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Precision Targeting At Work


Wikileaks has just released this “classified US military video” depicting what appears to be the slaying of unarmed civilians by a military helicopter in Iraq in 2007. Two were Reuters journalists; two of the injured were children.

I will definitely be using this film in my class next year. But as an example of what I haven’t decided.

The disjuncture between the images captured by the camera and the information being verbally reported by the helicopter crew is striking. (For example, the crew reports that they are seeing adult males armed with AK47s, but the men on the ground appear unarmed.) Could the film be a fake, and how would we know? (Wikileaks has provided almost no information on its website about the video’s source other than a non-working link. The big “Click here to donate” link above the video on the Wikileaks site works fine, which is troubling.)

I am not saying I don’t believe some Apache gunners made gross errors and the military covered it up, only that user-generated content should always be verified before conclusions are drawn, and Wikileaks’ confidentiality policies make that difficult.

If the footage is completely genuine, what cognitive process is at work here that is leading the pilots to so drastically misinterpret what they are seeing? Or are they in fact wilfully mischaracterizing it and why?

What fascinates me the most is the almost relaxed professionalism with which the chopper crew and ground troops are operating. Does this allow us to infer anything about the rules of engagement US troops were operating with around that time? What can we infer from such footage that can help us in other low-intensity conflicts?

One thing is certain: this doesn’t look like a “firefight with insurgents” that the DoD claimed. BBC has a story about the video with some useful links. Michael Collins at The Agonist has more.

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  • Dave

    what cognitive process is at work here that is leading the pilots to so drastically misinterpret what they are seeing

    Judging by the tone with which the gunner is begging for the crawling, wounded man to pick up a weapon, it sounds like the cognitive process at work is murder murder murder murder murder.

    • JX

      Murder? If that was on his mind he’d just pull the trigger. It’s more like a man who sees a criminal but knows that laws made by lefty-libs don’t let him do what needs to be done unless the haji will “go ahead and make his day”.

      • Zeke

        Which is, precisely, murder.

      • Jay

        No. He knows he needs permission to fire and he’s lying about what’s happening on the ground so he can get it.

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  • JohnR

    The audio seems tied to the video just fine. Looks authentic. As to the gunners, this is absolutely normal – you see what you expect to see. The copter guys saw men with weapons. Whether anybody had weapons and how many was really immaterial. Any birdwatcher knows how that works; what your eyes see gets processed by your brain into whatever you’re looking for. The hard part for the gunner comes when (if) he processes what was really there instead of what he saw there. The hard part for the survivors doesn’t really end. This is what insurgency war from a ‘safe distance’ does to people. The only winners here were the anti-American Islamists – this is how new recruits are most effectively generated. May Cheney and the neocons and the Kristolian pundits and bloggers someday feel the pain they have caused.

    • JohnR

      btw, did you catch how a single “weapon” became “weapons” and how moving a single wounded man became “collecting the bodies”? Again, this is how we operate: it’s some sort of probably-unconscious rationalization process that allows us to do things we would otherwise be appalled by. Escalation is one sort of justification for whatever came before – make it bigger and your actions become necessary. That gunner itching to kill the wounded man if only he did something that could be interpreted as “picking up a weapon”? That’s how it works – whether it’s in police at home or soldiers abroad. I have no idea who he was before he went to Iraq, but he’s on the road to My Lai in this video; once he can define someone as an enemy, only the rules of engagement hold him back, and they can be bent or even broken in anything that can be interpreted as an emergency. Killing soon requires more killing to keep it justified; when everybody is an enemy, it’s OK to kill anybody. The chain of command then becomes very focused on PR damage control to hold off the ‘opponents’ at home (who “naturally don’t understand the difficulties of this kind of war”), and again, “us vs. them” leads to things that shouldn’t happen. I’m certain they’re trying to reduce this sort of murder, but it’s not possible to eliminate it – war is controlled murder at best, and the control is iffy, no matter how well-trained and well-led the soldiers are. And murder is hard to live with for most of us.
      That’s why chicken-hawks like Cheney and Lieberman are so horrible – it’s a game with cardboard counters to them, and they never had to live in it and see what happens to the people who get mixed up in it. Of course, perhaps they wouldn’t care; I can’t see Cheney, for instance, really losing sleep over dead bodies all around as long as they weren’t him or his.

    • Midwest Product

      The AP is reporting that Pentagon officials have confirmed (off the record) that the video is authentic:

      A gritty war video circulating on the Internet that shows U.S. troops firing repeatedly on a group of men — some of whom were unarmed — walking down a Baghdad street is authentic, a senior U.S. military official confirmed Monday.

      The official said the video posted at Wikileaks.org was of a July 12, 2007, firefight involving Army helicopters in the New Baghdad District of eastern Baghdad.

      Among those believed to have been killed in that attack was Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Saeed Chmagh, 40. Two children also were wounded.

      The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the video, said the military could not confirm the identities of the Reuters employees in the film.

      The Pentagon would not confirm the video’s authenticity on the record, despite repeated requests from The Associated Press.

  • Brian


    You are looking at the WikiLeaks homepage which always has the donation line (since its a crowdsourced kind of place).

    To see the greater collection of info you need to click the link in the text under the video on the main page (http://www.collateralmurder.com/). They provide a number of other resources through the sidebar of that page on the incident and the video.

    • Thank you. The link to the archive wasn’t working earlier – maybe overwhelmed with traffic.

  • McBiggins

    (For example, the crew reports that they are seeing adult males armed with AK47s, but the men on the ground appear unarmed.)

    It seemed like they began speaking about AK47s in regard to the photographer with his long-lensed camera slung over his shoulder. It really did look like a slung rifle at first glance. I wondered if during the “RPG” section if what we were looking at was again the photographer but this time shooting photos from the cover of the corner of the building.

    I think it would have been easy for the soldiers in the chopper to misunderstand whether they were seeing weapons or not, but what seemed absolutely clear was that they were not witnessing any hostile acts — no gunfire directed at the chopper and none directed at anyone on the ground.

  • The information on http://www.collateralmurder.com seems quite comprehensive, and it’s not accessible because of bandwidth issues it seems. There’s also the raw footage from the gun camera at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik

  • LB Jefferies

    possibly dumb question: why does an Apache helicopter have to stay in motion? Can it not hover?

    Not only are the guys on the ground not hostile, they are completely unconcerned with the helicopter, period.

    • Dave

      Seems to be agreement that the helicopter is 1 to 1.3 miles away. Dudes don’t even know it’s there.

      • JJ

        Which makes it even more absurd to me when they get so worried about one man with a possible gun.

        • wengler

          They were providing air cover for a ground patrol near the area so there is some worry there. Though it appears the gunner pretty much wanted to kill every living thing in that square.

    • justaguy

      I assume it stays in motion to avoid getting shot down.

  • JX

    Bottom line is whoever had guns or not, they were all comfortably in the company of at least a few armed enemies and a few more al-Reuters propagandists. Good enough reason to splatter them all on the pavement if you ask me.

    Some of you guys seriously need to watch the 9/11 2001 footage and remind yourselves who are we fighting and how they fight. We cant be crying and wasting logistics resources on transporting fucking ENEMY kids to hospitals if we want to win the war on ISLAM, and make no mistake about it – we are at war with ISLAM. It’s up to us if we fight it, but they for sure fight us – through al-Reuters, BBC et al as much as through jihadi homicide bombers.

    • You’re as uncivilized as you think they are. It wouldn’t be worth winning the war you think we’re fighting if we had to do it on your terms.

    • “We are at war with ISLAM.”

      Way to reify the very reason Islamic fundamentalists used to fight us in the first place. You’re playing right into their rhetoric. Good work, terrorist-helper.

      • JX

        Right, so it’s our fault the jihadi homicide bombers have to do what they do. Sure. If we were just good dhimmis I’m sure we could coexist with moslims just fine…. Keep on thinking that and blaming the soldiers defending also YOUR cowardly lefty-lib ass, I’m sure all your lefty-lib friends will love you for that.

        • DocAmazing

          Well, let’s see. In Iraq, we invaded their country because…just because, okay? But they like having their infrastructure destroyed, so they have no reason to complain about that. In Afghanistan, we invaded their country because their tenants, a bunch of Yemenis and Saudis, pulled off a big terrorist action against us; after letting those Yemenis and Saudis escape, we’ve hung around to shoot up weddings. But that’s all good, ‘cuz they’re all warlike-mountain-tribal about the whole thing, and they like having foreign soldiers to shoot at. In Israel, we give the government billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to mow down Palestinians, but that’s all good, ‘cuz Palestinians love a good funeral.

          But that’s all beside the point ‘cuz WOLVERINES!!1!!

          • JJ


    • DocAmazing

      Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for General Jerry Boykin!

    • The Wrath of Oliver Khan

      on transporting fucking ENEMY kids to hospitals

      I can’t speak for you, but I haven’t had enemies who were kids since I was at McLane Junior High School.

      Some of you guys seriously need to watch the 9/11 2001 footage and remind yourselves who are we fighting and how they fight.


      Back up your tough talk or shut the fuck up, chickenhawk.

    • dave3544

      I want to live in a world where the sentence “We cant be crying and wasting logistics resources on transporting fucking ENEMY kids to hospitals if we want to win the war on ISLAM” could only be said as the punchline to a bad joke. Or, in other words, I so desperately want to believe JX is a sick joke, but, sadly, know that he is not.

      • JX

        You think WWII was fought by killing only armed enemies on the battlefield and carrying wounded jap kids to hospital? Think again. In a war you kill, kill and kill until the enemy has no will or ability to resist left.

        Maybe not every german was a nazi. Maybe not every jap was a militarist. But nations as a whole didn’t revolt, much as how mainstream islam does when it comes to jihadis. Japs and germans deserved all the nukes and firebombs they got, but this war is all fucked up, civilians are second-guessing soldiers from their homes and openly judging them from killing unarmed enemies as if somehow only an armed enemy is an enemy…

        Those who choose to live with the jihadi savages, they have chosen their camp, treat them accordingly and let them die with them.

        If the war was fought to gain victory and not placate the liberal sensibilities of UN, Europe and liberals anything that worships the pedophile prophet would be a target.

        • Spokane Moderate

          I’m not convinced the move to the new site is working out, LGM Overlords. You seem to be receiving eight-year-old right-wing talking points.

          Stupid internet! Be more current!

          • I’d peg JX as more like 14, but if you say 8, maybe you’re right.

            • You almost never hear ‘jap’ from someone who wasn’t alive during WWII (or who was in the military in Asia during our subsequent adventures there): this has the creaky sound of a veteran who’s burned that we now consider what they did to be war crimes.

              • DocAmazing

                Or someone who has no interest in concealing his racism.

            • Spokane Moderate


              My apologies. I meant his comments are circa 2002 vintage, not eight as the age of the commenter.

        • JohnR

          Ah, another Union man. Or else a Southerner who has accepted that what Sherman did through Tenn and Ga was necessary and correct, if a little too easy on the secessionists.

    • JJ

      “enemy kids”… I’m not sure there is much more to say to you.

    • Herb

      JX, your views are as vile as they are wrong. I hope you enjoy this life, because something tells me the next one is going to be hell.

    • JF

      I can watch 9/11 footage every second for the rest of my life and it would not matter a bit because Iraq and Iraqi citizens were not involved in 9/11.

      You might as well ask me to watch Battle of Britain footage or some shit, it’s exactly as relevant to the Iraqi occupation and this slaughter of innocent civilians as 9/11 is.

    • Jay

      What does 9/11 have to do with Iraq?

  • Fats Durston

    Yeah, but Beauchamp said they wore the skull when it was obviously too small to fit over a helmet!!!!!!!111!!!! Everything is disproved!

  • Mojo

    The heli crew made a very bad mistake (or series of mistakes) and the consequences were horrible. But it was clearly not “murder” since they thought (however erroneously if not negligently) that they were attacking armed enemy forces who were moving toward a firefight to attack US soldiers on the ground. And “precision targeting” wasn’t involved at all. This was specifically a combat vehicle with combat soldiers (not intel) misinterpreting something and firing unguided bullets.
    It reminded me a lot of the F-15 shootdown of the Blackhawks in Northern Iraq years ago; overeager, poorly trained crews misinterpreting and misreporting what they saw and an assumption that anybody who couldn’t be positively IDd as friendly must be the enemy.

    • Scott de B.

      Not sure this excuses the firing on the van.

      • Mojo

        I agree. That looks to me to be a case of a really bad ROE. The assumption that anybody who stops to tend to injured people must be in league with them seems to make assumptions about other people that we’d never apply to ourselves.
        To be clear, I don’t excuse the original firing either. It was wrong; just not intentionally so.

    • Jay

      Clearly not murder? You know what they thought? You know what they said to get permission to fire but not what they thought. What they said was clearly wrong. What they wanted to do – shoot – was readily apparent.

  • Flit

    I visited Iraq 3x as a writer/photographer, embedding with US troops (once near the area where this took place). The author of this post, and some of the commenters are (with respect) a little naive, and need to carefully interpret what they’re seeing.

    1. There was apparently enemy contact in the area before we join the feed. you can hear it in the audio when the apache and the air officer mention it in passing. Right before the firing starts, one individual pokes his head around a corner with something in his hand (may have been a camera). Anyone who sees that will have alarm bells going off that it’s an insurgent.

    2. two of the unarmed civilians are journalists carrying cameras that look like weapons, which is tragic. But they are in the company of 2-3 individuals carrying AK-47s (the RPG tube is in dispute, though it looked like an RPG to me) The wikileaks folks state as much.

    3. The hit on the van is terrible to watch. But individuals aiding combatants are not “protected collateral objects” in the ROE.

    Thus, you can quite reasonably disagree with the ROE … I know they are much stricter in Astan right now – but the legality of the individual decisions doesn’t seem in doubt. New baghdad is a vast suburb SE of Sadr City that was a hotbed of (bad) militia activity in 2007. This was before the rise of Awakening or SOI movements spread to baghdad, and thus no possible confusion about hitting non-uniformed friendlies with weapons.

    In the end, anyone who is not Coalition Forces, Iraqi Police or Iraqi Army that carries a weapon outside of their house (where it is legal to keep one firearm per home), is considered a cleared target.

    This shooting is tragic, but don’t misinterpret what it is. If it offends you, that is perfectly fine. But this is not exactly a spectacular event. The unique tragedy is that this time, a couple of journalists and children were hit as well.

    • Actually, I don’t think that hitting children was unique to this incident.

      Also, I’m just thrilled with the concept that it was considered ok to kill people who were helping the wounded, although I only have youer word on that.

    • The Wrath of Oliver Khan

      Thus, you can quite reasonably disagree with the ROE

      But you don’t, I’m guessing?

      • dave3544

        He’s been there, man.

    • Flit: thank you.

      I really appreciated this comment; it helps to provide some of the sub-text I felt was missing as I watched the footage as – yes, absolutely – a naive outsider who understands war law but has never set foot in Iraq. (I also lack military training, which may be why I and others watching this are having an easier time seeing cameras and a harder time seeing weapons than, presumably, a war journalist or an Apache gunner would.)

      Anyway, thank you. Your insights will help me in thinking about how to use this clip pedagogically.

      Where I would disagree with you though is on the question of whether it is considered legitimate to open fire on war-wounded as they are being assisted by non-combatants. I’m pretty sure this is not as clear cut as you think it is.

      • js

        > which may be why I and others watching this are having an easier time seeing cameras and a harder time seeing weapons

        Also keep in mind that you have an annotated video *telling you* that certain objects are cameras, etc. You come into it preconditioned to see them as harmless objects. Still tragic, but I think a lot of people are ignoring their own bias going into the video.

        • Mike D.

          Correct. AKs are clearly visible of you look closely. I missed them the first time as well, absolutely influenced by Wklks’ incomplete labeling. Presence of cameras DNE absence of small arms. I am not informed enough to comment, however, on resulting implications of mere presence of small arms for satisfaction of ROEs or indeed the legality of engagement (real question for int’l lawyers: are those 2 in fact identical?)

      • Flit

        No problem. I actually have a couple of inquiries out about the ROE on the van, so hopefully will get some clarity.

        One can come to a respectable conclusion that is different than mine (I endorse the ROE at the time), but I think the wikileaks presentation is sensationalistic.

        But I understand the reaction … as watching the footage is difficult, no matter what one’s opinion on the legality. (I guess psychos or juvenile idiots might enjoy it) The journalists made a stupid mistake walking with men with weapons, or maybe they took a calculated risk, and lost. But pretty much all of the Iraqi stringers were brave reporters, and it’s a sad outcome.

        • ChrisS

          The journalists made a stupid mistake walking with men with weapons

          So the only protected journalists are those with the occupying forces? Everyone else is fair game?

          • DocAmazing

            Wel, gee whiz, how else are you gonna establish message control?

    • JJ

      I would say any innocent life is a tragedy, not limited to children or certain occupations. If by not a “spectacular” event you mean this is not unusual for war, fine; but I still don’t find it acceptable.

    • wengler

      You’re really making a legal distinction on the van that really doesn’t matter in the context of the video.

      • Flit

        “You’re really making a legal distinction on the van that really doesn’t matter in the context of the video.”

        wengler – Don’t have a lot of time to provide more input today, so forgive if I don’t respond to any response, but see my other comment. ROE clears targets based on hostile act or hostile “status.” (For example, known Al Qaeda have a “status” that allows them to be killed on sight.) Once the gunner et al determined that the men they’d shot were terrorists, the legality that applies is that their associates were terrorists. (“hostile status”) Just giving you my interpretation of the probable rationale under the ROE.

        • wengler

          What I meant about legal distinction is that you won’t be charged by the US military for murder, but there is absolutely no reason to attack and kill the occupants of the van.

          The CO does have discretion here. Though as I noted before they seem to have had a tone set from the top of killing ’em all. One wonders where it says that in the COIN manual.

    • Jay

      The problem with what you’re saying is that the audio shows that what they were claiming was going on so they could get permission to fire was not what was going on. Unless making things up is part of the ROE this would seem to be outside of that.

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  • Flit

    “Actually, I don’t think that hitting children was unique to this incident.”

    I was not using the word literally, rather trying to express that it made this incident exceptionally tragic.

    ‘Also, I’m just thrilled with the concept that it was considered ok to kill people who were helping the wounded, although I only have youer word on that.”

    Wikileaks also published ROE from 2007, so feel free to study it:


    I will caveat that ROE have wiggle room; they’re partially determined by subjective assessments by commanding officers who rely on perception & events, as stated in that document. So it’s not strictly black and white. And notice that the gunner asks permission to fire under each new set of circumstances, so this isn’t simply a weapons officer going bananas.

    An example of those who are unarmed yet can be killed for assisting the enemy are mortar or IED spotters. Honestly, I’m not 100% on the guys rushing to help in the van. But I’m about 90%: if you read the ROE, individuals are PID’ed hot via engaging in hostilities or simply having the STATUS as a member of hostile force. (Ansar Islam and AQI are two examples of targets cleared by default under the above ROE).

    Once the first group was PID’ed as insurgents via the illegal display of weapons and proximity to a firefight, anyone assisting them is arguably fair game under the “status” criterion, I believe. Again – an arguable standard, and one that may be currently different in A’stan. But what you’re seeing is not necessarily rogue or illegal (under the ROE).

    • wengler

      I assume I will find these loose Rules of Engagement in the COIN manual.

      • Flit

        No, ROE shift too fast, contingent on time and place. The COIN manual is essentially a doctrinal document that influences any given set of ROE.

    • Thinking about this over night, what this entire discussing is, is a kind of bloodless exercise in “bad things happen in war, gee.” Legally our guys were ok, so no harm no foul.

      So spare me the ROEs etc. According to the US Military it is ok to kill people who are trying to rescue badly wounded individuals. Good to know.

      It is nice to know where we are in the range of good guys vs. bad guys.

      • JohnR

        “According to the US Military it is ok to kill people who are trying to rescue badly wounded individuals.”
        I would expect that to depend on the circumstances. As Flit points out, you’re looking at this from a non-combatant pov; you see things differently from someone who’s dealing with insurgent combat. The point Flit makes is a good one, but he apparently overlooks the reverse – that when you’re conditioned to see enemy combatants, that’s what you see. Sure, split-second assessments in combat are tough and if you guess wrong, you may die; but that should lead you be more prone to make errors on the overkill side. If that’s not going to make your goal harder to reach, then there’s less pressure to cut that risk down; even if it does make things harder for you, it’s hard not to go that way when you’re outnumbered and potential enemies are hard to identify. The thing is, it’s awfully hard to see on the video the things the crew is reporting on the audio. It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that they had made up their minds what they were looking at before they even saw anything. That may be a survival skill in their situation, but it also leads to “bad” kills. Maybe you figure that all the folks in that video were already jihadis, but I know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t and any of those guys were friends or relations, especially the kids.
        I guess my point is that this is what happens in urban, non-conventional warfare. It’s not clean, it’s not surgical, and it’s generally a losing game for the side represented by the guys in the Apache. How many of them come home fine after that? How many more people do they leave behind desperate to kill some Americans after that? Going to war should not be some stupid throwaway choice by scum like the last administration, especially if it’s one of several choices.

        • JJ

          I guess my point is that this is what happens in urban, non-conventional warfare. It’s not clean, it’s not surgical, and it’s generally a losing game for the side represented by the guys in the Apache. How many of them come home fine after that? How many more people do they leave behind desperate to kill some Americans after that?

          A losing game for the side represented by the guys in the Apache? For each one of them that come home with PTSD, how many more people did they leave behind dead? More importantly, assuming they were not 100% accurate in their judgement and shooting, how many innocent lives did they leave behind, either dead, wounded, or without family (and with many of the same PTSD symptoms but not the same support structure you have here in the states). I’d say there are no “winning” sides here, but if there was a clear loser it ain’t us simply because our “it hurt us to drop tohse bombs on the children”. I agree with you regarding how many people they leave behind now bloodthristy for revenge though. Except most of them will lose too, the day they pick up a weapon to fight back in the name of lost loved ones (not implying all enemy fighters are in it because they lost family to American forces, but I can only assume that many are)… and so goes the cycle.

  • Flit

    “But you don’t [disagree with the ROE], I’m guessing?”

    I’ve seen the negative effects of aggressive interpretation of liberal ROE. Not simply from the tragedy standpoint, which is significant, but the fact that locals can very quickly turn against the CF. So it’s difficult.

    But do I agree with an ROE that says “kill a group of men with weapons?” Depends. In New Baghdad in 2007, after a firefight in the vicinity, very likely. People *know* that they’re not allowed to do that. They know carrying weapons in the street can get them killed. It’s not exactly a secret (intentionally so, as the rule differentiates combatants from noncombatants in a confusing environment).

    In, say, Ramadi in 2008? Terrible idea, because there would be a much higher chance of killing allied tribesmen who were part of an anti-al Qaeda militia.

    In the end, all of these decisions are difficult. I know a guy who killed an allied tribesman, up close and personal, but it was an absolutely correct decision on his part, even if the result was tragic.

    A portion of the results of these decisions – whether the ROE are strict or loose – are tragic. Either US forces get killed for restraint, or innocents can get killed for the opposite. Tough stuff, and not black & white. I’m not convinced that these guys made the right call at every step. But I also know that I don’t have enough information to condemn them.

  • Flit

    “He’s been there, man.”

    I believe he was being sarcastic, criticizing my mention of being there as an ‘appeal to authority.’

    I do agree with dave3544 on one thing though, probably. Not taking responsible for the care of the children was wrong.

    It was my understanding that individuals known to have been injured by US forces were duly prioritized and treated by US forces, though this was not a rule.

    I’m fairly certain it is the default standard now, as counterinsurgency doctrine is the law of the land, and protecting the populace is the explicit goal of that doctrine.

    Beyond any of the legalities? just my opinion, but the commander who shuffled the kids off to the IP and a local hospital, barring some extenuating circumstance (ie no casevac resources), can go to Hell.

  • Nur al-Cubicle

    Charlie, you can use it as an example of The Surge.

    I was still reading the foreign news wires in July 2007 and this was not an isolated event.

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  • wengler

    That gunner itching to finish off the wounded guy on the ground reminded me of a bad cop for some reason. “Well you see he was going for the gun and I had to shoot him”.

    McVeigh came back from the Gulf War having been awarded for killing a bunch of Iraqis in a machine gun nest. War is fun to these people. Killing is a rush. I wonder how many McVeighs Iraq has made this time around.

    Perpetual war for perpetual peace. Assassinations and explosions coming soon to a city near you.

  • Susan

    Charli, my sad opionion is that this is the fact of war. I can see both sides of the this, but does that change the irrevocable effect on the lives of those left? I understand the circumstances of the soldiers and can, sadly, understand their willingness to fire. But I think it was wrong. Very wrong. How do you convert that fact, I can’t stop the government from their wars. I don’t feel that a sudden withdrawal would be good. Yet I can’t see anything else. What is the answer?

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  • cpinva

    you people do realize that dear leader bush declared war, not on a country, but a weapon, terrorism, don’t you? clearly, you can’t actually defeat a weapon.

    neither the afghani or iraqi governments had anything to do with 9/11, and neither declared war on, or attacked us. these are facts. you may not like them, but there they are.

    i only noted two people, of all the ones on the ground, that appeared to have actual clearly identifiable weapons, and they weren’t being used in a threatening manner. if, in fact, they were “saddling up” to go attack the oncoming US ground forces, they were being pretty damn lackadasical about it.

    i realize we’re not necessarily talking about the most disciplined troops, but unless the non-weapon bearing guys were planning on attacking, by hurling their unarmed bodies viciously at the ground troops, methinks both the pilot and gunner need their eyes examined. possibly their heads too. they are a danger to themselves and others.

    what really bothered me the most, was the totally blase’ attitude of the all the US troops involved, as if they were out at the range, shooting paper targets.

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