Assume the Position
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
France's Canal Plus and Matt Drudge: News Recyclers
Here's Drudge's latest PMS (Politically Motivated Sensationalism) hot flash.
French TV to show images of US helicopter killing Iraqis
Tue May 04 2004 08:59:08 ET
French cable television station Canal Plus on Tuesday will broadcast images, stolen in Iraq, of a US army helicopter killing three Iraqis who do not appear to be posing any threat, one of whom was wounded.
The show "Merci pour l'info" (Thanks for the news) obtained the footage, seen by an AFP correspondent, from a "European working as a subcontractor for the US army" who left Iraq two weeks ago.
The man claims to have hidden the tape, dated December 1, 2003 and filmed at an unidentified location in Iraq, at the US base where he lived and worked.
The three-and-a-half minutes of footage were taken from the helicopter firing at the three individuals, who were considered by the US military to be suspicious.
Conversations between the helicopter pilot, the sharpshooter and their commanding officer -- who had a video link and is giving orders in real time -- can be heard on the tape.
The footage shows how the three men were killed one after the other. After the deaths of his two companions, the third attempted to hide under a truck, but was hit by helicopter gunfire.
"Got the guy right here," says the sharpshooter, as the wounded man is seen crawling on the ground.
"Good. Fire. Hit him," replies the officer.
In March, the rights watchdog group Amnesty International said "scores of civilians have been killed apparently as a result of excessive use of force by US troops, or have been shot dead in disputed circumstances."
The broadcast also comes as the United States confronts mounting anger over the alleged abuse of coalition prisoners in Iraq and the release of photos showing US troops humiliating Iraqi detainees.
The link after that on Drudge's front page at the time was a "Flashback" to ABCNews broadcasting a videotape of an Apache attack in Iraq. Drudge apparently didn't bother to actually read the description of that videotape, broadcast back in January.
The video opens with the helicopter tracking a man in a pickup truck north of Baghdad on Dec. 1, one day after the 4th Infantry Division engaged in the bloodiest battles with Iraqi insurgents since the end of major combat.
The pilots watch as the man pulls over and gets out to talk to another man waiting by a larger truck.
"Uh, big truck over here," one of the pilots is heard saying. "He's having a little powwow."
The pickup driver looks around, then reaches into his vehicle, takes out a tube-shaped object that appears to be about 4 or 5 feet long, and runs away from the road into a field. He drops the object in the field and heads back to the trucks.
"I got a guy running throwing a weapon," one of the pilots says. Retired Gen. Jack Keane, an ABCNEWS consultant who viewed the tape, said the object looked like a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, "or something larger than a rifle."
The pilots check in with their operational commander, who is monitoring the situation. When they tell him they are sure the man was carrying a weapon, he tells them: "Engage. Smoke him."
The pilots wait as a tractor arrives on the scene, near the spot where the pickup driver dropped the object. One of the Iraqis approaches the tractor driver.
Then, within minutes, the Apache pilots open fire with the heavy 30 mm cannon, killing first the Iraqi in the field, then the tractor driver. The pilots then fire at the large truck and wait to see if they hit the last of three men.
When he rolls out from under the truck, one of the pilots says, "He's wounded."
The other pilot says, "Hit him," and the Apache opens fire again, killing the man.
The Apache fires nearly 100 30 mm cannon rounds in all.
Same incident, same tape.
(The ABCNews story also concludes with some analysis where both a "senior Army official" and their own defense consultants consider the engagement and actions justified.)
UPDATE: A portion of the video is available on StrategyPage and MemoryBlog. It is a 4.64MB Mpeg with just over 1 minute of the 3.5 minute FLIR (Forward-looking Infra-Red) recording. It doesn't have the initial sequence where the Apache crew and command conclude the Iraqis are enemies; it just has the portion showing the kills. (At least Kick and the AFP story he links get the old news aspect correct.)
Kerry: Oops, I Didn't Mean You When I Was Calling People Traitors
Benedict Arnold remains one of the most infamous traitors in American history. Now, the king of waffles has done it again—changing his tune when pandering to a bunch of CEOs instead of union workers—and this time he's blaming the old song on his lyricists.
But the Benedict Arnold line applied, you know, I called a couple of times to overzealous speechwriters and said "look that's not what I'm saying."
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Salt to Taste
Robin Roberts writes:
Its sometimes difficult to wade through the political intrigue of any administration to figure out the realities, but there is an old theme that Colin Powell's greatest strength is keeping clear of the blame for his own policies. That old theme resurfaces in this piece about the past year in Iraq on NRO. I confess that this resonates with my own opinions of Colin Powell - nonetheless I'm keeping the salt cellar handy.
Barbara Lerner's article, "Rumsfeld's War, Powell's Occupation," says the reason the occupation has gone badly is "because State and CIA fought against Rumsfeld's plans every step of the way."
A Rumsfeld occupation would have been different, and still might be. Rumsfeld wanted to put an Iraqi face on everything at the outset — not just on the occupation of Iraq, but on its liberation too. That would have made a world of difference.
Rumsfeld's plan was to train and equip — and then transport to Iraq — some 10,000 Shia and Sunni freedom fighters led by Shia exile leader Ahmed Chalabi and his cohorts in the INC, the multi-ethnic anti-Saddam coalition he created. There, they would have joined with thousands of experienced Kurdish freedom fighters, ably led, politically and militarily, by Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani. Working with our special forces, this trio would have sprung into action at the start of the war, striking from the north, helping to drive Baathist thugs from power, and joining Coalition forces in the liberation of Baghdad. That would have put a proud, victorious, multi-ethnic Iraqi face on the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and it would have given enormous prestige to three stubbornly independent and unashamedly pro-American Iraqi freedom fighters: Chalabi, Talabani, and Barzani.
Jay Garner, the retired American general Rumsfeld chose to head the civilian administration of the new Iraq, planned to capitalize on that prestige immediately by appointing all three, along with six others, to head up Iraq's new transitional government. He planned to cede power to them in a matter of weeks — not months or years — and was confident that they would work with him, not against him, because two of them already had. General Garner, after all, is the man who headed the successful humanitarian rescue mission that saved the Kurds in the disastrous aftermath of Gulf War I, after the State Department-CIA crowd and like thinkers in the first Bush administration betrayed them. Kurds are not a small minority — and they remember. The hero's welcome they gave General Garner when he returned to Iraq last April made that crystal clear.
That probably sounds better as a plan than it would have been doable in practice, and not all the roadblocks came from State and CIA. Forming an army of 10,000 in exile is no simple task. Then, too, almost the entire northern invasion plan was tossed out after Turkey's refusal to allow the US to stage forces there—a refusal in part due to France's threats against Turkey's EU ambitions* as well as Turkey's own internal concerns.
However, the second course in Lerner's article, discussing the problem with UN involvement and Lakhdar Brahimi in particular, seem to be palatable without seasoning; but I'd pass on the dessert.
Another Lying Piece of Filth is Exposed
Aside from those who engage in vicious criminal brutality, the lowest form of life—below politicians, lawyers, telemarketers, spammers, used-car dealers, or most anything else you can think of—are the military fakes, especially those who claim to have been in one of the Special Forces.
Now, strident anti-warrior, comics remixer and faux-Ranger Micah Wright has finally confessed to being one of the scum who brings nothing but discredit to real veterans. Jim Treacher and Michele Catalano shine a light under the rock from which this slime oozed.
Look, folks, if somebody tells you they were/are a Seal/Frogman/UDT, Ranger, Delta Force, Green Beret, Sniper, POW, awarded the Medal of Honor, etc., the odds are they are lying. If they use that as a set-up to authoritatively expound on the evils of the US government and the atrocities they've committed or seen, the odds increase a thousandfold. If they talk about the secret missions they went on, increase the odds again. This was a trend started by John Kerry's friends at their phony Winter Soldier Investigation; fake WWII vets and earlier imposters may have told fictions of their heroism, fake Vietnam vets and later imposters tell tales of atrocities.
The authors of Fake Warriors write:
That wrong – the very real harm that Fake Warriors visit upon innocent Americans – is incalculable. A few examples. Innocents, widows, wives and children in particular, experience shame and disillusionment when a Fake Warrior husband or father is exposed. Laws criminalizing Fake Warrior behavior continue to be unenforced. National security is compromised. Huge sums of money are squandered in the payment of false claims to military impostors. Readers of nonfiction books are misled by authors whose credentials are fake. The legitimate accomplishments of veterans who honorably served America are dishonored and depreciated. Worse, those accomplishments increasingly are shadowed by suspicion among people who conscientiously try to distinguish between the real and the fake. The well has been poisoned by the proliferation of Fake Warriors.
These and other harmful consequences of the words and conduct of Fake Warriors are, simply put, intolerable. For the last forty years, Fake Warriors too numerous to count – politicians, lawyers, authors, actors, and more – have gotten away with their masquerades. Indeed, many have prospered – often at the expense of those who fought for our nation in Vietnam.
We have discovered, to our dismay, that the problem is so extensive it can't even be dented through the efforts of the handful of individuals who have, for years, grappled with the thankless task of exposing impostors.
Here are some of websites of those who have dedicated their time to exposing these scum. To get started, check out the following, many of which link to further associated sites:
UPDATE - May 8, 2004: Kevin Parrot probably deserves to get what should be, at least among bloggers for the moment, the last word on Micah Wright. [It may well be his last word, too, since he's been posting even less frequently than I do.] (Via Tim Blair.)