Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 6, 2010

'COLLATERAL MURDER'.... Yesterday saw the release of a horrifying new video, documenting a 2007 attack in which a U.S. military helicopter killed a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in a Baghdad suburb. WikiLeaks, which originally published the video, is calling the incident "Collateral Murder," and after watching the clip, it's not hard to understand why.

WikiLeaks said that it had "obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers" and verified its authenticity in conversations with "witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident."

In the 17-minute black-and-white video, U.S. forces can be overheard targeting a group of men who were thought to be armed insurgents, then attacking a van as it attempted to load a wounded individual who had crawled away from the scene. Eldeen and Chmagh, part of the first group, are identified in the video.

WikiLeaks also released a transcript of conversations between the U.S. forces firing on the site. At one point, soldiers can be heard complimenting each other on their "good shoot."

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, military officials said the helicopter had been dispatched to assist U.S. troops who'd come under small-arms fire."There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force," Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad, said at the time.

According to the NYT, the authenticity of the video has been confirmed by a senior American military official. It shows no hostile action among those who were killed.

I can only assume, and hope, that the release of the classified video will prompt a more thorough investigation into exactly what transpired, and the extent to which there was a cover-up to keep information about the attack hidden from public scrutiny.

Here is the video, but please note, it includes graphic images and should almost certainly be considered not safe for work.


Steve Benen 11:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Comments

What a sad episode. If you want to acknowledge there will be some unfortunate "collateral damage" in war, then at least recognize it and accept responsibility rather than try to cover it up. By recognizing it, it validates your claim that there will be collateral damage, we accept responsibility, will compensate those involved, and move on and fight the overwhelming good fight. I guess the rethugs will say it was an "isolated incident" and that those on the ground were asking for it because they were out in a war zone, just as those black Congressman did. MY sympathies to the families involved.

Posted by: flyonthewall on April 6, 2010 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

This video raises two questions: 1) why are our soldiers flying around a city shooting at people who they think are carrying a gun. Given the training of the soldiers I don't find it odd that they are happy to have a target and happy to have hit it. But why are we putting troops in this situation in the first place? If the NYPD had helicopters over East Harlem and were looking for people with gun-like objects, there'd be a lot of dead New Yorkers...

2) Why is our military so comfortable with lying and covering up. The scariest thing is that this is hard proof that the government has been lying to us -- massively -- about its activities. To me, that's actual tyranny. A related question is why are CNN and the NY Times so willing to suspend any semblance of journalistic skepticism and critical thinking skills?

Hard to see America ceasing its global war-mongering as long as the generals can lie with impunity...

Posted by: Jim Pharo on April 6, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

We are not a civilized people.

Posted by: doubtful on April 6, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

The opposite of "cover up" is "investigation".

The former is intended to prevent anytime from learning anything. The second is to learn as much as possible.

Don't we want to learn anything from this?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on April 6, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

i've never been in combat, and i respect soldiers for putting their lives on the line, but these men were clearly not insurgents, nor did their cameras at any time look like weapons (certainly not an RPG).

very sad.

Posted by: ahoy polloi on April 6, 2010 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

bush and cheney will remind you -- as karl rove did last week -- that these and the other 100s of thousands of people had to die to make sure saddam hussein remained out of power ... even after he was hung in a basement by a mob six months before these people were murdered...

so quit yer outrage and calls for inquiries...bringin' democracy to a country is hard work...


Posted by: neill on April 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

"coverup"

Did not know General Colin Powell (Ret) was still doing consultant work.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 6, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Seems the guys in the helicopters were misleading the people on the other end of the radio to get the go ahead to fire.

For instance, where were the (possible)weapons that were being loaded into the van?

Posted by: agave on April 6, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

bringin' democracy to a country is hard work...

Since Iraq has enshrined government run healthcare in their Consitution, how is this a democracy? Was Bush misleading us twice in Iraq and insituting "socialism"?

Posted by: flyonthewall on April 6, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

If you have ever been hunting, if you are hoping and expecting to see a deer, than every rock and tree can look like a deer. If your a soldier and expect and hope to see armed terrorists, then you than every group of civilians can look like armed terrorists. This sort of target fixation/tunnel thinking is a well known phenomenon; the (partial) fix is better training and clear rules of engagement.

The deeper problem was the inability of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld Whitehouse and the Pentagon to grasp the basics of counterinsurgency: that we should try to protect the civilian population, not murder them. We go in shooting and then we wonder why the people hate us and there are more terrorists than when we started. The idea that we could just bust in any where in the world and use shock and awe firepower to get our way was neocon lunacy.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on April 6, 2010 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK


Of note is the contrast between how this event is being interpreted here and by conservative sources (e.g. The Weekly Standard). Putting aside the question of whatever the 'true' narrative is, I think it will be interesting to see which sort of interpretation is officially acknowledged to be 'true', what the weight of available evidence dictates, and, if this administration accepts the conservative narrative despite available evidence, what sort of apologetics (if any) will be deployed by 'liberal' administration defenders.

Posted by: Shroup on April 6, 2010 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I awoke this morning eager to see if this story was covered by the Oregonian, Portland's daily newspaper, and as expected, no mention! I was glad to hear that NPR had a story on the Apache attack, but I knew to expect a very soft touch. Sure enough, the story closed with an interview of NPR's Pentagon correspondent, Tom Bowman, who did not disappoint on the soft-touch/neocon spin element...

Twice he posited that the attack/s may have been justified because 2-3 people had what appeared to be AK-47s over their shoulders (I have read that there were cameramen in the group), and that after the attack/s, RPG's and AK-47s were found at the scene.

This sounds like classic military cover-up, and I do wish NPR had an independent voice and was not beholden to, or manipulated by the neocon puppeteers!

Posted by: Styve on April 6, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone seen any press on the existence of the weaponry that NPR "reported" was discovered among the dozen victims, because I may have just missed it...??

Posted by: Styve on April 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK


I saw this video last night on Balloon Juice, and it's obvious that the crew of the Apache were so eager to start shooting at the reporters and their escort that they lied about what they were seeing in order to get permission to open fire, then they lied again about what the good samaritans from the van were doing in order to hose them down with cannon-fire as well.

But what really sticks in the craw is the cover-up afterwards. Starting with the decision to overrule the medics on the ground who wanted to airlift the wounded children from the van to a US military base. The frantic hand washing starts right there, just get rid of them so everyone can claim 'plausible deniability'.

Every single one of those high-ranking US military officers who stated that a) The Apache was just returning fire, b) The murdered Iraqis were 'Insurgents', and c) They had no idea how the two children were wounded, should be court-martialled and tried for conspiracy in a war crime.

And yeah, I'm quite aware that that is - not - going to happen.

Posted by: Tony J on April 6, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The chopper crew's request of their commander is particularly disturbing:

"Come on. Come on. Let us shoot."

Posted by: Joe Friday on April 6, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Certainly makes you wonder how many others have been shot for looking suspicious. We heard about these individuals only because they were connected to Reuters, and people in the West cared enough about them to publicize their murder.

Posted by: Chris S. on April 6, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

As with most scandals, it's not the crime -- it's the coverup. The Apaches were searching for some insurgents in the area who they thought were involved in an earlier firefight with US forces. They misidentify some guys carrying a camera and tripod as armed and it goes downhill from there very quickly. This is like those stories of quick-on-the-trigger cops shooting a kid in a dark house who it turns out only had a water pistol. But instead of saying "we royally fucked up and accidentally killed some reporters who from the air looked like they were carrying heavy weapons. We're going to compensate the victims, review our ROE, communicate better with foreign press orgs and do everything with can to make sure this doesn't happen again," the Pentagon cooks up a cover story and lies. That has to be pursued and punished.

If you have to fight a war in such a way that you're killing innocent civilians half the time and then having to find ways to cover it up, YOU'RE FIGHTING THE WRONG F'ING WAR.

Posted by: jonas on April 6, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Is there a source of information keeping track of the ratio of "enemy/soldier/fighter" deaths versus noncombatant deaths? It's my impression that we are managing to kill more civilians than combatants. Is this true?

Posted by: Jack Lindahl on April 6, 2010 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how not one comment has been made on this blog about the movie, Green Zone...not one. I have mentioned it several times...not one comment. Has no one seen it? Are you swayed by the negative critics' reviews and avoiding it? It clearly shows the attitude of the military and government toward the people of Iraq and the lies that were created to justify the U.S. invasion.

The nature of the militay is to lie. That is what they do. I am a veteran and have experienced, from day one as a new recruit, that there is no compunction on the part of senior staff to lie, if it serves their purpose. And, democracy is not their purpose.

As far as this video is concerned, I wonder why Reuters has not gone ballistic on revealing more truth? Who owns them? I said this years ago, when Reuters journalists were murdered by the military. Reuters is part of the cover-up because they are afraid to lose access. Well, they had access and failed to act on it.

peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on April 6, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

"As with most scandals, it's not the crime -- it's the coverup. The Apaches were searching for some insurgents in the area who they thought were involved in an earlier firefight with US forces. They misidentify some guys carrying a camera and tripod as armed and it goes downhill from there very quickly."

Ok, I'll buy this up to a point. After the Van arrives it is clear that they are shooting at unarmed people that are just trying to help the wounded. This is utterly disgusting. To add to the disgust is the chatter between the pilots. Its like a fucking video game to them. They should be tried and put in jail.

Posted by: spyder on April 6, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

St John,
Thanks for the reminder re the Green Zone...I do want to see that movie. Who was it who said, "I can't believe this movie's release has been allowed!"? I think it was Michael Moore...

Posted by: Styve on April 6, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

While most of the military people I've met through the years have been good, upstanding people who wanted to serve their country, a disturbing number of them seemed to get off on the idea of killing someone else -- that it made them tough, more manly, or what the hell ever.

The guys flying that Apache seem like the latter type. Just listen to the radio chatter -- they knew damn well they were NOT shooting at insurgents. They were out there and, by FSM, they were goin' to kill somethin'!

It also makes the civilian death counts in the million range sound a lot more plausible, doesn't it? I mean, think of how many instances like this have gone unreported ...

As far as The Green Zone goes: I don't think I could sit and watch it. I don't think I could watch and not lose my mind with rage.

Posted by: Mark D on April 6, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

US arme forces shooting wounded people... this has been accepted by the american public. (shown on multiple occasions)

Armed helicopters killiing innocent civilians (shown on multiple occasions). Army patrols killing innocent civilans. Armed mercinaries killing...

Why do they hate us?

Posted by: Buford on April 6, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'll pile on. I can see giving the benefit of the doubt as to whether the people are carrying cameras or guns. You're looking for guns, you'll see guns.

The massacre of the van? That's criminal. Even if the van contained insurgents carrying off their wounded comrade, that's a medical evacuation, you don't get to shoot them. And of course, it's obvious the van did not contain insurgents, but simply good Samaritans.

Posted by: dob on April 6, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I made some hasty comments on this at Balloon Juice yesterday; after reflecting on it and seeing the video again...

There is a real RPG visible around 3:45 in the short video. The pilots don't seem to see the real one, but later mistake a camera for an RPG (I guess that mistake was honest, btw). As sickening and tragic as these events are, I think the presence of the RPG may legitimate the first shoot. Uzis and AKs might be carried by bodyguards or for home defense, but what use is an RPG except vs. American armor?

Accepting the claim that there are US ground forces nearby and there had been fire exchanged recently in the area - and the readiness of the controller to authorize firing on a group of armed men in the open supports the claim that this was at least a very warm area - the photographer peeking around the corner does look like a threat. Sitting at my desk watching the video 3 years after the fact, I can tell it's a camera. Trying to put myself in the pilots' place, responsible for the safety of troops on the ground....I'd probably have shot, too.

The shoot of the van, on the other hand, is clearly criminal. The pilots' chatter makes clear they realized they're looking at a wounded, unarmed man, but they misrepresent what they're seeing to their controller - using the buzzwords "picking up bodies and weapons" which they probably knew would win them permission to fire. There's no evidence on the video of the people in the van making any moves toward weapons, or doing anything but attempting to help the wounded man.

Wikileaks has posted at their site what they claim to be the ROE for this period; it expressly forbids firing even at known insurgents once they have been incapacitated. Not that anyone should really need to know the ROE to come to a conclusion on the van shoot.

It's unfortunate that Wikileaks chose to wrap the video in generic anti-war framing. It's more powerful with the melodrama stripped away.

Posted by: mattt on April 6, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK
I do wish NPR had an independent voice and was not beholden to, or manipulated by the neocon puppeteers!

That's why I don't contribute to NPR anymore. They've bought into the media conventional wisdom and no longer challenge the status quo.

Posted by: gaardvark on April 6, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

When the U.S. military recruits kids out of shopping malls by using shooting gallery style video games, this is what you get.
I'll grant the guy with the camera near the wall could be construed as having a RPG, but what in the actions of the people after the Apache swung around looked like engagement? At what point did the Iraqi's casually milling around look like they were engaging U.S. forces? And didn't they see the "RPG" was in fact a camera. These guys were dialed in to do some shooting and that's what they did, and worst of all it sounded like just another day on the job for them. This is no isolated incident, I'm sure these tragedies must be playing out all the time.

Posted by: oh my on April 6, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Jonas -- you say "It's not the crime, it's the coverup."

The innocent dead people would beg to differ with you.

Posted by: ChicagoRob on April 6, 2010 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I see this as just inevitable. It's unfortunate for sure. But when you vote for a war, this is what you are voting for. Consider the situation. You have armed insurgents running around killing civilians. Civilians need to arm themselves and travel in groups to protect themselves from the insurgents. So they end up looking like insurgents. The situation is dangerous enough that our soldiers don't want to get close enough to verify whether a group of people is dangerous or not. And after soldiers have lost one of their buddies in a firefight, they tend to blame that death on failure to act quickly enough. So they'll act more quickly next time. When you think about it, it's hard to blame the troops here. Shooting at the rescuers is bad, but if the vehicle is big enough to carry wounded people, it's big enough to carry an RPG. Our soldiers probably should be more careful in their response, but the trauma of war is going to make them jumpy. I was talking to soldier who killed a dozen or so children in Vietnam. And he feels bad about it now. But one time one of those kids walked into bar and rolled a hand grenade under his table and killed two of his buddies. Every time he saw a child after that, his first thought was "another hand grenade." So he'd shoot the kid. It's easy to say that's wrong when people aren't actually shooting at you. It's a lot harder on the battlefield.

That said, our military would be smart to acknowledge incidents like this immediately. The people of Iraq know how dangerous it is and can probably sympathize with our soldiers. But they won't sympathize with our cover-up. And if we showed a little more sympathy to the civilians, they'd be more cooperative in helping us locate the real insurgents.

Posted by: fostert on April 6, 2010 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

The only way to end the killing is to end war. Yea, I know it is easy to say, but when your child is the one killing another's child, or when your child is killed by another's child, what would you do to stop it? Is killing yet another child(regardless of age) justified? When does it end? Could you be the one to end it by not engaging? Gandhi, MLK, Jesus, and many others gave their lives rather than take another's. When will we ever learn?

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on April 6, 2010 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I watched the video, ready in my mind to condemn trigger-happy Apache pilots and the inevitable cover-up.

Instead, what I saw was this:

Apache pilots, responding to a US convoy under small arms fire:
1) During the most dangerous month of the war, July 2007 (I was about 30 miles north of Baghdad at this time in the middle of my tour)
2) In one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Iraq at the time

Under normal circumstances, the commander of the land-owning battalion ("Bushmaster Seven" in the video) would have access to the video feed of the choppers. Sometimes, they do not.

The Apache pilots sounds horrible in their radio chatter. Like aggressive, ready to kill cowboys. I have to stand against the comments and say that this is the swagger that these pilots typpically assume to balance out the life and death power of their weapons. Sounds counter-intuitive, but gallows humor is the only thing that keeps you sane in these types of situations.

Watching the video in real time, with no zoom, I saw what looked to be at least 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) and at least 2 AK-47's. That's enough to engage, according to the Rules of Engagement at the time. Now, with the hindsight knowing two of the men were reporters, I can kind of see one item could be a telescopic lens. But when you take a covered fighting position with a suspected RPG, and begin to aim towards a known US convoy position (this is what the radio chatter describes), then the Apaches were justified to request and receive permission to open fire. I would have made the same call, at the time. A horrible, horrible decision to take so many lives, this is the decision these men and women have to make.

I am not going to make the same defense for the subsequent attack. I didn't see the things the Apaches were describing, but then again I only have the radio chatter and one video feed.

Before you ask, I was and still am against going into Iraq. I went over there because I wanted to fix the things I saw we were doing poorly or not at all. But that decision was made, and we can't stick our head in the sand or try to shake the Etch-a-Sketch and wipe the slate clean.

I know this is a long post, but I feel this forum is very one-sided, and I was dissapointed in the knee-jerk reactions. I know I am going to be considered bias because of my military experience, but this also gives me insight into what was going on in the minds of the Apache pilots, the soldiers on the ground and the commander making the decisions.

If we had the opinion of an Iraq reporter or civilian or insurgent, perhaps we'd have some balance to the discussion.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 6, 2010 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

People please watch the video carefully, and please read actual statements from Reuters on this event.

They stated clearly, their journalists were embedded with insurgents. This is a fact they admit. If you watch the video there are men present with ak-47's and a RPG. One of the men is clearly holding an RPG. Yes the photographers had cameras as they are so quick to point out, and higlight in their video, but they do not highlight the other men, and the items they are carrying. They also do not explain what the journalists are doing in the area.

We know terrorists video tape their acts of violence and use the video as propaganda for recruitment. So why would any soldier or pilot be concerned if it was an "OFFICIAL" media member. They are in a war zone, with people carrying weapons accompanied by people carrying cameras.

So what does this prove? Stay out of a war zone if you don't wish to be killed, that's about it. Nothing more nothing less. This is b.s. drama and it stinks!!!

Posted by: Jesse on April 6, 2010 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

wasn't that a camera lens,and not an RPG? Maybe a few too many video games being played amongst the crowd here?

Posted by: rpg? on April 6, 2010 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

there were cameras, an RPG, an extra RPG round, and rifles all being carried by the group toward U.S. ground forces 100 meters away. You can see them beyond doubt on the stills.

It was a good shoot.

boy do some people really badly want to turn us into murderers.

Posted by: Another Vet on April 6, 2010 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

@AnonymousCoward: thanks for your honest and insightful comments.

@Jesse and AnotherVet: I agree with you about the initial shoot. What about the shoot of the van? As I see it the pilots transmitted false info to their CO in order to get clearance to fire. They tell each other: "They're taking him," re: the man they earlier recognized to be wounded and unarmed. But they tell their CO a story about "picking up weapons and bodies."

I'd never believe that all or even many of our servicemen and women are murderers. But to whitewash these kind of events when they do happen, dishonors all.

Posted by: mattt on April 6, 2010 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

I agree the van is irksome. But I'd have to see the specific ROE for that unit/AO at that time. It could also be a legitimate mis-ID. (you're in a shaking helicopter at least 600 meters away and you don't have the benefit of rewind or slow motion...you may well think you saw something that you didn't.) You'd certainly never get past reasonable doubt in a court martial. Look at it that way.

Posted by: Another Vet on April 6, 2010 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

you can plainly see the RPG in this clip (and at other points) and it was also found on their bodies:

http://i41.tinypic.com/343tb0j.jpg

that's definitive proof they were insurgents.

Posted by: Another Vet on April 6, 2010 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Look at it that way."'

Why?

I'm open to new information, but all the evidence here shows that re: the van shoot, this Apache crew fed false information to their CO in order to get clearance to shoot a few more hajis. In doing so they slaughtered innocents, compromising the COIN mission and putting other soldiers at greater risk. What reason is there to give them a pass?

Posted by: mattt on April 6, 2010 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

http://i41.tinypic.com/343tb0j.jpg

Posted by: Charles on April 6, 2010 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

These men are cowards. Yes I know they are fighting for our country but that doesn't give them a right to act like Nazis... And plus, these guys sound like nothing more than immature ass wholes playing Call of Duty. News flash buddies, this isn't a game. These are real innocent people in this video with families.

Posted by: Sara on April 7, 2010 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

It's nothing less than breathtaking that this story has received such meager coverage in the national media.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world continues to report American wars better than we do.

Posted by: Ranjit Suresh on April 7, 2010 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

As if it wasn't enough they had to shoot the men coming to help the wounded. Shooting men already down and wounded is a crime!

Posted by: Obama on April 7, 2010 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

I've seen enough to be convinced that the initial attack was justified in that they're clearly a group of insurgents and an RPG is clearly visible.

The second attack on the van? Murder.

An injured man unable to crawl, and a group that pulls up in a van to save his life, are not hostile targets.

Posted by: JJ on April 7, 2010 at 4:48 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, look a little deeper. It's established or obvious they were exxagerating to get permission to shoot. They lied to the people making the decision (which I doubt would have to be the case if they were actively being shot at or even threatened). What could prevent this?
Well, lets see, we KNOW that a guy sitting in a trailer in Las Vegas can control, from actual video a drone, make decisions, attack, etc. So here, you cannot say they couldn't link to the actual helicopters video feed? "hey, command, look at this" "um...no positive id of weapon, and these folks are not acting in a threatening manner, no go".

I know they depersonalize "the enemy" in our soldiers so they can cheer, and say "bastards" and not feel bad about killing. All well and good when you are fighting soldiers, with uniforms, but doesn't work to well when it is this kind of warfare. Think if you were family with any of these folks, or granparent to the two injured children, or JUST lived somewhere on that block?
Folks in very little danger, wiht overwhelming firepower, seem to just attack out of the blue innocent folk...no chance for surrender, no shot over the head..no ground troops to see it closer. Just some adrenlin-filled guy up in a helicopter, raining hell down on your block.
What's not to like. Gee...how come there seems to be an endless supply of insurgents?

Posted by: Tom Joad on April 7, 2010 at 6:24 AM | PERMALINK

I agree the van is irksome.

"Irksome"? Assuming you are actually a real vet, you're a disgrace to the uniform and everything it stands for.

Posted by: DH Walker on April 7, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

First off--I'm a former U.S. Navy Pilot

There's a lot of talk of the Apache pilots being murderous, and blood thirsty and from what I see in the video that is not the case.

Apache aircrews are put into a difficult position to begin with. Locate and engage insurgents to prevent them from firing upon U.S. and allied forces.

From the video this is a good shoot. It is regrettable that any innocents are ever injured or killed but but it will happen in this war as it has happened in every war.

People also point to the "grim" sense of humor displayed by the aircrew but that's more of a coping mechanism that balances some of the more morbid details of their job.

What really bothers me is the lies told by the leadership during the cover up. They may seem like an easy way out but rarely are. Acknowledge the incident, analyze if any mistakes were made, learn from it and move on.

One more point ...I can guarantee you that if an E-5 had lied like this they'd be court martialed. It seems the higher your paygrade the less you're expected to have any integrity of honor.

Posted by: ed on April 7, 2010 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

When I first viewed the video, I said to myself, those guys are only carrying cameras. As a weapons expert, I could tell what they were carrying were not weapons. Then after reviewing the video several times I could definitely make out an RPG with round inserted from frame times 3:41 to 3:44.

What were the Reuters journalists doing there with these armed people?

I believe what the pilot did was justified in this situation but not what happened with the van episode...

Posted by: JP on April 7, 2010 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

So a coping mechanism makes it okay to watch a wounded man crawling on the ground and while watching make the comment "come on buddy all you gotta do is pick up a weapon...(then to the radio)we have one individual moving, we are looking for weapons. if we see a weapon we are going to engage."

That didn't sound like a coping method, he sounded like he wanted the man to have something in his hand just to have the excuse to shoot from that nice safe angle way up high.

And the last comment, about how it was their fault for bringing kids into battle, was uncalled for. It was bad enough children were injured, they did not need to make that comment.

What about all those friendly fire incidents on troops of other countries, was a coping mechanism needed for that as well?

Posted by: wendy on April 8, 2010 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

I am so ashamed to be an American after that if I was a Nazi I would feel much better. It is obvious that were are worst than Nazis. We are cowards and hypocrites. Those soldiers are not fighting for America, we are not under threat,they are, we are the terrorists here!

Posted by: John Beck on April 12, 2010 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

You can't compensate the victims when the victims were repeatedly shot until they were dead.

Posted by: Dan on April 13, 2010 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Fucked up.. "C'mon, let us shoot!" Fucking pricks.. those guys can rot in hell for what they did

Posted by: Randy on April 13, 2010 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

If Bravo Company 2-16 Infantry soldiers were under attack three blocks away, why did the Reuters photographer (Namir Noor-Eldeen) get images of an American humvee one block away?

There is only one logical answer to this question. The humvee was going to be attacked by two groups of insurgents. One group, call it group one and say it consists of five members, will attack from an intersection one block south (rear) of their position. The other group - call it group two and say it consists of five members - will attack from the intersection one block east (right side) of their position.

All of the individuals in these two groups, both of which are one block from their attack positions, can be seen shortly after the video begins. They appear to be mulling around in an open courtyard. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Obviously, they know the Apache Helicopters are circling overhead. They do not feel as though they are in any immediate danger from them because the main battle is occurring four blocks away (north). Nor are they close enough to the humvee to appear as a threat to the pilots.

Before going further, consider what the armys investigator said in his report: The enemy commonly employ cameramen to film and photograph their attacks on Coalition Forces.

We first note that the van (taxi) drops off the Reuters employees along with two other individuals. They start walking north toward the battle and are soon met by two members from the courtyard walking south.

Next we note that all ten men fired upon in the initial engagement were present earlier in the video. They can be seen in the long version if we freeze it at one minute and thirty two seconds [1:32].

The four men standing to the right in this frame, soon to be joined by a fifth after his chat with the photographer - described above as group one - are one block west of their attack position. Their weapons are likely hidden out of sight near that location. This fifth individual converses with them for nearly 30 seconds before rejoining the photographer moments before the helicopter fires on them. Note also that two from this group help get the wounded Saeed into the van just before it was fired on later in the video.

The five men standing beside the flatbed are group two. A group whos members are carrying an AK 47, a loaded R.P.G. and an additional R.P.G. round. One from this group escorts the photographer to the intersection and can even be seen giving the photographer instructions for taking the picture. He, like the others, are very cautious not to venture beyond the corner of the building.

At the last moment, while engrossed with the images on the back of Namirs camera, some begin to realize they are standing at the attack position of group two. Namir tries to scurry out of this scene while the fellow with the AK 47 moves the weapon in his right hand - knowing it is in plain view of the pilot - under his left arm. Too late!

Bill

Posted by: Bill Cromer on April 22, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

It's despicable how people think. The claim that our "freedoms" would not exist if these men and women wouldn't be out there killing civilians and invading a sovereign country that had no means to attack us in the first place, is absurd. But I guess some people will go to any lengths to justify government sanctioned murder.

Posted by: Will R on April 26, 2010 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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