As Bradley Manning Trial Proceedings Begin, Killers of Iraqi Civilians Go Unpunished

As Bradley Manning’s trial is about to move forward, the Real News Network provides a useful and timely reminder of one of the key incidents that Manning publicized, the shooting of a group of Iraqi citizens that included Reuters reporters by a helicopter gunship.

I have a pretty tough constitution, but I was really sickened by this video. I can see why the authorities would be keen to discourage this sort of release.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. bmeisen

    Thank you Yves. Our national liar G. W. Bush guessed that few Americans would witness the carnage his deceit was causing – countless innocent Iraqis murdered, millions in flight for their lives. Manning sacrificed prodigiously to try to correct the damage.

    1. nonclassical

      …some of us witnessed Iraqis immigrating into Germany during Bushit internationally illegal invasion…women and children almost entirely..(Berlin)

  2. bhikshuni

    Torture of Bradley Manning is now on Obama’s watch. One wonders if he will follow Bush’s fate, to have EC standing arrest warrant. How many Nobel Peace Prize winners are wanted for war crimes?

    Meanwhile, American NDAA makes US Gov/Guantanamo an equal-opportunity “dissappeareds” employer. Prison state=the only remaining growth market for domestic “job creators”?

    1. M.InTheCity

      Actually, that would be Henry Kissenger, the “great” 1973 Peace Prize winner. He also has to be very careful about where he travels. The Spanish don’t like people who were involved with Chile & Argentina in the 70’s as a number of the dissapered were also Spanish citizens.

      So, Obama was actually par for the course when it comes to Peace Prize winners who engage in violence and murder…

      1. Jim

        Actually he might want to stay away from U.S. armed forces veterans right here in the USA.

        “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”

        Henry Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State

    2. Patrick

      Obama’s as culpable as Bush when it comes to tolerating torture. Manning is being mistreated in a military prison on US soil.

      Which gives us some indication about the potential fate of citizens arrested on suspicion of aiding terrorists. Which, to quote Senator Rand Paul, might be because “you have more than seven days worth of food in your house”.

      Apparently having a constitutional lawyer as President is no guarantee that the constitution will be honored. At least Bush could claim ignorance, what’s Obama’s excuse?

      1. Jill


        “opposition research”! That’s what someone else coined about Obama’s “experience” at Constitutional Law.

  3. rafael bolero

    Yes, sickening, because so humiliatingly inhumane and cold-blooded. This is the lesson of Vietnam : keep it off TV. Thank god we have the as-yet free internet because the nightly news now is complete nothingness between drug ads. Obama’s peace prize is and was a PR farce to coat him with teflon, the usual War-Criminal-in-Chief’s version of kevlar. Just keep a straight face.

  4. Andrew not the Saint

    While on the topic of Collateral Murder, I think Žižek makes a very good observation:

    “You know why this is important? Because the way ideology functions today, it’s not so much that—let’s not be naive—that people didn’t know about it, but I think the way those in power manipulate it. Yes, we all know dirty things are being done, but you are being informed about this obliquely, in such a way that basically you are able to ignore it.

    And can I make a terrible, maybe sexual offensive, but not dirty—don’t be afraid—remark? You know, like a husband—sorry for making male chauvinist twist—a husband may know abstractly “my wife is cheating on me.” And you can accept, “OK, I’m modern, tolerant husband.” But, you know, when you get the thought of your wife doing things, it’s quite a different thing. And it’s, I would say, with all respect, something similar. It’s very important, because the same—no, no, I’m not dreaming here. The same thing I remembered happened I think about two years ago in Serbia. You know, people rationally accept that we did horrible things in Srebrenica and so on, but, you know, it was just abstract knowledge. Then, by chance, all the honor to Serb media who published this, they got hold of a video effectively showing a group of Serbs pushing to an edge and shooting a couple of Bosnian prisoners. And the effect was a total shock, national shock, although, again, strictly seeing, nobody learned anything new.”

    That’s why you’ll never see the clip on MSM.

    1. JTFaraday

      I don’t think the clips make a difference. People who follow these things have all seen the clips and they still go on to make “liberal humanitarian interventionism (by drone attack)” arguments. All of which just indicates that they have an agenda.

    2. Dirk77

      As Chang commented in his “23 Things…” book (thanks again Yves for recommending it), understanding is now limited primarily by one’s ability to process information rather than not having it available. Bury everyone in crap that doesn’t matter and they’ll never figure anything out. So things that Manning brought out that cut to the heart of the issue are so important. Good luck soldier.

  5. Psychoanalystus

    And, speaking of war criminals, this week Eric Prince changed the name of his Blackwater for the third time, so he can bid again for contracts in Iraq. And you can be sure that he’ll get new contracts.

    1. bhikshuni

      “Ex-Blackwater firm renamed again
      The US security firm at the centre of allegations that its guards killed civilians in Iraq is changing its name once more, to Academi.”

      Talk about loss of the middle class: US’s primary (wholly subsidized?) export (after toxic financial “products”) is militia gangs shopped under the name of its nation’s intellectual class.How about we just call it Tiffany’s, for short.

  6. ScottW

    Thank you for posting. Unfortunately, the people who need to see this the most will never be exposed. This footage should be on a loop for Pres. Obama to have to watch in solitary confinement for days on end. The moral of the story–shoot first, without really determining if the “enemy” is in fact an enemy or armed, and you will suffer no prosecution. Expose the war crime, and you will be charged with treason. These scenes occur daily on the ground and in the air. Now we are entering the Drone age in which the killings receive no publicity, nor review. And as American citizens we either act like this never occurs, bury our heads in the sand, or rationalize the deaths as collateral damage or the like. I pay taxes to support this killing machine around the World and I am complicit.

    1. psychohistorian

      ScottW said:
      “I pay taxes to support this killing machine around the World and I am complicit.”

      This is the thought that fuels my rage against the global inherited rich who have turned humanity into the current sickness it is. I will gladly be a martyr to bring them down. As a species we no longer deserve to exist in the Cosmos.

      Laugh the global inherited rich out of control of “Western Democracies” and into rooms at the Hague where they can be prosecuted for our social degradation.

      Thanks for the posting Yves…Bradley Manning is a hero of the deprecated soul of our society.

    2. WR

      1. Taxes are involuntary. You HAVE to pay them whether you like it or not. Therefore merely paying them does not make you complicit in anything.

      2. Taxes don’t actually pay for any federal spending. So even if you pay your taxes willingly and with a smile on your face, you still aren’t complicit in the atrocities of the US Government in Iraq.

      The complicity of the ‘taxpayer’ in government policy is a conceit best dropped.

      1. ScottW

        Yet another rationalization as to why we have no responsibility for the atrocities committed by the United States in foreign lands.

  7. Psychoanalystus

    As a psychologist having observed the nearly complete decay of the conscience and moral values of the American nation as a whole as well as those of each individual American person, this is not surprising. It is not to surprize anyone at this point that the helicopter gunmen joked after having shot children. At this point there is nearly complete darkness in the soul of America, and those of most of its citizens. And there has been darkness there for a long time. We must not forget that it was the American military that dropped 2 (two) atomic bombs on Japanese civilians. We must not forget that it was proud Ametican soldiers who charred children with napalm in Vietnam. And now we have this monstrous Nobel Peace Prize president bombing children from drones. The evil that America now represents does not even deserve prolonged analysys — it is just banal and evil.

    Look, any American who served in any branch of the US military needs to be ashamed for having done so.

    Again, speaking as a psycholigist who has studied the darkness that now fills the dead soul of America, my conclusion is that this nation, this people, are beyond redemption. America is now, and has been for several decades, in the new Dark Ages. As such, at this point there is only one option for the few sane Americans left: emigrate. There are many, many sane, compassionate, and rational places on this Earth. There is no reason — absolutely no reason — to continue to be part of a monstrous system of death, which is what the United States is today.

      1. nowhereman

        I have been watching with horror the fall of the US since the Penn State shootings in the 70’s. And now the legislation before the president, the NDAA is the culmination that makes every citizen a Bradley. As per TD at ZH;
        “Congress just passed the National Defense Authorization Act in a 283-to-136 vote. 190 Republicans and 93 Democrats voted for; 43 Republicans and 93 Democrats voted “against.” Prepare to be arrested, without charge, simply because someone “up there” believes you engage in “terroristy” stuff. Good luck proving them wrong.”
        No right to trial? No right to defend yourself? what has happened to America?
        Is it not obvious to you that any attempt to do the “right thing” can be construed as an action that goes against the state, which will result in you being arrested, spirited away to some unknown prison, tortured and incarcerated without charge?
        Please America, wake up!

    1. John

      “There are many, many sane, compassionate, and rational places on this Earth.”

      Names, suggestions??? I think that teh crazy has infected the planet.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Sydney, for starters. You need to avoid the pockets of narcissistic rich (which are nowhere near as rich as in the US). I didn’t encounter any, and I lived in the Eastern Suburbs, which has its wealthy areas, but a buddy who was a sailboat designer gave decidedly negative reports on some of the residents of Mosman.

        1. Psychoanalystus


          I too looked at Australia as an option, and I think it’s a great place to live. It would have been an easy transition for my family. What held me back from proceeding was what I perceived to be an immigration policy designed to discourage people over 50 (as I am). Do you think they are as firm on that policy as they make it sound “officially”?

          1. skippy

            Input costs to the system are the issue (manly health). If your have the ability to offset these and can show your potential future input value, it should only be a matter of paper work and time.

            25 million people on the land mass of the states, a ratio that always seems to matter…. in my travels.

            Skippy…Yves can pass e-mails, I’ll answer what ever questions I can or direct you to the folks that can.

      2. Psychoanalystus

        First, I would avoid former Anglo-Saxon colonies, which are usually mere “fragment societies” (this means building an entire society on only a fragment of the original British culture, as the USA built its entire society on the British idea of “business” and hustling while ignoring all other elements of British cultures offers). Fragment societies lack stability and can decay rapidly, as the USA has, and Canada is now doing.

        Instead, I would focus on nations with strong traditions. Traditional societies have built-in immunity against consumerism and Westernization/Americanization. Many Latin American nations are traditional societies, for example Mexico (Mexico is by far a far more desirable society than our corporate media portrays it to be). Europe has a few traditional nations in Eastern and Southern Europe, however, if considering Europe I would avoid the nations that suffer from excessive levels of nationalism, so I would exclude Italy, Spain, perhaps Greece (although many of the Greek islands don’t have high nationalism levels, and in fact some prefer not to think of themselves as Greeks).

        Today, with globalization, one can live in a big city in a nation like Mexico, Poland, Romania, and not have to give up anything that the US has to offer. For example, one can enjoy more diverse shopping (with many American-style malls too), Starbucks cafes (or much superior local cafes), better dining, higher Internet speeds than are available in the US, better telephone and utility service, and usually better infrastructure, than available in America. However, in those places one also enjoys a sense of true community, societies not focused on hassling (as the American and Western European societies are), a much more relaxed and slower-paced lifestyle, better (usually socialized) health care and education systems, and overall a healthier diet and environment.

        I spent a lot of time in Greece, Romania, Poland. Greece is nice but I prefer Romania and Poland, because the Romanians and Polish are calmer, less nationalistic, and also have a higher work ethic than the southern Europeans.

        However, if leaving the US, one must expect a serious “withdrawal effect” very much the way a drug addict would expect withdrawals and a recurrent desire to return to the drug after stopping its use. So you need to give it a few years to make the transition. But one that transition is done, America will seem like a hell-hole. And, I would start in a medium sized city, not in a village or a 2 million people metropolis like Athens or Warsaw, or Bucharest. Something under half million people, Like Chania or Heraklion in Creete, Cluj in Romania make excellent places to consider.

        That has been my experience.

        1. Psychoanalystus

          The author/historian Morris Berman speaks about his 2005 emigration to Mexico, and also explains many of the reasons I mentioned in a way I only briefly mentioned above.

          Check out this lecture:

          And then go to his web site for more, or read his excellent books: “Dark Ages America”, “Why America Failed”, and a dozen others.

          Berman is very happy in Mexico, and often says that he only regrets not having done so 20 years earlier.

          1. Psychoanalystus

            One more point about the need to emigrate from the U.S. is that the future likely holds a rather unsafe America for any member of a minority, in a way similar to possibly what the Jews and Gypsies faced in Europe during the days of Nazi Germany. (European readers, please save yourselves the demagoguery of minimizing your dismal record, and just own your history for a change.)

            I will illustrate this with the life of Sigmund Freud, the greatest figure in psychology and a true genius. Freud was a Jew living in Austria, and thanks to his ability to sense the impending dangers for Jews in continental Europe, was able to escape the Nazis and reach England with his entire family before Austrian Jews were rounded up en mass and shipped to death camps.

            Can you imagine what psychology would look like today if Freud would not have made it out of Austria and instead died in a concentration camp? Wow! For starters, perhaps the APA (American Psychological Association) would not endorse the use of psychological torture, as it does today… any morons at the APA reading this???)

            In any event, I think it is a good idea to become proactive, like Freud was. It’s good to have options, to have a second passport you can use to leave a Fascist America.

        2. ginnie nyc

          Psychoanalystus: I respect your views on many subjects, but I have to differ here. Even if traditional cultures embody the virtues you cite, the fact remains that these cultures contain mores that are not so great for the female half of the population. Personal experience on this score has shown me these problems me be absent in individuals, but are nonetheless widespread.

    2. ECON

      Excellent description of the Darkness that inhabits the American soul. It always rankles me to hear or see the mythological words and images that represent America. Especially at a ball game when Americans believe in the words sung from the anthem while Bradley Manning and many untold others in this fascist country are held in our gulags removed from the light of national media.

    3. mac

      It might prove interesting to talk to US Soldiers who saw Comrades killed by “children” with grenades!

  8. bigsurtree

    If we actually saw,felt,tasted and heard the carnage and cries…? We the living would be the living dead. Our humanity would be face to face with shame and dread, and things would come to a screeching halt; yet we would be alive again, as we would share the agony. But this is a culture, that from our founding, has coldly decided that to stand in the way of America is a crime. We are so modern now that we don’t even need to “confess” our sins. Now we either acknowledge mistakes or bury them completely.

  9. Woodrow Wilson

    Curious to how many posters have actually experienced COMBAT, and I don’t mean serving while combat operations are happening.

    It’s nice to be arm-chair QB’s in the comfort of your home/work. Yes, civilians died, but that does in fact happen in all conflicts. In this case, the pilot CLEARLY states what he perceives as weaponry. There’s an old law enforcement saying:

    Rather be judged by twelve, than carried by six.

    The pilots get a free pass. If you want to stop it, then find a solution to war.

    1. Pete

      Why would we need to find a “solution” for something that was totally unnecessary in the first place?

      If these “hall passes” are just inherent accidents of war, why go to such great lengths to keep the world in the dark from them?

      Try again.

    2. Scheveningen Summit

      There is a solution for war, Where you been? UN Charter Chapter VII, supreme law of the land under your beloved constitution Article VI, and universal-jurisdiction humanitarian law. A couple of your criminal presidents go to nice humane prisons in Europe. Problem solved. No more war.

      1. Pete

        And “war” is just a weed of perpetual economic “growth” in a old money paradigm in the final stages of cancer. Get rid of interest bearind debt-based money, artificial scarcity, and the addiction to “growth” and you have no need to dial up fake wars and justify mass murder.

      2. Scheveningen Summit

        It’s very eye-opening, what Graeber says about the association between external debt and military bases. Instead of exacting Japanese computers and Audis as tribute like in the old days, you just promise to pay for it. And you’re good for it – but if you decide not to pay for it, or to pay in debased currency, Who’s going to complain, with those giant military bases on your soil? Hell, even when your troops rape their underaged girls, What are they going to do about it? Nothing.

        1. F. Beard

          We need to go beyond Andrew Jackson and not just “kill the Bank” but kill banking itself.

          What part of credit creation = counterfeiting = theft don’t people get?

          And now Europe, China, and the US are being destabilized by mere unjust bookkeeping entries.

        2. René

          Yes, It’s very eye-opening, what Graeber says about the association between external debt and military bases but Damon Vrabel really explained the details.

      3. Psychoanalystus

        I just love it when this stupid “European exceptionalism” rears its ugly head.

        So, my dear European, as an European-American, may I ask you this question: After we jail a few American presidents in what you call, “humane European prisons”, what shall we do with such European war criminals such as Blair or Sarkoszy?

        No, my European friend. You are about are wrong and deluded by your imbecilic European egotism and nationalist ignorance as most of your compatriots seem to be. America learned its skills of war from Europe. You, through your horrific history of genocides, holocausts, on-going discrimination, mass murder (such as the recent one in Norway), and savage nationalism have been America’s best teachers. America learned its evil from Europe, but so far has not been able to match it. You, my European friend, remain the champions of murder, genocide, discrimination, nationalism, and stupidity, and I suspect you shall hold that title forever.

        So yes, I am a critic of America, but I am 100 times a greater critic of Western Europe, and I consider it a far more hypocritical and dangerous place still.

        As a clarification, in the above, when I wrote “Europe” I referred to “Western Europe”, or the imperialist Europe. I do not include any of the Easter European nations, except Hungary, which has a horrendous recent imperialist history.

        1. Scheveningen Summit

          Look at you getting all nationalistic, like I hit your knee with a mallet, boing! This is not the US News and World Report Top War Criminals Ranking. Who cares who’s worse? Of course you’ll have to lock up the NATO satellites’ puppet rulers too – first, maybe, to roll them and get them to testify against their CIA handlers. Anyway, who are you calling European? And why would you think you could derive someone’s nationality from what they think?

    3. Jill

      Woodrow Wilson,

      I have not served in combat but I still have a right to speak on this matter. Courts-martial is the place for this evidence to be seen and evaluated. This action need not wait for an end to war. This is a fully legal process which is available immediately for trying these men. Courts-martial is as much a part of the military as combat is.

      We do have criminals at large (as people above have pointed out.) Cheney and Bush committed war crimes by their own admission. They should be on trial, by law, for those crimes. Obama has violated his oath of office by refusing the non-optional prosecution of Cheney and Bush for their crimes.

      Obama is also committing war crimes. In addition, his treatment of Bradley Manning has itself violated the rule of law. There is strong evidence that Manning has been tortured.

      So yes, there are many people who should be put on trial here–all the way to the top.

    4. K Ackermann

      We all understand about the initial attack, but what you don’t seem to understand are the war crimes that took place after the attack.

      You see, in the “heat of the battle” safely esconded in a hellicopter so far away as to be unheard, they engaged wounded civilians, and knowingly shot children.

      So speak about that.

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        “in the “heat of the battle” safely esconded” –

        It’s obvious from many posters, you have all watched too many war movies. There is no safety in combat, even in a gunship. Your opponent isn’t going to announce an ambush, which if you’re in one, your dead anyways. What the pilots did was in the best interest for that crew to go home alive, period, that’s their ultimate job. You can argue all you want about how they got there in the first place.

        It’s all too clear, that there are also a great many posters using the age old: “It’s BUSH’s FAULT!” Great, he was an idiot, acted on a lie, and a lot of people are dead. That continues today, and was a reality long before Bush took office too. They all suck. Feel better?

        The UN, The Constitution, The UCMJ is an afterthought after the first round, which unfortunately too many have connected. But please, all of you feel free to continue with your internet discussion of freedoms, crime, etc. and how things are without ever having to actually experiencing yourself.

        The pilots did what they were TRAINED to do, that gave them the best chance to survive. My guess, it hasn’t changed all that much since I was there, which is fine by me.

        1. F. Beard

          By your logic, we should just nuke the whole country safely from a distance.

          What ever happened to “Death before dishonor”?

          And how does one live with himself afterward after killing an innocent “just to be on the safe side”?

          1. Woodrow Wilson

            “And how does one live with himself afterward after killing an innocent “just to be on the safe side”?

            Since it’s not you dead, I’d imagine you go on to live a perfectly normal life, because it is in fact, you still alive. Of course, if you are dead, no more worries anyways.

            “Just following orders” is not a legal excuse –

            There were no orders, might want to watch the video again. The gunship personnel perceived an imminent threat to either themselves or other friendlies, requested permission to engage, based on the information they provided and perceived, it was granted.

            Unfortunately, the result ended in a bad call, good luck thinking active combat is perfect. Maybe in keyboard-quarterback utopia’s it is.

            The political arguments of the conflict have zero to do with how this crew acted, regardless of it’s outcome.

          2. F. Beard

            Since it’s not you dead, I’d imagine you go on to live a perfectly normal life, because it is in fact, you still alive. WW

            Sometimes not for long:

            An estimated 30 percent of soldiers who took their own lives in 2008 did so while on deployment. Another 35 percent committed suicide after returning from a tour of duty. In one reported case, a highly regarded marine pilot hanged himself just one month before he was scheduled to return to Iraq. from

          3. Jill

            To Woodrow Wilson:

            You write two things that seem contradictory to me. You claim to have been in combat. You then answer a question about what it’s like to kill someone with this response:

            “Since it’s not you dead, I’d imagine you go on to live a perfectly normal life, because it is in fact, you still alive. Of course, if you are dead, no more worries anyways.”

            That answer seems strange from a combat vet. Even if you did not kill anyone in combat surely you must know someone who did? So would you really need to imagine what killing someone is like?

            As to orders. As a combat trained soldier you would know that basic training is supposed to cover the laws of war. You would also know that one is not supposed to obey an unlawful order. I won’t argue the point with you that things go very wrong in a war zone, they do. So we come to the second interesting question your post raises. If things go wrong, and we all know they do, we also know the Courts-martial is where things that go wrong can end up.

            The behavior in the video raises serious questions that fall under UCMJ. That would mean there needs to be an investigation. If a trail is warranted, one takes place. This is what should happen. If you want to end war, that is definitely what should happen, each and every time something goes wrong, all the way to the top.

            Usually the lowest people on the rung pay while the order givers go free. That isn’t right. But to call for an investigation isn’t wrong.

        2. Jill

          Woodrow Wilson,

          “Just following orders” is not a legal excuse for illegal actions. Heat of battle may be taken into account at sentencing as mitigation.

    5. bhikshuni

      Well I for one lived through 10 years of bloody, gruesome Maoist insurgency in Nepal.


      I can tell you what it wasn’t: a completely unnecessary illegal invasion by foreigners.

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        “Well I for one lived through 10 years of bloody, gruesome Maoist insurgency in Nepal” –

        How did you survive? I mean, since you’re here writing how you lived through all that bloody gruesomeness right? I mean, 10 years? You must have been some sort of super-soldier to survive 10 years of that.

        You do realize you’re comparing whatever it is you claim to have went through to The U.S. and whatever our cause of the day is right?

    6. Psychoanalystus

      Woodrow Wilson,

      First of all, I fail to see how the civilians and the two Reuters reported on the ground presented a danger to the helicopter that killed them. Please explain, soldier.

      You then wrote: “Rather be judged by twelve, than carried by six”

      No offense meant, but psychologically speaking, from a moral development and maturity point of view you are a very primitive person. I suggest that you read up on Carol Gilligan’s as well as Kohlberg’s theories of moral development.

      From Carol Gilligan’s framework, you are stuck in the most primitive moral development stage, called “Orientation of Individual Survival”. Many people in society are in the next higher level, called “Goodness and Self-Sacrifice”. The highest level is called “Morality of Nonviolence”, and you can throw in there people like Gandhi, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr.

      It should be self evident that this world was changed by people in the “Morality of Nonviolence” level of moral development, not by mindless brutes in the “Orientation of Individual Survival” moral development level, such as yourself.

      So, read up on Gilligan’s work. That might hopefully clear you mind of the brainwashing you appear to have received in the military.

      Incidentally, I teach many former military students, and they too exhibit your way of thinking. The military of this country is doing a great job of brain damaging the youth of this country.

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        “That might hopefully clear you mind of the brainwashing you appear to have received in the military.” –

        You’ve got me there. I fully admit that military training is brainwashing. However, regardless of your perception of the military, it does in fact serve a purpose. It also keeps soldiers alive. Maybe your solution is not to have a military at all?

        “you are stuck in the most primitive moral development stage, called “Orientation of Individual Survival”

        Pretty sure my family would disagree, but regardless of whatever theory you want to throw out there, I’m doing ok. The military was a great experience for me, at that time in my life.

        “mindless brutes” –

        You got me there too, because were in not illegal, I’d probably just kill you and do the country a favor. There, your theory proved correct. Your classroom is calling. Oh, and please, use this post for your classroom exercise explaining “The Theory of the Primitive Mindless Brute.”

    7. Up the Ante

      Don’t mind ‘Woody’ there, his type likes to slap people in the face with their imperious either/or, just to watch you roil with consternation.

      Just tell him you’ll ‘let him’, or something, lol.

  10. Scheveningen Summit

    Whenever anybody says national security, what they mean is impunity for crime, nothing more. This state is inherently criminal, and nothing here at home can control it. The Rome Statute is a long way from stopping the US Government crime spree but nothing’s going to happen until we start thinking of Bush and Obama the way we think of Fujimori, Milosevic, Bognone, Koroma, and Eichmann. Our Presidents are criminals currently at large. US heads of state try to wrap themselves in the flag and make Getting Away With It a matter of national honor but these official criminals are everybody’s enemy.

    Hey, shame about the constitution getting shitcanned, but that was never going to get the state under control. You still got this and they can’t take it away.

    1. Psychoanalystus

      My dear Western European exceptionalist:

      Please kindly see above for my comment to your other post. But when you read it, please try to refrain from entirely breaking down psychologically, and try not to resort to cheap nationalistic pot shots, as is so commonly exhibited by Western Europeans whose over-inflated egos are being severely bruised when the stark reality of their smallness and global irrelevance is made evident for everyone to see and laugh at…LOL

      An European-American

      1. Scheveningen Summit

        Since you hate the West so much, you’ll be pleased to learn this is not Western Civilization anymore. It’s just the world now, and the US (and its silly NATO version of the Warsaw Pact) is an atavistic backwater struggling with decline. NATO has no enemies, only onlookers who jeer as you thrash around like a turned turtle in a crisis of fraud, slump, and lost legitimacy. They’re agreeing on norms for the civilized world, and that’s a club that NATO can’t get into. The world is leaving Uncle Sam behind.

  11. aw70

    Chaps, seriously. There is a lot of things that are wrong with the U.S. in general, and with the war in Iraq in particular. But that video, as sickening as it is to watch, is NOT one of these things. At least not directly. It is rather an unbelievable piece of asshattery on the part of the media in general, and Wikileaks in particular (more on this further down), to spin this against the U.S. troops on the ground in the way it was done.

    Without access to more information – such as the unredeacted full-resolution (!) video from *both* Apache helicopters involved in this – it is of course not 100% possible to say whether it was really justified to open fire on the people you see in the video. And as I said, it is vile stuff to watch people getting blown to pieces. But based on what can be confirmed about the whole sorry affair, it is entirely possible (and actually probable) that from a military standpoint, the Apache crew acted responsibly. And, given the context of the whole action, sensibly. They had to cover the back of a patrol that was nearby, and if that included pulverising some insurgents who seemingly tried to mess with the patrol, well, then that was their job as well.

    War is hell. As such, it should never be started without a damn good reason – and as we all know, it is (to put it very mildly) extremely debatable whether the invasion of Iraq ever qualified in this respect. Still, once the U.S. forces were on the ground, they had to survive, and properly take control of the country, lest total chaos ensue, and even worse stuff happen. Taking control meant, amongst other things, to regularly patrol Baghdad, and disarm (or, if need be, fight) any locals who were directly trying to mess with the U.S. forces, or more often than not were merely out to have some sectarian violence with some other faction of Iraqi “society” that just happened to live nearby.

    So, about that video. The thing is… the two Reuters chaps who bought it that day were apparently “embedded” with a group of locals, who were shadowing an armed U.S. patrol in an area of the city that was more or less locked down at that particular point in time. There was a reason why the U.S. patrol was under way with a bunch of Bradleys to cover their backs, and two Apaches overhead. This was not a hearts and minds exercise, this was a heavily armed patrol in an area that was not entirely under control then.

    It has never been entirely explained what that group of male Iraqis to whom the two reporters had attached themselves were doing out there, running around in the open in what basically amounted to an urban warfare zone. The last photos taken by the journalists, which were found on their cameras afterwards, show the U.S. fighting vehicles from a fairly close distance – these chaps were provably shadowing the patrol. For whatever purpose. The one thing that is not 100% certain is whether that group of Iraqis was actually armed – which is an important point. If they were, they were, as nasty as that sounds, totally legitimate targets. If not, of course not.

    But here is the kicker on that one: what Wikileaks put on the web is a video of what the commander of one of the Apaches saw – but in substantially reduced resolution (i.e. blurred), compared to what the guy in the chopper actually saw on his screen! The optics on these ships are fairly amazing, and the guy who gave the firing order (after claiming they had guns) had a *much* clearer view of what was going on than you now have, who are just judging this by the blurry youtube video. Also, and perhaps even more importantly, only one of the two videos that must exist of this event ever made it to the web. There were *two* Apaches on station above the patrol, and if you listen to the radio conversation, the firing order is actually given by the commander of the other ship, who was apparently in overall command. What that other guy saw on his own video feed has never been publicly shown – all we see is the feed from the Apache that actually fired its cannon. But given the excellent resolution of these cameras, I would seriously doubt that two experienced crews, who both had eyes on the target area, would both make such a serious blunder as to mistake cameras for AK-47s.

    Even if they really only ever had access to one of the two videos, it was still utterly disingenuous on the part of Wikileaks to only put a severely reduced-resolution version of this on the web, and present this the way they did. Wikileaks must have known that they were presenting the public with biased information, but still went ahead anyway. “Questionable ethics” does not even begin to describe this.

    By the way, having said all this, I actually do agree with ScottW about repeatedly showing this film to those responsible for the whole mess, Clockwork Orange-style. Only that I would have W and Mrs. Cheney & Rumsfeld be the audience, and not Obama – who, for all his faults, was not even elected when this happened.

    1. ScottW

      After I put up my post, I asked my wife what people would say who don’t want to believe the shooting was a war crime. You have provided a thoughtful rationalization, and it is what I predicted many would say if confronted with this tape–that we do not know what preceded the shooting, and only saw part of the video. That is how Americans survive the emotional train wreck of living in a Country that bombs, and kills innocent civilians. Survival by way of creating alternative explanations to the photos or videos of Americans shooting civilians during war. We are the rationalizers of the World, and become good at it since we get so much practice.

      As the soldier sarcastically stated when seeing the young girl pulled out of the wreckage by a U.S. soldier, “it’s their fault for bringing their kids to a battle.” And here the foolish Father just thought he was taking his kids to school. How dare he not understand this is a War zone. That is how the Military and majority of U.S. citizens view the situation–the whole Country is a battlefield and if we declare you a threat to OUR safety, you are the enemy, no matter what your station in life.

      There is often a calm, intellectual analysis that follows photos/videos/stories of War crimes. Some may actually believe what the say, others outright lie, and the rest just follow in step. My guess is that a U.S. soldier, or two, came under attack, and this was revenge. Compared to what happened in Fulluja, it was undoubtedly minor. Just another day on the battlefield.

      1. aw70

        See, as you can hopefully infer from the tone of my posting, I’m most certainly not someone who thinks the invasion of Iraq was a defensible action on the part of the U.S. government. All I’m saying is that the U.S. occupational forces were, at least most of the time, acting in a fairly restrained and logical manner. As long as no-one attacked them, anyone around them was (usually, at least) pretty much safe, which is more than can be said of a lot of other occupying forces over time. The U.S forces were, by and large, a very predictable and rule-bound occupation force, even if the invasion itself was most certainly not legal (and sensible) to begin with.

        The main problem after the invasion was a clash of cultures with respect to what constituted an acceptable and sane reaction to having one’s country invaded and occupied by foreigners. The U.S. invasion had been preceded by decades of a brutal dictatorship, meted out to a country that had no real tradition of enlightened self-governance, or civil society as we know it. For many Iraqis, local grievances were, and so some degree still are, a perfectly valid reason for grabbing an AK-47, and, with the help of friends and family who bring their own AK-47s, trying to sort these grievances out the tough way by oneself. Doing so actually stands to reason (at least to some degree), in a country and society where the “police” and “courts” were little more than one particular bunch of thugs, just in some fancy dress.

        This is a long way of saying that quite a number of the locals apparently considered grabbing AK47s and RPGs a valid and sensible response to a U.S. patrol in their vicinity – which, from a more detached viewpoint, was completely moronic, given the huge technical and tactical superiority of the U.S. forces. It would have been infinitely more sensible to start some sort of civil disobedience movement, and/or try to peacefully protest the U.S. occupation. Locals brandishing guns (while at the same time not being very good at actually using them, let along coordinating larger-scale operations) was something the U.S. forces were very well equipped to deal with, and anyone with above room-temperature IQ should have cottoned on to this after the first few weeks of occupation. Meaningful peaceful protests would have gotten a lot further – but with Iraqi “society” being as violent and fragmented as it was (and to some degree still is), that sort of thing apparently simply did not occur to them. At least not in significant numbers.

        So, back to the video we are discussing here – and in particular the chaps who had kids (which the pilots in the gunships could not see before opening fire, by the way) in their car. Given all what I’ve just said about Iraqi society, and their propensity for gunfights… I have an even harder time comprehending what the hell these guys were thinking to barge into a battle situation with a car full of kids. “It’s their fault for bringing their kids to a battle” perfectly sums it up – the guy in the chopper was right on that count, if on nothing else. In the grand scheme of things, the U.S. forces probably had no business being where they were, and all that – but endangering your children like that is way outside any acceptable human behaviour, ever. This is criminal stupidity in action, regardless of which culture we are talking about. So I fail to see the point of people going “OMG! They even fired at children, these cold-blooded bastards in the helicopter!”. They did not see them before opening fire, they had no chance to see them, and given the tactical context, no sane person would have expected children to be in that vehicle. That there *were* children in the car was one of those horrible things that just happen in war. See above: don’t start wars in the first place, they always turn out like this in the end. But give the guys in the chopper a break – they are not the ones primarily to blame for this particular nastiness.

        1. James

          Blah, blah, blah, blah; blah, blah, blah! They’re dead and I’m not, and I’M left here to pontificate. Blah, blah, blah, blah; blah, blah, blah!

          1. James

            Question? When is ANYONE justified in shooting another as in a shooting gallery from a high tech piece of shit as displayed here?

            Hint: Golden rule (remember THAT one?) still applies. Do I have to spell it out?

            Question: WHERE in the hell did we (the US) lose (no, not LOOSE, you ignorant fucking bastards!) our way? SERIOUSLY?

    2. Scheveningen Summit

      Now, that is why the Oath Keepers are way ahead of the curve. They assert the right to disobedience, which follows directly from humanitarian law and the Nuremberg Principles. Disobedience is going to be established as a third-generation human right, an indispensable component of the right to peace. As it is, every member of that Apache crew has the birthrights that Manning exercised, to disobedience and denunciation of illegal wars such as Iraq. Every member of the armed forces has an equal right to seek and obtain information under the supreme law of the land, Article 19. Our troops will stop the national meatgrinder and dismantle this criminal state. They know that under the Nuremberg Principles, obedience is a crime.

    3. bhikshuni

      “Questionable ethics” does not even begin to describe this.”

      I beg to differ. It accurately and precisely describes the whole sorry affair.

    4. dimitris

      But here is the kicker on that one: what Wikileaks put on the web is a video of what the commander of one of the Apaches saw – but in substantially reduced resolution (i.e. blurred), compared to what the guy in the chopper actually saw on his screen!

      Well if you can employ faux-video-ubergeek arguments in support of a brownshirt position, I can do the same in the other direction.

      How do you know what WikiLeaks actually released? What you’re seeing here is, at minimum, a Youtube transcoded/compressed version of a who-knows-how-transcoded-or-compressed Panorama version of what WikiLeaks published. Since you seem to know so much about digital video (on Apaches or otherwise), think for a moment what these repeated transcodings might have done to the overall quality, and what that does to your argument.

      FWIW, the H.264 YouTube version I just watched seems plenty good for a gun camera. But then I don’t shoot at people from an AH-64 for a living so what do I know.

    5. Psychoanalystus

      May I kindly suggest that before you once again succumb to the irresistible temptation to resort to simplistic slogans such as “support our troops”, you refrain from watching any Main Stream Media (Fox News in particular) for at least 6 months. During that period, please do get your news from far more reliable and unbiased sources such as:

      Thank you for your willingness to open your mind.

  12. Max424

    Years ago I met a guy who said he had done two tours in Vietnam, as a Door Gunner on a Huey. I was skeptical of this claim, having heard that nobody re-upped to be a Door Gunner — the job was the single most deadly occupation on the planet at the time, and normal folk, even then, simply didn’t volunteer to risk near certain death, twice.

    It wasn’t like that, he said. Not quite. It was dangerous, yes, but worth it. The reason: by the end of his first tour, he had mastered the art of the “free 60,” a technique where the gunner swings out the chopper door in a harness, giving him much better firing angles for his hand-held 60 caliber machine gun.

    In his harness, a Door Gunner could now fire (almost) directly up, down, fore and aft. As always, he could fire his M-60 in short bursts, or in long bursts, he could aim it, hose it, make combinations with it. All this while the craft might be twisting, hovering, writhing, making high speed passes.

    He said sprayed landings, raked dust-offs, shot birds, slaughtered buffalo, sent faster-than-the-speed-sound tracer streams into clouds…

    In other words, he was in a shooters paradise (think skeet range, to the 100th power, is I think how he phrased it), and he knew, as an absolute, that he would never get to do anything like it again.

    I interrupted: “And how many Mama-sans did you saw in half in your 3D rice paddy shooting gallery? Whilst you were playing God?”

    “On purpose? Zip.”

    “Ah, and how ’bout those water buffalo? I heard you guys would empty belts into the poor dumb beasts, for target practice.”

    “If intel said they were plowing for the VC, my orders were to take them out.”

    “Never questioned?”

    “Never, ever.”

    “Did often miss your intended target by a country mile?”

    “Nobody’s perfect with a machine gun.”

    “So, we’re talking extensive collateral damage.”

    “Depends on how you define it.”

    Indeed. Besides, who am I? If the guy was telling the truth, he spent at least 22 months at the very tip-of-the-spearpoint of the American “effort” in Vietnam, meaning; every few days when he had to swing out that chopper door in order to return fire, he made of himself a candidate for the Medal of Honor, in my opinion.

    1. K Ackermann

      Ask Brittish soldiers about the Yanks in their A10 Warthogs doing strafing runs.

      Close air support by an AC130 gunship involved firing depleted uranium into one side of an apartment building in order to shoot a few bad guys on the other side of the building.

  13. F. Beard

    Those calling what Manning did treason and calling for his execution are revolting in their bloodthirstiness. They should be shunned till they repent.

  14. barrisj

    The invasion/occupation in and of itself was a giant war crime, and all actions by US and “coalition of the willing” military that resulted in “unintended” deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians pursuant to that policy regrettably will never be punished. The Haditha massacre was but one of countless numbers of atrocities committed by the invaders, as was the levelling of Fallujah, an act of barbarity similar to Nazi/SS destruction of villages across occupied Europe as “reprisals” for anti-Wehrmacht partisan actions. No consequences of any sort for the perpetrators, and a sorrowful and painful legacy for the victims. Does anyone seriously foresee a “Nuremberg” moment for those directly responsible for this obscenity?

    1. Scheveningen Summit

      Ask again in 30 years. There’s no statute of limitations, you know, and people change their mind.

  15. Paul Tioxon

    Here is the new name for the company formerly known as BLACKWATER, formerly known as XE SERVICES. And yes, they want back into Iraq. Of course, Iraq does not want them.

    Would it be too much to ask the most radical people in the world if they can distinguish between going to war with Iraq and bombing them into shit twice and occupying them for over for almost 2 decades and finally leaving them alone by withdrawing the military command and all of the military from their soil. Is night day and peace war here as well?


  16. SR6719

    The American…..Spielberg and Associates have come for the rights to another film, this time a true story of the French Resistance…..but….after Schindler’s List, Mrs Schindler was never paid, she’s living in poverty in Argentina……

    French with English subtitles: 4:min:31sec

    1. Patrice

      In case anyone watched the 4 min clip above (which probably should have been posted under links, but whatever)…anyway, on the remote chance that anyone was wondering about the last two lines in German: (“dein goldenes Haar Margarete / Dein aschenes Haar Sulamith”, your golden hair Margarete / your ashen hair Sulamith”, these lines are from the Romanian poet Paul Celan’s most famous poem, “Todesfuge” (Death Fugue).

      For anyone who might be interested in learning more about this poem, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

      “Like most of Celan’s poetry, “Todesfuge” is highly enigmatic and resists being reduced to a single meaning. The first stanza opens with the striking image “Schwarze Milch der Frühe,” which can be translated as “Black milk of dawn.” This line is repeated at the beginning of three of the remaining six stanzas, invoking the repetitive structure of the fugue. The speaking voice in the poem is mostly a collective “We,” who are imagined as drinking this “Black milk,” digging graves both in the air and in the earth, and being ordered to sing and dance and dig by an unnamed “He.” This individual, who is counterposed to the collective “we,” writes letters to Germany, plays with snakes, and is ready to use the gun in his belt as he gives orders. One of the most haunting aspects of the poem is its frequent allusion to hair: the theme first appears in the first stanza, in which “He” uses the phrase “your golden hair Margarete” in the letter that he writes to Germany. The poem repeats the same phrase in the second stanza, but turns it into a double-image: “your golden hair Margarete / your ashen hair Sulamith” (“dein goldenes Haar Margarete / Dein aschenes Haar Sulamith”). This is then repeated through the rest of the poem, and constitutes the concluding couplet.”

  17. James

    Americans apparently STILL labor under the assumption that the rest of the world STILL aspires to BE THEM!


    Let me break it to you gracefully…

    Umm… No… It JUST fucking ain’t LIKE THAT anymore, you stupid fucks!

  18. vicki

    The terrible abuse of Bradly Manning is the shame of the U.S. “Justice” system. Eric Holder and his team of losers should be ejected from law enforcement FOREVER.

  19. g kaiser

    I think Manning did the right thing in releasing this video, amongst other things.
    I has profoundly affected the way I view official America.

Comments are closed.