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Sergei

Covering up a mass killing

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This was not TIC.

There were undeniably TIC 'somewhere' in Bahgdad, or perhaps somewhere in Iraq, but it had not a lot to do wth the guys the Apaches killed.

The clearing element was a part of a larger operation tasked with clearing Sadr City of JAM and AIF. They had been in continuous contact since dawn. Crazyhorse ambushed the would be ambushers. Where is the problem? The journalists were with JAM. JAM had RPGs. Do you think they were planning on not using them? Do you think the journalists didn't intend to get some Pulitzer winning shot of a burning Bradley? I shed not a tear, they sealed their on fate when the decided to party with JAM. I feel like we are going in circles here.

@Dietrich re: "the Haditha incident", those guys were idiots and deserve far worse than they got.

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The journalists were with JAM. JAM had RPGs. Do you think they were planning on not using them? Do you think the journalists didn't intend to get some Pulitzer winning shot of a burning Bradley? I shed not a tear, they sealed their on fate when the decided to party with JAM..

Were it this clear cut, why the attempted cover-up?

Could it be that the higher echelons were not even aware that all but two children were members of the same guilty party as you inferred? As such, did they privately fear what many have speculated about the mini-van to be true and were simply gambling on an assumption when releasing statements to the press in hopes it would be verified later in their favor?

Either something isn't adding up or pre-emptive cover-ups to almost any major incident is par for the course in the US military - a practice which can only be derailed by an internal whistle blower or through arbitration by media outlets with deep pockets.

This is just one in a pile and I shudder to wonder how many more cover-ups from Iraq and elsewhere will never see the light of day.

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Angry, you are awesome. Love your logic.

For most people logic goes like this:

A) Fire is hot

B) This is a fire

=> This is hot

For you it goes like this:

A) This is hot

B) Fire is hot

=> This is a fire

See if you can figure out where it's broken. As a hint, I'll repeat something from the previous page:

Those guys were NOT in a warzone. The US were in THEIR city.

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Weren't these a bunch of Iraqi's, armed, but doing nothing in particular except hanging out?

and there was no combat going on anywhere nearby, and the Iraqi's never fired a shot at anyone before, during or after the action.

So the basis of them being hostile was only that they were carrying arms...in an open space....in an area where no combat was going on.

That's pretty tenuous in a country where almost everyone does - even the locals who are on your side. Sure an RPG is a significant weapon....but "good" Iraqi's carry RPG's too.

In 2007 the US military said that the engagement was in support of US troops who were under attack - but this was not true as I mentioned above - no Iraqi's were attacking anyone.

I wonder who the crew thought the cameraman was "getting ready to fire" at - since there were no US forces nearby to be fired at!

If the ROE allowed the US to shoot anyone with a gun, without warning, then I'm amazed this is the only such incident......perhaps it isn't?

Iraqi police classification of it as a "random attack" seems quite accurate.

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Am I the only person (among those that posted in this thread) who is suspicious of WikiLeak's framing of the video and its contents?

The right calls into question the authenticity of the video (as Fox News has done), while the left uses particular word choice and careful editing in an effort to elicit the maximal sense of anguish and outrage in the viewer (as Democracy Now! has done).

I don't question the authenticity of the video. I don't question that civilians (including children and journalists) were killed. I don't question that the Apache pilots should be indicted accordingly. I do question WikiLeaks' and certain media outlets' presentation of the video.

"Collateral Murder"? "Indiscriminate slaying"? "Massacre"?

I deduce that neither the assessments and assertions made by conservative media or the US military nor those made by liberal media provide a clear picture of what happened. WikiLeaks claims to be showing what modern war is really like while simultaneously using the general public's ignorance of how modern warfare is actually conducted to frame the video in a certain way.

Yet anyone who doesn't say "oh, how horrible!" or "those murdering scum pilots..." or words to that effect is apt to be painted as a debased right-winger who doesn't care about civilians getting killed and who simply seeks to defend the decisions and actions of the Apache pilots and of the ground commanders. So in effect there is no way to talk about the video and its contents other than to basically reiterate what WikiLeaks and certain non-conservative media have to say about it.

Honestly, I would hate to be a US soldier or Marine these days, if only because while deployed I would be getting shot at or blown up at any given time, and while back home I would getting painted as a hero (by right-wing folks) or as a heartless civilian-slayer (by left-wing folks), both inaccurate labels. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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Am I the only person (among those that posted in this thread) who is suspicious ...

No. Re-read the 6th post of this thread.

... a US soldier or Marine these days, if only because ... back home I would getting painted as a hero (by right-wing folks) or as a heartless civilian-slayer (by left-wing folks), both inaccurate labels. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Yes, and? Soldiers serve the state, not the other way round.

Incidentally, you should mistrust all media, not just the outlets that appear to you to be extreme.

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Angry, you are awesome. Love your logic.

For most people logic goes like this:

A) Fire is hot

B) This is a fire

=> This is hot

For you it goes like this:

A) This is hot

B) Fire is hot

=> This is a fire

See if you can figure out where it's broken. As a hint, I'll repeat something from the previous page:

Those guys were NOT in a warzone. The US were in THEIR city.

Baghdad cir 2007 was a war zone, I was there. It may be "their" city, but JAM chose to take up arms against us and the GoI. Seeing first hand the effects of sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing has kind of made me lose all sympathy or remorse for the likes of AQI and JAM. Plain and simple: though they may not have been actively engaging CF, the weapons they possessed, combined with their posture, proximity to CF and the level of activity in the AO makes them a threat. Read the 15-6, read the sworn statements, it all paints a much more clear picture of the chain of events that lead up to this.

@StalinsOrganist: The Iraqi Army has RPGs (and uniforms coincidently). They are the only "good Iraqis" authorized to do so. I cannot go into the specifics of ROE but I can tell you that possession of an RPG is a big no-go with us and the GoI. Read the 15-6, read the sworn statements, the s#!t was hitting the fan in that AO, CF were trading lead with JAM all over Sadr City. Hell it say so in the 15-6, "since Bravo Company had been in continuous contact since dawn." It looks pretty clear to me. Also, contrary to your belief, everyone in Iraq does not carry a gun and Iraqi police are as corrupt as they come. re: "the report said US troops under attack", the AWT assumed that the individuals that they were engaging were attempting to ambush a CF patrol that was already engaged. Read the 15-6, I can't say it enough.

Honestly, I would hate to be a US soldier or Marine these days, if only because while deployed I would be getting shot at or blown up at any given time, and while back home I would getting painted as a hero (by right-wing folks) or as a heartless civilian-slayer (by left-wing folks), both inaccurate labels. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I could careless about the right or the left, they are equally full of crap. To be honest, when I'm deployed, what people "back home" think is the furthest thing from my mind. Once you are "in-country" the only thing that matters is your squad and your platoon. And yes, I think wikilinks, collateralmurder, et al are a bunch of tools.

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Ok, so you don't get the flaw in the logic. No surprise.

And you are incapable of having an insult free argument. Grow up.

btw, feel free to look me up if you ever end up in GA.

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And you are incapable of having an insult free argument. Grow up.

:rolleyes:

... I could careless ... full of crap ... a bunch of tools ... idiots ... deserve far worse than they got ...

The pot called. It wants to talk to you.

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:rolleyes:

Pot, meet kettle.

You know what's awesome? You have yet to refute any of my points. All of those quotes are out of context. Well played, sir. Do you work for MSNBC or Fox?

-OUT.

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5. Bravo Company 2-16 Infantry had been under sporadic small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade fire since OPERATION ILAAJ began at dawn....since Bravo Company had been in continuous contact since dawn,

Which was it? Sporadic or continuous? I can get that 'contact' might be continuous despite large gaps in firing, but 'sporadic' makes it seem rather more desultory and intermittent. Yet you seem to already be morphing things into them being under constant assault.

Given that the infantry vehicles took over 8 minutes to arrive at the scene and the Iraqis on the tape were just lollygagging down the road chatting on their phones and the like (or driving round with their kids), the blocks where the sporadic-continuous firefight was taking place must have been some distance away from the action.

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To various posters:

1) Tactical air support is not limited to shooting at those on the very front who are actually engaged in a firefight. It includes interdiction. You all know that very well. Retraining helicopter crews not to shoot at enemy near a firefight, and only those actually shooting, would be a fundamental rethink of air support doctrine in place since tacair developed.

2) Bigduke, you mentioned that the helicopters shouldn't have been there because the Bradley's should have been able to handle the insurgents themselves, so air support wasn't needed. That is simply absurd. American doctrine has always been overwhelming firepower, and combined arms is ingrained practice.

3) So what if the helicopters weren't in danger? Aircraft attacking ground targets often aren't in danger. Aircraft should not be attacking ground targets unless they're personally in danger? Ridiculous. Gee, why even have tactical air support? Maybe the aircrews should land, advance with dueling pistols or swords, and challenge armed men to single combat?

BZ,

I did not say the helicopters should not have been there.

I say the helicopter crews could well have exercised more restraint, and if they had, the kids and maybe even the journos would never have got shot.

You say air support must interdict potential enemy at distance from the forward line of troops, that changing that mindset would constitute a very difficult “fundamental rethink” of air support doctrine, that because overwhelming firepower is US military doctrine, it was the right choice in this case.

I say, if the point to the war is winning the hearts and minds of the civilian population, then the military must be restrained in its use of force. Further, I say that soldiers arguing otherwise, are undermining the war effort. There are things more important than their personal lives, and one of them is the war effort.

If the soldiers don't like it, hey, no one forced them to volunteer for combat duty. Nowhere in the contract does it say "Uncle Sam must keep you alive at all costs."

Just because soldiers say “It's a war dude” doesn't give them license to kill and maim every time one of them thinks he has spotted a potential threat to himself or another soldier. The risk to the soldiers' lives needs to be balanced against the risk of killing civilians, and frankly, if you want to win the war, you have to accept some soldiers are going to die because overwhelming force did not get used.

In this case, the helicopter pilots were under no direct threat, nor were any US ground forces. At best, there was a potential threat to US ground forces IF the ground forces moved close enough to the two guys with AK, and the guy with the RPG, AND the insurgents (if that was what they were) were able to set up a good ambush AND the helicopter crews didn't intervene once the threat became real.

I think we all know that, had just one of these helicopter crews fired a warning burst, those guys on the ground would have took off running almost for sure, and two or three more bursts later, then for sure the ambush threat is gone.

Yes, this isn't war, this is more like police work. Welcome to reality. In these conflicts the US military keeps insisting on calling “wars”, and messes they keep insisting on calling “battlefields”, thousands of civilians are going on with their lives, and quite naturally some of the civilians irate at the US military for invading their neighborhood, do not put on military uniforms or clear out their neighbors before fighting the US invaders.

The US military certainly can close its eyes to that, and pretend its soldiers are fighting “battles” against an “enemy.” If it makes them feel better to think they have the moral high ground because the people resisting them aren't bothering to put on military uniforms, well, you can't stop people from believing such things are important.

But that “we define the terms of this war, and we are not wrong, and nothing is more important than the life of one of our soldiers” mindset of the US military is not just fallacious, it is counter-productive. It kills civilians we need to be friendly to us, and it kills reporters whose friends we don't need working hard to make sure our next military goof gets the widest publication possible.

This is why the lack of danger to the helicopter crew was important. They were under no personal pressure to make a split-second decision. Considering the helicopter crew's view of the situation was not perfect, and they inherently risked killing civilians if they were wrong, that argues strongly that the crew hurried their decision.

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You didn't really just use CMSF as a point of reference on the BFVs survivability did you? It's a video game, guy. BF.C even said they were forced to guesstimate the armor values for the Abrams and the Bradley. In addition to that, it's a freckin' video game. I have a hard time believing that you would feel comfortable denying air support to TIC based on something like "oh, it's only RPGs, they should be fine."

Angryson,

I certainly am. CMSF is pretty accurate in how it models weapons performance. I would not expect a low budget RPG such as would be typically carried by dudes with RPGs in Iraqi cities, to punch a hole reliably through a 2007 Bradley at any aspect, and pretty much never from the front. Sure, if I was inside the Bradley, I wouldn't want to chance it.

If you have evidence that the average street RPG-7 is a dire threat, in the hands of a typical Iraqi insurgent, against a Bradley fighting vehicle, I'd love to see it. That would contradict the official US Army line, which is the Bradley is, what's the militaryspeak, “highly survivable.”

In any case, the discussion here is not “How do we win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis, but at the same time do absolutely everything possible to protect the precious lives of our troops?”

The discussion is “What level of risk to US forces is acceptable, so that we can have a chance of imposing stability in a foreign country where right now the people hate our soldiers? (Because our soldiers in the past have killed a bunch of the people living in the country by accident, and so far the people in the foreign country see zero repercussions against the US soldiers.)

Like I wrote a couple of posts ago, I think that using the mindset of an 11B infantryman to shape your foreign policy, is in my opinion a dumb way to develop national strategy.

As to the AARs, that's a great link, thanks. I notice:

- All four statements lie about the van picking up the wounded Reuters guy, saying the insurgents were carrying weapons into the van. At least as far as my view the vid goes they weren't, the van driver was just trying to help the wounded Reuters guy.

- If I were betting man, I would bet the house that very lie was responsible for the gun camera tape's going public. It is very arguable the helicopter crewmen were acting reasonably when they gunned down the group of men including the two Reuters men. But when they opened up on the van, killed a man trying to help his fellow man, and shot two kids in the process, they really don't have a legal leg to stand on. It seems to me the four Apache crewmen agreed to lie and state the bad guys were putting weapons into the van, because if there were no weapons, it's hard to argue they should have opened fire. It comes very close to firing on a stretcher bearer or a medic, which as the US military will be quick to tell you, civilized armies don't fire on.

- One of the warrants clearly misidentified a 300-400mm camera lens as an RPG. This is perhaps excusable, but on the other hand if you want to be cynical and worst case things, you could argue he maybe thought it was a camera lens, but then let 'er rip figuring he could always claim he thought it was an RPG. I doubt that's what happened but US forces have killed reporters for less reason in the past.

- It seems clear that by the time the Army got around to doing an investigation, the pilots were well aware they had misidentified camera gear for weapons.

- The W3 described the civilian group as “preparing to fire on US forces”; which is a pretty tenuous claim I think. “Standing around not terribly far from US forces, with unclear intent” would be more close to it.

- I note the Apache crew were one captain, one CW4, CW3, and one CW2, all from B/1-227 Aviation. We know already one of those four has the first name Kyle, so as I said earlier, the identities of these guys should become public pretty soon.

As to how much the sworn statement validate the use of 30mm against that group of guys, I think it really depends on how much you trust the Army's perception of threat. As nearly as can be told, the ground unit (Hotel 26) was taking sporadic small arms fire at the moment, and had bumped into RPG teams and more intense small arms fire earlier in the day.

The Apache crews were out looking for insurgents, and they found a group of guys that, although not really being an actual threat to the US ground forces, looked like they might be, and were fair game according to the rules of engagement.

So the Apache crews waxed about a dozen men, including two Reuters staff, and injured two children and probably more innocent bystanders.

There was no questioning of the rules of engagement, there were no worries about harming civilians per se (although later on apparently one of the crews does let a boy move away from a group of possibly armed men, before the Apache crew kills the possibly armed men) and there was no sense of “we need to be careful about applying force”. Rather, the attitude was “do we have visual cues that allow us to kill”, without any questioning or analysis of those visual cues.

So sure, the Apache crews are free and clear legally, they obeyed the ROE. Good for them. But they did not use their senses or their brains or show much mercy for any one, including possibly innocent civilians. That is pretty amoral behavior.

When their names become public knowledge, they will regret that behavior.

Lest any one think I am arguing all US rotor heads are all baby murderers, the below link will tell you about a helicopter pilot named Hugh Thompson Jr., who did not follow orders, and who, in a much more intense war than OIF, put paid to the idea that what a soldier is trained is to do, is what he must do:

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mylai/Myl_hero.html

Think about that. 30 years later, in a village where the Americans came and killed pretty much every villager they could find, some of the villagers think at least one American was a good man. That's something worth taking to your grave, worth knowing your children know that about you.

You ask me, we need more people like that guy Thompson in uniform, and less like the guys we know for the time being as the two Bushmaster call signs.

So did you look at that Al Jazeera report I posted? Pretty good propaganda for the insurgents, right? Was the reduction of potential threat to US forces on that day in July 2007, worth having that report and who knows how many like it beamed all over the world for the next year or two? :)

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I was stationed at FOB Rustamiyah in SE Baghdad at the time this incident happened and I can tell you that East Baghdad especially the area just south of Sadr City was a completely hostile area for US forces at the time, I'm not trying to justify any killing of civilians, but very few people in that area were anything even remotely resembling friendly to us. I have been on more than a few missions with units from 1/8 Cav and although there is a cowboy mentality in that unit, they are far from out of control psychopaths. Finally at the time the RoE stated that ANYONE carrying a RPG was fair game and could be engaged regardless of whether they appeared to be a threat or not.

I was assigned to the 46th MP Co, 759th MP Bn and our AoR was all of East Baghdad.

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I was stationed at FOB Rustamiyah in SE Baghdad at the time this incident happened and I can tell you that East Baghdad especially the area just south of Sadr City was a completely hostile area for US forces at the time, I'm not trying to justify any killing of civilians, but very few people in that area were anything even remotely resembling friendly to us. I have been on more than a few missions with units from 1/8 Cav and although there is a cowboy mentality in that unit, they are far from out of control psychopaths. Finally at the time the RoE stated that ANYONE carrying a RPG was fair game and could be engaged regardless of whether they appeared to be a threat or not.

I was assigned to the 46th MP Co, 759th MP Bn and our AoR was all of East Baghdad.

you could claim the RoE worked and saved lives in the long run as the surge did suppress insurgent activity....OTOH the fact the RoE have manifested themselves in this video plastered over the interwebs undermines the future those guys were supposedly killed for

when is the end effect?

if we argue end justified the means ..which is the defense in this case then what is that end?

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I wasn't trying to argue anything, just pointing out a fact about the RoE. Every household was authorized one AK-47 or pistol for self-defense, no other weapons were authorized.

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... in a village where the Americans came and killed pretty much every villager they could find, some of the villagers think at least one American was a good man.

After some depressing reading-up on the subject, I take a little bit of comfort in the fact that apparently plenty of the soldiers there refused to participate in the killings ...

Best regards,

Thomm

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Splinty,

So an Iraqi walking around with an AK wasn't fair game under the ROE of the time?

Out in the open in a group of other armed men, yes.Also, the pilots saw what they at least thought was a guy with a RPG , so in that case the guys with him were also fair game.

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BZ,

Yes, this isn't war, this is more like police work. Welcome to reality. In these conflicts the US military keeps insisting on calling “wars”, and messes they keep insisting on calling “battlefields”, thousands of civilians are going on with their lives, and quite naturally some of the civilians irate at the US military for invading their neighborhood, do not put on military uniforms or clear out their neighbors before fighting the US invaders.

The US military certainly can close its eyes to that, and pretend its soldiers are fighting “battles” against an “enemy.” If it makes them feel better to think they have the moral high ground because the people resisting them aren't bothering to put on military uniforms, well, you can't stop people from believing such things are important.

Just as I said, you blame the hammer for breaking things, not the person wielding it. Who decides policy? Who sends the military to do "nationbuilding"? In all your posts, not one word about the accountability of those who misuse military force, and those who vote for them. I find that very telling.

The military did not decide to go to Iraq, they don't get to define the overall mission, and they don't get to decide when to come back.

"Hearts and minds," is a crock. It's political nonsense. It's the argument that the same hammer that wins battles can be used for every other job. It's fundamental misuse of power that gets innocent people killed. No "hearts and minds" campaign in history has ever worked in the way the post-WWII U.S. has repeatedly tried and failed to do it.

You - and others on this thread - are willfully blind to the accountability of any other decisionmakers besides the soldiers themselves, including, of course, yourself.

When someone owns a dog that's trained to fight, like a guard dog, and it gets out of its owner's backyard and kills a neighborhood kid, who's to blame - the dog, the owner, or both?

In the U.S., it's been a long struggle, with much still to do, to get laws passed holding dog owners criminally responsible for harm done by their dogs, and to get police and courts to take the cases seriously. The dog gets put to sleep or shot, but the owner gets a slap on the wrist if anything. I understand why now - it's really the same mentality at work.

We're using attack dogs - mech inf with air support - to do a sheepdog's job in Iraq, and we sure don't want to be blamed if anyone gets hurt. It's the dog's fault! Prosecute him!

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Just as I said, you blame the hammer for breaking things, not the person wielding it. Who decides policy? Who sends the military to do "nationbuilding"? In all your posts, not one word about the accountability of those who misuse military force, and those who vote for them. I find that very telling.

The military did not decide to go to Iraq, they don't get to define the overall mission, and they don't get to decide when to come back.

"Hearts and minds," is a crock. It's political nonsense. It's the argument that the same hammer that wins battles can be used for every other job. It's fundamental misuse of power that gets innocent people killed. No "hearts and minds" campaign in history has ever worked in the way the post-WWII U.S. has repeatedly tried and failed to do it.

You - and others on this thread - are willfully blind to the accountability of any other decisionmakers besides the soldiers themselves, including, of course, yourself.

When someone owns a dog that's trained to fight, like a guard dog, and it gets out of its owner's backyard and kills a neighborhood kid, who's to blame - the dog, the owner, or both?

In the U.S., it's been a long struggle, with much still to do, to get laws passed holding dog owners criminally responsible for harm done by their dogs, and to get police and courts to take the cases seriously. The dog gets put to sleep or shot, but the owner gets a slap on the wrist if anything. I understand why now - it's really the same mentality at work.

We're using attack dogs - mech inf with air support - to do a sheepdog's job in Iraq, and we sure don't want to be blamed if anyone gets hurt. It's the dog's fault! Prosecute him!

i think you may be onto something here but where it leads is disturbing

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"The hearts and minds is a crock. It's political nonsense."

And the creation of numberless future jihadi's is not a problem for you, then? Inflaming the passions of Muslims all over the world is not a problem in your view? My what a simple universe you live in, friend.

War is politics by other means. If something is, to you, "political nonsense", then I have to assume you have little grasp of - or concern about - the larger issues involved outside of the battlefield. This is asymmetrical warfare, not WW2. Defeating them on the battlefield is only part of a larger, broader strategy. And winning in one is no guarantee that you will not lose on the other.

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I was stationed at FOB Rustamiyah in SE Baghdad at the time this incident happened and I can tell you that East Baghdad especially the area just south of Sadr City was a completely hostile area for US forces at the time, I'm not trying to justify any killing of civilians, but very few people in that area were anything even remotely resembling friendly to us.

And this is the depressing circularity. How many more were unfriendly after this incident? And the one before that? And the one before that?

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