All I know is - who is at fault? The people who put innocents in harms way or the ones who are given a directive to take out strategic points? I'm sorry but while I hate, hate, HATE to see/hear about innocents getting caught in the crossfire of war, I do realize that the scuzbags that PUT innocents *knowingly* in the line of fire in order to protect their own sorry asses, are the ones we really should be condemning.
I'm not a rah rah fan of war at all. I've lost family and a lot of friends in this way... but to place blame on one half of the equation without weighing the reasons WHY those innocents were put there to *begin* with... ? Disingenuous.
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice....shame on me.
For years now we've been dealing with a situation where the enemy:
...does not wear uniforms.
...hides among the civilian population.
...uses human shields or hides among civilians after an attack, or during an attack.
As I understand it some kind of engagement was going on very close by between coalition troops and militants.
These people were seen in the battle area, or very near it. They appeared to be armed. An assumption was made that they were hostile. This is not an unreasonable assumption give the facts above.
There were a couple of reporters apparently mixed in with the possible-militants. The troops didn't know they were there, had not been advised of same ahead of time apparently.
At one point I saw, sticking around a corner, something cylindrical looking. It didn't look much like a camera. If I had been thinking in terms of hostiles and worrying about having missles or rocket propelled grenades shot at me, I might have identified that as a possible RPG or missle launcher as well.
The initial engagement, of the 8 men who seemed like they might be hiding and waiting for the vehicles to go by, was not unreasonable given the circumstances.
As for the van that attempted to pick up the wounded or bodies... granted that doesn't look so good. However there may well be contextual reasons that we are not aware of. Possibly there has been an established pattern of other militants showing up to evac dead/wounded militants, and they were operating on that assumption. There was no way of knowing there were children in the van... and as mentioned above, we've been dealing with an enemy who deliberately uses women and children as shields and "martyrs" for propanganda purposes.
Calling it murder is going too far. This was a battle zone in the middle of a counterinsurgency war. People running around in such an area engaging in any questionable behavior are subject to getting shot. It happens. It isn't new.
In combat, if you err on the side of aggression you are more likely to survive than if you err on the side of timidity or restraint. This is something that needs to be thoroughly understood before getting too heavy into criticising soldier's actions.
As for the way the airmen and gunners were talking... well, they aren't playing Monopoly here. The job of soldiers is to kill people and break things. Like cops, docs, nurses, EMS and firemen, a certain type of peculiar humor that outsiders don't (can't) understand tends to break through during stressful moments, used as a shield against emotional reactions that you don't have time for. That's the best I know how to explain it.
For several years now, everyone we've killed in Iraq was a civilian. Many of them were "civilians" who happened to be armed and who had intent to attack coalition forces (ie militants, terrorists...they don't wear uniforms!). I'm sure some were just people in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is regrettable but it happens.
Last edited by Goshin; 04-05-10 at 08:48 PM.
Fiddling While Rome Burns
Carthago Delenda Est
"I used to roll the dice; see the fear in my enemies' eyes... listen as the crowd would sing, 'now the old king is dead, Long Live the King.'.."
Is society was made of coral our world would be floral.
That said, I'm too emotionally exhausted to have the debate on the morals of the situation. I leave that for stronger stomachs.
First, I actually agree. The "Rah rah" America, **** Yeah!, type attitude for this is horribly wrong. That said, I only really saw one person doing this massively in this thread and think it was mostly tongue in cheek. There is nothing great, or awesome, or wonderful about that footage.
Second, despite that though, I am much like TheGirlNextDoor on this. Its regrettable, unfortunate, and sad...but its war. Yes, it may technically not be war (No, its not an occupation, the control of the country is NOT held by a hostile military force, its held by the Iraqi government who we are working in concert with), but in all logical and practical senses that's what it is. Civilians, especially those with no grasp of what war is like, sitting in arm chairs thousands of miles away judging a situation based on a short bit of footage put forward with the context and extra manipulations of the agenda of those showing it are not going to have a full grasp of what the situation really is. The U.S. military, as a whole, is an honorable and dedicated force of good people that unfortunately have to do not so good things often. Sometimes, often, things are not going to go 100% in war and if you are to live or not get your companions killed you have to err on the side of aggression rather than passivity.
I think Redress and Goshin, two people on different sides of the aisle, have really hit the situation home with their responses and views of it in this thread.
"I am appalled that somebody who is the nominee...would take that kind of position"
"A court took away a presidency"
"...the brother of a man running for president was the governor of the state..."
It's horrifying because Trump is blunt instead of making overt implications.
And that's a wrap. Thanks for stopping by everybody.
Note that they had to get clearance from their higher command to engage the van. There was no discussion of weapons at that point. Higher command wasn't seeing video live. He heard a bunch of Iraqis had weapons, were killed and a van drove up to help them. Was the van trying to get a high value target away from the kill zone? engage.