Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Case Closed on 'Collateral Murder' -- UPDATED!!

Jawa Report has the definitive entry, "Case Closed: Weapons Clearly Seen on Video of Reuters Reporters Killed in Iraq."

Click on the report right now (
here). The piece features a dynamic vidcap demonstrating -- beyond a shadow of a doubt -- the insurgents' RPG capabilities. In addition, here are images from the unclassified Pentagon investigation. "AIF" designates "ANTI-IRAQ FORCES", i.e., insurgents:






And here are screencaps of key sections from the Pentagon's internal investigation ("AWT" designates "AERIAL WEAPONS TEAM", i.e., the U.S. Apache helicopter):



See, "Legal Review of AR15-6 Investigation..."

It's not as if the antiwar activists and their media enablers don't have this information.
Jawa Report noted this buried passage from yesterday's NYT hit-piece:
Late Monday, the United States Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released the redacted report on the case, which provided some more detail.

The report showed pictures of what it said were machine guns and grenades found near the bodies of those killed. It also stated that the Reuters employees “made no effort to visibly display their status as press or media representatives and their familiar behavior with, and close proximity to, the armed insurgents and their furtive attempts to photograph the coalition ground forces made them appear as hostile combatants to the Apaches that engaged them.”
The full story is here, "Video Shows U.S. Killing of Reuters Employees." Memeorandum posted the story last night with a bit less emotion-inducing headline. Now it's not the "photographer" -- who chose to embed with armed insurgents -- but the "Reuters employees," which implies a "civilian" massacre:


And that's just the beginning. Despite the availability of information to the contrary, media reaction has been entirely predicable. Here's Dylan Ratigan's episode from last night, featuring WikiLeaks' America-bashing Julian Assange and anti-American Glenn Greenwald. Talk about fair and balanced!

Assange decries the "moral corruption" of U.S. forces, and useful idiot Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer argues that American forces should have captured the insurgents captured rather than kill them (i.e., U.S. forces were to use "minimum force"). And Greenwald goes on to extrapolate that America's "imperial" interverntions are all about killing indigenous civilian populations, blah, blah. Only Brett McGurk of CFR, who spoke after Assange, possesses anything near an objective take on what happened.

Now, taking a look around the 'sphere, here's Greenwald's entry this morning, "
Iraq Slaughter Not an Aberration." See what I mean? (And this despite rigorous empirical evidence showing that the norm of non-combatant immunity has been univerally adopted in the U.S. military, and that Iraqi civilian casualties have been historically low compared to previous U.S. wars.) And an update from Greenwald, "N.Y. Times, Weekly Standard Join in a Falsehood." Then Greenwald links approvingly to this, "Neo-Cons Defend Massacre of Iraqi Journalists, Children":
Bloodthirsty neo-cons who would defend barbecuing Arab babies on the White House lawn if they were told it was part of the “war on terror” are disgracefully scrambling to defend a shocking video released by Wikileaks which shows U.S. Apache helicopters massacring Iraqi journalists and children in Baghdad while laughing about it.
And while I almost forgot about him, Barrett Brown demonstrates utter fail while adding a catchy title, "Fascist U.S. Bloggers Come Late to Game, Announce Score":
The entire video is inconsistent with the military’s report. These Apaches aren’t responding as reinforcements to an ongoing firefight in which this particular spot has been identified as containing insurgents who have just fired off RPGs. None of these people had RPGs, for one thing.
Sorry, Barrett, don't pass go, don't collect $200. Better go back and visit Jawa a bit more.

what about Matthew Yglesias? It's not like we don't know which side he's on:

Matthew Yglesias

I watched this gruesome video yesterday of US military personnel in Iraq gunning down a group of people, including two Reuters employees, based on the notion that they’re carrying AK-47s and RPGs. I can’t see clearly enough to tell whether or not some of the men in the group are in fact armed, but it’s clear that one of the so-called RPGs is actually a camera. And it’s also clear that whether or not anyone in the group was carrying weapons, that possession of a firearm is not cause for summary execution either in Iraq or the United States. My understanding of the rules of engagement is that soldiers are not supposed to fire unless there’s a hostile act or a clear sign of hostile intent ...

The confusion or whatever about the weapons is bad enough, but the people on this recording don’t seem to have any idea what the rules of engagement they’re supposed to be operating under are, or else they don’t care.
Not only is Yglesias wrong about the armed insurgents and RPGs, he's lying as well. The video clip repeatedly shows communications between the AWT and ground forces, and no shots were fired without both proper identification and permissions from U.S. personnel in the immediate vacinity. And recall that Yglesias is an author of a book on the war? Hmm, you'd never know ...

And hatemaster
Larisa Alexandrovna claims that Americans targeted Reuters journalists all along, "Would you put it past the likes of Dick Cheney to have a policy of getting rid of pesky journalists too near a big story?"

Marcy Wheeler plays up the civilian angle,
"“Well, It’s Their Fault for Bringing Their Kids into a Battle” – Wikileaks Tape Shows Civilians Killed by US Troops."

And Crooks and Liars takes it from there, "
Death, Lies and Videotape":
What truly bothers me is the absolute callousness of the conversation going on in the Apache helicopter. Beyond the 'fucking prick' and the 'bastards' comments, it's the laughter, particularly during the shooting as if it's all just a video game, cheering each other on as the wounded journalist crawls on the ground, willing him to reach for a ‘weapon’ so they can shoot him again, laughing when his body is run over by a military truck. The comment when the crew realized children have been wounded was shocking: ‘Well, it’s their own fault for bringing their kids to a battle.'
Of course, American forces are fighting a war, and, frankly their language is cleaner than construction guys I've worked with. Free Market Miltary responds:
I can see and understand some people’s comments ... that the Soldiers (Pilots) were a bit blood thirsty, callous, and a little to casual with humor in killing the insurgents. I think their wrong! Frankly, I’d never hold it against anyone in taking enjoyment out of their job. You might find that callous as well. Tough. If your living this 24/7 I doubt you would spend a year without laughing and having a good time. This is war, the thing video games are based upon and billions of dollars are spent for enjoyment.

Once again, these pilots did their job. They probably even saved American lives that day.
Also, I left the link to yesterday's AmPower report at Crooked Timber, but that didn't make folks too happy:
Americanmoralcretin, fuck off.

Wars of choice ARE criminal precisely because this kind of stuff is guaranteed to happen.

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit links, "Confirmed: Media’s Military-Hating America-Bashing Allegations Proven False & Misleading (Video)." Added: The Rhetorican links!


UPDATE II: Barret Brown has made a correction to his posts on Wikileaks, "
WikiLeaks Editor Lies to Stephen Colbert, World; WikiLeaks Necessary Nonetheless."


AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Philippe.

Tim said...

I've watched the whole video, and while I do not blame the U.S. forces for this incident, it is horrific. They absolutely did follow protocol. (The war itself is another issue. Protocol there was loose, to say the least.)

What is disturbing about this video is some of the chatter that goes along with it. At least one of the pilots expresses a bit of joy blowing the shit out of these guys.

While I think it's stupid to be seen on the streets in Iraq with anything resembling a weapon, this does seem a bit excessive at times. Especially when the van comes along to help with the wounded/dead. They were sitting ducks.

The worst thing about all this, and the moral failings of people like Donald and Philippe, is that you too seem to revel in this carnage.

AmPowerBlog said...

Tim: It's the left that "reveling" in what they think is another chance to get war crimes tribunals against BushCo. I don't like the killing, but war is hell, as they say.

Tim said...

Well, I get the left's indignation. But this has to be viewed for what it is. I think the left is hoping that this becomes so viral that it will have the same effect that Vietnam war footage had back in the 60s/70s--it will turn the public off to open-ended wars.

Flameboy1042 said...

This video is awesome! As a soldier I couldn't stop watching it. I actually said "Hoooah" when they lit those fools up. If you are a wartime journalist/ photographer you take responsibility for your actions/ whereabouts. Those guys wanted to be close to the action, and they got burned for it. I am sorry that someone had to lose their father/husband, but that is what happens. Soldiers make the same choice everyday, and we are good at what we do... thus we High-five at a "good play". If you want to talk about how things could be done better/ different, put a uniform on; otherwise stand on the sidelines and cheer.

Anonymous said...

Flameboy: you are not a soldier (if you were you'd be a disgrace to the uniform). You should turn off Fox News and go back to playing your shoot-em-up video games. "hoooah"

Tharms said...

I'm sorry, are you serious? The Pentagon covered this up for three years now they are releasing a heavy redacted document with a bunch of low resolution imagines in which they claim that fuzzy blobs can be clearly identified as specific pieces of weaponry -- and you're buying it? Do you still believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fair too?

T Again said...

Anonymous, your criticism of Flameboy is unfair -- to Fox News. Fox was one of, if not the first mainstream media organization to report on this story. They beat CNN by well over a day and CNN's coverage, when it did occur was explicitly apologist. Fox's coverage was surprisingly objective and respectful of the clear violation of humanity on display in the video. I was impressed. You are, however, correct about Flameboy, and the shooters in this video, being a disgrace to their uniform. They shame the legacy of all those who fought and died to defend our own shores from murderous imperial occupiers.

Anonymous said...

If this episode does go viral, and influences American opinion to stop the war, it will be just as oversimplified as everything else in this benighted country.

This incident, though awful, is quite minor, and not at all unusual, according to vets I've heard from, and is dwarfed in horror by the fact that America's army has blanketed that country with radioactive dust, white phosphorous and other weapons that will continue causing birth defects well into the future. These are horrendous. Over a million people are dead since "our" invasion, 2-4 million driven from their homes, a country virtually destroyed that never did anything to us.

That Americans care nothing for the souls of our soldiers is obvious to me, and so I think they are right who say that America is 'the great Satan.

Flameboy1042 said...

Wow, you guys are the epitomy of "armchair quarterbacking". This was a difficult situation in which action meant killing some "enemies", and inaction meant losing some "friendlies". Until you can see the total sum of these events from the veiwpoint of soldiers on the front lines of this irregular war, you will never be able to accurately judge these men or their actions. There is a reason we have "military tribunals". To my detractors, sleep well tonight, we got the lines covered, douche.