Monday, April 05, 2010

"Collateral Murder" NOT

I've read the various descriptions of the gun camera video that was published today on the Wikileaks site. I won't link to the site, because their slander doesn't deserve the traffic. I did go to the site to read the Wikileaks post, but I probably won't watch the video. War is ugly, people died, viewing it would probably not add much to my understanding. Several respectable and respected bloggers have commented, including Ed Morrisey, Rusty Shackleford, Phib, Roggio, and Uber Pig.

Here is what I gather from their descriptions: There was an armed group of men in Iraq. Under the ROE at the time, they could be engaged. They were engaged and destroyed. A vehicle came on the scene to assist the targets. It too was engaged.

That's not murder. It's combat.

The following thought occured to me while reading something by Mike Yon the other day. (I can't find the exact post, otherwise I would link it directly.)

People, both military and civilian, must understand once a target is identified it can be engaged immediately. Sleeping, hiding, running away, even wounded. (If you think wounded fighters on the field of battle are somehow out of the fight, take a look at a few Medal of Honor citations.) While warfighters have an obligation to accept surrender, they are under no obligation to ask for it.

UPDATE: Here's something that would answer a lot of questions. The photographs from the dead photographer's camera. Assuming they weren't destroyed is reasonable. We know who he was. It seems highly likely that someone from his family would save "his last pictures." So how 'bout it Reuters? What were his final photos that day?

UPDATE II: Rusty at mypetjawa has the photos. They were included as items in the Army's investigation of the engagement. I watched the video and listened to the audio. You could hear the tension in the pilots voices when they had saw the guy with the RPG peaking around the corner down the alley from where the US patrol was passing. They didn't have a clean shot yet and thought the enemy was going to engage before they got one. Anyone who can't hear that must be willfully ignorant or just ignorant. It sucks that that was the guy with the camera. ... but the group was armed. As for the van... I don't know the ROE on that. But the pilots did, and the investigation (also at the jawa site) cleared them. No cover up. Clear statements of fact. War sucks, but do not condemn warriors because they take you somewhere you would rather not be.

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