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Thread: Americans massacre wedding party; refuse to apologize

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    Americans massacre wedding party; refuse to apologize

    Has anybody else been following this story? The US military bombed a wedding party in Western Iraq near the Syrian border, killing 45 people, mostly women and children (26 of them being members of the same family). The Americans claim they were targeting a safe house for smuggling foreign fighters into Iraq, and while they may have believed that at the time of the bombing it has since been made apparent that this was not the case.

    But the behaviour of US military officials in Baghdad has just sickened me to the core. I firmly beleive that these generals (the ones who have been defending the action) are the lowest form of scum on the planet. They are sticking to their mantra that it wasn't a wedding, but a terrorist safe house that they targeted, and the commander of the troops responsible is quoted as saying "I don't have to apologize for the actions of my troops" and calling anyone who believed it was a wedding 'Naive'. Never mind the fact that most of the dead were women and children. Never mind the fact that the most famous wedding singer in Western Iraq and several of his band members were among those killed. Never mind the fact that every single Iraqi witness to the event, every hospital official who treated the wounded and every Iraqi police officer who arrived on the scene after the event all say it was a wedding. NO NO, its simply not possible that the US military made a mistake, this was no doubt a safehouse for foreign terrorists and not a wedding.

    Their evidence:

    "two dozen men of military age were there". -- half the weddings on the planet are probably attended by two dozen or more men of military age.

    "The wedding was held in an isolated spot miles away from the nearest city". -- The wedding was held at the family ranch of one of the people getting married. My wedding was held in an isolated spot miles from the nearest city too (where my parents live), I'm sure glad the US military didn't drop bombs on my reception.

    "Cash, shotguns and rifles were found at the scene" --The cash (incidentally stolen by the American troops after the bombings) was a wedding gift. You could probably find shotguns and rifles in any house in Iraq these days.



    I just got married last year and this event has sickened me to the bone. The people responsible deserve to be put behind bars for the rest of their lives. At the very least they could admit their mistake and apologize, but instead the American generals are just closing ranks and blaming the victims and labelling them terrorists. These men really do deserve to rot in hell as far as I'm concerned.

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    I think the millitary will stick to those types of lines as long as American soldiers can't be brought up on war crimes charges. The only reason they are making a big deal about the prisoner abuse charges is because the photos got out in the open and now they need to be seen as doing something. No action would ever have been taken if they were kept of the 6 o'clock news.

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    Agreed, where did you hear this though? The military, from what I have witnessed in my time spent (only beginning) there is some things, that go on that I can not do anything about... All I can do is what I am told, and obey. There is not many things that I disagree with, but I have seen some things that I disagreed but had to bite my tongue, but alot of the things that happen are overexaggerated by everyone.

    Since it is the U.S. military any mistake is always WAYY over exaggerated and published, but when the Japanese armies did that to the U.S., cutting their urination devices off and inserting it in soldiers mouths, or cutting their heads off, or the Iraqi's dragging our soldiers through the streets, and cutting their throats, that never gets overexaggerated, or overpublished and made known to everyone. So what I say to you, get a grip.. I am sure things are not as bad as you put.

    Sure Military will cover their errors by lies. I do not disagree, and I do say they should just admit error and apologize. BUT doesn't this go for everyone? Government included? I know people that make errors all the time, and will lie to cover themselves, such as people making wrong turns, some people will lie just so they dont feel stupid.
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    Omnipotence personified Mandylion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by playaa
    Since it is the U.S. military any mistake is always WAYY over exaggerated and published, but when the Japanese armies did that to the U.S., cutting their urination devices off and inserting it in soldiers mouths, or cutting their heads off, or the Iraqi's dragging our soldiers through the streets, and cutting their throats, that never gets overexaggerated, or overpublished and made known to everyone. So what I say to you, get a grip.. I am sure things are not as bad as you put.
    I'm quite confused. So, if say, 10 people at a wedding party were killed that would be more okay because it is less sensationalized?

    I don't agree that violence or abuse against US troop / citizens is not exaggerated, or spun, like you say. If the footage is not shown it is because the media in the US decides not to air it - or the government prevents it (like with photographing the war dead for as long as they did).

    Over golden week, JNN got footage leaked to a French reporter by someone in the US Army, of infrared [sic?] gun camera shots from a chopper. Three men in a field, one drops some long object onto the ground and walks away. Could have been a gun, could have been a post - you can't tell from the film. The video then shows as each is targeted by the chopper and blown away. I'm not saying they were wrong to do so, but someone in the Army was upset or money-hungry enough to leak the tape.

    Did you see this footage played in the US? If not, why not? If you did, what did the talking heads say? Not news worthy? It would fit your sensationalization theory of US troop actions - it was quite shocking, even if they turned out to be combatants (there is no way to check).

    Granted it is hard to get reliable numbers and news from inside a war zone, but if something bad happens to US troop / citizens in Iraq, you can bet your bottom dollar it is overplayed and overexposed.

    What is not shown is the toll war takes on the common family just trying to find water that isn't full of parasites from the raw sewage being dumped in the street and getting enough food to live on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by playaa
    . So what I say to you, get a grip.. I am sure things are not as bad as you put.

    Sure Military will cover their errors by lies. I do not disagree, and I do say they should just admit error and apologize. BUT doesn't this go for everyone? Government included? I know people that make errors all the time, and will lie to cover themselves, such as people making wrong turns, some people will lie just so they dont feel stupid.
    This hasn't been at all exaggerated, the death toll has been confirmed. Its not really necessary to exaggerate a bloodbath of this scale: the reality is more than adequately disturbing. I forget the exact numbers, something like 15 women and more than a dozen children were among the dead.

    Sure, most people make mistakes and lie to cover it up, but the big difference is that when other people make mistakes it usually doesn't result in the horrific deaths of 45 innocent people. When we are talking about the military (and I used to be in the army myself) I think the standard needs to be raised a little higher, especially in cases when people end up dead. What has happened here is a case of (mass) negligent homicide and not only should the military be apoligizing, they should be seeing to it that whoever was responsible is sent to prison. Simply offering blanket denials and lashing out at the innocent victims of their errors makes these officers look like a bunch of incompetent fascist thugs. This is not the type of image the US military wants to be spreading at a time like this, they should all be relieved of their command.

    Quote Originally Posted by playaa

    or the Iraqi's dragging our soldiers through the streets, and cutting their throats, that never gets overexaggerated, or overpublished and made known to everyone.

    .
    You can't be serious about this. The images of those US contractors bodies getting dragged through the streets of Fallujah was headline news across America for days afterwards. Same with the footage of Nick Berg getting decapitated. In contrast this wedding story, in which many more people were killed, is getting far less coverage in the American media. I think the opposite is true.

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    No I am not talking about the streamed footage, have you recently spoken to friends that are military, who are ACTUALLY stationed in Iraq/Afghanistan right now? I speak with a friend who is an Active Duty Army, on watch over a field in Baghdad, He tells me first hand what he has heard, and has seen. And more has happened to U.S. Troops then you think and have seen.

    Also, I suppose that running planes into our WTC's, Pentagon, Bombing the WTC, Diving Planes into pearl harbor, running suicide boats and bombers into our bus's/train's/ship's... That is all ok, right? 45 dead might cover the total, in 1 elevator of the WTC.

    Sure, people make mistakes, and some soldiers do take things to far and should be punished but you have to realize, during war.. In past war's soldiers had families, and children running to them with bomb's in their hands, women running up to them with bomb's wrapped like babies.. It is kill or be killed, so that should say that u don't hesitate on a battle field since you were army I figure you might know that already?

    Anyways I do agree, standards shoul be raised, more punishment should be given and, more precautions should be taken.

    But our war was with Afghanistan, not Iraq, so blame Bush Administration for their own agenda's not the Military.

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    Quote Originally Posted by playaa
    No I am not talking about the streamed footage, have you recently spoken to friends that are military, who are ACTUALLY stationed in Iraq/Afghanistan right now? I speak with a friend who is an Active Duty Army, on watch over a field in Baghdad, He tells me first hand what he has heard, and has seen. And more has happened to U.S. Troops then you think and have seen.
    I'm sure tons of horrible shit happens to US troops in Iraq that doesn't make the news, and I agree that that is a shame.

    Quote Originally Posted by playaa
    Also, I suppose that running planes into our WTC's, Pentagon, Bombing the WTC, Diving Planes into pearl harbor, running suicide boats and bombers into our bus's/train's/ship's... That is all ok, right? 45 dead might cover the total, in 1 elevator of the WTC.
    Sorry, I don't understand what all that has to do with the incident in question. Are you saying that 9/11 and Pearl Harbor can in some way be used to justify the US military's bombing of a wedding in rural Iraq? If its the numbers game you are trying to play, then don't. The number of Iraqis killed in this war is something like 10 times the number of Americans killed on 9/11, and the number of Afhgans killed is also well over 3,000.

    Quote Originally Posted by playaa
    Sure, people make mistakes, and some soldiers do take things to far and should be punished but you have to realize, during war.. In past war's soldiers had families, and children running to them with bomb's in their hands, women running up to them with bomb's wrapped like babies.. It is kill or be killed, so that should say that u don't hesitate on a battle field since you were army I figure you might know that already?
    Yeah, but that wasn't the case in this situation. I can understand if, say, rebels start firing at US troops in an urban area and when the US troops return fire they accidentally kill civilians. Its tragic though in cases like that it can't always be helped. In this incident though, nobody fired at US troops. The Americans wrongly believed the place was a rebel safehouse so they sent in some warplanes to drop some bombs on it. At no point were any US troops in harm's way, so the whole 'kill or be killed' argument simply doesn't fly. It seems this is just a case of gross negligence and problems with the rules of engagement. There has to be some sort of guidelines that state 'you can't simply drop bombs on people's houses based on a hunch without first making sure they aren't full of women and children'.


    Quote Originally Posted by playaa
    Anyways I do agree, standards shoul be raised, more punishment should be given and, more precautions should be taken.

    But our war was with Afghanistan, not Iraq, so blame Bush Administration for their own agenda's not the Military.
    I do blame the Bush administration. But like it or not, the military is the one fighting this war and to a considerable extent are responsible for the way in which it is carried out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman
    Yeah, but that wasn't the case in this situation. I can understand if, say, rebels start firing at US troops in an urban area and when the US troops return fire they accidentally kill civilians. Its tragic though in cases like that it can't always be helped. In this incident though, nobody fired at US troops. The Americans wrongly believed the place was a rebel safehouse so they sent in some warplanes to drop some bombs on it. At no point were any US troops in harm's way, so the whole 'kill or be killed' argument simply doesn't fly. It seems this is just a case of gross negligence and problems with the rules of engagement. There has to be some sort of guidelines that state 'you can't simply drop bombs on people's houses based on a hunch without first making sure they aren't full of women and children'.
    How can it be both negligence and problems with the military rules of engagement? In the case of the former, certainly there should be an investigation to prevent such flagrant violations in the future and the number of dead should be irrelevant to an investigation. The standard for reasonable suspicion ought to be consistent whether it's one, two or half a dozen homes. In the case of the latter, a lack of clear guidelines, it seems this type of incident would be much more commonplace. The fact that it was a wedding party as opposed to any other social event or a group of families sleeping or eating is completely beside the point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandylion

    Over golden week, JNN got footage leaked to a French reporter by someone in the US Army, of infrared [sic?] gun camera shots from a chopper. Three men in a field, one drops some long object onto the ground and walks away. Could have been a gun, could have been a post - you can't tell from the film. The video then shows as each is targeted by the chopper and blown away. I'm not saying they were wrong to do so, but someone in the Army was upset or money-hungry enough to leak the tape.

    Did you see this footage played in the US? If not, why not? If you did, what did the talking heads say? Not news worthy? It would fit your sensationalization theory of US troop actions - it was quite shocking, even if they turned out to be combatants (there is no way to check).

    Granted it is hard to get reliable numbers and news from inside a war zone, but if something bad happens to US troop / citizens in Iraq, you can bet your bottom dollar it is overplayed and overexposed.
    Yeah, I saw that footage of the Apache heli pilot wiping out the guys dumping the weapons (or something) then proceeding to wipe out the guys near the truck as they tried to duck for cover...they probably never knew what hit them...what made it look bad was maiming them the first time, then going back and finishing the job afterwards....kind of like running down a person with a car, then going back and driving over them a few more times for good measure...thought that was pretty bloodthirsty...
    didn't see any of it on the US news, but then that doesn't surprise me....I'm surprised the prisoner abuse managed to leak out in such a timely fashion...

    interesting to see what develops if that news footage the French took comes out in the US....
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    um, as patriotic as i am i do not think it is ok that we did not apologize.that is very disappointing.

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    I just wanted to add to what playaa has stated.

    I spent some years in the military, and yes, you must follow orders but if you have the foresight to see the error in the command given to you, you ARE allowed to re-essess the situation, and bring news back to your commanding officer.

    Most of the time the people that carry out orders are E-3's and below, and because of that, its relatively easy to report to your superior. The thing that gets tricky is whether or not your superior will report to their superior.

    Its the duty of the soldier in wartime to follow orders, yes, but also to protect the safety of the civilians.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    How can it be both negligence and problems with the military rules of engagement? In the case of the former, certainly there should be an investigation to prevent such flagrant violations in the future and the number of dead should be irrelevant to an investigation. The standard for reasonable suspicion ought to be consistent whether it's one, two or half a dozen homes. In the case of the latter, a lack of clear guidelines, it seems this type of incident would be much more commonplace. The fact that it was a wedding party as opposed to any other social event or a group of families sleeping or eating is completely beside the point.
    It can easily be both. The negligence comes from the fact that whoever was in charge obviously didn't take adequate precautions to ensure that innocent civilians weren't killed. The problems with the rules of engagement is related to the fact that according to the officers in charge, this operation went by the book. So if the rules of engagement allow the army to drop bombs on weddings (or any other social gathering, I'm not sure why you felt the need to point that out) then they obviously aren't strict enough, and if the army thinks those weddings are terrorist camps then they are obviously neglecting their duty to check the facts and protect civilians in their area of operation, as required by the Geneva conventions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman
    It can easily be both. The negligence comes from the fact that whoever was in charge obviously didn't take adequate precautions to ensure that innocent civilians weren't killed. The problems with the rules of engagement is related to the fact that according to the officers in charge, this operation went by the book. So if the rules of engagement allow the army to drop bombs on weddings (or any other social gathering, I'm not sure why you felt the need to point that out) then they obviously aren't strict enough, and if the army thinks those weddings are terrorist camps then they are obviously neglecting their duty to check the facts and protect civilians in their area of operation, as required by the Geneva conventions.
    OK, thanks for the explanation senseiman. Negligence of international law and the Geneva conventions. Although it still looks like more of an attempted cover up by the army and officers in charge than a systemtic problem with the rules or you would it seems be seeing these incidents much more often.
    On the other hand, of course the US did also bomb an Afghan wedding party as well a couple years ago I recall, after mistaking celebratory gunfire for a terrorist encampment.

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    Tradition or not, somebody needs to get the word out -- DO NOT FIRE YOUR GUNS INTO THE AIR IN A WAR ZONE.

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    In this case, there was no celebratory gunfire that caused US forces to launch the attack. The Americans based their decision to bomb the houses the wedding was in based on some intelligence that was apparently faulty.

    There is definitely a cover-up going on. Or, perhaps more accurately, stonewalling by the military hierarchy. They always do the same thing whenever they do something horrible: just deny it and deny it for as long as they can, regardless of how great the evidence is to the contrary. Then a month or two later when the media's attention is elsewhere they quietly admit that, yeah, we killed all those people by accident. But by then nobody is paying any attention so they don't get into too much trouble. Its a form of damage control for them.

    One thing I've noticed is a big difference in the way this story is being covered in the American media and media elsewhere. The international media basically runs it as a story about a wedding massacre and talks about all the dead children etc. The American media (Washington Post, LA times, etc.) basically covered it like it was just another US military operation targeting some terrorist smuggling operation. Then at the very end of the articles, after they've just ran quotes from a dozen US officials saying it was a military target, they mention that some of the Iraqis on the scene dispute that interpretation and contend that it was a wedding that was hit. The dead children's bodies and other evidence to support that view don't even make their way into the article.

    Its like they are covering two different stories. Read one article and you are left deeply disturbed by the carnage and fuming about the arrogance and stupidity of the US military commanders. Read the other and you beleive every word the US military says and are left with the conclusion that the people claiming the US hit a wedding are just crackpots just using the opportunity to slander America. Its bizarre.

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    Let me ask this; what would people think if the US admitted to mistakes? What would you honestly think? Would it be any 'better' if they choose not to deny? Would it make a difference to anyone, really?

    For once, the world needs to just stop caring so damned much. Luckily, the US people are slowly entering that apathetic phase that free nations enter in the twilight of their freedom. Two stages left before we get a dictator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winter
    Let me ask this; what would people think if the US admitted to mistakes? What would you honestly think? Would it be any 'better' if they choose not to deny? Would it make a difference to anyone, really?

    For once, the world needs to just stop caring so damned much. Luckily, the US people are slowly entering that apathetic phase that free nations enter in the twilight of their freedom. Two stages left before we get a dictator.

    Of course it would make a difference. I don't at all feel comfortable with this sort of situation where officials can just pretend like shit which they are responsible for didn't happen and wait for things to go away. It just leaves the door open for them to do this sort of thing again and again with impunity. I'd still be pissed off even if they did admit to the mistake, but an apology would at least be a step in the direction of making sure this sort of thing never happens again.

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    It seems unlikely to happen again and again if this is truly a first and only isolated event particularly considering the officers in charge are still trying to justify their side of the side to reporters in Baghdad. The latest I heard they were supplying photos purporting to show a meeting of high-level foreign fighters. What I find more annoying
    is the way irrelevant angles play up and sensationalize a story like this in everyone's mind. Obviously bombing innocent civilians in a remote corner of country is wrong no matter what the circumstances. Whether it had been a wedding or a band of refugees sleeping in a barn or a family simply going about their daily lives. Do these people deserve any less sympathy because they were killed in more routine circumstances without a pithy headline-grabbing handle, ie some kind of party, that can readily summarize their deaths in media-speak and garner support from an international audience ? :
    Last edited by Elizabeth; 23-05-04 at 15:51.

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    I wonder, what the US generals will say about the newly turned up video which seems to show exactly the wedding that "didn't happen":

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3741223.stm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    It seems unlikely to happen again and again if this is truly a first and only isolated event particularly considering the officers in charge are still trying to justify their side of the side to reporters in Baghdad. The latest I heard they were supplying photos purporting to show a meeting of high-level foreign fighters. What I find more annoying
    is the way irrelevant angles play up and sensationalize a story like this in everyone's mind. Obviously bombing innocent civilians in a remote corner of country is wrong no matter what the circumstances. Whether it had been a wedding or a band of refugees sleeping in a barn or a family simply going about their daily lives. Do these people deserve any less sympathy because they were killed in more routine circumstances without a pithy headline-grabbing handle, ie some kind of party, that can readily summarize their deaths in media-speak and garner support from an international audience ? :
    I agree that the press tends to play up stories that have a certain sensational angle to them, but its not just the fact that it was a wedding (as opposed to some more mundane gathering of people) that has made this a major story. There are several other factors to consider:

    1 - the death toll is quite high and included a large number of children.

    2 - The fact that it was a wedding means there were lots of witnesses and even a videotape to act as evidence to counter the US claims that they attacked a terrorist hideout.

    3 - These deaths weren't the result of an accident or crossfire during a battle in which soldier's lives were at stake, they were deliberately targeted by US warplanes.

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