Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Red Hal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:40 am UTC

No worries. Have a read and let me know your assessment.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Zamfir » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:06 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The only really upsetting part here is that the children were ordered to a different hospital. I can almost fully pardon warzone mistakes when reasonable suspicion of intent is present. If a mistake was made, then whoever gave the command to fire needs to be reviewed.


I have some serious problems with "warzone mistakes are pardonable if the intent was good enough", if that is what you are saying. Perhaps I am misinterpreting you, however.

After all, it's a choice to define a havily populated suburb as a warzone, and to determine that gunships are appropriate weapons in such surroundings. After those decisions have been made, civilians are going to get killed at some point, period.

Discussing whether the soldiers where correct to fire in this particular situation only matters to determine whther the responsibility for this case lies mainly with them, or with their superiors, or their superiors in turn. Perhaps the soldiers did the best they could, in which case others made the unpardonable mistake of sending them to a situation where they would end up killing civilians.

There might, perhaps, be situations where sending gunships to populated areas really is the best option to avoid an even worse outcome, even taking the inevitable civilian casualties into account. But in the far majority of cases, it's a trade-off to accept more civilian deaths in return for less risk to your own troops.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:17 am UTC

I'd say this is more a problem with the RoE at the time than the behaviour of the soldiers. They were just doing what they were trained to do.

However, I am confused by the identification of AK-47s and RPGs. I saw one vaguely tube-shaped thing which could have been a weapon of some kind, but how could they have identified the objects as something so specific?
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby fjafjan » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:05 pm UTC

Okey, let's look at what the guys shot were ACTUALLY doing. So the guy with the "RPG" was actually holding a camera. Two other people were in fact holding weapons, but were not about to fire at anything. Now if you were in downtown NY having an AK-47 makes you pretty culpable, but being in Baghdad where the AK-47 is the standard choice for civilian self defense as well as the Iraqi police etc, it's certainly not incriminating. So if you're standing around with two guys with AK-47s you're not really doing anything that odd.
So were they doing anything to indicate they were about to attack anything? No, they were just hanging around. And it sort of looked like someone had an RPG. Now if you're looking at through a rather poor resolution camera yeah maybe it sort of looks like something, at least for a few seconds.


So you people conclude that if you carry something that from some angles might look like an RPG you might get shot, and that this is sad but a necessary truth in war, or something stupid like that.
A more reasonable conclusion I would say is, either you don't make these calls with equipment that doesn't allow for greater accuracy, or you at the very least warn journalists that their cameras can be misstaken for RPGs, despite the fact that they look nothing like them because you insist on being so far away that you can barely see shit, lest your soldiers get injured/shot.

Izawwlgood wrote:Personally, were I in an open place being circled by two known trigger happy choppers, I would not be hiding behind buildings or crouching or driving my children towards the aftermath. I'd distance myself from anything larger then a pack of cigarettes, and with my arms raised above my head, walk calmly and slowly down the street away.

Are you fucking serious? Seriously? Someone is shooting people for standing around, and you suggest making yourself the most obvious target. Trying to hide is a very logical impulse when someone is clearly out to fucking kill you, and you can't properly see them, and most certainly you can't hear or communicate with them. This is the most absurd complaint I have read all day.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby extrablue » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:39 pm UTC

What is sad (but not surprising) is that the true hero(s) fighting for democracy and freedom is who ever leaked this classified military video to the press.
Who ever leaked this did the right thing, and will face a Court Martial if their identity is ever reviewed.

Good comment on the NYT site something along the lines of "This is what happens with a pro-all volunteer military."

Just think too, this is the video that gets leaked because its of journalists getting killed. What about all the other incidents that will never be leaked to the press.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby The Reaper » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:54 pm UTC

I'm still confused as to where Americans got this weird idealogical view of war. Oh, its just sunshine and sand, its like being at the beach, people never die, and soldiers give out free hugs and shoot candy.

Shit happens.
We try to reduce the amount of it as much as possible, but they're still humans.

As for the "oh teh noes they're inhuman monsters!" bullshit, meh. See the first line of this post.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Telchar » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:13 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:Okey, let's look at what the guys shot were ACTUALLY doing. So the guy with the "RPG" was actually holding a camera. Two other people were in fact holding weapons, but were not about to fire at anything. Now if you were in downtown NY having an AK-47 makes you pretty culpable, but being in Baghdad where the AK-47 is the standard choice for civilian self defense as well as the Iraqi police etc, it's certainly not incriminating. So if you're standing around with two guys with AK-47s you're not really doing anything that odd.
So were they doing anything to indicate they were about to attack anything? No, they were just hanging around. And it sort of looked like someone had an RPG. Now if you're looking at through a rather poor resolution camera yeah maybe it sort of looks like something, at least for a few seconds.


Why do people keep insisting that someone has to be shooting the RPG at you before you can shoot at them? Especially in a helicopter, that's a terrible strategy.

So you people


This oughta be good....

conclude that if you carry something that from some angles might look like an RPG you might get shot, and that this is sad but a necessary truth in war, or something stupid like that.
A more reasonable conclusion I would say is, either you don't make these calls with equipment that doesn't allow for greater accuracy, or you at the very least warn journalists that their cameras can be misstaken for RPGs, despite the fact that they look nothing like them because you insist on being so far away that you can barely see shit, lest your soldiers get injured/shot.


You don't think the military warns journalists in Baghdad that if they go there, they could be shot? Really?

And yes, please list all possible things that could be mistaken for RPGs in any given situation. I'm waiting.

Are you fucking serious? Seriously? Someone is shooting people for standing around, and you suggest making yourself the most obvious target. Trying to hide is a very logical impulse when someone is clearly out to fucking kill you, and you can't properly see them, and most certainly you can't hear or communicate with them. This is the most absurd complaint I have read all day.


Who was out to fucking kill them? They were press, and last I checked the insurgency didn't have helicopters. What, exactly, were they hiding from? There apparently was a firefight going on a few blocks away.

I know you want to pretend that no one is as outraged at this as you are and get into the usual pissing match, but can you please try and have a serious discussion?
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:15 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:Are you fucking serious? Seriously? Someone is shooting people for standing around, and you suggest making yourself the most obvious target. Trying to hide is a very logical impulse when someone is clearly out to fucking kill you, and you can't properly see them, and most certainly you can't hear or communicate with them. This is the most absurd complaint I have read all day.

It's certainly more logical then driving a van with two children in it directly at the smoldering ruins of said circling helicopters after effect. And it certainly serves to illustrate my point that neither you, nor I, nor the soldiers in chopper really had a crystal clear picture of what was happening on the ground.

fjafjan wrote:Okey, let's look at what the guys shot were ACTUALLY doing

Yeah, I think from now on, soldiers should only engage individuals that have flashing red exclamation points on their heads indicating that they've spotted us and are preparing to fire.

Zamfir wrote:I have some serious problems with "warzone mistakes are pardonable if the intent was good enough", if that is what you are saying. Perhaps I am misinterpreting you, however.

It's pretty difficult to lay any sort of lines around, but I'm generally less willing to point the finger at soldiers then I think is the norm around here. These soldiers seemed trigger happy to me, but I didn't see anything in the video that out right indicated they were overly interested in 'MURDERING innocent civs in Iraq'. They may have, and as I said, should be reviewed, but the video didn't convince me to leap to that conclusion.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:39 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:I'm still confused as to where Americans got this weird idealogical view of war.

The Gulf War.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:24 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:I'm still confused as to where Americans got this weird idealogical view of war.

This weird view that involves absurd things like soldiers handing out candy? I guess it couldn't possibly be from, like, dozens of pictures we're shown of soldiers handing out candy, or anything so ridiculous, could it?
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Dangermouse » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:38 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Okey, let's look at what the guys shot were ACTUALLY doing. So the guy with the "RPG" was actually holding a camera. Two other people were in fact holding weapons, but were not about to fire at anything. Now if you were in downtown NY having an AK-47 makes you pretty culpable, but being in Baghdad where the AK-47 is the standard choice for civilian self defense as well as the Iraqi police etc, it's certainly not incriminating. So if you're standing around with two guys with AK-47s you're not really doing anything that odd.
So were they doing anything to indicate they were about to attack anything? No, they were just hanging around. And it sort of looked like someone had an RPG. Now if you're looking at through a rather poor resolution camera yeah maybe it sort of looks like something, at least for a few seconds.


Why do people keep insisting that someone has to be shooting the RPG at you before you can shoot at them? Especially in a helicopter, that's a terrible strategy.

So you people


This oughta be good....

conclude that if you carry something that from some angles might look like an RPG you might get shot, and that this is sad but a necessary truth in war, or something stupid like that.
A more reasonable conclusion I would say is, either you don't make these calls with equipment that doesn't allow for greater accuracy, or you at the very least warn journalists that their cameras can be misstaken for RPGs, despite the fact that they look nothing like them because you insist on being so far away that you can barely see shit, lest your soldiers get injured/shot.


You don't think the military warns journalists in Baghdad that if they go there, they could be shot? Really?

And yes, please list all possible things that could be mistaken for RPGs in any given situation. I'm waiting.

Are you fucking serious? Seriously? Someone is shooting people for standing around, and you suggest making yourself the most obvious target. Trying to hide is a very logical impulse when someone is clearly out to fucking kill you, and you can't properly see them, and most certainly you can't hear or communicate with them. This is the most absurd complaint I have read all day.


Who was out to fucking kill them? They were press, and last I checked the insurgency didn't have helicopters. What, exactly, were they hiding from? There apparently was a firefight going on a few blocks away.

I know you want to pretend that no one is as outraged at this as you are and get into the usual pissing match, but can you please try and have a serious discussion?


Because as a non-Iraqi in war torn Baghdad, you would totally stand in the open like you were doing nothing wrong, unlike these cowards who clearly lacked a big pair of brass balls...

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Telchar » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:45 pm UTC

I'm not saying it's there fault, but I assume they get some sort of training before going into the zone, or it's irresponsible to have them there. I'm not saying they stand out in the open with their pants on the ground, but briefing future journalists on protocol in these events would be helpful (If helicopters are circling you, come out in plain view. Don't stand behind corners of a building just outside of visibility).
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Gellert1984 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:04 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:I'm not saying it's there fault, but I assume they get some sort of training before going into the zone, or it's irresponsible to have them there. I'm not saying they stand out in the open with their pants on the ground, but briefing future journalists on protocol in these events would be helpful (If helicopters are circling you, come out in plain view. Don't stand behind corners of a building just outside of visibility).


And if you see a terrorist don't hide 'cos you're just as likely to be shot by an apache gunship.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby luketheduke » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:20 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:No worries. Have a read and let me know your assessment.


I'd say most relevant is actually this part:

3.A.(4) (U) All personnel must ensure that, prior to any engagement, non-combatants
and civilian structures are distinguished from proper military targets.
3.A.(5) (U) Positive Identification (PID) of all targets is required prior to engagement.
PID is a reasonable certainty that the individual or object of attack is a legitimate military
target in accordance with these ROE.

The fleeting target designation is wrong I think, the troops in contact designation matches well enough.

3.B.(2)(C)(i) (S//REL) Fleeting Target analysis is to be used only when a target is
(1) of significant value, (2) temporary in nature, (3) a declared hostile force or a
designated terrorist (see Par. 3.H.(15) below), AND (4) constrained timelines
prevent acquiring a formal CDE.

I don't think (3) matches. However,

3.B.(2)(A) (S//REL) TROOPS IN CONTACT (TIC). While friendly forces are in
contact with enemy forces, either in self-defense (in response to hostile act/intent) or
in reaction to a positively identified declared hostile force, the OSC has approval
authority for all counter battery and reactive fire, including all organic and non-
organic weapon systems. The OSC is responsible for establishing PID, minimizing
collateral damage and responding in a proportional manner. For specific operational
guidance on counter fire missions see FRAGO 278 to OPORD 05-012, Appendix 2
to Annex E.

In reviewing the video again, I'm pretty sure that's what's applicable:
As far as I know by now (and I'm just cobbling this together, so please correct any errors), the mounted units (the Humvees+Bradley Tanks) had come under fire previously, and the helicopters were there to protect them and find the hostiles.
And they found a group of men with weapons.

Let me call it from the (full) video:
01:46 - "that's a weapon" - it's not. Or if it is, it's a handgun or machine pistol. NOT a danger to the mounted units. The gunner has the two photographers directly in his sights from 01:36-01:46 and 01:46-02:02, that's 10 seconds and 26 seconds respectively. I think that kind of misidentification is completely unacceptable, moreso if there was a live feed to their command.
02:05 - "He's got a weapon too" - that's true. It does look like the guy on the left has a small assault rifle, and the guy in the middle of the group of three has an RPG (can anybody tell me what else it could be?). I wonder why they didn't call this one out.
02:33 - "He's got an rpg" - unfortunately I can see how it could be interpreted as that, even if it's clearly visible at 02:41 (in the still image, not to the heli crew at the time) that it's something very camera-shaped and there's no RPG.
03:14 - It's a camera. There are NO weapons visible in the group. There was NOBODY assuming an offensive stance. I think at that point they should have reconsidered their identification instead of shooting.

I don't know if there's been a violation of ROE so far. I don't know how strict positive identification is supposed to be. Nobody in that group had anything that even remotely looked like an anti-air missile launcher, so they could have flown nearer and checked better, while the mounted units could have retreated a block or two until the situation became clearer.

Now, the engagement of the van on the other hand, is completely inexplicable to me.

Funny, 15:51: "I just also wanted to make sure you knew that we had a guy with an RPG crouching round the corner getting ready to fire on your location. That's why we, ah, requested permission to engage"
Compare:
02:06 - "Hotel Two-Six, Crazyhorse One-Eight. Have five to six individuals with AK47s. Request permission to engage."
02:15 - "Roger that. Uh, we have no personnel east of our position. So uh, you are free to engage. Over.
02:23 - "All right, we'll be engaging."
02:25 - "Roger, go ahead."
02:34 - "He's got an RPG!"
Compare further:
17:46 - "Roger, we're at the location where Crazyhorse engaged the RPG fire, break."
Draw your own conclusions.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Texas_Ben » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:37 pm UTC

luketheduke wrote:Let me call it from the (full) video:
01:46 - "that's a weapon" - it's not. Or if it is, it's a handgun or machine pistol. NOT a danger to the mounted units. The gunner has the two photographers directly in his sights from 01:36-01:46 and 01:46-02:02, that's 10 seconds and 26 seconds respectively. I think that kind of misidentification is completely unacceptable, moreso if there was a live feed to their command.
02:05 - "He's got a weapon too" - that's true. It does look like the guy on the left has a small assault rifle, and the guy in the middle of the group of three has an RPG (can anybody tell me what else it could be?). I wonder why they didn't call this one out.
02:33 - "He's got an rpg" - unfortunately I can see how it could be interpreted as that, even if it's clearly visible at 02:41 (in the still image, not to the heli crew at the time) that it's something very camera-shaped and there's no RPG.
03:14 - It's a camera. There are NO weapons visible in the group. There was NOBODY assuming an offensive stance. I think at that point they should have reconsidered their identification instead of shooting.

Remember though, that you're going in knowing it was a camera, and sitting in the comfort of your own home/work/coffee shop/whatever. Flying a combat helicopter in the middle of a warzone, I'm inclined to believe that one tends more towards assuming black tubular items are weapons rather than not. After all, there's a lot of guys with guns walking around, not so many with the cameras.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby luketheduke » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:57 pm UTC

I'm aware of that, yes.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:10 pm UTC

Texas_Ben wrote:After all, there's a lot of guys with guns walking around, not so many with the cameras.

Sure, and there are only a few hikers around and a lot of deer, but when a hunter shoots a hiker (which happens more often than you'd think), is it the hiker's fault?

The hunter, and the soldier, both bear the responsibility of positively identifying their targets.

Now, granted the soldier is under more stress, but every soldier is responsible every time he pulls the trigger. These soldiers bore the responsibility of identifying their targets. They made a mistake.

What concerns me more (apart from the fact that they shouldn't even be there) is that they received confirmation to attack the van. It's not as if that van could be mistaken for a weapon.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby The Reaper » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:20 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Texas_Ben wrote:After all, there's a lot of guys with guns walking around, not so many with the cameras.

Sure, and there are only a few hikers around and a lot of deer, but when a hunter shoots a hiker (which happens more often than you'd think), is it the hiker's fault?

The hunter, and the soldier, both bear the responsibility of positively identifying their targets.

Now, granted the soldier is under more stress, but every soldier is responsible every time he pulls the trigger. These soldiers bore the responsibility of identifying their targets. They made a mistake.

What concerns me more (apart from the fact that they shouldn't even be there) is that they received confirmation to attack the van. It's not as if that van could be mistaken for a weapon.
your analogy does not work. deer arent capable of killing hunters, and hikers arent disguised as deer.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:38 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:your analogy does not work. deer arent capable of killing hunters, and hikers arent disguised as deer.

I totally agree that a soldier's job is more dangerous and more difficult.

That does not absent them the responsibility of identifying their targets. It's in the ROE. These men either (a) intentionally gunned down civilians or (b) failed to identify their targets correctly. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt when I say (b) these men made a mistake.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby RockoTDF » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:58 pm UTC

To talk about the crew: pilots can and do get PTSD. How do they get this without being on the ground holding their dead best friend? Because of collateral damage. The crews involved in the video were probably devastated by this at worst, or managed to rationalize that they followed the rules and those on the ground were doing some stupid shit that led to their deaths. These guys probably have kids too (pilots are not 19 year olds). Regardless, they probably weren't proud of the situation. Their behavior wasn't bad - "good shooting" is an acceptable thing to say when you think someone has been pointing an RPG at you. The running over of the body was probably unintentional, but the comment afterwards was uncalled for. On the whole I think the incident has been poorly reported and is a shit excuse for journalism with a clear bias. Labeling the video as "murder" and zooming in on the kids (as if the crew could tell!) isn't objective. The journalists writing about the incident know nothing about the apache helicopter (ie how high it flies), what gunners look for, etc. They also have probably never actually watched a bunch of teenage boys play a video game, because they say "dude you fucking raped that commie! kick ass!" and not just "good shooting."
More below.

Gelsamel wrote:If they acted in line with protocol then I don't have a problem with the soldiers... however I do have an issue with the protocol if it allowed for fireing at groups of seemingly random people who have weapons but who otherwise don't seem to be an immediate threat. Also if it allows them to shoot a missile at a building with at least 2 people who are unarmed and unconfirmed as enemies while a random passerby walks right in front of the building...


The thing about protocol is that it generally works. They probably gunned down armed insurgents staging nearby a firefight from high altitudes all the time, and can ID and RPG and AK from their camera feed. This was the one time it didn't work.

yoni45 wrote:The chopper was actually pretty far away. I doubt the guys knew the chopper could see them considering the huge distance, and I wouldn't have expected them to had I been inside it...

G.v.K wrote:the behaviour of the initial group doesn't look at all threatening. surely they could have seen and heard the helicopter and yet at no stage did they look like they were doing anything to try and hide the supposed weapons. in fact, it hardly looked like they paid any attention at all to the chopper.

if the guy with the supposed RPG was getting ready to fire, surely the other guys in the group would have taken cover behind the building as the chopper came around. instead they were just hanging around and paying no attention to it. by that stage though the guys in the chopper had already decided to shoot.


The Apache generally operates at a relatively high altitude, what we are seeing is the heads down display (a CRT or probably LCD screen) in the gunners cockpit. The people on the ground probably didn't see the chopper, hence their lack of reaction to it (even if they were actually insurgents). In some cases they are as high up as a mile. "Ok guys, I didn't get a shot - he's gone" would probably been why insurgents would stand around. They aren't the brightest bunch, many of them have no formal training and didn't grow up watching as many action movies and playing call of duty. They lack common sense of combat. (Side note: in Afghanistan, the *commando force* the US army is trying to train has a serious problem with the commandos literally shooting themselves and each other in the foot). My point here is that standing around like idiots is probably what a lot of insurgents do, and didn't seem questionable to the crew.

Izawwlgood wrote:The only really upsetting part here is that the children were ordered to a different hospital. I can almost fully pardon warzone mistakes when reasonable suspicion of intent is present. If a mistake was made, then whoever gave the command to fire needs to be reviewed.


I spoke to my brother in the military about this, and he told me that in Iraq the standard policy is to take Iraqis to their own hospitals for "political reasons" unless it is a life and death situation. The children probably took shrapnel, a 30mm round would have killed them or done enough damage to make it life threatening. I disagree with this policy because it seems kind of irresponsible, but if it is for "political reasons" it is probably not a unilateral decision by the US military.

luketheduke wrote:
Another interesting comment wrote:What is stopping the Apache from following the van from when it picks up the wounded and drives off, we know there are 2 helicopters in the air, one could have stuck around the crime scene and the other one could have followed the van. If they were going to a stronghold to do a weapons dump, then the helo would have the coordinates of an insurgency location and either wipe it out themselves or call in the coordinates to someone else.

Not only is shooting at the van totally reprehensible and flat out evil but frankly as a soldier fighting an insurgency it's bad fucking business. If these guys were insurgents blowing them all up just destroyed important intel.


The other chopper probably didn't leave because you don't leave your wingman. The suggestion that he should have left is a fine example of people not understanding how missions work.

Shooting the van was probably a good strategy in the past when you can't capture someone. I don't see the van shooting as evil. Destroying important intel? The average insurgent on the ground probably doesn't know much. As a civilian you can disagree with the ethics of a situation, but with regard to a military decision (capture or kill) I don't think you have much ground to stand on.

extrablue wrote:What is sad (but not surprising) is that the true hero(s) fighting for democracy and freedom is who ever leaked this classified military video to the press.
Who ever leaked this did the right thing, and will face a Court Martial if their identity is ever reviewed.

Good comment on the NYT site something along the lines of "This is what happens with a pro-all volunteer military."

Just think too, this is the video that gets leaked because its of journalists getting killed. What about all the other incidents that will never be leaked to the press.


The leaker should be court martialed. The crew followed procedure, and the only thing that will come of this is more deaths of Iraqis and Americans in retaliation. If there was actual murder here I would be applauding the leaker. The absolute worst this could be is manslaughter.

So if you are against an all volunteer military, what do you support? A draft? You can't have your cake and eat it too on where the troops come from.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby luketheduke » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:49 pm UTC

In response to your post, I'll just link to someone who probably knows a damn lot more about "how missions work" than you do - http://twitter.com/BrandonF

RockoTDF wrote:To talk about the crew: pilots can and do get PTSD. How do they get this without being on the ground holding their dead best friend? Because of collateral damage. The crews involved in the video were probably devastated by this at worst, or managed to rationalize that they followed the rules and those on the ground were doing some stupid shit that led to their deaths.

You do realize that that's a pretty severe argument for minimizing collateral damage, don't you?

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Telchar » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:55 pm UTC

Right, countering a specific argument with a twitter feed that, if had read it, generally agrees with Rocko.

From your twitter link wrote:@GIKate Because they're not presenting it objectively. The editing was done to clearly persuade you to sympathize with those on the ground.


@GIKate That's not to say I don't sympathize with them. The point is, I don't know. There's not enough context presented.


But it's a good thing the only thing you contributed to this discussion was linking posts from elsewhere and the VA's Media Directors twitter feed. FOE'd. Thanks.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby luketheduke » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:05 pm UTC

I know this post isn't contributing much, but I feel the need to go "Buwha?".

EDIT: for the record, I agree with those two twitter posts Telchar just quoted.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby RockoTDF » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:18 pm UTC

luketheduke wrote:In response to your post, I'll just link to someone who probably knows a damn lot more about "how missions work" than you do - http://twitter.com/BrandonF


You don't know my background or who I have spoken to about this matter. The twitter feed you put up basically agrees with me, and the article posted in said feed claimed that the video and journalists basically have no idea what they are talking about and didn't present this objectively. The article also said that he wouldn't have given the order to fire, which I can respect. However the fact remains that suggestions of "why didn't they just do XXXX" by random people on the internet aren't worth giving two shits about. Leaving your wingman on your own accord is a basic no-no.

luketheduke wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:To talk about the crew: pilots can and do get PTSD. How do they get this without being on the ground holding their dead best friend? Because of collateral damage. The crews involved in the video were probably devastated by this at worst, or managed to rationalize that they followed the rules and those on the ground were doing some stupid shit that led to their deaths.

You do realize that that's a pretty severe argument for minimizing collateral damage, don't you?

...wait, I remember you. Why aren't you on my foe list? You are now.


Foe list? What else have I done that has offended you so? {EDIT: I just looked up what the foe list does. What a stupid idea, "I don't like someone so I'm going to ignore what they say, how mature!}

I wasn't arguing for collateral damage, I was refuting the idea that pilots are psychotic killers that see this as a video game. Don't straw man arguments, you just end up hurting your own argument. That and posting a link to someone who agrees with many of my points to help your own argument.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:26 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:Right, countering a specific argument with a twitter feed that, if had read it, generally agrees with Rocko.
RockoTDF wrote:The leaker should be court martialed. The crew followed procedure,
Twitter wrote:The guy who decided to fire on the van should be facing a court martial.

FAIL.
From your twitter link wrote:@GIKate Because they're not presenting it objectively. The editing was done to clearly persuade you to sympathize with those on the ground.

Or were you talking about this tangential comment, that everyone agrees with, and is clearly not the poster's thesis?

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby The Reaper » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:28 pm UTC

luketheduke wrote:In response to your post, I'll just link to someone who probably knows a damn lot more about "how missions work" than you do - http://twitter.com/BrandonF
Officers are pretty notorious for not knowing their heads from their asses.

I agree the leaker should be courts martial'd mainly for security concerns.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:30 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:I agree the leaker should be courts martial'd mainly for security concerns.
This won't be a debatable issue until the details of the leak come out. It's quite possible that the leaker was refusing to obey an illegal order, or that the leak was a mistake, or any number of things.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby RockoTDF » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:33 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Telchar wrote:Right, countering a specific argument with a twitter feed that, if had read it, generally agrees with Rocko.
RockoTDF wrote:The leaker should be court martialed. The crew followed procedure,
Twitter wrote:The guy who decided to fire on the van should be facing a court martial.

FAIL.
From your twitter link wrote:@GIKate Because they're not presenting it objectively. The editing was done to clearly persuade you to sympathize with those on the ground.

Or were you talking about this tangential comment, that everyone agrees with, and is clearly not the poster's thesis?


My main point was that the video wasn't objective, nor was the reporting. That was why I came into the thread. If it does come out that the shooters did violate procedure, then they should be punished for manslaughter. I was saying that I would have felt threatened in the crew's position, that I could definitely see why the camera looked like an RPG around the corner. The writer was saying that he wouldn't have given the order to shoot, and that he was concerned about the van especially.

I'm all for punishing war crimes, but I see this as a tragic mistake and not as a crime.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:My main point was that the video wasn't objective, nor was the reporting.
Ok, well the video's clearly biased, but it still contains usable information. Your claims about military procedure are what Luke challenged you on.

I agree that firing on the group was a mistake, and a failure to get a PID before firing. I have no idea what prompted the attack on the van, as they didn't appear to pose any kind of threat to anyone. That was a brutal attack that appeared to me to be unjustified.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby RockoTDF » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:25 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:My main point was that the video wasn't objective, nor was the reporting.
Ok, well the video's clearly biased, but it still contains usable information. Your claims about military procedure are what Luke challenged you on.

I agree that firing on the group was a mistake, and a failure to get a PID before firing. I have no idea what prompted the attack on the van, as they didn't appear to pose any kind of threat to anyone. That was a brutal attack that appeared to me to be unjustified.


Unfortunately Luke has taken the mature route in a debate and added me to his foes list, the forum equivalent of sticking one's fingers in their ears and going "lalalalalalala"

A failure of PID? They were hunting a group of guys with RPGs and AKs, and that is what they thought they had. They asked permission, and were granted. Reuters complained about this years ago, and the video was examined and investigated.

The army is claiming that the men with the journalists were actually insurgents:

http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2658357

Read the CENTCOM reports linked in there. They found RPGs on the scene, it is possible that they were hanging out with insurgents.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Malice » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:30 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:I'm all for punishing war crimes, but I see this as a tragic mistake and not as a crime.


How do you expect war crimes to be punished if you're in favor of trying in a court martial anybody who gives information about potential war crimes to the public? Somebody saying, "This looks suspect, I will leak it" is the only way we're ever going to know about an incident like this.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby MrGee » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:30 pm UTC

The whole thing looks like par for the course to me. Some guy trying to do the right thing got excited and fucked it up. I would imagine this happens on a daily or weekly basis in Iraq.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby NoodleIncident » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:11 pm UTC

If this happens on a daily or weekly basis, then something is very wrong with the military. Either with the rules, or with the soldiers, or with the whole war, something is wrong if that many innocent people die.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby RockoTDF » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:38 pm UTC

Malice wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:I'm all for punishing war crimes, but I see this as a tragic mistake and not as a crime.


How do you expect war crimes to be punished if you're in favor of trying in a court martial anybody who gives information about potential war crimes to the public? Somebody saying, "This looks suspect, I will leak it" is the only way we're ever going to know about an incident like this.


You blow the whistle within the military. You blow the whistle at an appropriate government agency. You alert a congressman or senator who can do something. You don't leak it to the public like this, especially to a place that is going to chop it up and call it "murder" when it clearly wasn't. Murder would have been direct intent to kill civilians.

MrGee wrote:The whole thing looks like par for the course to me. Some guy trying to do the right thing got excited and fucked it up. I would imagine this happens on a daily or weekly basis in Iraq.


"Par for the course" - citation needed, buddy.

If you read the link above, they found RPGs at the time, establishing that even if there were reporters there that insurgents had been targeted. Not a fuck up since bodyguards don't carry RPGs and AKs are common in the middle east.

NoodleIncident wrote:If this happens on a daily or weekly basis, then something is very wrong with the military. Either with the rules, or with the soldiers, or with the whole war, something is wrong if that many innocent people die.


If innocent people decide to run around with the enemy with no press markings on and they get killed, you can't blame the man at the trigger. I don't really know how you could change the rules other than to say "don't fire until fired upon" which would probably cost more lives, both military and civilian.

(For the record, I do think this war is wrong and we should never have invaded. The casualties for the Iraqis have been above 150,000 IIRC, far more damage than leaving Saddam (who didn't get on with al qaeda) in power.)
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby asdfzxc » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

I've seen the first 4 minutes, here's what I've noticed:

When they have their crosshairs on the cameraman, the guy in the sights isn't carrying anything that more than vaguely resembles a rifle or an RPG. The two guys in the upper-left, though, appear to be carrying some kind of assault rifle (actually looks more like an M16 than an AK on closer inspection :!:) and a loaded RPG. When they lost visual, I think they might have seen a camera flash and interpreted it as a muzzleflash, and the camera guy's stance when he stood at the corner looked just like somebody taking cover with a gun. However, the camera is pretty damn hard to mistake for an RPG-7, or any kind of gun that would be even remotely plausible for an Iraqi. All the other guys were relaxed and likely didn't care at all about, or even notice, the chopper. Then the trigger-happy gunner jumped at an excuse (the camera flash) and started randomly firing into the crowd, killing most of them. The gunner's comments when he was watching the injured guy were a little creepy, and they were a little too eager to open fire, but otherwise it's just a simple case of especially bad collateral damage, not much worse than your average artillery strike.

It's when the van came to rescue the bodies that IMO they crossed the line. Isn't the guy in that van protected by the Geneva Convention as a medic?

Sidenote: They don't appear to have been very competent soldiers anyway, randomly firing after everybody's dead and wasting expensive ammo.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Diadem » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:23 pm UTC

People here go on about 'It looked like they were armed'.

I'm going to have to ask: So what? Is carrying arms a crime in Bagdad? Probably, but does it deserve immidiate execution without trial?

Yes, of course, if they're coming right at you while waving their AK-47s I can understand why you'd shoot at them. But if you're sitting safely in your apache, lightyears away, and these people are just walking around doing nothing?

By the way, I did not see anything resembling weapons. But I'm not an expert. I'm curious to hear why the US military thought they were carrying weapons.

Regardless though, what I see in that video is a bunch of trigger happy soldiers who simply don't give a damn if they have the right target or not. It's all game to them. They don't bother checking if they got the right target or not. What this shows is a shocking lack of training on the American side. These guys are killing robots, not peace keepers. Probably ideal for the frontlines. I suppose you need a few such soldiers around for your wars. But America has a huge army, don't they have a few people trained for peacekeeping?
Last edited by Diadem on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:32 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby yoni45 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:27 pm UTC

This isn't about whether it's a crime or a trial. You don't get a trial in war (unless you've committed a war crime, but you don't need to commit a crime to be targeted in a war).

I'd imagine that carrying AK-47's might not be reason to engage depending on the circumstances, but carrying an RPG I'd imagine definitely is.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Paranoid__Android » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

RockoTDF: How would you explain the missile attack on the building. Yes there were people with guns going into the building but when the first missile hit there was at least one civilian casualty (the guy innocently walking in front of the building). When the second hit it looks like there would have been more as there were people looking over the rubble for survivors.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Silas » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:34 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Yes, of course, if they're coming right at you while waving their AK-47s I can understand why you'd shoot at them. But if you're sitting safely in your apache, lightyears away, and these people are just walking around doing nothing?

The Apache isn't the only thing on the scene. When the cameraman peeks around the corner- and the pilot says, "shit, RPG-" he's a hundred yards from a US Army HMMV down the road. Since the pilots had already (correctly, as it turned out) spotted one of the group carrying an RPG and launcher, I'd say that made them a pretty urgent threat.

Diadem wrote:By the way, I did not see anything resembling weapons. But I'm not an expert. I'm curious to hear why the US military thought they were carrying weapons.

I certainly see an AK on the tape before the shooting. And, though it's only clear in hindight, finding a goddamn RPG launcher in the rubble is a pretty good clue that there was one there (the AK, too).
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Diadem » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:53 pm UTC

I just watched the complete video...

I've the last respect I had for the American effort in Iraq. I initially supported it, though it was quickly clear that they weren't doing a very good job of peacekeeping. But this is worse. They aren't even trying. This utter disregard for life, for Iraqi life, is just shocking. The eagerness with which they shoot, the ease with which they get permission, it's a terrible pattern.

And I can't help thinking: This wouldn't have happened with soldiers from any other Western nation.

Within my circle of friends I'm always considered the right-wing nutjob. The atlanticist, who didn't think Bush was Satan. Well, I've definitely changed my mind now.
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