August 29, 2006

Shooting for Truth

With the exposure of the "Pallywood" staging of events in Lebanon and Gaza recently, it is perhaps expected that we look at recent claims that a Reuters news vehicle was hit by an Israeli air strike with a certain degree of skepticism, especially as similar attacks have been claimed recently, and convincingly debunked. The fact that Reuters' own reporting of the incident attempted to hide the identity of one of the journalists doesn't exactly lend their account of story much credibility.

And so much to his credit, AllahPundit has refused to take the easy way and assume that the Reuters air strike was faked. In fact, he makes a decent case that case that not only did the strike probably occur, but that 2.75" (70MM) rockets were the likely munition used, based upon the logical comments of someone claiming to be an intel expert:

My second theory, which I think is a slightly more probable, is that the van was attacked with two 70mm unguided rockets. Apaches and other helicopters frequently carry pods with these rockets...

...Although unguided, at close range they are very accurate. This scenario would better fit the report of two rockets since they are usually fired in pairs. Although not definitive, the damage could easily have come from hit from one of these rockets. The 70mm rocket has a smaller warhead than the hellfire and is typically impact detonated. I think the damage seen is consistent with a rocket of this type.

Based upon the opinion of a long-time Army chopper jockey I know who is still active in the aerospace defense establishment, I'm not sure that Allah's expert is correct, but from where I sit, that is kind of beside the point. The point is that good bloggers keep searching for proof where others in the blogosphere and in the professional media often seem to choose a storyline and insert the facts to fit their preconceived biases.

We may never know conclusively what happened in this air strike, but Allah is exhausting every effort at his disposal to make the attempt, and it's something more of us should try to do, both media amateurs and professionals alike.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 29, 2006 10:48 AM | TrackBack

I've read the 70mm rocket theory and even the "fast rust" explanation. Nonsense to me. Zombie's work has not been faulted.
Just where does a 70mm ( 2.75 inch ) rocket traveling at 2000 fps go when it hits something? Out the side or bottom causing tremendous damage. ( see zombie's picts of a real attack ).
I have the hi res Red Cross shot before they removed it. New rust is orange old rust is deep red. And the flange is clean. By the way there are many footprints on the roof. Just look for them.

Posted by: NortonPete at August 29, 2006 05:17 PM

There was no penetration of the ambulance through the roof but the "clean" edge of the flange has torn screw holes. That is consistent with the vent cover being ripped off. The indentation of the roof and the pitting are consistent with a warhead detonating above the vehicle. Overpressure would dent things in, blow doors off.

The level of oxidation (rust) depends upon several factors such as the temperature of the blast and the shrapnel, as well as the chemical composition of the explosive used in the warhead.

What bothers me most about these discussions on the Qana ambulances and the Gaza TV vehicle is that far too many people make way too many assumptions and cling to them as fact. And it happens with other elements of this campaign as well. The baby pacifier that is allegedly planted because it is clean? It's not clean, or at least no more clean than the patch of green on the child's shorts and shirt on the same left side.

As for the F-16 flare photo that is allegedly a fake, that's another prime example of little proof being stretched into a major campaign of criticism. F-16s do drop in a dive, they do ripple off three bombs in an attack run and they DO deploy flares that look almost identical to one another, at least for the short time involved in the distance that they are from the aircraft in the Reuters photo.

I asked for one blogger to explain how he concluded that this was photoshopped and all he would say is that some unidentified expert told him so--so there. No name, no credentials, no documentation. How many times have the mainstream media been pounded on if they refused to answer queries or didn't respond in a timely fashion? Why do bloggers seem to feel that they have special rights to behave deifferently than what they demand of the media?

Make no mistake, I am absolutely no fan of the media. In fact, I became so disgusted over the incompetence and ignorance of reporters, photographers and editors that I coined the term "mediots" to describe media idiots. They don't know the difference between an armored personnel carrier and a tank, any more than they know a rocket from a missile. I strongly agree with demanding a higher standard of excellence form them, but I also demand it of the blogosphere as well. If not, what is the real difference between the MSM and the bloggers?

There is a tendency to over-reach and take things over the top. Last night, I saw a HOTAIR VENT episode by Michelle Malkin, where she showed tape of terorists using ambulances against the Geneva Conventions guidelines for their exemption from combat. Great. It spoke for itself. But then she threw in this Qana rocket hit story, the rust, how it couldn't have been damaged by the Israelis (even though they admitted and apologized), and so on. Credibility sank. The video of the enemy illegally using the ambulances in battle was diminished and diluted.

The biggest danger--and I have repeated this time and time again, without any apparent success--is that making assumptions, speculating and tossing accusations will cost us dearly when the enemy finds an easy way to disprove some of the claims being voiced in these and other pages.

Too many so-called experts voice their opinions without being checked out or proving their cases with documented fact. Recently, one blog had a comment from somebody claiming to be a former pilot who just knew that the F-16 photo was a fake because Aor Force planes drop their bombs wings-level. Take it to the bank, this former officer was just adamant. And he was dead wrong. The F-16 definitely does drop bombs in a dive. I have the photos to prove it and the personal experience to stand behind that. As an imagery interpreter, I used to score their hits on the bombing ranges, plotting out the impact points on imagery.

The problem is that you had comments from a guy who based his opinions--not facts, but opinions--on past experience without keeping abreast of the current technology of doing any research. That is about as lazy as most newspaper reporters, and why so many of them get a story dead wrong, roo. We have to do better than the papers and be bulletproof against enemy accusations of lies and fraud. This is NOT a game, but part of what is known as information warfare. It needs to be taken much more seriously and treated with more caution. Credibility is all-important but very easy to lose. Like virginity, once it is gone, there is no getting it back.

Posted by: RONALD LEWIS at August 31, 2006 03:15 PM