Chilling Iraqi sniper video
February 14, 2006 5:18 AM   Subscribe

I just watched the chilling video of a sniper [Flash, NSFW] in Iraq on TV. It was given to Paul McGeough of the Sydney Morning Herald and published on their site. As discussed on The ABC Lateline programme (transcript not available at posting time but pretty much covered by the SMH). Please read the report to put the video in perspective. It's propaganda but...
posted by tellurian (99 comments total)

 
That kind of made me sick to my stomach.
posted by kbanas at 5:24 AM on February 14, 2006


...it is the continuing failure of the political process that has created a power vacuum in which thousands of Americans and Iraqis have died, been wounded or captured in what has become a war of attrition with the insurgents.

Quoted for emphasis.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:29 AM on February 14, 2006


Oh shit, I realise now that I should have put up a content warning. Sending email to admin now. Sorry
posted by tellurian at 5:35 AM on February 14, 2006


Those who do not learn from history are doomed to enjoy the New American Century.

Nice work, dumbasses.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:40 AM on February 14, 2006


.
posted by DrDoberman at 5:41 AM on February 14, 2006


I just watched the chilling video of a sniper [Flash] in Iraq on TV.

That should be warning enough.

Can anyone tell me exactly what this sniper is repeating as he walks away from the camera? I hear these guys say this "praise" all the time but can't figure what it is or what it means.
posted by Witty at 5:42 AM on February 14, 2006


Witty : most probably Allah u Akbhar or something written similarly, which means "God is Great" or something along to this.."all praise to Allah" is another common line.

It's kind of listening to the western equivalents says "Christ is the Savior" or "God is wise" ...same kind of people, different color. They both abuse religions and faiths for their own means.
posted by elpapacito at 5:47 AM on February 14, 2006


Related Wikipedia entry on "Juba" - the infamous Iraqi sniper.
posted by longbaugh at 5:54 AM on February 14, 2006


Witty, I think elpapacito is right about what the guy was saying.

It's pretty clear before he starts shooting anyone that it's not going to be pretty. I didn't watch all of it, but this is a worthwhile post.
posted by Dasein at 5:58 AM on February 14, 2006


.
posted by josephtate at 6:02 AM on February 14, 2006


Are we saying that snipers are bad.

I'm suprised that technologies doesn't exist to pinpoint sniper attacks. It surely couldn't be too dificult to use some kind of triangulation to say where exactly gunfire was coming from.
posted by seanyboy at 6:20 AM on February 14, 2006


it does exist.
posted by NinjaPirate at 6:23 AM on February 14, 2006


Someone please describe for people who aren't sure if they want to click. (I.e., more than "that's gross!")
posted by Mid at 6:30 AM on February 14, 2006


Already does seanyboy. There is an audio triangulation device used by the US Secret Service built into the President's podium if I remember right (along with a radar and a big bullet-resistant plate). There's also been some DARPA research into IR detectors but that was a few years back and I can't pinpoint the old PDF I read right now. Will check back tonight when I am at home again if anyone gives a toss.

On preview - trust a NinjaPirate to get there first...
posted by longbaugh at 6:31 AM on February 14, 2006


I went as far as one minute I guess, you see a sniper claiming he's going to kill soldiers and then a montage of some soldier falling , apparently from sniper fire.

One can't actually see the soldiers very well...kind of dehumanizing like bombing, you see a figure falling and think "mission accomplished" yet the silhouette of a soldier is more moving then a bulding exploding.
posted by elpapacito at 6:34 AM on February 14, 2006


It's kind of listening to the western equivalents says "Christ is the Savior" or "God is wise" ...same kind of people, different color. They both abuse religions and faiths for their own means.

Yeah, it's kind of like that, only without the whole high-powered-rifle-shot-to-the-head part.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:40 AM on February 14, 2006


sure, but that's only because "shock and awe" uses bigger bullets....
posted by beerbajay at 6:43 AM on February 14, 2006


I feel like this sort of thing should go up with an American equivalent....watch city blocks explode, watch robot drones fire on civilian households, watch snipers pick off armed teenagers....I dunno.

It's awful when anyone dies, but I don't see why a successful participant in a war is anymore a monster than someone who presses the button that drops laser-guided bombs. This guy isn't picking off women and children, he's shooting soldiers with guns and tanks.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 6:45 AM on February 14, 2006


That kinda reminds me of those Pentagon videos taken from an aircraft's aiming system showing a bomb pulverizing a building.
posted by clevershark at 6:45 AM on February 14, 2006


Our American equivalent (although it doesn't directly feature Iraqis getting shot): Blackwater in Najaf (bittorrent, via MilitaryVideos for all your MilPorn needs). If you're really in need of seeing Iraqis getting shot up, there are other movies there.
posted by Mercaptan at 6:58 AM on February 14, 2006


Previous discussions of Iraqi snipers, including this video of a security contractor sniper.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:02 AM on February 14, 2006


sure, but that's only because "shock and awe" uses bigger bullets....

Oh, sorry, I didn't realize people were saying "Christ is the savior" or "God is wise" when they were dropping those bombs. In other words, please focus on my specific point. I realize there's been killing on both sides. I was responding to elpapacito's implication that the sniper's religious fervor is no different than Christian fervor. Say what you will about this war, but for the West, it ain't about religion.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:05 AM on February 14, 2006


Think of how many thousands times you have seen this same thing in movies. Bang, you're dead. The Indian falls off his horse, the bad guy falls off a balcony. But seeing it for real is a whole new experience. Sniping is murder. It's murder when we do it. It's murder when they do it. It's the death penalty without benefit of trial.
posted by Faze at 7:07 AM on February 14, 2006


"a war of attrition with the insurgents" reamphasised
This footage (manipulated and time distorted though it may be) brought home to me that this war cannot be won in the way that it is currently being waged by the US and its allies.
Transcript available now.
posted by tellurian at 7:07 AM on February 14, 2006


God is Greater

It means that no matter what we humans do on Earth, God is greater.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:17 AM on February 14, 2006


...this war cannot be won in the way that it is currently being waged by the US and its allies.

What alternative ways are there... outside of carpet bombing the place? I mean, in my opinion (and that's all it is), it can't be that hard for an insurgent to dress in regular civilian clothes, hide in a building that looks like all the others and "snipe" soldiers that are placed throughout the city for whatever purpose they're there to serve. I don't know if that represents or is indicative of a failure in the way the war is currently being waged by the allies.
posted by Witty at 7:18 AM on February 14, 2006


I didn't watch the whole thing, don't need to. Besides, I'm kind of curious about why anybody would seek out "milporn". Saying that any of this is truly in the name of somebody's god is bullshit. It's murder, plain and simple. In other words, what Faze did a better job of saying above than I can manage right now.
posted by SteveInMaine at 7:27 AM on February 14, 2006


Say what you will about this war, but for the West, it ain't about religion.

For some Americans, it clearly is.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:27 AM on February 14, 2006


pardonyou? : "I was responding to elpapacito's implication that the sniper's religious fervor is no different than Christian fervor. Say what you will about this war, but for the West, it ain't about religion."

I agree it is mostly about oil, which I don't really think makes it any better. But it is also about religion, their religion in this case. Not only for them but also for "us", to destroy or at least weaken what the conservatives like to call "the religion of hate". But mind you, just because we don't see it in film it does not mean that there aren't lots of soldiers praying for their bullets, bombs and shells to kill the enemy. Some of the West is ideologically past the Crusades spirit, but not all of it. Maybe not even most of it (or else, why would the US be conducting a racist neo-colonial war?).
posted by nkyad at 7:28 AM on February 14, 2006


Faze - how is sniping any different from any other killing? If a sniper is a murderer then so is an infantryman or tank gunner or a bombardier. If that's what you're saying then fine, but why single out a specific type of soldier for the way that he ends a life?
posted by longbaugh at 7:29 AM on February 14, 2006


an ability to acquire the weapons and uniforms of the new Iraqi security forces

They *are* the new Iraqi security force. Or at least, some of them are. Civil wars are *tricky*.

One of the most placid men I ever knew was an ex-sniper. He was trained by the USMC. I think that his unusual zen-like calmness stemmed from innate biological and developmental conditions, but that it was identified and honed by military indoctrination and training. He was a killing machine, and a poet.
posted by meehawl at 7:38 AM on February 14, 2006


The Soldier's Creed.

The Rifle Creed:

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will...
My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit...
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my rifle clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will...
Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life...
So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but peace!

posted by Pollomacho at 7:38 AM on February 14, 2006


One of the most placid men I ever knew was an ex-sniper. He was trained by the USMC.

Wow, that's interesting. One of the most fucked up people I've ever met was an ex-sniper.
posted by agregoli at 7:43 AM on February 14, 2006


what Faze said.

and,

.
posted by matteo at 7:46 AM on February 14, 2006


it does exist.

It seems as if it wouldn't be impossible to develop an automated sniper, too. Line it up on an important area, buried under brush or rubble, somewhere that only the enemy would be, or with a way to switch it off with a radio code. Set it for randomized firing -- maybe to fire at every Xth target, give or take Y -- so it isn't too easy to flush out. Link more than one of them using fiber to improve accuracy (multiple viewpoints) and maybe fire from multiple guns at once.

It could even be an anti-sniper sniper: several guns linked to the sniper detector and set to blast back at the location of a sniper bullet's source (with, presumably but not necessarily, a human at the switch).

He was a killing machine, and a poet.

Maybe they could add a poetry function, too.

I have shot
half the face
from your skull,

the face with which
you gasped
before breakfast.

Forgive me,
you were a delicious
target. So sweet
and so cold.
posted by pracowity at 7:49 AM on February 14, 2006


Sorry for the "sniping is murder" crowds here, but to say that killing a soldier from an enemy army that has formally declared war is murder is a bit farfetching, no? I mean, unless you are counting all the bodycount in this war as murder, and believe we should fry every soldier from both sides who killed an enemy in the electric chair as soon as they get home. If you accept war as legitimate, this is totally legitimate war behavior. Much more acceptable than carpetbombing someplace with even one civilian victim.

Soldiers are paid to die as pawns, civilians not. The military role is exactly to be an entity in which killing is scoring, not murder, and dying is increasing the bodycount. If you kill non-imprisoned non-incapacitated enemy soldiers, you're not a murderer, you are a high-scorer. Maybe a war hero.

Sorry, but when you declare war, you should expect the side effect that the other side will try to kill your soldiers... you know, this is the exact definition of war - putting soldiers to kill each other so that some leader somewhere gets a hard-on.

Just to be clear: I don't believe war is a civilized way of solving issues, and I certainly don't like people killing people. I am just pointing out the inconsistency in thinking of war as a legitimate entity, and yet reacting with outrage to someone killing soldiers.
posted by qvantamon at 7:52 AM on February 14, 2006


pardonyou ? Pardon you ? Fervor is fervor, religious fervor is religious fervor ..so if you a muslim killing people because some religious idiot told you Allah wants you to kill teh infidel, you aren't far away from an alleged catholic/protestant/whatever dropping bombs on targets conveniently forgetting the commandment "thou shalt not kill"

The biggest difference is that the Muslim is following some of the Quran verses like

"Make war on them [infidels] until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Sura 2:193)

so a radical muslims is actually doing what God told him to do, how can one be blamed for following God words ?

On the contrary a radical follower of the Bible is in violation of a commandment ! He is NOT following a direct commandment God , shame on him !

Point being, the two are misled to read ONLY parts of Bible and parts of Quran , people who believe in the God Delusion are at danger of identifying in a text that offer conflicting values ..confused people will go to the priest or to the mullah who will tell what is what and what to think, instead of thinking with their own brains because they believe these texts are actual words of a GOD !

Instead of welcoming into their life the messages of peace and cooperation, they are led to believe they are not good christian or not muslims if they don't do what the text says they must do ! It's GOD telling you to do so you infidel !

So when they finally enter enormous amount of cognitive dissonance they lose faith (in whatever religion) and with that they also lose values, ideals and principles that could be used to offer a paradigm, an example of a peaceful better tomorrow and that's true of muslim and chrisitan and any religio bringing some idea on how to better live without fighting each other.

These values are lost to the goddammed priest and mullah offering "interpreations" and to the formalists believing every fuckign word a religious text is SACRED. Ohhh God is about to spank you !!!

On top of this, put the hidden profit agenda that doesn't give a fuck about religion and superior ideal values, except one : the value of PROFIT , another dangerous God.

Derail from sniper thread ? Not really ! These sniper are ideologically motivated ...actually the Blackwaters one are as well, but the money god mercenaries follow changes idea very quickly, depending on the offer and the risks. Yet if you offer them a bounty big enough I guess you couldn't tell them from a foaming zealot.
posted by elpapacito at 7:52 AM on February 14, 2006


Oh, sorry, I didn't realize people were saying "Christ is the savior" or "God is wise" when they were dropping those bombs. In other words, please focus on my specific point. I realize there's been killing on both sides. I was responding to elpapacito's implication that the sniper's religious fervor is no different than Christian fervor. Say what you will about this war, but for the West, it ain't about religion.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:05 AM PST on February 14


Discussing the battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia, [Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry"] Boykin told another audience, "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

"We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God have been raised for such a time as this," Boykin said last year.


Also: "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam"

Also: Some 69 percent of conservative Christians favor[ed] military action against Baghdad; 10 percentage points more than the U.S. adult population as a whole.

Also:

Now what were you saying?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:06 AM on February 14, 2006


/semantic derail
an enemy army that has formally declared war

The United States never declared war on Iraq. In the same way that Vietnam was a police action...
posted by slimepuppy at 8:10 AM on February 14, 2006


It may not be so much a lesson in self-control, devotion to one's cause, or psychological warfare, but in economics. From One Shot, One Kill:
According to figures released by the Department of Defense, the average number of rounds expended in Vietnam to kill one enemy solder with the M-16 was 50,000. The average number of rounds expended by U.S. military snipers to kill one enemy soldier was 1.3 rounds. That's a cost-difference of $23,000 per kill for the average soldier, vs. $0.17 per kill for the military sniper.

According to the U.S. Army, the average soldier will hit a man-sized target 10 percent of the time at 300 meters using the M16A2 rifle. Graduates of the U.S. Army sniper school are expected to achieve 90 percent first-round hits at 600 meters, using the M24 Sniper Weapon System (SWS).
Think management.
posted by cenoxo at 8:13 AM on February 14, 2006


FazE:It's the death penalty without benefit of trial.

That's war for you. Correct me if I'm wrong but in war snipers and saboteurs are no different than a footsoldier. Are you saying that snipering is some kind of war crime? I don't believe it is. Wikipedia on snipers in warfare.
posted by skallas at 8:14 AM on February 14, 2006


...but to say that killing a soldier from an enemy army that has formally declared war is murder is a bit farfetching, no?

Not at all, my good man. It's one thing when you kill an enemy soldier in the heat of battle, or when he has his gun drawn on you, or is coming at you in an armed vehicle, or is flying overhead getting ready to drop a bomb on you. That might be justified as some kind of self-defense. It's another thing to seek out and shoot an enemy soldier engaged in a non-threatening activity, from a distance. He is in your sights, totally in your power, and you kill him. How is that different from executing a disarmed prisoner of war?

But what am I saying. It's all murder, actually. Just pure, flat out blood lust: the wild, hungry craving to commit the ultimate transgression, to feel the thrill of murder in your bones, to spit in the face of creation, and get down to nitty-gritty of our animal existence. We try to justify wars. But the desire to kill comes first. Then the politicians, religious leaders and historians work overtime to establish the excuses.
posted by Faze at 8:19 AM on February 14, 2006


slimepuppy:

(not being sarcastic)
I thought when the ultimatum was over and dubya said "Ok, so we are invading" that was acceptable as a war declaration... I even remember seeing somewhere comparing this to Vietnam, and saying how technically this was a war and Nam wasn't. Just headed to wikipedia, and you're right, it is not a formally declared war, being considered "police action" by the proponents and "invasion" by the opposition. Damn Matrix glitches, always making me seem like a fool. Thanks for pointing that out.

Anyway, I believe my text can mantain its meaning if you substitute it for "soldier of an enemy invading force".
posted by qvantamon at 8:19 AM on February 14, 2006


elpapacito, here's what you said first: "The sniper is saying 'praise to Allah,' which is kind of like a Christian saying 'Christ is the Savior.'" And I merely pointed out that your attempt at equivalence was lacking, since the former was in the process of killing specifically in the name of God. My point was simply that there is no equivalent in this war on the other side, and trying to draw such a connection was disingenuous.

I'm an agnostic (or "soft athiest" if you prefer), and I'm not interested in defending religious idealogues of any stripe. But you were trying to soften the effect of this sniper's clear religious motivation by treating it as no different than Christian behavior. And I would submit that -- in this war -- there's a significant difference.

on preview: Optimus Chyme, if you're not willing to acknowledge a qualitative difference in objectives between the U.S. and the insurgency, I can't help you. And I don't find your anecdotes persuasive. (Really 10% more of conservative Christians than the population as a whole? I'm shocked! I would have assumed it would be higher! Wonder whether it's the "conservative" or the "Christian" part that's playing more of a role. And do you really believe GWB started this war for religious reasons?)
posted by pardonyou? at 8:19 AM on February 14, 2006


this sniper's clear religious motivation

If you come from a community where people regularly say things like "God forbid," "God willing," "praise Jesus/God," pray before meals, and all of those religious trappings, it's not surprising that they would say something like that before engaging in war. Most of the Middle East is such a community. People who come from a more secular place (like many people in the US) are going to say this stuff less often. I wouldn't interpret the sniper's exclamation as evidence of religious motivation as such.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:26 AM on February 14, 2006


Optimus Chyme, if you're not willing to acknowledge a qualitative difference in objectives between the U.S. and the insurgency, I can't help you.

U.S. Objectives: defeat the insurgency.
Insurgency objectives: drive out U.S. forces.

That seems to be it, pretty much.

And I don't find your anecdotes persuasive.

We have a general saying "My god is bigger than his." We have the President, the Commander-in-chief, saying "God told me to strike." We have a statistically significant number of Christians supporting the war more than their secular neighbors. We have messages on bombs mocking the opposition's faith. So: what is not persuasive? Is it because the actual data does not support your hypothesis?

And do you really believe GWB started this war for religious reasons?

Do you think the insurgency started resisting for religious reasons?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:26 AM on February 14, 2006


It's one thing when you kill an enemy soldier in the heat of battle, or when he has his gun drawn on you, or is coming at you in an armed vehicle, or is flying overhead getting ready to drop a bomb on you. That might be justified as some kind of self-defense.

Ok, you can stop talking now.
posted by prostyle at 8:28 AM on February 14, 2006


Not at all, my good man. It's one thing when you kill an enemy soldier in the heat of battle, or when he has his gun drawn on you, or is coming at you in an armed vehicle, or is flying overhead getting ready to drop a bomb on you.
That might be justified as some kind of self-defense.


So, if both the sides of the war wants to be ethical, they will be deadlocked at each side of the battlefield, each waiting for the other side to shoot first? I don't think so, since the 20th century, war includes attacking soldiers that you are not currently engaged with. Usually the other side being military and capable is considered guarantee enough that he will kill you if he has the chance, so it is a kind of self defense to kill him first.

It's another thing to seek out and shoot an enemy soldier engaged in a non-threatening activity, from a distance. He is in your sights, totally in your power, and you kill him. How is that different from executing a disarmed prisoner of war?

He is not in your power. You can't make him prisoner, or take him out of battle, unless by killing or incapacitating him with a bullet. He is capable of killing you if you let him leave and conditions are reversed. He is an advantage for the other side. A POW or incapacitated enemy isn't. Killing them does not give you any war advantage (except if you are really short on food), is just plain cruelty (and even stupidity: machiavelically thinking, a POW is much more useful than a corpse).
posted by qvantamon at 8:38 AM on February 14, 2006


He is not in your power. You can't make him prisoner, or take him out of battle, unless by killing or incapacitating him with a bullet. He is capable of killing you if you let him leave and conditions are reversed. He is an advantage for the other side. A POW or incapacitated enemy isn't. Killing them does not give you any war advantage (except if you are really short on food), is just plain cruelty (and even stupidity: machiavelically thinking, a POW is much more useful than a corpse).

Sniping Americans does several things. First, and most obviously, it eliminates the soldier. Second it sends a psychological message to the remaining soldiers and shakes their sense of security. If the soldier is killed, you send a message to the people back home. If you wound him, you take resources from the Americans to care for the wounded soldier.

A POW is a drain on your resources. Guards cannot fight. POW's must be fed and housed. Unless you simply intend to film their demise, there is far more value in sniping than taking a hostage.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:53 AM on February 14, 2006


Pollomacho: filming or mistreating POWs is against Geneva conventions, so it's not a hypothesis if you don't want to be imprisoned for war crimes if you lose.

The value I was thinking about is psychological, POWs can be negotiated, and Americans (I believe) are MUCH more sensitive to this situation than insurgents. So, I believe, POWs are good negotiating currency for insurgents. As for housing and guarding, just put them in some cell on your HQ (supposing a conventional war) and one or two guards are enough, as the HQ must have already its own protection.
posted by qvantamon at 9:01 AM on February 14, 2006


Though this may not be completely accurate, anyone remember the movie "Enemy at the Gates?" Jude law as a Russian sniper during WWII? The scariest thing about snipers isn't that they're accurate or more efficient than regular foot soldiers (and they're probably not more efficient in the cost-saving sense as most of them are highly trained). The most dangerous thing about an accurate sniper is his demoralizing power. Usually when you're in a firefight you at least know you're getting shot at, but with a sniper the bullet (and usually your death) comes out of nowhere (though I suppose the same could be said for cruise missiles and the like).

That was a lot of parenthesis.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:08 AM on February 14, 2006


(supposing a conventional war)

That's the problem here, we aren't talking about a conventional war between two distinct sides. Insurgent bands are not armies, they don't have headquarters, unless you count the hole in the ground that they keep their weapons cache in, and I dare say that's probably a bad place to stash angry American soldiers.

What do the insurgents care about the Geneva conventions anyway? Sniping American soldiers whenever they step out of their tents is a HUGE psychological value. It sends them the message that they are not safe, ever. It also is succeeding like nothing else back home. The constant trickle of dead and wounded returning from Iraq is turning the US public against the war. The video taped beheadings only made us angry.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:15 AM on February 14, 2006


Oh, and since noone was immature to do this yet, I'll do it myself.

CAMPER!
posted by qvantamon at 9:20 AM on February 14, 2006


The most dangerous thing about an accurate sniper is his demoralizing power.

Yes. They turn supposedly secure areas into unsecure ones. They're not wonder-soldiers, though. They tend to die quickly in regular combat, since they get spotted if they try to move fast or fire more than a very few shots.

In sieges with lots of cover (like Stalingrad) and insurgencies, they can be dramatically more effective. What they need is cover, and the ability to move quickly after the shot.

Finally, snipers have very limited offensive capability, since they have limited mobility, but they do work well in ambush.

Now, in Iraq, the insurgents have cover, intelligence, and mobility, all via the support the general popluation has for the insurgency. Thus, snipers are very effective, as is the combat engineer varaint of the sniper, the miner/trap bomber.

The insurgents also understand US anti-sniper doctorine (bascially, throw one metric shitload of bullets in the direction the shot came from) and are countering by trying to hide the shot as much as possible. If the attacked unit doesn't know where the shot came from, the sniper's escape chances dramatically increase. The fact that they're apparently developing the one-shot rule is another example -- multiple shots mean multiple chances of detection, and the troops attack know there's a sniper nearby after the first shot.

The fact that they're incorporating propoganda is very interesting, and it may be first -- certainly, the first done to such a level. They consider it worth the increased risk of detection and reduce the chances of escape for the sniper and his partner -- twice as many holes to make, more equipment to be spotted, etc.
posted by eriko at 9:25 AM on February 14, 2006


Why does the SMH soft-sell the images in the video? I'm sure there is "no way to tell", but the video isn't designed to be body counts. Even if the dropped bodies were just recoiling in fear, its a powerful image.

In my mind's eye I was seeing this playing in an Iraqi living room, a young man's friends over to watch his recent video tape score where reality plays out like a video game. They do not have the Australian-provided niceties to whitewash what they are seeing.

This isn't just propaganda, this is a recruiting aid. Were I a dissafected youth in a country with an enemy army camped out inside it, this would be a stirring message.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:37 AM on February 14, 2006


Snipers are strategic weapons in Fallujah:
Taking a short breather Friday, the 21-year-old Marine corporal explained what it was like to practice his lethal skill in the battle for this city.

"It's a sniper's dream," he said in polite, matter-of-fact tones. "You can go anywhere and there are so many ways to fire at the enemy without him knowing where you are."
...
The Marines believe their snipers have killed hundreds of insurgents, although that figure alone does not accurately portray the significance of sniping. A sign on the wall of sniper school at Camp Pendleton, Calif., displays a Chinese proverb: "Kill One Man, Terrorize a Thousand."

"Sometimes a guy will go down, and I'll let him scream a bit to destroy the morale of his buddies," said the Marine corporal. "Then I'll use a second shot."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:40 AM on February 14, 2006


If they run, they're VC. If they don't run, they're well-disciplined VC.
posted by Justinian at 9:44 AM on February 14, 2006


Snipers are not tactical weapons, they are strategic. This means they have a different role to that of infantrymen - they are not there to capture or hold territory, they are there to spread fear and unease and take out high priority targets. It's a really, really shitty job and luckily there are very few people psychologically and mentally prepared for it. Other soldiers detest snipers and they will generally not be captured alive because of the terror that they cause. For a good long time, snipers have been treated as pariahs amongst their own units and it's only fairly recently that this has changed.

ANZAC Trooper Billy Sing shot 150 Turks alone during a few months at Gallipolli. The effect of one man doing this must have caused an incredible amount of damage to morale in that short a period.
posted by longbaugh at 9:45 AM on February 14, 2006






Soldiers pray. Wouldn't you? Yeah it may be more organized on the 'other side,' but that's all they've got to keep them in line.
posted by chaz at 9:48 AM on February 14, 2006


From NinjaPirate's link:
"It has limitations like all technology," Smith said. "There's no perfect, silver bullet. But it's very effective in certain circumstances in an urban environment. In a desert environment it can be extremely effective."

WeaponWatch picks up on the infrared signature of every weapon the moment it is fired, instantly identifying it from a database of thousands of weapons muzzle flashes.
It has been possible to detect artillery with radar for many years, and trace the shells back to origin by projecting back along the ballistic trajectory. However, that is a much easier problem than detecting small arms, let alone tracing the origin.

The surface area of a small caliber bullet is orders of magnitude smaller than an artillery shell. Also, small arms projectiles are coming in along level trajectories close to the ground, where there is lots of noise (buildings, people, vehicles, the ground), artillery is coming from the sky, where there isn't much else except the incoming shells. It is also important to consider that sensing technology is not improving the way processing technology is. It is my impression that there have been virtually no advances in acoustic transducers in the last 30 years or more. The same is likely true for radar. Image sensing has improved, with CCD cameras and the like, but less than you would think (especially considering that the military doesn't have the same cost constraints consumer electronics devices have).

I'm sure the acoustic and infra red systems mentioned above are useful for something. For example, figuring out the existence and direction of a non-silenced handgun fired at a press conference sounds feasible. These systems aren't going to detect and locate snipers with any degree of accuracy any time soon.
posted by Chuckles at 9:54 AM on February 14, 2006


but that's all they've got to keep them in line.

Um, No. Maybe you don't know many soldiers (they were the poor, dumb kids in high school right? The ones who didn't have any other choice once they graduated? And you probably didn't hang out with them...) But you are very, veeery wrong.

(And, yes, I'm willing to grant that it works both ways. To over simplify the motivations of Iraqis is equally moronic.)
posted by Cyrano at 9:57 AM on February 14, 2006


pardonyou? : as far as I know praising Allah is quite a common practice among muslims, at this point a muslims would write blessed His Name, as we write it is often used as if you were hearing a prayer and a voice out of scene cried "alleluja!". Allah willing, a muslim
would write, we will see were our opinion diverge and Allah willing we will learn something.

Certainly crying "praise to Allah" in the context of shooting an infidel is the practical equivalent of crying "Because God wants it!" that is, as far as I know, one of the cries of ancient christian crusaders. I am not in the attempting of softening anything, on the contrary I said the sniper is most probably acting with a religious motivation..or assuming he is not, certainly his actions will be lauded by religious zealots.

But the actions of christian/born again whatver/non-muslim that should follow the commandment "thou shalt not kill" WILL NOT be praised by the religious counterpart and SHOULD NOT be praised because it's a DIRECT violation of a God-Given commandment and there no excuse, even if he didn't CRY while dropping bombs, his actions are a violation.

So if after the mission he/she goes to church, praise God or Christ or whatever, it's evident he/she is the vilest hypocrite and he will go to a priest that may -pardon him- for he didn't mean to kill. This absolutely idiotic practice of priest washing away the sins one commited is simoniac, disgusting and certainly not pedagogic because the problem is NOT in being pardoned by a black dressed vulture, the problem is understanding WHY one sinned and WHY it is a sin to kill no matter who asks you to kill.

Then of course the soldier have any easy scapegoat, of saying he's atheist or agnostic (I technically am an agnostic as well) so he's only subject to rule of law and he didn't violate any, because government ordered him to kill. Which violates -ideals- that forbid killing in your own city, unless in self defence..which is another story.
posted by elpapacito at 10:05 AM on February 14, 2006


Chuckles - I'd imagine it would be fairly simple for an auditory system to give a point of origin for a single shot in the field. The difference between the *crack* and *boom* of a long distance rifle shot is fairly distinctive for ranging and multiple mikes should be able to give a decent enough indication of where the shot came from. Otherwise advances in mm wave radar and laser sensors (should the weapon be tied to a laser sight or rangefinder) might give men in the field some hope of avoiding the long distance sniper. Here is a bunch more links for counter-sniper systems.

For those of you discussing the religious aspects - you've all watched Saving Private Ryan, right? How about the sniper using his god-given skills to shoot Germans? He may be a fictional character but surely you get the point. Some people will thank god if they remember to switch off the gas when they go on holiday - it doesn't mean anything, it's just another way of expressing relief that you did something right.
posted by longbaugh at 10:08 AM on February 14, 2006


Elpapcito, it's more like he's shouting "forgive me father for I have sinned" each time he shoots than "praise God." It may be because he wants forgiveness for letting his excitement distract him from the path of God. It may be because he is asking God to forgive him for destroying one of His creations (as is done with the knife stroke during halal butchering).
posted by Pollomacho at 10:23 AM on February 14, 2006


Thank you Pollomacho for stating something I've been trying to put into words since this thread started.
posted by daq at 10:26 AM on February 14, 2006


All you'd need to do is survey religious vs. non-religious people to gague the effect of Religious belief on the willingness to support the Iraq invasion.

My guess is that American fundamentalist beilef played a forming pro-war attitudes than some here might like to believe. Remember this?
posted by washburn at 10:36 AM on February 14, 2006


Whoops. Didn't mean to hit post. "played a greater role in" I meant. Lots of other errors there, too. Yikes!
posted by washburn at 10:38 AM on February 14, 2006


Dragunov SVD, interesting choice of weapons.

And it looks like an older model too.
posted by Relay at 10:49 AM on February 14, 2006


Dragunov SVD, interesting choice of weapons.


it's a sniper rifle, isn't it? why interesting?
posted by Miles Long at 10:50 AM on February 14, 2006


Dragunov SVD, interesting choice of weapons.

Wouldn't you expect it to be one? Iraq was supplied by the Soviets/Russians for much of their weaponry, as are Syria and Iran who are reportedly supplying the insurgency.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2006


Dragunovs, along with AKs and RPGs, pretty much "peppered" (my new favorite word) the Iraqi landscape. Not surprising at all.
posted by bardic at 10:57 AM on February 14, 2006


The SVD is a rather dated design, based on the Soviet AK.

It's designed to be more than just a sniper rifle, and can be used as close support at the squad level.

Most sniper rifles are one shot, bolt action weapons, the Dragunov is semi-auto.

Although it is usually put down my American & British sniper teams for not being as accurate as American bolt-action weapons, the Soviets had them scoped out to 1.3 Km (just over a mile).

Also, they look pretty bitchin'.
posted by Relay at 10:58 AM on February 14, 2006


For sure bardic, there's AKs & AK variants all over the place, but outside of propaganda photos, I've seen SVDs used very rarely in the past.
posted by Relay at 11:03 AM on February 14, 2006


qvantamon, You're clearly against the US military, on both a personal level and policy level, so I'm sure this is wasted on you but I'll give it a shot. One of the differences is the insurgent sniper is both dressed as a civilian (against the geneva conventions). In several of the shots, I think there's a good chance the sniper is also intentionally dispersed through the population in an attempt to make it much harder to locate them. Again, in violation of the geneva conventions.

If you see no difference between this and the foot soldiers in full uniform, then you are incapable of seeing a difference at any level. I can only assume you also condone other violations of the geneva conventions, such as using ambulances for ambushes, torture, and weapons of mass destruction.

As for your statement that "soldiers are paid to die as pawns", I don't know where to start. Yes, our soldiers are willing to put themselves in position where they're in mortal danger for the sake of their mission, but they do not sign up to die as pawns. If everyone was a cowardly as you, the military would be a complete failure. It must be nice to live in your world were no one would take advantage of such a situation, but it's not reality.

Do I think we should be in Iraq? No. But I do not feel it's the personal responsibility of each soldier to decide if they should carry out each and every order. It's the responsibility of the citizen at home to ensure the administration is not wasting our military for unneccessary & unjust wars. It's with the administration you should find fault.
posted by Crash at 11:03 AM on February 14, 2006


The SVD is a rather dated design, based on the Soviet AK.

That is the VEPR. The Dragunov was made by, not surprisingly, Evgeniy Dragunov, a seperate Soviet rifle designer. It was designed and built from scratch.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:04 AM on February 14, 2006


but that's all they've got to keep them in line.

I was just talking about the Iraqi side, where religion is a prime text to give people discipline. On the US side, we have more things in our disposal then religion, although that is also used heavily.
posted by chaz at 11:08 AM on February 14, 2006


The VEPR was based on the RPK.

"SVD was designed not as a standart sniper rifle. In fact, main role of the SVD ir Soviet / Russian Army is to extend effective range of fire of every infantry squad up to 600 meters and to provide special fire support. SVD is a lightweight and quite accurate (for it's class) rifle, cabable of semi-auto fire. First request for new sniper rifle was issued in 1958."

From here:

http://world.guns.ru/sniper/sn18-e.htm

Anyway, the Russian sniper I talked with told me it was a down barreled AK.

I could be wrong.
posted by Relay at 11:13 AM on February 14, 2006


Relay - probably not a choice since that's the only sniper weapon available to them. It's not like they get to pick out of a catalogue - they'll be using whatever ex-Iraqi Army stock they have access to (it'll likely be a Chinese copy rather than an actual SVD and I'd be surprised if they have access to match quality ammo which would increase the effective range and accuracy considerably). Muj in Afghanistan were using .303 SMLE No.4's through to the late 80's because that's the best they had access to - Russians using the PSO-1 equipped SVD at 500-600yds were up against tribesman using SMLE's with iron sights out to 800yds.

The SVD is closer to the DMR rifles issued by the USMC than a true sniper weapon. Pollomacho is right - the SVD is not based on the AK, it's chambered for the old Moisin-Nagant 7.62x54mm round used all the way back in 1910.

/very sad bastard
posted by longbaugh at 11:13 AM on February 14, 2006


This reminds me of the stories of Juba, the famous, anonymous Iraqi sniper.

In all likelihood, Juba is just a construct used for propaganda purposes. The real Juba is quite possibly dead or in prison by now.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:16 AM on February 14, 2006


Longbaugh, I was just reading on an SVD site that West Point has not one, but TWO SVDs they grabbed in Iraq since the invasion.

They said that they're both Russian manufactured, and judging from the Izhmash markings on the receiver, I think they're right.

And yeah, I know the SVD uses 7.62x54mm rounds.

And no, I won't go into how Moisin-Nagants are amazing.
posted by Relay at 11:20 AM on February 14, 2006


But Gonzalez calls the Geneva Conventions 'antiquated' and no longer relevent. How can you expect an enemy to 'play by the rules' when the opposing force clearly has no intention to?
Any american suggesting an enemy force adopts or honors the geneva conventions when their own country does not is hypocritical, don't you think?
All sense of fair play, fair treatment of prisoners, injured, etc. all that goes out the window.
posted by mk1gti at 11:25 AM on February 14, 2006


qvantamon, You're clearly against the US military, on both a personal level and policy level, so I'm sure this is wasted on you but I'll give it a shot.

Not really, on both levels. I'll ignore the ad hominem on the rest of the post, as you seemingly misunderstood my position (and rereading my posts, I really appear to be defending this guy). On to the discussion.

One of the differences is the insurgent sniper is both dressed as a civilian (against the geneva conventions). In several of the shots, I think there's a good chance the sniper is also intentionally dispersed through the population in an attempt to make it much harder to locate them. Again, in violation of the geneva conventions.

Sorry, I didn't see the video (I'm at work). I was answering specifically to "Sniping is murder", which, against enemy soldiers in a war, is not. Disguising as a civilian while doing so is coward and criminal. I was in no way defending this sniper. I was defending that the act of sniping per se does not constitute anything against "war ethics".

If you see no difference between this and the foot soldiers in full uniform, then you are incapable of seeing a difference at any level. I can only assume you also condone other violations of the geneva conventions, such as using ambulances for ambushes, torture, and weapons of mass destruction.

Again, I was talking about sniping, not disguising as a civilian. And I don't condone any of the cited.

As for the other paragraphs, if the military were as cowardly as you assumed I were (I think you refer to using guerrilla tactics), it would be actually more effective at winning wars, but, yes, a failure as human beings.
posted by qvantamon at 11:35 AM on February 14, 2006


A VEPR is basically an AK with an RPK receiver.

An SVD has a similarly designed dustcover, gas recovery and bolt mechanism to an AK, but it is not an AK. It does use an AK bayonet and looks a little like an AK, but that is where parts exchange stops.

Before anyone says it's a dinosaur, remember that the SVD went into full production in 1963, three years after the US Army began replacing the M-1 and M-14 with the AR-15 for the same combat role. It was 1963 that the "black rifle," AR-15/M16 went into full mass production.

I kinda collect Soviet arms, sorry, I too am a sad bastard. Mainly because I like shooting sports and military history and Soviet surplus is cheap! I hunt with a surplus WWII moisin carbine sniper rifle, shoots truer than any winchester.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:35 AM on February 14, 2006


Relay - the reason I mentioned the calibre is that the old 7.62x54 MN round is rimfire and would not feed into the AK receiver unless it was heavily modified. I was simply correcting your earlier statement viz. the origin of the SVD. Incidentally - there was a $25,000 bounty on SVDs during the Vietnam war, such was the desire to get a hold of the new Russian sniper rifle - once one was finally retrieved it was looked at but wasn't even as good as the old Springfield M-21 (the modified M-14 used by the Army at the time). More recent weapons such as the AI PM/L96 completely outshine the SVD which is really showing it's age, as well as the philosophy behind it's design.

The website you are referring to points out that the SVD was captured during the 1991 Gulf War, not in the more recent actions.
posted by longbaugh at 11:40 AM on February 14, 2006


the old 7.62x54 MN round is rimfire

Sorry, one more correction, the 7.62X54R round is rimmed not rim fire. The R stands for rimmed. It is indeed centerfire usually employing a berdan primer system. More than you ever wanted to know.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:48 AM on February 14, 2006


The whole "they're disguising their snipers as civilians!" argument is weak. The snipers *ARE* civilians, and don't have uniforms. That said, they do tend to wear headscarves, which has become the defacto uniform for Iraqi insurgents.

(Where was all this outrage against civilian snipers when you were watching Red Dawn?)

Also, the battleground for Iraqi snipers isn't all that peachy. There are US snipers working in just about every major Iraqi city, and US drones regularly patrol the rooftops, looking for potential snipers.

It used to be pretty common and safe for Iraqis to seek refuge on their rooftops during the hottest days of the year. Not so much anymore...
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:58 AM on February 14, 2006


My bad pollo - I think that's the second time you've corrected me now. Consider my smug visage being suitably chastised right now.
posted by longbaugh at 12:04 PM on February 14, 2006


Crash : "One of the differences is the insurgent sniper is both dressed as a civilian (against the geneva conventions). In several of the shots, I think there's a good chance the sniper is also intentionally dispersed through the population in an attempt to make it much harder to locate them. Again, in violation of the geneva conventions. "

You don't know what you're talking about on both cases.

Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, 8 June 1977.Part III. Methods and Means of Warfare Combatant and Prisoners-Of-War, Section II. Combatants and Prisoners of War, Art. 44. Combatants and prisoners of war:
3. In order to promote the protection of the civilian population from the effects of hostilities, combatants are obliged to distinguish themselves from the civilian population while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack. Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself, he shall retain his status as a combatant, provided that, in such situations, he carries his arms openly:

(a) during each military engagement, and (b) during such time as he is visible to the adversary while he is engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which he is to participate.


The sniper in question and the whole Iraq Resistance movement are equivalent to a guerrilla fighting against an regular invader force - in such situations the Conventions allow for them to dress as civilians and hide among the civilian population.
posted by nkyad at 12:10 PM on February 14, 2006


insomnia: there is some difference between being dressed as a civilian and shooting someone then mixing in with the civilians, as people are saying this one does (haven't seen the video).

If insurgents want to be considered legitimate soldiers, they should visually differentiate themselves from civilians, not try to mix in to flee. And obey other war conventions as well.

On the other hand, if they want to be considered as civilians instead, killing people makes them just common criminals (actually organized crime).

What you cannot do is behave like criminals and demand the right to legitimate war.
posted by qvantamon at 12:17 PM on February 14, 2006


What you cannot do is behave like criminals and demand the right to legitimate war.

Why not? It happens all the time. As soon as a significant quantity of people are willing to behave in a warlike fashion, a state of war is established. Just because a war is fought in an asymmetrical manner doesn't mean we can point a finger at one side and say "you are criminals and therefore not legitimate!" and make the killing stop.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:21 PM on February 14, 2006


nkyad: I would consider some minutes after the shot still into the "military engagement", so shooting and immediately hiding the rifle and running for the crowd isn't exactly following the regulations.

And it does not allow to HIDE among the civilian population, just to not differentiate his clothes, as he doesn't have a uniform.
posted by qvantamon at 12:21 PM on February 14, 2006


qvantamon : "I would consider some minutes after the shot still into the 'military engagement', so shooting and immediately hiding the rifle and running for the crowd isn't exactly following the regulations."

Besides that being open to discussion (ie, it does not really matter when we consider the "military engagement" starts and ends, but what whatever precedent says), we don't know (and the video does not show up to the point I saw) if he did that - he may well have shot and walked slowly away carrying his rifle in plain sight.

And "hide" in this context means exactly mingling (using the same clothes, living in the same places, etc) as the civilian population and just showing his weapons when engaging the enemy.
posted by nkyad at 12:34 PM on February 14, 2006


One of the differences is the insurgent sniper is both dressed as a civilian

Well, that's the 400 million jillion dollar question isn't it? Is an insurgent army an army? The whole position that an insurgency takes is that the regular army has been defeated and the only option is to conduct a guerilla war. Should the insurgent, in a position of weakness, presumably believing his/her country to have been invaded, put on a uniform and line up in front of a vastly superior force and be cut down?

If you can answer that question with some degree of moral certitude, you should contact the IRA and the PLO along with the Iraqi insurgency.

We used, heavy, heavy sniper in both gulf wars and continue to use them in Iraq and Afghanistan. They may wear uniforms, but they're camoflage uniforms so that they can't be seen when they're sniping. I don't think what the sniper is wearing makes a damn bit of difference. They are used to bring terror to the other side. That's what the insurgency does, and that's what we do. Sniping is one of the tactics of war, and it works. We sign treaties after wars to curb the excesses of war that will make it impossible to end wars, but we leave ourselves the options to win wars however we can.

Sniping is a terrifying, horrible thing. But every army does it. If you think the Iraqis have the right to resist us, then they're justified in doing what they're doing. If you don't, then they're not. That's all there is to it.

(FWIW, I have no idea what to think about the insurgents)
posted by lumpenprole at 12:38 PM on February 14, 2006


perhaps if both sides exchanged military uniforms and guerilla kit for light and dark sports uniforms with corporate sponsorship?
posted by mk1gti at 12:41 PM on February 14, 2006


nkyad, you're quite the couch potato lawyer, but...

The statement "Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself" was in reference to cases such as being awaken in the middle of night due to an attack and not having time to don a uniform (and similiar instances). Not guerrilla warfare.

The first Additional Protocol of the 1977 Geneva Convention does introduce an exception to this rule for guerrilla warfare. According to the Protocol, guerrillas need not wear distinctive uniforms, but must carry their arms openly during military deployment prior to the launching of an attack, and during all military engagements. This provision is extremely controversial – the United States decided not to become a party to the Additional Protocol in large part because it objected to this aspect of the treaty. Neither is Iraq a party to Additional Protocol I, so it would not seem to be applicable in this conflict.

So in the instance cited above, the sniper is either acting as a civilian and committing murder or is in violation of war crimes (or you feel the iraqi government is illegitimate and therefor Iraq is no longer bound to the Geneva conventions).

As for the accusations that neither side is following the conventions, all I was commenting on is what is in the video. I like to think that the USA still respects the Geneva convention and strives to uphold it. Our administration might be stretching/breaking it, but the majority of soldiers on the ground still support it (after all, it was created for their protection). The soldiers standing next to their hummers don't seem to be committing any war crimes, I must have missed that part.
posted by Crash at 1:46 PM on February 14, 2006


My first reaction to this video was like everyone else, I was shocked and appalled. But then I got to thinking, if the roles were reversed I'd be doing the same thing. If someone had invaded and was occupying my country, I would also be at the window with a rifle taking pot shots as they drove by.

Of course, this kind of depends on who invaded. If Canada decided to take over the US, I'd probably be happy. China, on the other hand, wouldn't be as welcome

As for the legality and/or moral ground of guerilla warfare. Let us not forget that the US backed the Contras in their war with the Sandinistas (who also accused the Contras of being terrorists) using mostly guerilla tactics. We also supported the Mujahideen in their war with the soviet union, again guerilla fighters. The US hardly has a moral leg to stand on in calling the insergents "terrorists", since we have supported groups who have done basically the same thing. (speaking of course of a people fighting an occupying or invading army, not bombing a mosque, polling station, etc)

And of course, let us not forget the resistance movements of the occupied countries in WWII, which employed non-conventional tactics. If we are to condemn sniping and guerilla war, then we might as well say that France should have just accepted the Nazi occupation with open arms.
posted by darkness at 3:03 PM on February 14, 2006


You people are crazy and have twisted the debate into a fine little semantic corner, but lets get something very clear:

The United States invaded another country with no authority. Some of the people of Iraq want to get rid of these foreigners that are killing them. Why should the Iraqis follow any rules? They don't, and I know for sure I wouldn't [as darkness says above] if a country illegally invaded my country.
posted by meech at 3:47 PM on February 14, 2006


or even legally invaded my country.
posted by meech at 3:54 PM on February 14, 2006


I gotta agree. If the Russian/Cuban/Nicaraguan Commie Bastards had invaded, I would have planting bombs, sniping at them, and metling away into the crowds, too. That's been a fact of war since, well, forever. Everybody does it. We'd do it too if our backs were against the wall.

Trying to restrict war to easily identifiable targets out in the open favors... wait for it... the people with the most powerful army in the history of the world. Namely, us. It also has the laudable side effect of reducing collateral damage but don't for a minute think we wouldn't (and don't) ignore any conventions that significantly hindered our ability to wage war.

WOLVERINES!!!
posted by Justinian at 4:19 PM on February 14, 2006


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