April 05, 2010
Tangos Down: WikiLeaks Misrepresents Apache Assault on Medhi Army Militia
WikiLeaks has posted video of what they decided to frame as "collateral murder."
Anyone with a passing knowledge of the strict rules of engagment our soldiers and aviators follow, and who took the time to pay attention to the audio and video, cannot be swayed by the deceptive rhetoric offered up by WikiLeaks. While the video below confirms the deaths of two Reuters employees and the wounding of two children, it also confirms the presence of weapons within the first few seconds of the video playing.
Two Reuters employees made the mistake of joining a ragtag group of Muqtada al Sadr's Medhi Army militia, some of which were still clearly armed, with at least one folding stock AK-pattern assault rifle (3:41, top left) and an RPG-7 (3:44, second from top left) antitank rocket carried by men at the rear of the group (the Reuters employees were near the front) in the video that WikiLeaks chose to show us.
As for the father who made the tragic mistake of trying to intercede in a hot combat zone with dust still rising and blood flowing... I admire his courage, but question his intelligence. He put his children in harm's way, and broke laws of war that civilians in their fifth year of war should have known by rote.
People die in war, and those who die aren't always combatants. It sucks.
But it isn't a crime.
We would all be better off if some of those who decided to opine about things they don't understand would withold their ignorant commentary so that those who do understand can cut through the deception offered by WikiLeaks' editorializing.
Update: Dan Froomkin, fired from the Washington Post for too-liberal bias, captures the idiocy we're seeing from terrorist defenders in just two short paragraphs:
Two crewmen share a laugh when a Bradley fighting vehicle runs over one of the corpses...
...The helicopter crew, which was patrolling an area that had been the scene of fierce fighting that morning, said they spotted weapons on members of the first group -- although the video shows one gun, at most. The crew also mistook a telephoto lens for a rocket-propelled grenade.
The vehicle than ran over what appears to be human remains in a vacant lot filled with trash and rubble was decidedly not a 27-ton Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), a tracked personnel carrier similar to a tank, but was instead a much smaller 4-wheeled Humvee, as is obvious in the video.
Froomkin, who can't tell a tank from a truck, wants us to believe he has the discernment to tell a telephoto lens from a grenade launcher carried by a different individual at the rear of the group in the opening of the video (3:44, top of frame, second man from left).
Update: Got a call from BBC Radio, and may be on World Have Your Say between 1:00-2:00PM ET to discuss this story.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 5, 2010 08:57 PM
The really sad part about this is there were only TWO Reuters propagan--I mean "journalists" involved. A decent start though.
Two questions. Is that an RPG or a camera lens? How do you know the guy carrying the AK-47 is in Sadr's militia as opposed to a civilian carrying a rifle? There were lot's of armed body guards in Iraq circa 2007.
I don't think there's murder in that video, but I'm not at all convinced there were any bad guys in the video either. I see a bunch of guys milling around. As you say after 5 years of war you'd think guys engaging, or planning to engage US troops would pay at least nominal attention to the gunship circling them, these guys look bored until all hell breaks loose.
The unarmed guys trying to help a wounded man paid the ultimate price for showing tremendous decency. I'm not sure what rule you think they were supposed to know -- leave people to die because someone with a 30mm might lobby to kill you for showing courage and humanity? With extreme power comes extreme responsibility, when you're in a helicopter 1000m+ from some unarmed men carrying a wounded man it seems to me you have the responsibility to exercise more restraint, but then again I wasn't there.
Nice comment Earl, maybe you could tell that one to the journalists families.
"I question his intelligence"
Of course you do.
Propagand--er, I mean "journalists have families?
Who knew? Since thay always suck up and leech off the emotions of real families in distress.....
its a war zone.
I saw nothing outside the rules of war.
armed men in a war zone were targeted and destroyed.
war is ugly business people who question and want to sanitize war of all collateral damage, or want to armchair quarterback after the fact are clueless fools. the only thing layering rules that make it impossible to fight a war as a war accomplish is to create more misery in the end and more deaths of american service men and women. it allows the enemies to use non combatants as shields and rewards them for that behavior.
the above seems to need to be said over and over and over through every episode and every conflict
The video clearly shows a man leaning around a corner and confronting the Apache. When a military aircraft is circling you, your response is to do nothing and disperse. Otherwise, you see the result.
As to the laughing, big deal. Have you ever killed somone or been is a very dangerous situation? When it is over you have a huge hormone rush. You laugh. It is part of human nature. If you haven't done this, go out and get some life experience.
Dan Froomkin, fired from the Washington Post for too liberal bias
I guess CNN was not hiring at the time.
"Nice comment Earl, maybe you could tell that one to the journalists families.
"I question his intelligence"
Of course you do.
Posted by angryflower at April 6, 2010 02:29 AM"
While you are up on you high horse, consider this about "reporters" in a war zone:
"Reporters" do not wander randomly about looking for news.
"Reporters" attach (or "embed") themselves to groups likely to make news.
These "Reporters" were embedded.
The group the "Reporters" were embedded in were not on the side of US.
The group the "Reporters" were embedded with are notorious for hiding in and amongst the civilian population.
Do you also feel the same sense of outrage about the deaths of the following "Reporters":
Julio Anguita Parrado
Or does the fact that they were with US, British or Canadian Troops change something?
The unarmed guys trying to help a wounded man paid the ultimate price for showing tremendous decency. I'm not sure what rule you think they were supposed to know -- leave people to die because someone with a 30mm might lobby to kill you for showing courage and humanity?
They drove into a hot zone in an unmarked van. I cannot speak to their decency (and neither can you), but we can definitely speak to their stupidity. This was a live fire war zone populated by non-uniformed combatants. No one in their right mind would expect anything different. And doing it with children in the vehicle demonstrates a callous lack of regard for their own safety.
So, don't demonstrate obvious threatening behavior in a war zone or soldiers will consider you a combatant and kill you.
Figure it out yet?
Or does the fact that they were with US, British or Canadian Troops change something?
Posted by Wildman7316 at April 6, 2010 03:19 PM
Some of this reminds me of this old James Fallows article about reporters and their loyalties. Mike Wallace stated in this discussion that he would just "roll tape" while Americans were being gunned down. Clearly these two Reuters employees were willing to do the same--which puts them on the same footing as the enemy--or even worse, since their footage would be used as propaganda to encourage even more ambushes.
It never occurred to me that someone could characterize carrying a wounded person as 'obvious threatening behavior'.
well jim thats because you live a sheltered normal life in which you can afford to be generous.
but existance in war is quite different and combatants allowed to leave the field of battle alive will come back to kill you or your best friends later.
let me put this bluntly, the only acceptable outcome where you allow the enemy to live is where they surrender. cease hostilities in place.
did you get that? that means that an enemy fleeing the battlefield is a threat who is escaping and will carry the battle back to you at a latter date.
that means they are STILL COMBATANTS UNDER THE RULES OF WAR AND ARE STILL CONSIDERED TARGETS.
look man no offense but you have to open your eyes to the fact that war is about survival for your side, not equality of outcome and not fairness.
There's a spot in that video where a guy is by a corner, he's carrying a RPG, he lays it down and is looking around the corner on his knees. That is the direction a squad of US Marines are coming from. IF you look a little longer in the film, the guys are all huddled by that corner, not out in the open where anyone coming down that street would see them. The pilots knew what they were up to, and they were in charge of monitoring the squad on the grounds path. They did their job well. WELL DONE Crew.
Sorry for the kids being in the way, but oh well, you brought your kid to the scene of a battle WTF were you thinking? Sucks but better them than one of our guys. NEUTERS could stand to lose about 100 more as far as I'm concerned.
"Two questions. Is that an RPG or a camera lens? How do you know the guy carrying the AK-47 is in Sadr's militia as opposed to a civilian carrying a rifle? There were lot's of armed body guards in Iraq circa 2007.(snip)
(snip)when you're in a helicopter 1000m+ from some unarmed men carrying a wounded man it seems to me you have the responsibility to exercise more restraint, but then again I wasn't there.
Posted by Jim at April 6, 2010 01:40 AM"
The short answer to both of your questions is, you don't know and you can't know. Now the question is, do you risk the lives of your comrades by not assuming the worst case scenario is the correct one?
Especially when just before and very nearby there had been an attack on US Troops using among other things, Rocket Propelled Grenades. Funny that WikiLeaks didn't mention that fact, AOLNews does only grudgingly, it takes them eight paragraphs before they mention it.
Both of these sites answer this "debate" better than I can:
And Jim, as to your last question, that was answered a long time ago by a Roman:
"He that fights and runs away, may turn and fight another day; but he that is in battle slain, will never rise to fight again." -- Tacitus
At that point in time you have a binary solution set; throw your weapons away and lie face down spreadeagled until taken into custody or try to run and die.
there was at least one rifle, at least one RPG (3:45),
BUT the guy with the RPG disapearing behind the building is NOT the same guy holding something behind the corner of the same building seconds later. Look at 4.12, that IS a photographer with a SLR and a large lens, no doubt.
I don't blame the crew to mix the two up, but I think that was the trigger to the attack.
I still don't see why they shot the family van though.
"I still don't see why they shot the family van though.
Posted by Daniel Apostol at April 7, 2010 09:20 AM"
The "Opposition" had a habit of having vans and/or trucks staged nearby with which to make a quick getaway. Knowing this, the US and British Troops made it a practice to disable vans and trucks in the area to prevent said fast getaway. Yes, the Coalition Forces ending up replacing quite a few vehicles when claims were turned in. (What? You're surprised that the "Opposition" used vehicles that didn't belong to them?)
Fact is, the pilots lied in order to gain authorization to shoot by claiming that an RPG was launched. That never happened. In fact there was never any danger to any US personnel during the entire 38 minutes until US soldiers came within range of the obviously trigger-happy apache pilots who are earlier heard begging to be given an opportunity to shoot an unarmed, injured man.
The claim that any of these people were "insurgents" is preposterous. At no time on the video are any of the people murdered showing any posture at all that could be considered threatening.
you just keep living in your fantasy world.
I gotta say, that was brutal. Gunning down those guys who were trying to help him...
But think about who those reporters were hanging out with. They had RPGs. RPGs are not used to defend your home against intruders/hunting/target shooting, they are used for offensive purposes. They were obviously up to no good, even if they seemed relaxed.
I could possibly, maybe, sorta kinda see the need to show more restraint if it was just a rifle... but not an RPG.
The fact that the rescuers who were trying to help got shot really sucks. They obviously had no idea what the hell just happened and were just trying to save a wounded man's life. Too bad the freaking terrorists use similar methods of evacuating after an ambush. It sucks and it's not fair, but that's the nature of collateral damage.
Let that be a lesson to everyone: If there are skirmishes going on in your neighborhood that you don't want to be involved in, DO NOT GO OUTSIDE WITH A WEAPON. Especially if the skirmishers dress in plain street clothes!
Trying to help the wounded when you are dressed like them will get you shot!
In fact, if you don't want to be involved, you'd do best to just stay inside and lock all the doors until you haven't heard any shots for a few hours.
OK: Now what they DIDN'T Show was the continued footage of our guys adminstering IMMEADIATE first aid to 1st) The kids. and then 2nd) The 'other injured.' I've seen the whole footage (buddy of mine has it) and what they also don't mention is the "family truckster" was filled with MORE weapons.
As to the children being there IT IS A FACT that the "bad guys" bring the kids with them to provide plausible deniability as the majority of to Western minds (i.e. American troops and Coalition Forces) could never fathom bringing an innocent into a free fire zone. Unfortunately, almost ALL of Baghdad was/is becoming a free fire zone again, but in particular, the Islamics rely on the concept of "Insh'Allah" as "It's all God's Will" which means that if the children are to die/get injured/ectectect. its NOT the fault of the deranged parent, but the "Will of God" that what happens, happens.
This embodies the problem with Islam, and the strict adherents to a warped mindset that absolves ANY and ALL personal responsibility. I've been "In Theater/In Country" now going on 6 Years, 2 Months, and 2 days and a few hours (but whos @#$%ing counting?) and I've seen the tragic results of it. Just go to Kuwait and drive on the highways... car wrecks galore, and small corpses of infants and 2-3 yr olds tossed about, because they don't believe in using car seats... I'm haunted more by that than some of the cringe inducing stuff I've lived through here... Didn't you hear? "It's all God's Will!"
We as Americans weren't even allowed to stop and render aid, for if we were to save someone, we could be sued (and subsequently lose in a Sharia Court) for having interfered with the "Will of God"
A lack of empathy toward fellow man, a lack of caring as "its never their fault"... that it's all "Insh'Allah" allows them to perpatrate unbelievable acts of barbarity without having a conscience, as the Almighty (their perverse version) is the only truly responsible party.
To those who cry over this, and rend and beat their chest demanding Mea Culpas, I'm sure they haven't got the Testicular Fortitude to come over here and see what THE REAL DEAL IS.
Hell... call this an open invite. Any pressfest who wants a tour of the Greater Baghdad Area, email me and I'll tell you how to get in, and I'll pick you up at BIAP, and show you around... If you can hack it that is.
Somehow, I don't think my invite will be taken up on, as it'd ruin some great pre-ordained assumptions....