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Home » Ethical questions » Yeah, I watched the footage

Yeah, I watched the footage

I was just as horrified as anyone that these men turned out to not be insurgents but (and its a big but here) listen to the dialogue the chatter between the pilots and their controller, they clearly believed that these men were insurgents and that they were justified in taking them out. It is truly fucked up that Apache helicopter pilots could not tell with 100% accuracy just who the bad guys are in the Iraq war but show me a war where no soldier fires upon and kills the innocent and I will show you a very unrealistic computer game designed by a self righteous lefty with no experience in the military.

A group of men in the streets of New Baghdad just prior to being fired upon by a US Apache helicopter. Among those believed to be killed in the attack was Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Saeed Chmagh, 40. Picture: AP Source: AP

Since 2007, we acknowledged everything that’s in the video,” the official said. “We acknowledged that the strike took place and that there were two Reuters employees (killed).”

“We know that two kids were injured,” the official said.

“The RPG in the video is real,” the official added. “We had insurgents and reporters in an area where US forces were about to be ambushed.

At the time we weren’t able to discern whether (the Reuters employees) were carrying cameras or weapons,” the official said.

In a statement, Reuters news editor-in-chief David Schlesinger said “the deaths of Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh three years ago were tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that exist in covering war zones.

The video released today via Wikileaks is graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result,” he said.

In war some very bad mistakes are made and people die as a result. If you lose sight of that as you climb onto your high horse of moral indignation it is probably because you have your head right up your arse.

Until next time Comrades.


  1. Husky Jim says:

    Wish there was an apache around at a pure poison staff meeting. LOL. 🙂

  2. bingbing says:

    One of Murphy’s Laws of war.

    Friendly fire isn’t.

  3. Iain Hall says:

    Precisely right Bing Bing,
    As horrible as this indecent is what can anyone expect when the enemy is an irregular force hiding amongst a civilian population?

  4. bingbing says:

    Reminds me of Hamas using human shields, then Lefties going ape… at the Israelis.

  5. Len says:

    Sorry guys, but this brings back some wonderful memories.
    I am not squeamish when these decisions are made, and carried out. If you are stupid enough to put your ugly ass inside a war zone, to put your name in for the next Pulitzer, then don’t be surprised if you, at some point, get your rear end “re-arranged” ?

    This is just another instance, where the baddies, in an effort to protect their sorry cowardly asses, surround themselves with innocents, to attempt to win the pr war ?

  6. Len says:

    This is not the one I was thinking about Iain, but pretty close.
    Worth a look, and perhaps a “moral” critique ?

  7. Len says:

    Found the one I was thinking about.
    Warning, it is pretty graphic, not for the weak !

  8. Iain Hall says:

    Yes Len it is Graphic but I would argue that as nasty as it is still a level of magnitude “kinder” to civilians that any urban warfare in the 2Oth century.

  9. Len says:

    Even though hiding, (which is par for the course for these gutless creeps), that justice of some description was served ?
    Also, I think they were combatants, perhaps not civilians ?

  10. JM says:

    Let’s be clear. This incident is a war crime. In fact, it’s murder.

    Just prior to the second shooting (where they fire on the van) they ask for permission to engage people retrieving bodies and attempting to evacuate wounded.

    They knew exactly what was happening on the ground and there was no threat. They then asked for, desperately hoped for, and waited for permission to commit murder.

    The first part might be excusable as a mistake – although I would disagree, they were not under fire and took plenty of time to assess the situation. They could have taken more time.

    They claim an approaching ground unit was possibly under threat, but that is a bogus excuse. They had circled the area for a while, knew there were civilians there and critically saw no sign of military preparation to ambush or otherwise engage that ground unit. There is no indication that the people on the ground even knew of the approaching American platoon. None.

    Civilians were deliberately targeted here. You are absolutely not allowed to target civilians.

    Subsequently civilians engaged in rescuing the wounded were deliberately targeted. You are absolutely not allowed to target anyone engaged in rescuing the wounded.

    Not convinced? Watch the tape. Listen to when the guy begs the photographer to “pick up weapon, c’mon pick up a weapon” (which will give him the excuse to shoot a second time).

    He shoots anyway – even though he knows the poor photographer hasn’t touched a weapon.

    These guys belong in jail. For a long time.

  11. JM says:

    Len: “Also, I think they were combatants, perhaps not civilians ?”

    Don’t try too hard Len. The US military acknowledge that the men principally targeted here where Reuters photographers. The US simply claims that their cameras were mistaken for AK47’s

    Let’s get the basic facts right.

    They were not

  12. Iain Hall says:

    You are wrong JM this is a very horrible mistake, it is no war crime. You have the benefit of hindsight and the privilege of being able to watch this event after it has happened and with the ability to go back and check what you are seeing to make sure, Soldiers don’t have that luxury they have to make their decisions in the moment and act according to what they see.
    To be a “War crime” they would have had to have known, with certainty , that they were killing civilians, the dialogue clearly says otherwise. This is just another sad incident of a wartime SNAFU (situation normal all fucked up) It happens simply because the enemy is not in uniform and they are hiding among the civilian population in the middle of the “surge” to root them out and destroy them.
    I defy you or any other well intentioned lefty to prosecute a war and not to accidentally kill some civilians in the process it just can not be done.

  13. Len says:

    We are all forgetting to consider one thing, (actually there are a few ?), pondering from high atop our moral high horses here.

    The one thing everyone has to realise, before any judgements are made. I have served with US coalition/UN forces, and the first thing you learn, is that they don’t pussyfoot around. If they tell you to put your hands up, or get face down in the dirt, you do it, or you get shot. This isn’t “twenty questions”, call it what you will it is a war zone. What the hell were they doing skulking around the place anyway ? Innocents ? Give me a break, and the kleenex.

    Anything goes, and generally does. When you are dealing with an opponent, that has no qualms, about strapping a shitload of c4, to their kid’s chests, then you can forget about the usual well mannered rules of war. This isn’t Shakespeare’s time. No fancy caligraphy, tea parties or the like. We are dealing with an enemy, that wants us all, obliterated from the planet, under the guise of religious domination, and they will even use their own families as shields, and even bait to achieve their aims.

    If you haven’t got the stomach for it, then just get out of the way, and support the men and women that do ?

  14. JM says:

    Len: “If they tell you to put your hands up, ….

    Where did they do that? I must have missed that bit. The people on the ground are clearly unconcerned about the helicopters. No such request or instruction was given, they just opened fire.

    “Innocents ?

    Children are by definition innocent aren’t they? As are non-combatants, right? There is no image anywhere in this footage of weapons

    “strapping a shitload of c4,”

    BS – you’re in a helicopter, where’s the threat? Even if those kids did have C4 strapped to their chests – highly unlikely – what do you care?

    ” skulking”

    So standing in the open public square chatting with others is “skulking” all of a sudden?

    Let me ask you a question Len? What did the Americans do here that is different from outright slaughter of unarmed civilians? What steps did they take that absolve them of responsibility?

    BTW – I do support the military, just not criminals who serve in the military. If you fuck up this badly, this egregiously, you belong in jail.

  15. JM says:

    Iain: “To be a “War crime” they would have had to have known, with certainty , that they were killing civilians,…”

    You’re wrong here mate, the test goes the other way. You have to believe – with reasonable certainty – that you are attacking combatants.

    It’s not a case of everyone-is-a-target-until-proven-otherwise. It’s the other way around. Everyone is safe until shown to be a combatant, or other legitimate military target. That’s why the gunner is praying for the photographer to “pick up a weapon”.

    Unless the guy on the ground does that, the gunner doesn’t have cause to shoot.

    But he does anyway.

  16. Iain Hall says:

    I am willing to bet that the closest that you have come to active military service is some sort of video game,( Not that I am claiming to have any first hand experience either) But you are making your self look very silly with your line of argument here. Listen to what Len is telling you, he has actually been there and done that and aren’t you the one who is always keen to defer to authority in your arguments? So perhaps you should listen to a chap who has served in the war zone and who understands the realities of this war in particular.
    Or are you going to claim that you have served in the RAN.?

  17. JM says:

    Iain, I’d suggest you watch the complete video

    In the meantime, I think we should wait for Len’s answer to my question – just does this differ from outright slaughter?

  18. Len says:

    What you forget JM, is that intel comes from the ground. That is where numbers are ascertained, as well as intention. Unfortunately, we are not privy to the footage, or intel, that led to the attack ? Boy, that would probably change your attitude a little, would bet on it ? For there to be an air assault ordered, as they are a last resort, all other avenues would have been considered first. That is what is missing in the sensationalised video.

    As a former serving member guys, I can tell you that we are/were not all, unfeeling “gung-ho” military/fighter jocks. We all have our own families, including kids, so, give me a break, with this holier than thou, we will all burn in hell shit.
    The old adage of, do unto others, before they do unto you would seem to apply in this situation.

    I have seen the faces of Army chopper pilots, medics, snipers, under my command, that have come back from the front lines, white as a sheet, and shaking like leaves, from having to shoot, before being shot at ? These are guys, that have been though the most brutal of training, psych tests et al, so they are not shrinking violets ! It is not nice. Put yourself in the situation, where you are tasked to protect a troop of servicemen, and come across some towel head, with a missile launcher attached to his right shoulder, pointed right down the throats of that troop ? That bit is conveniently missing from the footage for sensationalism. What would you do JM ? Turn the other cheek ? B/S !

    We all seem to forget the pressure, that our service people are expected to cope with, under the guise of supposed peace keeping duties. These a/holes run around the place, with shoulder mounted missile launchers (purchased from US initially ? ain’t that irony ?). What are you supposed to do, let them shoot down air forces, or more seriously, shoot them at a community that won’t bow to their fundamentalist demands ? Don’t b/s me JM, it happens. May not be reported in the main press, but that is what happens, and a bloody lot, trust me !

    “In Country”, we all learned, very quickly, and very early, that when there are a group of people skulking in a corner somewhere, supposedly “chatting” that they are up to no good. Especially in a zone or area, where violent dissidents have been routinely active, and all supposedly under curfew conditions ? (btw, curfew conditions imposed by the two faced local imams, not military command ?)

    Whether we were in a chopper, or even an FA-18, we were tasked by US, NATO, or coalition command, and we do, as we are told. Not that that is an excuse, that is just the way it is, and operational protocol within a battle zone.

    Have a look at the video again. These people knew what was around them, they would have to have known what was about to go down, and they were done cold ! They have intel the same as the coalition forces. Give me a break. They were bloody sprung, and paid the ultimate price. I will bet all the tea in China, that a warning shot, or voice command was given to the dissidents, to come out or be shot at ? That is a defined rule of engagement, and has been forever. Funny how we never hear about that part do we ? Complainants such as yourself JM, forget these minor details in your criticism ?
    As far as I am concerned, sorry, but better them, than me, or the foot patrol that was about to be ambushed ? That is their style. No rules of war are followed here, it is a pure case of “do unto others before they do unto you !”
    by both sides !

    JM, why do you think that the yanks failed in Vietnam ? Exactly because the wouldn’t take that last step, and were criticised to hell for it. They have learned that important lesson in close order combat, even though a tough one. They warned enemy combatants, that this sort of congregation was not going to be suffered, shit loads of warnings btw, and still the enemy in their arrogance, bet on western compassion. Hmm, guess what, after you get a ten year kid, loaded for bear, with c4, detonates himself, killing doctors and nurses, that btw, were treating Iraqi’s, patience is somewhat lacking.

    Maybe I have been artificially hardened by war, but sorry, tough !

  19. JM says:

    Oh and Iain, Len has made a statement here that makes me doubt his claimed credentials:

    ” I have served with US coalition/UN forces, and the first thing you learn, is that they don’t pussyfoot around.”

    That is certainly true of US forces, but it isn’t of “UN” peacekeeping forces who are usually only lightly armed.

    I don’t know what context he’s talking about, but equating US to UN forces is completely wrong. The US doctrine is far tougher than any other western military and certainly much, much more brutal than usual UN rules of engagement.

    Short answer – the US may not “pussyfoot”, but UN peacekeepers certainly do.

  20. Len says:

    In formulating my reply, I didn’t see your question.
    just how does this differ from outright slaughter?

    Again, I reiterate, that we are not privy to the ‘intelligence’ that showed how, or why, this scenario was about to play out?

    For the coalition forces to obliterate this “tea party”, that intelligence must have told them what was going down. Please, and I say this with the utmost respect, these a/holes were up to no good, and for a squadron of apaches or similar, to be called in, to take them out, the “game was afoot”. These choppers are tasked according to priority, so this so called local ciggy break, must have been seen to be something nasty ? The attack wouldn’t have been ordered if it wasn’t.

    It is all part of the dissidents plan, to put this sort of crap on you tube, to play at our indifferent heart strings. We all know that the majority of wars, in the technological age we live in, is all about propaganda, and how best to achieve the populous uneducated, ill informed support via one sided media ? (both sides btw !) You are a prime example of this.

    You are winning Al Qaeda’s PR war for them

  21. Len says:

    All peacekeeping forces are assigned by UN or NATO so your talking from an ignorant knowledge base JM.
    Challenge my credentials if you wish. I really don’t give a rats.
    If you have served, you would know better.

  22. JM says:

    Len: ” is that intel comes from the ground. That is where numbers are ascertained, as well as intention. Unfortunately, we are not privy to the footage, or intel, that led to the attack ?

    You’re really getting a bit try hard here aren’t you?

    We are privy to the footage – and also to the intelligence. The only identification of “weapons” here comes from the helicopter crews own observations.

    They report to each other and then seek permission based on their own conclusions – there is nothing extra to add.

    The first bit might be a mistake, but the incident with the van was murder, and the later bit from about the 30 minute mark where they hit a building with 3 Hellfires is clearly murder. They identify between 6 and 8 men strolling into a building not carrying a damn thing and then blow the place up. After the first missile they let two extra go at the people who turn up to help.

    Can you say “turkey shoot”? Knew you could.

  23. Len says:

    That is absolute crap JM.
    If you were a serving or even ex-serving member, you would know better than to come up with that crap.

    Intelligence comes from numerous sources. We all know what they are. But ground intelligence, is the most up to the minute and most accurate there is. You should know that ?

    We are missing the initial footage gathered, probably from days in advance, of this particular group’s activities, and probable intentions, as well as their home base location.

    It is very easy to take a high stance, especially from slanted you tube vision. Being ex RAAF, I know better, and so would any other experienced ex serving member that should come across these pages. Even Gread ?

    From experience, trust me, that there would have been weeks, or even months of vision on a hard drive somewhere, that followed these creeps around their lurks, as they possibly their intentions ?

    Do yourself a favour, either do some more research, or open your slanted eyes a little. The military, US or in fact even ours, are not mobile slaughter houses. There are strict rules of engagement, whether ruled by gung-ho US military led forces or not.

    Give our well trained, balanced, and hardened Aussy forces credit for more intelligence than that ?

  24. JM says:

    Len: “game was afoot”

    Horseshit. This was obviously air support for an advancing platoon (or perhaps company given the number of Bradley’s that eventually turn up at about the 20 minute mark).

    Standard operations, no Hollywood involved. Plenty of force coming directly and absolutely no necessity for action like this.

    Especially since there is no evidence of weapons, and no hostile behaviour on the part of the victims.

    Stop talking hypotheticals Len, address this incident as it actually happened.

    And watch the footage before you start saying things like “there would have been weeks, or even months of vision ”

    Hogwash. You should know that small-scale military operations are never planned months in advance – your intentions get “overtaken by events”

  25. Iain Hall says:

    Basic history lesson: this incident was part of the surge in 2007 it was not some isolated incident without a larger context as you seem to believe.

  26. JM says:

    Len: “Whether we were in a chopper, or even an FA-18, …

    I’m kinda curious about this, because it sounds like quite some career you’ve had there – it’s unusual for helicopter pilots to also be trained on front-line fighters. Particularly since F18’s are operated by the Air Force while helicopters in combat roles are operated by the Army.

    Could you expand on this a bit?

  27. JM says:

    Len: ” I will bet all the tea in China, that a warning shot, or voice command was given to the dissidents, to come out or be shot at ? That is a defined rule of engagement, and has been forever. “

    Show me on the tape where that supposed warning shot is. You won’t find it because it isn’t there.

    I think you’re now short “all the tea in China”. When can I expect delivery? Southhampton’s good for me, alright with you?

  28. Jeremy says:

    I love that Len’s turned the actual old adage “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” and completely reversed it.

    This idea that you have to have actually served in the military to have a valid view of its conduct, is one of the most absurd things to come out of the right’s attempt to justify this incident.

  29. Len says:

    I am not a fighter pilot who served, (am too big to fit into the cockpit. Have to be 4ft nothing to get that gig ?), as Iain knows. But, I did serve with many that were. Christ, we all got drunk in the same boozer when off duty.


    Horseshit. This was obviously air support for an advancing platoon

    Maybe, maybe not. We will never know will we ? Why and how, do you think the advancing platoon was there in the first place JM ? Their superior’s read their tea leaves that morning ? Intelligence was obviously gathered, analysed, showing this group were active, as well as their approximate locale, as well as their activities. Then the plan formulated. Otherwise the aircraft wouldn’t have been there to patrol would they ? What do you want, our troops going in, without advance intelligence ?
    Don’t you just love how people who don’t know how the system works, cry foul, when they only know half the story ? I think they call that media sensationalism don’t they ? Sure sells newspapers.

    Hogwash. You should know that small-scale military operations are never planned months in advance – your intentions get “overtaken by events”

    Operations are taken in order of priority. You are partially correct though, when you say current events take over, but only if more urgent, or if servicemen or materiel are more urgently at risk. Consider how the air strike came about ? The threat would have had to be called in advance by someone, otherwise the gun ship wouldn’t have been there in the first place would it ? Notice that vision was missing from the sensationalised clip ? Ever wonder about that ?

    Stop talking hypotheticals Len, address this incident as it actually happened.

    I have. Is that why you have your dander up ? As I said, we are missing an entire block of what brought this action to its finale ? That I have said previously. We have no idea as to what occurred ten minutes before the action. Will bet, knowing how the system works, that these cretins were about to do something pretty bad, otherwise, why were they cowering behind buildings in the bloody dark ? Why was the vision being taken ? For posterity ? Innocents ? C’mon, don’t be so naive.

    That is the sort of comment you provide, if you have never served, or watched as some loser straps their kids with c4, and walks them into field hospitals, or other military installations and blows them up ?

    Even without military service experience, I have eyes and ears. Have seen the stories (as well as seen the results first hand), regarding suicide bombers, and other guerilla warfare activities by these “enemy combatants”, in their brand of ‘legitimate’ warfare.

    Both you guys appear intelligent, but somewhat naive. That was why Vietnam failed. So many “do gooders”, with no experience in what is actually happening, guiding leadership policy and ultimate action. Sure, in a perfect world, there are/were many ways around these multiple actions around the globe. Have yet to hear any civvy come up with them though ?

    Everyone is always 100% correct in hindsight aren’t they ?

  30. JM says:

    Len: “As I said, we are missing an entire block of what brought this action to its finale ? “

    No we’re not. It’s all on the tape. The shooting doesn’t start until several minutes in.

    “, why were they cowering behind buildings in the bloody dark ? “

    Len I suggest you watch the thing, they weren’t cowering, they were standing around in the middle of the street. And it’s not nighttime, it’s the middle of the day.

    “Why was the vision being taken ?”

    Umm. Let me guess. Because it’s from a gun camera? Which are “always on”. You’ve heard of those I assume? There’s no special reason why this footage was shot, it’s a standard procedure.

  31. JM says:

    Oh Len I forgot this. You’re wrong about the Americans in Vietnam. They didn’t lose because they restrained themselves – they used no restraint at all.

    Hamburger Hill for example. The relentless bombing of the North. Defoliation of some huge fraction of the country.

    They weren’t held back by “peaceniks”, not at all. They (and we) lost because it was stupid to try to fight the entire population of a country backed up only by those corrupt civilians we could buy off.

    Where have I heard that recently?

  32. Len says:

    They lost in Vietnam, because they foolishly thought they could win the whole shooting match, with superior air power ? The yanks didn’t take into account, the tenacity, and size of the enemy’s ground forces ? Also, it became extremely unpopular back home didn’t it ?

    Sure the choppers, as well as other aircraft, spend their days on patrol. Maybe that was the case here, who knows. Gun sight cameras aren’t new, but used invariably to gain intelligence prior to ground action. Don’t know, not a chopper pilot, nor was I a fighter pilot either.

    When you have a group of people, congregating around an area (and we don’t know of what importance that area was seen to be ?), in a battle of guerilla warfare, you can’t take risks with any assets. You have to protect them don’t you ?

    We will probably never know, what the entire story is/was here, but the decision to fire, especially now that everything appears on the nightly news, would not have been taken lightly.

    For us to criticise that action, based on a short piece of video, is short sighted, and uninformed don’t you think ? I know this is a blog, but having served, I know that the decision to fire, even with gun happy yanks, would not have been taken lightly ?

  33. JM says:

    Len the video is not “short”, it’s 40 minutes long. It shows the entire engagement.

    As for criticising, why don’t we have a look at the actual US rules of engagement in force at the time Look at the flowchart on page 2.

    At the top of the page, in bold you find this:

    Is there PID? PID is a reasonable certainty that the individual or object of attack is a military objective in accordance with the ROE.

    PID = “positive identification” and is mentioned by the aircrew on the tape. One asks another if he has PID – the response is “Negative”

    So they didn’t get to first base. No PID, no reasonable certainty you’re engaging a military target = no shooting.

    Next we have this (also as an overriding rule):

    Commanders and Soldiers at every level must consider military necessity, distinction, and proportionality before engaging a target. A proportionality analysis requires the commander or Soldier to determine that the incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian
    objects, or a combination thereof that will result from the attack is not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

    (Both of these overriding concerns BTW encapsulate the Geneva Conventions on this stuff.)

    In other words, even if there had been someone carrying a weapon there was absolutely no excuse for engaging a group of 8 men – too many civilians killed for too little military advantage. Waiting until they all gather nicely in a bunch so you can get the maximum number is despicable.

    There’s certainly no excuse for firing on rescuers where there is no military advantage gained whatsoever

    Then we get to the flowchart itself, look at the first green box, top left hand corner:

    “Is unit in contact or acting in self defense?”

    Answer: No, so look at the larger green box just to the right.

    “Is target an ROE approved Deliberate Target:
    1) Designated Terrorist Organizations (DTO), and members of
    DTO not on a no-touch list
    2) Facilities Associated with DTO not on a no-touch list
    3) Lines of Communication”

    A bunch of guys standing around in the street is none of these things.

    Answer: No.

    Therefore (red box immediately below):

    “Do not engage”

    Got that Len? They didn’t comply with the ROE at all.

    This was murder, pure and simple.

  34. JM says:

    Len: I know that the decision to fire, even with gun happy yanks, would not have been taken lightly ?

    That’s the point. If you want the video you can see that the “decision” to fire was taken lightly. That’s what’s got people upset.

  35. Len says:

    Hang on JM.

    A bunch of guys standing around in the street is none of these things.

    That is a pretty big assumption your making. Standard protocol suggests that the situation is radio’d through, then the decision is made, which, after watching the video, is exactly what happened. At least two of them had rifles strapped to their shoulders for Christs’ sake. Don’t have to be mil trained, to see what their vocation or intentions were ?

    As to your comments, re ROE, we don’t know what those rules at the time were. Also, as stated, we don’t know what intelligence was at hand, re what these egg heads were up to, being congregated in the first place. ROE’s only work, or even apply, when both sides adhere to them ? That is not happening with the insurgents is it ? I will watch your video, wholly, but the very first frame is a direct tip off here ?

    “Although some of the men appeared to be armed…. ?”

    Wow, there is just cause right there. Especially, as there was an yank platoon nearby ? If they are innocents, as you portray, wtf were they doing congregated, bearing arms ? Having a prayer meeting ? I clearly saw at least two of them bearing rifles of some description. So much for “innocents” ?

    I respect your tenacity, and loyalty to what appears to be a just cause, but, here I think, there is a hell of a lot more going on, than the vision showed. I do agree with you though, if these were entirely innocents, then the full force of a military tribunal should come crashing down on the ones that instigated action. Something, I doubt would happen on the other side ? But carrying, probably ak47’s over their shoulders, hardly portrays innocence does it ?

    Again, I reiterate what I said earlier. WTF were they doing, taking kids, accompanying adults with rifles over their shoulders ? Are these people totally brain dead, or perhaps, so filled with their b/s cause, that they continually use their kids as shields, perhaps to instill some sort of macabre support, from people such as yourself, for their actions ?

  36. JM says:

    Len: ” At least two of them had rifles strapped to their shoulders for Christs’ sake.”

    Where? If there were it isn’t shown on the tape. There were two cameramen there and the US has admitted that they mistook cameras with shoulder straps for arms. Don’t start making stuff up – both sides agree these men were unarmed.

    taking kids, accompanying adults with rifles over their shoulders ?

    Bollocks. The kids were in the van. And where is anyone carrying a rifle over their shoulder? At what point in the video does that occur? You obviously haven’t watched it.

    “re ROE, we don’t know what those rules at the time were.”

    Yes we do. I linked to them upthread. In fact, let’s look at the Quick Reference Card issued to US troops (sorry I’ve had to transcribe this myself as it comes from a scan and isn’t cut-n-pastable so there may be minor errors):

    1. You may engage the following individuals based on their conduct:

    a. Persons who are committing hostile acts against CF [Coalition Forces]
    b. Persons who are exhibiting hostile intent towards CF.

    There were no hostile actions from the group of men who were killed. There is also no hostile or potentially hostile behaviour.

    But even if there were, then you have to pass this test:

    2. These persons may be engaged subject to the following instructions:

    a. Positive Identification (PID) is required prior to engagement …..

    b. Use graduated measures of force. When time and circumstance permit use the following degrees of graduated force …. (1) shout verbal warnings to halt; (2) show your weapon and demonstrate intent to use it; (3) block access or detain; (4) fire a warning shot; (5) shoot to eliminate threat.

    And the biggie:

    c. Do not target or strike anyone who has surrendered or is out of combat due to sickness or wounds

    Sorry Len. As you agree yourself you’re not allowed to open fire without warning.

    And you’re definitely not allowed to target wounded people – they’re “out of combat”

    You’re trying to defend the indefensible – give up.

  37. JM says:

    Len (allegedly quoting me): “Although some of the men appeared to be armed…. ?”

    Bullshit Len. I never said that. No-one on this thread has said that.

  38. JM says:

    Len: “ROE’s only work, or even apply, when both sides adhere to them ?

    Sheesh Len, do you even know what rules of engagement are? They are orders from the commander about how to conduct yourself during an operation. They have no application to the other side (unlike the Geneva Conventions and the Law of War)

    It doesn’t matter what the other side does, soldiers can only act within their orders. In this case, the ROE’s I quoted are issued to the US troops and are standing orders for the conduct of operations in Iraq from high command (probably the theatre commander, if not the President).

  39. Len says:

    Check the clip, at time stamp 03:38.

    Not the two fat guys in the front with their cameras, but the three at the back upper left. The commentary from “Crazy Horse 18”, which is the nearby ground force, is the one that confirms the weapons. What is the dude in the middle carrying in his right hand ? A couple of seconds later, the idiot on his direct right turns around, and looky looky ! They are weapons ! Not cameras, that is for certain ? Hence, the mad radio rush, for permission to engage ? Oh well, that part of your argument shot down in flames ?

    Secondly, They have no application to the other side , that is b/s. There are conventions that are in place, in a war zone. Otherwise we end up with another Hitler scenario. That is why the west is having such a hard time fighting these cretins. They use a relatively humane rule book, as dictated/devised by the UN after ww2, whereas their opponents don’t. Can’t do much if one side throws away the rule book ? Look who is first to cry foul, when they are hit over their heads, with their own rule book, thin as it is ?

    As to the rest of your rhetoric, it goes right out of the window, with those two, upper left carrying rifles.
    Next ?

  40. Len says:

    Before retiring for the night, also check at the 4:09+ minute mark, with that wanker, hiding behind the wall with the supposed rpg. What do you think that was JM ? A camera tripod ? When they are all taken out, you see the original two fat guys and those are the ones with the cameras.

    At 05:59 Crazy Horse 18, (the platoon on the ground), checks the situation out, once the shooting is over. He confirms the rpg as well as the weapons ?

    Also, very convenient that the van shows up, to pick up his mates ? C’mon, take off the rose coloured glasses ?

  41. Len says:

    Sorry 18 was the chopper, 17 and 26 were the ground forces.

  42. JM says:

    What version are you looking at Len? Can you give me a link.

    I’ve got the full CD size one, but at 3:38 the initial shooting is over. At 4:09 the second Apache starts to fire again, but there’s no-one at all in shot.

  43. Iain Hall says:


    This idea that you have to have actually served in the military to have a valid view of its conduct, is one of the most absurd things to come out of the right’s attempt to justify this incident.

    It is very easy to be all high and mighty about this incident from the sidelines. But if anyone were to say to you that they knew how to do a Barristers job and you knew that they were not as versed in the law and court procedure as your own good self what precisely would you say?

    Case closed.

  44. JM says:

    Len: “Secondly, They have no application to the other side , that is b/s. There are conventions that are in place, in a war zone. “

    I’ll say it again. Rules of engagement are orders. There are also conventions like the Geneva Conventions and Protocols that are overriding rules, and ROE usually explicitly reflect them. They have to. An ROE or order that contravenes those convention is an illegal order.

    For example, “no prisoners” issued as an order or an ROE is illegal for a signatory. It’s explicitly outlawed by the conventions and you may not ignore them even if your opponent does

    But here’s the thing. Once your country is a signatory to those conventions you have to follow them for all conflicts. It doesn’t matter what the other side does, you have to comply.

    There are also the laws of war which have been around in gradually more formal terms for centuries. One of them is “don’t target non-combatants”.

    Now Len regardless of the timing marks, I want you to watch that tape carefully.

    Let’s start at the point where the aircrew says “That’s a weapon. Yeah”

    Just there the gun camera is pointed at the photographer, they pay no attention to a guy standing over to the left with both hands resting on a long vertical object while he talks to someone else. He’s standing right next to the flat-bed trailer, just before they say “Hotel Two-Six; Crazy Horse One-Eight”

    Pay attention to this guy because he’s one of the three you refer to as later carrying “AK47’s” (you can tell because he stays in frame – even if it’s only his feet – for most of the succeeding 30 seconds).

    Point 1. The aircrew don’t care about him. I think this is critical. They can see but they don’t identify what he has as a weapon or a threat.

    Point 2. Note the length of what he’s carrying – it’s longer than a meter (an unloaded RPG is 910mm long) but less than 2m (the length of a loaded RPG). It’s actually about 1.2-1.4m and is clearly not an RPG. It might be a rifle but so what? Nearly every Iraqi household had a rifle before the war, and carrying one doesn’t make you an insurgent.

    Now go forward to the point where you talk about the 3 guys in the top left hand corner. Watch it a couple of times.

    FIrst you’ll see the guy I just mentioned in the middle. Whatever the guy is carrying is not an RPG, and the aircrew don’t think it is either even though they have a clear sight of it and have overinterpreted a long-lens camera as a weapon. Now pay attention to the guy on the extreme left swinging something in his right hand. Watch it carefully.

    Notice how that object bends and sways as he swings it? Whatever it is, it’s not rigid. It’s a piece of cloth or something. It’s not an AK47, it’s not an RPG, it’s not a weapon.

    So. Point 3. Notice again how the aircrew don’t pay any attention to him. They clearly don’t believe that what these two guys are carrying are weapons. Soldiers are trained to know what the specific weapons in their theatre look like and they should know. They clearly don’t think that whatever these guys are carrying constitute threats.

    Which brings me to Point 4 (bit of a diversion). Do you know what an AK47 looks like? It looks like this. You’ll note the curved magazine, it’s a signature of the weapon.

    Do you see anything in this video that looks like that? No, didn’t think so.

    Those guys are not carrying AK47’s or RPG’s. Sorry they just aren’t.

    And if they were – why the hell are the aircrew focussing on the photographer? Because they’ve identified him and his shoulder strap as the “threat”.

    Bottom line:- they aren’t carrying weapons and even if they were, the aircrew have clearly not identified them as threats. They are not the cause of the Americans subsequent actions – the photographers are

    Point 5. Here’s where the mistake happens.

    According to the unit commanders reports (which are pretty mendacious but I don’t want to get into that) the ground unit Bravo company (“Bushmaster”) were about 200 meters away*

    The photographer peeks round the corner and takes a photo of the approaching Americans (actually since there appears to be lens flash at this point, I think he might have been taking a shot of the helicopter). The aircrew identify him as carrying an RPG and aiming it. They’re wrong of course, and I’m not sure it’s excusable because a deployed RPG looks like this Note two things:-

    1. It’s launched from the shoulder not the hip or chest as the cameraman is shown when looking around the corner.

    2. the shaped charge on the end – it’s distinctive. Almost anyone knows what these things look like since the Germans invented them as the Panzerfaust during WWII. The closest thing the camera could be mistaken for is an American WWII bazooka which are no longer in service and not used in Iraq.

    What he actually has is not an RPG or a camera tripod, what he has is a CANON EOS with 400mm telephoto. The Americans recovered two of them at the scene.

    Now we get to the crux of this little initial engagement.

    The helicopter circles and reestablishes a line of sight to the group of 8 men. At this point nothing that looks like a weapon is in view apart from the camera (and that’s pretty obscured – it’s behind the photographers back).

    At this point, there is no hostile intent displayed by this group If I’d just noticed an American unit 200m away down the road and had serious intent of engaging them I wouldn’t be strolling around like these guys (inc. talking on a cell phone). Would you?

    If I were the pilot and genuinely believed there was an RPG around I’d be freaking out at this point . A helicopter – even an Apache – is a pretty fragile thing and can be brought down by small arms fire, let alone an RPG.

    My first thought would be “where the hell is that RPG?” and I’d go looking for it.

    I certainly wouldn’t hover stationary while I let my gunner hold his fire until a group of people had assembled so he could maximize his kill.

    Summary:- no justification, in violation of clear orders and the laws of war.

    A turkey shoot, murder.

    And that’s just the initial engagement – engaging the van is indescribable.

    Get it right Len:-

    1. You may not target non-combatants
    2. Everyone is a non-combatant until you are reasonably certain they are engaged, either by wearing a uniform or opening fire on you
    3. Even then you may not target those who are “hors d’combat” (out of the fight) ie. the wounded.

    Nearly everything these guys did violated those principles (which are enshrined in the conventions), and repeated in their explicit orders as issued in the form of Rules of Engagement for this operation.

    * No Len. Crazyhorse 18 and 19 are the Apache helicopters, there is no Crazyhorse 17 or 26 and they are air units not ground units. Bushmaster is Bravo company, I don’t know who Hotel are.

    In an operation like this you never mix up your code names like that, confusing different units by letting them use the same code name. I’d have thought a man of your military background would never have made such a rookie mistake and would have questioned any source that told you that.

  45. Iain Hall says:

    JM how many times have you watched the vid now and how many times have you hit the pause button while you were doing so?

  46. JM says:

    More times than you Iain obviously (which in I suspect is precisely zero).

    The sequence I’m discussing is right at the start and is only about 1 minute long. It only takes one look to see what’s going on, and about 5 minutes with the pause button to get the details right.

  47. Iain Hall says:

    Thanks for that JM you have just proven the point I am about to make.
    Simply put the pilots who were there were watching the action ONCE in real time without the benefit of a pause button they did not have the luxury of hindsight as you do they had to make a split second decision, and guess what? They appear to have called it wrong . Well that is what happens in a War zone when you are pumped on adrenaline in the heat of the moment.
    as I said before as regrettable as it is this is no war crime it is just another SNAFU and wars are full of them.

  48. JM says:

    Hey Len, just a clarification, you say (when speaking of your duty alongside Air Force F18 and Army helicopter deployments):

    we all got drunk in the same boozer when off duty.

    Where would that have been? As far as I can make out the F18’s have only ever been deployed to Qatar and Diego Garcia, both of which are too far away from the relevant theaters (Iraq and Afghanistan) for helicopters or the Army to be there. And neither are “in country”.

  49. JM says:

    You’ve proven no point at all Iain.

    What I was doing was arguing against Len’s post-facto justification of the aircrew actions. What matters is what they believed at the time.

    They didn’t notice the 3 guys Len refers to – it’s just icing on the cake for me that he is wrong in asserting that they had AK47’s and RPGs. They didn’t.

    The US’s sole justification for this slaughter is the presence of two CANON EOS’s with 400mm lenses they mistook for weapons.

    And even that doesn’t justify the attack on a wounded man and the people trying to help him.

    Len’s argument is mendacious, hollow and immoral.

  50. Iain Hall says:

    Bollocks JM
    YOU have proven that to be sure you have had to watch the footage multiple times.
    The pilots (and their controllers) in question clearly have not had that luxury and they can’t be validly critiqued as if they have.
    Your high moral ground has become an arse hat around your ears.

  51. JM says:

    Iain you only have to watch it once to see the US aircrew fire on a wounded man and unarmed civilians trying to help him.

    You also only have to watch it once to notice that there are no weapons being carried by the men killed in the initial attack.

    You only have to start watching it multiple times when you try mendacious, hollow and immoral post-facto excuses – special pleading – so you can find peripheral people whose presence did not influence the aircrews actions.

    ie. you’ve got to do what Len was trying to do.

  52. Iain Hall says:


    Iain you only have to watch it once to see the US aircrew fire on a wounded man and unarmed civilians trying to help him.

    You only have put your self into the shoes of a pilot charged with neutralizing what they think is enemy elements to realise that a fighter who is moving is still a threat.

    You also only have to watch it once to notice that there are no weapons being carried by the men killed in the initial attack.

    WRONG if you watch it once you may well conclude that you have seen weapons, YOU are LOOKING for mistakes they were looking for threats.

    You only have to start watching it multiple times when you try mendacious, hollow and immoral post-facto excuses – special pleading – so you can find peripheral people whose presence did not influence the aircrews actions.

    ie. you’ve got to do what Len was trying to do.

    NO to be entirely fair to those you accuse you have to try to see what they were seeing under the conditions that they were seeing the action . YOU want to see American evil here and you have to use a magnifying glass and the pause button to do so. Which means that you are seeking a particular result rather than making a fair assessment of the action.

  53. Len says:

    Even after a sleep, I see nothing has changed here, except for the fact, that the rose coloured glasses just became thicker bi foculs ?

    The version I was watching was your link.

    Forces, both air, ground and sea, are stationed all around the Eu theatre JM. I am not going to tell you exactly where as it is none of your business, nor mine now for that matter.
    There are bases “in country” and just outside, as well as numerous countries in the “area”. I have flown into most. Where do you think supplies come from JM ? Materiel and resources ? Fuel, food etc ? When you transit such places, you go for coffee, a meal, and meet up with others also in transit. But if you knew anything about mil life, you would know that already.

    The ground troop, confirmed the weapons. You are confusing the fat guys on the right, with those three upper top left. Telephoto bullshit. As Iain said, even after watching the video upteen times, we are arguing semantics. Iain is spot on with his call. The chopper was there to give cover to the ground troops. That is exactly what he did. As Iain said, hindsight is a wonderful luxury, but the pilot did exactly what was asked of him, and Command made the judgement call to fire. Those troops on the ground must be protected at all cost, otherwise, there is no need for the chopper to even be there. That is exactly what he did, and I for one, have no problem at all with his actions.

    These guys had perhaps a heartbeat to make the same judgement, and even under those conditions, they radiod back for instructions, which is exactly what you are supposed to do, under the circumstances.

    Your premise that they were 400m telephoto lenses is absolute crap. I have two here. They are approximately 18 inches, and 24 inches in length. What those two in the upper left were shouldering were not lenses, but bloody weapons. You are talking about the guys in the centre of the picture, they were carrying the cameras. The chopper pilot was talking about the three guys skulking upper left of the picture.

    What about the guy skulking behind the wall ? A telephoto lense ? Give me a break ! The pilot’s had a dammed sight more patience than I would have. If I knew that coalition forces, on foot, were close by, and I saw some wanker skulking behind a wall with an rpg, he would have been history.

    This is a war. Bad things happen in war, certainly. That is why they call it war ? There is propaganda on both sides. You have to decide which version you believe. Knowing the people, as well as the system, that serve, even after being out for a while, I would trust the training of the servicemen and women, rather than some whacked out pacifist.

  54. Len says:

    17 and 26 were the ground troops. They were the ones that confirmed the weapons. What can I say, it was late ?

    BTW, what is Crazy Horse 18 flying JM ? Too far for choppers huh ?

    Where would that have been? As far as I can make out the F18’s have only ever been deployed to Qatar and Diego Garcia, both of which are too far away from the relevant theaters (Iraq and Afghanistan) for helicopters or the Army to be there. And neither are “in country”.

    I am hungering for another coffee, but even a quick google, and I am loathe to quote Wiki, but other links say the same.

    U.S. Navy Hornets flew during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 from carriers operating in the North Arabian Sea. Both the F/A-18A/C and newer F/A-18E/F variants were used during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, operating from aircraft carriers. Later in the conflict USMC A+, C, and primarily D models operated from bases within Iraq.

    Those that haven’t been replaced or updated, are still there as far as I know ?

  55. Iain Hall says:

    Hi Len Just found this link offered over on the darkside.

  56. Len says:

    You didn’t comment on it though ? Woos !

    Can’t argue with the majority of that.
    The “self righteous”, are pretty quick with their stinging oratories, after the fact, but most have never been, nor will they ever be, in this type of situation.

    Without indignation, imagine yourself in the same situation. We have all seen videos of american coppers, shooting, and killing teenagers, mistakenly thinking that they are holding firearms, instead, holding something totally benign ? These people, who we are so quick to demonise, after the event, have the rest of their lives, to come to grips with their mistakes. Those mistakes, btw, come from a fraction of a second decision making process, ascertaining whether friend or foe ? So, are they mistakes, or standard procedure ? I would say the latter. Pretty harsh, and unqualified criticism if you ask me ?

    I am not surprised that these videos are not released. The corresponding pr storms, that follow, generally strip the incident of logic, qualified analysis, and replace it with over the top emotion, based not on logic or fact, but individual principles and ideals, as what has occurred here ?

    I am sorry to say, that being ex mil, I have wondered, even after watching the video numerous times, would I have acted any differently ? With a couple of squads of my fellow serving members on the ground, a possibility of an rpg aimed my way (or at my mates on the ground), whether confirmed or not, would I have acted any differently ? I am sorry to say, honestly, probably not.

  57. Iain Hall says:

    As I see it Len it is the morality of the Star trek generation, they think that wars can actually be fought and won with totally clean hands (ethically speaking). ! think that this is a delusional way to think.

  58. JM says:

    Len I asked where you were when you were sharing the boozer with F18 and helicopter pilots. The deployment reference is to Australian F18’s which have only ever been deployed to Qatar and Diego Garcia.

    Len, Iain – both of you – this was not a split second thing, they watched the ground and evaluated the situation for several minutes beforehand.

    They did not obtain PID – they say that themselves in the video, the did not use graduated force – the escalated immediately and without warning. They fired on a wounded man and those helping him.

    All of those are contrary to the Rules of Engagement as issued to them for this operation

    They misidentified cameras as weapons, and completely ignored the things you misidentify as weapons.

    I’ll go back to my original question – what did they do that protects them from the conclusion that this is illegal slaughter?

    Nothing that I can make out. What do you pair of chickenhawks think?

  59. Iain Hall says:

    look to the last link that I posted , read it and then comment again it contains an account from soldiers who were actually there and reports that they found RPG and AK 47’s after this incident, I don’t think a smoking gun gets more clear than that. It also contains another You tube clip that puts this incident into the context of the surge that was in full flight at the time.

    Very well put. I feel like, not only in this situation but in many, people are to quick to judge. If people could take a step back and look calmly and honestly at things like this it would make more sense to them.
    Also there were 2 RPGs and 3-4 AKs when we showed up. I feel like they were setting up for a secondary ambush because while this video was being shot we were less than 100m down the street dealing with the first ambush.

    I am really proud to know you Josh. It was good to serve with you as well.
    By: Chris Johnson on April 8, 2010
    at 1:32 pm

  60. JM says:

    Iain, I think you forgot to read the third sentence:

    Yes, I am a conscientious objector and yes, I had pissed some of my leaders off a few days earlier and was not trusted on missions for a few weeks so was left back at the base while this event took place

    Secondly, apparently they only found cameras and an RPG round (no launcher) afterwards – I don’t know what Chris Johnson is referring to, but he’s making a post-facto justification.

    Will you guys stop making bogus apologies and either:

    a.) admit this was an illegal violation of the laws of war*
    b.) show me where there was any justification prior to them opening fire (because there isn’t)

    * BTW the later part of the video where they watch a number of men – all empty handed – enter a building and lie to their controller that those men are armed, before putting 3 Hellfires into it, is nearly as bad. By this time they’re clearly on a free-fire turkey shoot.

  61. Len says:

    Chickenhawks ? Man, talking about tunnel vision.

    The proximity of the rpg, to the remainder of those, as you say, just strolling and having a sunday chat, suggests complicity. It never ceases to amaze me, how you think everyone there is an innocent ?

    The FA-18’s were american, not Australian. But there were aussie pilots, that were detached/posted to these squadrons. As I said, I wasn’t directly involved with them, also as mentioned, I wouldn’t fit in one ? But, moving around the “theatre” as we did, we were brushing shoulders with those that were. After being “stood down”, they, like any other well trained RAAFy, headed straight for the closest boozer. The social information network of any base in the world.

    what did they do that protects them from the conclusion that this is illegal slaughter?

    I say again. Procedure ! Not your ROE’s, but battle procedures. The chopper did everything that is required. He didn’t shoot indiscriminately, he sought permission and instructions from superiors before doing anything. Pretty well accepted procedure in the circumstances. Whether right or wrong, that is the way it works.

    I find it unfortunate, that you (as well as many others), cannot come to grips with the fact that this is the way things work in a war zone. That is why war is a dangerous business, and why people get killed. I personally find, that your defence of the supposed innocents is misguided, and ideological at best.

    How would you frame the telegram to the parents of the aussie digger troop nearby, that the chopper was there to protect, after they were all probably killed by the rpg JM ? Especially, after being told that there was an armed chopper hovering nearby, that had these creeps in their sights, and did nothing ?

  62. Len says:

    Just saw your response JM.
    Iain’s quote pretty much says it all.

    Once caught, the dropped and ran. Does that absolve them of guilt ? Does that give them any special consideration ? Or does it, if no action was taken, just give them time to later return for the dropped booty, to continue on to their next target ?

    I don’t think so.
    Anyway you guys, I’m missing the bloody footy

  63. Iain Hall says:

    You claim a science qualification (which I doubt exists) but you are demonstrating quite well that your knowledge of history and the nature of war is pretty pathetic. You just can’t get all legalistic or morally bombastic and exp[ect to be seen as credible.
    As I keep trying to explain to you this was a SNAFU situation and It was part of a larger oicture than Wikileaks would have you believe,
    By way of comparison look at the casualities after the battle for Starlingrad which may give you some perspective on the casualties in this little part of the war in Iraq:

    Various scholars have estimated the Axis suffered 850,000 casualties (killed, disabled, captured) among all branches of the German armed forces and its allies, many of them POWs who died in Soviet captivity between 1943 and 1955. 400,000 Germans, 120,000 Romanians, 120,000 Hungarians, and 120,000 Italians were killed, wounded or captured.[21]:p? Of the 91,000 German POWs taken at Stalingrad, 27,000 died within weeks[48] and only 5,000 returned to Germany in 1955. The remainder of the POWs died in Soviet captivity.[2]:430[49][50] According to Soviet sources, the Axis lost 1.5 million killed, wounded or captured in the whole Stalingrad area.[51][52] 50,000 ex-Soviets Hiwis (local volunteers incorporated into the German forces in supporting capacities) were killed or captured by the Red Army. According to archival figures, the Red Army suffered a total of 1,129,619 total casualties;[52] 478,741 men killed or missing and 650,878 wounded. These numbers are for the whole Stalingrad Area; in the city itself 750,000 were killed, captured, or wounded. Red Army penal battalions (Strafbaty) executed 278 Soviet soldiers for cowardice during the battle.[53] Also, more than 40,000 Soviet civilians died in Stalingrad and its suburbs during a single week of aerial bombing as the German 4th Panzer and 6th armies approached the city; the total number of civilians killed in the regions outside the city is unknown. In all, the battle resulted in an estimated total of 1.7 million to 2 million Axis and Soviet casualties.

  64. JM says:

    Len: “The FA-18’s were american, not Australian. But there were aussie pilots, that were detached/posted to these squadrons

    Really? That’s unusual. How do Australian pilots just fit right in with an entirely different military organization, and jump into aircraft that are configured differently to their own?

    I know #3 Squadron personal were deployed with #75 Squadron F18’s to Qatar, but I haven’t heard of any pilots just jumping into USAF aircraft. You were originally talking about different services (who don’t mix well, the Air Force has a superiority complex). Now you’re talking about different countries.

    And where were the Army helicopter pilots Len? You said they were co-located? Were they Australian Army or American? Remember Blackhawks (as operated by the Australian Army) have a combat range of less than 400 miles while Apaches are only about 250 miles. Qatar is a long way further than that from Iraq – over 600 miles from Basrah.

    Len re. “chickenhawk” (from Dictionary.com):

    often chick·en·hawk (chĭk’ən-hôk’) Informal A person who favors military force or action to carry out a foreign policy but has never served in the military.

    Somehow I don’t think I fit the first part of that description in this particular case. I know you fit the first, but what about the second?

    BTW Crazyhorse 18 and 19 are Apaches. The action took place in Baghdad and there are several large US military bases nearby. There’s a war on you know.

    Len: Not your ROE’s, but battle procedures.

    They were issued with a rule of engagement that prohibited them from doing what they did. That ROE tells them what procedures to follow, they didn’t. You’re not even hair-splitting here, you’re just refusing to face facts.

    Iain, I don’t understand why you want to bring Stalingrad into this. Stick to the point.

  65. Len says:

    You seem to be having trouble getting your head around the fact, that the coalition forces, other than hq’s, are a “mobile” force. To that end, all over Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, as well as surrounding countries, are small bases. It is standard, that when ground is either gained, or lost, ‘support’ is moved accordingly. You so much as said it yourself ? You also seem to have trouble getting around the fact, that service personnel from all over the world, serve together under one command in all of the world’s current hot spots, Iraq especially ?

    Again, you have trouble refuting the fact, that the chopper was there to support the ground troops, and to that degree, it succeeded whole heartedly.

    We have some of the best trained jocks anywhere in the world, all trained here. Some even are sent overseas to train, to increase their proficiency. They are always sent o/s to hone their skills, and serve with, what do the call it now, the coalition of the willing ? I also know of medics, as well as chopper pilots, trained at Oakey that were active over there as well as medical evac squadrons, all using US and British materiel.

    BTW Crazyhorse 18 and 19 are Apaches. The action took place in Baghdad and there are several large US military bases nearby. There’s a war on you know

    You just answered your own question re distance limitations ?
    You are attempting to lead us all away from the main argument here. With all these supposed fuel/distance restraints, you are attempting to test my knowledge, and even I have admitted, that my knowledge is out of date. I can only tell you what the situation was early on in the piece, when I was active. I flew US aircraft, as well as British and of course Oz. But, as I said, no fighter nor apache experience. I have admitted that. But the reason why the yanks like us there, and allow us to fly their aircraft is that Australian pilots are highly prized overseas, they are bloody good, and we look after the equipment. Before you say it, not that I am putting myself in that echelon, it is just the way it has always been. Every spare minute we had, we were out training, whether simulator, or touch and go’s on a deserted runway somewhere. The yanks do the same.

    I like the way you continue to come back to the ROEs. The video clearly shows that vision was captured, and permission was sought, then granted to continue with the operation. If you have any complaints about that, your criticism should be towards the pudgy Generals that ordered the strike. As I have said, I have watched the video several times, and I have no problem with it. If you talked to other men and women, that have served in this area of the world, I would bet all the tea in China, they wouldn’t have had a problem with the final solution to the problem either.

    Somehow mate, you just have to get over it. It was legal, and in my opinion warranted. Maybe not to you, as a civilian, but to anyone with even the slightest military knowledge, or perhaps even a basic honed survival instinct it is ?

    The rest of your argument is just semantics. Sorry.

  66. JM says:

    Len: you have trouble refuting the fact, that the chopper was there to support the ground troops, and to that degree, it succeeded whole heartedly.

    Refute it? I think I was the first person on this thread to make that point – in refutation of one of your earlier ignorant assertions (I forget which one)

    Ok, I’ve just put my hand up and we’ve agreed on something – what’s your point? How does it refute mine that this complete fuckup is illegal murder in direct contravention of orders?

    Now distance constraints. You asserted that you had served (initially you gave the distinct impression that you had actually flown in, if not actually piloted) with both F18 and helicopter units.

    I questioned that firstly on the basis that helicopter pilots usually don’t become fighter pilots (or vice versa), you responded that you all drank at the same “boozer” (I think you mean mess actually, but I’ll let that pass). You then backed off further denying that you were ever a pilot of either (even though you’ve previously claimed to be an ex-military pilot on other threads).

    I then pointed out that F18’s and helicopters are operated by different services (Air Force and Army), you pointed me to US Navy deployments of F18’s, and when I questioned you on that you claimed that Australian pilots routinely just jump into foreign planes and fly in foreign air forces. That’s complete rubbish.

    My final question to you is simple:- I’m willing to accept that Air Force and Army units will often deploy to the same base, and also conduct joint operations.

    What I’m not willing to accept is that this co-location has happened in the case of the RAAF with the F18’s. Their sole overseas deployments have been to Qatar and Diego Garcia, which are both too far away for there to have been co-located Army helicopter units (of any nationality).

    You’ve been all over the shop with this one, and I’m really intrigued – because if something like that has happened I’d be very interested to know when and where.

    Back to the central point – what did they do that allows them a let out for firing on a wounded man and those giving him assistance?

    Asking permission doesn’t do it – they misrepresented the situation to their commanders by claiming the van was picking up weapons when they knew damn well it wasn’t

    Just as previously they misrepresented that they had seen AK47’s when they clearly hadn’t.

    So Len. No PID – they admit that themselves. No graduated force – you admitted that earlier with your assertion that a warning shot “would have been fired”. Firing on those who are out of the fight.

    Sorry, they’re toast.

  67. JM says:

    Oh and Len, just on ROE’s. You previously showed very little knowledge of what they actually are – orders – when you claimed they had to apply to both sides. Similarly you dropped a clanger regarding the use of operational codenames and how they are applied to the force structure.

    Since you’re claiming to be a military expert on the basis of personal experience, just what is that experience?

  68. JM says:

    Me: when I questioned you on that you claimed that Australian pilots routinely just jump into foreign planes and fly in foreign air forces.

    Actually that should read foreign navies – that’s an even bigger leap. RAAF pilots aren’t trained at all for carrier operations. Doesn’t matter how good they are as pilots, I wouldn’t let an inexperience pilot take off in a very expensive aircraft from a carrier, let alone attempt a landing.

    Stuff the plane, I’d be worried about the safety of the ship.

  69. Len says:

    Foreign air forces, navy, and even army, and don’t forget as well, the Marines have air capability as well.

    Agreed re carriers. What was our last, the Melbourne ? However, we are experienced in moving resources quickly from theatre to theatre, as well as normal strip operations. Moving a force in from the Eu theatre is nothing, as to getting our people there, that was what Qantas was for ? Our pilots, even though not trained in carrier landings, don’t need them. Our personnel fly into ground bases set up, after the initial insertion is successful ?

    I am also not going to give TO&E’s, or a precis of my career over a blog site, even Iains. Not going to happen. As for codenames, b/s. I got the call signs mixed up ? Whoopy do ! There is a successful gloat, grant you that.

    I have never, unlike yourself JM, claimed to be an expert, purely a participant, and a witness to some of the events. For you to slander, label our servicemen as killers, is a stance taken from ignorance, and lack of knowledge and forsight. A typical reaction from someone who doesn’t want to get their hands dirty, but sure as hell wants to crucify those that do. It is a war. People get killed in war. For that action to have taken place, again I state, all protocols appear to have been followed. I have no problems with it at all, the fact that you do, is your own personal decision and stance.

  70. JM says:

    Alright Len, I agree you’ve claimed to be a participant, not a tactical or strategic expert.

    You have claimed however, and still claim, special knowledge as a result of personal experience. So I’m still interested in where there has been a co-deployment of RAAF pilots with Army helicopters in combat roles – which is what your original claim was. You don’t have to tell me what your role was, just where it happened.

    You haven’t been able to do that so far.

    someone who doesn’t want to get their hands dirty

    Did I say that? No. Have I ever, anywhere, anytime claimed that war is not a dirty business that harms everyone involved? No. Have I ever, anywhere, anytime, claimed that it should be conducted as Iain said “Star Trek” style? No.

    You’re attacking a strawman.

    Actually, Iain has inadvertently put his finger on my point. Yes, I believe war can – and should – be conducted ethically. That doesn’t mean “clean hands” in the same way Iain thinks it does – ie. bloodless. No-one of any sense thinks that.

    The interesting thing is that the world, having ratified the Geneva Conventions, agrees. The US commanders also agreed when they issued those ROE’s (orders to you and me). And you know what? Most veterans agree as well, honor is an important concept for them, it allowed them to participate in the first place and it allows them to live with it afterwards.

    The problem for those guys in those helicopters is they didn’t abide by those ethics.

    They’re toast.

  71. Len says:

    I only have information on what I served with and on. But a quick google details the below for your info.

    What I said was that RAAF pilots, and materiel, as well as Army pilots and materiel was, and have been used consistently in overseas theatres over the years. Following are a couple of examples for you ?

    About forty Aussie pilots flew with the 19th and 20th TASS in Vietnam. As did Australian Hueys.

    Australian Army Chinooks Commenced Summer Operations in Afghanistan in 2006 apparently.

    The 5th Aviation Regiment is located at RAAF Base Townsville, is another.

    Yes, I believe war can – and should – be conducted ethically.

    A wonderful, but unattainable task. One only has to look at recent history to prove that. Milosovic, Hussein come to mind ?

  72. JM says:

    Len, your first link shows joint operations of Australian Chinooks in Afghanistan with US forces. No RAAF F18 pilots that I can see.

    Your second link shows Australian Chinooks in Townsville. No RAAF F18 pilots that I can see, and not even a war zone.

    In other words, your original claim:

    Whether we were in a chopper, or even an FA-18, we were tasked by US, NATO, or coalition command, and we do, as we are told.

    is bullshit, is it not? There’s no “we” in your experience at all, is there?

    In fact your gradually backed-off claim that

    a.) you’ve flown both combat helicopters and F18’s
    b.) you’ve drunk in “boozers” with co-located helicopter and F18 units
    c.) that Australian military have ever been co-located with Army and F18 (or US Navy, depending on what minute of the day you’re making the claim) combat units

    is all a fabrication, right?

    So your sole claim to special experience here is complete nonsense, right?

    That’s the way I read it anyway.

    But I’m prepared to be contradicted. If I’m wrong, please do so.

  73. Len says:

    This is becoming tiresome, and boring JM.

    I suggest, perhaps now that it is a new day, and you may have sobered up, read the previous postings.

    The answers to your questions are there.

  74. Len says:

    To quickly answer your dribble, so as I can get on with the day with more pleasurable things.

    a) Never said that. Actually said the reverse.
    b) Said that. RAAF Fairburn in Canberra another classic example, as well as many others.
    c) Amberly is an example. Fairburn as above another. Darwin and Townsville are others.

    I have been out for years, and I can get quickly updated, even with errors. Your flogging a dead horse JM, and in the process, slurring every person that has and is serving. So do us all a favour. Walk a mile in a serviceman’s shoes, before you start slandering them. The one thing you learn, if you had ever served, is serviceman stick together. We look after each other’s backs. A trait obviously you have a lot of trouble identifying with ?

  75. JM says:


    re. a.) You directly stated you had flown both combat helicopters and F18’s
    b.) & c.) Amberly, Fairburn, Darwin and Townsville are not combat zones

    You have strongly intimated that you have combat experience, but after all your clangers, allow me to doubt you.

    Therefore why should I pay any attention to your assertion that you have a right to speak about this that I don’t?

    We look after each other’s backs

    I agree. Honor is an important military value.

    Part of that is recognizing that claiming experience you don’t have dishonors those who do have it.

  76. Len says:

    Where ?
    I am not going to do a tit-for-tat, but as an example, I did state above, that I wouldn’t fit in to the cockpit of a fighter fa/18 or whatever. So your grandstanding with crap !
    Have to do better than that.
    BUT, where you are making your error, is that I served with guys and gals that did ? There is a difference.

  77. Len says:

    The mention of those bases, were as a response to your question was where do the forces share resources, or are stationed together. I answered that question. You mentioned nothing about war zones. You would never be told that anyway, due to security constraints. I am giving you credit for some intelligence, by saying that you should have already known that anyway.

  78. Len says:

    “Part of that is recognizing that claiming experience you don’t have dishonors those who do have it.”

    How dare you, you uneducated little troll. I apologise Iain, but JM, your whole argument here, and above, comes from a proven undecuated, long haired, thong wearing, loud mouthed loser.
    Go back to your marijuana growing commune, and perhaps learn some respect from somewhere whilst your at it.
    Have a happy day !

  79. rjmq says:

    Len, the New York Times agrees with my position, and put it more eloquently.

    Respond to that please.

  80. rjmq says:

    And as for your “protesteth too much” outrage, I think your deceptive statements – supported by later wriggling – in this thread…. well, they speak for themselves.

  81. Iain Hall says:

    Firstly Welcome to my Blog RJMQ
    I have just read your link and it does raise the same sort of issues that I have seen elsewhere, not sure about your claim of eloquence though 🙂
    This comment to the post makes sense to me:

    The application of the law of war is complicated when the enemy is an illegal insurgency. The rule of proportionality, for example, makes a lot of sense when applied to bombing a munitions factory with civilian workers, and less sense in contexts like these, where a group of men that clearly contains armed hostiles also contains men who may not be armed. Similarly, the rule requiring positive identification of enemy combatants makes a lot more sense in a context where combatants comply with the laws of war requiring soldiers to wear insignia that distinguishes them from civilians. Where, as in Iraq, insurgents intentionally and illegally create ambiguities between combatants and non-combatants, for purposes of creating a strategic advantage, moral responsibility for civilian deaths due to mistake falls entirely on the shoulders of the belligerents who create the ambiguity. The events seen in the video occurred in a hot combat zone where US soldiers were exchanging fire with insurgents. The Reuters journalists were among armed fighters when these gunners opened fire on them. Civilians tend not to be milling about in the streets when there’s a lot of gunfire. They get inside, and, when the area has been a battlefield for a period of several days or longer, as this area had been, they tend to evacuate. So it’s pretty unlikely that any group of people hanging out in this alley is going to be a harmless gathering of civilians. Similarly, if the driver of the van seen in the video was a civilian, he probably would not have been in that area, and he would not have pulled over at the site of the firefight. If he was a rescue worker, he would have been driving a properly marked rescue vehicle, and the gunner would not have fired on him. Most likely, he was an insurgent fighter using children as human shields. What happened to the journalists is tragic, but they should have known better than to be wandering among insurgents during a firefight. The gunners seemed to be doing their jobs.
    Posted 4/7/2010, 11:28:35am by Mitchforth

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2010/04/the-wikileaks-video-and-the-rules-of-engagement.html#ixzz0kvYyKv60

  82. Len says:

    As for your “protesteth too much”, if that is directed at me, sure I lost my temper, but how dare some troll, who has never been in the situation, criticise people who have.
    Those people, serving in the world’s hotspots, need our support, and most of all, our respect, or we all pay the price in the long run. Hell, we are still paying the medical bills of traumatised soldiers that came back from Vietnam. They need our compassion and support, not uneducated, unqualified sprays of venom ?

    Secondly ?

    The Geneva Conventions state that protections must be afforded to people who “collect and care for the wounded, whether friend or foe.”

    That is why all medical vehicles, have, since ww1 I think, have been, and are, emblazened with a bloody big red cross on a white background ? Sound familiar ? Not, black, unmarked suvs !

    The action was harsh certainly. But, again, where I sit, there was the platoon nearby, with that guy crouching behind the wall, with what “looked” like an rpg. They have/had to be protected at all costs. The call went back, the judgement was made, and I for one, have no problem with it.

  83. Len says:

    I re read your above quote Iain, and can’t argue with any of it.

  84. Iain Hall says:

    It’s a good one Len which is why I included it here.:)

  85. Len says:

    Also I forgot this bit.
    The term “we” was used by me to signify ALL servicemen and women, from all countries, that were serving in the area. It was not defining me, but everybody.
    But, anyone other than an antagonist would have realised that.

  86. JM says:

    Len: “What those two in the upper left were shouldering were not lenses, but bloody weapons. You are talking about the guys in the centre of the picture, they were carrying the cameras. The chopper pilot was talking about the three guys skulking upper left of the picture.”

    Horseshit Len. The two guys in the upper left aren’t “shouldering” a blood thing. They’re both carrying something but no shouldering.

    The guy “skulking” is the “fat guy” – ie. the photographer – peeking round the corner taking a photo with a 400mm telephoto lens with an flare guard on the end. Compare the end of the tube with the appearance of the end of an RPG.

    Completely different shape. Don’t you have eyes?

  87. JM says:

    Len you said:

    “Whether we were in a chopper, or even an FA-18, we were tasked by US, NATO, or coalition command, and we do, as we are told. Not that that is an excuse, that is just the way it is, and operational protocol within a battle zone.”

    If this comment does not directly claim personal involvement in air combat, then I don’t know what does.

    Secondly if this comment does not claim personal involvement in both helicopters and F18’s, I don’t know what does.

    So much so, that Jeremy took the same meaning as I from it:

    “This idea that you have to have actually served in the military to have a valid view of its conduct, is one of the most absurd things to come out of the right’s attempt to justify this incident.”

    You had the chance, but you didn’t disabuse him (or me) of that notion.

    After I pointed out that helicopter pilots rarely (if ever) become fighter pilots (or vice versa), and are actually operated by different services, you claimed:

    “Christ, we all got drunk in the same boozer when off duty. “

    ie. that you claimed you all drank together in the same location.

    I then pointed out that Australian F18’s had never been deployed to locations where combat helicopters would reasonable be co-located.

    To which you responded:

    [quoting Wiki] “U.S. Navy Hornets flew during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 from carriers operating in the North Arabian Sea. Both the F/A-18A/C and newer F/A-18E/F variants were used during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003,”

    “The FA-18’s were american, not Australian. But there were aussie pilots, that were detached/posted to these squadrons.”

    ie. that they were Australian pilots flying US Navy planes

    I then pointed out that Australian RAAF pilots have no training or experience in Navy operations, and that no sensible captain would allow them to fly off his ship.

    You agreed:

    “Agreed re carriers. “

    But you also claimed that RAAF pilots routinely serve in foreign airforces. They don’t Len.

    Lastly, in desparation you claimed only to have served:

    “is that I served with guys and gals that did”

    The problem here is that there are no women in combat fighter pilot roles in the RAAF, in fact the RAAF is attempting to recruit the first one

    Also “However, women are still excluded from direct combat roles in the ADF. “ and “Currently, there are no women in combat roles in the ADF, that is, women are excluded from categories of employment which are classified as ‘direct combat duties’.

    ie. no matter whether you left “a long time ago” or just recently, there is no way you served with the “gals” that did it [fought in combat] as there aren’t any.

    On top of that, you mistook daytime for nightime, don’t understand military terminology, have no knowledge of the laws of war or the Geneva Conventions, don’t know what Rules of Engagement are, can’t even look at a video without seeing things that aren’t there.

    Nothing you’ve said on this thread to your supposed military makes any sense, yet you claim special expertise from that supposed experience.

    Why should I pay any more attention to your military opinions when you know less than an amateur military buff (like myself)?

    You really don’t know what you’re talking about do you? In fact, all your pretended knowledge is just made up.

    You Atrocity Apologists really need to get out of the boozer and into the real world.

  88. Len says:

    Man, I’d see a doctor JM, and get your eyes checked.
    Your tunnel vision is really running amok there, as well as your imagination.

    As for your analysis of the vision. Better check it again. In my opinion, your wrong, again or perhaps that should read “still” ?

    Our service men and women routinely serve in foreign military, as they do with us. Better check your source again, cos your wrong, AGAIN !

    So, you think fighter pilots are the only people serving in that theatre ? Is that the basis for your “bullsh*t” judgment call ? Kiddo, you don’t know bloody squat !

    What about “support” ?

    You think their food, fuel, clothing, weapons, ammunition, aircraft maintenance, medical, intelligence gathering yadda yadda yadda, all just appears out of thin air ?

    Do you think a good little genie, just goes poof, and everything appears, as needed ? Or, do you think there is a massive bloody Macey’s nearby ?

    Who do you think do those jobs ?

    Men, and women thats who. I can’t remember the ratio now, but for every aircraft in the air, the ratio of support staff needed to keep that aircraft in the air is staggering. How do those supplies and personnel get there JM ? Qantas ?

    What about women serving in East Timor ? Oops !
    Forget about them ? I am certain they would appreciate the sentiment ?

    I have got a couple of my mates, mil, and ex mil to read what I said, and they know exactly what I inferred. The fact that you don’t (as well as your mate), clearly shows your ignorance on how things work, and even sadder, and even more dangerous, your lack of willingness to want to know.

    It is not my job to educate you.

    And your rose coloured glass wearing, arrogant, thong wearing beatnik pacifist mates, (along with your good self). should open your eyes to what is happening in the real world, instead of reading bleeding heart sob stories.

    Unfortunately, not all the world’s problems and disagreements can be solved by a handshake over a beer. If only…

  89. Len says:

    So much for you being a “buff”
    You need a new pad for that “buff” by the looks of it ?

  90. JM says:

    Len, I’ve been responding to specific claims you’ve made. Including the ludicrous assertion that:

    ” But the reason why the yanks like us there, and allow us to fly their aircraft is that Australian pilots are highly prized overseas, they are bloody good, and we look after the equipment.”

    They don’t Len. That is a fact. The last time RAAF pilots served in a US unit was during the Vietnam war when 6 were seconded on a long-term basis to a Phantom squadron.

    The only other “Australians” I know who have served as pilots in US forces are an “Australian” astronaut who flew with the USAF, and a long term acquaintance of mine (I’ve known him over 30 years and run into him occasionally) who served with the US Navy. The only military force in the world that allows non-citizens to serve is the French Foreign Legion (and those guys get citizenship at the end).

    Both of those guys lived in Australia for many years (and one has returned on retirement.) But both of those guys hold US passports and enlisted in the normal fashion as US citizens, not “detachments”.

    I don’t care what you say, or what your mates say. You’re talking bullshit, and though you’re trying to wriggle out of it now, the fact is your claims were at best misleading.

    Your mistakes have been so egregious on this thread that I don’t trust your opinion at all. You’re just an Atrocity Apologist. You’re not willing to trust your own eyes, you just see what you want to see.


    Remember I referred you to the early part of this incident when I pointed out where one of the two guys you obsess so much about entered the tape? When he is seen about 30 seconds beforehand leaning on a vertical object about 1.2m tall?

    Go back, have another look. Especially look at one of the guys immediately behind him who is pushing something in front of him. What is it?

    It’s a baby pusher. Probably with a baby in it.

    This was an ordinary civilian gathering showing round a couple of reporters – you can’t escape that conclusion.

  91. Len says:

    Nice aversion btw. You asked questions, and totally ignore the answers ? Nice trick. Maybe someone, somewhere, will believe your sincerity here.

    Even your nice attempt at grandstanding is incorrect.
    You have no idea mate, just admit it. You sit there and criticise the military, whilst you sit in your well padded cocoon. Easy to sling crap from that angle. You reckon I am the one doing the wriggling ? Give me a break.

    For starters ?

    That was thirty six aussie pilots btw with the phantoms, not six.

    Thirty-six RAAF pilots flew as forward air controllers with the United States Air Force (USAF) in Vietnam. Flying vulnerable O-1, O-2 and OV-10 aircraft at very low altitude, they marked ground targets for air strikes. Their courage under fire led to the award of more Australian and foreign gallantry awards than any other group of Australians serving in Vietnam. Six other RAAF officers flew as crew members of USAF F-4 Phantom jets.

    Since the 1980s, peace-keeping and peace enforcement operations have accounted for most RAAF overseas deployments. RAAF Iroquois helicopters served in the Sinai desert between 1976 and 1979 and again between 1982 and 1986 to monitor a cease-fire agreement between Egypt and Israel and then an Israeli withdrawal from the region.

    During the 1990s the RAAF was particularly active in support of major UN peace-keeping operations in Cambodia, Bougainville, Somalia and Rwanda. In the new century, the RAAF commitment to East Timor was reduced but a new regional assistance mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) began in 2003 to disarm militant groups destabilising the government. A detachment from No 38 Squadron provided airlift support in the Solomons with their Caribou aircraft.
    (same page)

    If you only knew…

    I am not trying to wriggle out of anything. The reverse applies.
    You have no idea as to the day to days of what goes on. My info is out of date, and I’ll bet that even my info has changed.
    As to your resources/info re sharing of personnel and materiel, it is also wrong.

    Will check the video for upteenth time, and comment maybe tomorrow. Again, hindsight is a wonderful thing huh ? That single fool behind the wall is still the one. That ain’t gonna change any time soon.

  92. Len says:

    Again, I suggest you watch the video, at the 3:45 mark. At the back, the four guys, with the one in the middle, with the striped shirt. At the 3:50 mark, they look up, see the chopper, then congregate closely, and the weapon goes behind their backs.
    Open your eyes people ?

  93. JM says:

    Len I didn’t know about the 36 forward air controllers, but the same paragraph mentions the 6 Phantom pilots I referred to. Thank you for that.

    The second two paragraphs are not references to F18’s let alone “detachments” to the US Navy (or even worse ad-hoc combat flights), which is what your (modified) claim was.

    “That single fool behind the wall is still the one. “

    Is the photographer, the “fat guy” you referred to. Watch how after he peeks, he shows his camera, steps away from the wall into the street, and takes a picture.

    And when you’ve finished watching it, show me anywhere where you can see and AK47 or RPG.

    And when you’ve finished doing that, consider this:- the US troops are 200m away, the helicopter about 300 (or perhaps more). What’s the maximum range of an RPG against mounted troops?

    About 200m, and it’s ineffective much beyond 80m or so (especially against armoured targets). Of an AK? A bit further, but it isn’t very accurate and 300m is about the effective limit.

    So how much threat was a company US troops mounted in Bradley’s and Humvee’s under, even if those weapons had been present?

    None. This was not a situation justifying violation of their rules of engagement. This was wanton slaughter of a group posing no threat.

  94. Len says:

    The whole action was protecting the ground troops, that were nearby. You see them come in, right towards the end of your video.

    I’ll bet me dollars to donuts, the armed vehicles weren’t the target, not with small arms anyway, whatever they were. Attempting to ambush the ground troops mentioned above, would have been a pretty safe guess.

    Even after all the banter JM, watching the video a thousand times, one thing strikes me. Over the years, the yanks, as well as others, have been criticised, for being too gung-ho, unfeeling, rash, and even brutal, in their response to ground guerilla action of any description. When you watched the video, you would have had to have seen that the chopper commander asked numerous times to engage, what he considered “the threat” ? Times must have really changed. In the first gulf war back in the nineties, the yanks wouldn’t have hesitated, to just level the entire block with a laser guided bomb, or missile. That is the lesson they finally learned from Vietnam. You can’t win a war totally with air superiority. When it comes down to it, you have to get in the mud with them, and fight it out.

    Again, I state, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
    Even after watching the video numerous times, the both of us still cannot agree, on really what actually happened. When it comes down to it, it is pure conjecture, on both our parts isn’t it ? So, considering that, the poor ground commanders, the chopper pilots, as well as central command, situated in relative safety behind the action, watching the same vision as we were, have to make the call. That is, protect your ground troops/assets, at all cost ?

    In an attempt to see where you were coming from, I watched the video numerous times, considered all angles, and I am no expert, but all I have been taught in military service, states that these guys did exactly the right thing. If it was a camera lense as you say, why was it spirited away and hidden when they knew the cameras were on them ? That was my tip off, straight away ?

    Knowing the yanks as I do, I tried to find a reason to criticise them in their decision making process. I couldn’t. I would have done exactly the same thing in the same situation, added to that, I probably would not have been as patient as they were.

  95. JM says:

    Len: If it was a camera lense as you say, why was it spirited away and hidden when they knew the cameras were on them ?

    Don’t be bloody ridiculous. As soon as the helicopter circles the building and comes round to the other side, the photographer is seen talking on his cell phone grasping the camera by the lens in his right hand.

    There is nothing that has been spirited away.

    Use your eyes instead of concocting conspiracy theories.

  96. Iain Hall says:

    The important thing when it comes to this incident is that the helicopter crew thought , after once seeing the movement through the gun-sights that they were justified it taking them out, They did not have your luxury of seeing it over and over again.
    So all of you nit picking is pointless

  97. Len says:

    I suggest you do the same JM. If it is a camera, as you say, why shove three bodies in front of it, do hide it from the choppers view ?

    Man, talking about bloody delusional.

    You can’t talk reason to a person that doesn’t want to see reason.

  98. Len says:

    Didn’t see your comment Iain.
    I have said that again and again, but JM seems to think that everyone in a war zone has superman vision. I still think, even after watching the video God knows how many times, that the correct decision. After last night, watching the four at the back, with one holding what looked like a rifle or launcher, (it was pretty blurred, but he was holding something), the fact that the other three walked in front of him, and it can be plainly seen, the “object” is moved then to behind the guys back.

    Nothing to hide huh ? Bullshit ! They were done bloody cold !
    In my view ! Tough !

  99. Iain Hall says:

    I tell you what JM don’t ever consider taking up the law as a career because you are not a very good advocate at all.

  100. JM says:

    No guys, you’re the people who expect superman vision. Iain asked earlier how often I’d paused the tape.

    But the situation is the other way round. I can watch this once and see what’s happening. You guys have to search and search and you come up with nothing.

    These are combat soldiers who

    a.) inspected the ground “carefully” (for a couple of minutes in fact)
    b.) admit they don’t have positive ID (PID)
    c.) call into their commanders and misrepresent the situation (as “5 or 6 AK’s”) for permission
    d.) fire on obviously unarmed, un-uniformed and kill civilians without warning
    e.) fire on unarmed civilians engaged in helping a wounded man they know is unarmed
    f.) justification for e.) is sought on the basis that the van is picking up “weapons” when they’ve just been engaged in a discussion amongst themselves about how unfortunate it is that they can’t kill the guy outright because they know there are no weapons present

    Can you spell Atrocity?

  101. JM says:

    Len: “… protect your ground troops/assets, at all cost ?”

    No Len, the laws of war (and the rules of engagement in this case) don’t allow you to do that at all cost. To do so is a war crime.

    What are you gonna do? Take off and nuke Baghdad from orbit? That would be “protect[ing] your ground troops/assets, at all cost” wouldn’t it?

    This is war Len – politics by other means – not “Alien vs Predator”

    Grow up. You mini-Rambo’s poison public debate.

  102. Len says:

    War crime bullshit.

    Again, you can’t seem to get your head around the fact, that the decision had to be made instantly. There was the platoon nearby, and they had to be protected. Just because you think that is wrong, does not change the situation. Fortunately, for those guys on the ground, the decision was not yours to make. Otherwise, they would be dead.

    Fine by you JM ? Your high horse is beginning to look a little rocky ?

    You have absolutely no idea JM, as to how the system works. You are quick to criticise, especially from a place or relative ignorance.

    The use of airpower, to protect your ground assets, has been around, ever since the bloody biplane.

    Nuke the place huh ? Hmm ! That’s clever. What about your own troops on the ground ? What about the rebuild effort after the war ? Think about those things ? BTW for shits and giggles, who do you think was/is paying to rebuild Iraq ? Hussein in his jail cell ? Who keeps trying to attack the aid workers, the builders et al over there now that are trying to rebuild the place ? Your sympathy is touching if not wayward.

    War is politics, certainly, but politics does you no good, when some wanker comes walking your way with c4 strapped to his kid’s body ?

    Open your eyes a little JM. Your vision of how utopic the world should be, is touching, but here, we are dealing with people who want power. ALL OF IT ! They don’t care who, or how people get killed, just as long as that goal is reached. They want to convert/control their populations with their religions, as well as lifestyles, and won’t be satisfied until their achievement is reached, or they are martyred.

    Your consistent failure here, is that you are attempting to impose western standards to a situation where no such standards apply. They wrote the roe’s not us. We are playing by their rule book, and for you to come up, after the fact, after they got their asses kicked, just proves you can’t hack the tough decisions.

    You want a free Iraq. Great ! First you have to get rid of the people that don’t want a free Iraq. If you haven’t got the stomach for it, fine, but get out of the way of the people that are fighting to achieve just that.

    It would have been interesting to see what your comments would have been, say back in the days of the Irish conflict.

  103. JM says:

    ” Otherwise, they would be dead.”

    How? Where are the weapons Len? They aren’t there. The aircrew admit they aren’t there when they’re faced with murdering a wounded man.

    Sorry Len, you need to brush up a bit. And you need to talk to real veterans, not your beer-drinking buddies. I had a smoke with a work colleague today who is a veteran and he was absolutely scathing about this incident.

    “They wrote the roe’s not us. We are playing by their rule book, and for you to come up, after the fact, after they got their asses kicked, just proves you can’t hack the tough decisions.”

    Bullshit, absolute bullshit. The world wrote the rules, a long time ago in the laws of war (informal) and then formally in the Geneva Conventions over the last century. (And once you’re signed up to them you have to abide by them regardless of what the other side does – I’m not allowed to steal your car just because your son stole mine am I? The law is the law.)

    Those conventions were then codified by the US commanders in the Rules of Engagement.

    All those things are there because the world doesn’t want a bunch of out-of-control kids wandering around with lethal weapons killing everyone in sight on a whim. We want real soldiers who have some discipline, not murderous thugs.

    You don’t know shit Len. Your entire argument is just a pose. Nice for the movies, but I don’t want you let loose in real life.

  104. Len says:

    Not allowed to use your kids as deliverers’ of bombs either.
    Well there goes that argument down the tube.

    The weapons aren’t there ?
    Your opinion, NOT fact. Just because you know everything doesn’t make it so.

    Again, conventions only apply when ALL sides abide by them.
    Another argument of yours down the tube.

    You protect your mates, and they protect you.
    Obviously, you must leave a lonely life without friends, otherwise you would know that too.

    They showed extreme discipline. That has been explained at least five times. No memory gene in your family JM ?

    Do us all a favour, and fly up to when the next load of our servicemen and women are rotated. Sit on the side lines, and throw eggs at them, call them murderers. Even in these days of political correctness, I wonder how long you would last. Not long I imagine.

  105. JM says:

    Len, the camera shows what the aircrew could see. Can you see weapons? No. Did they? No.

    Do us all a favour ….[etc]

    Don’t be pathetic. Make your argument, don’t hide behind jingoism.

  106. Len says:

    oh JM for fs yawn !

  107. Len says:

    Read the comments above. All your laughable rhetoric was answered there, and more than once btw.

    Don’t know who your friend was ? A veteran of what ? Groundhog day ?

  108. Iain Hall says:

    even though I am not a pilot I would argue that this is incorrect :

    Len, the camera shows what the aircrew could see.

    It shows only what the gunner in the crew could see through the targeting system it does not show what they could see through the windows of their machine and it does not show everything that they could see at all. You are clearly assuming that it does,

  109. Len says:

    Good morning campers ?
    Jeez Iain, 4:43? I thought I was bad.

  110. JM says:

    Iain, the helicopter is about 300m away – you can tell when the camera is occasionally switched to long shot.

    They could probably see much less clearly through the windows, because they’re a long way off.

    In fact, their commander makes this point in his official report, and you can hear it in the audio where the pilot says “yeah, that’s a weapon” while referring to the shoulder strap.

    And Len, sorry to rain on your parade, but Common Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions says:

    “The Conventions apply to a signatory nation even if the opposing nation is not bound by it. …. Ratifying the treaty binds the nation to uphold these rights regardless of the behavior of the opposing nation.

    ie. “But they did it first guv” is not an excuse.

  111. Iain Hall says:

    What do they say?
    “early to bed early to rise……..”

    Unfortunately have not done so well on the healthy( damn sciatica!) and wealthy part of the saying

  112. Iain Hall says:


    Iain, the helicopter is about 300m away – you can tell when the camera is occasionally switched to long shot.

    They could probably see much less clearly through the windows, because they’re a long way off.

    Their position is constantly changing so I don’t think that you could sustain your claim here . Also from their viewpoint they would be able to see the troops on the ground who summoned them there in the first place and it is obvious to me from the dialogue that it is the relationship of the men in the vid to the off screen action that is the deciding factor in the decision to fire. You are steadfastly ignoring that fact.

  113. Len says:

    Nice try JM
    Again you are incorrect. The Geneva Convention only applies to “prisoners”. These were NOT prisoners, but combatants.

    That article only applies to victims after the fact. Not before the fact. Next ?

    For the upteenth time, check the video at the 3:39 mark. The guys that come into frame upper left ?

    The guy in the striped, shirt (in front of the power pole) as well as his mate ARE holding a weapon. How can you tell ? Initially, the weapon is being carried by the carry handle. It appears, that he and his mate, see the chopper, they then move together, and the weapon goes behind their backs.
    How many telephoto lense cases do likewise JM ? Bloody none. They are carried in soft leather cases, lined with cardboard, and are fitted with straps, similar to camera straps, and are carried over the shoulder.

    Oops ?

    At the 3:52 mark, both guys look up, and probably know the chopper is watching them. What happens then ? As I stated earlier, the weapons immediately go behind their backs, and they split up in opposing directions. Just before that, the skinny guy on the left of the guy with the striped t/shirt, has his weapon in front of him, in front of his right leg, and starts leaning on the bloody thing. Camera lense ? FFS !

    The guy crouching behind the wall at the 4:18. Since when do journos hide behind walls, choppers in the air, with dissidents carrying weapons ? Not part of aap’s to&e’s as far as I know ? They have more brains than that. The guys that were carrying the cameras, had scattered already.

    You’re looking for conspiracies that aren’t there. Judge the vision for what it is, not for what you wish it to be.

  114. Len says:

    Sorry Iain, in doing mine, I didn’t see yours.
    Your correct.
    They were there to protect the ground troop, that came into picture at the end. I still think that these ground troops were the intended targets of those dissidents.

  115. Len says:

    You are also correct Iain, in that the vision was fixed, and in hindsight, I don’t think that is what the pilot of the chopper was commenting on. Upon reflection, I think, using his own sight, he was in fact commenting on the guys in the upper left, which is where the weapons were being hidden ?
    Again, after us all watching this thing probably a hundred times, we are still arguing semantics. None of the participants had that luxury did they ?

  116. Len says:

    Again after consideration, I think the chopper was talking about, in fact, those guys in the upper left, not what the gun camera was fixed on. Cameras are a wonderful thing, but nothing beats the ol eye balls ?
    The ones in the upper left, are what he refers to, but even after all this time, and many viewings, even that I admit, is probably pure conjecture.

  117. JM says:

    Len, you’re clutching at straws.

    Point 1. The Geneva Conventions cover the behaviour of combatants towards non-combatants – you’re completely ignoring half of that definition.

    Point 2. The dead, dying and wounded are clearly non-combatants. You can’t keep shooting at them. And you can’t shoot at other non-combatants who are clearly unarmed civilians.

    Point 3. The crew are clearly talking about the photographer. They’ve been tracking him all the time.

    And at the point where he disappears behind the building, the two guys in the upper left are both still clearly visible, standing still, however here’s the transcript:

    “02:00 All right, we’ll be engaging.
    02:02 Roger, go ahead.
    02:03 I’m gonna… I cant get ’em now because they’re behind that building.

    If they were talking about those two guys, they still had a clear shot, no worse than any they’d had for the previous 15 seconds. It’s the photographer they’d lost track of.

    Give it break Len. This is obviously a monstrous fuckup. Trouble is, the military doesn’t like fuckups and doesn’t treat them as self-excusing – which is what you’re trying to do.

  118. JM says:

    And another thing, the camera is part of the TADS (AN/ASQ-170) system (Target Acquisition Designation Sight) which is slaved to the gunners helmet (and can also be displayed on a multipurpose display in the cockpit so the pilot can see it as well.)

    The cannon then tracks what the gunner looks at.

    Those cross-hairs show you exactly what the gunner is looking at. He’s watching (and talking about) the photographer.

    GIve it up guys. The only conjecture here is the stuff that you’re making up.

  119. Len says:

    About as credible as your argument JM. Can’t see you being more qualified than me, or in fact anyone else that has an opinion of the situation, other than the fact, that I have some experience dealing with the “system”, as well as other isolated similar incidents around this rock.

    You continue to have real difficulty to get around the fact, that they were there to protect the ground troops, and to that end, they achieved that aim extremely successfully. You also cannot get around the fact, that everyone there is not an innocent bystander. It appears you hate the yanks, and after many years of bad behaviour in these situations, perhaps understood. That however does not change the fact that subversion is and continues to occur over there. If the yanks or whoever serving over there does not stomp on this stuff, who will ? The UN ? Shit, they can’t even agree on what is to be on the lunch menu.

  120. JM says:

    Len it would help your credibility if you were a bit more consistent in your claims.

    Your first comment on this thread was:

    “Sorry guys, but this brings back some wonderful memories.”

    Now it’s:

    “Can’t see you being more qualified than me, or in fact anyone else that has an opinion of the situation,”

    So what is it? Wonderful memories, or just an opinion no more informed by personal experience than mine?

    You also earlier equated US and UN troops saying that neither “pussyfooted” around, now you say:

    “they can’t even agree on what is to be on the lunch menu.”

    Len, you’re ignorant. You haven’t got a single thing right on this thread or been able to back up a single thing you’ve said.

    Give up. Go back to the “boozer”.

  121. JM says:

    And Len they were not there to “protect the troops”, they were there to take part in a military operation as a resource assigned to (I think) the commander of Bravo Co. (Hotel 26 I think).

    They were not there to mislead that commander about what they saw on the ground just so they could get permission to go on a private shooting expedition.

    If I were that commander I would have had these guys disciplined immediately I saw that tape and compared it to their exaggerated reports that led me to authorize their actions.

    If I can’t trust my people to give me accurate, level headed, sober reports I can’t allocate my resources effectively.

    What would you have said to these two clowns if it happened that there was a major threat somewhere else and they had managed to distract me from it and I got flanked and clobbered. It didn’t happen this time, but then there really would have been some real consequences for the American troops.

    “protect the troops” my arse. They’re there to do a job. And they didn’t do it at all.

  122. Len says:

    Two words for you JM Bull Shit !

    What/who are those soldiers that walk into the situation right at the end ?
    What was the air support doing there in the first place ? Looking for target practice ? C’mon !

    Are you a total idiot, or are you just illiterate ?

    1. Cannot read the lunch menu referred to the UN bigwigs supposedly running the show.

    2. “They were not there to protect the troops”? answered above.

    You continue to ignore the evidence, that I have pointed out to you, down to the bloody time stamp, and you reckon if you were the commander……. Man, you wouldn’t last five minutes. First skill you have to learn, is to multi skill. If you don’t, you’re screwed before you start. Well, that’s stopped you, before you even reach first base.

    3. What do you think that military operation was JM ? A game of darts in the local ?

    Again, open your eyes with the vision. Even after all this time, all the times that I, at least, have watched the vision, I still reckon it is a weapon that goes behind that group on the top left corner. Again, the comments re the vision coming from the chopper could be coming from the target camera, or from the pilot’s eyes, who knows to what he is referring to. There was a lot in the frame at the time. But I could see it, you can’t ? Or, more relevant, don’t you want to ?

    So now you think all servicemen are permanently drunk ? Man, I wouldn’t go near any service person for a bloody long while.

    What job are they there for then JM ? PR perhaps ?
    Sell the locals next years Corvette ?

    If you were their “commander” et al ?
    Who the bloody hell do you think gave them permission to fire in the first place you dill ?

  123. JM says:

    Len you’re full of it. They said they had 5 or 6 AK47’s and an RPG.

    Can you see 5 or 6 objects that could even be remotely interpreted as AK47’s?

    No. You can only find 1 very dubious one.

    How many objects can you see that remotely look like an RPG?

    Only 1 (when the photographer peeks around the corner), and then only if you have no idea what an RPG actually looks like.

    Can you see weapons in the vicinity of the van? No. Neither could they, yet they told their commander the van was picking up weapons.

    What do you see near the van? Bodies or a wounded man? A wounded man. Yet they tell tell their commander there are bodies being picked up.

    They exaggerated Len. They made their commander complicit in the crime.

  124. Len says:

    Iain’s comment right at the beginning of the thread, still seems poignant.

    As horrible as this indecent is what can anyone expect when the enemy is an irregular force hiding amongst a civilian population?

  125. Len says:

    What did those losers squirrel away behind them ? A tennis racket ?

  126. JM says:

    Len, you said earlier:

    “… As I stated earlier, the weapons immediately go behind their backs, …

    @3:52 right?

    Whatever that thing is, it is in front of the guy the whole time (he’s resting it on the ground @3:52). It doesn’t go behind his back and it isn’t squirreled away.

    You’re imagining things.

  127. Len says:

    Four guys at the back, as mentioned many times, 3:38+ mark.
    Camera crew are in front of them. What is the guy with the striped T swinging in his right hand JM, his bloody lunch ?

  128. JM says:

    I touched on the guy in the striped shirt before. The thing in his hand is short and it sways and bends, it’s not rigid

    There is still no “behind the back move” at 3:38 – in fact, they aren’t even looking at the helicopter at the time, and the guy in front with the long object has his back to it.

    You’re becoming delusional.

  129. Len says:

    The guy in the striped T, looks up to the camera, (@3:50 mark), obviously realises he has been sprung. He turns clockwise, outstretches his left arm, turns back around, then rather quickly, heads to hide behind the wall. Hmm ? What was in the right hand that he was previously swinging proudly ? Where did that go, whilst his mate continues to lean on his ? Why is he hiding his left arm, as he quickly walks towards the wall ? They were not part of Saeed’s group. That group had already moved off frame.
    Next ?

  130. JM says:

    How the hell do I know what he was doing? The guy stands still, does a 360 and then walks forward to the building (not wall) where Saeed has just headed.

    You’re going to hang the execution of what? 13 people. On that?

    And more importantly, how did the aircrew reach “reasonable certainty” that they had positively identified (PID’d) the entire group as combatants on the basis of one guys pirouette?

    You’re out of your mind.

  131. Len says:

    You are pretty naive JM
    In a war zone, with ground troops nearby, that is ALL that is required.
    Hell, they don’t call it war for nothing.

  132. Len says:

    At the 3:53 mark, the guy with the striped T is holding something in his right hand. They look up, then all of a sudden the tall skinny runt to the right of him walks in front of his right side. The guy in the T turns, something is changed from the right hand to the left, he then extends his left arm at the 3:55 mark, then look, nothing in the right hand anymore ? At the 3:44 mark, both those two guys are “carrying” at least something. If they were not weapons, why are they later at the 3:53 mark onwards in one case hiding it, and in the other case, (striped T dude), seemingly tossing it ?

    All this with ground troops (which BTW the air crew were there to protect), are about to arrive on the scene.

    I present the following, on behalf of those people serving over there JM. Enjoy !

  133. JM says:

    Len: “In a war zone, with ground troops nearby, that is ALL that is required.”

    You are absolutely and completely wrong. “Shoot anything that moves” is not legal, it’s murder. I suggest you re-read the rules of engagement issued to these soldiers – those are legal orders and set out what they can and can’t do.

    You have just demonstrated that all your claims to any form of military knowledge (or even service I suspect) are bogus. The only things you know come from Rambo. Your opinion is of no value and is just bluster and chestbeating.

  134. Iain Hall says:

    I know that Len is telling the truth about his service.
    What precisely is your military experience JM?
    My guess is that the closest that you have come to a military plane is walking in the isles of a “Toys R Us” , you know where they have the plastic kits and GI Joe 🙄

  135. Len says:

    You have again, just demonstrated you ignorance in how the real world works JM.

    The carrying of weapons, by opposition (whether soldiers, dissidents, or anyone for that matter), gives them the right to not only defend themselves, but also go on the offensive, to quell that threat. Especially, to protect that nearby squad/troop.

    Again, you let your weak argument get carried away, with useless, irrelevant emotion.

    You can’t win the argument with logic, so go for the personality ? Pretty well standard for you here, on these pages.

    Clean the crap out of your ears, and wipe the sleep from your eyes. Radio permission was sought, and obtained before any action took place. The rest of your dribble is just emotional diatribe, intended to deflect from the real issue.

    In that regard, you have failed, again ! Sob !

  136. Len says:

    I have work to do with the missus in the garden, so will be back later to track your dribble. Have fun with it.

  137. Len says:

    Didn’t see your comment Iain. Thanks for the support, but the old adage goes, you can’t show someone something they don’t want to see ?

  138. Iain Hall says:

    I am well aware of the importance of keeping ‘er indoors happy Len 🙂
    It looks like JM has run out of puff though 😦

  139. JM says:

    Iain, I’ve never claimed any military experience, in fact I said so up thread.

    But the point is that Len’s knowledge is so thin (and has been shown to be flat out wrong several times) and his argument that “anything goes, it’s a war zone duh” so dumb, that I find it difficult to believe.

    Len, regarding threats:- there has to be a threat, or you have to positively identify a person as engaged in combat before you can attack them. Period.

    You just can’t throwing shells and bullets without regard for civilian lives and property – which is exactly what happened here.

    If you have military experience – especially combat, which is what you’ve implied – you would know that.

  140. Len says:

    See nothing has changed here.

    Len, regarding threats:- there has to be a threat, or you have to positively identify a person as engaged in combat before you can attack them. Period.

    Hmm, for the upteenth time, guess that an rpg, as well as a group of armed personnel, hiding in a group of civilian journos, pointing it (them) at a squad/troop of soldiers, whether real or just perceived, is just an invitation to the next piss up ?

    You just can’t throwing shells and bullets without regard for civilian lives and property

    Perhaps you should get on Al Jazeera, and tell them of your concerns as well ? Perhaps you should have been around sprouting that message before the plane hit the towers in NYC ?

  141. JM says:

    Len: an rpg, as well as a group of armed personnel,

    Where? They’re not there Len.

  142. Len says:

    Forgot a couple JM

    Len, regarding threats:- there has to be a threat, or you have to positively identify a person as engaged in combat before you can attack them. Period.

    Explained that at least three times. Sh*t, I thought I was the one with the bad memory

    If you have military experience – especially combat, which is what you’ve implied – you would know that.

    Combat zones, not combat itself. Explained that at least six times ?
    Sigh !

  143. Len says:

    Gotta go, or else the missus will scalp me. Put all your repeated questions here, and will get to them when I get back from dinner.
    Salute !

  144. JM says:

    Len, we’ve been around this half a dozen times. You can’t find anything but the most dubious examples of things that might possibly look like weapons:

    a.) if you had x-ray eyes (ie. could see the “RPG” that the group of 8 guys were concealing in their little gathering)

    b.) had binocular vision (ie. could see exactly what the guy in the striped shirt was holding)

    Now I’m sure you’ll agree that neither the pilot nor the gunner are named Clark Kent, so we can put those possibilities aside.

    They had no reason to open fire, and they mislead their commander when they claimed they had “5 or 6 AK’s”

    Sorry Len, you’re just SOL with this argument.

    As to combat zones etc, you haven’t been at all clear. In fact, you’ve made a succession of claims all of which have proved to be unfounded or false.

    Forgive me if I don’t find you credible.

  145. Len says:

    I find you less credible JM.

    You cannot seem to understand the relationship between serving personnel in a war zone. Hell, serving personnel everywhere ! It just seems that you don’t get it. The air support was there to cover the ground troops. Whether or not, even after how many times we have watched the vision, these guys were going to attack those ground troops, I have agreed, is subjective. What they are holding is also subjective, but in all reality, taking into account all possibilities, other choices were rightfully negated.
    The chopper was there to protect those troops, and to also give them intelligence, as to what they were about to confront. In that regard, they succeeded whole heartedly, whether or not you, or I, agree with the extent of their brutal interpretation of the event.

    These guys had to make a judgement call, to protect those ground troops, which is exactly what they did. ALL civilian population had/have been warned about skulking around in groups, and were also warned about the no tolerance policy of people, especially if it looked like they were “carrying” or “concealing”. Whether or not you or I agree or not, it was judged that weapons they were. If they weren’t why bother to go to such extremes to hide them from the chopper’s view ?

    Command was contacted, and orders were given. This is standing SOP in a war zone, and whatever you want to call it, a bloody war zone it is. Command was watching the same vision as we were from the chopper, and I would tend to bow to their superior experience, both in the art of battle, as well as the local surrounds. Hence the reasons no doubt, why they made the call. Their intelligence must have told them, that the area they were in, was in fact a problem one. Why else were they there ? Trouble they found, or it found them.

    Luck has nothing to do with it. Standard procedure. Nothing fancy, nothing dramatic, just the way it is. The local imams had/have been warned for years, this sort of behavior was not going to be tolerated.

    Would you be satisfied, if the vision had been the reverse. i.e the entire ground patrol of soldiers were wiped out by those weapons, with the chopper coming in after the slaughter, and taking them out ? Would that have eased your conscience a little ? If so, that is exactly why the chopper did what it did, and why those soldiers are still alive to talk about it.

  146. Len says:

    Again, you forget the incredible power vaccum that local population are fighting over. Since the Hussein regime was nobbled, factions within Iraq have been not only fighting NATO forces, but also their local faction competitors for control of the country. Again, it is all about power, who wants it, and what they will do to achieve it. Regardless of what is happening around them, this battle continues, and will until the end of time.

  147. JM says:

    Len, I am going to ignore any further claims you make regarding military operations as all your past claims on that topic have proved spurious.

    i.e the entire ground patrol of soldiers were wiped out by those weapons,

    Rubbish. Even if 5-6 AK47’s and an RPG had been present, that was never going to happen. An armored company is big enough and tough enough to look after itself. It doesn’t need protection against that sort of threat and that level of force is puny against it.

    Having been warned to be wary of that open square, I doubt there would have been a single injury to a US soldier.

    But had any one of those non-existent, hypothetical weapons opened fire – ie. exhibited hostile intent* – then I would have had absolutely no problem with the Apache opening fire on that group (continuing to fire on the dead and dying, and then attacking the van and the wounded man are other issues).

    * remember this is a country engaged in a civil war where everyone and his dog has a weapon – you’ve no idea if they’re on your side or not.

  148. Len says:

    Your knowledge on the subject is worthy of even less credence then JM.

    What is the basis for your defining statement ?
    Having been warned to be wary of that open square, I doubt there would have been a single injury to a US soldier.

    So you think that a patrol squad, has a prayer against some wanker with an rpg, semi automatic weapons and the like, in an ambush ? Perhaps you think, with the sight of the mighty, arrogant, armed to the teeth UN forces, that were about to arrive, they would have scurried back under their rocks ? You criticise my supposed lack of military knowledge. Your beginning to sound like some bush bloody lawyer sprouting to the bench.

    Again, I love your selective quoting. I see for effect, you left the if off that quote ?

    It was not an armored company either. It was a ground patrol squad, that was about to be seemingly ambushed. You really are dry reaching here.

    remember this is a country engaged in a civil war where everyone and his dog has a weapon – you’ve no idea if they’re on your side or not.

    Hallelujah ! Finally, you are starting to see what this is all about. Now, also finally, admitting that, you may be able to understand the psyche behind the decision making process ?

    You have never been in a war zone, that is pretty obvious. Nothing wrong with that, but how can you then sprout rules of engagement to a person or in fact the people that have, and are in that situation ? Talking about the height of hubris ? How do you justify that approach ? Man, what an ego !

  149. JM says:


    What is the basis for your defining statement ?

    “Having been warned to be wary of that open square,”

    Because they just had been you nit. What do you think the Apache was doing?

    an rpg, semi automatic weapons and the like, in an ambush

    Depends how they approach it – but in armored vehicles with support behind them and good tactics, I think they’d be alright actually.

    WFT do you think armies are for Len? You’re trying to tell me that 6 irregulars with AK47’s and an RPG can take out a company of the US Army?

    Can I have some of what you’re smoking.

    It was a ground patrol squad … It was not an armored company either.

    Yes it was armoured. It was Bravo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry of 1st Infantry Division (“the Big Red One”) equipped with Bradley Armoured Fighting vehicles and up-armoured Humvees. They were first deployed to Iraq in 2005 and then to East Baghdad (where this thing happened) as part of the surge in 2007.

    They arrive – in Bradley’s and Humvees – directly after the shooting and are clearly seen in the video – in numbers and in strength.

    …with the sight of the mighty, arrogant, armed to the teeth UN (sic [you mean US]) forces, that were about to arrive, they would have scurried back under their rocks

    Quite frankly, yes. Massively outnumbered and outgunned they’d be suicidal to do otherwise.

    And you know what? You agree with me, you just don’t know it. Weren’t you the one who was just saying that a guy in a striped T shirt spotted a helicopter 100’s of meters away, did a pirouette and hid his weapon?

    If that scared the s**t out of him, how would he react to the soldiers who show up about 30 seconds later? Hmmmm.

    Consistency is not thy name Len.

    And that’s a pretty funny looking “ambush” you’re talking about there – 8 unarmed guys hanging around in the open street in a nice little bunch so they can all be mowed down together (with one talking on a cell phone)

    You have never been in a war zone, that is pretty obvious.

    Never claimed that, in fact denied it. But it’s equally obvious you haven’t either.

  150. Len says:

    I agree with your sideswipe Ray.
    Keep this short, then give it a rest for a while.
    You can’t show a person what they can’t or don’t want to see.

    Quite frankly, yes. Massively outnumbered and outgunned they’d be suicidal to do otherwise.

    Finally, you are beginning to understand what is happening over there.
    Again, another eureka moment !

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