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Sergei

Covering up a mass killing

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If they are not wearing unforms they are illegal combatants, potential insurgents policing the scene and to be killed. If they are wearing uniforms they are enemy combatants and can be killed....

Four legs good.

I think he meant that they weren't identifiable as medics, which is a fair point if it's true that the ground forces in contact had reported the insurgents were using a black minivan as transport. Not that it's ok to hose down minivans in general on the chance that they might be holding insurgents, but mistakes will happen when the enemy uses civilian vehicles as ad hoc PC's.

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And that's the way it works in Baghdad and the ME in general. People tend to rush in and drag people into taxis, minivans etc. Whatever is there they pile them in and shoot off to hospital. Why? Because there isn't exactly a reliable 911 service. We've all seen it on the news. We've even all thought "Hell, put the guy down, you're making it worse." But it's a cultural thing born of neccessity.

The video doesn't show them policing up weapons. It shows them trying to get the wounded guy in the van.

For the record, I do believe the weapons were there or that there were armed men in the vicinity. Otherwise the journalists wouldn't have been there in the first place. But I do think the video shows an over-eagerness to kill in vague circumstances and, as we have seen so many times, a certain railroad attitude with personnel convincing themselves of what they want to see and relaying partial information to their 'fire authoriser'. The radio chatter is unprofessional and loutish but pretty much what we've come to expect from cowboys.

I do wonder about the massive PTSD time bomb that is ticking away for America.

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Also, as MSBoxer pointed out, the same van appears to have dropped off some of the individuals prior to the engagement.

A van dropped them off. You've been there. You know how many vans there are. I think on the website it even says that the Reuters guy who was killed outright was on the phone to one of his drivers who had just driven off when it happened.

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The video doesn't show them policing up weapons. It shows them trying to get the wounded guy in the van.

If the minivan was previously identified moments before as carrying combatants, then it's a legitimate target even if picking up wounded. Personnel carriers and their crews don't get a pass because they happen to be carrying wounded or heading rearward.

I agree with the rest of your post.

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If the minivan was previously identified moments before as carrying combatants, then it's a legitimate target even if picking up wounded. Personnel carriers and their crews don't get a pass because they happen to be carrying wounded or heading rearward.

This.

Either way, the journalists were "embedded" with JAM, they weren't wearing their press corps PPE, PRESS placards or anything that would ID them as such. They played with fire and they got burned. As far as the wounded children are concerned, their parents are solely responsible.

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Either way, the journalists were "embedded" with JAM, they weren't wearing their press corps PPE, PRESS placards or anything that would ID them as such.

How do you know that?

They played with fire and they got burned. As far as the wounded children are concerned, their parents are solely responsible.

For driving around in their own neighbourhood? Or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? No blame hey on the gun jockeys making an over eager call?

It wouldn't be so bad if this whole incident wasn't indicative of the wider WoT. Ooopps. Wedding party? My bad.

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It does look a lot like one guy has an RPG and one has an AK47 that they are trying to conceal, actually if I had to bet my life on it, I would be pulling the triger too. So it's not like they just imagined it.

The moronic radio chatter doesn't really bother me, they really believed they were looking at baddies there. But the picture they gave across the radio to get permission to fire was not really what was there on the ground. 5-6 guys with AK-47s? Really? And the other "weapons" were cameras.

Shooting the van is another thing entirely, they were just itching to blow it up, but where was the threat?

It reminds me of the condition dubbed "scenario fulfillment" which was often mentioned in the shooting down of the Iranian ariliner by the US missile boat in 1988. The crew got so focussed on going through an air attack drill that they ignored or didn't look for contrary evidence that the aircraft on their screens was an enemy fighter.

The sad thing is this probably happened once a week in Iraq around that time, but only when journalists or white people are involved do we hear about it at all.

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It reminds me of the condition dubbed "scenario fulfillment" which was often mentioned in the shooting down of the Iranian ariliner by the US missile boat in 1988. The crew got so focussed on going through an air attack drill that they ignored or didn't look for contrary evidence that the aircraft on their screens was an enemy fighter.

Similar also to the video from the A10s near Basra that showed them shooting up British APCs. They basically convinced each other they were seeing enemy vehicles despite clear ID panels being displayed, exacerbated by them not relaying accurate info to the fire controller or listening to what he was saying.

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How do you know that?

It's pretty obvious in the video. No helmet, no vest, nothing proclaiming "press".

For driving around in their own neighbourhood? Or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? No blame hey on the gun jockeys making an over eager call?

I don't believe for a second that they were innocently cruising around their neighborhood. At the time, mind you this is Sadr City at the height of the surge, their 'hood was a really, really dangerous place. If you watch the full video

you will notice a distinct lack of vehicular traffic. You will also notice that the same van that dropped the journalists off is the one that returned to do CASEVAC. I'm sure the AWT factored that in prior to zapping the van. One more thing, the poo seriously hit the fan on that street corner. Who takes their kids into a situation like that? They were aiding enemy combatants, that is not something you do with your kids in the car.

The AWT on the other hand, sure, they were eager, they didn't want the only surviving AIF to escape. I'm sure they saw it like this: If that guy could have been captured he may have yielded some decent intel that would drive future operations. If they couldn't capture him, then they could at least prevent his escape. Were they eager? Hell yes and rightly so, they felt that they were protecting the TIC and preventing US casualties.

Anyhow, the RPGs and AKs are irrefutable.

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You are grasping at narrower and narrower straws of supposition. You've convinced yourself of this "Same van" theory based upon a comment from one member here. It's not mentioned in the transcript or any of the analysis since then.

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You are grasping at narrower and narrower straws of supposition.

But from where I sit it seems that you refuse to admit that there were weapons there, or that the convoy they were supporting had been involved in a running battle or that the journalists were willingly accompanying combatants without internationally recognized press credentials.

I fully acknowledge that there have been inappropriate actions in the paste, but this is not one of them.

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You are grasping at narrower and narrower straws of supposition. You've convinced yourself of this "Same van" theory based upon a comment from one member here. It's not mentioned in the transcript or any of the analysis since then.

Negative. I watched the video and made my decision based on that. Watch the full video, look for traffic on the roads. The only thing moving in that muhalla is the black van. Show where I am wrong.

At this point, it is safe to assume that we are both set in our opinions. I think we should agree to disagree and leave it at that. Thanks for keeping this civil.

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My pet theory is that accidents (in whichever form) happen when more than one party does something stupid. I intend to teach to my daughter that one has to over-compensate for potential errors of others (e.g., look both ways when entering a one-way street; do not assume to be seen when crossing the street; this kind of thing).

How does this relate to the video? Well, I would call it a mistake to shoot up whole groups of unarmed people. On the other hand, I call it a mistake to hang around armed people and bring your children into the middle of a human butchery. Combine two mistakes: catastrophy.

This video is getting attention in local newspapers, btw.

Best regards,

Thomm

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By Angryson

Also, as MSBoxer pointed out, the same van appears to have dropped off some of the individuals prior to the engagement.

Except the van which got shot up had a light roof while the van seen moving at the start seems to have an all dark roof. Unless of course they had time to tape the roof up.

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So if it is plausible that they were Iraqi fighters and an ambush was planned, AND I can believe that it was, then why did the military score an own goal by suppressing it?

1. So they would not release the film because ?

2. They lied about not knowing how the children were injured

3. They said it was within terms of engagement but did not provide the terms.

Covering up so Reuters operational practices were not blown seems unlikely to me.

PS Do they do siestas or knock of work in the afternoon in Iraq. And in any event where to go to if life is a bit iffy on the streets. As for coloured vans surely the range would have been very very restricted in Iraq given its wealth and sanctions.

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But from where I sit it seems that you refuse to admit that there were weapons there, .

See my post where I say that I believe there were weapons there. Shows how much you have actually been reading the debate. I think you're undergoing your own scenario fulfilment.

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By dieseltaylor

So if it is plausible that they were Iraqi fighters and an ambush was planned, AND I can believe that it was,

It would not have been much of an ambush.

How many men seen in the film actually carried a weapon ? I spotted definitely only one with a possible AK with banana clip (man in striped shirt), his pal carried what might or might not have been an AK or a RPG. If it was a RPG where was the grenade ? A number of men had something slung on their shoulders but that can be anything.

then why did the military score an own goal by suppressing it?

What bothers me is nobody was observed collecting the weapons from the scene and the US military can or will not corraborate any weapons or ammo on or around the bodies.

2. They lied about not knowing how the children were injured

Shooting children up is bad for image even when the shooting is justified.

3. They said it was within terms of engagement but did not provide the terms.

Giving up ROE would be a bad tactical move.

Covering up so Reuters operational practices were not blown seems unlikely to me.

Shielding US operational practices is a far more likely excuse.

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By the way, is it not interesting that the gunner does not seem to have any problems shooting into a crowd of 90 % unarmed persons, but hesitates to shoot a lone crawling survivor, waiting for him to "pick up a weapon"? How does that make sense?

Best regards,

Thomm

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The bottom line for me is, did the US gain anything from the engagement? Short term, perhaps it suppressed some local bad guys in a tactical situation. Long term, it is ending up giving aid and comfort to its own enemies, who love seeing the US depicted as a killer of Muslim civilians.

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By the way, is it not interesting that the gunner does not seem to have any problems shooting into a crowd of 90 % unarmed persons, but hesitates to shoot a lone crawling survivor, waiting for him to "pick up a weapon"? How does that make sense?

"Trigger happy" does not equate to "complete psychopath." Maybe he has compunctions against shooting unarmed wounded? We'll never know what he was thinking, or if it was even a rational decision. Everyone's conscience has idiosycracies and quirks.

Except the van which got shot up had a light roof while the van seen moving at the start seems to have an all dark roof. Unless of course they had time to tape the roof up.

Even on this thread, with full hindsight and benefit of multiple viewings in the comfort of their homes, people are disputing the ID of the van and whether there was one van or two. If it is a different van, those ID errors happen all the time on the battlefield.

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The bottom line for me is, did the US gain anything from the engagement? Short term, perhaps it suppressed some local bad guys in a tactical situation. Long term, it is ending up giving aid and comfort to its own enemies, who love seeing the US depicted as a killer of Muslim civilians.

That will happen every time a civilian gets killed, often even when the civilian wasn't innocent. But that's a bigger problem than what happens in a given firefight. Voters and politicians have got to get over the delusion that fighting a nice friendly war with no collateral damage is just a matter of discovering the right combination of tactics and technology, then decide policy accordingly.

In war, civilians WILL get killed, even by the "good guys." Why are we always shocked and saddened to discover that all over again? When will we ever learn?

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By the way, is it not interesting that the gunner does not seem to have any problems shooting into a crowd of 90 % unarmed persons, but hesitates to shoot a lone crawling survivor, waiting for him to "pick up a weapon"? How does that make sense?

Best regards,

Thomm

I make it 9 people, with 2 definite weapons and 2 suspected weapons seen, so that's 22-45% armed, or 55-78% unarmed, if you prefer. The others could be armed, but we can't see those weapons and absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

How many additional flag are they raising by clustering around armed men in defilade behind a corner near an ongoing firefight?

On the other hand, an injured man on his own with no apparent weapons is quite clearly not a threat.

It does strike me that this is the behaviour that wins every battle but fails to see how it is irrelevant to winning the war.

The behaviour of the press is a little concerning as well. It is in their financial interests to cause controversy, it is protected by free speech laws, but part of me wonders if there isn't something here that parallels shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

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The idea of embedding journalists with combatants started where?

My big issue is that if you want to have a public war then go ahead but when you start suppressing some bits and releasing other bits you seem to be on a slippery slope of covering tracks. Then later your behaviour bites your bum and people see you have been engaged in manipulation. Trust goes out the window and also the notion that democracies are in some way better than other governments.

Incidentally calling people terrorists when they are resisting invaders does seem a bit rich, especially coming from the land of the Minutemen.

As it happens Wikileaks may have done the US Army a favour in allowing it to be misrepresented initially.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCxWvYw1gZ4&feature=related

have a look at the birth defects in Iraq from the use of depleted ammo = now THAT really is a crime.

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The behaviour of the press is a little concerning as well. It is in their financial interests to cause controversy, it is protected by free speech laws, but part of me wonders if there isn't something here that parallels shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

How so?

I was more disturbed by some mainstream outlets heavily editing the video to remove some of the soldiers' most controversial actions and remarks.

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