The story of one bomb
November 10, 2003 4:40 PM   Subscribe

30,000 bombs were dropped on Iraq during the war. This is the story of just one. (RealVideo, 1h14m) While filming at a cross-roads in northern Iraq on April 6, a US Navy jet launched a bomb into a crowd of US and Kurdish soldiers who a BBC team were accompanying. In the seconds that followed, BBC cameraman Fred Scott began to film the disaster as it unfolded, footage which was heavily censored when shown on US news.
posted by Mwongozi (13 comments total)
Amazing film. Thank you!
posted by tami3_3 at 6:13 PM on November 10, 2003

Watched it. Good.

Anyone know if anything came of the SOF who called in the strike on an abandoned tank so close and was the bomb fired at the wrong target or went astray?
posted by stbalbach at 6:40 PM on November 10, 2003

Why did I was watch this?

I knew what was coming.
posted by hoskala at 6:42 PM on November 10, 2003

H E A V Y. thanks for the link bro.

christ. i feel horrible for all the "liberated" families whose lives were blown apart in a similar way by our technology and faith based administration.
posted by specialk420 at 9:25 PM on November 10, 2003

This is pretty familiar to anyone who remembers Simpson's BBC report sent in just after the attack happened, or who saw the Correspondent programme shown a couple of months ago, following a number of cameramen filming the Iraq operations. There's something deeply disturbing about those shots immediately after the bomb landed, with the (American) cameraman's blood running like red raindrops down the lens. I wasn't aware that the US media decided it wasn't suitable for broadcast to delicate American eyes. A pity.

There's an irony that it happened to Simpson: the Correspondent programme showed him days before the attack, complaining about not seeing any action in northern Iraq, apart from long-distance exchanges of fire between the Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers: the 'embeds' with the Marines in southern Iraq were getting all the air-time. After 'liberating' Kabul, he had the war correspondent's scent for a battle in Iraq, and the US obliged him. Be careful what you wish for.
posted by riviera at 9:48 PM on November 10, 2003

crazy shit,,, war is hell
posted by chaz at 10:55 PM on November 10, 2003

John Simpson's introduction to the program, which gives some answers stbalbach may want: the forward air controller, rattled by enemy fire from the tanks he wanted destroyed, failed to give all the confirming information normally required -- and fatally identified the target as "an intersection" meaning the one before him, not behind him. The pilot acted on the information given him.

Sadly, the same region was the site of an earlier notorious friendly fire incident.

Some of the blue-on-blues were possibly the result of a GPS unit carried by FACs that would automatically reset, under conditions such as low battery, to the bearer's position. If he wasn't careful, he could relay that as the target.
posted by dhartung at 11:53 PM on November 10, 2003

After watching this, I only wish the United States news agencies would create more programs with this kind of quality. Stories like this need to be told, not for any propaganda value, but so we can have a more human understanding of the events that play out during a war.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:03 AM on November 11, 2003

I watched this when it was broadcast on Sunday night here in the UK...facinating but deeply disturbing. I don't know if the detail comes thru on the RA feed but the shots immediately after the strike with the mangled & burnt bodies of the soldiers were pretty uncomfortable viewing. War ain't fun.
posted by i_cola at 12:31 AM on November 11, 2003

The RealVideo stream had a pretty low bitrate, but the sound of smoldering, crackling human fat transmitted clearly enough for me. That said, it would have been nice for them to throw a 300kbps stream (I remember when you could get a 300k stream of BBC World -- ah, the good old days).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:40 AM on November 11, 2003

fascinating & horrific.

from dhartung's first link, john simpson's introduction to the program:

"Who lived and died was a matter of chance. So, it seems, is the way American pilots sometimes pick their targets. In this case there is probably enough evidence of carelessness and poor operational procedure for a good lawyer to be able to sue the United States government for a large amount of money. But it won't happen. The US forces are thoroughly indemnified for acts of war.

"Those responsible for killing and wounding so many people probably won't even be court-martialled for it. The American military rarely takes action in cases of friendly fire. If they did, there might be fewer of them."

posted by n o i s e s at 4:26 AM on November 11, 2003

thanks, Mwongozi. for anybody reading & even slightly interested & dithering about 74minutes of your time, i'd say it's worth watching. does anybody have a link to today's radio interview w/simpson mentioned at the end?
posted by n o i s e s at 4:33 AM on November 11, 2003

I wasn't aware that the US media decided it wasn't suitable for broadcast to delicate American eyes.

We at MetaFilter, and in some other web communities, are unique in having access to nearly unlimited information available to us.

This makes it remarkably difficult for us to not witness the consequences of the decisions our governments make, or avoid thinking about the reality of our collective actions.

Most of the world population, particularly in the first-world nations, refuse awareness of the stark reality of policy outcomes. The media aids in this by refusing to show information that would cause a significant amount of outrage among the population.

An upset population is one that isn't going to spend its money. Scare the population and the economy tanks. Create distrust of the government and demand for change, and Bad Things Happen To Your Bottom Line.

Do what you can to create awareness. Change is required if the habit of war is to be broken.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:57 AM on November 11, 2003


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