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WikiLeaks video "Collateral Murder" depicts US military killing civilians in Baghdad

 
 
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:00 pm
Quote:
WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded. For further information please visit the special project website www.collateralmurder.com.




Full video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik
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Type: Discussion • Score: 18 • Views: 21,271 • Replies: 138

 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Around 8 minutes into that video, hearing those soliders beg to engage the wounded (clearly itching to kill them) and those tending to the wounded is simply disgusting. Seeing them do it, just blow them away, is chilling.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:05 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Hearing those soliders beg to engage the wounded (clearly itching to kill them) and those tending to the wounded is simply disgusting. Seeing them do it, just blow them away, is chilling.


Yay America! We only kill the bad guys! We do no wrong!

/wtf

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:10 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
We only kill the bad guys!


Gen. Stanley McChrystal said that in 9 months in Afghanistan that an "amazing" number of people have been shot and not one had been a threat.

Quote:
"We really ask a lot of our young service people out on the checkpoints because there's danger, they're asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations. However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I've been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it."

He continued: "That doesn't mean I'm criticizing the people who are executing. I'm just giving you perspective. We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."


Or how about this other story from today's New York Times, detailing how US soldiers “dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath” and then “washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened” to cover their tracks?

A lot of folks in the military make me sick, listen to those soldiers saying "their fault for bringing their kids to battle" when they are feverishly imagining weapons and indiscriminately killing people who pose no threat to them. They were begging to shoot unarmed people, these folk disgust me and that they get away with it (or get a tiny slap on the wrist) just about every time is depressing.
hawkeye10
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:25 pm
@Robert Gentel,
If this surprises you after Mei Lei then you haven't been paying attention. The sad thing is that little was done to keep rouge soldiers under control, to punish those who went over the line. When the culture was set that Iraq's are animals that don't deserve human rights it was a slam dunk that those in the military who have a love for killing were going to go to town. There are a certain small percentage of any military who look for any pretext to blow things up and/or kill.
Robert Gentel
 
  5  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:53 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
If this surprises you after Mei Lei then you haven't been paying attention.


I expressed no surprise, I expressed disgust. I even mentioned that they only get a slap on the wrist (like the My Lai folks did) most of the time.

Who isn't paying attention?
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 02:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
Who isn't paying attention?
You might benefit from revisiting the definition of the word "if".
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 02:07 pm
Very little coverage so far, CNN.com is leading with Tiger and iPad.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/05/wikileaks-exposes-video-o_n_525569.html

Quote:
Calling it a case of "collateral murder," the WikiLeaks Web site today released harrowing until-now secret video of a U.S. Army Apache helicopter in Baghdad in 2007 repeatedly opening fire on a group of men that included a Reuters photographer and his driver -- and then on a van that stopped to rescue one of the wounded men.

None of the members of the group were taking hostile action, contrary to the Pentagon's initial cover story; they were milling about on a street corner. One man was evidently carrying a gun, though that was and is hardly an uncommon occurrence in Baghdad.

Reporters working for WikiLeaks determined that the driver of the van was a good Samaritan on his way to take his small children to a tutoring session. He was killed and his two children were badly injured.

In the video, which Reuters has been asking to see since 2007, crew members can be heard celebrating their kills.

"Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards," says one crewman after multiple rounds of 30mm cannon fire left nearly a dozen bodies littering the street.

A crewman begs for permission to open fire on the van and its occupants, even though it has done nothing but stop to help the wounded: "Come on, let us shoot!"


http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/04/201045123449200569.html

Quote:
Following the shooting, the footage shows troops carrying two injured children, as another unidentified person asks for permission to take the wounded out of the area.

A voice responds, saying, "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle."
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 03:18 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Dylan Ratigan did about 15 minutes on it for his MSNBC show. Here's a link if you want to see the discussion:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31510813/ns/msnbc_tv-the_dylan_ratigan_show#36182090

Let me know if you're unable to view it where you are located and I'll see if it is on youtube yet.


Seeing these combat videos from 2007 just re-emphasizes how important it is that the military not be in control of what is reported about our country's war activities. It has all been sanitized and, as the founder of WikiLeads said on Ratigan's show, aerial combat has become nothing but a glorified video game and these guys were trying to get a higher score so they could brag about it.

dyslexia
 
  8  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 03:52 pm
the above "incident" is a common event in modern war (perhaps not just modern) it was certainly not uncommon in Vietnam, I have seen such with my own eyes. warfare does something very ugly to many soldiers. I don't feel blame for those that did this, I blame the willingness of governments to engage in war sans regard for the consequences. It's all very predictable.
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 04:17 pm
@dyslexia,
for those who are history challenged, 2007 was the year of the surge. Increasingly in 2006 it was looking like we are losing the situation, it was decided that the only way to save it was by adding a lot of new troops. But, before the new troops got in and established the enemy had a wild ramp up of membership and capability.

For much of 2006 and early 2007 our guys did little more than try to prevent it from becoming a rout. With the surge they pivoted into trying to take back Iraq. It was a brutal fight. My wifes brigade at the time was 4/2 Stryker Brigade, they went into Diyala Provence which when they got there was almost completely in the control of the enemy. We lost 23 warriors in the first two months, a couple of hundred wounded bad enough that they needed to be removed from theater, the majority from the IED's.

This does not excuse violating the rules of engagement, those who did should have been punished as I already said. But I know guys that might have killed when they did not need to, should not have. I have some idea of the strain that they were under. THose IED's got planted with the full knowledge of civilians who did nothing to warn our guys about it. Makes sense, because the enemy would have killed them if they did (and did kill many it should be said). However in keeping quiet the civilians took sides against us. It is no surprise that some soldiers took the situation into their own hands an violated orders, by executing civilians.

I would like to think that I would have been better than them had I been in the fight, but you what, I dont know.
dyslexia
 
  3  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 04:32 pm
@hawkeye10,
I readily admit it was only circumstantial luck that prevented me from being better than that.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 05:46 pm
I haven't seen the video yet (posting from a blackberry in an airport) and while I'm not going to argue these things don't happen in war, I also am not going to assume that every charge of war crime is accurate or not politically motivated.

That being said, for the sake of discussion, I am, for now, willing to assume that this incident was every bit as horrible as Robert charges.

Has there ever been or is there currently an army actually engaged in an effort to win a war that has been more focused on keeping these sorts of incidents from happening than the US military?

I don't know for certain what the answer is, but I doubt any other military has jumped to anyone's mind.

This, of course, doesn't excuse atrocities when the occur, but it certainly belies any suggestion that they are prevalent and SOP.

This is a war, and in wars people die. Often the people dying are not combatants. Sometimes the non-combatants are murdered by the combatants. thinking that a war can be fought without any such incidents is unrealistic.

So what is the import of this incident?

I can understand how the fact that such incidents are inevitable in war might inform an uncompromising anti-war position. I don't however believe that many who adopt this position truly appreciate what it entails.

I don't believe that the majority of people who take such a stance give much thought to what the real world would look like without America taking part in wars.

After all, an anti-war position is only meaningful to the extent that it can influence an individual nation's policies. It is not about to stop other nations from doing the sorts of things that might draw one's own nation into war.

Are most pacifists truly prepared to deal with the consequences of their pacifism?

It's easy to decry violence when you know you're not going to stop it, but still benefit from it.

Atrocities realized should disgust.

If they don't, you're probably a psychopath, but I don't know that I understand the value in announcing that disgust.

It is not going to end war. It is not going to end America's involvement in war. It is not going to end war time atrocities.

The fact that our military is so extra-ordinarily focused on avoiding atrocities is due in large measure to the expressed disgust of the American people for such atrocities, but I think the so-called Anti-War crowd take far too much credit for this.

The press should report on atrocities when they occur. A problem is that the press has lost credibility as an objective truth teller. This is their fault and not the fault of the American people. Americans don't need the press to manipulate them in order for them to take the right path. The AP headlines American war atrocities and close to or more than half of Americans are skeptical. Why? Because they secretly like to see American soldiers killing civilians? Because they are ignorant jingoistic who swear by "My country right or wrong?"

Maybe...maybe, this incident should call into question the wisdom of a professional military class, but then the draft sent murderers to Vietnam too.

As Sherman said, "War is hell," but it was also his willingness to unleash that hell on the South that led to the North's victory and an end to the ongoing slaughter.

Is hollow righteous outrage not disgusting in its own way?


dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 08:24 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Checking Oz media.....ABC, The Age The Australian (national paper) and our local rag have it prominently on their net editions.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 08:26 pm
I'll just set politics down for a second and go straight to being ashamed of this. I want so badly for us to be better than this.

Truly heartbreaking and terrifying.
K
O
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  3  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 08:31 pm
A Vietnam veteran told me, "As a soldier I was put into a situation that was insane to begin with. I sat behind a machine gun and only thought about shooting the enemies' heads off before they shot my head off."
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 08:39 pm
@wandeljw,
Quote:
As a soldier I was put into a situation that was insane to begin with. I sat behind a machine gun and only thought about shooting the enemies' heads off before they shot my head off."
Coversly in Iraq many (how many IDK) had the attitude "I don't know why we are here in this stinking hell hole, and I dont care, I just want to get home in one piece and I will do what ever I have to in order to make that happen"
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 03:24 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
Around 8 minutes into that video, hearing those soliders beg to engage the wounded (clearly itching to kill them) and those tending to the wounded is simply disgusting. Seeing them do it, just blow them away, is chilling.


I just watched the video right through to the end, Robert.

I can't agree with you more. It is extremely chilling.

At one point, towards the end of the video, noting that children had been hurt/killed, one of the helicopter crew comments:

"Well it's their fault for bringing their kids into battle"

The other voice agrees:
"Right".

Too bad if it's simply the children's neighbourhood & they were just walking down the street with a family member - the wrong place at the wrong time.

If this sort of surveillance exercise is typical of what happened in Iraq & is now happening in Afghanistan, then god knows what the local people make of the experience! Certainly few hearts & minds would be being won over. They would see the this sort of incident as barbaric, as senseless murder .... And quite rightly so.

And one can only wonder about the lasting effects on the perpetrators, those involved in causing such "accidental collateral damage".... those were innocent civilians they killed. How many more such accidental killings were they involved in? Surely at some point they must reflect & come to terms with what they have done? Surely they will have been damaged themselves by what they have been required to do?



Francis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 03:33 am
msolga wrote:
And one can only wonder about the lasting effects on the perpetrators, those involved in causing such "accidental collateral damage"....

I once heard a military say: I know I'm a bastard and I'm happy (to be one)...

So, don't worry about the lasting effects on the perpetrators..
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 03:38 am
@msolga,
Quote:
If this sort of surveillance exercise is typical of what happened in Iraq & is now happening in Afghanistan, then god knows what the local people make of the experience! Certainly few hearts & minds would be being won over. They would see the this sort of incident as barbaric, as senseless murder .... And quite rightly so.
You are kidding right? This is the land of Saddam, his death squads, meat grinder wars with Iran,Wars with America, Years of not enough food or medicine unless you were favored by the regime, and for awhile various bands of militants roaming the country who killed civilians with abandon.

If you check the news you will see that multiple major bombings in Baghdad have killed over 50 in the last 24 hours.

The locals know of nothing outside of brutality. Americans are just like the rest. And that is what sucks, because we should have been different
 

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