Marine caught on tape shooting wounded and unarmed Iraqi.

If you thought the Iraqi Prison Scandal was bad then you ain’t seen nothing yet. It appears that NBC News may have caught a U.S. marine shooting a wounded Iraqi insurgent in the face inside a mosque in Falluja.

The Iraqi was one of five wounded prisoners left in the mosque after Marines had fought their way in on Friday and Saturday. There was no immediate comment from the Pentagon on the report.

U.S. forces launched an offensive one week ago on Falluja, and have gained overall control of the formerly rebel-held city, although scattered resistance remains.

The pool report by NBC correspondent Kevin Sites said the mosque had been used by insurgents to attack U.S. forces, who stormed it and an adjacent building, killing 10 militants and wounding the five.

Sites said the wounded had been left in the mosque for others to pick up and move to the rear for treatment. No reason was given why that had not happened.

A second group of Marines entered the mosque on Saturday after reports it had been reoccupied. Footage from the embedded television crew showed the five still in the mosque, although several appeared to be already close to death, Sites said.

He said one Marine noticed one of the prisoners was still breathing.

A Marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: “He’s fucking faking he’s dead. He faking he’s fucking dead.”

“The Marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man’s head. The pictures are too graphic for us to broadcast,” Sites said. No images of the shooting were shown in the footage provided to Reuters.

Oh yeah, that’s going to win their hearts and minds alright. Granted these were people that had been shooting at the marines for the better part of the week and the stress levels of everyone involved was probably at the breaking point, but that doesn’t excuse what happened nor will it stop the bad press this is going to get in the Middle East. They’re going to have a field day with this one.

Update: Looks like CNN has picked up the story including the video of the shooting.

43 thoughts on “Marine caught on tape shooting wounded and unarmed Iraqi.

  1. The people responsible will probably be punished (though obviously any cases where TV cameras were not present will not – not with this administration). However, people responsible for real organized human rights violations (like at Abu Ghraib) will not be punished.

    Thats the way Bush works. I wasn’t surprised at all that all the talk about Rumsfeld leavin the administration was just wishful thinking, and instead, Powell did the resigning. Sad fool. What a way to stain a once-bright reputation. Now he’s hated by both sides as a man who has neither the spine to back up his President or either oppose him.

  2. First, to ingolfson:
    While there might be a small number of similar acts that may go unpunished, I assure you that behavior like this is not taken lightly and disciplinary action *is* taken more often than it is not.

    It also has nothing to do with the administration.  While the president will have to deal with this because of the media attention it will bring, I assure you that the president’s policies do not filter down to the platoon on the battlefield.  Talk about micromanagement!

    Regarding the original post:
    One thing Les left out was that

    The report said the Marine, who had returned to duty after being shot in the face a day earlier, had been removed from the field and was being questioned by the U.S. military.

    Nothing excuses behavior like this, but it is very easy to criticize someone from your comfortable computer desk.  I don’t defend such unethical behavior, but I do criticize the media and others who will jump on this as an example of how horrible the troops are.  These men and women have been fighting a WAR and have watched their closest friends get killed.  If someone killed your brother and then shot you in the face the day before I bet you might be a little on edge.

    We do need to hold ourselves to a higher standard, but let’s not forget the incerdible brutality that the insurgents demonstrate.  The US troops are saints compared to them.  Time will tell how the media reacts on this one, but I think that this is a very different situation that what happened at Abu Ghraib.

    PS: Les, my angry words are not directed at you, but rather the media and idiot talking heads that will surely comment on this on TV

  3. Rube, yes it is easy to comment on this from my desk – but should combat experience be mandatory before someone is allowed to comment on this?

    I may have wrongly implied that killing prisoners or wounded people is commonplace with the US army.

    I do however feel pretty certain that things *I* (and many others) would consider war crimes happen and are often enough ignored by the US army. This does not mean that the US is a particular vicious army (it ain’t, its probably superior to most other armies in such respects) but that such things happen in war, and the closed environment of the military is not very conductive to have such things cleared up.

    Also, the current administration IS responsible for it. Its the ADMINISTRATION. This has nothing to do with micromanagment. It has to do with setting the tone, with inquiring into misdeeds or not – or letting the inquiries die off unless someone happens to tape the violations (Abu Ghraib was known to the US high command for months before the pictures got to the media, and we still haven’t seen ANYONE but the grunts suffer for it).

    I guess I simply like to hold people to a standrad of behaviour that is routinely broken in combat – by intent of officers, and by acts of soldiers. Call me a naive idealistic fool – but then I don’t call for war to be abolished. Only for hard measures to be taken that such things don’t go unpunished or even tacitly accepted.

  4. Would you consider booby trapping bodies or luring troops into ambushes with white flags of surrender war crimes? I too hold the US to higher standards than our enemies but war is hell and can see where a soldier, who has witnessed death, trickery and in this case been shot in the face the day prior, would rather the enemy be dead than a potential threat. Was he wrong, the investigators will decide.

    Here is a link to Kevin Sites’ Blog. It reads like a war novel, pretty intense stuff.

  5. Actually I was careful not to criticize the soldier in question and I went out of my way to point out that the duress the soldiers were under probably played a big role in this, but it was still a stupid thing to do in the first place, let alone in front of an embedded news crew.

    Justified or not, understandable or not, the simple fact remains that the Arab world is going to see this as just another example of how Americans really feel about them. We left wounded men to languish in agony for over 24 hours and when one was found to be alive we shot him in the head at point-blank range as though he were a lame dog and we did it inside a Mosque. The men behind the insurgency couldn’t have asked for a better recruitment film.

    For all I know the soldier may have been perfectly justified and will be cleared of all charges, but the damage done to our efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population, which is what we keep being told by the President is the supposed goal, is likely to be severe.

  6. Well put Les.

    ingolfson, the “computer desk” comment wasn’t necessarily directed at you.  My point was that when people offer their opinions on the matter, the reader (or viewer) needs to take into account their perspective.  As citizens, we all have a right to comment on the actions of our military.  Unfortunately the vast majority of “experts” we see on television are so removed from what the troops are going through that their opinions are not worth one cent.

    I also have to say one more thing about your comments on the ADMINISTRATION.  As much as it pains me, I have to defend it a bit here.  While the administration sets overall policy (think of that what you wish), what happens on the battlefield is the responsibility of the small-unit leaders and their officers.  The president has little or no direct effect on how the troops act in the field.  I’ve served under democrat and republican presidents and I can honestly say that I have felt zero effect on how we do business.  Where we go is another story though.

    I know it often appears that the military is this big conspiracy machine, but I assure you that it is not the case.  In all my training (officer and enlisted) honor, ethics, and honesty come above everything else.  That’s not to say bad things do not happen, but it is more a reflection of dispicable individuals, than the atmosphere of the military.  You are certainly entitled to your own opinion, but from my experience criminal behavior is not tolerated in the service and punished when appropriate.

  7. Would you consider booby trapping bodies or luring troops into ambushes with white flags of surrender war crimes?

    I would.

    That said, it seems to me there were various options open to him instead of blowing that guy away. How about stepping away for example?

    I think the guy just cracked. Too much stress and too hyped up to kill. I am aware that thats what soldiers are supposed to do. So maybe that part of the discussion is pointless.

    Rube,

    I wasn’t referring to the administrations ability to prevent things like this exactly. My comments did ‘wander off’ somewhat into an area where I still think people like Bush and Rumsfeld are definitely to blame.

    No, they cannot prevent mistakes from occuring in hair-trigger situations. But the conduct of this administration in all kinds of things makes me suspect that truth and clarity are the last things on their mind when those could hurt their cause, even in the short term.

    The military as a big conspiracy machine?

    Difficult question. It is true that I sometimes see it like that. I was brought up very much anti-war and anti-military. I went on to read Heinlein, which helped to change my knee-jerk response of military=evil.

    Actually I am very fascinated by military matters, know a lot about the theory but have very little practical experience or even contact with people in the military. Sometimes its a bit of a balancing act to think objectively in those constraints.

    But when you see the basic system of the military, which stresses obedience in situations of greatest import, as well as great loyality to your mates, you realize that there are all kinds of impediments to any investigation in wrongdoing at such a level. Such is the cost of an efficient fighting force, I guess.

    So, again, I don’t call for changes where none would be possible or effective. I do however consider this administration accountable for the acts of their soldiers, whether they can prevent them or not – Iraq after all was a war of choice.

  8. I have to add that I haven’t seen the video. Like the videos about various executions of hostages, they seem to much like snuff films to me. So I can judge that soldiers behaviour only by the news description.

  9. I think from the case noted in this post and several other incidents that I’ve read about, it seems pretty clear that there is some problems with U.S. training doctrine and the general administration of the war.  It seems that two things are the case, the troops are inadequately trained to deal with the realities of urban warfare and that the troops are asked to place themselves in positions where they might feel the need to do terrible things such as shooting unarmed and wounded enemies.  It’s all kind quite disturbing.  I feel as bad for the American troops as I do for the Iraqi citizenry.  Imagine the nightmares and bad memories that those troops are going to carry around with them….  It’s all a damn shame.

  10. cracked?  i don’t think so.  the marine clearly stated that the insurgent was “faking dead”.  the marine was obviously thinking and found the insurgent to be a threat.  it is within the marine’s rules of engagement to eliminate people they feel are threats -so the marine did.  given that his company lost one of their guys to a booby-trapped body the day before, it is definitely not outside the realm of possibility that the insurgent could have been lying on an i.e.d., just waiting for the best moment to cook it off.  if he hadn’t shot him, there could have been more dead marines.

    that marine is completely innocent.

    btw, taking him off the line isn’t a sign that anyone in his unit believes him to be guilty.  it’s s.o.p.

    rube -well put.  it’s refreshing to see that you can set aside your dislike for the bush administration in favor of reason.

  11. The marine in question to me was acting not in self defense but probably in fear and with a feeling of retribution. These guys just went through some pretty heavy action and no doubt some of this marines buddies had been wounded or killed by similar insurgents. I do not blame him. The ones I do blame is his commander and his companies NCOs. These are the men that are supposed to ensure that these types of actions do not occur or that if they do they are minimized. I do not agree with grey at all, these marines were not taking fire at the time this incident occured, the fighting had ceased in the marines immeadiate AOR (area of responsibility) if the Marine was uncertain if the wounded man was faking then he should have kicked it up the chain of command for instruction. One thing that really got my attention though was the fact that said marine obviously felt no compunction about executing a person in front of a TV camera. If this type of behaviour is the norm for American forces conducting military operations in Iraq then we will certainly lose because we are making enemies faster than we can kill them. Disipline is the backbone for any army when it erodes then incidents like this will continue to occur with greater frequency.

  12. well, apperently the marine didn’t have a doubt as to whether or not he felt threatened.  i don’t see how you can blame his leadership, he knew his r.o.e. and followed them.

  13. yes, i saw it.

    nco’s are responsible for teaching their soldiers the rules of engagement.  you can’t blame this marine’s first line leader, since he obviously did his job.  nor can you blame the marine for not consulting his first line leader before eliminating a perceived threat -they all could have been killed if he had taken the precious time to do so.

    the great thing about our military is that our soldiers are taught to think for themselves.  this relieves a lot of pressure on their leadership, allowing them to focus on more pressing matters.  if you were to micromanage every action of every soldier on the battlefield, you would not only take away from individual initiative, but you would be left with commanders fussing over stupid crap that took their focus off of where it is needed most. 

    just look at the german army during ww 2.  it didn’t work out too well for them.  normandy would have been a total failure if senior wehrmacht officers had felt free to act without consulting their superior officers, who ultimately would not have had the initiative to act without hitler’s consent.

  14. As a follow-up the marine in the transcript sounded a lot like he was talking himself into beleiving that the insurgent was faking.  Earlier Ingolfson implied that the Bush administartion was to blame. I agree with this basic premise. Our troops are over-extended they often feel that they are not getting the support nescessary to do thier jobs. As this feeling endures then morale suffers. When morale suffers then discipline suffers when discipline suffers then atrocities occur. It happened with regularity in Vietnam and now it seems to be occuring in Iraq. The commander in chief and his appointees bear the ultimate responsibilty for these actions because they did not ensure that enough troops and matierial support was/is avialable, inspiring this lack of morale and discipline.

  15. the correlation between moral and atrocities rings true [with the emphasis on correlation], but i don’t agree that moral is low and i don’t see this is an atrocity.  it’s war.  bad things happen when, in order to survive, you’ve got to expect the worst from an enemy that will do anything to kill you.  i see this as self-defense. 

    as far as moral goes, i haven’t been there yet, so i couldn’t tell you what the moral is.  but from the people i know deployed in the theater, it seems to be fine.

    perhaps if clinton hadn’t raped the army during his eight years in office we would have more than enough troops.

  16. The problem, Grey, is that this soldier didn’t think at all; he just reacted without taking the time to consider his actions. Whether he was justified or not under the R.O.E. is immaterial to the fact that he’s done additional harm to the reputation of America’s troops in the eyes of Iraqis and other Arabs.

    The native population in that area is already sympathetic to the cause of the insurgents and this incident will only fuel that fire and allow it to spread further. How likely do you think it is that we’ll be able to finish the job of establishing a true democracy if the majority of the Iraqi population decides that the insurgents are indeed fighting against a hostile invading force that’s on a crusade to wipe out Muslims? How long do you think the country will hold up if the provisional government decides to ask us to get the fuck out? Something which they have every legal right to do at this point and which Bush has said he would honor if asked.

    perhaps if clinton hadn’t raped the army during his eight years in office
    we would have more than enough troops.

    Perhaps if Bush wasn’t sending the Army off to fight wars started under false pretenses because he thinks he can change the entire middle east by setting up a puppet government in hopes that the magic of democracy will somehow magically spread to all the other Arab nations like some form of positive flu then we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first fucking place. If that had any chance of happening then China should be a completely free and democratic nation by now after having regained control of Hong Kong in 1997 and yet, somehow, they’ve managed to hold out for the better part of a decade and show no major signs of turning over a new leaf and abandoning communism anytime in the near future.

    Ah, but reality has no place in this administration.

  17. i don’t think anyone disagrees that bad things are going to happen during war.  of course they will happen, it’s war.  i don’t think anyone disagrees that when shit that looks bad gets in the hands of the media, it could turn people against us. 

    but then again, maybe not.  after all, some of these people choose to cut the heads off innocent people with a dull knife and display it on the internet.  what about the lady they found that was dismembered by insurgents in fallujah?  what about the slaughterhouses?  they’re not just kidnapping and murdering foreigners, they’re killing their own people as well -maybe some iraqi who’s parents were murdered by insurgents would like to see some motherfucker capped.  you sure as fuck don’t hear an outcry from people in the united states, chanting to bring the people responsible for these REAL atrocities to justice, do you? 

    i guess we would rather look at how fucked up our guys are as apposed to the fucks we are killing and that just makes me ill.

    fuck the politics.

  18. Having had some time to digest this and watch the video, I feel that the Marine in this instance was in the wrong.

    Unless SOP has changed in the last five years, the procedures for dealing with a casualty threat are this: One soldier covers the enemy while the junior soldier proceeds to investigate if the casualty poses further threat.  The casualty is only to be liquidated if it is determined that he poses an immediate threat to the mission/team.

    Based on the video evidence on believe that the Marine was not following procedure but reacting to previous events.  It is understandable but not justifiable.

    As Grey pointed out earlier, soldiers have a certain set of procedures that they are expected to follow and are allowed to make adjustments within the parameters allowed by command.  This frees the leadership up to focus on Command and Control.  When soldiers act outside those parameters (i.e. acting outside of SOP) they put the mission and themselves at risk and better have a good reason for doing so.

    In this case, we can see how following the SOP might have potentially placed the Marine in harms way, but the end result produced a tremendous propaganda tool for the enemy.

    perhaps if clinton hadn’t raped the army during his eight years in office we would have more than enough troops.

    Perhaps that should have been taken into consideration before invading a sovereign nation without provocation.

    Maybe we’d be better off not putting our great troops in these types of predicaments in the first place.  This is going to be a traumatic event for this Marine no matter how the investigation turns out and his career will undoubtedly be tarnished.  All for just trying to stay alive one more day.

  19. it’s war.  bad things happen when, in order to survive, you’ve got to expect the worst from an enemy that will do anything to kill you.  i see this as self-defense.

    I have to agree with grey. My wife is from Cambodia and lived thru the “Killing Fields” Most Americans are unable to comprehend the atrocities some enemies can exhibit. Not only was it self-defense, but he was defending the photographer and his buddies. excaim

  20. I haven’t seen the video and don’t plan to remedy that. Just to state the obvious, however:

    * What is and what isn’t a war crime is determined exclusively by whoever prevailed.

    * “I was just following orders” is not a valid defense after Nürnberg.

    Well, we’ll know the true cost of this war in a few decades.

  21. I read that soldier was shot in the face 3 days earlier by an insurgent faking death, & another soldier in his unit was killed by a booby-trapped body.  It must be so easy to clearly see that a person is unarmed underneath those skintight robes.  (note sarcasm)  Probably shouldn’t have allowed him to go back into combat no matter how much he wanted to.  I’m encouraged that this is dealt with quickly & humanely, as opposed to the way Al-Queda/Al-Jazeera responds to kidnappings & beheadings of civilians.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52359-2004Nov15.html
    http://msnbc.msn.com/ID/6496898/
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=255312
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/Breaking-News/US-Marine-filmed-killing-unarmed-Iraqi/2004/11/16/1100384543315.html?oneclick=true

    I have no sympathy for anyone left in that city after Nov. 7th.  This incident will only achieve “bad press” with the closed-minded who are already biased. Anyone accepting this as representative of the majority of our military must already believe that the world (including Arabs/Iraqis) deserve nothing better than murder & chaos the rest of our lives, so the least US soldiers can do is sportingly act as disorganized & chaotic as the terrorists.

  22. I can see the “understandable but not justifiable” stance, although I don’t necessarily agree.  In either case, all the worry about “bad press” & “inflaming” Iraqi opinions belongs NOWHERE near that soldier’s lap.  He was doing his job.  (Poorly, acceptably, or well, but he WAS doing it.)  Kevin Sites deserves 500% of the blame for a reckless personal agenda. (Statistically & technically speaking.)  What would have been so wrong with merely revealing the information to military authorities?  Unlesss of course he INTENDED to hurt our credibility, or perhaps even prejudged that nothing would be done unless he “went public.”  In that case, I’m sure he would have also broadcast their refusal to deal, & I’m sure they would have known he had the tape as blackmail.

    As for Clinton raping the military, he did no such thing, they would have had to line up behind Juanita Broaddrick.  He merely flagrantly ignored & distrespected them by failing to properly salute EVERY single time he left Air Force 1.  But maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt.  I guess Nina Burleigh’s offer just wasn’t tantalizing enough to keep him busy.  Too bad, becuase I just love the great job all his CIA officials have done for us since the ‘93 WTC incident!  But clearly, none of this detracts from his welfare reform, so we were lucky to have him I guess…

  23. I saw the video (it was broadcast in the Austrian news) and it looked pretty bad to me- a wounded Iraqi shot in the face by an American Marine.  I don’t know whether it was “justified” under the R.O.E. or not, and Grey and Elle are quite right in pointing out the nasty stuff that enemy combatants can do.  I feel for both soldiers, and for everyone who has lost someone in this war.  I also agree with Grey that it’s unfair to paint the Americans as being more brutal than anyone else.  These are all important issues, and I hope this case is investigated fairly.

    That said, and important as the particulars of R.O.E. and what constitutes an atrocity are, I must agree with Les (and Deadscot and Elwedriddsche) that the most important lesson to be learned here is one level up: what the fuck are we doing there in the first place?  Creating enemies faster than we can kill them.  I don’t blame the Marine, or the Armed Forces.  The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the Administration, and the voters who put them in office.

  24. I guess that’s my main frustration with the situation.  Plastering this accross our airwaves persuades no one of anything.  Those who were already convinced the war on terror is worthless will be pissed off all over again.  I just don’t think it’s the right time.  No one can change the past, we are there & that will never have not happened.  Pulling out immediately will make it worse.  Like a marriage: perhaps it never should have happened in the 1st place, but once the two have constructed a life together, it takes a painful process to deconstruct it.  Bailing will only make everything worse.  This is actually an AP article, but no one else is posting it. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,138794,00.html

  25. So you think that the shooting should be covered up because it doesn’t portray the war in an appropriate manner?  Are you arguing that we can’t handle the truth?

  26. I wasn’t supposing anything, I’m asking Ellie what she’s proposing.  She suggests that the media shouldn’t be making such a big deal about the shooting.  She also suggested that the reporter should have just notified the military authority and not reported upon the story.  I’m just wondering what her stance on the freedom of the press and our right to know what is going on in the world.  I’m not saying that she’s claiming that there should be a cover-up, I’m asking her if that is what she’s supporting.  If you look again at my previous comment, you will note the question marks.

  27. I just noticed in my 2:21 post there’s a typo, the first word should be “Do” not “So”….  That might make it clearer that I’m not insinuating anything.  I’m just curious as to what Ellie’s stance is when it comes to journalism and war.

  28. You may disagree, but I don’t think it would be considered a cover-up to wait to report until after the military had dealt with it.  You might even have a lot more to report & be given more trust & access by the military in the future.  I think journalism & war is a very difficult area to know anything for sure, so I go on a case-by-case basis.  “We” being the entire country, (including the unthinking & insanely obsessed) shouldn’t “handle” the truth before it’s complete.  I think the biggest problem is impatience.  I don’t think it’s humanly possible to know all sides of a story so quickly, so whatever one’s biases they will come out IMMEDIATELY.

    But I AM fairly certain war is the one area of journalism that can mean life or death, & where timing is EVERYTHING.  I KNOW all of us would feel differently if that soldier or his fellow soldier was killed were our brother/boyfriend/son/father/friend.  That’s what got me fired up.  I’d allow my loved one a continent’s worth of leeway in his judgement to protect himself. Even as en uninvolved observer, that insurgent had been injured fighting against them before…ah I digress.  War goes by the rtule: “may the most skilled live.”  I didn’t see malicious intent in that killing.  Even mistaken/unjustifiable, it was for the purpose of self-preservation, not hatred.  Yet I wouldn’t mind waiting a few months for the military to make that judgement & then decide for myself if I agree or not, & I trust that the military could itself pressure it’s members to use more caution to avoid similar events.  Soldiers fear a court-marshall & prison more than they do bad press.  They could care less what some pointy-headed intellectual says about them.

    Journalism, by it’s very nature assumes authority cannot be trusted, while the masses can.  The military is BUILT on the principle of trusting authority (whether they deserve it or not) to control the dangerous elements of the masses.  But I also think freedom in our republic is great when used responsibly because it requires two such opposed institutions to work together so that the most people can have freedom.

  29. i guess we would rather look at how fucked up our guys are as apposed to the fucks we are killing and that just makes me ill.

    We know that the other guys are fucked up, and we can’t do anything about it save for fighting them.

    But ‘our own guys’* ?

    We SHOULD be very concerned when they fuck up. They are OUR responsibility. They reflect on US.

     

    *parentheses because I’m not a US citizen.

  30. I agree with ingolfson, yet probably have a different view of how to deal with that concern & responsibility than most people, as I previously subjected you all to from my soap box…

  31. You may disagree, but I don’t think it would be considered a cover-up to wait to report until after the military had dealt with it.  You might even have a lot more to report & be given more trust & access by the military in the future.

    I for one disagree.

    The media shouldn’t be a PR department of the military and government or worse, devolve into an arm of the Ministry of Propaganda and National Enlightenment. They specifically should not be chummy with the powers that be to get greater access, because this amounts to accepting a set of golden handcuffs.

    What the media should do is report the unadorned facts of this war and as much as they can get hold off at that. War is certainly Hell, but the answer isn’t to sugarcoat it, but to make sure that nobody can plead ignorance about what’s happening there.

  32. The whole misadventure in Iraq stems from the effort to control the flow of information. Our Dear Leader wanted to show his balls to the Amercan pepil. His syncopant advisors tripped all over themselves making up shit and their partners in crime in the winging wrulitzer mind controled or browbeat everyone (almost) onto the bandwagon of war. The grown-ups were ignored or RIFed out of the picture.
    SO YES BUSH IS FUCKIN DIRECTLY RESPOSIBLE for destroying this young mans life.
    Stress is not a valid defence for an execution style murder. This will haunt him the rest of his life, if he doesn’t end up killing himself.
    But God dammit those News Reporters are to blame!! Ya! Right!

  33. I for one can’t wait for the next presidential decision on tax code & social security to be based on a reality show giving footage of starving old people where the audience calls in to vote BEFORE the SSA investigates to find out the older person was actually a libertarian living out his social ideals & going on hunger strike by choice, that’s the answer!

  34. ellie,

    It seems that you are quite cynical when it comes to the media.  Just because something makes it onto TV doesn’t necessarily mean it’s contrived.  Indeed, I will grant that you do have to approach any form of media with a grain of salt.  However, you seem to suggest that everything on television is to be completely dismissed as misleading.  This seems to me to be a far too extreme position.  Also, I think your last post unfairly portrays the elderly as frauds trying to grift us out of our money.

  35. In no way would I say EVERYTHING is to be COMPLETELY dismissed as misleading.”  I was exaggerating & happened to pick the elderly at random, actually because my grandfather said exactly that: he’s a libertarian & he said he’d go on hunger strike before ever cashing a SS check.  I just patiently wait to see more sides, I’m afraid of people basing a vital decision before all the facts are in EXACTLY as that soldier did.  Al Jazeera, for example, is showing that footage with nothing blacked out nonstop, yet has refused to show the shooting of Margaret Hassan as “too graphic.”  I don’t think either is contrived, but showing one without the other certainly displays a bias.  & though the Iraqi died, it’s not inconcievable that there could have been a bomb under his clothes.  If we had a tape of a booby trapped faking dead Iraqi killing our soldiers, I wouldn’t want to see it over & over, or base any blanket policy on it.

  36. ellie,

    I admit I am fairly cynical when it comes to the US military.  That might be because I have friends who served with The Princess Patricia Light Infantry.  The Canadian unit that got bombed by the US airforce in Afghanistan.  Despite being in a training area well within allied lines and explicit orders to stand-down two USAF pilots dropped bombs on a company of the Princess Pats while they were performing training exercises.  This combined with the shear number of friendly fire incidents (CNN has a listing of all US and allied casualties and provides a report of how each was killed on their website and besides improvised explosive device the leading cause of death was friendly fire or non-combat weapon accidents) and other incidents involving the killing of unarmed civilians seems to suggest to me that I have good reason to question the US armed forces training doctrine.

  37. leading cause of death was friendly fire or non-combat weapon accidents

    the fact that there are more deaths from accidents and friendly fire than enemy action doesn’t really mean anything.  it could be that the enemy really sucks at kill us, or that we excell at killing them.

  38. It seems that the American military excels at killing itself and its allies as well.  Which to me is indicative of a problem with training.  A little more discipline when it comes to discharging one’s weapon would likely benefit a great number of US troops.

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