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Thread: From WikiLeaks, Collateral Murder

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    From WikiLeaks, Collateral Murder


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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    The video shows a street in Baghdad and a group of about eight people, whom the helicopter pilots identify as armed insurgents.

    The transmissions says of one of the individuals: "He's got an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade]. I'm going to fire."
    Haven't seen the video yet, but RPG wielding "civilians" sound like legitimate target to me.
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    Its an rpg launcher!

    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Haven't seen the video yet, but RPG wielding "civilians" sound like legitimate target to me.
    No wait, he might he might be just carrying it for peaceful purposes!
    Reddite igitur quae sunt Caesaris Caesari et quae sunt Dei Deo
    (Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's)

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    I don't think it's completely fair for us to second guess what the soldiers are doing in the field. To a certain extent it needs oversight, and mistakes do happen, but there will always be civilian casualties in any armed conflict.

    As for the children, I did not notice them in the van until the video pointed it out at about minute 16. I did not notice them at all when the van showed up at minute 9. And I've got a felling that if I was sitting in the comfort of my room watching the video on a widescreen computer and didn't see them, it's a lot harder for the soldiers sitting in the Apache to have noticed them.

    By the same token, a camera with a strap can look a lot like a gun with a strap. I can't count how many times I've seen soldiers in uniforms on the buses here with a strap over their shoulder. I look to see what kind of gun they have and it turns out to be a bag.

    As far as the others are concerned, you can clearly see the kid aiming the RPG at the Apache, and if you hang around with people openly brandishing RPGs, and then aiming them at helicopters, you gotta assume the helicopter is gonna shoot as well, either shoot back or shoot first.

    To top it all off, in the beginning of the video you see pictures of the two dead reporters. In the video, the person they claim as Namir easily has a good 25-30 pounds more than the person in the picture.

    I'm not saying that it's real or that it's a fake, but those are some things I noticed right away.
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    The presence of weapons is to me inconsequential. The soldiers operate by their ROEs, and even if those things weren't weapons, they certainly looked enough like weapons to justify the attack.

    To me its just a video of modern war. There are a variety of issues one could raise out of this. The disconnect between those in the helicopters and those their killing, along with the (standard in the military) cavalier attitude about it.

    To me the disturbing part of the video was when the helicopter opened fire on the van. The people from the van were helping the wounded man, which I suppose makes them insurgents too, and legal targets as well. Again, this may be completely normal for the military's ROE, but it is quite shocking to see.

    This also shows how alienating modern war can be. These men were gunned down with no context. From the side of the US, the response is basically, "who cares" since they had weapons. But what do Iraqis think about this sort of thing? What about the people in that group that weren't holding weapons (like the journalists?). What about the people that tried to carry the wounded man away? What about the methodology that condemns you to death if you are in the presence of an armed man? For Iraqi's that actually knew these men, this is very different experience.

    This same sort of mentality, only more extreme, is prevalent in Afghanistan. The targets are identified from even further range, often by unmanned drones. Even less context is known. So when you attack a group of people, you often get civilians mixed in with the fighters. The military doesn't particularity care, because it isn't their job. This style of warfare though is bound to produce plenty of people opposed to it though.
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    You may cling to whatever technicalities you want.

    I think the whole thing just stinks.

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    I am not qualified enough to comment on whether ROE was followed.

    However the lengths we went to cover up this event or the one in afghanistan is what pisses me off.
    Last edited by tinymarae; 06 Apr 10, at 05:27.

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    War stinks. Sh!t happens and the only way to avoid doing the sh!t is to surrender.

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    Armchair Worrier Senior Contributor bolo121's Avatar
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    already the jokes in poor taste are flying around. I got this email today.

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    The only part of the video that bugs me is the shooting of the van, The people were obviously unarmed and rendering aid to a man who was equally obvious hours de combat.

    1. I understand that after shooting adrenaline is high and you can see things that are not there so its a failure of the command and training not the pilots/gunners.However shooting at rescue efforts is wrong as it invites the same on our guys and because it rips away the thin veneer that we're the good guys. Since we are not willing to use force to hold them, perception is a weapon.

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    Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention:

    A person is 'hors de combat' if:

    (a) he is in the power of an adverse Party;
    (b) he clearly expresses an intention to surrender; or
    (c) he has been rendered unconscious or is otherwise incapacitated by wounds or sickness, and therefore is incapable of defending himself;

    provided that in any of these cases he abstains from any hostile act and does not attempt to escape.
    Neither the van nor the people in the van carried any distinguishing markings or internationally recognized markings designating them as combat medics or medical personnel and therefore non combatants. They were aiding people who were injured in an attack on armed insurgents (the RPG is plainly noticeable). As far as I read it, the helicopter crew were completely within the letter of the law to shoot at the van.

    Besides, with all due respect to the moral high ground, and this is the same problem that Israel has, if the other side isn't gonna play fair, there's no reason for you to play fair either. Choosing to play fair is commendable, but if you slip occasionally, well, them's the breaks. Don't forget, we can also play unfair, and then you're in for a world of hurt.
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    tankie Military Professional tankie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post

    Besides, with all due respect to the moral high ground, and this is the same problem that Israel has, if the other side isn't gonna play fair, there's no reason for you to play fair either. Choosing to play fair is commendable, but if you slip occasionally, well, them's the breaks. Don't forget, we can also play unfair, and then you're in for a world of hurt.
    Its what i have been saying for a long time now , play by their rules , gloves off , zaaaaappppppppppppppppppppp .:(

    Zillions spent ,lives lost , heres their answer to democracy , and it will get worse .



    Coordinated bombings across Baghdad destroyed seven buildings and killed at least 35 people on Tuesday, Iraqi authorities said, bringing the number slain around the capital in the last five days to more than 100.

    The upsurge in violence comes amid uncertainty over who will form the next government nearly a month after a parliamentary election that produced no clear winner. Coalition talks could take months more.

    Rescuers swarmed over the debris of a collapsed three-storey building in the Alawi district of central Baghdad, looking for survivors. The building had a cafe filled with patrons on the ground floor and apartments above, witnesses said.

    "Suddenly we heard a big explosion and then this building collapsed. Many people are still under the debris," a man said at the scene.

    A police source said the blasts had killed 35 people and wounded 140. An Interior Ministry source put the number killed at 28 and those wounded at 75.

    Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi blamed the wave of attacks since Friday on remnants of al Qaeda and supporters of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein and his outlawed Baath Party.

    Moussawi put the toll at 22 dead and 134 wounded. "We are in a battleground and we have to expect any type of attack," he said on state-run television.

    WAVE OF ATTACKS

    The bombings took place in the predominantly Shi'ite Shula and Chukook districts of northwestern Baghdad and the al-Shurta al-Rabaa area of southwestern Baghdad, and the mixed Alawi district in the centre of the city.

    Moussawi said explosives experts defused two bombs planted in houses in Chukook.

    The explosions hit the capital two days after coordinated suicide car bomb attacks on embassies killed 41 people and wounded more than 200. The Iranian, Egyptian and German embassies appeared to be the targets.

    Gunmen also attacked a village south of Baghdad and killed 24 people on Friday.

    Iraqi security forces had predicted a possible upturn of violence following the March 7 election, which highlighted Iraq's sectarian divide.

    The top two coalitions, the cross-sectarian Iraqiya bloc of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and the State of Law alliance led by Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, finished just two seats apart. Neither won enough to form a majority government.

    All of the major coalitions are involved in talks to form a new government. After the last parliamentary election in 2005, sectarian violence exploded as politicians took five months to reach agreement on a government
    Last edited by tankie; 06 Apr 10, at 15:24.


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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post

    Besides, with all due respect to the moral high ground, and this is the same problem that Israel has, if the other side isn't gonna play fair, there's no reason for you to play fair either. Choosing to play fair is commendable, but if you slip occasionally, well, them's the breaks. Don't forget, we can also play unfair, and then you're in for a world of hurt.

    slip up 'occasionally'?!!

    You make it sound like its accidental! If it were any other country theyd be under sanctions and rightly so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko View Post
    slip up 'occasionally'?!!

    You make it sound like its accidental! If it were any other country theyd be under sanctions and rightly so.
    What sanctions were placed on Moscow after the devastation in Grozny?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko View Post
    slip up 'occasionally'?!!

    You make it sound like its accidental! If it were any other country theyd be under sanctions and rightly so.
    I don't know if you're referring to Israel or the USA, I'll assume it's the USA since that happens to be the focus of this particular thread.

    For all intents and purposes, the above scenario was all within the letter of the law, and therefore legal. In retrospect and hindsight things could have been done differently. The definition of a slip up, or accident.

    As for your second point, have you heard of something called Pax Americana? The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines Pax Americana as "the peace that is supposed to be established in the world by the power of the US". Other definitions describe it as "The impact of U.S. military, economic, and political power since 1945 which has restrained the outbreak of either a nuclear war or a general global war."

    To put it succinctly, The USA is currently the world's only superpower (China doesn't quite count, not yet. They're getting there, but that's irrelevant at the moment), and still holds immense amounts of power, despite the current economical situation. It's kind of hard to impose sanctions on a country when half the world owes that country favors for keeping them alive from WWII and on. The countries that will try and pass sanctions do not have nearly enough political capital to try and impose sanctions on the US. In essence, it boils down to what I said before. The USA chooses to play fair, say thank you for the chances you get and shut up. If they slip occasionally, say thank you they haven't decided to throw the ROE out of the window like their opponents have.

    There have been plenty instances of friendliness between enemies, during both World Wars. Hans Von Luck in Panzer Commander writes of a gentleman's agreement he had with the opposing British recon unit during the North Afrika campaign in WWII. The 1914 Christmas Truce also jumps straight into mind. Things like this are accepted when both sides follow the ROE and agree to play fair.

    Another example, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent: In 1876 the Ottoman Empire started using a Red Crescent instead of a Red Cross for their medical troops. The Ottoman's declared they would still recognize the Red Cross on the Russian side. In 1877 the International Committee of the Red Cross brokered an agreement between the two sides to acknowledge the other side's symbols during combat. Fairly important since the Russians hadn't agreed to yet. If they wanted, they could shoot every single Ottoman medic they saw and not care less.

    See the difference? If you have a problem with the way the USA fights, play by their rules and then complain. Or don't complain.
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