Iraq: Wikileaks video of US military killing journalists

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by friendless, Apr 5, 2010.

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  1. friendless

    friendless Well-Known Member

  2. Nerve

    Nerve Well-Known Member

    i just saw this. Politics aside, it scares me how naturally a human can kill like that. Like the others were just some annoying ants in a wall.
  3. friendless

    friendless Well-Known Member

    I don't know how I feel about this. In times of war there are technically no laws, there are international courts but they only prosecute after the fact and any country taking part in the proceedings can decide that the verdict is non-binding. It makes sense as a war strategy to eliminate the enemy's journalists so that you can flood the country with your own propaganda, but as a female civilian with a child I find this absolutely atrocious. The US military can basically commit as many war crimes as it wants and claim that it was fighting "insurgents".

    On the macro level it makes logical sense from a purely political perspective.
    On the micro level, the US can become the biggest human rights violator the world has ever known and get away with it. I'm also conflicted because I'm a US citizen and a conscientious objector.

    Regardless of what I think about it, I felt I was obligated to post this to disseminate news that may be censored by the mainstream media.

    According to the youtube video, there were about a dozen people killed and in my cynical mind this is probably only getting attention because two Reuters reporters were killed in the incident. If you are a woman or child the international community doesn't give a shit if you die, if you work for an international news organization the story goes viral.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2010
  4. Mikeintx

    Mikeintx Well-Known Member

    Its war, they thought they had rpgs and ak47s so they shot them.
  5. friendless

    friendless Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but they should have made sure. It's this sloppy handling of conflict that wins popular support against the US. It's what does the recruiting for Al Quaida and Taliban forces. If we lay off civilians and let our opposition continue their attacks against the civilian population we should gain more support. Or so the argument goes. I personally think we should have stayed the hell out of the Middle East and focused our attention on our own domestic problems, like the failing economy and the state of public education.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2010
  6. Nerve

    Nerve Well-Known Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2010
  7. cult logic

    cult logic Staff Alumni

    They thought they were armed and acted accordingly. When the ground troops arrived they did what the could to help the wounded kids.

    I'm sure I'll get a clusterfuck of Anti-American sentiment thrown at me for this but I think all the soldiers in that situation did exactly what they were supposed to.

    It was a mistake, they weren't just shooting people for the hell of it.

    It's a shame that innocent people died but that's what happens in war.
  8. empty101

    empty101 Well-Known Member

    Well at first I agreed with the post above, but then they fired at the van collecting the wounded. Right, before they fired at the van, it was easy to assess that they were collecting the bodies and not armed.

    In terms of the reporters get shot at, those are the risks of their jobs. Hang out with guys holding RPGs and ak-47s in a war and this can happen. It's a said tale of war and I hope they RIP.

    However, the people in the van should not have been shot at. I was waiting for him to be denied permission to shoot at the van, and it was really surprising that it was granted. They wouldn't shoot the wounded guy unless he had a gun, but they'd shoot the unarmed people in the van helping out? Something was done wrong there. Really disappointed in the request and order to fire.
    I don't know the American military laws, international laws, rules of engagement etc. etc. but I don't think it was a flaw in the system so much as one officer's(I assume) bad order. There should certainly be more motivation for an officer in that position to make a better decision. The mechanisms, rules, structure and laws to stop something like this from happening failed. I think a video like this should only motivate the American military to better these things, especially when they are fighting with such a technological advantage.

    War is a terrible thing, and terrible things will happen. However, this region of the world was subject to these dangers long before the Americans showed up. Although every death is a terrible thing, it isn't good reason to be against the war because without this war there could have been twice as many people with that fate.
  9. friendless

    friendless Well-Known Member

    First and foremost, we should be more careful in our operations in the field. Secondly, we should take responsibility for our mistakes instead of trying to cover them up and them having them leaked to the press anyway to avoid looking corrupt and incompetent.

    We need to win the hearts and minds of the people in order to win the war:
    "Preparations are under way in Afghanistan for a U.S.-led offensive this summer aimed at clearing the Taliban out of the southern province of Kandahar. Officials say the first step is to get tribal and community elders onboard....Many residents of Kandahar blame the growing level of violence over the past few years on Afghan officials and Western forces — not the Taliban. More foreign troops near their homes and businesses are the last things they want." []

    We need to keep the support of the elected officials:
    "Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened over the weekend to quit the political process and join the Taliban if he continued to come under outside pressure to reform."[]

    The Afghan president accused the international community of interfering in last year's presidential election and seeking to weaken his authority

    Here's a perfect example of covering up mistakes:
    US special forces 'tried to cover-up' botched Khataba raid in Afghanistan
    "US special forces soldiers dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened.Two pregnant women, a teenage girl, a police officer and his brother were shot on February 12 when US and Afghan special forces stormed their home in Khataba village, outside Gardez in eastern Afghanistan. The precise composition of the force has never been made public.

    The claims were made as Nato admitted responsibility for all the deaths for the first time last night. It had initially claimed that the women had been dead for several hours when the assault force discovered their bodies.

    “Despite earlier reports we have determined that the women were accidentally killed as a result of the joint force firing at the men,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Todd Breasseale, a Nato spokesman. The coalition continued to deny that there had been a cover-up and said that its legal investigation, which is ongoing, had found no evidence of inappropriate conduct.

    The Kabul headquarters of General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and Nato forces, claimed originally that the women had been “tied up, gagged and killed”.

    A senior Afghan official involved in a government investigation told The Times: “I think the special forces lied to McChrystal.”

    “Why did the special forces collect their bullets from the area?” the official said. “They washed the area of the injuries with alcohol and brought out the bullets from the dead bodies. The bodies showed there were big holes.”

    The official, who asked not to be named until the results of the investigation have been made public, said that the assault force sealed off the compound from 4am, when the raid started, to 11am, when Afghan officials from Gardez were finally allowed access to the house.

    At least 11 bullets were fired during the raid, the investigator said, and the shooting was carried out by two American gunmen positioned on the roof of the compound. Only seven bullets were recovered from the scene.

    “I asked McChrystal, ‘why did the Americans clean some of the bullets from the area?’ They don’t have the right to do that,” the official said.

    Haji Sharabuddin, the head of the family who were attacked, told The Times last month that troops removed bullets from his relatives’ bodies, but his claims were impossible to verify. The hallway where four of the five victims were killed had been repainted and at least two bullet holes had been plastered over.

    Video footage of the raid’s aftermath, collected by Afghan investigators, shows close-up shots of one man’s bloodstained and punctured torso and walls with blood on them. The Afghan official’s conclusion that the bullets were removed is based on the testimony of survivors, analysis of the photographs and the missing bullets.

    Nato promised a joint forensic investigation in a statement issued after the raid, but Rear Admiral Greg Smith, the coalition’s director of communications in Afghanistan, said that this had proved impossible because the bodies were buried the same day in accordance with Islamic custom.

    Instead Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior sent its top criminal investigator from Kabul, and a Canadian brigadier-general led a separate military inquiry.

    The Afghan investigation differed in one respect from The Times’ findings. Survivors told this newspaper that Saranwal Zahir, the police officer’s brother, was shot when he tried to shout that his family was innocent. The women, who were crouching behind him, were killed in the same volley of fire. Afghan investigators believe that Mr Zahir was carrying an AK47 and wanted to avenge his brother’s killers. The women were clustered around him, trying to pull him inside the house, when the second US gunman opened fire, killing all four of them.

    Footage collected by the Afghan team also shows a man in United States Army uniform taking pictures of the bodies. The findings have not been made public. The Interior Ministry is expected to pass a report to the Attorney-General’s office, which will decide whether or not it can press criminal charges.

    The family had more than 25 guests on the night of the attack, as well as three musicians, to celebrate the naming of a newborn child.

    “In what culture in the world do you invite ... people for a party and meanwhile kill three women?” asked the senior official. “The dead bodies were just eight metres from where they were preparing the food. The Americans, they told us the women were dead for 14 hours.”

    In a statement yesterday, Brigadier-General Eric Tremblay, a Nato spokesman, said: “We deeply regret the outcome of this operation, accept responsibility for our actions that night, and know that this loss will be felt forever by the families.

    “The force went to the compound based on reliable information in search of a Taliban insurgent, and believed that the two men posed a threat to their personal safety. We now understand that the men killed were only trying to protect their families.” []
  10. wastedmylife

    wastedmylife Well-Known Member

    for real, I cant even kill ants on the wall, I try and capture them in a cup and put them outside though I am not always successful

    Those people probably grew up hunting and like most hunters, they cant differentiate between a human and an animal, it is all target practice to them

    and Iraq was not a enemy of America before the Iraq war but they sure are now, unreal what has happened to America since the Bush Cancer

    the Bush cancer destroyed America in so many ways, just completely destroyed this country

    I know my own life was destroyed by this cancer that came over America
  11. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Since Nam it has been the policy of the pentagon to not show real effects of combat.

    Also, they launched a propaganda campaign in the lead up to the iraq war by placing :military analysts: all through the main stream media who were taking their talking points directly from the pentagon. And yes, that is illegal. '


    Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand

    In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.

    How the Pentagon Spread Its Message

    Audio, video and documents that show how the military’s talking points were disseminated.

    The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.

    To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

    Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.


    You just gotta read it all to get the full breadth. its absolutely shocking. pure propagandizing.

    I know its a long article and not the nifty slogans you are used to, but Im sure you fox news heads can focus for ten minutes or so.
  12. xan

    xan Chat Buddy

    Wow... to be honest I can see why they opened fire, it really did look like a guy shouldering an rpg around the corner of the building and in a war hesitating can get you and your friends killed, but it is a shame that innocent people get killed...
    Also it's scary how much that looks like COD:MW2... I mean with games getting more realistic and war becoming more robotic how long before the realism of the two overlap entirely?
  13. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    What war crimes were committed here? I don't think killing noncombatants is necessarily a violation of the rules of engagement, but I'm certainly no expert on the matter. But since you've made the positive claim and are obviously more familiar with this sort of thing than I am, please present your evidence. I'd be especially interested in any direct evidence to rebut the US military's claim that the armed guys killed had just finished some sort of a firefight, etc.

    Not that the idea of linking to the Weekly Standard fills me with anything but revulsion, but since that seems to be the line the neocons are taking, it is something someone should address. FWIW, I don't trust anything I read on that site without independent confirmation. So here's the link to the news release the article cites.


    Two bits of errata:

    (1) FWIW, even if this is somehow shown to be absolutely a US military clusterfuck, I honestly can't see how this is anywhere near the level of say, the US firebombing of Tokyo in World War II, or the combined Anglo-American bombings of cities from Hamburg to Dresden in Germany in the "war crimes" department. Hell, if the US and UK still had the mindset of a "Bomber" Harris there probably would not have been a New Baghdad at all by July 2007, other than maybe a few piles of stones and some rotting corpses.

    (2) Funny how this incident never seemed to get much in the way of coverage. And I'm afraid my sympathies here are more with the common soldiers involved than either the Iraqis or the douchebag who commanded them. Sometime I'll have to see how this all worked out. It was only a few months before the New Baghdad incident. Note: The War Nerd has a very weird perspective on things. Can't say I necessarily agree with all of the article, but I've just not seen this one written up elsewhere.
  14. friendless

    friendless Well-Known Member

    Perhaps not in the Wikileaks incident, but I was referring to the war in its entirety.

    The war itself was illegal, but it's not as though international law is legitimate and we pretty much own the UN anyway so they can suck it.
    "The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter."[]

    The rules of engagement do not apply in all cases.
    "The late 1990s and early 2000s has seen an increase in the use of private military contractors particularly from United States and Britain. Contractors such as Blackwater (now Xe) are not bound by the same rules of engagement, standing orders, or levels of accountability as are members of a national military force. This is a military policy problem as the wrongful actions that many civilian security companies have taken part in are taken as the action of the force in country; the actions of civilian security forces hired by the United States are taken to be the actions of the United States directly."

    Which means we can commit as many war crimes as we want since the military in contracting its job out to private contractors. There have been at least a dozen incidents over the last seven years where Blackwater employees were to be held accountable for murder charges but were allowed to return to the US without out facing punishment.
    "A security official at the US Embassy in Iraq has claimed he believes State Department colleagues tried to block any serious probe of the 2007 massacre of seventeen Iraqi civilians by employees of the private military firm Blackwater. The official, David Farrington, told prosecutors that State Department officials handling evidence at the crime scene wanted to ensure the Blackwater guards would avoid punishment. Charges against five Blackwater guards were dismissed in December after a federal judge ruled prosecutors had tried to use testimony that the guards had made under immunity provided by the State Department."

    "Blackwater sparked outrage among Iraqis after a group of its members who were tasked to guard US diplomats in Iraq opened fire on civilians in Baghdad in September 2007, killing 17 people.
    The case again caused controversy after a US District Court dropped all charges against the guards in last December, saying the defendants’ constitutional rights had been violated.
    The guards were charged with 17 counts of manslaughter, 20 counts of attempting to commit manslaughter and one count of the violation of US arms export regulations.
    Following the acquittal, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh issued a warning to the firm’s member asking them to immediately leave the country." []

    We used this strategy in Iraq, now it's time to use it in Afghanistan.
    "As the U.S. focuses its attention on Afghanistan, the number of private security personnel is soaring. Afghanistan, which had been a moderate source of employment for security contractors, has become the hot market for guns for hire.
    “In politics, they say follow the money,” said Peter Singer, a Brookings Institution defence analyst and author of Corporate Warriors, a book about privatized warfare. “Well, this is what is happening in Afghanistan, but with private security.”
    In January, a U.S. Congressional study noted the number of armed security contractors working for the Pentagon in Afghanistan jumped from a little more than 3,180 to just over 10,700 in the period from December 2008 to September 2009." []

    So what happened to the US as a result of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? As I recall NOTHING happened to us as a result, and NOTHING happened to us as a result of our dealings in Vietnam either, only proving my point that we act as though we can shit on the world and never see consequences of our actions.
  15. Mikeintx

    Mikeintx Well-Known Member

  16. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Whats bad also, is those blackwater guys who slaughtered the 15 civilians at the intersection are not in prison yet.

    Iraq is demanding a fair trial. They still have yet to go to trial. The first one was dismissed on a technicality, but they are not off the hook. They are still going to be tried for murder.

    and about war crimes: It is well established that White Phosphorus was repeatedly used as a weapon in civilian areas. That is a war crime. It is a chemical weapon when used as a weapon. It soaks in the skin and shuts down organs and will not stop burning, the remains look like leather. Israel is also known to use chemical weapons in densly populated civilian areas. But conveniantly, the US and Israel are about the only ones not signed on to the chemical weapons ban or the landmine ban as I recall.

    Also, as we all know, the DU. This has been well established as well that birth defects and cancer rates are up 15 times normal in combat areas.

    Just how many lives do you think this so called war has destroyed? Millions........
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2010
  17. empty101

    empty101 Well-Known Member

    I'm really confused.

    Everyone seems to use the fact that the guys were holding guys and RPGs to justify the shooting. But they obviously have reason to shoot them. It was the van of people without guns that they decided to shoot that's the problem IMO. (did you guys watch the entire video?)
  18. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    I wrote an article on this incident for my school paper. I did see the full video and found it perturbing how they opened fire on an unmarked van that clearly appeared to be retrieving wounded. However, given that they believe the man being saved was an insurgent, they likely made the same assumption about those in the van.

    It's difficult to analyze warfare from an outsiders perspective, especially since we don't factor in the context. The incident occurred during one of the darkest chapters in the war, when casualties on both sides were heavy. The units involved in this engagement had suffered heavy losses and tensions ran high.

    This in no way validates the killing of innocent civilians, but it doesn't make it appropriately more gray and ambiguous, as warfare often is.
  19. Mikeintx

    Mikeintx Well-Known Member

    Isn't it common for insurgents to immediately retrieve dead bodies after a fight? I heard that is common in Afghanistan, but I don't know how it is in Iraq. Either way these types of things are going to happen in war. Those pilots have to live with the knowledge that they killed innocent people and I am sure they do not take that lightly.
  20. empty101

    empty101 Well-Known Member

    That is why we must do as much as we can to make it unacceptable, to minimize it's occurrence.

    Hopefully the public anger will make the next pilot in that position to question themselves and hopefully the system will allow less flexibility when someone does do it.
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