U.S. Admits Killing of Afghan Women-Cover Up as Well?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Apr 5, 2010.

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  1. Not only an apparently botched operation, but looks like a cover-up may be involved--if so, all should be disciplined appropriately. When will they learn such things never work?

  2. While I agree your sentiment, I get really pissed of with the continual witch hunts looking for someone to blame for every operation which fails to be "surgical".

    People really do forget "shit happens.
  3. Which is regrettable, it's the cover up part that's actually ending up aiding the enemy.
  4. I agree with both of you. In some respects we (the military) are our own worst enemy in that in trying to maintain positive support among our people and our politicians (funding etc.) we sometimes oversell our capabilities in ways that can lead the outsider to think combat is a matter of clockwork precision. Of course, technology has aggravated this tendency as we saw in the 1991 Gulf War with all the "gee whiz" video of "smart" weapons etc. In the interim of course there is also the whole "gaming" phenomenon that is creating a whole generation of pretend "warriors" who wage war in the comfort of their own homes never smelling the cordite or feeling the hairs prickle on the back of your neck from the crack of rounds snapping too close over your head.

    Of course, when "special operations" are concerned, we have also done much the same thing in that we elevate the superb warriors in such units and their high tech kit etc. to almost "Mission Impossible" status whereby every bad guy reacts in the way we expect, weather is always perfect, comm never goes down, dogs never bark etc., etc. The grim reality of course is the odds are stacked against the success of many of these missions from the beginning--which is what really makes them "special."
    As such, regrettably things can and will go horribly wrong from time to time and this will include killing the wrong people etc.

    For those who have experienced it, the reality is very little is clear and even among the best trained and equipped forces conducting "surgical" ops, the violence of combat is a bit like brain surgery with a mallet--you get inside the head but it is incredibly messy.

    BUT having such (limited) "licenses to kill" does not also mean that when mistakes happen, those responsible also have some "license to lie." Of course, in some operations there will be security issues that require secrecy about missions and their aftermath but there must still be accountability within the units involved that means honest investigation of the operation and discipline of those involved, even though not always open to the public.

    My own experience in such situations tells me that this is very difficult thing to do properly but that is what leadership and integrity is all about. This is one of the dangers of having people in "special" units as human nature is such that some in them will begin to think they are so "special" that things like "integrity," "honesty," and the law do not apply to them and that is where leadership has to be even stronger.
  5. In a different sandy place, but certain parts of the web are alive regarding this.

    The URL links to a video that Wikileaks have posted regarding the killing of a number of Iraqis and Reuters journos. The US military say that the ROEs were followed, but the folks from Wikileaks/Reuters say otherwise.

    Either way, all I can say is that I am never going to argue with an Apache...
  6. Not a surprise that this is causing such angst (and not a little glee no doubt) in various corners of the world wide web. The title of the page you linked to though ("collateral murder") suggests (even to a brain-challenged old Marine like me) that those venting thereon are not much interested in balanced reporting. :D

    Without opining on the accuracy of the video, and as importantly the entire context, as this blog Linky indicates, one needs to be careful of such "news" on the internet. For better or worse, however, the Wikileaks post is making the rounds of the middle east news outlets and blogosphere so that will be the "truth" to the average muslim on the street.
  7. If they conspired to cover this up they need to be held accountable.
  8. Agree absolutely--and as far up the chain of command as possible if there was any misconduct by superiors (act OR omission).
  9. JJH - if you think that your blog is any less biased than Wikileaks, either the content has changed between you reading it or me, or I'm unable to read. :?

    As you note, clearly the right and wrong of the Apache attack is all down to context (e.g. what happened in the area in the proceeding period), but that is not really a hard-nosed, objective assessment of the video, more like some mad cellar-dweller scribbling on their blog.

    As to their comments about people having weapons, aren't most families armed in Iraq?

    More discussion of this here
  10. Read my post again--I did not vouch for the other blog but was only using it to make the point that there are widely varying posts on the internet such that one needs to use care in what is considered "truth."
  11. I just saw the Baghdad video and it's absolutely terrible. They open fire on the small group, assuming that the Reuters camera is an RPG. They hover over a mortally wounded guy who is in shiit-state and plead to their bosses to carry out the coup de grace - even though he's clearly no longer a threat to anyone (do these guys not use the LOAC and Geneva Convention). They laugh as the Bradley drives over one of the corpses. They also laugh at the wounded kids, saying "well they shouldn't bring their kids to war". They absolutely destroy the place and it's a complete f*** up from start to finish, automatically assuming that Iraqis are legitimate targets because they have decided so. On the positive side, the Apache pilots seem quite a jovial bunch.

    OK it was a tragic error, caused by ignorance and arrogance, but they subsequent denial and cover-up is the most shameful part of the lot. We'veseen the USA do the same denial and cover-up when they killed our guys in a blue-on-blue. It's that "f*** you, we're the USA and we're in charge, you filthy foreign dog" attitude that has been so distasteful and they wonder why people don't welcome us as liberators? You guys who are blaming the victims should watch the video and then have a think about it. Is it a cleverly doctored clip to make it seems that the crew made a mistake when it was all legal and above board? No - the fact that the Reuters staff were obliterated live on camera pretty much tells the story and the narrative is pretty clear. The guys who deliberately lied should face disciplinary action. Each time they do stuff like that it makes our jobs more difficult and indirectly leads to more coalition (and other) deaths. War is bad enough without deliberate cover-ups. When you're caught lying, no one trusts you the next time.
  12. If the situation is as it appears and if there was/is a cover-up then those involved/responsible need to be dealt with in accordance with established procedures. In this connection, and while not suggesting this was at play in this case, we would all do well to remember that the "enemy" is quite aware of the laws and scruples to which our forces are supposed to adhere and often try to use them against us.

    As an example, you may want to research the situation in Fallujah where there was evidence that the "enemy" used vehicles marked as ambulances to move its forces and weapons around in the city as well as fired on noncombatants to try to cast blame on US forces for indiscriminate firing. Use of ambulances by terrorists is not new of course--Linky but curiously does not seem to get any media coverage.Indeed, when one Googles this now, it seems this canard has acquired a life of its own along with the false allegation that US forces used white phosphorous as a wounding agent in that battle when in fact it was used for marking--a use permitted under the applicable laws of war.

    In addition, and quite ironically, a UPI storyu about a secret US intelligence assessment after the initial operation in Fallujah leaked on Wikileaks itself included this:

    Another example from an exceprt from an award given to a US Navy doctor for his work in the Fallujah operation also touches on what was happeining in Fallujah:

    Thus we must be careful to fully understand the circumstances and context of any videos such as this before concluding anything.

    While I appreciate your apparent outrage and feeling, I would point out that you accuse the entire "USA" as you put it and that, my friend, is unjustified, unfair and inappropriate on its face. Even if you narrow it down a bit from the 300 million plus that you accuse to the military , and even further to those in theater etc. etc. you will find the vast majority of our forces do indeed understand and apply not only the the relevant legal standard but also the correct ethical one as well. If you adjust the drastically different sizes of the respective forces of the US troops and our allies in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as adjust for the fact that so much of the allied coalition operations in both wars relied on US supporting arms, I think you might find the incidents to which you refer, as horrible as they were, represent a very small percentage of the total number of sorties and other ops undertaken by US forces.

    I will never justify or excuse criminal conduct by any of our forces but I will defend the hono(u)r of the thousands of US forces, including the thousands KIA and WIA in these operations that have done their duty in an exemplary fashion and have nothing whatever to be ashamed of. Indeed, if you read some of the posthumous citations of our forces you will note that some of them were killed doing the "right" thing even to the point of trying to protect or save noncombatants. I personally witnessed the same thing in Vietnam and those dead Marines deserve better than the kind of blanket indictment that you have leveled, IMHO so thoughtlessly.

    Even beyond that, as a military professional I will also defend just as vocally the same in the UK and all of our allies' militaries who do not deserve the kind of irresponsible slagging like you and some other sometimes throw in the unfortunately rather predictable but ever popular sport and art form of US bashing. I am even ahead of you in criticizing specific individuals and groups in the US government and beyond for their ACTIONS but I try to ensure my criticisms are as precisely aimed as possible rather than use a verbal WMD as you have done that injures those who are innocent, even discounting for the fact that it is after all in an ARRSE forum.
  13. Watched it just some terrorists getting lit up with 30mm from a apache and there embed journalists along with them. Then a unmarked van comes to pick weapons bodys wounded and get lit up as well.

    That there were two kids in van is the only thing worth shedding a tear over.
  14. Evidence that they were 'terrorists', fcuk-knuckle?
  15. Ive watched the video, and the journos were with several armed men. Frame 3:38- 4:00 the group of four men walking directly behind the journo were armed and the pilot loses them behind the compound wall. The fat lad with the striped shirt appears central to the armed element. Frame 4:00 the pilot panns trying to reaquire them and the journo pops his head around the wall, his lens appears to be an RPG.

    The apaches were there to provide CAS for a ground force that had been under fire, and were looking for the enemy.

    The pilots percieved at least 4 men armed with small arms and an RPG team. What would you have them do? The video is doctored, the frames that show the children in the van's passenger window have been amplified by whoever produced the video, the pilots never saw the video in the manner we are.

    I would have engaged them as well.