Posts tagged "Iraq"

The military's very bad week – Collateral Murder and FreeRepublic.com

Several stories have broken in the past week or two that have painted some bad light on the military. Yes, I said painted bad light, just ignore that the phrase makes no sense and go with it. The three major stories are General McChrystal admitting most of the people shot up at Iraqi checkpoints were unarmed, NATO admitting two US special forces soldiers covered up a civilian murders in Afghanistan, and WikiLeaks releasing video of a 2007 incident in Iraq where a photojournalist was killed by the US military and the incident was covered up.

Now, here at TarsTarkas.NET, we support the troops. We support them by not wanting to send them off to die in pointless wars so some schmuck can play dress-up in a pilot suit with a big codpiece. We support them by wanting to send them into battle properly equipped and not “with the army you have.” We support them by wanting an exit strategy not developed by morons. We support them by not wanting a bunch of accountless mercenaries running around who shoot up civilians and cause problems for our forces. We support them by wanting to give them raises. We support them by wanting their rotations in and out of war zones to be done in a responsible manor. We support them by not wanting funding for head trauma cut. We support them by not using them as props to hide behind while launching bombs about who is the real patriots (the same real patriots who are currently waiting for someone to start Revolutionary War II: Through the Portal of Time.)

So these stories are the results of irresponsible morons being in charge of the military industrial complex for decades who have to answer to no one. Arrogancy and entitlement at their finest, with no consequences for anyone except a few low-level fall guys.

Gen. McChrystal: We’ve Shot ‘An Amazing Number Of People’ Who Were Not Threats

In a stark assessment of shootings of locals by US troops at checkpoints in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in little-noticed comments last month that during his time as commander there, “We’ve shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force.”

The comments came during a virtual town hall with troops in Afghanistan after one asked McChrystal to comment on the “escalation of force” problem. The general responded that, in the nine months he had been in charge, none of the cases in which “we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it.”

In many cases, he added, families were in the vehicles that were fired on.

So a large number of innocent civilians are being fired on by US troops. This can’t possibly have any bad consequences for the troops over there now and future relations with Iraqi people over the next fifty years, so let’s move on to the next incident…

US special forces ‘tried to cover-up’ botched Khataba raid in Afghanistan

US special forces soldiers dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened, Afghan investigators have told The Times.

Two pregnant women, a teenage girl, a police officer and his brother were shot on February 12 when US and Afghan special forces stormed their home in Khataba village, outside Gardez in eastern Afghanistan.

NATO military officials had suggested that the women were actually stabbed to death — or had died by some other means — hours before the raid, an explanation that implied that family members or others at the home might have killed them.

This will undoubtedly win the hearts and minds of the Afghans as their current thug in chief threatens to join the Taliban.

A video of the July 12, 2007 killing of Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, was released by WikiLeaks on a site called Collateral Murder. Reuters has been trying to get a copy of this video for years.

An original report on the incident

The original reports tried to cover it all up:

The American military said in a statement late Thursday that 11 people had been killed: nine insurgents and two civilians. According to the statement, American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine insurgents were killed.

“There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,” said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad.

More here

a review session after Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, commander of the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment and his soldiers returned to base, which “concluded that everyone had acted appropriately.” (Kauzlarich was also involved in the Army’s Pat Tillman cover-up, and later told ESPN that the reluctance of Tillman’s parents to accept the military’s story that he was killed by enemy action, rather than friendly fire, was the unfortunate result of their lack of Christian faith.)

That Kauzlarich is some piece of work…

You can go to the Collateral Murder site and see the video for yourself. I am not embedding it in case you are the one guy who browses here at work and automatically clicks on all YouTube videos before reading what they are about. You know, a guy who is begging to get fired.

The videos are pretty damning that they shot at unarmed civilians.

Now, this is where Wingnut Web comes in! You see, the WikiLeaks story hit FreeRepublic.com! And they reacted pretty darn horribly. As usual!

BARF ALERT!
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It is the kids’ fault for being Iraqis in Iraq!
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All terrorists walk in groups. If you ever walk in a group, it is the same thing as flying a plane into a building and you deserve to die. Keep this in mind for the next teabagger gathering!
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They purposely got their kids shot up in a planned response to an attack happening minutes ago by a guy who just happened to be driving by. Any other reason for what is in the tape is purely propaganda. I have my fingers in my ears LALALALALALALALALA!!!!
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I see nothing wrong with this murder, please help me own some dudes on this economic blog!
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We got a guy calling journalists terrorists, and a guy who thinks all the US people in the video were undercover terrorists. I see.
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He deserved it, because I didn’t like him!
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Good kills. What did you reply? I can’t read it because of all this ejaculate on my monitor after watching this hajis get wasted!
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It was a good shot! If you are not masturbating furiously to this footage and the thoughts of all Arabs dying you are a traitor to America! (we give props to the lone Freeper who isn’t crazy, probably banned now)
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Check out this dumb fuck
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NO MERCY! Especially in my MYSTERY VAN! How about a Scooby Snack! It’s Jihad-licious!
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That’s great, except these were journalists and civilians.
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That camera was totally an rpg! Ung ung ung ung SPLOOOGE!!!
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FreeRepublic.com in a single post.
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Now that your faith in your fellow man is at its lowest, remember….these guys want to vote their leaders into power next election! Are you going to let those guys win?

1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 5, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Categories: Culture Wars, Wingnut Web   Tags: , , ,

The Mysterious Death of the Nisour Square Trial

Thursday, a federal judge dismissed all charges against five Blackwater employees who slaughtered between fourteen (technically seventeen) civilians in a crowded Baghdad intersection in broad daylight.   How exactly that happened is a long story, that I should probably begin with the shooting itself, referred to as the Nisour Square massacre.  Here is just one of the many accounts of the shooting from the traffic guard who was present:

ALI KHALAF SALMAN: [translated] But when he turned his face towards traffic, he heard this woman crying, “My son! My son!” And then he ran into that direction, and he saw her son, who was a medical student. He was all covered in blood. He said he went—when he heard the woman crying, he went towards that direction, and he tried to help the medical student who was covered in blood, help him out of the car. But the mother inside was holding tight to her son. And he raised his hand to stop—

SUSAN BURKE: Stop the shooting.

ALI KHALAF SALMAN: [translated] Stop the shooting. He was telling them, “Don’t shoot, please.” He said, while he raised his hand and asking them not to shoot, this time the man in the fourth car shot the mother dead. A machine gun. He said, the car was number four in line. And then, when the person in car number four, a security man, started shooting, he shot the mother dead. And the cars in front of this car, the civilian cars, actually, they spread around to the sides. I think they were scared.

And he said the doctor’s car was an automatic car. Because he died behind the wheel, the car started moving by itself, because it was an automatic car, towards the square. And at this moment, they started shooting the car with big machine guns, and the car exploded.

There’s more, but I think you get the idea.  The Army, the FBI, and Iraqi investigators all concluded that at least fourteen were completely unprovoked.  The other three didn’t actually pose a threat and nobody but the Blackwater employees was armed,  but they’re allowed a great deal of leeway on opening fire on things.  Additionally, a former Blackwater employee gave some disturbing sworn testimony about possible motives for the shootings.  The prosecution stated:

In addition to verbal expressions of hatred towards Iraqi civilians, the defendants engaged in unprovoked and aggressive behavior toward unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. In so doing, the defendants routinely acted in disregard of the use of force policies that they were required to follow as a condition of their employment as Blackwater guards.

[…]

This evidence tends to establish that the defendants fired at innocent Iraqis not because they actually believed that they were in imminent danger of serious bodily injury and actually believed that they had no alternative to the use of deadly force, but rather that they fired at innocent Iraqi civilians because of their hostility toward Iraqis and their grave indifference to the harm that their actions would cause.

So how did the charges get dismissed?   They had immunity before the trial even began.  They were “compelled” to make sworn statements that included the language: “I further understand that neither my statements nor any information or evidence gained by reason of my statements can be used against me in a criminal proceeding,”  effectively turning the Fifth Amendment on its head.   To further ensure that there would be no convictions, higher-ups in the State Department  went to extraordinary lengths to taint the evidence with these statements.   This is how military law expert Scott Horton described it:

What the State Department has done in this case is inconsistent with proper law enforcement standards. It is likely to undermine an ultimate prosecution, if not make it impossible. In this sense, the objective of the State Department in doing this is exposed to question. It seems less to be to collect the facts than to immunize Blackwater and its employees. By purporting to grant immunity, the State Department draws itself more deeply into the wrongdoing and adopts a posture vis-a-vis Blackwater that appears downright conspiratorial.

The State Department Inspector General at the time was a guy named Howard Krongard who’s brother “Buzzy” Krongard was the former number three at the CIA and, at the time of this investigation, was on the advisory board of Blackwater.  Howard Krongard ended up having to testify before a House oversight committee regarding his role in sabotaging investigations against a number of contractors, including Blackwater:

According to a letter, a federal prosecutor asked Krongard’s investigators to assist in the probe of the security contractor, but Krongard sent an e-mail to a senior staff member directing the assistance to “stop IMMEDIATELY” and to wait until he spoke to the prosecutor.

After weeks of delay, [Committee Chair Henry] Waxman said, Krongard asked someone on his media relations staff _ not an investigator _ to assist the federal prosecutors. “This unorthodox arrangement has reportedly impeded the investigation,” Waxman said.

POGO noted an entire network of shady individuals connected to Blackwater and “Buzzy” Krongard including Joseph E. Schmittz, a former DoD Inspector General who was forced to resign in disgrace following similar wrongdoings.  Conspiratorial indeed.

This isn’t something that you would think could be turned into a partisan issue, and indeed, John McCain made a plea to the DoJ to appeal the ruling on his recent visit to Iraq.  Freep had a much different reaction, with one poster going so far as to suggest that Blackwater be put, “in charge of airport and airline security instead of Joe Isuzu Obama and Janet ‘Barney Fife’ Napolitano?”

Nisour Square
pic via

1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by dm - January 6, 2010 at 11:51 am

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