Talk:July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike

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Punishments, Discipline[edit]

The article lacks any information about who, if anyone, was prosecuted or disciplined in any way for these murders, especially for the ordinary good samaritan with the minivan & children who could not reasonably be portrayed as in any way suspicious. When have disciplinary actions, if any, have ever been taken? In particular, our article could be failing to properly inform by taking "The View From Nowhere", thus improperly creating the impression in the mind of the readers that there is a possibility space open other than the true one, given all available facts: A war crime has been commited, and NO ONE has ever been held accountable for it in any way, at any time. Ace Frahm (talk) 04:37, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

No one was punished because their actions were proper, they were right to open fire based on what they thought they were seeing. A pilot who sees about ten insurgents armed with weapons such as AKs and RPGs, and another with what looks like a rocket launcher and is being pointed at US forces, has to open fire or be relieved of command for dereliction of duty. When a vehicle arrives to carry off the wounded insurgents, then it is reasonable to infer that this is another insurgent enabling the escape of a wounded comrade, and must also be fired on by any competent soldier/pilot.Walterego (talk) 03:32, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
The notion that a soldier or pilot should be tried for war crimes when they were simply doing exactly what they were supposed to do, is why the US has to stay out of political kangaroo courts like the ICC.Walterego (talk) 03:32, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Remember this page is for discussing the article, not the actions themselves. Whether or not anyone should have been punished or disciplined for this isn't relevant here; what is relevant is whether anyone was punished or disciplined.
The "Legality of the attacks" section states there was no investigation, but that's not necessarily the same thing as whether anyone was disciplined for what happened. I can't find any good source for that either way, but I absolutely think it would be worth adding one.
me_and 10:12, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
OR, "what they thought they were seeing" is an after-the-fact excuse used to justify murders. It does not seem credible that any reasonable person could reach the same conclusions they claim to have reached, when we can see for ourselves from the crappy black & white low resolution video that those claims are not supported. Pilots who can see out their canopies with their own two eyes would have had an even better view, and thus could not plausibly have made such an "error". Your own language here now mislabels as "insurgents" these victims who are KNOWN to be completely innocent. This strongly suggests you are an untrustworthy participant here.
You have defective logic when you state:
"When a vehicle arrives to carry off the wounded insurgents, then it is reasonable to infer that this is another insurgent enabling the escape of a wounded comrade, and must also be fired on by any competent soldier/pilot."
This is NOT reasonable at all. It would be reasonable to think: "Some random person in a minivan just discovered a bunch of dead people I just killed, and dying people I just shot, so like any normal person, he is trying to save lives." It is a well-known war crime to kill civilians and medical personnel. Military pilots are trained to know this, as more than any other kind of warrior, they are THE ones who could destroy ambulances & hospitals with bombs. This violates fundamental understanding of how anyone is allowed to act in a just war. So if the pilot thinks this person is helping the injured as you claim, then he is obligated to let the first responder work. Even if a pilot really did think the dying person was a combatant (an unproved idea here), he no longer poses any credible military threat, and is thus, not a legitimate target.
Additionally, the ICC cannot be conceived of as "kangaroo". It works very hard over long periods of time, with international cooperation, to get proof against rich & powerful criminals. The court does not appear to have any credible corruption or meaningful conflicts of interest. Even then, the tasks before it are so difficult, it sometimes cannot prosecute or deliver enough punishment to those who deserve it. So, for you to describe them as "kangaroo" without evidence proves your unreasonableness here, Walterego.Ace Frahm (talk) 02:12, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
This page is for discussion of the article and how to improve it. It is not about what should have happened. -Darouet (talk) 02:53, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Did they survive?[edit]

Everything else has been said, but did the kids survive? I really think it would be a relief to know. ~Eye — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Okay I didn't show it but I'd really like to know. Does anyone know? Please someone tell me! I know there were many deaths but I don't think that's a good excuse to ignore it. Please? (talk) 07:05, 13 June 2013 (UTC)Eye
They both survived. I expect the boy had substantial and permanent brain damage. Activist (talk) 06:52, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
I am told that when Ethan McCord, the GI who took the siblings from the van went to Germany, he was shown a film where both kids expressed their gratitude to him for their rescue. The sister hopes for a career in medicine and her younger brother, despite his severe injuries, is doing well in school. Activist (talk) 09:11, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Arrest, convictions and sentencing of Manning[edit]

This section was a mess as I found it today. I put it into chronological order, updated tense where appropriate, eliminated redundancies, but did not change any sources or other text. Activist (talk) 07:08, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Military legal review[edit]

Editors - Please do not revert this correction again.

The grammar in the text is problematic. My edit, which was reverted, and which I've undone fixes that.

There is commentary above in TALK dating back to April that appears to be well reasoned.

The picture that accompanies the article is from the report cited. The reporters were no more "furtive" than anyone might be in a situation where there is a great deal of gunfire between opposing combatants. The photo was taken well before in a different area than that in which the 11 men were strafed. Ducking gunfire while photographing combat should hardly described as "furtive" and a reason to kill the Green Zone-credentialed cameramen. There is no evidence that they were 'with' or anywhere near the insurgents, three or four of whom were armed, when the "furtive" pictures were taken. In the pictures, it can clearly be seen that the Canon EOS camera looks nothing like an RPG launcher, any more than a Humvee looks like a Honda CR-V, though they both have four wheels. A launcher is more than a yard long and has a stock and barrel and trigger grips. When loaded with rounds commonly used, it is well over four feet long. You can see the camera dangling from a strap in the photo. It is perhaps 20" long. The camera is hanging over the wall, pointed directly at the ground. (Exhibit C Photo)

The investigating major's report, referencing (Exhibit A Photo) claims "The cameras could easily be mistaken for slung AK-47 or AKM rifles." This is patent nonsense. You can find pictures of either on the internet or even of replicas at the Airsoft site and you can also find pictures of the camera and the longest, hooded lenses. They could "easily be mistaken for slung AK-47s" by Stevie Wonder, maybe.

Then the Major claims, referencing (Exhibit D), "Due to the furtive nature of his movements, the cameraman gave every appearance of preparing to fire an RPG on US soldiers." In fact, the platoon of GI's was out of sight around a corner which was over 100 yards away and the photo of the cameraman was taken from above at altitude through the chopper's gunsight. Obviously, from that angle, there is no such "appearance." If someone was aiming a launcher, the launcher would clearly be much longer and protrude much further ahead and well behind a person firing such a weapon, which blasts fire out of the back end. The photographer was looking through the camera's viewer directly in front of his face and the lens would not extend in front of him as much as third of the distance of a loaded launcher. Even then, in a rare moment of near-candor, the major refers to photos of the dangling camera (p. 18-19) as "Probable Telephoto lens."

He further rationalizes killing the cameramen by writing (p. 14) "The mere fact that two individuals carried cameras instead of weapons would not indicate that they were noncombatants as the enemy commonly employ (sic) cameramen to film and photograph their attacks on Coalition Forces."

The major continues, "The van arrives as if on cue." In fact, the van arrived five minutes after the strafing, per the times on the photos. If it was traveling as slowly as 30 miles an hour, that would mean it was 2 1/2 miles away when the strafing occurred and it was very unlikely the driver would have heard the firing and put his children in that sort of a situation. The major then claims that the van which stopped beside the badly wounded, slowly crawling cameraman, was "joined by two military-aged males." With the kid's father, they try to load the cameraman to take him to emergency care. The major (part 8 - Conclusions) deliberately and repeatedly inaccurately refers to the Reuters' cameraman as a " 'wounded insurgent'." He adds, "It is unknown what, if any, connection the van had to the insurgent activity." He's written this knowing that this was a dad driving his two very young kids to their tutor.

As a consequence of my edit being reverted, I'm looking at the Wikipedia article's referenced major's report, made ten days after the killings of the cameramen, the three good Samaritans, and the actual insurgents. In fact, the WikiLeaks video, which was edited by them or parties unknown, is much clearer than the photos and from the audio it is apparent that the chopper crew is, rather than exercising due diligence, gleefully initiating and prolonging the turkey shoot.

Up until the point of the WikiLeaks release, the Army had refused to release the video despite three years worth of repeated requests by Reuters.

In a handwritten report included (p. 25) by a (company?) captain, he notes, "I observed the 2 children and believed them to be noncombatants. Ages of the children are the reason why I believe this, they appear to be around 4 and 6 years of age."

Nothing in the other cited stories supports the major's ill-founded conclusions, but his task, of course, is to give the chopper pilots the benefit of every doubt. He has consequently stretched the truth. He was not "observing" anything, just reviewing evidence and subsequently making a "claim." My edit was accurate.

The Reuters story, published just five days after the killings and (Exhibit S) in the major's report notes that they had a police report which referred to the incidents as "a random American bombardment."

I might add that a written statement, written two days after the killings, by a first lieutenant (platoon commander?) at (p. 27) of the report claims "...the only non-combatants were the two kids...," though there were only three weapons and one separate ammunition round found among the twelve deceased, plus the two Canon EOS cameras. Activist (talk) 09:29, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

The fact that it was "a situation where there is a great deal of gunfire between opposing combatants" certainly explains *why* they would want to be furtive, but it doesn't make them non-furtive. What was that really supposed to mean, anyway? Well, perhaps it's not too furtive, considering that they were all in a war zone, generally grouped together, and heading in the same direction toward U.S. troops. Are we supposed to think the others were war tourists?
When you say, "There is no evidence that they were 'with' or anywhere near the insurgents, three or four of whom were armed, when the "furtive" pictures were taken," I'm wondering how you measure proximity. Do you think unlawful combatants march in formation? Real soldiers don't do that in hostile streets either.
I think you're being influenced by your POV. That's fine with me, as everybody here has a POV of some sort, but you have to pay some respect to what the law actually says. There's no doubt that the camera was interpreted as being a weapon. The men in those helicopters would have to have been play-acting on the radio, effectively lying to the controllers. Assuming hostility was the natural connection for reasonable people to make. It didn't look like a camera just earlier. They had seen real weapons among them, and they truly believed the camera equipment were weapons.
I get the impression that you expect soldiers and airmen to wait until they have 100% certainty that the target is an insurgent. It has never been that way. The men who compiled the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions never contemplated anything remotely like it.
You're not quite accurate when you say the Army refused three years of requests from Reuters. They didn't release the videos (you might recall we were still at war), but they certainly did allow Reuters to view them privately two weeks after the attack.
Combatants can be more than simply armed men. An RPG-7 uses a two-man crew, one of whom may not appear to be armed. Yes, insurgents certainly do use photographers to create propaganda videos. Jihadi videos often show up on YouTube until someone swats them down. It was not an unfounded assumption to consider them as with the insurgents. The credentials they had in their pockets weren't enough on that day. Neither of them chose to wear the press vests and helmets to identify themselves even though Reuters could certainly have afforded to provide them -- if they really cared.
You're writing this, and first came upon the news of it, with the advance knowledge that that was a camera lens. You have the additional advantage of a still frame, time to examine it without other demands on your attention, and knowing that there's little chance that another insurgent in your vicinity wants to kill you or someone you've been tasked to protect. These are luxuries that those men didn't have.
As with mirages and optical illusions, the brain interprets what it sees and tries to find a pattern. Until we have fully-autonomous weapons (which, interestingly, are opposed by many who usually claim to care about human rights), human imperfections are going to be part of the equation. The laws of war factor that in.
There are ways to reduce these tragedies, and would almost certainly have prevented this one. That's why we have laws of war that demand separation of combatants apart from civilians. Say what you like about what those aircrews said, they followed those laws, even adding risk to their own lives by taking more time than should have been necessary. The insurgents chose not to. The insurgents made the choice not to care, and none of the critics of the U.S. side of the war were willing to demand they change their minds.
You're wrong when you say, "He's written this knowing that this was a dad driving his two very young kids to their tutor." He knew nothing like that at that time. It's still not certain that this was true. All we have now is the family's word for it, and they were demanding payment. There's no word that they were demanding insurgents to respect the laws of war, which they would do if they didn't want this to happen again. In the U.S., we close schools for blizzards and hurricanes. I don't doubt we would do the same for enemy attacks.
Does all of that really make each of them insurgents? It's tough to explain why any non-combatant would want to be that close to those openly carrying weapons, particularly an RPG. Legally, that makes this a reasonable assumption to make. You can believe they were off on a stroll that day if you like, but you shouldn't be making assumptions about what others believe when they were a lot closer to the action.
We don't have to know why each of those Iraqis was there, but we do know that they chose to hang around in close proximity to each other while a war was going on around them. You should understand that much even if you don't support the laws of war.
The edit needs to be reverted. I didn't look into disputing your other edits, but this one doesn't work.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 23:22, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Do I have to remind you two of the WP:No original research policy Wikipedia has? This is not a forum!, and no one cares about your personal interpretation of the chain of events, nor what is furtive, nor what you think the "law of war" is or isn't in U.S. international military campaign called "War on Terror". Go form a blog, argue on social media, or pick up a sign and walk to nearest street, but your opinion pieces with advocacy and propaganda is not welcome here. If the arguments you have for changing this Wikipedia article is not based on what sources says, do not write them here or try edit the article. The above two comments of yours are 2000 words, 11000 characters, and not a single source to be had. A sure sign if ever of the inappropriateness. Belorn (talk) 11:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree with your conclusions. When you claim there there is "not a single source to be had," for instance, you've missed my seven page-by-page citations of the actual material in the report that is cited in the article. Your claim that I am engaging in "propaganda" is an unwelcome personal attack. My comments refer to a source that is twice supplied in the article. All I did was provide the basis for cautioning against another reversion of a sentence to a form that was both ungrammatical and inaccurate. I have previously done a considerable amount of work on this article that was at the time quite confusing, especially with regard to timeline and its being out of sequence, and with removing thoroughly redundant passages. Activist (talk) 10:46, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Please note that I don't disagree with your edit in the article, only the discussion here on the talk page. When you write that the quote from the major was "patent nonsense", you comment ends up being as much your interpretation of the report as Randy2063 opinion about "Real soldiers". Using the report as the basis for your opinion is great for a blog post. However on wikipedia, any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources is original research. For that, there is no single source to be had above, but rather, simply references to seven pages of an report which you have analyzed. Your analyze will thus only end up being viewed as advocacy to those who agree with you, and propaganda by those who disagree, and neither will be good for a constructive discussion. Belorn (talk) 09:09, 25 November 2013 (UTC)