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Thread: The Wikileaks collection

  1. #21
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Sheesh. Walrus, Fuchs, your bias is showing

    Which is okay, you're both certainly entitled to it but aside from US bashing, you gloss over the fact that war is evil. all war, it begets evil and anyone who thinks you can do it nicely is a bit remiss.

    You both also gloss over the excesses and illegalities of the "little brown people" (Walruses words, not mine) to concentrate on whipping the party to the war that, imperfectly and human foible prone for sure, at least tries to do the 'right' thing most of the time as opposed to the opponents blatant disregard for the western norms you both seem to hold dear.

    Your opinions are fine as is expressing them and fairness is admittedly a schoolboy concept but I suggest if you wish to speak of hypocrisy, you might give the above a bit of thought.

    The Apache crews, as Seabee pointed out, got overexuberant. It happens. The US is not perfect, we make a lot of misteaks (see?) and we do dumb stuff. People do get overexuberant and Nations -- all of them -- foul up on occasion. Get over it, it's a war, it isn't nice and isn't going to be.

    Nor should it be. As the guys fighting it on all sides know. Others are offering their opinion and without ever having been in a position of having to determine whether to fire or not, whether to celebrate or cry looking at their first kill and indeed, certainly not being involved directly in an incident under discussion. So I'm not inclined to grant much credence to that noise. I can hear the opinion, accept it, record it as such and move on -- but I wouldn't expend much effort trying to correct a or the 'problem' based on such opinions.

    Fuchs also said:
    Discipline is supposed to keep such phenomena sufficiently in check.
    A true statement -- if there was in fact 'wrongdoing' in this particular phenomenon -- but applied to all phenomena the key words are "supposed to" as is often the case. What is 'supposed to be' and is often differ -- particularly when humans are involved. Can either of you offer the statement that other nations have never transgressed in the area of 'war crimes' (silly phrase, war itself is a crime...) and thus the 'hypocrisy' cited is solely an American attribute?

    Polarbear1605 got it right:
    If they are not tracked down and killed, they will reture to kill you (or Iraqi civilians, usually the ones on our side) later.
    That's reality. Harsh but reality. Most else is academic -- in the pejorative sense of the word.

  2. #22
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    Default Yes, please do go to this ....

    from Fuchs
    Maybe you should go read the GC IV and the additional protocol I.
    and you will find that neither API nor APII have been ratified by the US or by Iraq. You and others can insist all you want that the Euro-centric construct of "international humanitarian law" be imposed on the US; but to date that has not happened.

    GC III and IV have been ratified by both the US and Iraq and apply to situtations covered by them. Not all situations fall into those covered catagories (e.g., armed conflicts not of an international character are not covered by all GCIII and GCIV provisions).

  3. #23
    Council Member Danny's Avatar
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    Default I am persuaded to agree with ...

    Ken White. To be sure some of this looks like over-exuberance, but I am also assuming that this didn't come out of the blue. As Cavguy said, there was likely TIC earlier leading to this exchange. It's easy to yank things out of context and lose the backdrop for events. So much easier when it has to do with something like this.

    That said, it has long been a pet peeve of mine that the CJCS Standing ROE (which I have read) and the Iraq-specific ROE (which I have read) and the RUF (which I have read) do not countenance offensive operations, at least as regards GP forces not otherwise under mission specific ROE. This lead General McKearney to want to charge two Army snipers with murder when they killed a Taliban commander in Afghanistan who didn't happen to be brandishing a weapon at the time. Silly, but true.

    Whether they were a specific threat at the time or not is irrelevant to me. The question redounds to this: were they insurgents? The answer is yes. I have no problem with the targeting of insurgents who are not a threat at the specific moment in time.

    As for the two Reuters photo-journalists, they were embedded with the insurgents. I feel the same way about this as I did about Nir Rosen embedded with the Taliban.

    As for the van and those in it who came to pick up the wounded, I would have to know more about the rules under which they were operating. The children shouldn't have been there. I am also persuaded that the standing or Iraq-specific ROE don't apply to CAS and combat aviation. If it did they couldn't do their job. Someone who knows more than I about the rules for CAS could weigh in.

    More thoughts at my blog.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    More thoughts at my blog.
    URL???

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    davidbfpo

  6. #26
    Council Member Danny's Avatar
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    Default Sorry

    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2010/...ateral-murder/

    Wings Over Iraq has some interesting viewpoints:

    http://wingsoveriraq.blogspot.com/20...important.html

    Blackfive:

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/2010/0...ntcom-pao.html

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/2010/0...aks-video.html

    The inevitable tantrums over at Firedoglake and the HP.

    I think that this isn't going to go away for some time. I have received some very emotional letters from my post. Some calling me all manner of names, some supportive and even dismissive concerning the incident, but there is much interest and emotion over this issue.
    Last edited by Danny; 04-06-2010 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Sentence fragment

  7. #27
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    Default Coverup?

    NPR's Talk of the Nation featured a segment this afternoon featuring David Finkel whose book, The Good Soldiers (which I have not read), recounts his time embedded with the unit (2-16 IN) involved in the incident. The book apparently has an extensive section on the specific event and the coverage on Talk of the Nation provides some excellent context to the overall events. You can listen to the 11 minute segment here: http://www.npr.org/templates/rundown...wn.php?prgId=5

    On another issue, does the failure by the government to release this video constitute a "coverup" as is one of the key claims of Wikileaks in this case? This particular event was extensively reported upon in 2007 and our complicity in the death of the Reuters employees is acknowledged by the DoD. I've been involved in or witnessed dozens of similar engagements of armed individuals during two deployments, none of which have since seen their UAV/gun camera footage available for public viewing available on the internet. Are these events being covered up and where is the line?

  8. #28
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    Ken White:

    Which is okay, you're both certainly entitled to it but aside from US bashing, you gloss over the fact that war is evil. all war, it begets evil and anyone who thinks you can do it nicely is a bit remiss.

    You both also gloss over the excesses and illegalities of the "little brown people" (Walruses words, not mine) to concentrate on whipping the party to the war that, imperfectly and human foible prone for sure, at least tries to do the 'right' thing most of the time as opposed to the opponents blatant disregard for the western norms you both seem to hold dear.

    Your opinions are fine as is expressing them and fairness is admittedly a schoolboy concept but I suggest if you wish to speak of hypocrisy, you might give the above a bit of thought.

    The Apache crews, as Seabee pointed out, got overexuberant. It happens. The US is not perfect, we make a lot of misteaks (see?) and we do dumb stuff. People do get overexuberant and Nations -- all of them -- foul up on occasion. Get over it, it's a war, it isn't nice and isn't going to be.

    Nor should it be. As the guys fighting it on all sides know. Others are offering their opinion and without ever having been in a position of having to determine whether to fire or not, whether to celebrate or cry looking at their first kill and indeed, certainly not being involved directly in an incident under discussion. So I'm not inclined to grant much credence to that noise. I can hear the opinion, accept it, record it as such and move on -- but I wouldn't expend much effort trying to correct a or the 'problem' based on such opinions.
    Thank you for your comment.

    1. It is sufficient to note that the Military suppressed this video, which confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that this episode was regarded by serving officers as deeply shameful.

    2. My understanding is that many Iraqis are armed. I did not notice any signs of furtive activity that might indicate an intention to shoot at troops with the exception of a photographer taking a photo around a corner. I did not notice any concern that they were in range of an Apache gunship either. I am prepared to take advice whether this is a realistic appreciation or not.

    3. The attack on the vehicle was premeditated murder in my opinion. Soldiers in other wars have faced a court martial and been shot for less.

    4. The content and tone of the voice communication from pilot and gunner suggest a complete lack of any human values at all.

    5. As for the "contempt for Western Norms" shown by Jihadists, agreed, however that does NOT excuse us for not upholding them ourselves. Neither does the "War is hell" meme. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    I have had enough experience in business of hearing lofty idealistic statements from American management about their commitment to safety, ethics, the value of their employees, the environment, etc., etc. followed by disappointment, to believe that there is an innate propensity for hypocrisy embedded somewhere in the America psyche. The "torture" debate illustrated it rather well.

    I am aware of only one successful set of prosecutions for mistreatment of Iraqis - and that was after incontrovertible evidence of abuse, and the abusers, was captured on film at Al Ghraib, and even then it was passed off as "operator error" instead of official policy. Given that the attitudes of the Apache crew are common, and expressed every day on various websites, it is incontrovertible that similar unreported incidents occur and are always condoned.

    The official whitewash that occurs each time on of these incidents is independently reported (God forbid that an official report would be made) followed by the hurried retraction when damning evidence is presented, as has just happened again in Afghanistan, suggests that we have a systematic truthiness problem here.

    The conclusion must be that the ROE are not there to protect civilian lives, but merely to cover backsides in the dreaded event that the media might find out about bad behaviour.

    The second conclusion is that suppressing this video was a mistake, as the incident has been magnified from an "unfortunate incident" into a deliberately suppressed war crime.
    Last edited by walrus; 04-06-2010 at 10:06 PM.

  9. #29
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Default

    Some thoughts about the first scene after watching the video.

    The perspective of the pilots:

    a) The Apache seems to have been called in to support TIC, which have been fired at from a certain position a some time ago. ( Only a relative position, I doubt that the pilot knew from which direction the attack occured)

    b) A group of persons with knowledge of the general location of the TIC is spotted by the Apache in search of insurgents. They seem to be close enough to make them cautious, as one of the cameramen peaks around the corner.

    c) The pilots of the Apache who want to support their unit on the ground takes a closer look at the groups of people, searching for insurgents and guns and at once interprets the slung cameras as "guns".

    d) These quick "positive" interpretations get confirmed by two real weapons handled by two members of said "group".

    e) The handling of the camera gets interpreted thus as a preparation to fire the "RPG". This creates urgency, as the pilots may think that the troops are in his sights and forces a quick reaction.

    f) The pilots communicate their interpretations, get confirmations and quickly try to destroy the threat.


    If you observe the video sitting in front of your computer while knowing the identity of the "RPG gunners" and the background a lot of things jumb right into your eyes.

    a) You know for sure that the people with the slings carry cameras which makes you wonder all the more why the pilots comes up with "guns"

    b) You see also that the persons seen as insurgents are rather calm and point the reporters where a fight happened. They could be insurgents just as they could be the self-defence forces of that block or quarter which heard the noise of the fight and want to help the reporters to get a story ( and some money for this information).

    c) Nobody of the said person shows any hostile intent or will to engage the US troops. Why should they be insurgents?

    d) You see a group of people with two obvious innocents discussing rather calmly something and getting mowed down.

    e) The pilots use gibby and macabre language to deride said people and the two innocents.



    Most people on the net saw version 2 and screamed murder.


    Firn
    Last edited by Firn; 04-06-2010 at 10:00 PM.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    1. It is sufficient to note that the Military suppressed this video, which confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that this episode was regarded by serving officers as deeply shameful.
    Wow. You have a very low threshold for proof. It seems equally - perhaps even more - plausible that it was not released because it is difficult to explain everything that is happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    4. The content and tone of the voice communication from pilot and gunner suggest a complete lack of any human values at all.
    To be fair, the highly judgmental tone of your post, coupled with such little evidence, doesn't speak very well of you either.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    Some thoughts about the first scene after watching the video.
    Well said.

    While regrettable, it is hardly surprising that the helicopters fired on what appeared to be a group of armed men immediately following a report of TIC, especially when one of them appeared to be sighting an RPG (actually a camera) down the street. The pilots, after all, hardly had the luxury of playing and replaying the video to be certain.

    However, firing on the vehicle recovering the wounded journalist--which, for all we know, could have simply been a Good Samaritan, or a relative--was certainly a serious mistake. There was clearly no evidence of weapons or hostile intent.

    The language used by the helicopter crew? You'll find something similar, I would wager, in every war zone, with every army.

    The "cover up" ? More bad PR by the DoD. While I can understand not wanting to release footage of every civilian accidentally killed, it ought to have been clear that the deaths of two journalists required special handling.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  12. #32
    Council Member Chris jM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    The Apache crews, as Seabee pointed out, got overexuberant. It happens. The US is not perfect, we make a lot of misteaks (see?) and we do dumb stuff. People do get overexuberant and Nations -- all of them -- foul up on occasion. Get over it, it's a war, it isn't nice and isn't going to be.

    Nor should it be. As the guys fighting it on all sides know.
    I can understand the perspective of the majority of posts on this issue.

    The act itself aside (and I doubt whether this will ever come to light) but it would be illuminating to see whether the troops in whose AO this was benefitted by or came to be worse off from the strike. Local populations are not simplistic in outlook by any degree, and I'm sure that there is an understanding that if you start shielding insurgents within your population the inevitable will occur, with the population starting to become casualties - if indeed that is what happened.

    Ignoring the 'political fall-out' of the video, which I doubt will impact on the current Iraqi situation in any meaningful way, knowing the historical short-term/ mid-term tactical fall-out of the action would be more interesting.

    FM3-24 discourages air power to avoid incidents like this, where firepower in an urban environment will often lead to more harm than good. If this is the case, and a lack of appropriate decision making on behalf of the pilots set back the COIN mission for their infantry brethren on the ground, a great wrong was committed. If to the contrary they were doing their job in a difficult environment and, in an attempt to support the COIN elements patrolling, they caused civilian casualties... then ethically it's all very ugly, confusing and murky - which sounds awfully like every other battlefield in recent memory.

    The worst that could happen from this is that the wrong lessons are learned. COIN will still see violence delivered, often in close proximity to a civilian population, and people will get hurt and killed. If it occurs through negligence or incompetence then those responsible should be held accountable - but if innocent casualties occur during the legitimate conduct of an operation, holding the trigger-puller at the very sharp end is both unfair and counter-productive.
    Last edited by Chris jM; 04-07-2010 at 12:52 AM.
    '...the gods of war are capricious, and boldness often brings better results than reason would predict.'
    Donald Kagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear1605 View Post
    I am a little surprised by the general comments on this one. I think most of you should go back and read the Rules of War (FM27-10) and then the ROEs. (You might also want to get jmm99 involved in this one.) If I am a civilian and pickup a weapon on the battle field I become a combatant and btw, if I drop the weapon, I do not become a non-combatant again. This group of Iraqi "civilians" engaged our troops with AK-47s and RPGs. They were then treated like insurgents. They were tracked down and they were killed. If they are not tracked down and killed, they will reture to kill you (or Iraqi civilians, usually the ones on our side) later. The war crime was not US soldiers killing civilians but the war crime was insurgents using civilians as shields.
    Imagine this is in Afghanistan today and go tell McChrystal...

  14. #34
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Ah, Pinniped, always good to hear from you...

    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    1. It is sufficient to note that the Military suppressed this video, which confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that this episode was regarded by serving officers as deeply shameful.
    I do not know that it was suppressed (not publicly released is not suppression, it is simply non release). It may have been, may not have been. What I do know is that logically, even if it was suppression, that does not prove your 'deeply shameful' assertion.
    2. My understanding is that many Iraqis are armed. I did not notice any signs of furtive activity that might indicate an intention to shoot at troops with the exception of a photographer taking a photo around a corner. I did not notice any concern that they were in range of an Apache gunship either. I am prepared to take advice whether this is a realistic appreciation or not.
    I cannot advise you on any of that as I was not there and as I'm reasonably sure there is more footage on that tape that we have not seen and which might add considerable context. What I can tell you is that it is unlikely the Iraqis were aware of the Apaches observation of them and that the magnification of the night sensors make those on the ground appear much closer than the probably between 500 and 1,000 meters the birds were away from the target area. Also, their track lock capability keeps the picture fairly steady while the aircraft may be constantly maneuvering in all axes.

    I also suggest that even if many Iraqis are / were armed, being armed near a body of other armed folks, particularly a bunch of notoriously trigger happy Americans is likely to attract unwanted attention. As it did in this case.
    3. The attack on the vehicle was premeditated murder in my opinion. Soldiers in other wars have faced a court martial and been shot for less.
    We can disagree on that. Without being there, we cannot know with certainty.
    4. The content and tone of the voice communication from pilot and gunner suggest a complete lack of any human values at all.
    Well, of course it does, they're Aviators . Yes, I too am possessed of few human values. FWIW, I recall as much exuberance from an Oz (1/RAR) M-60 gunner outside a little village in Phouc Tuy Province in the summer of 1966. Guys in combat get exuberant at a 'win' because a loss is always rather, er, sobering. Macabre and gallows humor abounds.
    5. As for the "contempt for Western Norms" shown by Jihadists, agreed, however that does NOT excuse us for not upholding them ourselves. Neither does the "War is hell" meme. Two wrongs don't make a right.
    Sorry, again we can disagree. In my view war is so terribly wrong that there is little sense in talking of right and wrong on individual acts because the potential for those to occur is so great. The overall tenor is the determinant and I'll stack Australia and the US up on the 'they really try to not do wrong' side of that equation (acknowledging that the US due to sheer size is going to have more aberrant acts). Everyone in a war will do some wrong. Everyone (Yes, even moi). It's endemic. The key is to hold it to a minimum, never easy but we and you and most of the west try most of the time. While I agree with you in principle, in practice it is far more difficult than many can envision.
    ...to believe that there is an innate propensity for hypocrisy embedded somewhere in the America psyche. The "torture" debate illustrated it rather well.
    Could be. No question we have a very different approach to many things. Also no question that many nations have reputations they probably don't deserve. For example, I know all Strynes are not Bogans.

    The 'torture debate' showed me little other than how people on both sides can twist an issue for political reasons into an unrecognizable and ludicrous interchange that solves nothing. As did the torture debate solve nothing.
    I am aware of only one successful set of prosecutions for mistreatment of Iraqis - and that was after incontrovertible evidence of abuse, and the abusers, was captured on film at Al Ghraib, and even then it was passed off as "operator error" instead of official policy. Given that the attitudes of the Apache crew are common, and expressed every day on various websites, it is incontrovertible that similar unreported incidents occur and are always condoned.
    Such incidents emphatically do always occur -- and they occur in all Armies at war. All. As to '"always condoned," having seen too many court martialed for offenses even you might call minor, I very much disagree with that. Just because those minor aberrations are not given wide publicity does not mean that nothing is done. There are more out there, I'm sure you could Google up a few -- here's one (LINK). Notice the number charged and the number of dismissals -- for lack of evidence, mostly. The US military justice system has a higher standard of proof than does US civilian law but even so there have been a bunch of charges brought and convictions gained.
    ...suggests that we have a systematic truthiness problem here.
    Again we disagree but I'm not about to waste time on search for punishments and / or the lack thereof. I will acknowledge that the US Army, like any bureaucracy, tries to protect itself and cover up things it should not (think Mohamed Haneef or Utegate ). Unlike you, my experience and observation is that it always comes out eventually. Truthiness in my observation is human proclivity that is pretty much universal (see any Australian politician...).
    The conclusion must be that the ROE are not there to protect civilian lives, but merely to cover backsides in the dreaded event that the media might find out about bad behaviour.
    I'm not sure I follow that logic. Again you reach a conclusion that does not logically follow the basic assertion. What I am sure of is that you have decided there is evil in the US and its Army and nothing I say is likely to change that -- and that is, as I said, your prerogative...
    The second conclusion is that suppressing this video was a mistake, as the incident has been magnified from an "unfortunate incident" into a deliberately suppressed war crime.
    Well, I don't think it was suppressed but I do think that whether an "unfortunate incident" or a deliberately suppressed war crime, it will fade from public view as an issue in about two weeks, plus or minus 17%.

    Except for the Anti American and / or Anti War crowds, they'll hang onto it long past its shelf date...
    Last edited by Ken White; 04-07-2010 at 04:26 AM. Reason: Typos

  15. #35
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    Obviously, I wasn't there. But I think this incident boils down to this:

    The helos were operating in an area of Baghdad which was at the time, a hotspot of AIF activity - an insurgent safe haven is how it has been described to me by folks who were there.

    Allegedly US forces had gotten into a contact earlier near the same area, and the Apaches were there for overwatch.

    The Apache IDs a group of military-aged males with what appear to be weapons. Indeed, along with the camera equipment carried by the journos, I spotted at least two AKs carried by other men in the group. One of the military-aged males trains a "weapon" in the direction of US ground troops a couple of hundred metres away (and out of frame).

    Apache crews ask for permission to engage. Permission is granted. The group of men is engaged.

    That is how it started and up to this point IMO it was a righteous decision based on information the Apache crew had at the time. As for the excitable nature of the helo crews... they were doing their job, taking out what they thought were insurgents. They were doing exactly what they should have been doing in order to protect the groundpounders.

    I'm not going to comment on the van incident where the children were wounded - that would involve looking at OPSEC material and commenting on it - a no-no regardless of whether the ROE is "historical" or not. I will ask this question - Is it worth destroying a civilian vehicle which is clearly being used to evac a wounded man simply because they MIGHT" be recovering a shot-up AK or two?

    I don't like the cut in the video before the hellfire strike on the building - From the comms chatter it appears that a group of insurgents had been tracked to that building. If that's so, then who were the men who were lit up in the first part of the video? 3 missiles to take out a building in a residential area? That whole segment is out of context and proves nothing to me except that the Apache crew had no qualms about incurring collateral damage (civilians near the building).

    I believe the video was suppressed by the US DoD and it is going to bite them back - big time.

    Yesterday's mad scramble to post the docs up on the Centcom FOI page is clear evidence of either a culture of cover up or total bureaucratic incompetence. Once the initial investigations were over, they could have released this material along with an apology to Reuters and the families of it's employees who were killed, and avoided some of the unpleasantness.

    I swear, sometimes the US (and Australian) mil headshed act like freakin' naughty children. Each time there is a backbone failure like this, the more locals get off the fence and pick up a weapon.

  16. #36
    Council Member Danny's Avatar
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    Default Refined my position

    Braun makes interesting comments. I am intrigued by them. I guess I have refined my position a bit after studying this more. If it can be shown that this incident violates the ROE, I am at a loss to know why.

    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2010/...of-engagement/

    In order to avoid the charge of driving visits to my site, I will post my position below. For links, you will have to go to my site - sorry.

    Following up from the Wikileaks release of the so-called Collateral Murder video there has been a firestorm of activity over both the internet and television. One self-proclaimed intelligence expert claims that the actions of the Apache pilots violated the rules of engagement.

    Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer … said that based on what he saw in the video, it appeared to be a violation of the military’s Rules of Engagement.

    “First rule is, you may engage persons who commit hostile acts or show hostile intent by minimum force necessary,” he said. “Minimum force is necessary. If you see eight armed men, the first thing I would think as an intelligence officer is, ‘How can we take these guys and capture them?’ We don’t want to kill people arbitrarily; we want the intel take.

    “Now, most importantly, when you see that van show up to take away the wounded, do not target or strike anyone who has surrendered or is out of combat due to sickness or wounds. So, the wound part of that I find disturbing, being that you clearly have people down, you have people on the way there. Speaking as an intelligence officer, my intent is to capture people, to recover them. That is the idea here. If you’re not really doing that, you’re not really doing precise combat.”

    This is a misdirection play. The former intelligence officer was first addressing the issue of violation of the ROE, then switched to the issue of what he would like to see in order to categorize this as precise combat, i.e., capture and intelligence recovery. He offers us no evidence that the actions violated the ROE. He says it and moves on to his pet issues.

    There is ample evidence that the actions did not violate the ROE. There are three categories under which these insurgents could have been targeted: (1) TIC (troops in contact) / self defense, (2) deliberate targeting, and finally (3) TST (time sensitive targets).

    The AR 15-6 investigation into this incident points out that:

    The cameraman raises the camera to sight through the viewfinder and his action appears prompts (sic) one of the pilots to remark “He’s getting ready to fire.” Photos later recovered from the camera show a U.S. Army HMMWV sitting at an intersection, less than 100 meters away from the camera. The digital time/date stamp on the photo indicates that these photos were the ones taken as the cameraman peered from behind the wall. Due to the furtive nature of his movements, the cameraman gave every appearance of preparing to fire an RPG on U.S. Soldiers.

    So the actions meet the definition of self defense in the ROE. Next, there is an earlier version of the rules of engagement which has a larger list of potential targets in the deliberate targeting category.

    There are six types of preplanned target sets: (1) Non-military elements of former regime command and control and associated facilities, (2) WMD storage facilities, (3) Iraqi infrastructure and Iraqi economic objects, (4) Terrorists, (5) Iraqi lines of communication, and (6) Facilities (associated with Designated Terrorists or Declared Hostile Forces).

    But the 2007 revision of the ROE had at least the following list: members of designated terrorist organizations and facilities associated with DTOs. It goes on to list certain DTOs, and as a side bar comment, it isn’t clear to me why Ansar al Sunna isn’t specifically called out. But that has nothing per se to do with this incident, and “other groups or terrorist organizations” covers this operation.

    Finally, time sensitive targets (for which there is insufficient time to gain formal authorization) covers the kills at the location of the van which showed up to recover the bodies.

    To be sure, this video can be disturbing to those who do not understand that war means enacting and enforcing violence, and can be equally disturbing to those who have had to do so either in Iraq or Afghanistan. Memories can be difficult things. It’s always better in retrospect to learn that the targets you acquired and killed were indeed threats against U.S. forces. This is true in this instance except for two very stupid Reuters journalists embedded with insurgents, and two unfortunate children (who, by the way, lived) who should never have been brought into combat by some very stupid – and dead – insurgents.

  17. #37
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    and you will find that neither API nor APII have been ratified by the US or by Iraq. You and others can insist all you want that the Euro-centric construct of "international humanitarian law" be imposed on the US; but to date that has not happened.

    GC III and IV have been ratified by both the US and Iraq and apply to situtations covered by them. Not all situations fall into those covered catagories (e.g., armed conflicts not of an international character are not covered by all GCIII and GCIV provisions).
    We're actually not in disagreement here. I referred to the AP I in regard to what's human shielding or not.

    I already quoted the part of GC III that is relevant to this conflict (GC III was ratified by both US and Iraq).

    In short: It's in this matter irrelevant whether the US has ratified AP I or not.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Here's my two cents on the issue, a bunch of guys commenting on the actions of an operator on the ground from the safety of cyberspace is, at best, in poor taste. This is the reason that the military often does not release this kind of footage, not some grand conspiracy to conceal wrong-doing. It's simply that many people will look at footage like this and will jump to whatever conclusion best fits their preconceived notions and bias. Has anyone here talked to the aircrew or anyone that was on the ground there? For that matter, I know that some of the members here are combat veterans but I also know that some of those who are most vocal about the way things should be in combat have never been in combat. The title of the thread should tell you everything that you need to know.

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    MSM interviews a panel of experts including the founder of Wikileaks

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-FvRngn81Y 10min

    Wikileaks founder states that this is only one of several tapes to be released in the near future. Further tapes include an A'stan airstrike which resulted in approx 90 civvies KIA. This is just the start of a major hearts and minds campaign. You have to remember too, that Wikileaks is having some major funding problems at the moment, so I expect this campaign is related to that. Perhaps a closer relationship with the mainstream media will result in some cash for scoops arrangements. Nice f*ckers.

    I am all for government accountability, and I often read wikileaks and have admired their stance on internet censorship vis: Australia, but we are at war and this will not only result in more jihadis taking up arms, thereby costing US/Coalition lives (as well as indig lives in the process). The AQI and Taliban are already pretty much on top of the Information operations aspect of this conflict, and this type of material will only enhance the enemy's efforts. Traitorous and irresponsible and the wikileaks folks will end up with blood on their hands because of it. I'm getting visions of that famous photo of Jane Fonda visiting North Vietnam...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Here's my two cents on the issue, a bunch of guys commenting on the actions of an operator on the ground from the safety of cyberspace is, at best, in poor taste...
    And that is exactly how historians such as myself will be viewing incidents such as these in 20 or 30 years time. I'm just getting a head start.

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