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http://kotaku.com/5510188/us-army-accused-of-video-game+like-behavior-in-disturbing-leaked-iraq-war-video?skyline=true&s=i
Anyone else watched the trailer? Pretty horrific. Admittedly the context of the trailer is of an Apache attack helicopter searching for insurgents that had attacked a convoy nearby but the trigger happy cameraderie on display is quite... sobering.
The pilots firstly convince themselves that the weapons are suddenly AK-47's, even I thought the cameras looked like weapons taken out of context but AK-47's, really? Can you be *that* sure of what they were? I certainly couldn't.
Even more sinister conducting this type of action in a built up area with this type of equipment in my opinion, ground forces would probably not have made this mistake but then they would be under threat themselves.
All in all I'm even more surprised that the Apache is allowed to make the call itself, support the ground troops by all means but surely it should only take orders from troops on the ground who can properly view what is going on?
And then there's the whole issue of optics, the guy zooms *right in* on the corpses to see what damage he's inflicted but not beforehand? Crazy.
I realize this sort of stuff probably happens all the time but, I dunno. It's just very sad indeed.
EDIT:- Also. Hindsight is a bitch, isn't it? I guess it's easy for me to type and judge away but hell, just the comments of the pilots. Makes you wonder what goes through their heads.
Post edited April 06, 2010 by Shure
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Shure: Even more sinister conducting this type of action in a built up area with this type of equipment in my opinion, ground forces would probably not have made this mistake but then they would be under threat themselves.

Just a heads up, this is standard for AH-64 pilots. Typically, the AH-64 will stay some distance away out of general view, maintaining a hover. Then, when they fire, they pop up (if behind a hill or some such object) and fire their weapons from a safe distance, minimizing the risk of injury or death to service members. Yes, it is incredibly brutal, but it also highly efficient, and NOTHING is going to survive after taking a 30mm round. Had they used a ground force to engage the same target, they would have run the risk of alerting the people ahead of time or suffered casualties.
As for the video, I can't watch it for some reason, but I highly doubt the pilots comments are offensive, being a prior service member myself. I've heard just about everything that could be considered "offensive" by an outsider. If you think military members are always supposed to have a deep respect for life (ESPECIALLY pilots) than consider this a sobering opinion on the state of mind of the average soldier.
I'm not saying I agree with it, but that's just the way service members are. However, the intelligence officers in command of that should have some serious shit about to head their way for getting two Reuters people killed.
EDIT: OK, found video on Liveleak, here's post-viewing opinion:
Again, I fail to see anything truly offensive that was said. Soldiers talk like that, and to link it to video games is stupid. I've heard WAY worse.
Pilots are not to blame for engaging the van. They assumed that it was insurgents helping out, which according to their intel was correct in their mind. They did not fire until cleared to engage by command.
As for the insurgents, weapons are clearly visible, so intel was accurate in regards to insurgents being present. A soviet RPG is pretty unmistakable, and you can see it clear as day, and one was leaning around a corner. If people are hanging around them, the pilots are going to assume they are part of it. Is it a tragedy? Absolutely. But unfortunately, innocent casualties are always going to happen in a war.
I do think the military should have immediately released this and not sat on it because they just screwed themselves in the long run.
Also, regarding the van: US Military ROE can allow for attacks on individuals assisting insurgents. The pilots had no idea if the guy who was crawling was an insurgent or not, if he had a weapon, if there were more insurgents/weapons in the van, etc. Based on their intel and what they had observed, they acted exactly the way they were supposed to.
Post edited April 06, 2010 by Wraith
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Shure: Even more sinister conducting this type of action in a built up area with this type of equipment in my opinion, ground forces would probably not have made this mistake but then they would be under threat themselves.
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Wraith: Just a heads up, this is standard for AH-64 pilots. Typically, the AH-64 will stay some distance away out of general view, maintaining a hover. Then, when they fire, they pop up (if behind a hill or some such object) and fire their weapons from a safe distance, minimizing the risk of injury or death to service members. Yes, it is incredibly brutal, but it also highly efficient, and NOTHING is going to survive after taking a 30mm round. Had they used a ground force to engage the same target, they would have run the risk of alerting the people ahead of time or suffered casualties.
As for the video, I can't watch it for some reason, but I highly doubt the pilots comments are offensive, being a prior service member myself. I've heard just about everything that could be considered "offensive" by an outsider. If you think military members are always supposed to have a deep respect for life (ESPECIALLY pilots) than consider this a sobering opinion on the state of mind of the average soldier.
I'm not saying I agree with it, but that's just the way service members are. However, the intelligence officers in command of that should have some serious shit about to head their way for getting two Reuters people killed.

Yeah, I realize how the Apache's are designed for surprise attacks and long range destruction (of armour, I think originally) but I'm more surprised of how the Apache is allowed to scan for potential targets, which is fair enough, but also then commence firing upon them *especially* when you factor in that they are above a city environment where the likelyhood of mistakes are much, much higher.
As for the point of friendly soldiers being much more succeptible had they themselves investigated, I would have to agree with you 100% but then again this isn't a conventional battle that they are fighting, and considering that, again, it's taking place in a relatively built up urban area the fight for 'hearts & minds' should be done with people on the ground and not conducting attacks from high above and far away with massively overpowered machinery.
The pilots followed regulations, no doubt (as sinister as their chatter was) but the most sinister aspect of all of this is that there are Apache's over urban areas and they are allowed to freely select and engage targets without having spotters on the ground first confirm said targets themselves.
It's not a perfect world though, as this video goes to demonstrate. I feel for the children though, whilst the pilots can take some sort of solace in the fact it was an honest mistake the children will have to live with the brunt of the atrocity for the rest of their lives.
Edited my comments above to state that I had viewed the video, but I'll state it again here:
There were clearly individuals with RPG's and what looked like one or two rifles. The RPG is extremely visible when the guy is leaning around the corner, you can see the rocket. They did have ground forces, as you can tell by the radio chatter, with a Bradley Fighting Vehicle a short distance away. If there are armed people there, based on the intel they were given, and there were, they assumed that all of them were insurgents, and if I were in their place, I likely would have made the same judgment call. Weapons could be seen, you can't just assume that a few o the people hanging around them are innocents, especially when you can't tell from that distance if it is a video camera or a smaller AK-74SU with the stock collapsed, or a Skorpion, especially when already seen around numerous other weapons.
As for the Apache, this actually worked best for their situation as the Apache has the ability to fire through material, something a rifle round like the 5.56 has trouble doing. A 30mm isn't going to have any problems tearing through a brick wall. Most of the rounds hit the ground, and they tried to avoid hitting specific buildings, unless they were aiming at a target directly on the other side.
One discussion going on here, which mentions the video-gaming angle. http://www.metafilter.com/90734/Collateral-Murder
I do think the video-game angle is ridiculous and irrelevant, and misses the larger issue that the US is where it shouldn't be and killing people it shouldn't. That it was two Reuters reporters is unfortunate, but does not make the killing of Iraqis, living in their country, walking about in what seems to be a relaxed manner, any less heinous.
You can argue about the motivation of the pilots, their cruelty, their incompetent or morally defunct superiors, or the true motivation of the US in invading Iraq, but the point is this: the US shouldn't be there, killing people it shouldn't kill.
(Also: war is bad.)
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WalterMitty: One discussion going on here, which mentions the video-gaming angle. http://www.metafilter.com/90734/Collateral-Murder
I do think the video-game angle is ridiculous and irrelevant, and misses the larger issue that the US is where it shouldn't be and killing people it shouldn't. That it was two Reuters reporters is unfortunate, but does not make the killing of Iraqis, living in their country, walking about in what seems to be a relaxed manner, any less heinous.
You can argue about the motivation of the pilots, their cruelty, their incompetent or morally defunct superiors, or the true motivation of the US in invading Iraq, but the point is this: the US shouldn't be there, killing people it shouldn't kill.
(Also: war is bad.)

Agreed for the most part, save for the pilots being cruel, but again, I'm ex-military so my views are a bit slanted. Except for the part about us being in Iraq. I made no extra friends around base by sharing THAT viewpoint :/
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Wraith: Edited my comments above to state that I had viewed the video, but I'll state it again here:
There were clearly individuals with RPG's and what looked like one or two rifles. The RPG is extremely visible when the guy is leaning around the corner, you can see the rocket. They did have ground forces, as you can tell by the radio chatter, with a Bradley Fighting Vehicle a short distance away. If there are armed people there, based on the intel they were given, and there were, they assumed that all of them were insurgents, and if I were in their place, I likely would have made the same judgment call. Weapons could be seen, you can't just assume that a few o the people hanging around them are innocents, especially when you can't tell from that distance if it is a video camera or a smaller AK-74SU with the stock collapsed, or a Skorpion, especially when already seen around numerous other weapons.
As for the Apache, this actually worked best for their situation as the Apache has the ability to fire through material, something a rifle round like the 5.56 has trouble doing. A 30mm isn't going to have any problems tearing through a brick wall. Most of the rounds hit the ground, and they tried to avoid hitting specific buildings, unless they were aiming at a target directly on the other side.

Okay, I'll have to admit that I was being busy 'awmygawd! Outrage' all over my breakfast and that emotion had indeed affected my reaction to what I was witnessing in that video, so in which part of the video did you see RPG's on? Genuine question, I'm not trying to be 'funny' :)
Also, 'tis ironic somewhat that you mention the Apache was best suited for the situation. I agree that on paper it's the best *weapon* for the situation, just hugely unfortunate that a weapon wasn't called for!
I agree with everything you've said for the most part, though.
EDIT:- I agree with you WalterMitty the videogame angle is pure hyperbolic nonsense but drawing similarities to videogames is fair enough, I think... Modern Warfare 2 springs straight to mind, for example. Though in it's defence you can't kill civilians. GTA 4 on the other hand...
Post edited April 06, 2010 by Shure
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Wraith: ...

It's good to see another viewpoint to the whole thing, I'm getting kinda tired of the whole 'Military shooting people is eeeeevil!' thing - yeah, sure, it is evil, but the only reason US or Russia weren't nuked into oblivion was the fact they BOTH had nuclear weapons.
Also, innocents dying in war? I REALLY think those reporters knew the risks. As for the hurt children... That's unfortunate. I'm not saying that in the cold 'that's unfortunate' manner, I really DO think it was unfortunate - but it was pretty much an accident, same way as they might have stepped on a landmine. I'm not exactly a supporter of the war in Iraq, still (and I can't say if it really were for the better since I don't live there, but I think it would), if those 'fighters for Iraq' stopped fighting, this would probably never have happened.
Getting tired of questioning the military? Yeah ok we'll just leave our armed forces unchecked when these kind of events come to light? Because of events like this being brought to light in the first place we have situations like the ROE update to the USA's armed forces in 2007.
I'm not really bashing the armed forces just lamenting these events.
And it's funny you mention nuclear weapons out of the blue because it's the coalition forces 'official' excuse for being there in the first place, the landmine anecdote is also pretty rubbish I'm afraid as last I heard there weren't many about in Baghdad?
So yeah, perhaps if coalition forces weren't there in the first place, 'this would probably never have happened.'
EDIT:- Okay, apologies to you Fenixp that came across as overly agressive, I find myself quite wound up (probably from reading some comments on the CNN website) so, sorry again, I sincerely mean it. :)
Post edited April 06, 2010 by Shure
Well I DID say I don't really agree with US soldiers being in Iraq, didn't I? It's just - they're getting into an endless circle where violence raises more violence, and as a side that clearly doesn't stand a chance, those 'insurgents' should just stop whatever they're doing for the good of all their people. Because, if they continue, there will just be more and more cases like this - US forces are way better armed and organised and for every US soldier they kill, several people from Iraq will die.
And I never said we should not question military - of course we should. I'm saying that, ironically, without military there would be more wars on this planet than with it, and people should really learn to live with that.
... Oh also apology accepted, I was kinda expecting a similar answer, I didn't make a lot of points clear. My mistake :-)
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Wraith: ...
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Fenixp: It's good to see another viewpoint to the whole thing, I'm getting kinda tired of the whole 'Military shooting people is eeeeevil!' thing - yeah, sure, it is evil, but the only reason US or Russia weren't nuked into oblivion was the fact they BOTH had nuclear weapons.
Also, innocents dying in war? I REALLY think those reporters knew the risks. As for the hurt children... That's unfortunate. I'm not saying that in the cold 'that's unfortunate' manner, I really DO think it was unfortunate - but it was pretty much an accident, same way as they might have stepped on a landmine. I'm not exactly a supporter of the war in Iraq, still (and I can't say if it really were for the better since I don't live there, but I think it would), if those 'fighters for Iraq' stopped fighting, this would probably never have happened.

Speaking of Russia, no matter how bad people try to pin stuff on the US, we are nowhere near as brutal as the Soviet Union was in Afghanistan. On one hand I respect the power they held since they did strike fear into the insurgents of their time, especially with the Hind, something that we have not been able to achieve, but on the other, they were so relentless and brutal that they didn't care WHO they shot, which is unforgivable.
Ok... speaking from someone who is has been to both Iraq and Afganistan been blown up July of 08 from a buried IED while on Convoy from one fob to another, taken fire while being transported on a shithawk, stood on land mines, and seen more death then anyone should see. (long ass rant....)
And? 35 people died Sunday, just 48 hours ago because some ass hat decided he would blow himself up.
27 people died last week when a female suicide bomber blew herself up.
I've seen kids with AK47's, I've seen grown women with baby carts that were really IED's, I've seen a guy shoot himself in the leg to try and get medical attention and ended up killing 3 soliders who were trying to help the guy..........
Just the other day one of my interperter's was KIA, I had to do the NOK notification.
War is hell, if I was in their shoes I'd do the same exact thing.
Monday morning quaterbacking does not solve anything. It is easy for anyone back in the states or anywhere in the world to make rash judgements on what happens over here. Be it Abu Grab, Chomper, or any of it. Would I have done the same things at Abu Ghrab? maybe... dunno I wasn't there when it happened.
Generally speaking you do not get to pick and choose the missions you do. Sending troops in on the ground to verify when you can zoom in and see weapons lends the enemy a hand, all they have to do is set up IED's Everywhere..... which they can and do end up doing. Everyone does not want to see our troops get hurt, so UAV's and other air support are used.
As to what goes through my head, considering half of these guys have lost a friend you have to deal with killing somehow. Back in 07 or 06 our DFAC was blown up, we lost good people, if they can manage to get bombs on the base you kind of loose all sympathy for those that might attack us.
A couple months ago, in a port-o-potty 37 RPG's were discovered on a base. No one was hurt. But if you can sneak RPG's onto a military installation imagine what that does to moral.
I've made some less then great comments. My little brother and I were heading out to the Iran border a few years back, we took fire, exchanged fire, and you can sure as hell bet we were not worried about PC when we communicated with each other as to where the people shooting at us were. My brother got hit in the leg, you really think I kept my cool and asked for permission to fire back? Or didnt shout swear words at them or call them names, or after they were down repeatedly shot one dude over and over again? The group I was with understood why I was pissed off, they understood all to well the fact someone they work with and someone I WAS RELATED TO was lying hurt on the ground. No one even yelled at me or anything for my actions, they knew they would do the same damn thing.
Hell just driving on my base I've made comments, about running people over and how many points they would be worth, and then some other things.
Afgan is far worse....
Should we be in Iraq......... Well that isnt up to me...... Should we leave right this second? lol.... hell no........ Turkey already attacked the Kurds, Iran is posturing, Syria.... the troubles are endless.
Hell we still have people and bases in Germany/Japan and yet WW2 ended how many years ago? We already messed up back in the 80s with Afganistan will we learn our lesson there? prolly not....
The next time a terrorist blows anything up dont be shocked or anything if they *intentionally* kill civilians.
3min 45 seconds in 2 people with weapons one is an AK one is an RPG..... one then disappears..........
as for innocents, yes... it happens..... But really to judge these guys without actually ever seeing urban combat is just....silly..
As to WMD............ There were no really dangerous ones, HOWEVER... there was Ricin, and other stuff NOT CHEMICAL WEAPONS GRADE STUFF mind you............
However really the WMD thing is kinda in the past, what im trying to say, not to defend our reasons to go but you act on what you know......... not what you can prove.... Cant always wait for proof, we had proof Saddam used WMD in the 80's......why give him a shot to do it again? On the Iran front however... they will get them.... one way or another, and how we deal with it, who knows....
again.... Suez Canal, we didnt want to have an armed conflict between USSR / UK& France even though that had been just the thought of what might happen.....
When I signed up to teach over here, I knew the risks, I really do. So does everyone, no one is let into Iraq or Afgan without knowing they may not make it home.
unfortunate yes... but if all the insurgants would stop attacking we could at least leave... Which is funny.... they wouldnt even have to stop forever or anything just long enough for us to get our gear out. My base is remaining open for the forseeable future because people keep attacking it...... If they just stopped.... lol they are closing several bases because the violance is down to prewar levels..... odd.... stop trying to kill the troops at a location and we will remove the troops from the location allowing you guys with bombs and guns to do whatever you want *cause we wont come back to that location not after we just spent how much money moving the gear out*
my Terp the other day was shot for not following protocall when coming onto the base, by a solider who did not know him, what happened was he failed to stop when the guy with the gun told him to stop....... he took fire, and was dead about 50m from the troop...... Do I blame the guy who shot him, at first yes, however what if that terp had a VBIED and killed some people at the ECP? Failure for that solider to do his job at the gate could have gotten himself and others killed.
sorry.... but.... as a person who lives/works in Iraq (I teach, and help rebuild the water and waste water plants, distro systems, waste collections, etc etc, Life Support services that kind of thing.) Shit does happen, but for anyone who isnt over here and sees things first hand it is just crazy for you to make a judgement on what they could have done.
OH LOOK
IRAQ IS LIBERATED
IT WAS THE UNITED STETTS THAT DID GOOD IT !!! SUPPORT OUR TROOOPZZZZ
I see no evidence of any weapon in the video, unless you count rocks. While David defeated Goliat with a rock, I think it's still far-fetched to think that a group of 5-6 people are going to take down an Apache with one, really.
And why in the flying FUCK would they engage the truck that comes to pick up the bodies, bodies that are badly maimed from the fucking 30-caliber ARMOR-PIERCING ROUNDS they were firing no less?
They should be home on the farm, gobbling on their step-fathers cock as usual rather than being allowed access to futuristic military equipment.
It's situations like this that just makes me wish for a fucking meteor to strike the earth, TODAY, and wipe out the entirety of this fucked up human population. Maybe evolution will actually get it right the next time. If this is what we've come to after all these millions of years then it's obviously just a wasted experiment, wipe the slate clean and fucking try again, nature.
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stonebro: OH LOOK
IRAQ IS LIBERATED
IT WAS THE UNITED STETTS THAT DID GOOD IT !!! SUPPORT OUR TROOOPZZZZ
I see no evidence of any weapon in the video, unless you count rocks. While David defeated Goliat with a rock, I think it's still far-fetched to think that a group of 5-6 people are going to take down an Apache with one, really.
And why in the flying FUCK would they engage the truck that comes to pick up the bodies, bodies that are badly maimed from the fucking 30-caliber ARMOR-PIERCING ROUNDS they were firing no less?
They should be home on the farm, gobbling on their step-fathers cock as usual rather than being allowed access to futuristic military equipment.
It's situations like this that just makes me wish for a fucking meteor to strike the earth, TODAY, and wipe out the entirety of this fucked up human population. Maybe evolution will actually get it right the next time. If this is what we've come to after all these millions of years then it's obviously just a wasted experiment, wipe the slate clean and fucking try again, nature.

*sigh*
You know, the intro to the video also MENTIONS that some of the insurgents were armed.
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Post edited April 06, 2010 by Wraith
Sorry.... Not trying to offend anyone......
But really? How exactly would you behave in their position? You would not be able to answer that unless you actually were in their position. Being an isolationist country allowed ww2 to escalate to the point millions of people were killed with gas, experimented on, shot, hung, burned, and worked to death.
We see how well ignoring Pol Pot worked for those people......................