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Leaked Video Shows American Killing of Reporters, Unarmed People, & Would-Be Rescuers

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Hadoken,

You cant expect our military forces to use such precision force that only insurgents showing guns are killed. We dont have such accuracy and even if we did, collateral damage in innocent human life is still inevitable.

Considering that those are 30mm rounds from a helicopter hundreds of yards away (and therefore have a lot of delay and potential for drift), I don't believe accuracy is a very big concern.

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Finally, why is evaccing casualties cause for killing? Because insurgents don't have medics. Every insurgent is going to end up firing on US troops if you let him get away, so acting in the heat of battle, you terminate all enemy personnel, regardless of whether they're actively shooting at you or simply taking care of their wounded. The next time I see an insurgent with a Red Cross armband will be the first.

Technically, under the Geneva Convention (iirc), it is forbidden to engage someone who is wounded and does not pose a threat. It could be argued, though, that these people will fight to the death, considering their motivation (which is probably religion).

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I'm assuming you haven't read the report, because if you had, you would know that there WERE US troops within four blocks of the insurgents. There's photographic evidence of it.
Yes. In fact that's shown by the penultimate picture taken by Namir Noor-Eldeen. But I never said that US forces weren't four blocks away. So I'm not sure how this is relevant.

 

Also, you too are displaying a fundamental lack of knowledge. First, three minutes is both a very long time and a very short time in combat. US ground troops had been in constant contact all day (again, read the report) and were moving towards the location, and three adult males aiding insurgents in the middle of a battle are definitely a legitimate target.
Like I said, we disagree as to whether the "battle" had ended after 3 minutes of ceasefire or whether three minutes of ceasefire was only the "middle".

 

Secondly, you asked why warning shots weren't fired. The M230 Chaingun used by the Apache is loaded with high-explosive rounds. It's basically a grenade machine gun used for total devestation of personnel and vehicles. As you can see by watching the video, there's no way to get the inches-level of precision you're requesting when the helo is a mile away.
My comment about a warning shot was not in relation to the target of the shooting or the accuracy of the gun, rather it was in reference to the quantity of rounds fired. Rather than fire one or two shots at the van to indicate that it was now a target and should submit, the Apache in the first instance unloaded dozens of rounds for several seconds and continued to fire more in later bursts.

 

Finally, why is evaccing casualties cause for killing? Because insurgents don't have medics. Every insurgent is going to end up firing on US troops if you let him get away, so acting in the heat of battle, you terminate all enemy personnel, regardless of whether they're actively shooting at you or simply taking care of their wounded. The next time I see an insurgent with a Red Cross armband will be the first.
Yes, Red Cross insignia would have made this a more cut-and-dried case, but that didn't happen here. Even without insignia, it's generally not okay to target medical personnel under the law or ethics. While you haven't shown that targeting the van was legal, even if it was, you have also not shown that there was moral justification.

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Considering that those are 30mm rounds from a helicopter hundreds of yards away (and therefore have a lot of delay and potential for drift), I don't believe accuracy is a very big concern.

 

You're new here, so you havent yet learned that arguing against me is futile. Especially when we agree due to your failure to read or gain comprehension what I am saying.

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I'd like to clear a few things up and make some observations here and there.

 

First Hadoken, you are spouting a lot of anecdotal evidence based not on facts but rather what I assume are war movies or video games, maybe too much 24. You can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that you are largely speaking out of place when you tell us how it is 'in the shit' or some such. Please come with evidence, not just telling us how people's posts are BS because you know so much about war.

 

Beckstcw, I am more conflicted about you. You claim to be in the military, and without more personal info from you, it would be difficult for me to reject that claim; you know some of the right things. However, you see to lack a level of world weariness that I expect out of combat vets who are not sociopaths (which I am not claiming you are - usually it takes a few years for everything to sink in, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone). I feel like you are ideologically driven and that skews your perspective and decision-making. You argue from a perspective that justifies who you've chosen to be, I can find little to fault with that and I certainly don't begrudge you that.

 

 

 

Just to clear a few things up:

 

Those times I was in Iraq, the RoE was such that Positive ID was required before engaging any target. Also, if a combatant were to enter a protected place (hospital, school, mosque) or a group of civilians, we are instructed to break contact rather than pursue.

 

Further, all medics and medically trained personnel (CLS, etc.) should have been instructed that the Army's rules for land war are such that the wounded should be treated in order of severity regardless of what side they are on. If an insurgent or civilian is worse off than one of your guys, they must be treated first. Such are the laws of war.

 

Killing the mortally wounded, the wounded and incapacitated, and any sort of 'mercy killing' is also in violation of the laws of ground war.

 

Also, in the RoE when I was there, warning shots were not permitted past early 2004 (April or so).

 

Not to justify the actions of any of the individuals involved, but combat is many an uncertain and scary thing. The soldiers on the ground lack the perspective of those officers in the Blackhawk, who lack the perspective of the ground view.

 

Ankur, I agree strongly with this statement and I feel like you hit the nail on the head here.

 

The problem isnt so much military policy (because military policy seems to be clear that we should not target people who are not threats - aka the van), rather that there is an occasional breakdown in that policy because people are human and err. I dont think *this* incident is characteristic of the military/military policy, rather its characteristic of war.

 

The objective should be not to fix the bloody tragedy of war... but do our best to ensure that war doesnt begin. And when it begins, make sure that the people who are doing the fighting are as well trained as can be expected on the ethics and legality of conducting warfare so that we can minimize these events. We can only hope that video like this is presented as part of training for soldiers so that they learn from mistakes and can hopefully act better in the future. Thats all that can be done and thats all we can reasonably hope for.

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Neural Link:

 

The ROE you talk about sounds very similar (identical, basically) to what my unit was given in Afghanistan. I'm not an Apache pilot, so I can't know for certain what they were told at the time this video was shot. I understand exactly what you're talking about with the wounded etc, in fact, I'm still conflicted about them firing on the van.

 

The main point I've been trying to get across isn't "They were obviously all insurgents; targets up, knock 'em down" but rather "There is more than enough evidence to support both 'sides', cool it with the war-criminal-murderer talk until you have a better idea of what went on."

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My conclusions from this video:

-No war crime or atrocity has occurred on this instance, unlike what it is hyped to be.

-Civilian casualties are to minimized but are inevitable.

-No one is really at "fault" here. Although I don't condone the killing of civilians, the helicopter was justified in most of the engagements (except the van)

-I now find it unnecessary IMO to attack the van, let alone continue firing after the van had been clearly disabled, due to the risk of collateral damage.

-No, my info is NOT from media or videogames, or I would think that there is no reason to p'id/request permission to engage (imagine MW2 chopper gunner and I have to ask my team if I can shoot someone). I'm familiar with apache helicopters (no real military experience under my belt).

-The comments made by the pilots/gunner are excusable. Saying stuff like "c'mon, pick a weapon so I can shoot you", though not really "clean", doesn't entail any war crime or whatnot. I'm not too sure, but many people would say shit like that if they were in combat.

I have yet to rewatch the video, and I may come up with new conclusions.

up with new things.

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It seems obvious (though unstated) to me that the basic premise from which many of the apologists are operating here is that the US military should be able to kill whomever it wants whenever it wants and in whatever manner it wants, as long as it vaguely determines that those it kills are somehow a "threat." Restrictions on conduct in warfare, on this view, are pesky, annoying bits of bureaucratic non-sense. A similar sort of American exceptionalism operates for torture: torture whomever you want if you think they've got info that's related to "a threat." As Greenwald has pointed out, the lengthy interpretations of why this is justified likely would not be offered if, say, those operating the helicopter were Chinese and the civilians were US citizens walking around American streets (though such a hypothetical, of course, is difficult to prove). Of course, the apologists will stand up for the US military regardless of its crimes and regardless of whether or not the US military is the aggressor and occupier since they view the US military as "the good guy." Insurgents and Iraqi resistance are always the "bad guys" in virtue of the bare fact that they oppose the US military, though such a demonization surely wouldn't hold in the Red Dawn sort of scenario that's always present in the rightist hive-mind. I don't have too much interest in getting into the specifics here, but it's always interesting to see the lengths to which people will go to defend the US military's actions, like those who, say, defend the Israeli decision to start its Gaza attack when school was letting out.

Edited by maxpow

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It seems obvious (though unstated) to me that the basic premise from which many of the apologists are operating here is that the US military should be able to kill whomever it wants whenever it wants and in whatever manner it wants, as long as it vaguely determines that those it kills are somehow a "threat."

This is rather obvious; did you expect anything else?

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It seems obvious (though unstated) to me that the basic premise from which many of the apologists are operating here is that the US military should be able to kill whomever it wants whenever it wants and in whatever manner it wants, as long as it vaguely determines that those it kills are somehow a "threat." Restrictions on conduct in warfare, on this view, are pesky, annoying bits of bureaucratic non-sense. A similar sort of American exceptionalism operates for torture: torture whomever you want if you think they've got info that's related to "a threat." As Greenwald has pointed out, the lengthy interpretations of why this is justified likely would not be offered if, say, those operating the helicopter were Chinese and the civilians were US citizens walking around American streets (though such a hypothetical, of course, is difficult to prove). Of course, the apologists will stand up for the US military regardless of its crimes and regardless of whether or not the US military is the aggressor and occupier since they view the US military as "the good guy." Insurgents and Iraqi resistance are always the "bad guys" in virtue of the bare fact that they oppose the US military, though such a demonization surely wouldn't hold in the Red Dawn sort of scenario that's always present in the rightist hive-mind. I don't have too much interest in getting into the specifics here, but it's always interesting to see the lengths to which people will go to defend the US military's actions, like those who, say, defend the Israeli decision to start its Gaza attack when school was letting out.

 

It is also obvious, painfully so, that the 'non-apologists' are radically out of touch with reality and so delusional that their rhetoric is void of a REAL solution to the political problems created by the element of warfare. They will go to all lengths to deconstruct the military into a hollow machine of rape, dehumanization, and (insert other term designed to be eye-catching and arousing)

 

BOTH sides are completely divorced from reality.

 

I am sure the radical lefties will try and villify me for speaking the truth here, but that will not only be ironic on a rhetorical level, it will just go to show how their politics are so unreasonable that their holier-than-thou position is viewed as untouchable gospel and no different than the Bush doctrine of 'You're with us or against us'... and in doing so, embody the very essence of their own criticisms.

 

Hello, pot? Its kettle. You're black.

 

And the righties will attack me for not being 'patriotic' enough and for not permitting the securitization of everything and everyone, and for finding fault in the killing of civilians despite when such events are avoidable.

 

And in attacking the centrist, both sides will expose exactly how divorced from reality they really are.

Edited by Ankur
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i fail to see how being a centrist jackass offers all sorts of practical solutions to the death of civilians asymmetrical warfare, or that its even a concern for kneejerk centrism for the sake of centrism.

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Spoken EXACTLY like someone who likes to otherize everyone who disagrees with one's agenda. Way to, in debate vernacular, bite your own criticism, btw.

 

Centrism has a tendency to provide workable, real world solutions because the entire focus of centrism is to approach a problem without an agenda - centrists are inherently more objective and not subjective because of their value neutrality. Its the philosophical values which make everything in this world so screwy. There is nothing remotely real world feasible about 95% of what the radical left OR right speaks. Its a bunch of philosophical garbage that both sides spew from the comfort of their barcalounger.

 

Environment:

The left: Lets hug a tree and live in caves and respect everything!

The right: I want to drive a 48 cylinder 0.2 mpg but 458354858 hp beast!

Military:

The left: Its baaaad. Some soldiers rape and pillage and murder! Lets just abolish the military. Then we wont have war and all these bad things!

The right: Lets just kill anything in our path. And then bomb it again. And vaporize it so the next time people just get out of our way and we dont have to bomb them.

Securitization:

The left: Nothing is a threat unless you make it one. And threats are self-fulfilling! I told you that Dahmer was going to eat your little brother, and look, he did! Its self-fulfilling when we constructed that threat!!!!!

The right: Everything is a threat. Lets spy on everyone and spy on the spies. Lets Bush-doctrinate everything so we can commit whatever atrocities we need to in the name of securityyyyyyyy!

 

Shall we go on? Or will you drop the charade and own up to the fact that there is nothing remotely workable in the rhetorical arsenal of either side?

 

Granted, I am being somewhat farcical here for humor sake, but its not that far from the truth. Neither side can provide any functioning, working models which embody their core philosophies without systemic rejection. Most of this philosophical bullshit the left and right sling is purely academic. Their utility ceases at the point where they individually and collectively function to raise perspectives and concerns which must be evaluated or avoided, depending on the proposition.

Edited by Ankur
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@ Ankur, I think you're exaggerating the vocal fringe elements of both sides. Probably on purpose to prove your point, granted, but I don't think that's exactly helpful.

 

I think the last thing you said is probably the most important, about political philosophies that we throw around on message boards being unrealistic, retarded, whatever. But I'd like to think that I manage to provide a counterpoint to maxpow et al without descending into complete detachment from reality. If I'm wrong, lemme know.

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BOTH sides are completely divorced from reality.

&

And in attacking the centrist, both sides will expose exactly how divorced from reality they really are.

This is a really silly argument: it boils down to "moderation good!"

 

And this is a morally bankrupt argument at the point in time in which you have people suffering and dying for no reason at all. The rightie knows that they don't help people, and are fine with it, the leftie knows they help people incorrectly, but the centrist doesn't give a fuck either way.

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Im speaking generally.

 

No my point is simply that the left is correct - we cant securitize everything, but they are also wrong - that doesnt mean that there are no threats. There is an 'acceptable' level of securitization based on the decision of what threats are real and merely perceived. Lets take the video for example:

 

If we require 100% positive identification of weapons, say an RPG, that can cost soldiers their lives. Its that simple. If you wait until the other guy shoots, you might die. We didnt 'need' to go to war with Japan in December 1939, because though they shot first, they went away! This is unreasonable, unworkable, and more important, violates every natural law of animal behavior. You cant get around the fact that there is an inherent, biologically embedded desire for self preservation.

 

But what if we were find out that none of the people in the video were carrying weapons. Instead, it was baseball bats and pool cues in cases. It was the Iraqi baseball and billiards team just kickin it. If we excuse the actions of gunners saying 'ah well. looked like guns to me' then we open the door to anything and everything in the name of security/self preservation. Atrocities would mount like Darfur, Rwanda, and Yugoslavia.

 

The bridge is reasonability. Its a centrist viewpoint which forges a position through a workable proposition by recognizing the importance of both viewpoints without ever straying towards their desired outcomes because BOTH outcomes are inherently bad.

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If we require 100% positive identification of weapons, say an RPG, that can cost soldiers their lives.

This may sound heartless, and will earn me neg rep, but isn't that superior to innocents dying?

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This is a really silly argument: it boils down to "moderation good!"

 

And this is a morally bankrupt argument at the point in time in which you have people suffering and dying for no reason at all. The rightie knows that they don't help people, and are fine with it, the leftie knows they help people incorrectly, but the centrist doesn't give a fuck either way.

 

So what if it means moderation is good? In just about every scenario, its a better solution than any other.

 

And no, the centrists do care. They care to roll up their sleeves and solve the problems without creating more problems. Its the left and right which are okay with their particular politics despite the knowledge that their politics create more problems.

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It is also obvious, painfully so, that the 'non-apologists' are radically out of touch with reality and so delusional that their rhetoric is void of a REAL solution to the political problems created by the element of warfare. They will go to all lengths to deconstruct the military into a hollow machine of rape, dehumanization, and (insert other term designed to be eye-catching and arousing)

 

BOTH sides are completely divorced from reality.

 

I am sure the radical lefties will try and villify me for speaking the truth here, but that will not only be ironic on a rhetorical level, it will just go to show how their politics are so unreasonable that their holier-than-thou position is viewed as untouchable gospel and no different than the Bush doctrine of 'You're with us or against us'... and in doing so, embody the very essence of their own criticisms.

 

. . .

 

The left: Lets hug a tree and live in caves and respect everything!

 

...

 

The left: Its baaaad. Some soldiers rape and pillage and murder! Lets just abolish the military. Then we wont have war and all these bad things!

 

...

 

The left: Nothing is a threat unless you make it one. And threats are self-fulfilling! I told you that Dahmer was going to eat your little brother, and look, he did! Its self-fulfilling when we constructed that threat!!!!!

Oh, yes. Criticizing the US military's documented actions in disastrous wars that the left opposed from the start is tantamount to demanding that Obama disband the armed services and the entire federal government with an executive order and that we go live in caves. And, yes, all leftists are radical postmodernists who deny material reality so staunchly that they don't think anything at all is a threat, which explains everything except the left's opposition to threats like US military occupation, the Gaza war crimes, climate change, poverty and inequality, and so on.

 

But centrists. Centrists are where it's at. They don't want to use rhetoric that offends anyone, regardless of whether or not it's true, because that's not pragmatic, you see. And we should always avoid systemic analysis! Why? PRAGMATISM! Short-term "solutions" that will fail over and over again are important because they allow fallacy-of-the-mean centrists to laud themselves for their "pragmatic realism" while demonizing anyone who would point to deeper causes as just a bunch of academic eggheads or idle utopianists. You think that class division creates inequality? MARXIST! You think that competition for scarce economic resources causes war? LENINIST! You think that human rights are important and that militaries shouldn't just murder people? PIE-IN-THE-SKY IDEALIST!

 

Oh, right, and centrists are objective, you see, because they locate themselves in between two (and only two) constantly static political poles, which are wrong in virtue of their status as poles (we just know that, we don't have to prove it). And centrists are "value neutral" . . . well, except for when you question them on their values and what is and isn't acceptable, then it turns out that they have some opinions.

 

And PHILOSOPHY! Don't get me started on that junk. First, all philosophers hate pragmatism. This is just a fact (even though there is a philosophical school called "pragmatism"). And no philosopher would ever support "real world" solutions to problems, except for, you know, some of the most influential ones, like Peter Singer. Second, no one should ever root their values in philosophical ideas. "Freedom"? fuck it, that's some philosophical mystification there. "Truth"? Bullshit, it's just whatever people believe. The Enlightenment and its values were a bunch of horseshit that just made life worse for everyone, right? Oh, I forgot, did philosophy have anything to do with science? Nah, better not look into that -- might disrupt the centrist polemic against philosophy.

 

And one thing is for sure: leftists can't criticize people who disagree with them! You see, that would "otherize" them... which a centrist, who doesn't know shit about leftism, thinks is just unacceptable and hypocritical. We should all just live in a hug-everyone world where serious political differences don't matter and we just paper over them rather than bothering with debate -- that's exactly what leftists think.

 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go sit in a New Age drum circle and sing songs about harmony while refusing to bath for a few weeks. I will soon be destroying all my possessions, moving into a cave, and tripping on acid for the next decade or so, only periodically emerging to hug some trees and demand that the State "harmonize its energy" and magically dissolve.

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My name's Ankur, and you're about to get pimp slapped.

 

I think this is about to happen. Awaiting the beatdown...

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Spoken EXACTLY like someone who likes to otherize everyone who disagrees with one's agenda. Way to, in debate vernacular, bite your own criticism, btw.

 

Centrism has a tendency to provide workable, real world solutions because the entire focus of centrism is to approach a problem without an agenda - centrists are inherently more objective and not subjective because of their value neutrality. Its the philosophical values which make everything in this world so screwy. There is nothing remotely real world feasible about 95% of what the radical left OR right speaks. Its a bunch of philosophical garbage that both sides spew from the comfort of their barcalounger.

 

Environment:

The left: Lets hug a tree and live in caves and respect everything!

The right: I want to drive a 48 cylinder 0.2 mpg but 458354858 hp beast!

Military:

The left: Its baaaad. Some soldiers rape and pillage and murder! Lets just abolish the military. Then we wont have war and all these bad things!

The right: Lets just kill anything in our path. And then bomb it again. And vaporize it so the next time people just get out of our way and we dont have to bomb them.

Securitization:

The left: Nothing is a threat unless you make it one. And threats are self-fulfilling! I told you that Dahmer was going to eat your little brother, and look, he did! Its self-fulfilling when we constructed that threat!!!!!

The right: Everything is a threat. Lets spy on everyone and spy on the spies. Lets Bush-doctrinate everything so we can commit whatever atrocities we need to in the name of securityyyyyyyy!

 

Shall we go on? Or will you drop the charade and own up to the fact that there is nothing remotely workable in the rhetorical arsenal of either side?

 

Granted, I am being somewhat farcical here for humor sake, but its not that far from the truth. Neither side can provide any functioning, working models which embody their core philosophies without systemic rejection. Most of this philosophical bullshit the left and right sling is purely academic. Their utility ceases at the point where they individually and collectively function to raise perspectives and concerns which must be evaluated or avoided, depending on the proposition.

spoken exactly like a centrist, way to bite youre own criticism, jackass.

 

anyone you disagree with must be holding a farcical position.

 

there can't possible be respectable conservatives or respectable liberals/progressives who think problems through. radicals can't add anything of practical value to a debate.

 

looks like the only reasonable people are the ones that agree with a very limited framework you've set up for thinking about the world. congrats, you're a fascist.

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