I finally had some time to watch the video, and … well, it might be tough to watch. It appears completely authentic. War is an ugly business, especially when mistakes are made.

Watching, I can’t imagine how the helicopter crew saw AKs and RPGs, but I will accept that they thought that is what they saw. Obviously, RPGs are bad news for helicopters; if someone has an RPG and is preparing to fire it, that is something that must be addressed by the helicopter.

I think, in the end, this is probably one of those textbook examples of “bad things happen in a warzone”. In the end, I’m not sure that these kinds of events can be fully eliminated, as humans in high-stress situations can make errors.

What is frustrating to me is the never-ending cavalcade of stupid celebrity gossip that counts as “news” in our country now. I don’t care about whether or not Sandra Bullock has a prenup, or if Corey Haim was “doctor shopping” before his death.

Now, I agree with Joseph, who mentioned in the comments that news organizations should source. They should. I guess this particular incident was the one that pushed me over the edge about our obsessively celebrity-driven, fluff-filled mass media.

 
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  • mary jo

    Fuckers. They didn't sound highly stressed to me. They were just itching to get the ok to shoot. Then they laughed about the 2 kids they had wounded, saying ha ha, that's what happens when they bring their kids. I always thought, some how, that soldiers would be horrified when they learned they had injured children. Not these dick heads.

  • Shalom Brian,

    This is war.

    Those who fight are never truly the same again and those who do not fight are mistrustful and more than a bit afraid of those who do.

    In recent years Americans have made a great show of thanking veterans for their service, but those who do so, and who have not experienced war, are mouthing empty words in a verbal bit of flag waving.

    General William Tecumseh Sherman knew well of that which he spoke.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • mvirenicus

    i worked for a short while with an army vet who “served” in iraq. he used to joke and brag about things like intentionally wounding camels. he soon learned my opinions about such matters and kept the stories to those who were more appreciative. i don't know if he realized how close he was to having me pull his head off his neck. i served in the peacetime army many years ago. none of this surprises me. this is your volunteer military.

  • mary jo

    I agree with everything you say, mvirenicus. I know a guy who couldn't wait to get to Iraq so he could kill people.

  • mary jo

    Jeff, what, so we should thank these guys who killed photographers walking down a street and injured children without remorse? Somehow I think these guys in the video will be the same as they always were, idiots. I say to the gallows with them.

  • Dion

    YOU do not know what you are talking about. “I can’t imagine how the helicopter crew saw AKs and RPGs” Really can’t you? How many helicopters have you flown? Your most likely an Ohio State fan that likes to armchair quarterback. THE VIDEO IS IS IN LOW DEFINITION B&W. Pilots see in High Def, 3D, COLOR…kind of like in REAL LIFE. In the video at 3 minutes 45 seconds there are clearly 2 individuals. One with an AK-47 and one with an Russian RPG. RPG’s are no threat to Helicopters, they are a threat to “Brads” the pilots mention. Those would be Bradley Fighting vehicles. Sadly the guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that is what you can expect when you fraternize enemy. Sometimes you guys make me ashamed to be a Democrat.

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  • mvirenicus

    the internet offers vast resources for those wishing to SEE the brutality of the u.s. armed forces against innocents, human and non. i wouldn't necessarily recommend it for those with a sensitive disposition, but a few google searches with appropriate keywords will return video results that curdle the blood, much of it produced by the uniformed brainless american wackjobs themselves.

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  • Shalom Mvirenicus,

    War changes everything. Combat is not civilized. It's rage and terror and pissing your pants blowing the fuck out of some poor fucker's face who's screaming for his mommy as he dies. You cannot be in the shit and not be changed.

    There are no flags waving and bugles sounding. The CO does not get to blare Wagner as the napalm burns the skin off the other.

    Maybe if we made high school students watch hours and hours of combat footage the way we used to watch those bloody car crash movies in driver's ed. we would have a lot fewer people volunteering to be an Army of one.

    Maybe if we had a universal draft and everyone's child had an even chance of coming back in a body bag or missing limbs we'd have people pissed that we'd changed their family forever.

    There are no innocents in this. Just as every American played a role in the creating the rage that resulted in 11 September, so to do we all bear the guilt for the system that created the men involved in this attack.

    This is not a matter of rotten apples in a barrel. The barrel itself is rotten and must be incinerated.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • Shalom Mary Jo,

    Do not be angry at the soldiers. Be angry at the politicians who sent them in harm's way. Be angry at ourselves for tolerating a system that allow the politicians to wage war in our name.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • Shalom Mary Jo,

    We cannot expiate our guilt by condemning those who do what we ask of them.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • mary jo

    jeff, You make good points. But have you watched this video in its entirety?

  • I always enjoy being reminded of the ways we're on the same page, Jeff.

    I think what you said also applies just as aptly to the Catholic Church and its response to it the rape and torture of its own children.

  • +1

  • Shalom Adam,

    Excuse my dense head (I'm fighting a spring cold at the moment) but I'm not understanding your point.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • Specifically addressing these points:

    Just as every American played a role in the creating the rage that resulted in 11 September, so too do we all bear the guilt for the system that created the men involved in this attack.

    This is not a matter of rotten apples in a barrel. The barrel itself is rotten and must be incinerated.

    I agree with you on this topic and feel that it applies equally to Catholics, the Catholic Church & the sex abuse stuff. I wrote a rather angry post about this the other day.

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  • Dion,

    Please read more closely. *I* did not see weapons. I did not doubt that the guys in the helicopter believed they saw the items (and, in fact, I have seen some zoomed in and slowed down video that shows what appears to be weapons that I could not make out in the original video).

    RPGs are very definitely bad news for helicopters (have you forgotten Somalia?), as they are for Bradleys. I've since seen a photo showing a picture from one of the photogs cameras that shows how close the Bradleys were (pretty close), which is something that is not clear in the video.

    Either way – whether the pilots saw weapons, or mistakenly believe they did – I said before and I hold now that the air crew are blameless. My beef is with the fact that our media so sanitizes the war that people have no idea of what really happens, and so ignore it that people forget this is even going on.

    For the record, while my actual service stops with AFROTC in college (I left because, at the time, my slight near-sightedness disqualified me from being a pilot), most of my life has had a relatively close association with the military. My grandfather served in WWII, my father won an appointment to West Point in the 60s (and after medically disqualifying for service, worked his entire career as a civil employee of the USAF), and I have worked as a contractor on USAF, USArmy, and USN projects. I have also come very close to serving as a soldier on multiple occasions after walking away from ROTC in college, most recently last year.

    Trust me, I'm not one for taking pot-shots at soldiers.

  • mary jo,

    War is an ugly, ugly business. If you don't approach it the way these guys do, you will not last very long. Even so, it tends to take a toll. Most soldiers are not sociopaths, and simply have to find a way to turn off part of themselves to do their jobs.

    This is not the first video I've seen of an attack helicopter lighting up ground forces; the others weren't any easier to watch, despite the fact that it was much easier to see that the targets were bad guys (and, AFAIK, there were no injured non-combatants).

    Jeff is right – your outrage is directed at the wrong people. We have asked these men (and women) to do these difficult things for us, and as long as they act in good faith – attempt to execute their jobs with due diligence, professionalism, and a desire to minimize civilian casualties – we cannot blame them when mistakes happen and something as tragic as the death of non-combatants and the injury of children occurs. It is war. We are human. Mistakes cannot be eliminated.

    Obviously, if a soldier is intentionally killing innocents, that is a crime and must be punished. But there doesn't seem to be any evidence of that going on here.

  • mvirenicus

    i don't have any guilt. i've been an outspoken critic of capitalism, american government and the society that sustains them since my early 20s. i bear no guilt. those who mealy-mouth around the reality that stares them in the face do, and yes that most definitely includes liberals.

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  • Shalom Mary Jo,

    As much as I would have rather not done so, yes, I watched the video twice, once with audio on and one with audio off.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • Shalom Adam,

    I tried to leave the following comment on your blog, but it didn't seem to take.

    Thank you for the link.

    I cannot help but draw a comparison between Pope Benedict and President Nixon during Watergate.

    Every day that he remains pope only does more damage to the Catholic Church. At some point the Pope must come to grips with this and resign.

  • Shalom Mvirenicus,

    Every adult, my own self most certainly included, bears a portion of the guilt when our nation acts badly in our name. We could have and can always done more.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • Shalom Mvirenicus,

    That's true, you're absolutely correct. It is the people who have no wish to see the brutality of war and, for a number of reasons, choose to not do so that I'm concerned about.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • Hey Jeff,

    It took. Maybe just took a bit to show up… *shrug*

  • mary jo

    Dear People, my comments have not referred to the initial attack. The soldiers saw men with weapons and did what they were supposed to do. I am referring to their second attack. The people in the van were not armed and they were trying to rescue a dying photographer. But they were shot dead and the children were injured. The soldiers showed no remorse when they realized they had hurt kids.

  • mary jo

    HI Brian, thanks for your response. Actually I do think these soldiers intentionally killed the unarmed men that came in the van to help the wounded photographer.
    I read the following in the New Yorker:
    …But when the van arrives, the Apache crew reports to the commander, ?We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly uh picking up bodies and weapons.? This is later amended to, simply, ?picking up the bodies.?(There are important legal distinctions between the two scenarios.)…

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/

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