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Wikileaks video.

rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
edited April 2010 in The bottom bracket
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/ap ... raq-attack

In case you forgot why you were against the war.

The link for the video is in the article. It's difficult to watch.
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Posts

  • CressersCressers Posts: 1,329
    No doubt They will take down Wikileaks as They did CrypTome..
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    That is horrible. I know war is hell and all that but those Americans approached it like I would an X Box game. Disturbing.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • incog24incog24 Posts: 549
    edited April 2010
    Its a really worrying video. Impossible to say whether the pilots had that mindset before the joined up or not, although in some ways I kind of hope they did...
    Racing for Fluid Fin Race Team in 2012 - www.fluidfin.co.uk
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    if that had been an rpg they could have been shot down. would you take chances with your own life. i also think its a little stupid to be pointing something like that about in a war zone. its very tragic though.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
    rake wrote:
    if that had been an rpg they could have been shot down. would you take chances with your own life. i also think its a little stupid to be pointing something like that about in a war zone. its very tragic though.

    I think it's pretty stupid killing 8 Iraqi unarmed civilians. It's also stupid showing no remorse, laughing and joking about it, and having a pretext for opening fire if they do turn out to be unarmed. "All you gotta do is pick up a weapon", suggets they were not too concerned in the case they were not armed.

    They know there are civilians there trying to live their lives.

    You're on ridiculousy thin ice if you're remotely defending the killers.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    you can clearly hear them saying they are armed which i believe they thought they were. if they hadnt been pointing objects at shoulder level about like round the corner of the building it probably wouldnt have happened.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
    rake wrote:
    you can clearly hear them saying they are armed which i believe they thought they were. if they hadnt been pointing objects at shoulder level about like round the corner of the building it probably wouldnt have happened.

    You're a dangerous man.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    not really. i dont harm anyone. im not in that video you know.
  • AndyD2574AndyD2574 Posts: 1,034
    No defence what so ever!

    Sounds like they were looking for an excuse to fire their big guns......idiots!
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  • davelakersdavelakers Posts: 762
    I read this elsewhere and thought it a very good enlightening yet disturbing read. Its written by a US Veteran.

    The Video: A perspective from a liberal veteran

    "By now all of us have seen the horrible video that was released from wikileaks yesterday.

    This video is now rightfully in the public sphere so that we can debate things such as: what happens when you start a war, rules of engagement, PTSD, military cover ups, etc...

    This video affects me deeply on a personal level because it conjures up many painful emotions. I am writing this diary, in part, to give a perspective to those who are looking to understand, but also as a form of therapy for myself.

    First, I want to explain some of the emotions and feeling that I went through in my tour in Afghanistan, and how they still affect me today. Then, I want to talk a little more about the video and the tendency to cover up these things.

    When I went to Afghanistan, I was assigned to train, mentor, and advise a company of Afghan National Army troops. At the time, I believed in the mission, and supported the idea of helping Afghanistan return to a state of stability and peace that they had ca. 1940-1974. I learned to speak, read, and write Dari, the Afghan dialect of Persian/Farsi, and I made a serious effort to be sensitive to Afghan and Muslim culture.

    We spent the first 6 weeks in and around Kabul, which was very safe at the time, and I actually enjoyed it. I was learning a lot about Afghanistan history and culture. Then, they sent us to Kunar province along the Pakistan border.

    In Kunar, my Afghan company and I were assigned to a Marine Battalion. Our mission tempo was very high, meaning the Marines used us like crazy, and we had enemy contact almost on a daily basis.

    IEDs were the most dangerous threat, and they were a common occurrence. Several had killed ANA in my company, as well as Afghan Police and Marines on the roads that I used daily. They were impossible to spot, and this made driving a very nerve wracking process. The tension built up over time. Once I was driving in the front of a convoy, and drove right over an IED and never noticed it, nor did the 8-10 vehicles who went over it behind me. Luckily for me, the people firing the device wanted to hit a bigger target, a Marine vehicle farther along in the convoy--not so lucky for them, 4 were seriously injured, and 1 later died of his wounds.

    When you are hit by an IED there is no fight. There is no opportunity to get the people who caused you this harm. Along with the constant feeling of fear, comes a deep seated hatred for those that are the cause of the stress. My mind went to very dark places, I wanted those people dead. I wanted to do it myself, up close. You may not understand these emotions, and I have difficulty today with them. Writing these words makes me very emotional. Even today I have violent visions for conflict resolution, both in my dreams and waking thoughts. I have envisioned doing horrible things to people--I have to deal with that constantly.

    When we actually got into shooting engagements, this fear and hatred took control. I fired my machine gun, grenade launcher, or M4 with an anger that later horrified me. I became completely desensitized when several of my close Afghan soldiers were killed or wounded recovering the body of a Marine. After that, I felt euphoric in a fight, especially when we killed the enemy.

    Once, when we were delivering a MEDCAP, which is a mission that involves medics treating people in a small village, we were attacked by a sniper. We had to abandon the mission, and many people wished we would just bomb the village. I have to admit that for a brief moment, I shared this feeling. Then, I began to think about it, and became horrified at what I was becoming. Luckily, I controlled these emotions and always chose my targets. I never fired on innocent people, but the urge was there. I wondered if they weren't pretending and in some way helping the other side.

    So, when I look at this video, all of these emotions come out. In the initial engagement, I see the reporter round the corner with his camera and point it in the direction of the helicopter. With hindsight, we know that it is a camera, but 2 weapons can be clearly identified beforehand, an AK and an RPG, and the camera does look like a weapon, especially the way the cameraman manipulates it around the corner. It is probably safe to say that he was manipulating it to get a good "shot" in cameraman language, which is pretty hard to distinguish from getting a good shot in military language. The overall body language of the group was not aggressive, but in an insurgency that is not uncommon. I explain their callous comments afterwards to the euphoric feeling I expressed earlier.

    So, I view that first part of the film as a tragic sequence that can only be avoided by not starting wars. Especially unnecessary wars. As long as there is war, there will be this kind of incident.

    However, what happens when the van shows up is just damning. There is no excuse for lighting up the van the way they did. There are no two ways about it. There were no visible weapons or aggressive maneuvers by the people involved. This part sickens me and is just so depressing. I think of the emotions that I felt, and wonder how people, especially very young men and women, who have had more than one tour, feel. Through this war we have created a monster, but that is not what bothers me the most.

    What bothers me the most is that the military tried to cover it up. These types of things need to be out in the open and addressed immediately by the people in charge. We MUST have a collective conscience, our entire society. We have to show everyone that this is unacceptable, and make efforts to prevent such things from happening again.

    Often, people invoke, what I call the "Few Good Men Defense". They say things like "How dare you question the methods I use to protect this country". Well, I have been there too, and I not only question the methods, but the system in general. It is amazing to me that this video had to be leaked. If the military had just been open and addressed the issue publicly and definitively, they wouldn't create the feelings of anger toward all members of the military. Many who chose to do the right thing, and not fire on innocent people.

    Many of the comments that I have read concerning service members here on Dkos over the last couple of days have been very painful to me. Partly because I know deep inside that we are somewhat deserving of them, but also because of all the people who signed up to serve their country, and will come home with so much emotional damage. Many of them do not share our values, and truly believed that they were going to fight to protect our freedom.

    I just wish people would have mentioned that in the run up to our war. It is true that our casualties have been relatively low in these wars, but what about the emotional effects. No one mentioned that many of these young kids were going to have to deal with the after effects of killing.

    In the end, those pilots and their command will have to come to grips with what they have done, hopefully through a fair court martial, and treatment. More importantly, the military and our society are going to have to come to grips with who we are.

    Thanks for reading. I have to go out, but I will be back to respond later."
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    that highlights what its actually like to be there. they are also armed if you watch closley.
  • I have watched the video and IMO, although it is disturbing and mistakes were made, what exactly did these soldiers do wrong?

    They called into their command and asked for permission to fire based on what they were seeing on the ground - permission was granted and they attacked.

    What were they seeing on the ground? Well at least 1 RPG and AK47 and unfortunately a camera that they thought was a weapon.

    This is a war and they are there to kill the enemy and they thought that is exactly what they were doing. When the van came to pick up the dead and wounded, well perhaps that's where I think they went over the line, but don't forget that at that time, they were guiding in some ground troops to the area, so killing any remaining enemy at this stage was probably the correct thing for them to do.

    Always remember that this is happening real time and in real danger. These soldiers are not analysing this after the event then deciding what to do next, they are making life and death decisions on the ground and they are being supported by a command centre that gave them the go ahead.


    And as for the language and the kind of flippant comments regarding killing people, these are young men who are being attacked every day by IED's, snipers and RPG's, they probably hate their enemy. Wouldn't you?

    Too many armchair Generals wanting to tell these guys what is right and wrong from the comfort of their keyboard. Or armchair politicians deciding on the morals of other posters due to a conflicting opinion

    Not sure why Rake is being described as dangerous? More dangerous for me are people wanting to tell others how to think.
  • BigG67BigG67 Posts: 582
    The long piece by the ex-marine is enlightening and helped me put the whole footage in perspective.

    When I watched it I hoped that I'd do better at the initial engagement if I was on the gun in the Apache, that somehow I'd make better judgements....but I doubted it. The pressure and stress these guys are under is something we can't imagine.

    However, the shooting of the van is simply awful. The guys around it are obviously picking up the dead and wounded. It seems to me that by that stage the Apache crews are on a "mission high" and have become blind to what was really happening.

    All told a terrible terrible example of why war has nothing but casualties in every sense.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    You guys make some good points but it is the fact that they WANTED them to be carrying weapons in order to kill them, that I take issue with. It was that type of attitude (gung ho) that effects decisions & judgements. 'Mission High' as mentioned above is a good phrase. It's that sort of attitude that means we loose so many of our guys to Amercian friendly fire. I realise it's a tough call and I know us Brits are far from perfect but there seems to be a certain attitude from American forces which is less prevelant amongst the other allies.

    I've got family in the Military (in Afghanistan at the moment) and this reflects their opinion too.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • incog24incog24 Posts: 549
    How comparable an experience do the gunship pilots have compared to infantry? Genuine question, I don't know the answer. I would have thought that they have less exposure to IEDs and snipers, and all the helicopter crashes I hear of seem to be those carrying troops, not the gunships. Its possible that they are under the same level of stress, but maybe not? That would make their actions less excusable.
    Racing for Fluid Fin Race Team in 2012 - www.fluidfin.co.uk
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
    incog24 wrote:
    How comparable an experience do the gunship pilots have compared to infantry? Genuine question, I don't know the answer. I would have thought that they have less exposure to IEDs and snipers, and all the helicopter crashes I hear of seem to be those carrying troops, not the gunships. Its possible that they are under the same level of stress, but maybe not? That would make their actions less excusable.

    It's not at all excusable.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
    I have watched the video and IMO, although it is disturbing and mistakes were made, what exactly did these soldiers do wrong?

    They called into their command and asked for permission to fire based on what they were seeing on the ground - permission was granted and they attacked.

    What were they seeing on the ground? Well at least 1 RPG and AK47 and unfortunately a camera that they thought was a weapon.

    This is a war and they are there to kill the enemy and they thought that is exactly what they were doing. When the van came to pick up the dead and wounded, well perhaps that's where I think they went over the line, but don't forget that at that time, they were guiding in some ground troops to the area, so killing any remaining enemy at this stage was probably the correct thing for them to do.

    Always remember that this is happening real time and in real danger. These soldiers are not analysing this after the event then deciding what to do next, they are making life and death decisions on the ground and they are being supported by a command centre that gave them the go ahead.


    And as for the language and the kind of flippant comments regarding killing people, these are young men who are being attacked every day by IED's, snipers and RPG's, they probably hate their enemy. Wouldn't you?

    Too many armchair Generals wanting to tell these guys what is right and wrong from the comfort of their keyboard. Or armchair politicians deciding on the morals of other posters due to a conflicting opinion

    Not sure why Rake is being described as dangerous? More dangerous for me are people wanting to tell others how to think.

    How do you explain the "all you gotta do is pick up a weapon", cheering when they hit a civilian through a windscreen of a van, shooting someone who they recognise is tending the wounded, and then show no remorse, even when they find out they injured two children, whose father was no dead as a result of their actions?

    If it was a mistake, and they are then absolutely shitting it, having killed 8 civilians and possibly some children, then I'm more likely to consider it as a terrible mistake, and maybe consider their motives as actually a little humane.

    Since they don't, I don't.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    have you read the veterans account rick? what do you make of it. your talking about humane when they live with the threat of death every day, seen pals killed. the account above tells how it makes you dead to normal emotions and grievances. do you think the enemy are remorsefull when they detonate a road bomb?
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
    rake wrote:
    have you read the veterans account rick? what do you make of it.

    Ja it's terrible.

    It's no excuse however.

    There cannot be excuses when dealing with irreversible extremes.

    That's why I'm anti-war!

    It's totally understandable that the people who do these killings find a way to reconcile their actions, and find explanations. No-one's going to put their hands up and go 'yeah, I wanted everyone, dead, I had real bloodlust".

    Doesn't make their actions remotely justifiable. It merely explains why they did what they did.

    They should still be held accountable, and the people they are supposed to be representing should hold them accountable.

    Instances like the video only make the situation in Iraq and Afganistan worse for everyone.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    your justifying your views from your environment and emotions that go with it. maybe they could be different in that situation. ive said enough. :arrow:
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
    rake wrote:
    your justifying your views from your environment and emotions that go with it. maybe they could be different in that situation.

    Hey, my actions havn't killed 8 innocent people.

    It's not comparable.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    i meant in the situation of being in a war, not of having killed those people.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
    rake wrote:
    i meant in the situation of being in a war, not of having killed those people.

    But I'm not in the war?

    Just because I'm not in the war, does not mean I have no right to an opinion on the matter?

    By the sounds of that marine account, you bloody well need someone who hasn't been in the war to have a reasonable position on the matter!

    I find it hard to believe that people are defending an incident when these people kill 8 civilians, with no show of remorse, dubious evidence that they saw a weapon, evidence that they were happy to cover it up, and (according to the Reuters report) that the final 'official' report said they found rocket launchers and assault rifles, which as we can clearly see, is not the case.

    It's not defensible, whatever the circumstances. If they are in a frame of mind that lets them internally justify that, then they should be taken out of the forces, since it's not justifable.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Agreed it can't be defended - their attitude was unprofessional and immoral and they clearly made a stupid mistake (putting it mildly).
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • rake wrote:
    i meant in the situation of being in a war, not of having killed those people.

    But I'm not in the war?

    Just because I'm not in the war, does not mean I have no right to an opinion on the matter?

    By the sounds of that marine account, you bloody well need someone who hasn't been in the war to have a reasonable position on the matter!

    I find it hard to believe that people are defending an incident when these people kill 8 civilians, with no show of remorse, dubious evidence that they saw a weapon, evidence that they were happy to cover it up, and (according to the Reuters report) that the final 'official' report said they found rocket launchers and assault rifles, which as we can clearly see, is not the case.

    It's not defensible, whatever the circumstances. If they are in a frame of mind that lets them internally justify that, then they should be taken out of the forces, since it's not justifable.

    I think thats the problem for me - you cant accept others having another opinion.....quite annoying really....

    How do you want the soldiers to be, solemn, respectful of the enemy, sad they killed the enemy?
    IT IS A WAR There job is to kill the "baddies", that is how they are trained and tell me this, do you think the taliban etc get analysed when they murder maim kill?
    What Rake is trying to explain to you is that you can't judge these actions in the context of your surroundings, you have to empathise with the situation these guys are in, expand your mind, imagine another paradigm.

    You seem capable of empathising with the guys who got killed, try empathising with the guys who did the killing. Not agree with them, not like them, but at least imagine being in their shoes....

    I am pretty sure that when they shot at the van they thought they were killing more combatants, who is to say that van was not filled with more weapons and a couple of handy guys to use them?
    And as for the kids not having a father - do you think that is a good mindset for a soldier to be thinking of his enemies family every time he pulls the trigger?

    I am not saying it is right, I am saying it is happening under the context of a war, a situation most of us could never imagine.

    IMO this video leak will actually strengthen most peoples belief that young men are being sent into a hell hole where they will make decisions that will cause death, and ruin lives including their own. I would imagine its only the very naive that would personalise this into these soldiers being bad people....Just my opinion.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    MarkBoy even when I try empathy, they were still gung ho, unprofessional and they paniced. If you are a TRAINED professional in charge of a gun ship and a 30mm cannon I think it is reasonable to expect a 'degree' of calmness.

    Don't compare them to yourself or other civvies but compare them to other airmen & soldiers who are in much more dangerous positions (eg Infantry on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan with IRDs etc) all he time and still don't make those sort of mistakes. Those stories in Afghanistan about wounded soldiers helping their mates or bomb disposal experts giving their lives don't smack of panic or bloodlust. Rather professionalism, calmness and doing what is necessary. In other words the guys on that video were, by any standards, ineffective soldiers. Remember that they aim to protect the locals and win hearts and minds....
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • passout wrote:
    MarkBoy even when I try empathy, they were still gung ho, unprofessional and they paniced. If you are a TRAINED professional in charge of a gun ship and a 30mm cannon I think it is reasonable to expect a 'degree' of calmness.

    Don't compare them to yourself or other civvies but compare them to other airmen & soldiers who are in much more dangerous positions (eg Infantry on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan with IRDs etc) all he time and still don't make those sort of mistakes. Those stories in Afghanistan about wounded soldiers helping their mates or bomb disposal experts giving their lives don't smack of panic or bloodlust. Rather professionalism, calmness and doing what is necessary. In other words the guys on that video were, by any standards, ineffective soldiers. Remember that they aim to protect the locals and win hearts and minds....

    I thought they were very calm - just a bit too happy at what they were doing. But as I have said, I empathise with their enthusiasm at killing the people they believe have been trying to kill them.

    How do you know that British/Canadian/French/Etc soldiers don't woop it up a bit when they kill some of the enemy - the only way to know this would be if you have been there or you were able to watch comparative videos of them engaging.

    The hearts and minds thing does not have to conflict with killing the enemy - note that most of the locals there are happy to see the back of the Taliban, especially young girls who had their schools destroyed to prevent them from learning and perpetuating their twisted version of Sharia life.

    I am not saying what they did was good, but what I am saying is that I cant see the hysteria that is being generated about it from people who have no idea what it would be like to be in those circumstances day in day out.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,584
    passout wrote:
    MarkBoy even when I try empathy, they were still gung ho, unprofessional and they paniced. If you are a TRAINED professional in charge of a gun ship and a 30mm cannon I think it is reasonable to expect a 'degree' of calmness.

    Don't compare them to yourself or other civvies but compare them to other airmen & soldiers who are in much more dangerous positions (eg Infantry on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan with IRDs etc) all he time and still don't make those sort of mistakes. Those stories in Afghanistan about wounded soldiers helping their mates or bomb disposal experts giving their lives don't smack of panic or bloodlust. Rather professionalism, calmness and doing what is necessary. In other words the guys on that video were, by any standards, ineffective soldiers. Remember that they aim to protect the locals and win hearts and minds....

    But as I have said, I empathise with their enthusiasm at killing the people they believe have been trying to kill them.

    How do you know that British/Canadian/French/Etc soldiers don't woop it up a bit when they kill some of the enemy.

    ............. but what I am saying is that I cant see the hysteria that is being generated about it from people who have no idea what it would be like to be in those circumstances day in day out.

    Under the stresses of war it's not in the least bit difficult to work up some enthusiasm to
    kill someone who's trying to kill you and whoop it up when you do. It's happened in wars for centuries. Nothing new except to people who haven't been exposed to that kind of reality.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,009 Lives Here
    dennisn wrote:

    Under the stresses of war it's not in the least bit difficult to work up some enthusiasm to
    kill someone who's trying to kill you and whoop it up when you do. It's happened in wars for centuries. Nothing new except to people who haven't been exposed to that kind of reality.

    Yeah, because those civilians with their camera were such a threat to the helicopter.

    As was the man trying to tend to the wounded.
  • dennisn wrote:

    Under the stresses of war it's not in the least bit difficult to work up some enthusiasm to
    kill someone who's trying to kill you and whoop it up when you do. It's happened in wars for centuries. Nothing new except to people who haven't been exposed to that kind of reality.

    Yeah, because those civilians with their camera were such a threat to the helicopter.

    As was the man trying to tend to the wounded.

    AAAARRRGGGHHHH....There were people with AK47's and RPG's, even the wiki site says this...

    The camera men were with them and were killed with them, not right, but its risky doing what they do.

    Could you tell the difference in the heat of battle?

    I've tried hard enough to try and get you to not judge this and to open your mind to a different set of circumstances- I'm finished now.
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