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Massacre of Civilians in Fallujah --
September 24, 2004 7:56 PM   Subscribe

Massacre of Civilians in Fallujah -- "Aw dude!" A war crime in Iraq.
posted by Postroad (45 comments total)

 
I'm looking at some postings from U.S. soldiers, but I used my Find function and I don't see any references to Fallujah. What am I missing here?
posted by jonp72 at 8:17 PM on September 24, 2004


I don't think I get it either.
posted by fenriq at 8:48 PM on September 24, 2004


Postroad screwed up the post. He's linking to my LJ friend Tyler / Giantlaser, who is a contractor working in Iraq, where he oversees satellite broadband installations.

What he really wanted to link to is this video (windows media) from this site.

Basically, people are being bombed in Fallujah for running around trying to avoid being bombed... not necessarily for being armed.

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:15 PM on September 24, 2004


I don't get it either.

Somewhat entertaining and informative, but the post description and link contents resemble each other about as much as my stank-ass foot resembles a steaming-hot pastrami sandwich.

Perhaps I'm missing some sort of metahumor, but if I am, I'm pretty sure I'm glad I'm missing it.

Are you going to eat that? Pastrami is my favorite vice, y'know...
posted by loquacious at 9:19 PM on September 24, 2004


Where did this video come from?
posted by loquax at 9:19 PM on September 24, 2004


Well, loquax, there was a Mommy video and a Daddy video, and they loved each other very much...
posted by spacewrench at 9:29 PM on September 24, 2004


News Gateway, loquax, as insomnia_lj linked above. The News Gateway Index has a couple of more combat videos as well. Where did they get the video ? I have yet to ascertain that.
posted by y2karl at 9:30 PM on September 24, 2004


Thanks y2karl, that's what I was curious about.

No thanks to you, Mr. crankypants spacewrench.
posted by loquax at 9:33 PM on September 24, 2004


Or rather, am curious about. There needs to be some independent verification of this before there can really be any discussion of it.
posted by loquax at 9:35 PM on September 24, 2004


Heh. Video porn.

I just don't wanna hear about no goddamn Betamax and VHS race mixing, you hear me boy? And if you got any of that MiniDV and 2" AMPEX posthouse smut laying around, you best keep quiet about it you sick bastard.

Roll A in 5, 4, 3, 2... *mark*
posted by loquacious at 9:44 PM on September 24, 2004


At the last minute, the camera perspective circles around behind the people being targeted. How is that possible?
posted by ook at 10:25 PM on September 24, 2004


I was wondering that myself, ook. The only thing I can figure is that it's an automatic alignment of the camera as whatever aircraft it is being filmed from passes over the centerline. I'm 99.9% positive it's just the camera gimble reorienting to "true" vertical as it passes over the target area.

The fuzzy black and white IR footage lends itself to some confusing perspective cues.

But yeah, it looks like it's doing some sort of hyperspeed 180-degree wide area arc around the target area to me too. At MACH 10. Nope.
posted by loquacious at 10:43 PM on September 24, 2004


If anyone can find this video in a format other than streaming WM, please post it.
posted by squirrel at 10:50 PM on September 24, 2004


loquacious, it looks like it's exaactly that. If this were a bomb, wouldn't the targeting view want to stay "true vertical" instead of scrolling off to the bottom?

that said...holy fuck.
posted by solistrato at 10:54 PM on September 24, 2004


It looks as though this was officially released footage by the US, and broadcast on FOX at least, with the military claim (I think), that the group of people seen were insurgents fleeing a safe house that was under attack. Take it or leave it I suppose, but I don't think the story is as straightforward as "war crime concealed by government".
posted by loquax at 11:11 PM on September 24, 2004


Massacre of Civilians in Fallujah -- "Aw dude!" A war crime in Iraq

Certainly a lot of people are getting killed in video insomnia_lj linked to. At the distance and resolution the video was shot at, it is impossible to tell if the group of people is a band of armed insurgents or children being let out of school. The video warrants further investigation, but lets get our facts together before we start accusing soldiers of being criminals.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:14 PM on September 24, 2004


US launches massive Falluja raid
posted by homunculus at 11:26 PM on September 24, 2004


This video has been around since about mid-August, judging by postings on various boards. The most legitimate mention of it I could find first hand is here, which I believe is also syndicated in the Washington Times.
posted by loquax at 11:32 PM on September 24, 2004


From Why We Cannot Win :

So long as there is support for the guerrilla, for every one you kill two more rise up to take his place. More importantly, when your tools for killing him are precision guided munitions, raids and other acts that create casualties among the innocent populace, you raise the support for the guerillas and undermine the support for yourself. (A 500-pound precision bomb has a casualty-producing radius of 400 meters minimum; do the math.)...

Precision Guided Munitons--now there's a euphemism.
posted by y2karl at 11:49 PM on September 24, 2004


Yep, I've first seen this video quite a few weeks ago on some random mirror that offered little in terms of further information. I looked for a mention of it in various news sources but found nothing.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:53 PM on September 24, 2004


These videos are usually not supposed to be released.. I doubt a "source" will be found.
posted by stbalbach at 12:15 AM on September 25, 2004


A couple of months ago I met a young army reservist who had just finished a 14-month stint in Iraq. He had some uneditted video of various "take-downs", including the infamous scene with three Iraqi's getting pulverized by an Apachi helicopter. He also had a few that I hadn't seen on the 'net, as well as a music video that looked internal-use only. I believe many of the videos are shown to the soldiers as motivational aids -- the one I saw practically looked like an army recruiting video. It switched between shots of soldiers handing out food to kids on the street, to soldiers blowing the heads off of people. Very BOO YAH.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:32 AM on September 25, 2004


the weblog itself is interesting enough, but I can't help but think: another shit post from postroad.
posted by angry modem at 6:03 AM on September 25, 2004


Ummm... yeah. The post needs changing.
metatalk.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:20 AM on September 25, 2004


Apache helicopter snuff video, from the same site. Lotsa gallows humor and music by the Psychedelic Furs.
posted by alumshubby at 6:54 AM on September 25, 2004


It has been broadcast on national television in Britain, Germany, Italy and Australia. It has been screened by the European parliament.

Then where is the web-trail of this supposedly intelligent consideration? Not on newsgateway.ca!
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:55 AM on September 25, 2004


I don't think this is a straightforward war crime. There could be guys on the ground spotting that crowd who, ten seconds before the video started, said "you're gonna see a big crowd of people rushing out into the street or maybe an alley, they are good targets". If you remember that other AC-130 warporn clip, there was an extended conversation between the guys and a JAG to determine if they were valid targets, and I believe the JAG mentioned that the gunner was not to touch the mosque.

Of course, as civvies, there's no way for us to know either way. It is true that the clips-from-aircraft are probably the most horrifying, since they're [i]so[/i] inhuman. Little IR blobs representing real people getting slaughtered by something they cannot see and cannot retaliate towards is, uh, pretty awful.
posted by kavasa at 7:45 AM on September 25, 2004


Are we saying then that there is absolutely no evidence to support the suggestion that this is a war crime?
posted by ed\26h at 8:09 AM on September 25, 2004


Ed, uh, no. We're saying that the hysterical freak-out on newsgateway is jumping to conclusions.
posted by kavasa at 8:12 AM on September 25, 2004


Meanwhile:
Operations by U.S. and multinational forces and Iraqi police are killing twice as many Iraqis - most of them civilians - as attacks by insurgents, according to statistics compiled by the Iraqi Health Ministry and obtained exclusively by Knight Ridder.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:49 AM on September 25, 2004


Point is if we don't get the complete footage and the details surrounding the bombing we can't possibily know if it was a war crime or a bombing run. Better not jump to conclusions from a shitty video (wonder if the milguys did the same conclusion jumping)

For instance, when one see the longer Apache-vs-farmers movie (3 mins long) you can find on the internet (finding it is left as an exercise to the reader :-) one can see some very suspicious activity ongoing and something that appears to me to be either an RPG-7 or a SA-7 weapon carried by a woman (!) or something else, it's very hard to tell from an infrared image (shoot at 1625 , but we don't know if it's 1625GMT or 1625 GMT+x where x is iraq shift from gmt).

Apparently the guys flying the Apache assumed it was a weapon from the suspicious behavior of people handling that "tube thing".

Interestingly enough, the first to be shoot is a tractor driver who apparently was just passing by ..now that could be a serious engagement error resulting in a homicide.

Anyway the important thing is to question incessantly refusing the logic that whoever questions is a traitor or "hates *country* "
posted by elpapacito at 9:09 AM on September 25, 2004


i like how that tractor has a long barrel on it.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:26 AM on September 25, 2004


bob: most probably an exaust pipe because it's glowing white (in infrared hot=white)
posted by elpapacito at 9:40 AM on September 25, 2004


holy shit. I just took a closer look and damn if that thing isn't a fucking tractor. Thanks elpapacito
posted by bob sarabia at 10:01 AM on September 25, 2004


"The “tell” is in the audio.  When the pilot asks permission to fire, he reports a large number of people… not armed people.  People.  And permission is granted instantly.  This is an indication that the mission guidance is to shoot anyone who is in the street.  This is a clear war crime

There is no way to tell from this video if the people target were armed or not, nor are we able to tell who they are. This is not clearly a war crime.

I've read in several places that part of the reason the "insurgents" casulty rate is so high, is due to their tactis, like the ones seen in this film.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:46 AM on September 25, 2004


According to the Canadian site, use of 30mm DU or Incindiary rounds on civilians is against the Geneva Convention. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's certainly "overkill".
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:09 AM on September 25, 2004


S@L: I think it's pretty common to use "human shield" tactics like that, but it's usually considered the attacker's responsibility to avoid killing civilians regardless.
posted by hattifattener at 11:38 AM on September 25, 2004


kavasa: That is not inconsistent with my suggestion.
posted by ed\26h at 5:43 PM on September 25, 2004


The camera "pan-around" is normal for mid-altitude aircraft, in that it lets them acquire a target they are heading towards, track it or its movement as the bomb is dropped, then continue to track it after the plane has flown over to help insure the bomb hits its target.

Second of all, this is IR footage, so was shot at night.

Third, importantly, the aircraft seems to be initially targetting the building that the people were leaving. Had they not left the building, it was most likely their target. So what is the philosophical difference from killing people in a building as opposed to killing people leaving a building?
posted by kablam at 6:16 PM on September 25, 2004


but lets get our facts together before we start accusing soldiers of being criminals

Well, there was Abu Ghraib. If American soldiers can do that, then they can mow down civilians from a distance.

As for the following -

Well, loquax, there was a Mommy video and a Daddy video, and they loved each other very much...

and -

Heh. Video porn.

I just don't wanna hear about no goddamn Betamax and VHS race mixing, you hear me boy? And if you got any of that MiniDV and 2" AMPEX posthouse smut laying around, you best keep quiet about it you sick bastard.


Spacewrench and loquacious? You just witnessed the deaths of quite a few human beings. Regardless of who those people were or what they were doing, how the fuck can you gloat like that? Did you gload over 9/11, the Madrid bombings, Bali, any of the other atrocities perpretrated by Al-Quaeda? Do you gloat over Mai Lai?

Both of you disgust me.

Kablam -

So what is the philosophical difference from killing people in a building as opposed to killing people leaving a building?

Well for a start, those people (not to mention the people doing the killing) were in a country that your president lied about, thereby leading your country into a war it shouldn't have started. Tell me, have any "weapons of mass destruction" been found yet?

America: Supporting Freedom (tm). Jesus.
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:02 AM on September 26, 2004


Well, there was Abu Ghraib. If American soldiers can do that, then they can mow down civilians from a distance.

No one has suggested that this cannot be a war crime as American soldiers are incapable of committing war crimes; just that it would not be wise to arbitrarily assume this evidence of one.

Spacewrench and loquacious? You just witnessed the deaths of quite a few human beings. Regardless of who those people were or what they were doing, how the fuck can you gloat like that? Did you gload over 9/11, the Madrid bombings, Bali, any of the other atrocities perpretrated by Al-Quaeda? Do you gloat over Mai Lai?

Apart from their comments being slightly daft, I didn’t see them as “gloating”; but either way their having made them whereas they probably would not have over the al-Qaeda attacks you mention is not necessarily evidence of inconsistency. Since we can be certain that the latter were attacks on un-armed and innocent civilians.

Well for a start, those people (not to mention the people doing the killing) were in a country that your president lied about, thereby leading your country into a war it shouldn't have started. Tell me, have any "weapons of mass destruction" been found yet?

This is a complete red-herring. The question posed (So what is the philosophical difference from killing people in a building as opposed to killing people leaving a building?) has not been addressed in an way, shape or form.
posted by ed\26h at 5:40 AM on September 26, 2004


Well for a start, those people (not to mention the people doing the killing) were in a country that your president lied about, thereby leading your country into a war it shouldn't have started. Tell me, have any "weapons of mass destruction" been found yet?

I am reminded of the American tourist in China who was hit by a bicyclist on a sidewalk. After a cop gave the cyclist a ticket, he gave the American pedestrian a ticket, using the logic that, "If you hadn't come to China this accident couldn't have happened."
posted by kablam at 8:28 AM on September 26, 2004


Since we can be certain that the latter were attacks on un-armed and innocent civilians

I never said what they were. They may or may not be civilians; they may or may not be insurgents. The fact is that they were defenceless from attack by the helicopter and gloating over their demise is something I find repulsive - to dismiss the comments as daft is insulting and almost as repulsive, given the context (that would be numerous people killed for no apparent reason).

The question posed (So what is the philosophical difference from killing people in a building as opposed to killing people leaving a building?) has not been addressed in an way, shape or form.

I'll address it now. It's pretty much the same thing when and where targets are unidentified. There is no data to suggest what those individuals were or were not doing. So there is philosophical difference.

Oh, and have any "weapons of mass desctruction" been found yet?
posted by tomcosgrave at 8:53 AM on September 26, 2004


I’m not sure what difference it makes whether or not the targets of the attack were defenceless (presumably by saying that you’re not suggesting that they were unarmed and/or innocent, but not armed in such a way as to feasibly threaten a helicopter). I didn’t see in what way the comments were “gloating” – expressing pleasure at the deaths portrayed in the clip – which is why I used the term “daft”. And who would dismissing the comments in this way be insulting to? The context you refer to “numerous people killed for no apparent reason” does not mean that it appears that there was no reason for the strike but that we are unaware of what the reason was – of course it could be that you did not intent to assert the former but I found using such a term to be a little misleading. Why does the fact that we cannot know what the targets were doing mean that there is a difference between killing people in a building and killing people leaving a building (notwithstanding the obvious, physical differences)? When saying that the targets are unidentified, do you mean unidentified by us or unidentified by those who carried out the strike? I imagine it’s the former but I think it’s important we’re clear on this.

“have any "weapons of mass desctruction" been found yet?”

I believe not. But it isn’t relevant to a discussion on whether or not the linked video is evidence of a war crime.
posted by ed\26h at 10:33 AM on September 26, 2004


Oh, and have any "weapons of mass desctruction" been found yet?

How is that even relevant? I thought you guys think we went there for the oil? There is oil there, right?
posted by VeGiTo at 9:07 PM on September 26, 2004


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