back to article Wikileaks video shows US gunfire on Reuters staff

Whistleblower website Wikileaks continued its explosion into mainstream journalism Monday with the release of a classified US military video showing forces firing repeatedly on unarmed people on a Baghdad street. The video showed an incident from July 12, 2007, the same day that Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his …

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Authentic...

...but incomplete. It sure would be nice to see the bits leading up to the video.

The real lesson here is for Reuters. "Don't send our personnel out with armed insurgents, and if you see one of them carrying an RPG while a US helicopter is in the area, RUN AWAY, YOU FOOL!"

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FAIL

You see the bit at the end...

Where they pointed out that the 'RPG' is a camera?

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Black Helicopters

srsly?

please watch again!

the rpg in question is a standard photographer camera, not a big chunky video camera (video crews got also shot in the past).

so "lesson" is dont carry anything that could be mistake for a weapon *and if you die anyway, prepare to be called insurgents by DoD officials trying to cover the up the mess* .

dont carry a wallet, this can be mistaken for a gun...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeOaTpYl8mE

best is dont carry anything. and dont be fat or pregnant because you could be mistaken to be hiding something below your cloths, so you have to be shot or tasered....

also dont treat wounded or try bringing them to hospitals, even if you a working for the red cross and have markings on your ambulance.

to sarcastic? my bad.

uh and for the the cam-looks-like-a-rpg-crowd: get glasses, srsly

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ISF_member_armed_with_RPG-7.jpg

versus

http://www.imagevortex.com/stock/photos/thumbnail/1/1/8/woman_camera_photographer_hobby_hobbies-118849570.jpg

maybe i played to much u.s. army training games in the past but these guys were obviously _not_ armed and the DoD officials did an even worse job for credibility.

Sierra Hotel? ich dont think so.

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Hindsight; 20/20

Obviously it is quite easy to spot the reporters and their cameras with those tags on there pointing them out.. why didn't the gun crew just pay attention to those damn tags?!?! Oh, wait....

When I watched this video and tried to ignore the added hindsight evidence, what I saw is a bunch of men, some of whom appeared armed, one of whom appeared to be crouching at the edge of a building with a cylindrical object pointed in the camera's general direction (much like a Stinger or LAWS or any number of other Infantry anti-tank and anti-air weapons). When they were fired upon, the men scattered, of course; what else would you do whether you were armed and ready for a fight or not? It's not like they could return fire effectively. Then, after the battle, within a minute or so (at least it appears that way in the video, but there are pieces cut) an *unmarked* (no red cross or red crescent) shows up with some more men. They hurriedly jump out and try to grab wounded and equipment and try to get the hell out of there. Keep in mind that these are, from the perspective of the gunship, ENEMY wounded and ENEMY equipment, so, of course, you have to stop them.

It is very easy to judge this incident from the comfort and safety of our chairs at home/work, with no imminent threat to ourselves or our friends. Where seeing a camera is infinitely more common and likely than ever seeing a shoulder launched rocket or missile. But that is not the situation these soldiers are in. They saw a chance to eliminate a handful of enemies and they asked for, and received, authorization to proceed.

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Hindsight?

Don't you think you should be *sure* about it before killing 10-14 people? I think it's you who is too comfortable behind your chair, maybe already desensitized by fake violence we have all around us every day. It sure is easy to look through the camera of a helicopter or UAV and have it seem like a game where you shoot first and ask questions later.

An no, most rules of war do not allow one to shoot upon the "enemy" who shows up to care for the wounded or pick up the dead.

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Boffin

Rules of War

This is not a war.

This is a police action operating under the laws and regulations of the host country, under the auspices of the UN. In such cases, it is the host country laws and requirements that are met, and then UN rules are applied, and then General Orders for Police Actions (US), and then theatre operations rules and regulations, and then Post and Area rules for localities, and then mission operations rules and objectives.

Of course, all this is also overridden at a moments notice by direct orders and/or imminent threat - if it looks like a shoulder mounted weapon that can take you out and they have not identified themselves as non-combatants (like Red Cross, etc), then you are under imminent threat.

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@MeRp

You keep using phrases like "appeared to be armed" and "from the perspective of the gunship" these people were the "ENEMY", but, tell me, were any of them Brazilian Electricians because it seems to me that the same "Shoot first and don't even bother asking questions" doctrine appears(!) to have been applied here.

"Are they the enemy?"

"Dunno, but if we shoot them, they'll sure as hell be our enemies then!"

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delta sierra

i watched the long version first. no pointy tags there. the crew seamed more then relaxed.

you can watch the long version without cuts here (the short version too):

http://www.collateralmurder.com/

the shooting on marked medical personals was another city, another incident. nothing to do with this case.

> they hurriedly jump out and try to grab wounded

and if i was to pass by some guy in a puddle of his own blood i sure would first brew me some fine cup of tee and call my aunt for a nice cookie recipe before looking at his wounds. *rolleyes*

someone got a nice manual up on flickr, maybe this'll help you

http://www.flickr.com/photos/clutterbells/4495993800/sizes/o/

so please compare those farmers with the sniper rifle guy... watch the video again (the long one) and if you still see an RPG, get glasses srsly.

some more insurgents armed rocket propelled grenade, go for it crazy horse!

http://asset.soup.io/asset/0771/3018_93b4_480.jpeg

oh no wait. delta sierra.

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MeRp Massive Phail

You watched the video with a hindsight of your own.

The weapon looked NOTHING like a Stinger or LAW, unless you have never seen one in real life, and I hope to God that the Apache crew have seen them. If they are that poor at target identification in a hostile environment we need to ground them. How can we be sure they can even tell friendly troops apart from the enemy..?

What equipment did you see getting picked up?

What is the requirement to prevent enemy wounded from getting treatment with, or without a Cross/Crescent?

"It is very easy to judge this incident from the comfort and safety of our chairs at home/work,"

Indeed, and that is exactly what we should do. It is why the military go into harms way. More importantly though its very easy to accept and effectively sanction the murder of innocents because we are fooled into thinking that all military personnel are well trained, well intentioned super heros, while simultaneously forgiving them for every mistake they make. Bizarre double standard.

They thought they saw enemy soldiers - possibly true. They failed to properly identify. They reported seeing AK47s and RPGs (incorrectly or deliberately falsely, who knows) and as a result were authorized to open fire. As a result innocent people died.

Do you really think there was no fault here? Do you think it was a lawful killing? In the words of the song "is this the way to end the war?"

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lies dont help.... never

> How can we be sure they can even tell friendly troops apart from the enemy..?

radio chatter.

bushmaster six. hotel two-six over [...]

okay, roger, we're coming up north on Gadins and then we will push east to your location.

bushmaster elements be advised we have friendlies coming from the south to your location. Over.

oh and standing next to a Bradley or HMMV might help too.

> What equipment did you see getting picked up?

probably he saw all that equipment being taken that was with the dead bodies 3-4 houses away from the location of that wounded guy.

But honestly I'm sad that it gets only talked about how good or bad the apache did PID and not about the bad problem solving after the incident. they lied, plain and simple. they lied and then they wonder why the trustworthiness of the AA is really low in some parts of the world.

'July 12th, 2007 New York Times reports that two Iraqi journalists were killed in a militia clash with U.S. forces - ''There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,'' said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad.'

Maybe this helps at the home front to keep the illusion of the unfailing christian white knight that brings democracy and culture to the heavens.... but it does more bad then good and jeopardize the safety of our men and women on the battlefield.

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Grainy my ass ...... but we understand your dilemma, El Reg, and reject it

"After all, war is messy business, and a grainy video shot by a single helicopter can't be expected to tell the entire story."

Quite so, and one does wonder why it is not classified a criminal terrorist enterprise with its assets seized and bank accounts frozen, in just the same easy way that they do to close down anything which is thought dodgy. Although it is not really a mystery is it whenever so many are making a mint from its suffering, which then surely identifies the main terrorists for those who would claim to be waging War on Terror?

And that was a very clear video, Dan, ["which has been confirmed as authentic by senior military officials"] which showed everything in fine detail and told the entire story in high definition 3D, and to deny what it shows with a tale of anything else is surely evidence against the DoD removing any possible doubt in the Wikileaks allegation ......" may or may not be proof of the Pentagon cover-up and misconduct alleged by Wikileaks."

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Black Helicopters

*sigh*

I feel sick and sad for the innocent people who died that day.

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Dead Vulture

Loveable fresh-faced naiveté

>>Which makes you wonder if the army really did consider ways to bring-down the whistleblower site.

Because an institution that does illegal invasions, ultrakill, collateral damage by robot, general ass covering, inefficiency by design and also treats its own "employees" like toilet paper is going to stop at "bringing down" some website.

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Anonymous Coward

mistake

It does kind of look like the guy at 4:11 has an rpg. He's crouched down at the corner of a wall pointing his camera up at the helicopter. Kinda sucks but accidents happen, its just a shame the army didn't own up to the mistake.

As for the children in the van, they were never visible so you can't really blame them for that although one might ask if its appropriate to shoot a rescue crew even if you suspect they are enemies.

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Anonymous Coward

how's that different...

...from what nazis did in WWII?

looking back at the history, nazis were outlawed, so following that example, can we now outlaw the USA?

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Anonymous Coward

Here's the simple answer to your question :

If you win the war, you become a hero. If you lose it, you become a criminal.

Sorry for not remembering the author of these words of wisdom.

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Oh the (lack of) humanity

"one of the wounded is loaded into a van and shuttled away, the vehicle is taken out"

That'd be an ambulance then.

Oh the language I'd love to use to describe the americans who did this. But this is the El Reg forum so, no doubt, the comments will be restrained and civilised.

Unlike the ****s in the Apache gun ship.

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Grenade

Im sorry but...

Yes its not nice to have war shoved in your face in your living room.

But at the end of the day those soldiers are trained to kill without feeling and its the way they are trained to regard human life, otherwise they would be bloody useless.

I dont like it myself either but thats war what do you expect them to do go tickle them ?

also if you dont like it i suggest you dont watch video's with names like : unarmed people slaughtered in war.

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Anonymous Coward

@LB

"also if you dont like it i suggest you dont watch video's with names like : unarmed people slaughtered in war."

You know what, you're right - I don't like it. You know what else? I don't like your suggestion though. On the contrary - I suggest that people who get upset by this kind of thing should be exactly the people to watch it and get upset and angry, because then they might do something constructive as a result. Like writing to their MPs and requesting both they and their party condemn this unprovoked action and demand an explanation from the USA. Like posting the link on MySpace, on Facebook, on Bebo, on whereever the fuck you hang out on the Internet so the US Government can't wish this problem away and are forced to deal with it. Like writing to the relatives of those killed expressing your support.

Because that's what human beings do, because human beings aren't the kinds of animals who are so bloody useless they react with joy when someone else dies for really real in a viscious and unprovoked assault.

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Stop

ok so have you ???

The main point i was making was the OP was complaining they killed them without remorse.

So now youve watched it you have now started a protest group and just used 4 seconds of your life to share this on Bebo ... That will show them !!! 4000 people used up 4 seconds of their life.

Or take your own advice go to your PM's office and make a complaint and watch it get fobbed off

i even bothered writing to my MP and was midly shocked to get a reply 3 months later. Although very well written it wont help in the slightest.

Go enjoy your well written letter i have been there done that got the letter :/

1 person can change the world i agree but i'll bet 1 million fucking pounds its not going to be you or me buddy !! its that power mad wanker in office .....

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Grenade

I guess you show the same feelings

about the soldiers who massacred the civil population at Oradour-sur- Glane in WWII then. After all they were just soldiers trained to kill so we should understand that because otherwise they'd have been useless.

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answers itself really

if they were not in the army would they of done it ??

highly doubtfull

so QED the army/war is the cause

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10 on 10

outstandingly well put.

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Bravo Sir, Bravo

+1million for Silver Fox.

Well said. Your comment should be compulsor reading for all adults.

Thank you.

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@LB

"The main point i was making was the OP was complaining they killed them without remorse."

Which is what soldiers do, agreed.

And the social cost of encouraging people to behave like this is?

And it's acceptable behaviour in what circumstances other than war?

And war is necessary because?

"So now youve watched it you have now started a protest group ..."

And your point is what? That when you see injustice you should just shrug your shoulders and walk away saying "It's nothing to do with me and I can't change anything". Well done you for giving up so easily: All the people listed here feel the same as you: http://www.myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=HTubman_LC_Phoenix_CA_07_ul.

...

What's that, Big Ted? They don't feel the same? They feel that in this life if you see injustice you should strive to correct it and change the world for the better?

Well blow me down. Do people really feel that way any more, Big Ted?

What's that? They do?

Wow.

Someone should tell Lionel, because it sounds like he's forgotten life can be beautiful when we all try to make the world a better place.

Who knows - perhaps if someone reminds him he might become less cynical and try changing the world for the better himself?

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i Work my ass off to make the world a better place

I just start where i can make a decent difference

my family my freinds my neighbourhood

You try to make it sound im pro war which is incorrect. I dont like war.

I dont beleive we could do without army's overnight. and yes they cost money.

Damn may as well get rid of the police force as well... they cost money and if everybody was nice to eachother we wouldnt need them either.

As for walking away when i see injustice no i dont partly due to being mugged when i was about 14 in london, and no one bastard stopped to help. But mainly because of the way i was brought up.

Some of my proudest moments are when i have helped people in need.

As for your link it took 300 of them :/ and they did more than start a facebook group showing their displeasure.

I understand your logic and wishes and agree with them but i am going to stay realistic about what is possible and what is not

Under the circumstances these men have been under i cannot blame them for laughing about it and making jokes.

Similar situations happen in hospitals with the staff joking about dead dying patients, but for some reason that lack of compassion is understood :/ it not the same but similar

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Anonymous Coward

@Damn may as well get rid of the police force as well

Maybe. Western English-speaking Governments and their Police are all but indistinguishable from organised crime. Maybe without them, the Mafia would be an acceptable, more honest alternative.

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How long

Until the US Government orders a take-down notice to YouTubeunder the DMCA for violating the copyright of its helicopter pilots?

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Unhappy

shame

lauging after running over a body?? really??? this is murder plain and simple and anybody, american or not, that doesnt feel shame for what has been perpetrated in our name should not be breathing the same air as those that do.

.

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Grenade

One word

Bastards.

And to the inevitable apologists - put yourself there - still making excuses?

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Unhappy

So proud

Doesn't it make you so proud to be part of such a civilised society?

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Anonymous Coward

And the Americans wonder...

...why half the world is chucking bombs at them? What makes the killing we see in this video any different from terrorism - it's every bit as indiscriminate.

Whatever the truth of the actual event, what can't be explained is why the very natural horror and revulsion we all feel watching this wasn't shared by those American servicemen, who clearly revelled in the killing.

Incidents like this must surely recruit more terrorists than Al Qaida could ever manage.

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Unhappy

my shame knows no limits today.

"The real lesson here is for Reuters. "Don't send our personnel out with armed insurgents, and if you see one of them carrying an RPG while a US helicopter is in the area, RUN AWAY, YOU FOOL!""

You mean the camera? The one the photographer, who is legitimately present was carrying?

The real lesson is that those in charge are basing their decisions on the opinions of the men in the field, or in this case, the heavily armed chopper. This is fine, if those soldiers can be trusted. But people who react in the way the audio of this clip indicates, shouldn't be in charge of anything beyond a Mickey D's fryer.

That they'd do this, and then think it was reasonable to shoot again at the clearly injured, and then at anyone who tries to help them, makes me cry for the state of our so-called civilisation.

That the children were then diverted to an Iraqi hospital, just smacks of cover-up, and one not even done after careful consideration, but done as almost standard practice.

I'm ashamed that my government supports the people who do this. The men involved should all be put out of work, or better, court martialled.

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Black Helicopters

Looks like an rpg to me

The guy was crouching down in cover by the corner of the building pointing a shoulder mounted device up at the helicopter, its pretty understandable how they mistook it for an RPG especially since they have presumably been dispatched to the area expecting trouble.

Definitely the lack of compassion and shooting up the van are pretty unforgivable though.

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Grenade

RPG

The only thing that makes me feel even slightly sympathetic to the killers is that you can hear genuine alarm in his voice upon spotting the "RPG". But everything else about the video does a pretty good job of erasing that sympathy.

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Anonymous Coward

No RPG

They watch the crowd, see there is no RPG and that a guy has a camera. Why would they think a magic RPG appeared when some one peered round the corner?

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Taken out?

"After one of the wounded is loaded into a van and shuttled away, the vehicle is taken out."

Taken out? I'm grateful that you didn't write that Iraqis had a cap popped in their asses.

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FAIL

Compulsive viewing

Epic FAIL

Seriously, this should be shown in every classroom in every country at the start of each year's history class.

I want to embed this as the front page of my blog and I want open season declared on every British and US politician.

We could pay off the national deficit by offering licenses to kill the twats. 1,000 quid a pop. I'd have a go.

Has this been shown on the NuLabourBBC yet?

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to be honest,

the fault in this particular incident lies not with politicians, but with the obviously trigger happy soldiers who were so determined to blow up a load of unarmed civillians.

that said, a shot at a politician is not to be sneered at.

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So Get In Here As Hero... Or As -

I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects 1, could you please initiate some shortening? (-:

"We could pay off the national deficit by offering licenses to kill the twats. 1,000 quid a pop. I'd have a go" -

Many would, because of maybe a righteous wraith, economical recession or just of some sad feelings. Would need a reliable twat detector. Otherwise, welcome to Reuters / The Register, I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects 1. OhmyCtrlC.

1000 quid a pop. What a shit. Wraith only.

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WTF?

oh god!

"The video, which has been confirmed as authentic by senior military officials, may or may not be proof of the Pentagon cover-up and misconduct alleged by Wikileaks. After all, war is messy business, and a grainy video shot by a single helicopter can't be expected to tell the entire story."

messy business? and shooting unarmed people picking up wounded ones is a messy business too?

i just so a nerd F@@ker playing his ultra realistic shoot them up with god mode and knowing that his arse is cover from any kind of retaliation. he is clearly having fun.

murderer coward.

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Anonymous Coward

Move along, nothing to see here.

US military kills unarmed civilians.

Man bites dog? Now that's a story.

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Politics as sports and war as terror

I think this video ough to raise a few issues.

That war and collateral damage, is understood as and used by politicians as a tool for political sports, where really the only aim is *hoping* to win with whatever resources they have at hand or are willing to spend/invest. The resources being; political goodwill (how a state/government behave towards any and all human beings), the training of their military, investment into a conflict and the rules of engagement. Bottom line is that war is terror, and this is used as a tool, not for actual defending oneself, but for offence, shaping the world with violence.

That waging war is a privilege, and that this ought to raise concerns both political and, well, there only are political issues aren't there? It's not like anyone has a right to interfere as in some kind of act of justice, defence or in other way support. If a soldier guns down a reporter, and if you try to defende yourself by attacking a soldier, you are probably gunned down as well if not already so. Such events and consequences, unfortunately a product of waging war on any scale, are not really that *tragical*, the actions can probably be described as stupid, reckless and speculative.

That you have been watching snuff video footage, and more importantly that you probably think that this event holds special value that is barred from control and effective critique. That the loss of human life is so tragic, but only when it happens to "guilty" people. Just imagine the term "guilty civilian" as opposed to the obscene term "innocent civilian", which could imply that there are civilians that are not innocent. The bombing of hiroshima in 1945 and the firebombing prior to that, showed that it was ok to target and kill civilians directly by the thousands if not hundreds of thousands, but probably not *the targeting of civilians* as such, *if* one imagine the excuses by the military/politicians/stupid people, where it probably is a matter of methodology. That the targeting and the killing civilians is ok, if only the right or justifiable method is used as a motivation.

So what would "innocent civilian" mean? Not being "guilty", or simply someone ever-destined as such, to be on the receiving end of destruction and misfortune? Someone who did not *earn* the punishment to be killed or mutilated? That civilians dying is *tragic* as a categorical definition of casualties in a war, conflict or other action.

What a freakish and crazy conception of innocence, used by media, people, soliders and politicians. Void of any real meaning other than being an object of pity and political acts of policy (the political and the act of it, two different things).

Politics will be found at either end of war, as a medium of justice and authority and ill will, but it seem obvious to me, that war is like a sports activity. Trivial at the upper political layer at times when it really matters and when war, terror and oppression is raging, and trivial for the spectators that can't or don't want to control or critiuqe the actions of goverments and organizations, because real opposition is likely unlawful and probably punishable by death at some point, and the general opinion or proverbial pscyce might be coined as being self-conscious of being interwoven with special and self-interests.

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@cirby

"Don't send our personnel out with armed insurgents, and if you see one of them carrying an RPG while a US helicopter is in the area"

No one was carrying an RPG as was clearly visible on the video. At no point is a weapon of any description visible or does anyone take any action which could be interpreted as offensive. Hiding from heavily armed aircraft crewed by an invading army with a decades long reputation for indiscriminate and excessive use of firepower against civlians would seem to be far from foolish.

The aircrew will be congratulated and promoted, more civilians will die and more insurgents will be recruited to kill more troops. Unrestrained violence begets unrestrained violence, and if you doubt we would do the same in this country, try doing a little reading on the Northern Ireland troubles. I'd recommend Killing Rage by Eamonn Collins.

Interesting to note the difference in demeanour between the troops on the ground who can see directly what the results of their actions are and are potentially in real danger in this kind of situation and the jocks in the air who were not remotely under threat (listen to their tone of voice) and consider it all just a game (I don't say that lightly, again listen to their language and tone, soldiers under imminent threat don't laugh about it, they don't have time).

This is as much a case of indiscriminate slaughter as the terrorist bombings and will result in the same prolonging of the cycle of violence.

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WTF?

I'm always amazed how....

....the incredibly ignorant and stupid can be taught to operate complex machinery like a helicopter..

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If it's natural to kill, why do men have to go into training, to learn how?

You're wounded. You're in shock. You're on your knees losing blood. The men, you were standing with, a few seconds previously, have been turned into meat, by a man in the sky with a chain gun.

But the man in the sky isn't finished. He's looking at you, like he's looking at something down a microscope; and he's telling you to pick up a gun, or something, so he can turn you into meat.

God is not great.

Only the man in the sky, with the chain gun, is great.

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FAIL

Chopper crew need glasses!

The chopper crew need to be taught the difference between a telephoto lens and an RPG, a camera bag and an AK47. They see what they WANT to see not what is actually there. That is incredibly dangerous. They are in that area and want to see people with weapons, so that is what they see.

As for taking out the truck... where were the weapons or danger there? What justification can there be for those murders?

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Flame

You are the Justification

You can never prove a negative. That's why you are living in a country that can make you a social outcast, put you in jail for several years, and make it impossible to hold down a decent paying job when you have "repaid society". All when some punk spray-paints "<your name> touched my weeny" on your house/apartment/car.

Instead of the police doing some actual work on the vandalism of your property, you are labeled a "pedo", and with "no smoke, no fire", you are now scum.

Aren't you glad you live in a democratic nation? (UK/US - doesn't matter)

How is this possibly related? Replace "pedo" with "terrorist" or "sympathizer" and "touched my weeny" with "supports Al-Qaida" or "knifed a child in the name of <deity>".

Whatever was or was not in that van does not matter. If the person labelled "enemy" is still moving, gains assistance or is reinforced by more "enemy", they must be stopped to keep the "civilians" "safe".

Go eat your McDonald's or fish & chips and leave your "moral outrage" where ever you keep your dollars or pounds or euros - By using those pieces of paper or coins you already supported what happened. The disdain you hear in the pilot's voice is yours whenever you say "Aye" to your government's ill-conceived dribble.

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Stop

amazing

innocent people getting killed in war, killed by uniformed soldiers acting under international laws of war.

unlike their opponents, hiding among the populace and so revelling in death, they spend half their time killing each other and bombing markets.

sure, the yanks and us brits, get it wrong sometimes but its not policy, unlike that of the taliban/insugents.

how many here criticising the yanks will condemn our bomber crews in the last big shitfest?

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@william henderson

"how many here criticising the yanks will condemn our bomber crews in the last big shitfest?"

Me. I will.

WTF are we doing sending bombers to deal with insurgents who are, in your own words, "hiding among the populace"?

These disproportionate actions, done in our name, are creating a generation of people who will hate us.

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