve yet to have an attack, despite having multiple attempts. They’ve also yet to have a false arrest or any atrocities on their specific conscience (does not apply to potential atrocities performed by Danish soldiers serving under NATO troops in our disaster of an invasion of Afghanistan).

    We’ve also seen it work against our domestic terrorists.

  325. #327 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 6, 2010

    You know, where they use children as human shields, ambulances as offensive military vehicles during a battle, civilian taxis as troop and weapon transportation etc.

    They don’t have regular troop and weapon transportation because we blew them up, and took them away. They’re not fighting us on the battlefield because they tried that and we threshed them like wheat. They’re hiding in civilian areas and using civilian gear and looking like civilians because – they’re fucking civilians. By definition, since we put the Official Iraqi Army out of business. Hello?

    If Iraqi troops were stationed all over my little area of Pennsylvania I’d be an insurgent that looked like a civilian because I’m a fucking civilian and I wouldn’t feel obligated to send an engraved invitation to the invaders asking them to name their seconds and meet me in a convenient child-safe battlefield of their choosing.

    Militarists are so fucking stupid; they’re actually offended that the losers in a war aren’t behaving the way they ought to. But they’re behaving exactly the way anyone behaves when there are under a military occupation by a foreign invader, where they live. I’m guessing that the Iraqis considered “perhaps if we ask them nicely to ‘please leave’?” as an option and discarded it because they’re just really, really mean people. Or maybe it’s that they’re pissed off because we’ve killed hundreds of thousands of their friends, bombed the fuck out of several of their cities, and not even had the courtesy to say “oops, sorry, you were right about the WMDs” gosh, I’d be a bit resentful of that, myself! Especially if I was dealing with people who were so stupid that they think they can shoot the fuck out of you until you become their friend.

    Let me try another perspective: in the US we all laugh at “we’re from the government and we’re here to help” but when we say that to an Iraqi that joke probably is going to fall on its face.

  326. #328 Cerberus
    April 6, 2010

    halo-

    Given that in this particular set of wars, we, America, are the aggressors engaging in aggressive invasions and occupations of sovereign nations, the “ending of war” in this particular case is entirely on us.

    Iraqis and Afghanis didn’t come over here and invade Springfield, Ill so we had to fight them back. We took over their home because we were hurting too bad to understand that a military invasion of unrelated targets was a bad response to a criminal problem involving a decentralized criminal organization needing a police response.

    We can “end wars” or at least reduce the amount of atrocities that America has personally engaged in for the last 60 plus years by stopping our continuous policy of occupations and invasions around the world.

  327. #329 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    Thread’s sapping my comment!

    Meant to say that that should have been a “poor choice of words.”

  328. #330 justinaquino
    April 6, 2010

    I assume it was shot at night, because it was black and White. As such:

    What stops the long things swinging and being used as a walking stick from being Umbrellas folded up after the days end? You can guess from the weight and the usage (being used as a cane or how it touches the ground) if it is an umbrella.

    Since they did not have Night vision, why couldn’t they take more time to confirm. A trigger happy gunner is a BIG hint for the commander to re-evaluate all his reports because of cognitive bias.

    As for the RPG, it was only assumed to be one after mistaking the Cameras and “umbrellas” as Aks . Already there is a very severe bias present in the interpretation.

    If it was a Day shot, the color would have been clearly showed if it was what they claimed it to be. If they gave a BW picture on what was a Day shot, well…

  329. #331 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 6, 2010

    #319:

    We cower in deference before your monstrously tumescent e-penis.

    ROFLMAOELEVENTY111!!!!11

    Thank you, thank you. I needed to bust a gut laughing. :) Hopefully he’ll not torment us any longer with his punishing dildo mallet, either.

  330. #332 BlueEyedVideot
    April 6, 2010

    #88 — This war was started by an avowed christianist President. This is a perfect example of the christian god’s work. Bush lied to start this war–hell, the son-of-a-bitch was gunning for Saddam from the very start of his administration. Remember, “Fuck Saddam, we’re taking him out”, spoken by the newly-elected George W. Bush well before anybody cared about Iraq? Here is a prime example of a psychological cripple wanting to start a FUCKING war to show his daddy that he wasn’t a drunk and a screwup, he was a Christian Soldier! And he’d teach that Saddam Hussein a lesson he’d never forget for tryin’ to kill daddy dearest. An eye for an eye, isn’t it?

    By the way, what’s up with you having to “view the video” to personally convince yourself that this wasn’t a christian massacre? How do you know the chopper pilot didn’t have black patches under his eyes with a couple of biblical chapter and verse references printed on them like your favorite college footballer, Timmeh Tebow? Get this, and make no mistake about it: the U.S., as you christianists are so fond of saying, is a “christian nation”, and it was a very christianist President leading the christianist military, with their christianist gun sights, to massacre an entire goddamned nation! I said it before, and I’ll say it to you again, this is a picture of your Jesus at work, you sick bastard. You’re the one with those children’s blood on your hands.

  331. #333 monado
    April 6, 2010

    It may be uncharitable of me, but I suspect that the pilots and gunners make self-justifying comments, “Ooh! he’s got a gun!” as a matter of habit to ensure that any recording, and thus the official version of an incident, includes plenty of ass-covering.

  332. #334 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 6, 2010

    skeptifem:
    The idea that top down, authoritative style military operations are the ‘evolved’ version simply isn’t true.

    Well, picking some of the most ineffective irregulars in the history of warfare as a counter-example isn’t very convincing. :D

    I didn’t say anything about top-down command structures being the be-all (they’re not) I was talking about the techniques used to train men to kill; those have been relatively consistent except for in situations where there is so much anger that there’s no need to motivate the troops. That’s one of the reasons insurgents are very very different from regular military forces – they’re generally motivated to kill invaders (another built-in human pack behavior?) or oppressors. The problem with a standing army is that a nation-state needs to forge this weapon that can be pointed in whatever direction its leaders think make sense at the time; that requires a much more carefully constructed army, especially if you’re carrying out wars of aggression or internal suppression.

    There’s a fair bit to learn from the Swiss, I think. They have constructed an army where the motivation and indoctrination is defensive – fanatically and viciously so – but it would be implausible to mobilize the Swiss army to go on the offensive without building a whole new army from scratch.

    Come to think of it you, one could probably establish a list of things to look for in how an army is trained that would indicate it was an army constructed for offensive operations. Period. That’s just the training; the rest is easy to see from operations. Defensive armies don’t need huge logistical trains (again, consider Switzerland) and all the mechanisms of “force projection” As I write this I realize that there is absolutely no way that anyone could mistake our military as anything but built purely for offense.

  333. #335 ryk
    April 6, 2010

    I’m a bit late to this, so apologies if I’m hitting on topics that have already been beaten to death…

    I read through the first couple dozen posts, and skimmed a few of the recent ones at the end…

    First off, I am very much anti-war, and against our presence in Iraq and the middle east in general. secondly, while I generally despise the military, and a large portion of the people in it, I did an enlistment, for what that’s worth.

    So, when I was watching the video, it did look like 2 of the people in the group were carrying weapons, and also that person poking around the corner did look like they were aiming an rpg or something similar. – granted, this wasn’t some sort of critical examination or anything, just a quick reflexive-sort of look at the video.

    But, also, when you are in the military, you are trained to protect yourself and (more importantly) your vehicle/position/fellow troops, and in so doing, you are quickly scanning an area, looking for weapons (kinda brings to mind that old adage about everything looking like a nail when you have a hammer…)
    Also, I have no idea of what the rules of engagement are, or what there orders were going into the situation. my best (not-too-educated) guess is that the helicopters were providing route reconnaissance/support for the ground convoy/whatever. maybe they were told to clear out anything that could be a threat, maybe they weren’t, I don’t really know, but that plays an important part in this.

    Now, before everyone jumps on me, I want to say that I don’t agree with the gunner’s comments coaxing the wounded to pick up a weapon, or the requests to open up on a vehicle that appeared to be evacuating the wounded (and furthermore, the comment about it ‘bringing weapons’ sounds to me like they were trying in advance to cover their asses for shooting civilians and wounded.)

    Next complaint – I’m of mixed feelings about what should happen to the gunner and the others on the radio, I don’t feel that I have quite enough info to make any judgments on that. However, if there is anything that comes down on this, it should come down on the heads of the higher-ups -those who planned the mission, who distributed the intelligence about it, who cleared the fire orders, who wrote the rules of engagement, and, more importantly, those who attempted to contribute to this being covered up. The military trains people from their first day to instantly obey orders without thought and consideration, and while I may not agree with this, I feel that if this is the standard practice, then by default, and responsibility for wrongdoing (so long as it was not done in direct disobedience to orders) falls squarely on the heads of those in command. – This was one of my biggest complaints with how the whole Abu Ghraib (sp?) bit was handled; I’m not going to say the enlisted peoples actions were right or even defensible, but I feel the upper echelons of the command should have taken the hit for it. -In those sort of messes I can only really see 3 possible scenarios: 1; the command knows what’s going on and either actively endorses, condones, or even commands it, 2; the command knows what’s going on, and either doesn’t care, or fails to properly control and discipline their troops, or, 3; the command has no clue what the hell is going on, and as such, has no place being in charge, and is criminally negligent.

    I’m not on here a terrible lot, but I will try to keep an eye on this thread, but if you want to discuss/question/argue/whatever any specific part of my post (or at least expect me to respond to it…) please include my name (ryk) -either as a quote, or whatever, but I’ll be doing a search for my name when I catch up on this thread.

    -I’ll try to keep up and respond to whatever I catch, but I may not have the time to read all the posts.

  334. #336 Notkieran
    April 6, 2010

    Cereberus @ #325

    I have a friend (a fellow Open Diary User) who was invalided out of Iraq (back problem from lugging and mounting the .50 cal onto the truck). It’s very clear from the way she talks about it that she’s suffering from PTSD from the attacks on her camp. She didn’t snap and start killing people, but that might very well have been because she’s an MP and thus had a different approach to potential perps.

    The point I think I should have made and didn’t actually get around to making was that when we are under pressure, we revert to our default personas, and the default persona of a properly trained soldier is to kill everything that isn’t a buddy and then worry about the rest later.*

    The trouble is that chickenhawks treat the military like teabaggers treat guns- to be waved about and brandished and used to make a point, and then one day you hear a negligent discharge and some idiot is standing there with a sheepish expression saying “Uh, I just shot Marvin in the face.”

  335. #337 Notkieran
    April 6, 2010

    Sorry, pressed “enter” too soon. The asterisk was for this footnote:

    *I’m not talking about the morality of this, but simply the whole point of making someone into a soldier. An army is a weapon you point at the enemy. The immorality comes from the intent that you have in pointing the weapon, not the way that the weapon kills the target, the person behind the target, everyone in a fifty-foot radius behind the target, and sends a mushroom cloud up into the sky.

  336. #338 ginckgo
    April 6, 2010

    I can add this now to that indelible part of my mind that includes Peter Singer’s reading from “Rape of the Congo” at the Atheist Convention in Melbourne, which described truly evil deeds. This video could be argued to show an honest mistake, but the satisfaction and eagerness with which the soldiers shot humans to death shows they were too emotionally attached to getting the baddies, any baddies.

  337. #339 efrique
    April 6, 2010

    Thanks, PZ, for at least giving it this forum.

  338. #340 Pygmy Loris
    April 6, 2010

    Still reading through, but this caught my eye.

    What’s the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?

    The American public at large cared more.

    There is one major difference between Vietnam and Iraq; we don’t have an active draft right now. It took several years of massive drafts for the anti-war protests to become a serious force. Over two million men were drafted to serve in Vietnam, and we don’t know how many volunteer servicemen* joined out of fear of the draft. If such a draft were implemented today, the outcry against the war would probably be much more vocal.

    *I’m using servicemen here specifically because women were not subject to the draft. No slight against servicewomen who volunteered during Vietnam is intended.

    And aim your flame at the faggots who are trying to cover this up.

    Slurs like that have no place here. You will not find sympathy for that outburst.

  339. #341 SaintStephen
    April 6, 2010

    Wow. One of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen, PZ.

    (Apologies in advance… haven’t read any of the thread yet.)

    I will have to admit that early in the clip, that person DID look like he was taking cover with an RPG behind the corner of that building. It seems like that was the match that lit the fire.

    And then fear, a little cowardice, and a LOT of bloodlust took over from there. Tragic beyond belief.

  340. #342 Ellie
    April 6, 2010

    As with the commenter above, I’m sorry if I’m rehashing old arguments; I didn’t read all the comments. I think I might have a couple of new issues to raise though.

    Briefly, I tend to agree with the various people who think the initial incident can be forgiven as a misjudgment due to context. That argument has def been done to death, so I won’t go into it further.

    As far as I’m concerned, however, there are two more very important things (I go into them in greater depth here):

    1. The decision to fire was made by someone remotely. This takes responsibility for their actions away from the soldiers (might that make them less careful about picking their targets?). It also adds a delay, so if that HAD have been an RPG rather than, as I suspect, a long-lense, then the delay in reacting may have been fatal for the gun ship. It’s seems to attempt to reduce the likelihood of wounding civilians but actually just makes the situation worse for everyone.

    2. The act of firing on the men attempting to evacuate the wounded was knowingly authorized by a remote commander. The soldier in the gunship didn’t lie, the authorization to fire came BECAUSE they were attempting to evacuate the injured man. It seems from this video that helping your wounded is considered sufficient justification for an attack in the American military. Forgive me, but that seems to break 7 of the 10 rules in this list. That seems to me to be a FAR bigger, endemic problem than any one incident.

  341. #343 Feynmaniac
    April 6, 2010

    CNN has the story:

    The U.S. investigation into the attack found that the helicopter gunship’s crew mistook the journalists’ cameras for weapons while seeking out insurgents who had been firing at American troops in the area. The fliers estimated they killed 12 to 15 Iraqis in the attack.

    The Army’s 2007 report on the incident found the crew had “neither reason nor probability to assume that neutral media personnel were embedded with enemy forces,” according to a copy of the document released to CNN.

  342. #344 The Laughing Man
    April 6, 2010

    Great, breaking news. Finally :-/

  343. #345 desertfroglet
    April 6, 2010

    They’ve just shown some of the footage on the early evening news on Channel 10 (commercial network) in Queensland. The commentary certainly wasn’t supportive of the action.

  344. #346 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    The Army’s 2007 report on the incident found the crew had “neither reason nor probability to assume that neutral media personnel were embedded with enemy forces

    wtf?

  345. #347 Colin
    April 6, 2010

    @PZ

    They want to murder a wounded man, and are hoping he’ll pick up a gun to give them an excuse.

    This is the part that puzzled me in the video. If they’re quite happy to inflate the number of armed men and make claims about guns that don’t exist, why the sudden attention to the ROE at this point?

  346. #348 SaintStephen
    April 6, 2010

    Just a few quick photos of the Commander-In-Chief:

  347. #349 ryk
    April 6, 2010

    >SaintStephen
    >Just a few quick photos of the Commander-In-Chief:

    I’m not sure what all is going on there, but…

    I’d imagine secret security and all that wouldn’t let a president come that close to someone who didn’t all but worship him. And, I don’t know much about this (so feel free to correct me…), but I would guess that after some event that would scar you up like that, most people would take some sort of ‘sacrifice for the greater good’ type mentality or something, and of those few who didn’t… I’m guessing they are on all sorts of TSA watch-lists now….

  348. #350 skeptifem
    April 6, 2010

    @333- yeah I didn’t think you were endorsing our style exactly. I hear that ‘best military in the world’ thing here all the time though. I really liked Homage to Catalonia though, in retrospect it isn’t all that amazing that cohesion occurs when there is a good reason for fighting… I had not concieved of military groups that worked off of questioning and cooperation.

    Anyway, on to the topic of just wars. My first college class was an ethics class, and our prof did a good job of presenting the topic. We were given a summary of just war theory to read in class, and discuss, and just about everyone found it to be reasonable. Then he informed us what the authors were originally trying to justify, and it turned the whole thing on its head. Everyone thinks their war is justified.

  349. #351 grim.redeemer
    April 6, 2010

    To all the people who are surprised that soldiers laugh and congratulate themselves upon successfully destroying what they believe are the enemy: have you never read a book that presents a soldier’s perspective of war?

    From the Iliad to Generation Kill, any of them would have disillusioned you on this point. Most soldiers do not break down and cry when they kill someone. Killing people is what soldiers do, and without some mechanism for dealing with that they would be completely useless.

    Fortunately, evolution has bestowed upon us humans several such mechanisms. The dialogue of the crewmen (“look at those dead bastards”, laughing at driving over a body, etc.) shows them in action, and could just as well have been lifted off of hoplites at Marathon, longbowmen at Agincourt, or GIs at Falaise.

    If you think such an apparently casual approach to killing other human beings is unacceptable, your issue is not with this helo crew, or even with the US military in Iraq. Your issue is with war. “As well ask men what they think of stone.”

    That is not to say I don’t think what’s shown in that video is horrible, knowing what the Apache crew didn’t. I just don’t find it surprising, and I don’t have any simple solutions.

  350. #352 Freodin
    April 6, 2010

    @248 Yubal

    Sorry, I just have to ask: east or west germany?

    I´m german as well, and, as set in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, was accepted as a conscious objector.

  351. #353 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    That incident was no fight; that was no battle.

    It was an extermination.

  352. #354 Lars
    April 6, 2010

    To all the people who are surprised that the USA starts wars and commits atrocities:

    There’s gasoline in your car’s gas tank right now, isn’t there?

  353. #355 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    This is where I apologize for what I assume to be my failure to communicate my thoughts. I wasn’t excusing or trying to excuse anything. I was attempting to explain how a decent human being can commit an such an “atrocity” without being “evil” for lack of a better word.

    Once you commit an atrocity you are no longer a decent human being.

  354. #356 defides
    April 6, 2010

    Is there anybody who can decipher the HUD information on the video and say at what range the gunship ‘engaged the hostiles’?

    Also, is it not the case that Apache helicopters have only pilot-activated guns – not like a Huey, in which pilot and gunners are different personnel? And that the pilots have a ‘monocle’ with which they view the scene and direct the gunfire? So the question is – are we seeing in the video the same thing the pilot would have seen, or would he have had a better or worse or perhaps different view?

    I’ve just finished watching the Generation Kill TV series, so I have to say that this video doesn’t exactly shock me. Anybody who remembers the behaviour of ‘Captain America’ won’t be too surprised to find that people with his attitude are also flying gunships.

    I also remember seeing not too long ago footage from another helicopter camera in which a couple of people who might have been insurgents, might have been farmers were slaughtered at long distance.

    Perhaps it’s the immediacy of the video footage that is making everybody jump up and down, but writing as someone who opposed the war from the outset in the absolutely certain conviction that it was simply impossible for Iraq to have WMD, I have to say that some people seem to be waking up to the necessary consequences of that decision rather late in the day. Whether its cynicism or exhaustion that makes me think “Well, what did you expect?” I don’t really know.

  355. #357 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawla5nj1O0eiU5F7Kc0P1IIxAwZFGnBVZ6w
    April 6, 2010

    Killing a father who wants to help the wounded in front of his children? This is a GREAT way to make terrorist, suicide bombers and generally people who hate USA.

    By the way this is not the first time things like this happens. Was there anybody hold responsible for these kid of things ever?

  356. #358 shonny
    April 6, 2010

    #347

    I would much rather like seeing the moron-in-chief where he rightfully belongs, – swinging at the end of a rope.
    With the rest of the US war criminals.

    These guys made 9/11 into a minor incidence, which trivialised the losses, by inflicting so much damage, uncritically, on so many, also completely innocent people.

    Had I been an American, I would also try and hold my country to the HIGHEST standards, and not one that can justifiably be regarded as the most despotic, warmongering regime around the world. The reality is that the US has been involved as perpetrator of assisting perpetrator in most of the dirty events around the world since WW2, which is well documented by among others Chalmers Johnson, who is another who REALLY loves his country by holding it to the highest standards.

    So full honours to PZ as an example of real patriotism based on total honesty!

  357. #359 scooterKPFT
    April 6, 2010

    I need to get me one of them helicopters.

  358. #360 jagannath
    April 6, 2010

    There is nothing much to say of the video, words keep failing even if I know that is not just one incident but one of many.

    But when people keep defending the act of one human killing another as ‘shit happens’ it does not leave much doubt in my mind that the commenter is vile person on par with the shooter. You can find excuses from psychology and from various sources but people are killed, FUCKERS!

    WE only have this one fucking life and you shrug off the deaths as part of doing business. Why the fuck you think wars keep continuing? That attitude feeds it, That attitude is like throwing little boys to papal convention and then just shrugging after molestation that shit happens.

    Shit happens? Just be silent, just be silent and hope that when something happens to you, people do not just walk by and say ‘shit happens, dude’.

  359. #361 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    Sorry, but I simply cannot care about any muslims getting killed, civilians or not.

    Probably because they are anti-reason, anti-science, anti-human rights and anti-democracy.

    In fact most muslim civilians would not hesitate slaughtering a gay person.

    So, it is impossible to care for them getting killed because the image of them “civilians” torturing gays always pops up.

    Muslims are vermin.

  360. #362 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 6, 2010

    No, Tronzu, you are.

  361. #363 Ellie
    April 6, 2010

    Seconded

  362. #364 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu, no need to trumpet your failings.

    I note your comment is anti-reason, anti-science, anti-human rights and anti-democracy.

    Which means, by your own contention, you consider yourself vermin.

  363. #365 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I’m a humanist and I value life very highly.

    You have proved otherwise. You may value some life very highly, but not the lives of civilians in a country under occupation by the U.S., which invaded it illegally and under false pretenses. If those civilians were relatives or friends or even from the same country as you, you would have a very different view. In any case, you are an extremely vile and stupid person. Even if some element of this event can be interpreted as “A few guys make a mistake”, most of it is, as John Morales says, “an extermination”, and it was followed by a deliberate coverup and lies about the events.

    you fools

    Extreme Dunning-Kruger Effect. And aside from your evident lack of intelligence, you display a parallel form — such a lack of moral judgment that you are unable to recognize that lack.

  364. #366 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Probably because they are anti-reason, anti-science, anti-human rights and anti-democracy.

    What a stunning lack of self awareness.

    You don’t even know that anyone in this video was muslim, cretin.

  365. #367 Jérôme ^
    April 6, 2010

    This is really making the news — right now it is the #1 title on Arte, and it is also on Libération.

    Probably the fact that two of the victims are journalists played a role in this.

  366. #368 Rorschach
    April 6, 2010

    Bigot @ 360,

    Sorry, but I simply cannot care about any muslims getting killed, civilians or not.
    Probably because they are anti-reason, anti-science, anti-human rights and anti-democracy.

    Your generalizations are telling and reveal you as the bigot that you are.And that is not even mentioning that we dont know if those people in the vid were in fact muslims.

  367. #369 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    If you think such an apparently casual approach to killing other human beings is unacceptable, your issue is not with this helo crew, or even with the US military in Iraq. Your issue is with war.

    False dichotomy; all three deserve criticism. And your handwaving about the first is sheer sophistry — many soldiers display consciences and kill reluctantly and with remorse, unlike those in this video.

    That is not to say I don’t think what’s shown in that video is horrible, knowing what the Apache crew didn’t.

    Nice dodge, scumbag. The Apache crew committed murder and the military brass covered it up.

  368. #370 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    No, you idiotic fucks. There are no muslims in Iraq and you don’t get slaughtered for even not being a muslim vermin in Iraq.

    Fucking unbelievable…when they were systematically torturing and killing gays that would put Spanish Inquisition to shame where were you fucks then with your comments about muslim civilian scum and their whole ghastly hellish culture.

  369. #371 Rorschach
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu,

    please leave and take your hate with you.

  370. #372 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu appears to have the IQ of a turnip.

  371. #373 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu, your anti-Muslim hate-mongering trolling is futile (your metaphorical spittle notwithstanding).

  372. #374 Colin
    April 6, 2010

    ….many soldiers display consciences and kill reluctantly and with remorse, unlike those in this video.

    Um, does it really make a difference to the victim, or their family?

    I’ve never been with a group of soldiers during an incident like this, but I have been with paramedics, and, at least for the guys I was with, trust me – “institutional” humour is all that keeps them sane. They simply cannot afford the emotions that civilians have – at least, not at the time. They can’t cry over every body. Which is not the same as saying they don’t feel remorse, particularly at two in the morning, when they’ve come back from their tour of duty.

    Tronzu – I’m gay too, and I was equally disgusted by the Muslim attitude towards homosexuality displayed by the Iraqi death squads. It’s only a few degrees worse than the right-wing US Christian attitude, though; the difference being the same as between theory and practice…

  373. #375 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    this wasn’t some sort of critical examination or anything, just a quick reflexive-sort of look at the video.
    But, also, when you are in the military, you are trained to protect yourself and (more importantly) your vehicle/position/fellow troops, and in so doing, you are quickly scanning an area, looking for weapons

    What’s with you rationalizing pukes who can look at a very deliberate process where people had plenty of time to make evaluations — and we can hear them do it — and turn it into something else entirely?

  374. #376 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Um, does it really make a difference to the victim, or their family?

    Um, are you really so fucking stupid as to not understand the point?

    I was equally disgusted by the Muslim attitude towards homosexuality displayed by the Iraqi death squads

    Apparently then you are equally a bigot. Nothing any Iraqi death squad did has anything to do with the Reuters journalists and others who were gleefully and remorselessly killed in this video.

  375. #377 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    Colin,

    Um, does it really make a difference to the victim, or their family?

    Not to the former, almost certainly yes to the latter.

    It’s only a few degrees worse than the right-wing US Christian attitude, though; the difference being the same as between theory and practice…

    I think it’s much the same, as fatwa-envy demonstrates — besides, I suspect religion is more of an enabler than a cause.

  376. #378 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Sorry, but I simply cannot care about any muslims getting killed, civilians or not.

    Probably because they are anti-reason, anti-science, anti-human rights and anti-democracy.

    Which of course means they should be murdered.

  377. #379 Cuttlefish, OM
    April 6, 2010

    It’s on the front page of the NY Times now (or rather, the home page of the Times online).

  378. #380 Colin
    April 6, 2010

    Truth, if I agreed with Tronzu that all Muslims should be killed gleefully and remorselessly killed because of the actions of a few towards homosexuals, you’d have a point. As it happens, I don’t agree with him – if I did, as I pointed out, I’d have to feel the same way towards Christians. My post was attempting to indicate that the problem is not confined to Muslims.

    I was merely indicating that, I, too, found those death squads fairly depressing; I also happened to notice a distinct silence about it in the US media – my comment was a way of saying “Ah, so someone else did notice”.

    As to your original point, it depends what you meant:

    (A) That the deaths in the video wouldn’t have happened if the soldiers had been “reluctant” to kill.

    (B) That it was distasteful for them to not to show remorse, indeed, to show eagerness.

    If you meant (A) – which on rereading your whole post I now think you did — then I agree with you and apologize.

    If you meant (B), see what I wrote about institutional humour.

  379. #381 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    tm quite rightly alludes to the topic being derailed, something to which I’ve just been complicit.

    As penance, I repeat for emphasis:

    Nothing any Iraqi death squad did has anything to do with the Reuters journalists and others who were gleefully and remorselessly killed in this video.

  380. #382 ozvotes
    April 6, 2010

    some facts:

    1) the men don’t react to the gunship because it is several km away. watch how long it takes between the chain gun report and the shells hitting.

    2) most rpg variants have a maximum range of around 800m. that’s max, not optimal.

    3) the men move from cover (walking unperturbed) into an open area, probably waiting for a pick up. this is not typical behaviour for iraqi resisters in 2007, after 4 years of war. nor is walking around in groups of 6, which is a shitload of guerrillas in the open any time the occupier has complete control of the air and vigorously patrols it.

    4) at no point did any of those men have any weapon that could have remotely threatened that gunship. muslim eye-lasers notwithstanding.

    5) at several points the crew had multiple opportunities to confirm their targets.

    6) this did not occur nose to nose/split second. a gunship stood off at long range, waited for an opportunity (the people congregating in the open) and opened fire.

    7) the onus is always on the occupier to avoid murdering civilians in the countries they occupy. the reason for this unfair imposition is something we call world war 2. at the time, invading and occupying another country on a flimsy pretext made you the bad guy. and we kind of wanted to make it less popular.

    8) who is at fault? i’m going to go with the people occupying someone else’s country as the result of an illegal war i’m afraid.

  381. #383 truthspeaker
    April 6, 2010

    Posted by: The ghost of Rod Serling | April 5, 2010 5:29 PM

    I don’t know enough about the war to know whether it was (In theory) a good idea or not.

    Have you been living in a cave for the last seven years?

  382. #384 Fred The Hun
    April 6, 2010

    Tis Himself, OM @57,

    I have never understood the reasons for invading Iraq.

    Do you live in the US? Do you drive a car? Do you buy consumer items like IPads? Do you buy your food at the supermarket? Do you understand that all of those things depend on one thing and one thing only. OIL!

    Do you understand that oil production in the US peaked in the 1970s?!

    BTW Did you get a chance to read the paper I linked to the other day?

    What I don’t understand is how people can say they don’t understand.

  383. #385 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Not to the former, almost certainly yes to the latter

    The point was not whether it makes the dead any less dead, but rather about the morality of the action. As you said, this was an extermination, not a battle. As PZ said,

    This was a completely unnecessary massacre committed by a bunch of American hot dogs spoiling for a fight, as if it were some kind of video game — and it was to them. Yes, these soldiers were murderers and butchers.

    That’s a relevant fact, even if people like Colin are too morally blind to see it.

  384. #386 Carlie
    April 6, 2010

    I agree with Notkieran at 302 – one of the biggest problems here is with making soldiers into police. Wrong training for the wrong job.

    And this is not new, and it is not unique. This picture was in Time magazine at least two years before the video here was shot – a family in a car was stopped at a checkpoint and the adults shot by American soldiers for no reason other than not driving quite slowly enough. The picture is the daughter, covered in her parents’ blood. (warning: It’s bad – I still can’t look at it without crying.) There were six children in the car. All I could think of was here are six children who are never going to recover, and the one thing they will be absolutely sure of more than anything else, for the rest of their lives, is how much they hate Americans. This is the story. The longer we stay, the longer we try to police somewhere we shouldn’t, the more of these will happen.

  385. #387 inkadu
    April 6, 2010

    Jimmy-Bob @43 –

    Yep. I’m Jack’s complete lack of surprise. I always assume things like this are going on in war. It’s inevitable.

    Just think about what cops can be like, in the United States, with people who speak English, share a culture, and live a few miles away from where they live. They shoot, torture, taze, beat, plant evidence, etc. Now take those cops and put them in a war zone where they are being shot at constantly by people they can’t understand. Now give them more right to kill without review, give them better training to kill, give them better weapons to kill and make them all nineteen years old. What did you think would happen?

  386. #388 Colin
    April 6, 2010

    ozvotes – good points. I had noticed the gap between the firing of the 30mm and the impact of the rounds.
    It should be possible to calculate the distance fairly accurately, depending on the frame rate (time resolution) of the video.

  387. #389 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    I know that many senior (and not so senior) British military personal were appalled at the lack of training US soldiers had in policing an insurgency. Even things that can seem quite trivial matter, such as removing your sunglasses when talking to the public.

  388. #390 Rorschach
    April 6, 2010

    @ 383,

    Do you understand that all of those things depend on one thing and one thing only. OIL!

    I am not convinced oil was the driving force for this war, I think more petty motives are more likely, like son wanting to finish dad’s job, like an intellectually weak president getting manufactured and made-up “advice” from advisors and so forth.
    And, IPads depend on Iraqi oil? If you are advocating this then you’re more insane then Tronzu.

  389. #391 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Well there are reasons other than Oil and the one’s you laid out too Rorschach.

    Like it’s no coincidence we now have active military forces / bases in two countries bordering Iran.

    But keeping one of the worlds largest oil supplies out of the hands of a maniac was surely one of the main reasons as well.

  390. #392 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    at no point did any of those men have any weapon that could have remotely threatened that gunship. muslim eye-lasers notwithstanding.

    Indeed. Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik
    from 3:00 to 3:20, as the gunship opens fire on a group of clearly unarmed men.

  391. #393 Rorschach
    April 6, 2010

    But keeping one of the worlds largest oil supplies out of the hands of a maniac was surely one of the main reasons as well.

    Yeah, how who you consider a maniac changes though, once he was Rumsfeld’s and Bush’s best mate….

  392. #394 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Yeah, how who you consider a maniac changes though, once he was Rumsfeld’s and Bush’s best mate….

    The invasion of Kuwait gave them the “in” they needed in 1990 but Rummy, Cheney and Wolfie had been talking about this type of action for years before Saddam invaded Kuwait.

    And personally I think Iran has a lot more to do with this than Iraq’s oil.

    It was a strategic action that not only would “protect” oil supplies but also give them a way to be very close to Iran, who as far as I understand, has always been considered the real “threat” in that area.

  393. #395 ChrisD
    April 6, 2010

    After watching the full video, the one not all gussied up, it does appear there was a legitimate reason to open fire. The person did have an RPG, and I apologize for denying that they did have weapons. There’s the possibility that they would have engaged the illegal occupiers in an ambush that should not have happened, so in order to save the lives of people they care about more, they decided to kill people they don’t care about much.

    Firing on the van at first seemed extreme, but the rationale behind firing upon it, after further review of the video, leads me to believe it was the right thing to do. They had troops about to head into a hostile situation, having a possible enemy combatant on the field prior to the troops arrival could have led to the loss of American lives. There could have been anything in that van, from IED to RPG. It’s unfortunate that there was a child in there.

    I’m going to give the soldiers the benefit of the doubt in this one. But they’re still callous husks of human beings and they have to be that way. The alternative is crippling guilt for them. I sympathize with that plight, but I think the guilt is somewhat justified since everyone over there is obeying illegal orders to occupy.

  394. #396 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    My post was attempting to indicate that the problem is not confined to Muslims.

    You’re rather dim. The problem does not extend to “Muslims” as a whole, especially when one takes “Muslim” to include any Iraqi.

    (A) That the deaths in the video wouldn’t have happened if the soldiers had been “reluctant” to kill.
    (B) That it was distasteful for them to not to show remorse, indeed, to show eagerness.

    You’re extremely dim, and morally blind. Being eager to kill Iraqis, who are called “pricks” and “bastards” in the video, is morally repugnant, not merely “distasteful”, and of course it can result in, as PZ said, “a completely unnecessary massacre”. All this garbage about what is (people claim) common among soldiers does not relieve these soldiers of moral culpability.

  395. #397 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    And Saddam wasn’t really a friend to Rummy et al as much as a tool to use against Iran.

  396. #398 Spiro Keat
    April 6, 2010

    Fuck!

    And we in the UK are complicit because of that lying christian bastard Blair.

    I share your pain.

  397. #399 neon-elf.myopenid.com
    April 6, 2010

    I didn’t watch the video because I’ve seen enough footage of atrocities over the years.

    What’s the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?

    Not a hell of a lot. In all wars govenments send young men out to kill, after filling their heads with bogus idealogical reasons to treat the enemy as subhuman.

    The big difference is this generation of young soldiers grew up playing first person shooter video games, and some are unable to differentiate the the enemy characters in the games they played from the reality of innocent people going about their business.

  398. #400 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    The person did have an RPG

    Tell me at what time in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik you see an RPG?

    It’s amazing that people here can continue to call a camera an RPG even when they know that one of the men killed was a photojournalist. You can see his “RPG” at 1:10 in the video above.

    I’m going to give the soldiers the benefit of the doubt in this one. But they’re still callous husks of human beings and they have to be that way.

    No, they don’t, and neither do you, but you choose to be.

  399. #401 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    The more muslim vermin exterminated the better for the human civilization on this planet.

  400. #402 scooterKPFT
    April 6, 2010

    CNN just covered this an hour ago. They played the first minute or so of the tape then cut it off to respect the families of the victims.

    Then the pundit stated it was ‘saddening’ then launched the “it’s war, shit happens” dismissal.

    The part about the van being attacked was totally omitted from the coverage.

    Which begs the question, “Which is more dangerous, radical islam or american nationalism.

    Let’s do a victim count.

    oh wait.

    I’ll need a better processer.

  401. #403 Anri
    April 6, 2010

    Sorry, but I simply cannot care about any muslims getting killed, civilians or not.

    Probably because they are anti-reason, anti-science, anti-human rights and anti-democracy.

    In fact most muslim civilians would not hesitate slaughtering a gay person.

    So, it is impossible to care for them getting killed because the image of them “civilians” torturing gays always pops up.

    Muslims are vermin.

    Hey, Tonzu, couple of questions.
    At what stage in the conversion to Islam does one lose one’s humanity? Please be as specific as possible.

    If one de-converts from Islam, can one be a human again, or is it kind of like virginity?

    If one is investigating what appears to be the murder of a human being, what level of evidence that the corpse was a moslem is required to dismiss the crime? Or at least reduce it to something more appropriate, such as animal cruelty (given that moslems are, according to you, sub-human)?

    Should the state actively pursue the killing of those that have converted to Islam, or should it merely support civilian efforts, domensticly?

    When converting to Islam, does a US citizen retain citizenship, even though they have become sub-human? Or is it only brown-skinned, foriegn moslems that are sub-human?
    (If so, you’re using the wrong term. What you mean, and should say is: Sand Niggers instead of moslems. It really would be a more honest description of your feelings and beliefs.)

  402. #404 broboxley OT
    April 6, 2010

    yes it is war, just like the metro bombings in russia.
    Just like the canadians tying civilians with barbed wire on the front of their tanks in the northern salient after dday.
    No different than using flamethrowers to bbq a few scared Nipponese crouching like fearful hobbits in a hole in an area so foreign that most americans wouldnt recognize it on a cruise ship going past.

    Sorry that you have had such a delightful life that you have never had to contemplate such actions except when cheering on your favorite cinematic heroes from the comfort of your living room chair.
    According to the after action reports the rules of engagement were met.

    This isnt a sherrif stopping a dodgy looking car hoping for a bust. It is the normal face of war.
    If you think this type of action stopped when the occupants of the whitehouse changed think again

    http://www2.centcom.mil/sites/foia/rr/CENTCOM%20Regulation%20CCR%2025210/Forms/AllItems.aspx?RootFolder=%2fsites%2ffoia%2frr%2fCENTCOM%20Regulation%20CCR%2025210%2fDeath%20of%20Reuters%20Journalists&FolderCTID=&View={41BA1AAF-785A-481A-A630-12470AFCD6FD}

  403. #405 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    The more muslim vermin exterminated the better for the human civilization on this planet.

    And the more gigantic bigoted idiots who can’t separate stereotypes of populations from individuals acting as individuals, like yourself, that succumb to long slow painful deaths from testicular cancer the better.

    See!

    It’s fun isn’t it?!?!

  404. #406 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    But keeping one of the worlds largest oil supplies out of the hands of a maniac was surely one of the main reasons as well.

    Uh, you’re saying that the invasion of Iraq was largely in order to keep Iraqi oil out of the hands of the guy who had ruled Iraq for 24 years?

    Aside from that silliness, Hussein was ruthless, but he was no “maniac” — that meme was a major element of the war propaganda, much the way our pal in Panama was painted as a crazy to justify deposing him to gullible jingoist Americans.

  405. #407 Truckle
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu @400

    The more muslim vermin exterminated the better for the human civilization on this planet

    Ah see i was going to respond to your arguments, but i see there is no need to… your just a twat with a keyboard.

  406. #408 scooterKPFT
    April 6, 2010

    @67

    Not to defend the actions of the pilots but as for someone who has seen many an AK and RPG the people did look like they were carrying weapons

    No, they’re not lying about the rifles, see upper left at 3:40.

    But the problem in Iraq is lawlessness, everybody carries guns around to keep themselves warm, so if the rules of engagement are to shoot anybody with a gun, whether they are engaging in battle or not creates a free-for-all.

    You might get away with the “shit happens, it’s war” excuse, until the second half of the video, when it’s just wanton murder. You’re not supposed to shoot unarmed rescue people or blow up a makeshift ambulance.

  407. #409 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    First off, Tronzu, take your hatred elsewhere and, while you’re at it, go fuck yourself. Just because we do not share the beliefs of Muslims and find many practices associated with Islam to be anywhere from disagreeable to outright abhorrent, does not wish we would wish subjugation or death upon Muslims. We make our disagreements with their and other religions known through speech but never through violent action. Like I said, go fuck yourself.

    With that out of the way, I next have to apologise for probably repeating what has already been said many times; I have only read a subset of the comments. Even granting the Apache crew the greatest leniency for being on edge during some of the worst violence of the occupation, it is hard to find any justification for what happened here.

    Firstly, the identification of weapons is extremely questionable. I tried as best I could to try to view this without the knowledge that there were journalists present carrying camera equipment. All I could see were a few guys milling around with stuff in their hands. There was nothing suspicious in their behaviour until the point where we see someone with would could be legitimately be mistaken for a RPG peering down a street. However, at this point, there is no indication he is targeting the helicopter, nor that he is an immediate threat to other US forces in the area. The sensible response at this point would be continued observation until it was clear whether or not the group were insurgents with hostile intent.

    From this point, things completely fall apart. The Apache crew seeks permission to engage on the basis of an inflated number of “armed” men. I disagree with the commenter above who blamed the controllers who gave permission to fire. They did so at this point on the basis of falsified information from the aircrew who wanted to start shooting.

    Where this progresses from being a typical horror of occupation into the territory of being utterly debased is when the makeshift ambulance arrived. What possible justification could there be for opening fire on it? This is inhuman, and this point the controllers are complicit in the atrocity as they gave permission to fire following an accurate report of the situation from the Apache crew.

    I should note that I could not clearly see the children in the van even though I was looking for them. In the video enlargement at the end, it was still not clear there were children present. This, to me, is not of primary relevance as none of what led to the Apache crew destroying the van should never have happened.

    I’m not sure what I find more horrifying: this act of murder or the fact I am not really surprised. Such events are to be expected unless you are inexcusably ignorant of the actions of armed forces during this and any number of occupations through history. The one good thing is that this is now in the public domain and people will get better idea of what really happens in war.

    It would be nice to be able to think that this might bring us one step closer to bringing the warmongers Bush, Blair, Cheney, et al to justice, but sadly I am not naive enough to do so.

  408. #410 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    In #40, David Marjanovi? wrote “Absolutely read the Guardian article mentioned above”. I’ll bet ChrisD and most others here haven’t.

    In the recording, the helicopter crews can be heard discussing the scene on the street below. One American claims to have spotted six people with AK-47s and one with a rocket-propelled grenade. It is unclear if some of the men are armed but Noor-Eldeen can be seen with a camera. Chmagh is talking on his mobile phone.
    One of the helicopter crew is then heard saying that one of the group is shooting. But the video shows there is no shooting or even pointing of weapons. The men are standing around, apparently unperturbed.

    Initially the US military said that all the dead were insurgents. Then it claimed the helicopters reacted to an active firefight. Assange said that the video demonstrated that neither claim was true.
    “Why would anyone be so relaxed with two Apaches if someone was carrying an RPG and that person was an enemy of the United States?” he said. “The behaviour of the pilots is like a computer game. When Saeed is crawling, clearly unable to do anything, their response is: come on buddy, we want to kill you, just pick up a weapon … It appears to be a desire to get a higher score, or a higher number of kills.”

  409. #411 MultiTool
    April 6, 2010

    yup between..2:10 and 2:28 you can see one RPG that could have been mistaken for an AK.

    Yup, and that’s 2:10 minutes after the soldiers declare the photographers are carrying weapons.

    Remember causality? It goes forward, not the other way.

  410. #412 negentropyeater
    April 6, 2010

    Is Tronzu a poe? Or was that supposed to be sarcasm?

    In fact most muslim civilians would not hesitate slaughtering a gay person.

    Strange that I am alive. I lived 5 years in two predominantely muslim countries (Morocco and Malaysia) as an openly gay man and didn’t get slaughtered.

    Let’s play a game of who can come up with the most fucking stupid hate filled affirmation starting with “In fact”:

    1. In fact most american civilians would not hesitate slaughtering a muslim.

    2. In fact most British civilians would not hesitate slaughtering a paki.

    3. In fact most French civilians would not hesitate slaughtering a bougnoule.

  411. #413 scooterKPFT
    April 6, 2010

    I’m pretty sure that’s a dick with a keyboard.

  412. #414 Kevin
    April 6, 2010

    I do not condemn the soldiers for the initial shooting. Perceived combatants, perceived danger, it’s their job to take them out. It’s a tragedy, but it’s the same kind of tragedy a police officer would have if they perceived that someone was pulling a gun on them, but was taking out a cell phone or something of that sort.

    I condemn the soldiers for their following comments. For willing the ‘combatant’ to pick up a weapon so they can shoot him dead. For shooting clearly unarmed individuals who are trying to help a wounded ‘combatant.’ For being so callous about the wounding of children.

    I condemn the coverup above anything else.

  413. #415 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    LOL, like no polls on any issue have ever been made with muslim populations.

    You truly are blind morons.

  414. #416 PatrioticAmerican
    April 6, 2010

    Oh great, what a typical display of liberal hypocrisy!
    You guys cry foul over our soldier killing a dozen of false-god-worshipping ‘suspected’ insurgents, and when they blew up our men with IEDs you guys are nowhere to be found! Why do you hate America you dirty liberals?????????????

    These limey reporters, god knows who they were, were hanging out with a bunch of men armed with AK47s and RPGs!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How do you esplain dat you stopid liebrals?????? Maybe these limey reporters hate freedom and america JUST LIKE YOU and were trying to tip off insurgents! GOOD RIDDANCE!

  415. #417 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 6, 2010

    @Becca #237

    ?Universal service might be a good thing *if* there was an option to serve in something like AmeriCorps, rather than traditional military… by all means, get the chickenhawks into the service – make them put up or shut up. But leave my kids, and other people like my kids, out of it. ?

    This just wouldn?t work. It would defeat the whole point, you?d essentially end up with an all volunteer military and you would be right back to square one. It has to be universal conscription. Exceptions can be made for people with severe mental or physical defects of course, but for the most part, everyone should have the possibility looming that they may have to serve. After all, we don?t ask that only people who vote for certain kinds of legislation are the ones that have to follow that legislation. If anyone is made a protected class then they could ultimately end up sending other people?s children into harm?s way, perhaps in some kind of humanitarian effort that requires military protection. The true conscientious objectors can serve in combat as unarmed medics.

    I really see it as the only fair solution here.

  416. #418 PatrioticAmerican
    April 6, 2010

    Oh great, what a typical display of liberal hypocrisy!
    You guys cry foul over our soldier killing a dozen of false-god-worshipping ‘suspected’ insurgents, and when they blew up our men with IEDs you guys are nowhere to be found! Why do you hate America you dirty liberals?????????????

    These limey reporters, god knows who they were, were hanging out with a bunch of men armed with AK47s and RPGs!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How do you esplain dat you stopid liebrals?????? Maybe these limey reporters hate freedom and america JUST LIKE YOU and were trying to tip off insurgents! GOOD RIDDANCE!

  417. #419 Kevin
    April 6, 2010

    @PatrioticAmerican #415:

    It’s like it’s trying to communicate. I think we need a ‘stupid-to-English’ translator over here!

  418. #420 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    The US military has a long record of lying about events such as these.

    When British service personal are killed on duty there is a Coroner’s Inquest. Such an inquest is a court of law charged with determining the cause of death, and the circumstances that lead to it. In cases of suspected friendly fire involving US personal, the US military has a policy of refusing to co-operate. None of the US personal involved are allowed to testify in court, and documents relating to the incident are routinely withheld.

    More than one Coroner has complained of this lack of co-operation, and made it clear had it been British personal refusing to cooperate there could well have been contempt of court proceedings.

  419. #421 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    #417…

    Wow… pharyngula has been graced by former president George W. Bush! What an honor… hold on, there, Mr. President… I have a few questions for you…

  420. #422 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Uh, you’re saying that the invasion of Iraq was largely in order to keep Iraqi oil out of the hands of the guy who had ruled Iraq for 24 years?

    Aside from that silliness, Hussein was ruthless, but he was no “maniac” — that meme was a major element of the war propaganda, much the way our pal in Panama was painted as a crazy to justify deposing him to gullible jingoist Americans.

    No, I wasn’t saying it was largely the reason but that gaining control over those oil supplies was a reason. And you’ve got a point about using “maniac”. I retract that term. They wanted to keep the oil supplies in the hands of someone they could control.

    Rumsfeld and Cheney have been pushing for an extended war since they teamed up to try and sabotage Nixon and Kissinger’s peace effort with the Soviet Union in the early 1970’s. Those two have been itching for extended war since they made their way to the upper echelon of power in the US.

    Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait gave them a way to start that and Iran can easily be made into the big evil.

    9/11 gave them another great excuse to pursue their desires.

  421. #423 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    #417

    When do you miss the part that they weren’t actually armed? There was no RPG supposedly they mistook the guys camera for an RPG.

    Did you even go to the Collateralmurder site and read any of the details?

  422. #424 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90% chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

  423. #425 R. Schauer
    April 6, 2010

    War is the sword leading us to the panopticon we ALL find ourselves locked in today. I’ve had enough of this shit.

  424. #426 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    #417 poe

  425. #428 PatrioticAmerican
    April 6, 2010

    All you namby-pamby pacifist liberals don konw how to win a WARR! Remember how we fought WW2 against non-believing japss???? WE THREW NAPALM INTO THEIR CIVILIAN POPULATION CENTER!!! Now that’s how you fight a Warrr! but no, liberal politician said, we need to treat enemy humanely, we shouldn’t stereotype or profile foreign people, blah blah blah, THATS WHYY gimpy small countries like IRAN dares to stand up to us today!!!!11111 YOu libreal are abasing US into a paper tiger all thanks to you and OBONGO!

    And YOU KNOW WAT????? THESE REpoters are grilling in hell right now RGIHT BESIDE OTHER LIEBRAL MEEDIA MINIONS!!!!!!!

  426. #429 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90% chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

  427. #430 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    there is a 90% chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.

    Think about this.

    When someone uses a statistic like that

    100% of the time they are pulling it out of their ass.

  428. #431 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    #417 poe

    Are you sure, Rev?… after reading #427 I am absolutely convinced it is none other than GWB…

  429. #432 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90% chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

  430. #433 LaTomate
    April 6, 2010

    #427 dude stop talking about false worshippers and other bull… most of us here are atheists.

    Patriotic American my arse. You’re just a flamer, or extremely stupid. To you the World is quite a simple place, isn’t it? Ever been outside our wonderful United States? Turns out, the US is quite a backwards and violent place compared to other more civilized countries out there… if we acknowledge that we may be able to make the US a better place.

    Until then, blind ignorant bible thumpers like you just make this place worse. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

  431. #434 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    No, they’re not lying about the rifles, see upper left at 3:40.

    Yes, there do appear to be rifles from 3:38 to 4:00; they can be more clearly seen in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik from 2:00 to 2:25.

    yup between..2:10 and 2:28 you can see one RPG that could have been mistaken for an AK.

    Uh, that’s clearly a camera, which the man points at the Apache. Having now seen those frames from 2:33 to 2:45 in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik I can believe these soldiers sincerely believed that they were threatened at that moment. However, they then pan around the building where you can clearly see men milling around, mostly empty-handed except for one man clearly holding a camera; that’s when the Apache opens fire.

  432. #435 Shala
    April 6, 2010

    Celtic, you are assuming GWB is able to even use the Internet.

    You’re giving him too much credit!

    there is a 90% chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.

    You realize that even if this were true, there would still be 10% of muslims who don’t deserve to be gunned down stupidly, right?

  433. #436 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90% chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

  434. #437 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Are you sure, Rev?… after reading #427 I am absolutely convinced it is none other than GWB…

    Good point

  435. #438 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    Also Read the Transcript One of the Soldiers EVen questioned if thye had weapons or not.

    01:18 I don’t know if that’s a…
    01:19 Hey Bushmaster element [ground forces control], copy on the one-six.
    01:21 Thats a weapon.

  436. #439 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90%/very high chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

  437. #440 davem
    April 6, 2010

    halo.lcfr:

    The van is the arguable part of the video and really, when you see some dudes with guns get shot up just effing leave, please. Leave the medical stuff to those authorized and trained to help.

    You mean, you wouldn’t have done the same? Are you sub-human?.

    Ellie:

    . The act of firing on the men attempting to evacuate the wounded was knowingly authorized by a remote commander. The soldier in the gunship didn’t lie,

    But he did lie. We can hear and see him doing it. ‘There are 6 armed men’ is a lie; there are two who might have arms. “They’re collecting the bodies and weapons’ is a lie; they’re picking up one injured man. They were out and out lies, recorded for anyone to see and hear. The guy back at base giving the order to engage is exonerated – he was being lied to.

    I haven’t seen any comment here about the other incident on the longer video, where the Apache puts 3 missiles into the house. There you can see weapons.

  438. #441 PatrioticAmerican
    April 6, 2010

    The US Army did say that they found an RPG with spare ammunations on site. If this is true, it invalidates the accusation of unprovoked mass murder for we know that Innocent civilians don’t fool around on the street with an freaking Bazooka on their shoulders.

  439. #442 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu,

    Shut the fuck up.

  440. #443 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    Celtic, you are assuming GWB is able to even use the Internet.

    You’re giving him too much credit!

    I’m sure he’s got Dick Cheney working the keyboard. He’s not aware of it, of course… he just yells shit at the screen and stuff he yells types up on it.

    He can see Dick Cheney over on the side playing with some sort of keyboard, but probably figures he’s just playing with his Speak and Spell again. Stupid Cheney never puts his toys away when he’s done playing with them.

  441. #444 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90% chance/very high that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

  442. #445 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    PatrioticAmerican @ #417:

    You guys cry foul over our soldier killing a dozen of false-god-worshipping ‘suspected’ insurgents, and when they blew up our men with IEDs

    You have proof that the individuals slaughtered in this video were planting IEDs? Please produce it or shut up.

    Also, do you think it is justified to take the lives of those you merely suspect of a crime. I ‘suspect’ you are a moron – a great crime IMO – as insist you are gunned down immediately using an advanced weapons platform from which you have no hope of defending yourself.* Like that?

    Why do you hate America you dirty liberals

    Absent further qualification as to its meaning, the “why do you hate America” question instant reveals the questioner to be an unthinking fool. Yes I am liberal, and proud of it, but I like to think my personal hygiene is pretty good.

    These limey reporters

    They were Iraqis, or do all foreigners look the same to you?

    god knows who they were

    I doubt it, but carry on…

    were hanging out with a bunch of men armed with AK47s and RPGs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    At most there was one guy with an AK47 and no RPGs. As has been stated here more that once, and is known to everyone who can be bothered to learn a little about Iraq, gun ownership is common. AKs will be found in many households.

    Maybe these limey reporters hate freedom and america JUST LIKE YOU

    Interesting that you can’t see that the victims in this video have been robbed of the most basic freedom of all: the right to life.

    GOOD RIDDANCE

    Looks like Mr Internet Tough Guy isn’t tough enough to stick around to defend his position.

    * Yes this is hyperbole before anyone gets a case of the vapours. I’m not really advocating murdering dumbfucks.

  443. #446 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    No, I wasn’t saying it was largely the reason but that gaining control over those oil supplies was a reason

    You don’t seem to have any clue about what you yourself wrote: “keeping one of the worlds largest oil supplies out of the hands of a maniac was surely one of the main reasons as well”. A “main” reason would make it “largely” the reason, and gaining control of something is taking it out of someone’s hands, not keeping it out of their hands. I’ll accept that you simply aren’t capable of writing English that says what you mean.

  444. #447 Kevin
    April 6, 2010

    @PatrioticAmerican #440:

    Yes, and the US Army also said that civilians weren’t harmed. This is also the same US Army who claims that 5 people they murdered in another raid had participated in ‘honor-killings’ of a few pregnant women and a teenager.

  445. #448 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90% chance/very high that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

  446. #449 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Oh good grief.

    Tronzu you have now passed from bigoted dumbass to the lowest of all forms.

    Bigoted dumbass who sucks at the internet.

  447. #450 Shala
    April 6, 2010

    It is time for Tronzu to be thrown away, I think.

  448. #451 ragarth
    April 6, 2010

    Contacted my local news station: WDBJ7. I sent the bureau chief an email about this.

  449. #452 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90% (very high)chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

    P.S.
    I am disgusted at PZ’s irrationality as to calling any MUSLIM civilians innocent.
    It makes me wanna puke…

  450. #453 PatrioticAmerican
    April 6, 2010

    Turns out, the US is quite a backwards and violent place compared to other more civilized countries out there… if we acknowledge that we may be able to make the US a better place.
    ___________________________________________________
    European is more CIVILIZED????? You mean more SOCIOLIZED!!!!! That’s why all liberal fancys europe like its sum Hippy-DIPPY utopia where it’s all ‘rational thinking’ and kittens. If you like europe so much then don’t stay in America and bug us god-fearing conservative patriotic honest american people!!!!!!!!!111111

  451. #454 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    Obviously I haven’t read all 400+ Comments but Why even debate if there were weapons or not? Don’t half the population carry around weapons? (Serious question) If they were to open fire on everyone holding a weapon wouldn’t they be Killing a Huge Percentage of the population?

    Another Question I have is where is the Evidence that the others (Non-Reporters) were insurgents?
    Does carrying a weapon automatically make you an insurgent?

  452. #455 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    Anyone else think it is time for Tronzu to be plonked?

  453. #456 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    A “main” reason would make it “largely” the reason, and gaining control of something is taking it out of someone’s hands, not keeping it out of their hands. I’ll accept that you simply aren’t capable of writing English that says what you mean.

    I don’t see “one of the main reasons” and “largely the reason” as the same thing.

    But I’ll concede that it was poorly written. Which I’m sure you’ll not disagree is not uncommon for my comments.

  454. #457 R. Schauer
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu,
    panopticon…look it up fucktard. Also called the dungeon…where PZ is bound to throw you in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

  455. #458 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    yup between..2:10 and 2:28 you can see one RPG that could have been mistaken for an AK.

    Uh, that’s clearly a camera, which the man points at the Apache.

    Oops, I pasted and responded to the wrong quote. There does appear to be a rifle and/or RPG at 2:10 to 2:28 in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik

    My camera comment is in response to

    And then at 2:33 you can see another one, and it then being aimed at the chopper at 2:44.

    It’s a camera that is pointed at the chopper, the same camera that can clearly be seen when the chopper comes around the building, before it opens fire.

  456. #459 negentropyeater
    April 6, 2010

    I am not convinced oil was the driving force for this war

    I don’t know if it was “the” driving force, but it was one of them.

    Also, a nice costly and destructive war abroad always seems to temporarily help getting out of recessions.
    It’s strange that so many people are opposed to a large debt financed government stimulus when it is used for peaceful means but have no problems when it is used to buy a war and convince “consumers” that they will exercise their patriotic duty by spending more.

    Human lives seem to count very little for those warmonggers who see wars as a tool to safeguard a country’s supply of critical resources and a means of economic developement.
    I am afraid we haven’t seen the end of this.

  457. #460 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    When you see a muslim civilian getting killed, just think this-

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    there is a 90% (very high)chance that the same muslim civilian would cut a gay person’s throat for being gay.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    There, problem solved.

    P.S.
    I am disgusted at PZ’s irrationality as to calling any MUSLIM civilians innocent.
    It makes me wanna puke…

  458. #461 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    I sense a plonkhammering soon.

  459. #462 Kevin
    April 6, 2010

    @Tronzu:

    I don’t say this often – but fuck off. You’re an irrational, hate-mongering, spamming, troll.

  460. #463 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    It makes me wanna puke…

    Don’t let us stop you. Just make sure you aspirate well.

  461. #464 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    Imagine a young gay teen, his throat being slit by a muslim civilian.

    lesson–>

    muslim civilians in one country are psychopathic monsters in another.

    PZ Myers can fuck off with his innocent muslim civilians gibberish.

  462. #465 broboxley OT
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu STFU its apparent you cannot separate a religion from a culture. I would point out that there is hardly any sufi’s in bhagdad but you wouldnt know the fuckin difference

  463. #466 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Imagine a young gay teen, his throat being slit by a muslim civilian.

    lesson–>

    muslim civilians in one country are psychopathic monsters in another.

    PZ Myers can fuck off with his innocent muslim civilians gibberish.

    Imagine a young internet dumbass being sent to the dungeon.

    Internet dumbasses in one country are babbling morons in another.

    Tronzu can fuck off with this babbling dumbfuckery.

  464. #467 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I don’t see “one of the main reasons” and “largely the reason” as the same thing.

    Sigh. I paraphrased the former with the latter because it fit the grammar of my sentence. “largely” means “in great part” — something that is only a small part of the reason for something would be a minor reason. To complain that these aren’t quite the same is to engage in pointless semantic quibbling.

    Which I’m sure you’ll not disagree is not uncommon for my comments.

    Indeed I won’t.

  465. #468 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu reminds me of the insane christian character from “Kingdom of Heaven” at the port in Messina… walking around muttering over and over, “to kill an infidel is not murder… it is the path to heaven”…

    Yup… you’re that fucking bugshit crazy evil, buddy… fuck off with you…

  466. #469 Colin
    April 6, 2010

    truth machine

    One more time. Please note my comments have all been polite. I would really appreciate if you would respond in the same vein.

    All this garbage about what is (people claim) common among soldiers does not relieve these soldiers of moral culpability.

    I agree completely that it does not resolve these soldiers of moral culpability. I’m not defending these soldiers. Based on the often surprisingly good and technical analysis provided by other commenters (some of whom, it appears, have military experience), their actions were completely unjustifiable.

    Okay?

    I was just saying that’s how soldiers speak (I was specifically referring to their comments in the video) and although there are many other things that point directly to their culpability their cheers at successfully completing their fucked up beyond belief mission are not something you can use to distinguish between amoral and moral soldiers.

    And could I be wrong about that? Yes, of course I could. And if I am, please correct me. But do so politely, please.

    I have to say I’m very glad its not MY taxes paying for those 30mm cannon shells, otherwise I would have to feel some form of vague shared guilt.

    And Tronzu, I’m sorry, your further posts have shown you have no ability to comprehend simple logical points, even from those sympathetic to the outrage you feel (although not to the conclusion you draw from that outrage).

    You’re a troll.

    I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent on Pharyngula, but it seems I have a bad habit of typing comments that at the time seem fine, but apparently my meaning is never, ever clear; as a writer, I can only blame myself for that, obviously. These comments are then taken to mean something else entirely.

    I’m tired of the arguments, particularly when they descend to name-calling, and imputations of amorality.

    So keep on fighting the good fight, guys (particularly Josh!) I honestly wish all of you the best.

  467. #470 michelleM
    April 6, 2010

    Mr.Myers, you mentioned that there were kids peeking out oh the windows of the van. I didn’t see them. Under the stressed situation of battle field, these Apache pilots probably didn’t noticed it too. And they can’t wind back and see again.
    A lot of you mentioned that the people on the ground seem to be at ease and unalerted to apache’s presence. This can be easily explained by the ambience noise of the battlefield and the fact that helicopter is probably hovering several hundred meters away that they didn’t notice it. And they were talking on the phone. Who were they talking to? There are several well-known cases of insurgents disguising as civillians to surviel US forces movements, and alarm their comrades via cellphone.

  468. #471 LaTomate
    April 6, 2010

    Patriotic blablabla said:
    __________________________________________________
    European is more CIVILIZED????? You mean more SOCIOLIZED!!!!! That’s why all liberal fancys europe like its sum Hippy-DIPPY utopia where it’s all ‘rational thinking’ and kittens. If you like europe so much then don’t stay in America and bug us god-fearing conservative patriotic honest american people!!!!!!!!!111111

    Yes Europe is more civilized. I lived in France for years and now live in Scotland. I pay 20% taxes (more or less in both countries). I make about 60k dollars / year, and I actually get about 48k. and in exchange I get:

    * Freedom of speech
    * Freedom of / from religion (especially yours)
    * Freedom to sleep with (and have a civil union with) whoever I want.
    * The vote. More democratic here than in the US by the way.
    * Freedom to travel without fear of being shot in the face
    * Freedom to travel and communicate using a good infrastructure – roads / bridges / trains that are maintained and of good quality – and which EVERYONE gets equal access to.
    * Freedom from the fear of being left bankrupt because I get cancer or some other shit disease.
    * Freedom from the fear of being abandonned to rot by my society because I’m going through a tough patch in life.
    * Freedom from the worry of what will happen to me when I’m too old to work.

    I have one friend here (an Englishman) who has had 7 (SEVEN) pacemakers put in, from when he was a baby till now. You cannot imagine how much it costs to keep him alive. He has never had to pay a dime after taxes. Indeed, “who will pay” has never EVER been an issue.

    I have another (a scottish woman) who has advanced Crones disease. She has spent a total of one year and a half in hospital and again, fees were never an issue.

    Europeans are civilized because they take care of each other. I am NEVER EVER going back to the US. You people are mad.

  469. #472 defides
    April 6, 2010

    According to Wikipedia the Hughes M230 chain gun mounted on Apache helicopters has a muzzle velocity of 2641 ft/sec.

    I make it roughly 2 seconds from hearing the sound and seeing the judder of the cannon from seeing the shells strike the target.

    That’s (ignoring the deceleration that would be experienced by the shells in flight, which would be minimal in only 2 seconds) about 5282 feet from gun to target.

    almost exactly 1 mile.

  470. #473 Steven Dunlap
    April 6, 2010

    To those bogged down in an argument over the minutia of who saw what and what could have looked like what, fog of war, armchair generals shouldn’t judge, etc.

    Please explain why the U.S. occupies Iraq.

    Back in 2002-03 I and other peacenik types stated to any who would listen (and those who would not) that incidents like this will happen in all wars. Handing out automatic weapons to teenage males never ends well. Debating and bogging down in the details of the why and the how of any specific incident draws our attention away from the elephant in the room. Why occupy that country in the first place?

    All of the Bush administrations reasons for invading Iraq have proven lies. All of them. Trace the evil back to the source.

  471. #474 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    There are several well-known cases of insurgents disguising as civillians to surviel US forces movements, and alarm their comrades via cellphone.

    So why then fall for the trick ?

    Insurgents do indeed use civilians are cover. Which is all the more reason to be check, check again and the check another time that the people you are not going to be killing civilians. This is basic counter-insurgency technique, and was worked out half a century a ago. Falling for such insurgency tricks shows a lack of knowledge about military history. How many American Military Personal know how the British fought the communists in Malaya do you think ? Very few, yet they all should. There is no excuse for ignorance.

  472. #475 Weed Monkey
    April 6, 2010

    Not to make any excuses for killers, but this is what I saw: there is, in fact, an RPG in the hands of one of the two men near that telephone pole in this video at around 2:08-2:13. You can see it quite clearly as he turns and swings that object around. It’s too long and nose-heavy to be a rifle. The other man a step or two further back seems to carry an AK rifle in his right hand.

    The two reporters carrying cameras have passed this point already, they are now closer to the wall. Unfortunately the decision to kill them has been made about 30 seconds prior, when the soldiers mistook cameras for weapons. Obviously they failed in identifying their targets correctly, which means they broke their ROE.

    And shooting that van is despicable. There is no threat, just someone trying to help a fellow human being.

  473. #476 rsharvey
    April 6, 2010

    I think the clear message here is not that these soldiers are evil, but that this kind of ‘engagement’ – shooting people based upon distant, poor resolution imagery and no other information – is wrong and very stupid.

    I, unlike PZ, can very easily see why the soldiers in question saw guns in their hands, not so much those carried by the reporters but the next two or three people behind them do look, to me, to be carrying assault weapons. And from behind a building, a man crouching low and aiming a camera could be quite easily confused with a rocket propelled grenade launcher.

    Its a really basic, high stakes example of confirmation bias colouring perception.

    It makes me sick to watch this happen to any human being, even that of a hostile combatant, but it is especially heart wrenching to learn of the truth behind the images – a truth mind you, which was not available to these soldiers at the time.

    The fact that they celebrated and relished the deaths of these men at the time is not something I feel comfortable criticising. I am not one who says that all war is immoral – in fact I find that position to be deeply immoral and foolish. I believe that some wars are necessary, and if soldiers have to be desensitised to death in such a way as to trivialise it – though I find it chilling – perhaps I have to accept that. Either way war is hell.

  474. #477 Kevin
    April 6, 2010

    @LaTomate:

    Can I live with you?

  475. #478 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I would really appreciate if you would respond in the same vein.

    You’re new here.

    I was just saying

    I love how some people say a bunch of things and then, when they get into a jam, they retreat to “I was just saying” something uncontroversial that may or may not have even been something they said.

  476. #479 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    So TM, do you think that Iraq’s oil has anything to do with the reasons we were pushed into war with Iraq?

    If so do you think that if it was a different leader than Saddam it would have made a difference in their reasoning for war?

  477. #480 Tronzu
    April 6, 2010

    You speak about logic, yet you never actually address my simple verifiable and demonstrative point.

    Refresh your fucking mind browser already.

  478. #481 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    A lot of you mentioned that the people on the ground seem to be at ease and unalerted to apache’s presence. This can be easily explained by the ambience noise of the battlefield and the fact that helicopter is probably hovering several hundred meters away that they didn’t notice it.

    Come on… look, I’ve refrained from getting involved in this debate… I’ve enjoyed following it and have tried to listen to both sides… but I’m still gonna call bullshit on a bullshit argument made by either side. And this is a bullshit argument.

    The point wasn’t that the people on the ground were at ease despite the presence of the apache… it’s that they were at ease, period and did not seem to be acting in any way or engaging in any way that should have been interpreted as combative. Now, I’ve already heard the arguments on both sides of this and I’m not supporting nor opposing that viewpoint, simply refuting this “excuse” as presented by michelleM as irrelevant to the point.

    And they were talking on the phone. Who were they talking to? There are several well-known cases of insurgents disguising as civillians to surviel US forces movements, and alarm their comrades via cellphone.

    Again… come on… who the fuck knows who they were talking to? Maybe his wife or son. How the fuck do you know? Absent actual evidence that they were conducting terrorist activity over their cell-phone, it’s a pretty horrific reason to open fire and kill them all on the off chance that they might have been.

    Again, I’m not making a case for or against the actions by the soldiers on this video… I’m simply addressing these specific arguments by michelleM as ludicrous.

  479. #482 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    You speak about logic, yet you never actually address my simple verifiable and demonstrative point.

    Which one would that be?

  480. #483 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I have another (a scottish woman) who has advanced Crones disease

    To spare you some possible embarrassment: that’s spelled “Crohn’s disease”.

  481. #484 Lars
    April 6, 2010

    This pathetic Tronzu thing is not only obnoxious, reading it is even more boring than setting GOATS ON FIRE. I suggest disemwovelment and that it gets a vacation in the dungeon. Yawn.

  482. #485 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 6, 2010

    @Colin in #468:

    One more time. Please note my comments have all been polite. I would really appreciate if you would respond in the same vein.

    It?s just the way it is around here. I don?t like it either but folks ability to survive and stomach the invective around here is something that seems to be lauded. In any case, my advice is to take the high road, shrug it off, and stay polite, or get dirty yourself, either way works.

  483. #486 LaTomate
    April 6, 2010

    #482 truth machine:

    Cheers :)

  484. #487 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Another point that needs to be addresses is the wisdom of using a weapon platform such as the Apache in an urban area for not only looking for insurgents but then killing anyone you think is a bit suspicious.

    If you are fighting insurgents you do not want to be killing civilians. You need the civil population on your side, or at the very least not hostile to you. Killing people does not endear the families and friends to you. The 30mm ammunition as used in the Apache’s chain gun packs a hell of a punch. The type of walls typically found in Iraqi houses is not going to stop it. Fire off 30mm in an urban area and you are going to kill civilians. It is a dumb move.

  485. #488 michelleM
    April 6, 2010

    The point wasn’t that the people on the ground were at ease despite the presence of the apache… it’s that they were at ease, period and did not seem to be acting in any way or engaging in any way that should have been interpreted as combative. Now, I’ve already heard the arguments on both sides of this and I’m not supporting nor opposing that viewpoint, simply refuting this “excuse” as presented by michelleM as irrelevant to the point.
    _________________________________________________
    By ‘at ease’, I mean they were just strolling down the street, not running and taking cover. The incident happened in Sadr city, which is a active insurgent stronghold, anyone walking on the street was suspectable of being a insurgent. The fact that they were carrying weapons, or objects that resemble weapons, doesn’t help.

  486. #489 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    So TM, do you think that Iraq’s oil has anything to do with the reasons we were pushed into war with Iraq?

    Of course. What a stupid question.

    If so do you think that if it was a different leader than Saddam it would have made a difference in their reasoning for war?

    What a bizarre question. It depends on what the difference was. Different name? Parted his hair in a different place? …? If the Queen of England had been the leader of Iraq (by virtue of it being a member of the Commonwealth), it’s unlikely that the U.S. would have invaded.

  487. #490 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    April 6, 2010

    “PatrioticAmerican” is a Poe. Trust me. I have a near-perfect record of Poe-spotting.

    I’m not going to get involved in this thread beyond that observation, as I desperately need to avoid getting distracted from studying right now, and this is a topic that deserves more serious attention than I can currently afford to give it.

  488. #491 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    By ‘at ease’, I mean they were just strolling down the street, not running and taking cover. The incident happened in Sadr city, which is a active insurgent stronghold, anyone walking on the street was suspectable of being a insurgent. The fact that they were carrying weapons, or objects that resemble weapons, doesn’t help.

    In an urban area suspecting someone of being an insurgent is not justification for opening fire. It is not how you beat an insurgency. Opening fire and asking questions later is going to kill civilians. Killing civilians is not a good move if you want to beat the insurgents. This is pretty basic counter-insurgency doctrine.

    You need people on the ground to defeat an insurgency, and you are going to have some of those people killed. But unless you take that risk, you will lose.

  489. #492 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    P.S. No one was “pushed” into invading Iraq.

  490. #493 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    By ‘at ease’, I mean they were just strolling down the street, not running and taking cover. The incident happened in Sadr city, which is a active insurgent stronghold, anyone walking on the street was suspectable of being a insurgent. The fact that they were carrying weapons, or objects that resemble weapons, doesn’t help.

    Whatever… my point is that it makes no difference whether they noticed the apache or not… that was the argument you were making… that they were just walking around casually cause they didn’t notice the apache. So what? It’s a terrible argument.

    The incident happened in Sadr city, which is a active insurgent stronghold, anyone walking on the street was suspectable of being a insurgent.

    So if that’s the justification for opening fire on any casually walking person or group of people, why not just carpet bomb the whole fucking city while they sleep? Seems if you’re going to hold every person in the city as suspect, why bother making distinctions at all?

    It’s a terrible argument, michelleM.

    My very, very personal and certainly not unassailable opinion on this (I did serve in the Navy 1990-94, FWIW), having read through all the comments and looked at both sides of the argument, is that at the end of the day, whatever these guys were carrying, weapons or not, I would like to have seen far, far more in the way of combative or aggressive behavior from this crowd before opening fire and then hunting down and killing the wounded. I just didn’t see it.

    I understand what the rest of you are saying who might disagree with this, but that’s what my conscience tells me, and I’m going to carry this sick feeling in my stomach over it regardless of any justification anyone attempts.

  491. #494 negentropyeater
    April 6, 2010

    If so do you think that if it was a different leader than Saddam it would have made a difference in their reasoning for war?

    You can’t convince the majority of American people to support a war with a country solely to safeguard one’s oil supplies, but if you can convice them that the leader of said country is a brutal murderous dictator harbouring terrorists and WMDs, then you’ll get all the support you need.

  492. #495 Kevin
    April 6, 2010

    @negentropyeater #493:

    Well, to be fair. He was a brutal, murderous dictator. The terrorist thing and the WMD thing, though – those are probably not true at all.

  493. #496 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    I’m going to go do something about these teeth marks.

  494. #497 michelleM
    April 6, 2010

    Even to this point there are still no conclusive evidence to prove that these people with the reuters reports were not insurgents. And an RPG were recovered at the scene where this supposed ‘massacre’ took place. Let’s face it: walking around in the hot zone with weapons are no different from writing ‘insurgent’ on one’s forehead, and anyone foolish enough to do that will be put down for the safety of everybody else.

  495. #498 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Well Saddam was a brutal murderous dictator but there is no shortage of those in the world.

    If we invaded countries run by brutal murderous dictators why not start with Burma, or China ?

  496. #499 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    This can be easily explained by the ambience noise of the battlefield

    What “battlefield”?

    the fact that helicopter is probably hovering several hundred meters away that they didn’t notice it

    FAIL. In the soldiers minds, they pointed an RPG at it, so failure to notice the helicopter is not available to the soldiers as an explanation of why the men are not running for cover or even alarmed by its presence.

  497. #500 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    P.S. No one was “pushed” into invading Iraq.

    Maybe just a quibble, because in general I agree with you, but I do think many, many senators were perhaps “pushed” into voting for the invasion for fear of backlash if they didn’t, given the climate at the time.

    Would it have passed even if every senator simply voted their conscience? Perhaps… but it would have been a hell of a lot closer a vote, IMHO.

  498. #501 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Even to this point there are still no conclusive evidence to prove that these people with the reuters reports were not insurgents. And an RPG were recovered at the scene where this supposed ‘massacre’ took place. Let’s face it: walking around in the hot zone with weapons are no different from writing ‘insurgent’ on one’s forehead, and anyone foolish enough to do that will be put down for the safety of everybody else.

    The case needs to be made that they were insurgents. Otherwise the rule must be do not fire.

    What part of that can you not comprehend ? And why are you so ignorant of counter-insurgency doctrine ?

  499. #502 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Even to this point there are still no conclusive evidence to prove that these people with the reuters reports were not insurgents.

    There’s no conclusive evidence that you’re not, so let’s blow you to smithereens just on principle.

  500. #503 defides
    April 6, 2010

    @ LaTomate:

    Scotland was always famous for its Crones.

    Oh, wait: you meant Crohn’s. My bad!

  501. #504 Truckle
    April 6, 2010

    If any of you guys haven’t seen In The Loop yet… you really need to see it. It’s supposed to be a comedy, and believe me you will laugh… until you realise whats actually going on.

  502. #505 Shala
    April 6, 2010

    Refresh your fucking mind browser already.

    I suggest you delete system32 IRL.

  503. #506 Steven Dunlap
    April 6, 2010

    @469

    And they were talking on the phone. Who were they talking to? There are several well-known cases of insurgents disguising as civillians to surviel US forces movements, and alarm their comrades via cellphone.

    Isn’t it their country? Talking on a cellphone is evidence of insurgent activity? Apply that logic to my neighborhood and I could not walk to the store without stepping over the bodies of pretty much all of my neighbors. Are cellphone contraband in Iraq? If not, why not, if using one marks you for a staffing with 30 mm exploding rounds from an attack helicopter?

    Why do U.S. armed forces occupy Iraq?
    (I’m considering ending all of my comments and e-mails with this question regardless of the topic, a little like Cato the Elder ending all of his speeches with “Carthago delenda est”).

  504. #507 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    Even to this point there are still no conclusive evidence to prove that these people with the reuters reports were not insurgents.

    And there is also no evidence that they were in fact insurgents… and given the fact that they were gunned down and are now dead, is that not the more important lacking evidence?

    Again, michellM, you seem to be making the argument that it’s OK to gun down people who are just walking around a neighborhood, because that neighborhood is known to harbor insurgents and for all you know everyone is an insurgent.

    For the last time, this is a terrible argument. Please stop making it.

  505. #508 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    michelleM:

    Even to this point there are still no conclusive evidence to prove that these people with the reuters reports were not insurgents. [my emphasis]

    Good grief. Are you suggesting that anyone walking the streets of Sadr City at that time should be considered guilty until shown to be otherwise? Quite apart from the obvious immorality of such a policy, can you not see how this is utterly self-defeating as an approach to fighting an insurgency, as Matt Penfold has already tried to explain?

  506. #509 Ol'Greg
    April 6, 2010

    Even to this point there are still no conclusive evidence to prove that these people with the reuters reports were not insurgents.

    I’m sorry, but if this is the logic you employ then nuclear weapons should be used, and all of the human beings who happen to be in Iraq at the time should die. Let’s just pick a day. Thurs looks good.

    After all, there is no conclusive evidence that any of them aren’t insurgents…. especially after they’re dead.

    After that we should move on to countries that are sympathetic to the people who were killed that day.

    Thinking helps some times.

  507. #510 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I do think many, many senators were perhaps “pushed” into voting for the invasion for fear of backlash if they didn’t, given the climate at the time.

    True, and a fair point in re my “no one”, but BDC said “we”, and I don’t think any of us are Senators.

  508. #511 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    Celtic_Evolution:

    Maybe just a quibble, because in general I agree with you, but I do think many, many senators were perhaps “pushed” into voting for the invasion for fear of backlash if they didn’t, given the climate at the time.

    I understand your point but would suggest that if you don’t have the spine to required to speak out against something that was so obviously wrong from the outset, you should not have run for public office in the first place.

  509. #512 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Michelle,

    To right an insurgency you need to local population to help. You need to have troops on the ground, interacting with the locals. They need to get to know who is who in the neighbourhood. They need to develop relationships. You need to offer to help them, and hope in return they provide you with the intelligence you need. For example in Basra one way the British tried to get the local population onside was by ensuring the local bakers had flour. That meant the local population had bread. It is a little thing, but you build trust. When the population begins to trust you they begin to pass on little bits of information that can be used to build a large picture of the insurgency movement.

    You certainly want to avoid antagonising the local population by killing them. The rule must be that if you have any doubt, do not open fire. It is better to let an insurgent escape rather than kill civilians.

    As I said earlier, this is not a new idea. The British worked it out 50 years ago in Malaya. They used it in Basra, and in Sierra Leone. The Americans did not try it in Vietnam, despite a number of American Officers being aware of what the British had achieved in Malaya. Some had even be attached the British in Malaya.

  510. #513 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    True, and a fair point in re my “no one”, but BDC said “we”, and I don’t think any of us are Senators.

    Fair enough.

    Dragged in to the Iraq war?

  511. #514 negentropyeater
    April 6, 2010

    If we invaded countries run by brutal murderous dictators why not start with Burma, or China ?

    If you calculate:

    W = P1*P2*OR

    where
    P1= probability to convince the American people that leader is a brutal murderous dictator harbouring terrorists and WMDs
    P2= probability of a succesful invasion
    OR= size of Oil Reserves

    then it’s clear why Burma and China weren’t chosen. Iraq was the country with the highest W.

    Next on that list of the highest Ws are probably Iran, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. We’ll see what happens next…

  512. #515 defides
    April 6, 2010

    Oh, and by the way: compulsory re-education for the fuckwit who thinks that the natural opponents of stormtroopers are the rebels from Star Wars.

  513. #516 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    I understand your point but would suggest that if you don’t have the spine to required to speak out against something that was so obviously wrong from the outset, you should not have run for public office in the first place.

    On that point you will certainly get no argument…

  514. #517 Sili
    April 6, 2010

    If we invaded countries run by brutal murderous dictators why not start with Burma, or China ?

    Belarus? Texas? Lichtenstein? The Vatican?

  515. #518 strange gods before me ?
    April 6, 2010

    Question for

    halo.lcfr

    Have you ever been in the military?

  516. #519 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Belarus? Texas? Lichtenstein? The Vatican?

    I vote for the Vatican.

  517. #520 davem
    April 6, 2010

    Even to this point there are still no conclusive evidence to prove that these people with the reuters reports were not insurgents. And an RPG were recovered at the scene where this supposed ‘massacre’ took place.

    Words fail me. >i>Supposed massacre? Have you actually watched the video? RPG found? Says who?
    The US forces? Remember, they’re the ones who lied to their teeth about the incident. Why do you think that suddenly, there’s a grain of truth in what they say? They still have the cameras of the 2 dead reporters – they still refuse to release them, and the photos that would prove the reporters innocent (or guilty!) Why? cockup or cover-up? My money’s on the latter.

  518. #521 Gryphin
    April 6, 2010

    After reading thru the first couple of hundred replies, and scanning the rest as I scrolled, I have to add to it. Yes, it’s crappy that they had collateral damage. But as I watched and listened to the beginning, I can’t really fault the guys for opening fire. There was reports of armed men, a block or two away from an armored personnel carrier, with AKs and an RPG. Then the guy diving for the corner of the building to get out of sight of the helicopter, and peeking around. My first thought was “RPG!” as well, when I saw him crouching, peeking around the corner, and saw the tube under his arm. Then by the time the helicopter comes around the building, you’ve got a bunch of guys huddling around another. This screams “trying to hide the guy with the rpg.” At that point, opening fire on a group of people who are trying to conceal someone with a weapon that can toast the soldiers down the block before they can see him standing in the shade of a doorway is totally justified under the ROE. I’ve been over there, it’s hell deciding who out every single person on the street is trying to blow you up/put holes in you. The Apaches were protecting the soldiers coming up the street. The first few days of the iraq invasion, (and I’ll use the word invasion, even after fighting over there, I don’t truly agree with our reasons, but I fought.) we lost a lot of good men because we held back and thought we could just concentrate on the uniformed soldiers. What you thought was a mother with a baby was a bundle of explosives tossed from a doorway under a Humvee. The idea that the guy could be an international reporter with several thousand dollars of camera equipment on him, and not an RPG/AK-47 doesn’t even come to mind after being on the ground over there. A guy on a cell phone standing in a doorway is a triggerman for an IED down the block, or a spotter for RPG’s laying on rooftops, or warning his buddies around the corner to hurry up with planted the IEDs under the trash on the street.

    This is not the Napoleonic Wars, where everyone wore bright colors and lined up on big battlefields. Nobody thought the farmer with a pitchfork was going to shoot at them because it looked like a musket from distance. Every single person walking down the street in Iraq, has the capability to kill you. Be it with a cell phone triggering an IED, or a handful of grenades in their pockets, or an AK-47 tucked into their robes. If you spot someone that you can actually go, “hey! that looks like a weapon, and he’s acting shady!” you are actually having a good day, because for the one time out of 20, you spotted him first. You don’t have the joy of being able to go back, talk to the survivors, or call up Reuters and ask where their reporters are in a warzone. It’s a decision right then and there on if that man is going to kill your men or not. It’s a decision that hey, a van just pulled up to the scene, and wouldn’t they just love to down a US attack helicopter for the jihad with whatever they have stashed in the van, like maybe a shoulder fired missile brought over from Syria.

    As far as the comments while shooting by the gunners, there’s not a single guy over there that doesn’t have that mindset. It’s a mental health and physical health self defense mechanism. I was once told, “a soldier’s default mode should be looking for any way to kill someone within the ROE.It’s the only way you stay alive.” If you can’t turn it into a joke and laugh about it, it will kill you by being in your head. You guys think that the revulsion you feel at watching people get gunned down is bad, try being the guy who just got in country, who might actually be old enough to drink,(but probably isn’t,50% of my platoon wasn’t) and is laying there at night in his bunk after his first day in-country and he just gunned down 8 guys from the side of a helicopter. You really quickly learn the release of gallows humor. I’ve seen it in every person who’s ever been in a combat zone, and I’ve seen it in every cop back in the real world who has seen his share of murders scenes and traffic accident fatalities.

  519. #522 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Gryphin,

    How about deciding that since the situation is unclear that it would be unwise to open fire as the risk to civilians is too great ?

  520. #523 PZ Myers
    April 6, 2010

    Mr Tronzu will be puking elsewhere now.

    I feel a bit inconsistent, though. Tronzu was open about his hatred. I don’t know what to do about all these people making excuses for the murder of civilians…but they seem just as evil. Just more banal.

  521. #524 Yubal
    April 6, 2010

    Freodin,

    It was East, a long time back….

    @ Troll

    I am disgusted at PZ’s irrationality as to calling any MUSLIM civilians innocent.
    It makes me wanna puke…

    Every civilian is innocent until he/she commits a crime. Regardless of faith, race, cultural background, gender, age, political opinion, opinion about other peoples orientation, etc., you name it.

    Period.

  522. #525 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    Gryphin,

    How about deciding that since the situation is unclear that it would be unwise to open fire as the risk to civilians is too great ?

    Which was sort of the point I was making above… understanding the nuances of a “warzone” and that soldiers often react and collateral damage is often inevitable, and also not being in the easiest position to judge after the fact and with time and distance from the situation, I still come back to the simple visual evidence I witnessed, that showed a brutal attack on a group of people that, whether possibly armed or not, was not justified given the pure lack of combative or aggressive behavior by the people being shot. I just can’t square with it… YMMV

  523. #526 mikerattlesnake
    April 6, 2010

    apologists need to acknowledge the range of the weapons involved. It has been pointed out several times, but it is the definitive answer to the “heat of battle” and “split second decisions” argument. Even if we are EXTREMELY GENEROUS the helicopter is over a half a mile from the supposed insurgents. They could have moved significantly closer while still being a safe distance away.

    If people on the ground were potentially in danger (and I gather that there were american troops in the general area, not the immediate vicinity) they had radios and could have coordinated an effective strike with info from air and ground teams. These people had the comfort of a far superior position, they had the desire to kill, they lied to get the permission to do so, and they continued to do so throughout the engagement. Nothing in the video justifies the actions that followed given the positions of the US troops and the range of the weapons (supposedly) involved.

    If anyone was by any stretch of the imagination in immediate danger I could understand a bit of apologetics, but this is ludicrous.

  524. #527 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    I feel a bit inconsistent, though. Tronzu was open about his hatred.

    Yes, but he set himself apart by spamming the thread with the same repeated post over and over again… that’s a clearly stated no-no… he needed to go.

  525. #528 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Which was sort of the point I was making above… understanding the nuances of a “warzone” and that soldiers often react and collateral damage is often inevitable, and also not being in the easiest position to judge after the fact and with time and distance from the situation, I still come back to the simple visual evidence I witnessed, that showed a brutal attack on a group of people that, whether possibly armed or not, was not justified given the pure lack of combative or aggressive behavior by the people being shot. I just can’t square with it… YMMV

    No, I agree. And as I have said, it is an important aspect of fighting an insurgency. Sometime you just have to do nothing, knowing an insurgent might escape, and even knowing that it might be putting your fellow soldiers at risk. Fighting an insurgency is not easy, and it is not risk free but it is important that those fighting it know that the lives of civilians are just as valuable, if not more so, than your own life or that of your fellow soldiers.

  526. #529 Multicellular
    April 6, 2010

    halo.lcfr

    You guys (PZ Myers included, media, general public) need to keep your opinions out of the debate because you are uneducated in the subject and in no position to make any constructive judgments. There are already rules of engagement, these soldiers followed them to the best of their ability and that’s all you fools need to know.

    Please, halo.lcfr, enlighten us as to your qualifications that enable you to be so wise at labeling us fools.

    As a retired Air Force Major here are my “uneducated” comments: I understand the uncertainty that exists in war and that ROEs are established to minimize casualties. At a minimum these pilots (who weren’t young 18 or 19 years old but older, trained officers) knew they were operating over a city with civilians and therefore the default position should be to with-hold fire until they are certain their target is hostile. Ensuring they are firing on a legitimate target is something that I know many pilots agonize over. I did not get the sense that these guys were so concerned about engaging the correct target as they were about just engaging. I won’t pretend to fully understand the mind-set of the Apache crew but I do question their decision to fire, and so should the Army.

  527. #530 Bobber
    April 6, 2010

    On the term “collateral damage”:

    I despise this when used to describe human casualties. “Damage” seems to be something done to inanimate objects – desks, walls, the community water pump. But human beings are injured, killed, or in this particular case, coldly murdered. Particularly when innocents are purposely targeted for extermination.

    (I’m not taking you to task, Celtic_Evolution; I guess I object to the way in which the U.S. media so easily accepts the dehumanizing language of the government/military, and how that language attains widespread usage in our culture. “Collateral damage” sounds so much more acceptable than “massacred civilians” to our U.S. viewing audience, after all.)

  528. #531 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    I’m not taking you to task, Celtic_Evolution; I guess I object to the way in which the U.S. media so easily accepts the dehumanizing language of the government/military, and how that language attains widespread usage in our culture. “Collateral damage” sounds so much more acceptable than “massacred civilians” to our U.S. viewing audience, after all.

    No worries… upon re-reading I wish I had left that particular phrase out…

    I agree…

  529. #532 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    Immediate danger? Please.

    The rounds take about 2-3 seconds from firing to impact. That puts them 1600+ to 2400+ meters from the civilians. They have time to orbit a few times, too.

    The footsoldiers arrive about 8 minutes after the slaughter. While we don’t see what happens prior, it’s clear that the group was no immediate threat, and certainly were NOT, as the aircrew claimed lied, firing on anyone. The PROPER action, if truly suspecting these guys were evildoers, would be to continue surveillance while ground troops approach.

    We might also note that we see ZERO soldiers securing weapons from the ground. All those AKs and RPG just laying around….

  530. #533 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    Immediate danger? Please.

    The rounds take about 2-3 seconds from firing to impact. That puts them 1600+ to 2400+ meters from the civilians. They have time to orbit a few times, too.

    The footsoldiers arrive about 8 minutes after the slaughter. While we don’t see what happens prior, it’s clear that the group was no immediate threat, and certainly were NOT, as the aircrew claimed lied, firing on anyone. The PROPER action, if truly suspecting these guys were evildoers, would be to continue surveillance while ground troops approach.

    We might also note that we see ZERO soldiers securing weapons from the ground. All those AKs and RPG just laying around….

  531. #534 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu:

    Innocent civilians don’t fool around on the street with an freaking Bazooka on their shoulders.

    Bazooka.

    RPG

    Any questions, you bigoted fuck?

  532. #535 ktesibios
    April 6, 2010

    Ted Zissou Author Profile Page | April 5, 2010 7:26 PM [kill]?[hide comment]

    If McCain/Lieberman get their way, it can happen here.

    Deiloh Author Profile Page | April 5, 2010 8:58 PM [kill]?[hide comment]

    Reminds me of some of the problems police departments have had. Prejudice, plus inexperience, plus adrenaline fuck with the brain. Even worse, the greater the number of people pumped up in the situation, the less likely critical thinking.

    Something that might be worth mentioning- when the people who committed this atrocity come home they will, as veterans, be given preference in hiring by your local police department. And they will bring to it precisely the same mindset of “anyone who isn’t one of us is fair game”.

    It will happen here, and I’m damned thankful that I probably won’t live to see it.

  533. #536 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Something that might be worth mentioning- when the people who committed this atrocity come home they will, as veterans, be given preference in hiring by your local police department. And they will bring to it precisely the same mindset of “anyone who isn’t one of us is fair game”.

    It will happen here, and I’m damned thankful that I probably won’t live to see it.

    I have never understood the idea that soldiers make good police officers when the leave the military.

    The skills required would not seem to have much overlap.

  534. #537 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    Durnit, I’m having browser issues, and almost every time I submit (ooh, whip me) it posts my comment twice – and yes, I am single-clicking the “submit” button*.

    *Sexxxxxy

  535. #538 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    Durnit, I’m having browser issues, and almost every time I submit (ooh, whip me) it posts my comment twice – and yes, I am single-clicking the “submit” button*.

    *Sexxxxxy

  536. #539 jloxton
    April 6, 2010

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this or not (I scrolled through, but there are A LOT of comments), but there are very clearly at least two men walking right behind the journalists carrying machine guns (the crosshairs travel over them at about 3:40-3:45). Subsequent news reports also confirmed weapons on the scene. This may or may not change things (I don’t know the rest of the context or the nature of the mission, e.g., is it a hunt and kill operation?), but it worth correcting an error in PZ’s commentary.

    On a different note, while I feel the same revulsion at the gallows humour and cavalier nature of the slaughter, this is just the (awful) reality of warfare. This is how human beings psychologically adapt to the horror of the task they are asked to carry out, i.e., murder in the national interest: by dehumanizing the victims.

    It is the same necessary callousness you find in operating rooms. Awful to listen to, but I imagine that thrust into the insanity that is war, there is a very good chance I would cope the same way (either that or go insane). I expect everyone would.

    So, I would not be so quick to judge the character of the gunners or the pilots.

  537. #540 negatresis
    April 6, 2010

    Did anyone watch the longer video that also showed the gunship firing a couple of missiles at an abandoned building? The video shows an armed man before the building is targeted, however, as the first missile is fired [at 34:40] there’s a passer by clearly in the line of fire, and who is no doubt killed in the blast.

    Further, before the next missile, there were clearly unarmed people gathering around the building. Yet they still fired two more missiles at ‘em… Am I missing here something, is it common practice to fire even if there are possible civilians in the line of fire? Or is it justified to think they’re insurgents? Methinks not…

  538. #541 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    there are very clearly at least two men walking right behind the journalists carrying machine guns

    Machine guns that not only had little chance of doing damage to an Apache chopper, but were out of range.

    That and the men were not acting in a hostile manner in any way.

  539. #542 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 6, 2010

    “keeping one of the worlds largest oil supplies out of the hands of a maniac was surely one of the main reasons as well”

    A good argument can be made that the “main” reason for invading Iraq was because, in Gulf War I, the coalition backed off from “going all the way to Baghdad” because of the implicit threat of Iraqi WMD. This could not be allowed to stand; it sends the wrong message. As it has turned out, the message was substantially correct; North Korea and Pakistan have graduated from pisspot dictatorship to global player status and have put themselves outside of danger of attack by joining the nuclear club. Iran is currently experiencing internal strife, has been repeatedly threatened by the US, and sees the North Korean strategy of holding Seoul hostage as replayable with Israel as the hostage. Iran’s recent moves are not the result of our invasion of Iraq in Gulf War II, they are the result of seeing how easily Iraq was crushed in Gulf War I.

    Unfortunately, Gulf War I showed unequivocally that having WMD is an effective deterrent against being invaded by a superpower.

  540. #543 mistermuz
    April 6, 2010

    I’m a little late for this I guess but I’m a little hazy on the relationship to where the sight is pointing and what the guy is actually seeing. The main speaker is the gunner, I assume, and the other guy the pilot, right? Presuming the radio is timed correctly, the guy identifies “weapons” in the centre view which clearly aren’t (they’re camera bags or any shoulder bags), he starts at sight of an “RPG” that clearly isn’t (it doesn’t even resemble one) nor is it being aimed anywhere by someone trying to conceal himself. That’s a coincidence of the corner of the building and where he is standing/crouching (and any shooting is taking a picture of the street).

    There’s one thing that looks like an RPG tube and the guy might be posing with it. It’s never loaded. But this is only identified as a “weapon” when on centre screen. The other guys near him hold a couple of thin things that could be rifles or shotguns. If they’re AK47s they have no magazines.

    Yet plenty of people here are confirming these weapon sightings, including the threatening RPG. Where is it?

    The thing is, these vagaries are all confirmed when he circles around the building again to see some guys casually milling around, not terribly interested in him. The initial barks suggest terrible spatial recognition. The subsequent behaviour, a real lack of what I guess they’d call situational awareness.

    I think this is a total disgrace, for the record. But even making a few War Allowances for the situation I’d say this guy was really badly trained in threat identification and spatial matters and his poor confirmation and reassessment abilities mean he should never in the air or behind a gun ever again.

  541. #544 Yubal
    April 6, 2010
  542. #545 Yubal
    April 6, 2010
  543. #546 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    there are very clearly at least two men walking right behind the journalists carrying machine guns

    2 guys, each carrying a machine gun? I call BS.

    1) I saw nothing “clear” about any weapons. They might have carried assault weapons. At worst, a soldier can carry a light machine gun, which fires the same rounds as the squad’s assault weapons.

    2) In order to fire a machine gun, the weapon has to be established on its mount. That takes much longer than the Apache rounds’ flight time. Then they would have to go through loading, target selection, ranging, etc. Setting it up would show hostile intent (to whom?), and provide more than enough time to then take action.

  544. #547 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    Couple of Issues I have noticed anyone address:

    1. Considering we are talking about Iraq where it seems everyone owns an AK47 (notice I said seems!) Is it normal that that non-insurgents could/would be carrying weapons? Obviously if it were New York City a person carrying an AK47 is a pretty good bet to be a bad guy, but is this the case in Iraq?

    2.Is the Fact that the Soldiers reported Gunfire the key to there Exoneration by the military? Without the reported gunfire would they have been allowed to open fire? would it be against the Rules of Engagement? It seemed to me that they reported gunfire simply as a formality to allow them to open fire.

  545. #548 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    there are very clearly at least two men walking right behind the journalists carrying machine guns

    2 guys, each carrying a machine gun? I call BS.

    1) I saw nothing “clear” about any weapons. They might have carried assault weapons. At worst, a soldier can carry a light machine gun, which fires the same rounds as the squad’s assault weapons.

    2) In order to fire a machine gun, the weapon has to be established on its mount. That takes much longer than the Apache rounds’ flight time. Then they would have to go through loading, target selection, ranging, etc. Setting it up would show hostile intent (to whom?), and provide more than enough time to then take action.

  546. #549 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Considering we are talking about Iraq where it seems everyone owns an AK47 (notice I said seems!) Is it normal that that non-insurgents could/would be carrying weapons? Obviously if it were New York City a person carrying an AK47 is a pretty good bet to be a bad guy, but is this the case in Iraq?

    Part of the US policy to defeat the insurgents was to make use of unofficial militia. There were often groups that had been part of the insurgency but had been persuaded (for which read bribed most of the time) to switch sides.

    I defy anyone to easily tell the good militia from the bad militia.

  547. #550 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    Warning: Gallows humor inbound.

    I defy anyone to easily tell the good militia from the bad militia.

    Let me just check the Army ROE…

    Ah, here we go.

    Good = Dead.

    Bad = Still moving.

    Hope that clears things up.

  548. #551 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    This may be a bombshell to some of you…

    Iraqi law, once we took over, allowed every family to own one AK47 for self defense. Apparently unless actually seen with one.

  549. #552 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    This may be a bombshell to some of you…

    Iraqi law, once we took over, allowed every family to own one AK47 for self defense. Apparently unless actually seen with one.

  550. #553 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    Thus it seems Arguing over if they had weapons or not should be moot. which brings back to the claim of Gun fire … I wonder if that is what the key to this is?

  551. #554 truthspeaker
    April 6, 2010

    Posted by: Rorschach | April 6, 2010 7:58 AM

    @ 383,

    And, IPads depend on Iraqi oil? If you are advocating this then you’re more insane then Tronzu.

    The cases of iPads are made of plastic, and plastic is made from petroleum. They are also manufactured in factories, which takes electricity, some of which comes from petroleum, and they have to be transported from factory to wholesaler to retailer, which uses petroleum. So yes, iPads, like all consumer products, depend on oil.

  552. #555 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    which brings back to the claim of Gun fire … I wonder if that is what the key to this is?

    I suspect (although of course I am not by any means 100% certain) that the key to the soldiers being exonerated had less to do with the actual events and more to do with internal political workings…

  553. #556 truthspeaker
    April 6, 2010

    Posted by: Matt Penfold | April 6, 2010 7:57 AM

    I know that many senior (and not so senior) British military personal were appalled at the lack of training US soldiers had in policing an insurgency.

    This was addressed in the Chilcot inquiry into the war (which, btw, has received virtually no coverage in the US media). Senior officers and Defense Ministry officials testified that their American counterparts actually believed that the troops would be welcomed with flowers and parades and, as a result, didn’t even bother planning for the possibility of an insurgency.

    Bush actually admitted this several years ago, but the American media and the Democratic party, in typical lapdog style, didn’t bother to comment on how outrageously incompetent that was.

  554. #557 Sili
    April 6, 2010

    True Bob,

    To us ‘civilians’ submachine gun = machine gun. In fact I wouldn’t hesitate to call an AK-47 a machine gun.

  555. #558 SaintStephen
    April 6, 2010

    From Wikipedia entry on Rocket Propelled Grenades:

    Accurate firing is difficult at ranges over 300 meters and with the RPG-7 the phrase “the closer the better” has always been true. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the mujahideen tended to use the weapon at ranges of less than 80 meters.”

    300 meters = 0.2 miles = 0.3 kilometers

    If calculations by others in this thread are correct, the gunship was at least 0.5 miles away. I don’t know if soldiers are routinely aware of facts like these or not. My guess would be that a savvy gunship operator would be purposely positioning his craft to be out of the range of common — and widely available — shoulder-mounted weapons like an RPG. It was a pre-emptive strike, from a fairly safe distance, apparently.

    We shouldn’t have been in Iraq gunning people down in the first place. The blame starts at the top, IMHO.

  556. #559 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    Sili,

    That’s why I posted. A real machine gun is a heavy thing. They’ve made single-person machine guns (submachine guns), but nowadays they fire the same rounds as the next guy’s rifle (commonality, just faster output). It’s important in of the aircrews, ground pounders and the ROE.

    BTW, I’m a civilian, always have been. I just accumulate a lot of mental detritus.

  557. #560 S. Sev.
    April 6, 2010

    For allegedly fairminded skeptics you do get the vapors without consideration of what you see and why you allow commentary to frame the narrative. I was shocked and still am but at least I have the wherewithal to watch it several times and look away from the wikileak arrows.

    Note that at least an RPG and an AK can be seen at around the 3:50 mark, carried by the man in the horizontal striped shirt and his buddy. You will then note they move towards where the cameraman is peeking around the wall. Photogs get paid to get pictures of boom; wanna guess what was about to happen?

    At one point, the pilots refer to RPG but the video was away from the RPG and was pointed at the crouching cameraman. This is the reason why we think he was mistaking the camera for the RPG. But this isn’t necessarily so; the recorder records what it’s pointing at, there’s no showing of what the pilots were looking at when they made that call.

    This is advocacy pure and simple. Wikileaks and associated hysterics went through a lot of work to place commentary in the video but failed utterly to point out weapons and countervailing reasons why the pilots made the call they did. At least they could have linked to the ROE on their own website to explain why an unmarked vehicle (no cross, no crescent) and its occupants, even if unarmed, was doomed in this scenario.

    I used to like wikileaks until this because I expected impartial presentation.

  558. #561 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlZ5SUf0_EmBhfJBKb8y48djZ8Xyyzo3_Y
    April 6, 2010

    Upon viewing the video a second time, on high resolution and fullscreen, I clearly identify two men carrying assault rifles and one carrying an RPG. So I change my mind in this regard.
    Firing upon the van is still a crime.

  559. #562 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    To us ‘civilians’ submachine gun = machine gun. In fact I wouldn’t hesitate to call an AK-47 a machine gun.

    Nnno… There are SMGs, assault rifles, light machine guns, and heavy machine guns in the list of automatic weapons. Generally they’re listed by size of the munition and the weapon.

    To my understanding, it works like this: SMGs fire pistols rounds, assault rifles and LMGs fire larger rounds while LMGs are light enough for single-man use, and heavy machine guns are generally more elaborate, sometimes crewed by multiple men or mounted on vehicles.

    Examples:

    SMG – MP5 and MP7

    Assault Rifle – AK47 and M16

    Light Machine Gun – M249 Squad Infantry Weapon and RPD

    Heavy Machine Gun – M2 Browning Machine Gun

  560. #563 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Photogs get paid to get pictures of boom; wanna guess what was about to happen?

    And you can support this scenario in this particular incident how?

  561. #564 negentropyeater
    April 6, 2010

    It’s interesting to watch this video and compare with what was reported in the New York Times at the moment of the incident :

    The American military said in a statement late Thursday that 11 people had been killed: nine insurgents and two civilians. According to the statement, American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine insurgents were killed.

    ?There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,? said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad.

    If that doesn’t convince anybody of the enormity of the lies and odious propaganda the American military have been willing to spew to make excuses for the murder of civilians.

  562. #565 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    S. Sev, the helos were orbiting at least a mile out. They had to use the optics capability to identify and survey. The video is what one aircrew was looking at through the optics system.

  563. #566 truthspeaker
    April 6, 2010

    S. Sev, none of this explains why they shot at the civilians or the van.

    Beyond that is the fact that American troops had no business being in Iraq in the first place. The possibility of civilian casualties when combatting a resistance movement in an occupied country is just one of many reasons why the US should only invade countries in self defense and as a last resort.

  564. #567 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    S.SEV #559

    “Note that at least an RPG and an AK can be seen at around the 3:50 mark”

    You See an RPG? I see the guy carrying something but there is no way that you can conclusively say that what he is carrying is an RPG.

    And as I have previously Noted the fact that anyone is carrying an AK47 is not relevant.

    Even if he was carrying an RPG would it not be better to hold fire until you could be sure? such as if he starts putting it on his shoulder? or showing some sign of an attempt to use it?

    I am still not sure if the mere fact of carrying an RPG would be a strong indication that the person was an enemy Insurgent? I am not familiar enough with the area to make that assumption.

    The Bottom line is that This Video needs to be addressed, It raises many questions and at the very least the Military should be releasing the “Investigation” that they performed and justify their decision.

  565. #568 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    S. Sev.

    Nothing you’ve said in #559… not a thing, has presented a case that justifies the actions. Not to mention you make the same lame, pathetic excuses of assuming you know what’s in the minds of the people in the crowd and on the ground.

    Note that at least an RPG and an AK can be seen at around the 3:50 mark, carried by the man in the horizontal striped shirt and his buddy.

    I’ve watched the video as many times as you, and at best what’s being carried is inconclusive. And furthermore, so what? There was not the slightest hint of aggressive or combative behavior.

    You will then note they move towards where the cameraman is peeking around the wall. Photogs get paid to get pictures of boom; wanna guess what was about to happen?

    Oh, please… if you want to put your psychic powers of prediction on display, there’s a nice prize waiting for you at JREF.

    At one point, the pilots refer to RPG but the video was away from the RPG and was pointed at the crouching cameraman.

    How do you know this? Again, you are making some pretty convenient presumptions.

    But this isn’t necessarily so; the recorder records what it’s pointing at, there’s no showing of what the pilots were looking at when they made that call.

    Correct… so while it’s possible to assume what you are saying is right, you have no evidence of this… all you have is what we have, what we can see. I’m not interested in making assumptions that bolster my case.

    This is advocacy pure and simple.

    It is nothing that I would categorize as “pure and simple”. It is complicated and disturbing, no matter what your angle is.

    But how dare you come in here with the following arrogant declaration:

    For allegedly fairminded skeptics you do get the vapors without consideration of what you see and why you allow commentary to frame the narrative.

    Have you even read through all of the comments on this thread? No-one has come to any conclusion lightly, and the discussion has been fairly well represented on both sides. You’re the one with the vapors, so quick to come in here and blast everyone for what you so clearly know better than the rest of us.

    Wikileaks and associated hysterics went through a lot of work to place commentary in the video but failed utterly to point out weapons and countervailing reasons why the pilots made the call they did. At least they could have linked to the ROE on their own website to explain why an unmarked vehicle (no cross, no crescent) and its occupants, even if unarmed, was doomed in this scenario.

    Because it’s irrelevant to the point… even if there were weapons there, the apache was in no danger, the small contingent of people was not acting in a hostile or combative way, and there was no credible evidence of any ongoing activity that should have prompted that attack. You’ve not shown that to be the case… not even close.

  566. #569 KevinS
    April 6, 2010

    My message to the Pentagon..

    Welcome to the information age.

  567. #570 negentropyeater
    April 6, 2010

    #560,

    Upon viewing the video a second time, on high resolution and fullscreen, I clearly identify two men carrying assault rifles and one carrying an RPG. So I change my mind in this regard.

    Strange, I’ve done the same and I only see what could possibly be two men carrying assault rifles. And it’s not even that clear. Where did you get a high resolution source? And when (which sec.) do you see a a man clearly carrying an RPG?

    Also, what does this make you change your mind about? That the military was entitled to kill all these people because as they claimed after the incident, “they were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force”?

  568. #571 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    S. Sev,

    I’ve watched the unedited video in the best resolution available and do not share your certainty over the identification of weapons (and I know perfectly well what AK47s and RPG-7s look like). I accept there’s one guy with an assault rifle that’s probably an AK. The alleged RPG looks more a camera tripod to me. *If* someone is strolling the streets of Sadr City with an RPG, that is as good holding a placard that says “I’m an insurgent.” Carrying an AK47 does not however; it could simply be for self defence.

    Maybe this video only provides part of the picture, but given the distance the Apache was from the scene, the crew would not have been able to observe the situation with the naked eye and would have been reliant on whatever sensor gadgetry available to them. Other than the gunsight camera, which is what we’re seeing, what else is available to an Apache to observe distant ground targets?

    Regardless, I don’t see how anything you’ve said excuses the aircrew of the following:

    1. Repeatedly passing on false situation reports to their controllers.
    2. Gleefully willing a critically injured man to reach for a weapon so that they can open fire again.
    3. Destroying a makeshift ambulance.
    4.

  569. #572 mikerattlesnake
    April 6, 2010

    presence of weapons does not justify the use of force shown. The range of those weapons is pathetic compared to the distance from american ground or air troops. There was a proper way to handle this situation and instead of following those procedures, these guys lied and begged to get the opportunity to kill as many people as possible.

    This has been pointed out many times and not refuted. Read the fucking thread. This is not how you beat an insurgency.

  570. #573 Ol'Greg
    April 6, 2010

    More pics http://www.collateralmurder.org/file/photos/5.jpg.html

    There’s more info on wiki links about this. Including the photograph taken by the man (all kinds of shady) leaning around the corner with the “RPG” that he… uh.. somehow took a picture with.

    There is also a picture the foot soldiers took with the “RPG” as well.

    It also has information on the other “possible insurgents” now people.

    There are no more excuses here.

  571. #574 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    Whoops, brainfart caused premature submission. Continuing from #570…

    4. Despite what I said in #408, the children are clearly visible in the unedited video. Therefore the aircrew are guilty of wantonly murdering children – who, needless to say, could not be construed as combatants by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.

    Photogs get paid to get pictures of boom; wanna guess what was about to happen?

    Whoa there. That’s a hell of an unsubstantiated claim you’re making… And especially hypocritical given that you’d called our skeptical bona fides into question in your prior paragraph. Care to provide some evidence that photographers embed themselves with militants in order to obtain dramatic pictures?

  572. #575 mikerattlesnake
    April 6, 2010

    sorry, lots of people posted before my last comment showed up. It was aimed at folks who obviously didn’t read the thread but felt like telling us all the things they saw in the video that we CLEARLY didn’t consider.

  573. #576 Kevin
    April 6, 2010

    @The Chimp’s Raging Id:

    The kids survived, thankfully, though they’re scarred and their father was killed – he was one of the men helping the wounded photographer.

  574. #577 Ol'Greg
    April 6, 2010

    Photogs get paid to get pictures of boom; wanna guess what was about to happen?

    Bullshit.

    You know nothing about journalism.

  575. #578 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Bullshit.

    You know nothing about journalism.

    Yep, I was thinking the same thing.

  576. #579 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    And don’t forget the Lies by the Military that they were clearly in Combat with a Hostile force!

    If it were that clear we wouldn’t be having this conversation!

    The Worse part may not be the actions of the soldiers but the actions of the military after the fact. They CLEARLY misled/Lied to the public of what actually transpired.

    I won’t judge the entire military on the actions or mistakes of some soldiers, they are human and humans make mistakes. But I will judge the military on how they react to mistakes when they happen and they way they reacted to this is just not acceptable.

    I will trust/respect a person/Organization way more if they Identify when mistakes are made and take the right actions to try and prevent them in the future. I have zero trust/Respect for anyone that misleads/Lies and covers up their mistakes.

    Its the same as the Catholic Church, If they had just been honest and reported/punished the Priest that abused then I would have (Some)trust in the church but instead they chose to cover it up. Most people will not hold an Organization responsible for the actions of a few of their members if they do the right thing when it happens.

  577. #580 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    Kevin – that was careless of me. Thanks for the correction. So I guess I should have said “guilt of attempted murder of children”. Ethically, this is not much better IMO.

  578. #581 acr228
    April 6, 2010

    Owning a AK is common in Iraq, walking around the streets with one is not.

    Machine guns can be fired from unmounted positions accurately, all it takes is another person’s shoulder.

    As I said way back up at post #67 they violated the ROE’s they should have continued to observe and should have never engaged the van. In addition there is no way they could have known there were kids in the van, we know they are kids because they are pointed out to us as kids. Had they not been pointed out would you have recognized those few pixels to be kids?

    OEF6 OIF 8

  579. #582 Yubal
    April 6, 2010

    @ Kevin #575

    As I posted in #189, IBC lists the two children as dead. What was your source? The guardian.uk?

  580. #583 Kevin
    April 6, 2010

    @Yubal #581:

    The Wikileaks website – http://www.collateralmurder.com/en/resources.html

    Down near the bottom of the page you can see the kids.

  581. #584 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    Owning a AK is common in Iraq, walking around the streets with one is not.

    “Common” is a pretty relative term, here. So this matters how?

    Machine guns can be fired from unmounted positions accurately, all it takes is another person’s shoulder.

    Even still, the apache was out of range to be in any real danger. So this matters how?

  582. #585 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    Lets forget about the weapons for a moment.

    How does the military in Iraq identify Insurgents?

    IF they Identify them as anybody carrying Weapons…then the Soldiers could be just following the guide lines that they are given. Even if this is so When are they allowed to “Attack”? (I haven’t read the Rules of Engagement) You must also remember that they are not fighting a “WAR” as we usually define one. They are Fighting an Insurgency which is different.

    I assume that if they are fired upon or feel that they are in imminent danger then they are allowed to engage. Under what circumstances do the guidelines actually allow them to engage? If it is based on Defense or imminent danger then the Video clearly shows this not to be true.

    Lets also say that there is absolutely no doubt that they were insurgents then what are the Guidelines to Engaging? Wouldnt Attempting to capture them seem like the more appropriate option? Especially when they certainly were not an immediate threat?

  583. #586 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    RodM…

    while I agree with what you are saying, your totally random use of capitalization is very distracting… what gives?

  584. #587 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    Horrible typing habits….. :(

    It is why my wife usually proof reads anything I type! :)

  585. #588 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    oh and Yuba1… not to be sticking my nose in your business, but if you didn’t want to serve in Germany’s military, why didn’t you opt for the social service option? did it not exist when you were drafted, or was that a conscious decision of protest on your part?

    feel free to ignore me if you don’t want to discuss it, but I’m really curious.

  586. #589 ThorGoLucky
    April 6, 2010

    Such viscousness!

    I venture to guess that the people who approve of such action are those that want the Ten Commandments posted in public buildings.

  587. #590 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    Celtic_Evolution:

    I don’t think paragraphs 1 & 2 in #580 are meant to be connected. The latter, I think, is a clarification of the earlier (mostly inconsequential) discussion of the classification of automatic weapons. I also do not take the 1st paragraph as being offered as support for the pilots’ actions. acr228 states clearly that s/he does not see their actions as justifiable (see #67), so I am not sure that there is a substantive disagreement between you.

  588. #591 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    d’oh!

    nevermind youba1, I so totally missed you were talking about the East.

    to which I can only say that I’m glad the Polish bureaucracy was inept, because my dad dodged the draft there, and no one noticed…

  589. #592 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    and now i’m misspelling your handle. I give up. coffee not working this morning.

  590. #593 Celtic_Evolution
    April 6, 2010

    I also do not take the 1st paragraph as being offered as support for the pilots’ actions. acr228 states clearly that s/he does not see their actions as justifiable (see #67), so I am not sure that there is a substantive disagreement between you.

    Some of the statements in his post did seem contradictory to me… I’ll allow that I’ve very possibly misread it, in which case I’m willing to retract my criticism.

  591. #594 mistermuz
    April 6, 2010

    The full length version is interesting if you’ve got the time and can stomach it.

    The radio chatter gave me the impression these helicopters were on the look out for shooters on a rooftop reported by some, I think, HUMVs up the road some distance. You hear Hotel 2-6 asking about the rooftop security throughout the incident and being correctd a couple of times that it’s not this particular “engagement”.

    It’s possible references to shooting were to the rooftop firing some distance away and being relayed.
    The (large) detachment that rolls up to the scene looks like they’re securing an adjacent taller building for that reason, but are informed there was never any shooting from there.

    So this Apache is all riled up looking for shooters, the other helicopter pointed out this group to them. There’s a HUMV group supposedly under threat and they start seeing things, basically. Radio chatter about shooting speeds the permission to fire.
    I believe the expression is cluster fuck. That’s the impression I got anyway. Hopefully there’s a lengthy and honest reconstruction around somewhere.

    Perhaps the icing on the disturbing cake is that later they spot a guy walking along who has an actual AK47. And it’s so damn obvious he’s got it. It’s such a distinctive looking thing. Nothing like the “weapons” from earlier. They then waste the building he walks into (an a passerby or two). Then they take so long trying to shoot it again there’s already people approaching it there for the next shot.

    All fairly routine I’m sure.

  592. #595 Kagehi
    April 6, 2010

    This is the sort of crap you get when a) no rational people want to join the military and b) all the ones that do are so called “patriots” from pro war families, many of which hate Muslims so badly they find accusing the standing president as one a *massive* insult, and even *criminals*, some of them *killers*, who where given it as an “option” instead of jail time. Its also likely no where near as bad as what the various private armies Bushy funded to go over there as “contractors” have done, and continue to do, many of them having the same insane reasons that some of the right wing “patriots” have as a reason (i.e., racism, and religious bigotry).

    By comparison, even the bombings in Japan where more justifiable, in as much as there is a *strong* line of evidence to suggest that, if at least one hadn’t been dropped (perhaps both, as evidence of having more than just the one weapon), there might not have been a Japan left, by the time we defeated them. Which is worse, extermination of a people that won’t stop fighting, or nukes dropped on two cities? I am not real clear on why belief that the former wouldn’t have happened, against all evidence to the contrary, makes the other one somehow worse. Its not like we wouldn’t have been dropping bombs like at Dresden on them instead, in a final offensive, since it *was*, oddly, a more acceptable tactic.

    But, in either case, ***we where supposed to have promised not to do this shit in wars any more***. Only, we have, we do, and the only difference seems to be how willing the clown in charge at the time is willing to break those rules, and build concentration camps, along with illegally shooting non-combatants. Oh, and, as usual, the only power the UN seems to have to enforce anything seems to be directed at preventing interventions where they are needed, whining uselessly, and cowering when those interventions involve one of the nations with veto rights on their council. Not that their own troops seem to do any better, when they actual *do* end up some place “keeping peace”. Grrr..

  593. #596 rrpostal
    April 6, 2010

    I’ve never quite felt so isolated. I guess we can’t expect to agree on everything but this reminds just how unilateral a group can be.

    What did you folks think the guy was going to do with the ROCKET LAUNCHER? Water his lawn? I can’t believe that people are saying this group was “unarmed”. They clearly had the hardware available to take down the helicopter if given the chance. Apparently these journalists wanted the story enough to ignore what should be obvious.

    I do agree we shouldn’t be there. Nothing good will come of it. We ask them to kill, train them for it, pay them to do it- and then hate them for doing it. The attitude was ugly to anyone who is watching from a couch, but so is the other side, which I’ve never seen on Pharyngula:

    This is the 6th(!) in a series, set to music:

    [url]http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=806_1268227926[/url]

    Where is the outrage? Let’s come home. There’s beer and warm, safe, good things.

  594. #597 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Tronzu:
    Innocent civilians don’t fool around on the street with an freaking Bazooka on their shoulders.

    Bazooka.
    RPG
    Any questions, you bigoted fuck?

    That was PatrioticAmerican, not Tronzu. And from your first link:

    Due to the novelty and easy recognition of the name, the term “bazooka” continues to be used informally as a genericized term to refer to any shoulder-launched missile weapon.

    and your second link:

    A rocket-propelled grenade (also known as RPG or Rocket Launcher) is any hand-held, shoulder-launched anti-tank weapon capable of firing an unguided rocket equipped with an explosive warhead.

    (Not that anyone in the video had a weapon on their shoulders.)

  595. #598 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I’ve never quite felt so isolated. I guess we can’t expect to agree on everything but this reminds just how unilateral a group can be.

    It must be isolating to be so stupid and blind.

  596. #599 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    there is a *strong* line of evidence to suggest that, if at least one hadn’t been dropped (perhaps both, as evidence of having more than just the one weapon), there might not have been a Japan left, by the time we defeated them

    No there isn’t; nor was that a motivation, or ever offered as a motivation, for dropping the bombs. For a less nonsensical take, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirohito#Last_days_of_the_war

  597. #600 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    PZ, have you read the military report? They claimed (in 2007) to have found an RPG Launcher, RPG round, and a couple AK-47s. They have scans of 5 hand-written sworn statements by men who were on the ground, to that effect. Also, they have a video analysis by Major (Redacted), who watched the video on a large screen TV (higher quality than what the gunner saw), who writes that he saw two cameras, an RPG Launcher, RPG round, and one or two AK-47s or AKMs.

    They admit there were two journalists killed (who were not wearing press uniforms by the way), and that two children were injured.

    Do you think it’s possible that this was a genuine tragedy, but that nearly everyone in that video is an insurgent? Or do you think they planted evidence, falsified sworn statements, and photographs, and a story to cover their asses? That would involve at least 10-20 people, judging from the ground forces involved, and whoever did all the paperwork. Quite a substantial conspiracy, that.

  598. #601 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime,

    Well within the capacity of the US military. They’ve had plenty of practice.

  599. #602 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    a story to cover their asses

    What would you call

    The American military said in a statement late Thursday that 11 people had been killed: nine insurgents and two civilians. According to the statement, American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine insurgents were killed.
    ?There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,? said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad.

    ?

  600. #603 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    rr, there’s no way an RPG was a threat to that helo. Learn some facts about the weaponry involved. It would be a SAM that could be a threat to the helo, and that has never been alleged.

    An RPG cannot plink a moving target out of the sky at a mile. A single 30mm round can just about cut a person in half. Consider how big 300mm is in diameter, and that they are flying around Mach.

  601. #604 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Do you think it’s possible that this was a genuine tragedy, but that nearly everyone in that video is an insurgent?

    Look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik from 3:00 to 3:20. Why, in your estimation, are so many insurgents milling about empty-handed?

  602. #605 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    What did you folks think the guy was going to do with the ROCKET LAUNCHER?

    I see no clear evidence of a rocket launcher/RPG/anything capable of taking down an Apache gunship, especially at the range it appears to be observing the scene. What are you talking about?

    This is the 6th(!) in a series, set to music:
    [url]http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=806_1268227926[/url]
    Where is the outrage?

    False dichotomy. Just because we condemn the actions of American service personnel in the video in the OP does not be we don’t also condemn the actions depicted in the video you linked to. For the record, I found its celebration of killing abominable and could only stomach a couple of minutes.

    There are a couple of differences between the two videos that you seem to have overlooked:

    1. The atrocity shown in the OP is the result of an illegal invasion funded by American taxpayers (like PZ) and British taxpayers (like me). It is therefore incumbent on us to speak out against unjustifiable acts being carried out in our name. The acts of Iraqi insurgents are not (directly) attributable to us.

    2. Iraqi insurgents have some degree of justification in attacking American forces and their allies since they are there through no legitimate authority. I reiterate, however, that I think the video you linked to is a disgusting celebration of violence for which there is no justification. (Cue the “liberal anti-American scum” accusations…)

  603. #606 Weed Monkey
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime:

    Did you watch the part in the targeting videos where these proud warriors shot at a van and everyone around and in it, despite the fact that they obviously posed no threat to anyone, and were trying to help a fellow human being from bleeding to death at a sidewalk?

  604. #607 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    True Bob #602: the journalists and other men were around the corner from US ground forces, who claimed to be under fire. The Apache was something like 1-2km away from their target, so I doubt the guys on the ground would have even seen it, so nobody is saying the Apache was doing anything but supporting ground forces.

  605. #608 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    @truth machine603: I don’t know. Maybe they only had small arms, or they were pinned down and hoping to get picked up, or who knows? My only point is that this video (I’ve watched the entire ~40 minute version) is not enough evidence to accuse US forces of murder and an extensive cover-up of said murder. Who exactly were the other men, since they obviously weren’t journalists?

  606. #609 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    so, “when in doubt, trust the military”?

    what a fucked up logic. as I already said about police, when you give people more rights, you need to subject them to hightened scrutiny and doubt. so it should be “when in doubt, distrust the military”

  607. #610 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Maybe they only had small arms, or they were pinned down and hoping to get picked up, or who knows?

    And maybe God intelligently designed everything — who knows? You asked a question: “Do you think it’s possible that this was a genuine tragedy, but that nearly everyone in that video is an insurgent? ” — yes, it’s possible, but the evidence makes it unlikely.

    is not enough evidence to accuse US forces of murder and an extensive cover-up of said murder

    Well yes, actually, it is.

    Who exactly were the other men, since they obviously weren’t journalists?

    I don’t know; who are you, since you obviously aren’t a journalist? You must be guilty of something and deserving to be shot down.

  608. #611 Al B. Quirky
    April 6, 2010

    Of course, there was no Collateral Murder on 9/11, or the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building, carried out on Iraq’s behalf.
    Not that I was ever a supporter of the Iraq war. Vietnam should have taught us one thing: wars that drag on become unpopular, and a democracy cannot commit to an open-ended conflict, because governments can change. Where a coalition is involved, the problem of long-term commitment is exacerbated further.

  609. #612 xunatz
    April 6, 2010

    How easy it is to watch a short video and heap condemnation upon soldiers and all from the comfort of our padded lounge chairs.

  610. #613 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    @610

    Of course, there was no Collateral Murder on 9/11, or the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building, carried out on Iraq’s behalf.

    wait

    What?

    @611

    How easy it is to watch a short video and heap condemnation upon soldiers and all from the comfort of our padded lounge chairs.

    It is when the video shows them doing what they did.

  611. #614 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    nearly everyone in that video is an insurgent

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/insurgent

    a person who rises in forcible opposition to lawful authority, esp. a person who engages in armed resistance to a government or to the execution of its laws; rebel.

    Even assuming that the victims were all engaged in armed resistance — what “lawful authority”?

  612. #615 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    My only point is that this video (I’ve watched the entire ~40 minute version) is not enough evidence to accuse US forces of murder

    Jesus Haploid Christ on a Motherfucking Bike. Were you not paying attention to the part where they gunned down people coming to the aid of a gravely injured man? Is there something wrong with you? What is this if not murder?

  613. #616 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building, carried out on Iraq’s behalf

    is anyone surprised at this level of disconnect with reality in ABQ?

  614. #617 Brownian, OM
    April 6, 2010

    How easy it is to watch a short video and heap condemnation upon soldiers and all from the comfort of our padded lounge chairs.

    How easy it is to snipe at the end of a thread without having read enough of the preceding comments to realise others have said the same thing.

    Your bumper is just positively covered with stickers, isn’t it?

  615. #618 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    P.S.

    Maybe … they were pinned down and hoping to get picked up

    You say you watched the whole video. Then you must be intellectually corrupt.

  616. #619 Steven Mading
    April 6, 2010

    Posted by: truthspeaker | April 6, 2010 2:16 PM

    Posted by: Rorschach | April 6, 2010 7:58 AM
    @ 383,

    And, IPads depend on Iraqi oil? If you are advocating this then you’re more insane then Tronzu.

    The cases of iPads are made of plastic, and plastic is made from petroleum. They are also manufactured in factories, which takes electricity, some of which comes from petroleum, and they have to be transported from factory to wholesaler to retailer, which uses petroleum. So yes, iPads, like all consumer products, depend on oil.

    You dropped the word “Iraqi” from the phrase “Iraqi oil” and responded dishonestly as if Rorschach had said just “oil”, thus engaging in the classic strawman fallacy of pretending the other person’s argument is a much more dumbed-down version of the argument than it actually was. The point was – does the oil these things are made from come from Iraq? My money’s on it coming mostly from Saudi Arabia and Texas, and thus not being “dependent” on Iraqi oil.

  617. #620 Weed Monkey
    April 6, 2010

    Jadehawk, an excellent point. I live in Finland, which is mostly an uneventful, peaceful place in Northern Europe. People here are used to trusting their neighbours, the police, the military and their local priest. So when a police officer, or perhaps a goon from some private security company beats up a kid, no-one gives a damn. “Didn’t happen or he must have deserved it!”

    And I’ve always imagined that with the power to enforce rules upon other people there would be even more scrutiny for the enforcers.

    Oh, damn. I hope you’ll be able to decipher what I mean, I’m a little drunk, angry and English isn’t my first language.

  618. #621 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Of course, there was no Collateral Murder on 9/11

    Of course no one has claimed that, asshole.

    or the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building, carried out on Iraq’s behalf.

    What? Fuck … WHAT? Even if that nutty claim were correct, that doesn’t make every single Iraqi guilty of it and deserving to be shot down.

  619. #622 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 6, 2010

    Who exactly were the other men?

    The most likely answer is that they were local residents, as Sadr City is a poor area of Baghdad with a very high population density – on statistics alone that one has to be ahead.

    I’ve heard of the dastardly crime of “driving whilst black.” Are we going to add to that the capital offence of “going outside while there’s a war on” or are we going to start being sensible?

    Relatively poor people who live in crowded districts have this habit, you see, of a living a good part of their lives in the open air – especially in hot countries, especially when the already ropey infrastructure was shot to pieces in 2003 and, in many places, has not been repaired. (Or may have been repaired then shot to pieces again, who knows?)

    Where there are no six-bedroom homes on 2-acre lots – i.e. most of the real world – it is common for an extended family to live in adjacent or nearby houses. Had we better add to the list the equally dastardly crimes of “walking down one’s own street” and “popping 3 doors down to borrow a cigarette from the brother-in-law?”

    Plus it is, as mentioned above, their country and with narrow exceptions like murder – actual, not potential, they can do in it what the fuck they wish. Right?

  620. #623 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    The point was – does the oil these things are made from come from Iraq?

    Not directly relevant IMO. The availability of Iraqi oil affects global oil prices – that’s the real issue.

  621. #624 Pygmy Loris
    April 6, 2010

    Al B Quirky,

    With just one post you’ve shown yourself to be completely disconnected from reality. The Oklahoma City bombing was, according to Timothy McVeigh, committed because in retaliation for the poorly thought out raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. It had absolutely nothing to do with Iraq, and anyone trying to draw such a connection is both stupid and a fool.

  622. #625 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    You dropped the word “Iraqi” from the phrase “Iraqi oil” and responded dishonestly as if Rorschach had said just “oil”

    You’re being a stupid ass. The original claim was

    Do you live in the US? Do you drive a car? Do you buy consumer items like IPads? Do you buy your food at the supermarket? Do you understand that all of those things depend on one thing and one thing only. OIL!

    I know, I know, you have to have a brain and some intellectual scruples to actually go back and look at the thread.

  623. #626 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Not directly relevant IMO. The availability of Iraqi oil affects global oil prices – that’s the real issue.

    Obviously. Mading and Rorschach are both being rather stupid about this.

  624. #627 Sili
    April 6, 2010

    truthmachine #613,

    You’re using the wrong dictionary. You obviously need the one that sez:

    insurgent: anyone gunned down by the US military.

  625. #628 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    @The Chimp’s Ragin Id #614

    Jesus Haploid Christ on a Motherfucking Bike. Were you not paying attention to the part where they gunned down people coming to the aid of a gravely injured man? Is there something wrong with you? What is this if not murder?

    Coming to the aid of a gravely injured man. It’s all puppies and dandelions, when put that way. Here’s what Major (redacted) (who viewed the video on a large-screen TV) stated in his report:

    As ground forces approach the engagement area, a black van with white paint on the roof (erroneously reported as both a white van and a bongo truck) arrives. Two military-aged males and the vehicle’s driver then attempt to load one of the wounded insurgents into the van. The Apache pilot requests permission to engage the van in order to prevent the escape of the insurgents. Bushmaster 7 responds “This is Bushmaster 7, Roger, engage.” The Apaches engage disabling the van seconds later.

    So, that’s their story. I think it’s at least plausible. I’m amazed at how anyone can draw conclusions of murder and grand conspiracy based on the video, and a suspicion that the US military is filled with men and women willing to cover up cold-blooded murder.

  626. #629 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    @596

    My bad. I was under the impression that the Bazooka was a specific weapon.

  627. #630 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    The Apaches engage disabling the van seconds later.

    Disabling the van and a few human lives and almost disabling two children’s lives.

  628. #631 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 6, 2010

    a suspicion that the US military is filled with men and women willing to cover up cold-blooded murder.

    you’re confused. there’s fucktons of evidence for various cases of the US government and military doing exactly that, on a pretty regular basis. This is already well-evidenced to be normal, so it’s not some extraordinary claim demanding extraordinary evidence.

  629. #632 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 6, 2010

    As Matt Penfold has already pointed out more than once, even if everyone involved was noble and honest to the point of saintly, this is no way to run a counter-insurgency operation.

    Why, toffeecime, are you so desparate that every American should be entirely innocent all the time? War doesn’t work like that and you are beginning to sound frantic. About what I am unsure.

  630. #633 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    OK…Nobody has even tried to really Answer this:

    Lets Say that there was an RPG and there were AK47’s.

    Even if this is true does this alone provide Shooting these people down in cold Blood? And Does Carrying these weapons indicate that the person is actually an enemy?

    Do the Rules of Engagement allow for this? Is it Acceptable to shoot down ANYONE even if they are your enemy if they are not posing an imminent threat?

  631. #634 xunatz
    April 6, 2010

    How easy it is to watch a short video and heap condemnation upon soldiers and all from the comfort of our padded lounge chairs.

    PZ, sometimes I’m baffled how you’re so quick to judge and how easily you’re manipulated.

  632. #635 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    It’s all puppies and dandelions, when put that way.

    You’re an asshole.

    a suspicion that the US military is filled with men and women willing to cover up cold-blooded murder

    And a willfully ignorant fool.

  633. #636 mistermuz
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime: well you kinda have to accept that they are insurgents or hostile in the first place. Which, based on the video, people generally don’t.
    Do the rules of engagement seriously state that anyone helping someone already wounded for being an insurgent is also an insurgent?
    They might, but, in either case: Wow. Were they hoping to win this war at all?

    (I’m not sure what the point is about a large screen TV. Is there supposed to be a higher quality version somewhere? The footage in this one is already digitally blown up, like a digital zoom on a camera. Compression would do some damage but there’s not a vast amount of extra detail there to lose)

  634. #637 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    PZ, sometimes I’m baffled how you’re so quick to judge and how easily you’re manipulated.

    Did you even watch the fucking video?

  635. #638 Paul
    April 6, 2010

    So, that’s their story. I think it’s at least plausible. I’m amazed at how anyone can draw conclusions of murder and grand conspiracy based on the video, and a suspicion that the US military is filled with men and women willing to cover up cold-blooded murder.

    Your quote doesn’t even contradict what you’re replying to, moron. It simply adds “military-aged males” to the descriptor of the Good Samaritans as if it’s relevant. There is no mention of guns, hostile weaponry, offensive posture, or anything that might be cause for an attack. It simply says that a van pulled up, people loaded up the wounded, and this was seen as sufficient grounds to “engage”. Actual review of the relevant RoE (see 288) at the time shows that this attack did not conform.

  636. #639 xunatz
    April 6, 2010

    Rev.Bigdumbchimp…you’re a clone.

  637. #640 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    erroneously reported as both a white van and a bongo truck

    The voice on the video says “a black ess youv-er uh, bongo truck”. Did this guy even listen to it? “truck” is erroneous, but the thing does look like a Bongo van.

  638. #641 stuv.myopenid.com
    April 6, 2010

    How easy it is to watch a short video and heap condemnation upon soldiers and all from the comfort of our padded lounge chairs.

    – The video is not short.
    – What, exactly, do you not understand about people finding issue with mowing down civilians with 30mm bullets from an goddamned armored helicopter?
    – How easy it is to come to a blog and whine about people being judgemental. Your concern is noted.

  639. #642 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    How easy it is to watch a short video and heap condemnation upon soldiers and all from the comfort of our padded lounge chairs.

    Yeah, those guys really had to slog it from the seats of those six ton dealers of death.

  640. #643 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    Rev– succicntly put.

    toffeecime,

    Where to begin..?

    Coming to the aid of a gravely injured man. It’s all puppies and dandelions, when put that way.

    Funnily enough, that because it’s plainly what happened. Are we to place greater credibility in what we can observe with our own eyes or what Major Who-The-Fuck-Knows tells us?

    (who viewed the video on a large-screen TV)

    I admit I would benefit from being able to view a higher resolution version of the video: it would help resolve the questions of what weapons the group the Apaches fired on were or were not carrying. However, the action taken against the van is frigging obvious and the quality of the video does not detract from our understanding of it. I sure as hell do not want a better view of the two children who were about to be physically and emotionally scarred for life.

    Two military-aged males…

    Weasel words intended to deflect attention from a criminal act. For shame.

    The Apaches engage disabling the van seconds later.

    The Rev has addressed this already. I’d add that Orwell probably just turned in his grave.

    So, that’s their story. I think it’s at least plausible.

    No, it isn’t. As I understand the ROE in effect at the time, they were required to identify their targets as hostile before opening fire. We can debate ad nauseum whether the correct call was made in the first attack, but there was absolutely nothing to identify the guys in the van as hostile. Nothing.

    and a suspicion that the US military is filled with men and women willing to cover up cold-blooded murder.

    Where has anyone made this claim, or are you simply incapable of reading for comprehension?

  641. #644 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    @Paul #637:

    Your quote doesn’t even contradict what you’re replying to, moron.

    I was replying to this:

    What is this if not murder?

    It was, if you believe the report (I’m guessing you don’t, and that’s fine), them attempting to stop insurgents from escaping. It’s easy, with the bias of hindsight, to say it was just friendly people with kids trying to help an injured person, and therefore murder. That van was in the middle of a firefight, whether you agree with the justification for the firefight or not.

  642. #645 Brownian, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Rev.Bigdumbchimp…you’re a clone.

    Says the guy who repeated his contentless comment 45 minutes later. Try repeating your assertions a few more times. Maybe if you do it enough you’ll fool yourself into thinking you’re making an argument.

  643. #646 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    It simply says that a van pulled up, people loaded up the wounded, and this was seen as sufficient grounds to “engage”.

    That’s clear from the dialog in the video — they asked to be able to shoot to prevent those in the van from removing the wounded, and they were granted permission to shoot on those grounds; so of course the report saying that is “plausible”. toffeecime seems to think that the “plausibility” of the “story” that the soldiers asked permission to murder people and were given that permission makes it ok that they did so.

  644. #647 llewelly
    April 6, 2010

    Matt Penfold | April 6, 2010 12:28 PM:

    I have never understood the idea that soldiers make good police officers when the leave the military.

    The skills required would not seem to have much overlap.

    Why would you expect the skills required for a war on foreigners to differ from those required for a War on Drugs™?

  645. #648 David Marjanovi?
    April 6, 2010

    Haven’t read beyond comment 150 yet, I’ll try to catch up tomorrow…

    Small parts of the video were in the Austrian TV evening news.

    If these helicopter dudes were just too stupid, I hope they get sent home to flip burgers or something. If they are monsters, like most seem to think, i hope they crash and burn.

    No and no, respectively.

    They must have their day in court. I want to know what they knew and when they knew it.

    A few comments however, to those who think the best thing to do is pull out- Iraq is *very* slowly clawing at some form of legitimate government, and to leave now would be to potentially throw that all away.

    Get the UN in instead, and pay for it. Staying in cannot possibly work.

    Whatever, David…you asked for an explanation of why Dr. Myers kept using “we”. I gave you an answer…maybe you’re just a little peeved because the answer implicates ALL US taxpayers, whether you supported the war or not(you’re just one step removed from the baby killers)!

    Your assumption is misguided ? I’m not, and have never been, a US taxpayer, citizen, resident (except for a total of 2 weeks), anything. I’m Austrian. This is the Internet, you know; not everyone is an American. The stuff about “it’s not his fault” was from a song by Die Ärzte…

    TAKE THE FUCKING RISK, macho soldier man.

    Well said.

  646. #649 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime:

    That van was in the middle of a firefight, whether you agree with the justification for the firefight or not.

    Firefight.

  647. #650 GodlessNot Clueless
    April 6, 2010

    In the movies, the ‘good guys’ can empty magazine after magazine into a crowd and only hit the ‘bad guys’. It’s time somebody told the Marines that movies are fiction!

    I forget who it was that, after visiting a U.S. military base, said something along the lines of; “All very impressive, but where are the grown-ups?”.

    And no, I’m not making light of this particular incident, it is horrifying but is anybody really shocked that it happened? It certainly isn’t the first example of ‘friendly’ fire, and you can bet that it won’t be the last!

  648. #651 SC OM
    April 6, 2010
  649. #652 antelopecajoe
    April 6, 2010

    I personally didn’t see anything wrong with what they did. I have been in that shit hole called Iraq and it is a messy affair. When I looked at the video I could’nt tell what the reporters had and I would have guessed they had weapons as the other AIF’s did have weapons. It was an ongoing operation where we were being shot at, killed and and wounded. I also never saw the movement in the van, which was later pointed out to be children, as I was focused on the AIF’s on the outside of the van. War is a messy affair and there is no way we can fight and have zero collateral damage, no matter how careful you are.

    Combat is a morbid business and their comments where just. They felt that they killed a bunch of AIF’s which would prevent the killing of our soldiers. Anyone who has been in combat will come out it very differnt then when they came in. I was not the same person after my one year + 3 months deployment.

  650. #653 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I was not the same person after my one year + 3 months deployment.

    Indeed, you are now broken, which is a tragedy.

  651. #654 Bobber
    April 6, 2010

    War is a messy affair and there is no way we can fight and have zero collateral damage dead civilians, but it is still shocking when human beings are gunned down in the absence of convincing evidence that they are engaged in offensive action against their occupiers, which is why no matter how we should be extra careful you are in light of the fact that we are the aggressive invaders in this situation.

    Fixed that for you.

  652. #655 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Your quote doesn’t even contradict what you’re replying to, moron.

    I was replying to this:

    What is this if not murder?

    It was, if you believe the report (I’m guessing you don’t, and that’s fine), them attempting to stop insurgents from escaping.

    Are you fucking stupid, or what? Shooting people to keep them from escaping your assault on them is murder. Killing people who are carrying their dead or wounded off a battlefield is murder.

  653. #656 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 6, 2010

    Combat is a morbid business and their comments where just. They felt that they killed a bunch of AIF’s which would prevent the killing of our soldiers. Anyone who has been in combat will come out it very differnt then when they came in. I was not the same person after my one year + 3 months deployment.

    Clearly. You haven’t recovered your moral compass. You know, the one that allows you to distinguish murder from self-defense? The one that would work normally if you weren’t trying so hard to shield these guys from responsibility (because then you might have to question your carefully constructed sense of righteousness derived from being a veteran)?

  654. #657 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    P.S.

    It was, if you believe the report (I’m guessing you don’t, and that’s fine), them attempting to stop insurgents from escaping.

    By both the report and the video, the only people identified as “insurgents” are the wounded, not the driver of the van or the people attempting to move the bodies. These “insurgents” are not “escaping”, they are being removed. Shooting at them, or their rescuers, is murderous.

    The Apaches engage disabling the van seconds later.

    Gee, I guess their aim is pretty bad.

    Imagine if the police had stopped OJ from fleeing by spraying his car with bullets. Heck, why not just drop a nuke on people trying to escape — that’s a sure way to disable their vehicle.

  655. #658 xunatz
    April 6, 2010

    I enjoy PZ’s blog, but his readers are celebrity obsessed rabid fans who agree with everything he writes…which is a little disconcerting.

  656. #659 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Interestingly, googling carrying+wounded+off+battlefield
    brings up
    has anyone seen the footage of the apache shootin civilians?
    as the first hit.

  657. #660 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 6, 2010

    but his readers are celebrity obsessed rabid fans who agree with everything he writes…which is a little disconcerting.

    Who might those be, specifically?

    I enjoy PZ’s blog,

    No, I doubt that. More likely you’re a badly camouflaged concern troll.

  658. #661 xunatz
    April 6, 2010

    Nope, I enjoy his blog.

    I find it a little disconcerting that his celebrity obsessed rabid fans bow down before him and agree with everything he writes.

  659. #662 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    P.S. The justifying posts there resemble those here. From someone with an icon that says “snipers get more head”:

    (Reuters stated that its photographer and his driver “had gone to the area after hearing of a military raid on a building around dawn that day, and were with a group of men at the time. It is believed two or three of these men may have been carrying weapons, although witnesses said none were assuming a hostile posture.) regardless of if they were assumeing a hostile position or not they were carrying weapons witch made them insurgants giveing the apache a green light next time my advice dont be around terrorists

    and although it is a shame that there were kids injured its war its colateral damage this has happened in all of the wars its just more publicized now days because the reporters video tape it i think its kinda demoralizeing for citezens to see this stuff and i think its stupid that journalists love showing this stuff simply because they know rateings will go up and not actualy careing at all about the lives lost

    and finaly it was a clasified document that was leaked the person who leaked deserves the death penalty for treason

  660. #663 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 6, 2010

    I find it a little disconcerting that his celebrity obsessed rabid fans bow down before him and agree with everything he writes.

    I ask you, once again, who are these people, and how are you measuring their “fan” status, or how many times they agree or disagree with PZ? Come on. If you disagree with commenters here, voice your damn disagreement. Calling everyone a PZ yes man is just silly.

  661. #664 Brownian, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I enjoy PZ’s blog, but his readers are celebrity obsessed rabid fans who agree with everything he writes…which is a little disconcerting.

    You know what, xunatz? You can make an actual argument as to why in this instance agreeing with PZ is incorrect in your view, or you can fuck right off.

    You’re trolling. And boring.

  662. #665 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I find it a little disconcerting that his celebrity obsessed rabid fans bow down before him and agree with everything he writes.

    Some people here agreed with (some of) what he said, and some didn’t, moron.

    Is it just a coincidence that so many of those who justify this action are so obviously stupid?

  663. #666 xunatz
    April 6, 2010

    No one is interested in facts, inquiries or investigations. Short youtube videos trumps them all!

    They watch a short video, which is all they need to condemn, throw stones and cast guilt.

  664. #667 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 6, 2010

    No one is interested in facts, inquiries or investigations. Short youtube videos trumps them all!

    They watch a short video, which is all they need to condemn, throw stones and cast guilt.

    Oh, seriously, STFU. You can’t have read the debate (and it had a lot of nuance) above and still make that claim. You’re deliberately trolling.

  665. #668 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    truth machine,

    Your #661 had me reaching for the brain bleach. That was horrible.

  666. #669 xunatz
    April 6, 2010

    …and you’re ruled by youtube videos and by whatever PZ writes.

    You stfu and get back to youtube.

  667. #670 True Bob
    April 6, 2010

    I haven’t read the whole thread here, but the comments supporting the slaughter sound a hell of a lot like “well if they weren’t guilty, the cops wouldn’t have arrested them”.

  668. #671 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Not much more horrible, if any, then what we get from toffeecime, antelopecajoe, and others.

  669. #672 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    xunatz @ #665:

    No one is interested in facts, inquiries or investigations. Short youtube videos trumps them all!

    David Marjanovi? @647:

    They must have their day in court. I want to know what they knew and when they knew it.

    Hmm…

  670. #673 PZ Myers
    April 6, 2010

    You guys just don’t understand xunatz. He’s special — he’s the only person in the whole world who reads my blog and actually disagrees with me.

    He probably noticed how much truthmachine fawns over me, and realized that the Seed logo down at the bottom right corner of the page is actually hypnotic.

  671. #674 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 6, 2010

    …and you’re ruled by youtube videos and by whatever PZ writes.

    Yes sir, you’ve figured me out. Now back to your regularly scheduled fapping.

  672. #675 Notkieran
    April 6, 2010

    Matt Penfold @ #535

    >I have never understood the idea that soldiers make good police officers when the leave the military.

    >The skills required would not seem to have much overlap.

    Now that’s a vile lie. At least they know how to wear a uniform.

    Seriously? It’s worse than “not much overlap”. Soldier training actually makes for worse policemen.

    Consider the following situation:

    You’re on patrol. You see suspicious character behaving suspiciously. What do you do?

    Police training: Take up position and observe. Without any evidence that will stand up in court, there is no point arresting him even if you’re sure he’s guilty.

    Soldier training: Threat! Kill!

    __________

    I’ve seen soldiers and policemen on patrol in Singapore’s Changi Airport, usually in groups of four. I can’t be sure, but from body language and so on, it appears that only the police officer’s weapon (MP-5) is actually loaded. It would also appear that the police officer’s the man who makes the decision whether the soldiers load their weapons (SAR-21, 5.56mm calibre).

    This is almost certainly due to the above.

  673. #676 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 6, 2010

    he Seed logo down at the bottom right corner of the page is actually hypnotic.

    What Seed logo? All I see is a watch on a chain waving back and forth, with your face on the dial. . .

  674. #677 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    xunatz,

    No one is interested in facts, inquiries or investigations. [...]
    They watch a short video, which is all they need to condemn, throw stones and cast guilt.

    That the “facts, inquiries or investigations” are being discussed is evidence that commenters are interested — so how do you draw such a conclusion?

    The video and audio are a primary source, hard to get much more factual than that, no?

    You stfu and get back to youtube.

    YouTube is a video hosting site; your implicit claim that because a video is on YouTube it is perforce lacking credibility is otiose.

  675. #678 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 6, 2010

    xunatz,

    The unedited video is approximately 40 minutes long. You must be very patient person to deem this “short”… either that or very slow.

    Also making this statement at #638

    Rev.Bigdumbchimp…you’re a clone.

    shows that you are talking utter bollocks. The Rev is practically part of the furniture here, which you’d know if you really were a regular rather than a low-rent drive-by troll.

  676. #679 Sili
    April 6, 2010

    What log…

    Yessss, massssster

  677. #680 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    He’s special — he’s the only person in the whole world who reads my blog and actually disagrees with me.

    And yet, remarkably, he’s just like rrpostal.

    how much truthmachine fawns over me

    Don’t feel bad, I don’t fawn over anyone. :-) But I do agree with you far more often than not. An indication of your selective perception was when I introduced myself at your talk in Isla Vista and you expressed your expectation that I would rip into you, when in fact I lobbed you a couple of softballs. I did rip into you later for telling me to my face that I’m “very obnoxious” when I was trying to be friendly.

  678. #681 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    Not much more horrible, if any, then what we get from toffeecime, antelopecajoe, and others.

    I’d like to know what I said that is so horrible. Perhaps I’m naive, but going from the video to 1) murder 2) forged photos 3) forged sworn statements 4) falsified commentary on the full res video etc. is a bit of a stretch. That being said, I fully support further investigation, and if there is any truth to these accusations, then obviously I think the people involved should be held accountable, including (and especially) the higher-ups.

  679. #682 SC OM
    April 6, 2010

    No one is interested in facts, inquiries or investigations.

    I can’t take this anymore. Listen to me: You have lost the capacity for independent thought. You have lost the ability to critically evaluate, on the basis of the evidence, what powerful people are telling you. You should read up on the Stalinist show trials and the people* who actually came to accept and believe the guilt imputed to them by the regime. You’re on that road.

    This is an organization that lies. It lies profusely, shamelessly. It has very obviously lied in this very case. Step back. Try to imagine these are Soviet reports from Afghanistan or press releases from the Cuban government. Watch the video again and imagine the people on the street as French civilians under the Nazi occupation and the voices of the soldiers in German. Try, try to regain your critical faculties and moral judgment.

    *(there were fewer than it might superficially appear, and descriptions of ‘totalitarianism’ or the ‘totalitarian mind’ aren’t to be trusted, but the phenomenon existed)

  680. #683 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 6, 2010

    SC, it’s a valiant try, and you’re right, but I think you’d have better luck talking to a coffee cup. I hope I’m wrong. :)

  681. #684 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Perhaps I’m naive

    Not naive, intellectually dishonest. People have repeatedly pointed out how and why the shooting of the rescuers in the van constitutes murder. There’s no need to posit forged or falsified statements.

  682. #685 jackrabbit
    April 6, 2010

    Blood lust. A clear need to kill. This was fun for them. Killing innocent people for fun and fulfillment. I guess it’s hunting on another level. Congratulations Sarah Palin. Here’s some porn you and your ilk can actually get off on without feeling dirty.

  683. #686 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I’d like to know what I said that is so horrible.

    This:

    Coming to the aid of a gravely injured man. It’s all puppies and dandelions, when put that way…It was, if you believe the report (I’m guessing you don’t, and that’s fine), them attempting to stop insurgents from escaping. It’s easy, with the bias of hindsight, to say it was just friendly people with kids trying to help an injured person, and therefore murder. That van was in the middle of a firefight, whether you agree with the justification for the firefight or not.

    Your justifying the deliberate slaughter of people who are rescuing the wounded, on the basis that such rescue constitutes “insurgents escaping”, and blaming them for being “in the middle of a firefight” — a patent falsehood — is horrible.

  684. #687 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    This is an organization that lies.

    Even the truths they tell are damning. The soldiers asked permission to shoot towards unarmed people on the basis that they were removing wounded people from the scene; they got permission to shoot on that basis. The army report from “Major (redacted)” reiterates that. But amoral slime like toffeecime want us to believe that this isn’t, or might not be, murder. It is murder, and would be even if the ROE allowed it — which they don’t.

  685. #688 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    TM

    You have the bias of hindsight on your side. I watched the original, full-length video, fully prepared to rage at the US military for murdering civilians, including journalists, as Wikileaks so confidently put it, but I saw something more nuanced than you. For having a different interpretation of the events–or at least being willing to entertain the possibility that this isn’t so cut and dried–I’m intellectually dishonest.

    Let me ask you: put aside the part with the van for a moment. Do you deny than an RPG Launcher, and RPG round, and two AK-47s were found at the scene? Were the photographs fabricated? What about the sworn statements? Do you think the original engagement was possibly justified, or do you think the gunner and pilot overreacted from the very start?

    You guys leap at anyone’s throat who questions your interpretation of events, and you call me intellectually dishonest. Look up the meaning of the phrase.

  686. #689 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    Do you deny than an RPG Launcher, and RPG round, and two AK-47s were found at the scene?

    Do you deny that people in the USA walk around with weapons of their own?

  687. #690 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    Maslab no I don’t.

  688. #691 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    Maslab no I don’t.

    So why are they not allowed to?

  689. #692 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime,

    Do you think the original engagement was possibly justified, or do you think the gunner and pilot overreacted from the very start?

    You might wish to peruse tm’s link to the ROE.

    Do you seriously consider that the ROE were adhered to?

    If so, under what section of those was the action taken warranted?

  690. #693 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    So why are they not allowed to?

    I don’t know about “allowed to”, but it might be a bad idea, with US ground forces literally around the corner from you, especially if you’re going to start pointing things at them, be it a camera or said RPG Launcher.

    Also, I don’t think US citizens can walk around with AKs and RPG Launchers, but perhaps I’m just grossly misinformed. Not that what US citizens do has anything to do with what people do in a war zone in Iraq (whatever you think of the war).

  691. #694 SC OM
    April 6, 2010

    Even the truths they tell are damning….

    Yes.

    (PS: In case you’re unaware, we can’t disagree, since we’re one and the same, as everyone at Deltoid knows. :))

    “Major (redacted)”

    Major Redacted would be a great name for a character in a play or novel.

  692. #695 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    April 6, 2010

    acr228 writes:
    Machine guns can be fired from unmounted positions accurately, all it takes is another person’s shoulder.

    Depends rather a bit on the machine gun, doesn’t it? I carried an M-60 for 2 years and the suggestion of using a person’s shoulder as a brace for it is laughable. And that’s a light machinegun; it’s just a little .308 and wouldn’t knock down an apache unless you got very very lucky indeed. A DshK or an M2 would do the trick but using a person’s shoulder as a brace for one of those… Absurd.

    Why am I bothering? What do you know about firing machine guns that you didn’t learn playing video games?

  693. #696 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    Let me ask you: put aside the part with the van for a moment.

    No, you intellectually dishonest piece of crap, I won’t, because that is the basis on which we have been debating whether there was murder for the last bunch of posts. You don’t get to set aside the case that most obviously goes against you, and instead hunt for something that might not.

    But now that we have clearly established your intellectual dishonesty, let’s address your strawman bullshit:

    Do you deny than an RPG Launcher, and RPG round, and two AK-47s were found at the scene?

    It is intellectually dishonest to pose something that way unless the fact has already been established. You say there is a report to that effect; I haven’t seen it. I don’t know whether those were found at the scene, so of course I don’t “deny it”, but neither do I accept it. Having looked at the video carefully, I do think that there were rifles present, as I have stated previously.

    Were the photographs fabricated? What about the sworn statements?

    Fuck if I know; I haven’t seen either of those. You referred to a military report, but haven’t seen fit to provide a citation.

    Do you think the original engagement was possibly justified, or do you think the gunner and pilot overreacted from the very start?

    I’ve already answered this, asshole; that’s possible, just as it’s possible that God or space aliens designed everything, but the evidence is against it. The soldiers clearly inflated the number of weapons and failed to note that most of the men were unarmed (aside from your baseless speculation about handguns). They reported a camera as being an RPG pointed at them — as I said previously, I can believe that they honestly thought they were threatened at that moment. But no way did they think so when they panned around the building and opened fire on a bunch of clearly unarmed men. At the very least they violated the ROE, because they had plenty of time and opportunity to make positive identification, but did not.

  694. #697 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    Toffeecime:

    Please Explain why it matters if an RPG Launcher, Round and 2 AK47’s Matter? Or even if they were definately Insurgents?

    Do you Believe it is ok to gun down people when they are not an imminent threat? Would an Attempt at capture not be a better option?

    This was not a battle as the military would have had you to believe. It was a Slaughter even if they were insurgents it was still a slaughter.

    Now lets get back to the weapons, If the weapons do justify the actions what about the fact that there were 11 people killed yet only 3 weapons?? that indicates that they killed 8 Unarmed men!

  695. #698 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime,

    Not that what US citizens do has anything to do with what people do in a war zone in Iraq (whatever you think of the war).

    What, US soldiers aren’t US citizens?

    PS Bush makes historic speech aboard warship.

    Pullquotes:
    “The character of our military through history, the daring of Normandy, the fierce courage of Iwo Jima, the decency and idealism that turned enemies into allies is fully present in this generation.

    When Iraqi civilians looked into the faces of our service men and women, they saw strength and kindness and good will. When I look at the members of the United States military, I see the best of our country and I am honored to be your commander in chief.”

    “With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians.

    No device of man can remove the tragedy from war, yet it is a great advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.

    In the images of celebrating Iraqis we have also seen the ageless appeal of human freedom. Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement.”

  696. #699 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    Whoops… Supposed to say “Why it matters if an RPG launcher,round and 2 AK47’s were present or not”

  697. #700 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    In case you’re unaware, we can’t disagree, since we’re one and the same, as everyone at Deltoid knows.

    I seem to have missed that. Should we point them to the posts where we call each other nasty names and tell each other to go to a mythical warm place?

  698. #701 SC OM
    April 6, 2010

    I seem to have missed that.

    See the ABC thread.

    Should we point them to the posts where we call each other nasty names and tell each other to go to a mythical warm place?

    I alluded to those.

  699. #702 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    I don’t know about “allowed to”, but it might be a bad idea, with US ground forces literally around the corner from you, especially if you’re going to start pointing things at them, be it a camera or said RPG Launcher.

    Guess we’d better stop all planes above my town.

    The regular patrols of military jets that fly over might shoot them down for so much as turning towards them.

    It is possible for you to walk around with an AK47 if you legally own it. I would say the same of RPGs, as long as it was legal. Second Amendment and all that. You would almost certainly be pulled over and questioned, but just flat out shot?

  700. #703 Sven DiMilo
    April 6, 2010

    Major Major Major Major is the bestest name in all of fiction of all time. Of ALL TIME!

  701. #704 truth machine, OM
    April 6, 2010

    I don’t know about “allowed to”, but it might be a bad idea, with US ground forces literally around the corner from you

    You keep saying this, but I’ve seen no evidence that it’s true.

    especially if you’re going to start pointing things at them, be it a camera or said RPG Launcher.

    The question isn’t whether it’s a bad idea, but rather whether the army’s actions are criminal. What if it were Martian airships shooting at Americans carrying rifles on U.S. soil? Would you be absolving the military and blaming the victims?

    Not that what US citizens do has anything to do with what people do in a war zone in Iraq (whatever you think of the war).

    It’s an illegal invasion and occupation — like if it was Martians attacking and occupying the U.S.

  702. #705 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    No, you intellectually dishonest piece of crap … You don’t get to set aside the case that most obviously goes against you, and instead hunt for something that might not.

    Oh fuck off. My contention is that the encounter with the van didn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s entirely relevant what happened beforehand. You’re looking at it in isolation from everything else, including what set the whole thing off: 4 men who appeared to be holding weapons (we know now that it was only maybe 2 of the original 4 that are seen), one of whom–in the gunner and pilot’s impression–was crouched and pointing an RPG Launcher at a US military vehicle, which was down the road (we actually have the photograph that was being taken from the photographer’s POV, now).

    Now you admit you haven’t even read the report, and you’re continually calling me intellectually dishonest. Do at least some research, before spouting off, please.

  703. #706 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime:

    Now you admit you haven’t even read the report, and you’re continually calling me intellectually dishonest.

    You’re also evasive. See my #692.

  704. #707 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    You keep saying this, but I’ve seen no evidence that it’s true.

    And here we have it in a nutshell.

  705. #708 RodM
    April 6, 2010

    tofeecime:

    You’re looking at it in isolation from everything else, including what set the whole thing off: 4 men who appeared to be holding weapons (we know now that it was only maybe 2 of the original 4 that are seen), one of whom–in the gunner and pilot’s impression–was crouched and pointing an RPG Launcher at a US military vehicle, which was down the road (we actually have the photograph that was being taken from the photographer’s POV, now).

    If you are saying that because they thought something that wasnt an RPG was one that they were justified? That may actually be true, But when Hindsight tells us that they were wrong shouldn’t they stand up and admit they made a mistake rather then hiding it?

    Even if their actions can be defended because of what they thought they saw and what their perceived threat was, When seeing the evidence after the fact should they admit they made a mistake?

  706. #709 SC OM
    April 6, 2010

    It’s entirely relevant what happened beforehand.

    Indeed. Perhaps you should learn some fucking history.

  707. #710 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    You’re also evasive. See my #692.

    You go to hell. You go to hell and you die. I’m responding to other people, too, and cooking food.

  708. #711 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    You go to hell. You go to hell and you die. I’m responding to other people, too, and cooking food.

    Oh my. I’m sorry we interrupted your sacred cooking time! It won’t happen again sir, we promise! [/sarcasm]

    Does it make me a bad person that I am not surprised that this response came around eventually?

  709. #712 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime:

    I’m responding to other people, too, and cooking food.

    Uh huh.

    Like I said, evasive.

    Much like the Rodney King incident, the evidence is indisputable. Which was PZ’s point, I think.

  710. #713 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    When seeing the evidence after the fact should they admit they made a mistake?

    Perhaps. Though, according to their report, they did find an RPG Launcher among the weapons. So, it appears they might have mistaken a camera for an RPG Launcher and an RPG Launcher for an AK-47 or AKM being held perpendicular to the ground.

    But this is why I ask about the beginning of the engagement: it does matter whether the men in the video were armed with AKs and an RPG Launcher, or not, or if the pilot an gunner genuinely believed they were, or if they were just out for blood, because that sets a completely different tone for the later encounter with the van–which would have crucial bearing on whether the attack on the van could even conceivably be justified by the ROE or not.

  711. #714 Ellie
    April 6, 2010

    Hmmm. The debate seems to have deteriorated, I suppose that’s what happens when all the relevant points have been made over and over again. I take back my earlier point made at #342, the soldiers in the Apache do appear to lie to get permission to fire.

    I was fairly decided on the “fog of war” being a defense for the initial incident (although the van shooting is indefensible IMO), however, new info about the relative ranges of RPGs and Apache helicopters have me back on the fence. I plan to watch the full version to see if it gives me enough information to come to a conclusion, but I suspect it won’t..

    I am very surprised that PZ considers everyone who is prepared to bear in mind the reality of conflict “evil”. Yes, in the cold light of hind-sight, those are obviously shoulder bags and maybe that is a tripod and not an RPG, but this wasn’t the cold light of hind-sight. These guys were subject to cognitive bias brought about by the context and, having wrongly identified camera bags as weapons, everything else was subject to identification in that light. It is possible those were just words and this was a cold blooded murder, but we will never be able to answer that question. The gallows humour is a coping mechanism and if you want your soldiers to defend you, you have to accept that.

    That does not make the subsequent shooting of obviously unarmed rescuers and the cover-up any more acceptable, nor does it mean there aren’t lessons that could be learned from this. It also doesn’t meant that people advocating that view support the invasion of Iraq or believe that the US army shouldn’t take responsibility for incidents like this.

    I really don’t understand why holding that view makes me “evil”.

  712. #715 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    I was fairly decided on the “fog of war” being a defense for the initial incident (although the van shooting is indefensible IMO), however, new info about the relative ranges of RPGs and Apache helicopters have me back on the fence

    Don’t take my word for this, but the Apache(s) were there to support ground troops who were already in the area, and taking small arms fire. So, it wasn’t that the Apache crews were in danger, which a lot of people seem confused about.

  713. #716 Maslab
    April 6, 2010

    So, it appears they might have mistaken a camera for an RPG Launcher and an RPG Launcher for an AK-47 or AKM being held perpendicular to the ground.

    Ak47s and RPG-7s have very different shapes. Take a look.

    RPG-7

    AK-47

    It may just be me, but I find it hard to believe that you can mistake those two for one or the other.

  714. #717 toffeecime
    April 6, 2010

    Uh huh.

    Like I said, evasive.

    Much like the Rodney King incident, the evidence is indisputable. Which was PZ’s point, I think.

    That’s, like, your opinion, man.

    Someone not responding to you for all of 30 minutes is not necessarily evasion. Regarding ROE, I was attempting to establish the conditions of the first encounter. Other posters are treating the encounter with the van in isolation, while I’m arguing that the context does matter.

    There are cases where the pursuit of hostile forces, including the use of deadly force, are within the ROE.

  715. #718 jemand
    April 6, 2010

    Pictures and videos can be terribly dangerous to an invading and oppressive army. Is it beyond the realm of conceivability that these cameras were considered more dangerous weapons than RPGs?

    (just to be wildly conspiratorial on the other side of all the trolls)

  716. #719 Feynmaniac
    April 6, 2010

    White House has responded to the video. They don’t really add much, but it’s good to see this is getting some attention.

  717. #720 John Morales
    April 6, 2010

    toffeecime,

    There are cases where the pursuit of hostile forces, including the use of deadly force, are within the ROE.

    [I refer here to Annex E (ROE) as linked to by tm above.]

    There was no “pursuit” as per B (1) (a) ii (Pursuit of hostile forces) in the ROE.

    That said, it’s clear that under G2, G1 can be obviated.

    Soldiers may, but are not required to, use EOF¹ when responding to a positively identified hostile act or display of hostile intent that threatens them or other designated personnel with death or serious bodily injury.

    In your consideration, was this condition met?

    ¹ Escalation of Force — i.e. G1.

  718. #721 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    Rev.Bigdumbchimp…you’re a clone.

    Says the murder apologist?

  719. #722 Shala
    April 6, 2010

    That’s, like, your opinion, man.

    I can’t believe you resorted to that.

  720. #723 Feynmaniac
    April 7, 2010

    That’s, like, your opinion, man.

    Like totally, dude.

  721. #724 Maslab
    April 7, 2010
    That’s, like, your opinion, man.

    Like totally, dude.

    Someone want to run down to the 7-11 with me? I got a wiiiicked case of the munchies.

  722. #725 SC OM
    April 7, 2010

    “Our military will take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety and security of civilians, and particularly those that report in those dangerous places on behalf of news organizations.”

    Lie.

  723. #726 truth machine, OM
    April 7, 2010

    Oh fuck off. My contention is that the encounter with the van didn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s entirely relevant what happened beforehand.

    What the fuck does that have to do with whether your wanting to set aside the argument that went against you is intellectually dishonest?

    Yes, of course its relevant — it explains why the army refers to the wounded as “insurgents”. What it doesn’t do is absolve them for murdering both the wounded and the rescuers. That you treat stopping the escape of wounded people who have (it is believed) aimed weapons at soldiers as justification for shooting at those wounded people and their rescuers, without any further moral examination, is what makes you not just intellectually dishonest, but morally corrupt.

    Now you admit you haven’t even read the report, and you’re continually calling me intellectually dishonest.

    This tu quoque argument is intellectually dishonest, not to mention mindboggling stupid — there’s nothing intellectually dishonest about “admitting” to not having read a report — a report you keep referring to but still have not provided a citation for. If I ever see the report, I might read it. Even if I don’t, that alone wouldn’t make me intellectually dishonest, you git.

  724. #727 toffeecime
    April 7, 2010

    @John Morales #720 this might be relevant, right off the bat: you are quoting from an ROE document (the one TM linked to) which is dated August 2007. The events depicted in the video occurred on July 12th 2007.

  725. #728 toffeecime
    April 7, 2010

    Derp derp derp.

  726. #729 x62617
    April 7, 2010

    I see an RPG between 3:43 and 4:00. every iraqi in baghdad in 2007 knew that carrying an RPG was punishable by death.

  727. #730 truth machine, OM
    April 7, 2010

    There are cases where the pursuit of hostile forces, including the use of deadly force, are within the ROE.

    Regardless of whether such cases apply here (they obviously don’t), nothing in the ROE justifies shooting unarmed rescuers, asshole.

  728. #731 toffeecime
    April 7, 2010

    Quoting the almighty Wikipedia, which is never wrong about anything, except when it is:

    If the person is knowingly aware that there may be additional evidence but purposefully fails to check, and then acts as though the position is confirmed, this is also intellectual dishonesty.

    I think that’s relevant TM. You haven’t done any digging in to this story, but you act like it’s perfectly obvious that your position is unassailable.

  729. #732 Tuxedo Cartman
    April 7, 2010

    I’m rejoining this fray way, WAY late, but I feel something should be addressed…

    Cerberus, do not accuse me of blaming the victim, and don’t EVER pull that “blame the rape victim because she was slutty” shit with me. I do not engage in that sort of behavior, and things will piss me off more than when other people do.

    What I wanted to do was to address the people who were making the argument that merely possessing rifles in a war-zone is not reason enough to open fire on someone. I felt this was disingenuous. I pointed out that there’s a difference between people milling about with AK-47’s, and someone who appears to possess an RPG. A group milling about (and by all appearances, aiming) what appears to be an RPG marks them as distinctly hostile to the crew of the helicopter. Why? Because RPG’s aren’t civilian defense weapons; which is exactly what I pointed out in my post.

    Did I say that the cameramen shouldn’t have been walking suspiciously? No. Did I say they should have refrained from shooting pictures. No. Did I say that the helicopter crew wasn’t overly aggressive, or justified in shooting at the van? NO!

    I was NOT blaming the victim here. But I wasn’t crying out for the helicopter crew’s blood either, as it seems so many here are doing. To me, it was a mistake; a bad, bad, BAD mistake. If you want to find someone to lay the blame on, blame Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld for it. I’ve been against this war since before the first shot was fired all the way up to now; but that doesn’t mean I’m going to start screaming “baby killer!!!” at every kid who had to fight over there, just because they were callously joking about people who were just killed. Damn, take a psych 101 class sometime and try to understand WHY they’re acting that way; it’s the only way to stay sane in that kind of environment.

  730. #733 truth machine, OM
    April 7, 2010

    this might be relevant, right off the bat: you are quoting from an ROE document (the one TM linked to) which is dated August 2007. The events depicted in the video occurred on July 12th 2007.

    Look at item 1, page E-4, you cretin: “as of 31 March 2007″.

    You haven’t done any digging in to this story, but you act like it’s perfectly obvious that your position is unassailable.

    I said that I don’t know whether the claims in that report are correct; I also said that, from my own viewing of the video, I think there were rifles present. There may have been an RPG present; I have not asserted otherwise; none of my arguments depend on it. OTOH, you have repeatingly failed to address points made by myself and others, you putrid sack of dishonest shit.

    Watch out for those Martian airships, asshole.

  731. #734 truth machine, OM
    April 7, 2010

    BTW

    Quoting the almighty Wikipedia, which is never wrong about anything, except when it is

    Especially when the article has a tag saying it lacks citations, idiot. That bit you quote is pretty useless; it implies that no one can honestly claim that the theory of evolution has been confirmed without first digging up every square inch of earth to check for precambrian rabbit fossils. Or that it is dishonest to accept AGW without first reading every blog post by every denialist to see if they might actually have disproven it. Nor can you believe what your lying eyes tell you from viewing this video; first you must read the army’s spin. See The Courtier’s Reply.

  732. #735 John Morales
    April 7, 2010

    toffeecime, you seem to be arguing that, if the ROE provisions were adhered to (something you have not established), then the actions documented in the video are moral — not just legitimate.

    I put to you that, if the people who were massacred engaged with deadly force were non-combatants, then the action was neither moral nor legal; if they weren’t, then the attack on the rescuing party was in contravention of the Geneva Conventions, and hence neither legal nor moral.

  733. #736 toffeecime
    April 7, 2010

    Okay, I was mistaken about the timeline on the ROEs.

    I’m running out of bullshit.

  734. #737 acr228
    April 7, 2010

    Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE Author Profile Page | April 6, 2010 10:32 PM

    acr228 writes:
    Machine guns can be fired from unmounted positions accurately, all it takes is another person’s shoulder.

    Depends rather a bit on the machine gun, doesn’t it? I carried an M-60 for 2 years and the suggestion of using a person’s shoulder as a brace for it is laughable. And that’s a light machinegun; it’s just a little .308 and wouldn’t knock down an apache unless you got very very lucky indeed. A DshK or an M2 would do the trick but using a person’s shoulder as a brace for one of those… Absurd.

    Why am I bothering? What do you know about firing machine guns that you didn’t learn playing video games?

    My knowledge of machine guns includes the m249 SAW, the m240b, m240 G, M2, Mk19, things I carried and operated for 5 years. Lugging around a DshK or M2 fully assembled is absurd and you know that, as do insurgents which is why they don’t do it and we don’t do it. As would be attempting to fire either one of those from the shoulder. Being a machinegunner you would know that.

    Unfortunately insurgents don’t use M60’s they use RPD’s and RPk’s which are significantly lighter than even our SAW. Using the shoulder to support the RPk/RPD to gain a stable firing platform and elevation to shoot as you fly past isn’t laughable. Its done all the time in Afghanistan to shoot at us. I served from 2002-2006 and involuntarily from 2008-2009 I’ve deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh my MOS was 0311, thats Rifleman if you weren’t a Marine and know what our MOS designations are. I lived with a bunch of 0331’s (Machinegunners)both stateside and overseas. I was cross trained on their weapons. Far cry from a video game.

  735. #738 truth machine, OM
    April 7, 2010

    I submit that intellectually honest people do not need to look to the Geneva Conventions or any other document to recognize that shooting those rescuers was immoral. Intellectual honesty demands consistent application of standards — e.g., if it were the Martian army and the rescuers were one’s best friends, would the shooting be just?

  736. #739 mistermuz
    April 7, 2010

    Somewhere in all this another point is being missed.
    The offical military version is that troops were reacting to being under fire from rifles and RPGs. Even if that’s true this is fudgy because it’s clearly not these people in the video doing the shooting.

    As I said, the radio chatter in the long video strongly suggests, to me, two incidents are being conflated into one. Which means the official version is at best only half true. Yes the pilots were reacting to ground forces being under actual fire. But not from the people in the video or even that vicinity.

    So if the Mil aren’t lying, they don’t know the whole story and should investigate further. At the very very least.

  737. #740 negentropyeater
    April 7, 2010

    But I wasn’t crying out for the helicopter crew’s blood either, as it seems so many here are doing. To me, it was a mistake; a bad, bad, BAD mistake. If you want to find someone to lay the blame on, blame Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld for it.

    Yeah, a BAD mistake that cost the lives of 11 people, of which none were positively identified (ie with reasonable certainty) as insurgents. A BAD mistake which was covered up by military command who claimed (see my comment #564) that :

    ?There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force?

    From watching this video, this claim was an evident lie. This was no “clear combat with a hostile force”. This was the gunning down of 11 clearly non hostile people who didn’t “combat” but were suspected of being insurgents because 2 of them carried something that looked like an assault rifle and 1 carried something that looked like an RPG but was actually a camera.

    That’s what the military command should have reported after the incident. They chose to lie, to cover it up because they thought nobody would ever see this video. Without the video, noone knows. Why would anybody trust the military? This one event clearly indicates we cannot trust them.

    I’m not asking for “the blood” of the helicopter crew. They should be judged. Military command should say that they lied, and take the appropriate measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Which they won’t, so I’ll continue to distrust them: they are just a bunch of lying assholes.

    Nowadays we’ve got unmanned drones flying over afghanistan controlled via cameras killing people who they suspect of insurgency. How many of them are innocent civilians killed in the same manner as with this apache crew? I won’t take any of the answers of the military for granted. I’ll assume they are lying.

  738. #741 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 7, 2010

    Day three and I still want to know …..

    * why someone – everyone? – had neglected to tell the men who fired that no weapon capable of being carried and fired by one man had any chance worth even thinking about of bringing down a military helicopter already a kilometre away and in motion?

    * why people are being put in charge of 30 mm weapons who are not bright enough to work that out for themselves?

    * what it must feel like to live in a country where the citizens are so unused to being told the truth, even about honest mistakes, that they have become passive and will accept whatever someone in a uniform tells them?

    * why this whole conversation has been so devoid of historical context – waves to SC OM – or even the most basic of pattern recognition?

  739. #742 Cimourdain
    April 7, 2010

    I thought P.Z. was against “simplistic us-vs.-them thinking”. But taking this premise – okay, this is who “we” are. Then who are the not-we? Who are the “they”?

    Well, “they” are the ones who dump chemical weapons onto civilian towns and brag about it, hack entire villages apart with machetes, deal in slaves, shoot twelve year old girls in the head for not being veiled, force mothers to cut their own children’s throats, fight out of uniform and use civilians as shields, saw away clitorises, bury gays alive, rape nine year olds, and younger, perform genocide upon genocide upon genocide…

    Might that explain a little about what “we” are?

    Or is this sort of collectivization of guilt suddenly no longer cool?

    This isn’t morally serious. This is crap. This is pornography and masochistic pornography at that.

  740. #743 John Morales
    April 7, 2010

    I note the (expurgated) U.S. Army investigation report is available here:
    http://cryptome.org/reuters-kill.zip

  741. #744 John Morales
    April 7, 2010

    Cimourdain, we already know your hobby-horse; you ride it into every thread.

    PS You cannot excuse the bad by pointing to worse.

  742. #745 Cimourdain
    April 7, 2010

    I didn’t excuse this. This is disgusting, and should be prosecuted.

    What I condemned was this pornographic collectivization of guilty and I pointed out what that leads to. The excuse you cite I don’t make – I point out how it naturally follows from this crap analysis.

  743. #746 Matt Penfold
    April 7, 2010

    Tuxedo Cartman spewed

    What I wanted to do was to address the people who were making the argument that merely possessing rifles in a war-zone is not reason enough to open fire on someone.

    An insurgency is not a war zone.

    The rest of your post is just a lost whinge about how people have been mean to you. Since you spouted such bullshit you only have yourself to blame for that. If you want to be treated decently, quit making dishonest arguments. If you cannot or will not do that, fuck off.

  744. #747 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 7, 2010

    Cimourdian,

    My Lai, anyone?

    I prefer to go with the notion that we are all equally fallible, that a grasp of what can go wrong plus a little thought by the individual can lessen the depths of depravity into which any one of us might fall and, above all, that sometimes the institutions within which we operate reinforce the very human tendency to act badly and then lie about it. (See RCC on other threads.)

  745. #748 mistermuz
    April 7, 2010

    Thanks for the link to the report John Morales.
    This does get more comprehensible, if not forgivable.

    Accepting that the Apache were responding to geniune fire from…somewhere and on the lookout for hostiles, and accepting that there were some weapon looking things in the crowd and a HumV up the street, their hasty reaction is somewhat understandable (only somewhat). But as with Abu Grahib, this might be standard operating procedure a lot of the time, but standard operating procedure just happens to be complete crap destined to lose good faith, lives and the conflict itself.

    What is still perplexing from the report is how the guy could conclude that these guys were a) insurgents (and not just some guys who found some guns from the other day) and b) the particular insurgents ground forces were in contact with. He watched the video. That’s simply ridiculous.

    They also leave hanging the implication that, Reuters photographers were embedded with insurgents who were about to attack US forces, if they weren’t already. That would be a particularly offensive detail to Reuters wouldn’t it?

  746. #749 negentropyeater
    April 7, 2010

    Read the report by the investigation officer linked to by John #743.

    1. The report starts by mentioning that the Bravo Company has been under sporadic small arms and RPG fire since the operation ILAAJ had begun at dawn on that same day.

    2. the cameraman peering from behind the wall is mistaken for someone getting ready to point an RPG at an HMMWV of the Bravo Company sitting at an intersection 100m away from the cameraman. Photos from that same camera were found that show this.

    3. 2 individuals are seen openly carrying an RPG and an AKM

    4. the Apache shot the van to “prevent the escape of the insurgents”

    5. After arriving on scene, infantry discovered 2 RPGs of which one ready loaded, 1 AKM, and the two cameras. No coroborating evidence is provided for this claim.

    The report concludes that the 2 cameramen were killed for being in company of armed insurgents who had been firing at the Bravo company during operation ILAAJ and for not having clearly displayed that they were reporters or informed the Bravo Company of their presence.

    I don’t know from which evidence the investigation officer can conclude that the so called armed insurgents are the ones who had been firing at the Bravo Company in the morning. This is complete fabrication.

    Also, the report concludes that the people in the van were killed because the Apache crew thought this was a means to escape the wounded insurgers. The report states that Children are no way seen but fails to report that the Apache crew mentions the Children in the audio.

  747. #750 Ray Moscow
    April 7, 2010

    Last night the BBC news reported that the Pentagon states that the incident “followed standard procedures”.

    Unfortunately, the implication is that this kind of thing happens all the time. That’s the most depressing thing about the whole mess — that’s it’s a common occurrence, not an outrageous one-off mistake.

  748. #751 DaveL
    April 7, 2010

    Also, the report concludes that the people in the van were killed because the Apache crew thought this was a means to escape the wounded insurgers.

    I want to know where on earth they got the idea this was acceptable.

    First Geneva Convention:

    Art. 18. The military authorities may appeal to the charity of the inhabitants voluntarily to collect and care for, under their direction, the wounded and sick, granting persons who have responded to this appeal the necessary protection and facilities. Should the adverse Party take or retake control of the area, he shall likewise grant these persons the same protection and the same facilities.

    The military authorities shall permit the inhabitants and relief societies, even in invaded or occupied areas, spontaneously to collect and care for wounded or sick of whatever nationality. The civilian population shall respect these wounded and sick, and in particular abstain from offering them violence.

  749. #752 negentropyeater
    April 7, 2010

    I want to know where on earth they got the idea this was acceptable.

    Oh, because they followed “standard procedures”:
    1. the Apache crew asked permission to engage to prevent the escape of the wounded insurgents.
    2. permission was granted

    Note that the report states that it is unknown if the van had any connection to the “insurgent activity”. But it does say that the 2 men loading the wounded insurgents were “military aged men”. I guess being that age is sufficient a crime to get you killed by the American military.

    I am utterly disgusted by this. Not that I wasn’t disguted by the Iraq War before, but to see this with all the groovy details, the video, the report of the investigating officer which is a complete joke, the reaction of the military after the incident which is a complete coverup and now the Pentagon who states that the incident followed “standard procedures”, I just think I want to puke.

    This is unbelievable.

  750. #753 Cimourdain
    April 7, 2010

    maureen,

    Once again, you’re missing the point. I wasn’t sanctioning this – I was attacking this cretinous collectivization of guilt, the sheer wallowing in it.

  751. #754 negentropyeater
    April 7, 2010

    Cimourdain,

    I think you have a problem with words. Still after rereading what you wrote several times, I don’t understand what is your point.

    Please try to express yourself clearly.

  752. #755 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 7, 2010

    Cimourdain,

    Most of what has taken place on this threat is an attempt to assess what the Apache crews are or are not morally responsible in this case. What is this “cretinous collectivization of guilt” you are referring to?

  753. #756 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 7, 2010

    Most of what has taken place on this threat is an attempt to assess what the Apache crews are or are not morally responsible in this case. What is this “cretinous collectivization of guilt” you are referring to?

    Because deep down despite what Cimourdain says he feels that anything that happens to any Muslim is deserved.

    And pointing out any wrongdoing on the part of non-Muslims against Muslims is “cretinous collectivization of guilt”

  754. #757 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 7, 2010

    Cimourdian,

    Those of us who, from knowledge and experience, have become sceptical of the tendency of governments to protect their own and to rewrite history as quickly as possible would have been content, I think, to say it once and go away.

    We were, though, set upon by a battalion of idiots – idiots determined that the story most comforting to them should be true, determined to ignore the facts and the history for their own reassurance.

    If such people then found themselves slapped around the face more than once with a large dead halibut then they have themselves to blame.

    As for guilt, those who face the facts tend not to suffer from it unduly. Those who are constantly on the run from reality, including the realities of war, may well experience something akin to guilt.

    Their problem, not mine.

  755. #758 negentropyeater
    April 7, 2010

    As for guilt, those who face the facts tend not to suffer from it unduly. Those who are constantly on the run from reality, including the realities of war, may well experience something akin to guilt.

    Oh I doubt this very much.

  756. #759 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 7, 2010

    Perhaps, negentropyeater, I am working too much from personal experience.

    I shared a bed for 20 years with someone who had done things during the Malayan emergency and in Korea which it would have been almost impossible for him to do in sunny Sarf London, when I knew him. What he experienced later was, yes, horror – that he had done such things, that he had been put in a position where such things were even possible – but guilt, no.

    Though my conversations with them were less extensive, this is confirmed by discussions with then surviving members of the International Brigades – another very messy war where hardly anyone was being honest about what was really going on.

    I sense in those who take a view opposed to mine a terrible sense that they must prove themselves right or the sky will fall in. I don’t know many such people in real life so I can only go on the basis of what they write and how they express it.

    Anyway, you be the judge.

  757. #760 https://me.yahoo.com/a/26Pka6RqgOrv5dnPO9sLAHTXFKAjHg--#15934
    April 7, 2010

    This is still going on?

    Well, at least the conversation has stayed civil…

  758. #761 RodM
    April 7, 2010

    I guess there are a few primary issues present:

    1. Were the actions “Legal”? Were they justified based on defined procedure? When the Pentagon states that they followed “Standard Procedure” they are essentially trying to tell us the answer to this question is yes.

    2. Regardless of the answer question 1, is what happened “Morally” acceptable?

    Under the current guidelines what happened may very well have been justified, we can debate this all we want but we will never know for sure since we can’t read the soldiers minds and do not know if they actually lied or if they were simply wrong. For this matter I am not convinced we should be criticizing the soldiers involved. In a war judgment calls need to be made and inevitably some will be wrong.

    Some Questions we should really consider:

    1. If the military believes this was acceptable then why did they mislead us about situation in the first place?

    2. When 11 people are killed and many others wounded and the official report lists only 3 weapons being present, does this not raise concern that the best actions were taken?

    3. Why wouldn’t the Military release the video when Reuters requested it via the Freedom of Information Act?

    4. If a person is identified as an insurgent should the primary action be to KILL him/her?

    5. When incidents like this occur should they be subject to review and investigation by a third party?

  759. #762 The Chimp's Raging Id
    April 7, 2010

    Maureen Brian,

    I note nobody has answered your questions from #741. Here’s my (mostly speculative) attempt:

    * why someone – everyone? – had neglected to tell the men who fired that no weapon capable of being carried and fired by one man had any chance worth even thinking about of bringing down a military helicopter already a kilometre away and in motion?

    I doubt they needed telling. If I were to hazard a guess as to the reason for the Apaches’ distance from and motion relative to the scene it would be twofold:

    (1) They do not want to alert hostile forces to their presence.
    (2) They know they can operate their weapons effectively at that range and velocity, whereas the weapons commonly available to Iraqi militants are known to be ineffective.

    In other words, I’m suggesting Apache crews know perfectly well the range and capability of AKs and RPGs, and that’s why we see them operating their aircraft in the manner we see in the video.

    * why people are being put in charge of 30 mm weapons who are not bright enough to work that out for themselves?

    See above. Also, I think the selection process for Apache crewmembers is fairly rigorous. The people operating these aircraft are not, as a rule, idiots.

    * what it must feel like to live in a country where the citizens are so unused to being told the truth, even about honest mistakes, that they have become passive and will accept whatever someone in a uniform tells them?

    Obedience to authority is commonplace everywhere, but it seems especially prevalent in the US. I’m not sure why and I doubt the answer is simple.

    * why this whole conversation has been so devoid of historical context – waves to SC OM – or even the most basic of pattern recognition?

    Indeed. History informs my suspicion of official accounts of anything, especially military operations.

    As I said above, I’m mostly speculating. I would welcome correction from people with the relevant knowledge and experience regarding the first two questions.

  760. #763 luyola
    April 7, 2010

    Hey All, 1st comment on Pharyngula.
    I’m not gonna wade into this argument, just wanna point out a little known (and very revolting) fact.

    I read in an article a coupla years ago (don’t remember by whom, it was on http://www.counterpunch.org, so might’ve been Alex Cockburn) that shooting ambulances was common practice in Iraq around the time this incident happened.
    In other words, the part of this video that’s most repulsive, might actually have been standard procedures (if unofficially) at the time!!!!!

  761. #764 luyola
    April 7, 2010

    Hey All, 1st comment on Pharyngula.
    I’m not gonna wade into this argument, just wanna point out a little known (and very revolting) fact.

    I read in an article a coupla years ago (don’t remember by whom, it was on http://www.counterpunch.org, so might’ve been Alex Cockburn) that shooting ambulances was common practice in Iraq around the time this incident happened.
    In other words, the part of this video that’s most repulsive, might actually have been standard procedures (if unofficially) at the time!!!!!Hey All, 1st comment on Pharyngula.
    I’m not gonna wade into this argument, just wanna point out a little known (and very revolting) fact.

    I read in an article a coupla years ago (don’t remember by whom, it was on http://www.counterpunch.org, so might’ve been Alex Cockburn) that shooting ambulances was common practice in Iraq around the time this incident happened.
    In other words, the part of this video that’s most repulsive, might actually have been standard procedures (if unofficially) at the time!!!!!

  762. #765 zeroang3l#979a3
    April 7, 2010

    @luyola:

    Well it wouldn’t be a proper welcome if someone didn’t call you an idiot, so… since you double posted (and the second post being a double in itself)…

    IDIOT!

    There… welcome to Pharyngula.

  763. #766 luyola
    April 7, 2010

    sorry about the double post. Damned Internet

  764. #767 luyola
    April 7, 2010

    Thanks

    Now I feel more at home already :)

  765. #768 Maslab
    April 7, 2010

    Excuse me for a second, but…

    Derp derp derp.

  766. #769 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkbsu50FTcW-y2QCgN20AJH5MYsgFm_bFc
    April 7, 2010

    You know what Americans could do if they don’t want Iraqis to shoot at them? Not invade their country and kill their neighbors. If you believe in any right to violent self defense, then the Iraqi resistance has every right to shoot at armed soldiers invading their homeland. Even if they Iraqis were armed (in this case, I am utterly convinced they were not), the US soldiers are still in the wrong because they have zero right to invade Iraq and force the Iraqis into submission.

    On another note, the troll above who concern trolled about gays clearly does not give a rats ass about international gay rights and knows nothing about them. Because, as any informed person could tell you, in pre-invasion Iraq, being gay was legal. It is in post war