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Okay first this is disturbing to watch. I kind of felt like crying at parts of it. This is the camera footage from an attack helicopter in Iraq. In the video use see the helicopter fire on a small group of people with some of them admittedly armed. Also in that group were a pair of reporters for Rueters. Flagging them as maybe hostile was not the part i object too.

Things happen in combat and I get that, but firing on a group who is not actively perusing combat, firing on people because they are trying to help the wounded, and kids getting hit in the exchange? These guys should have been court martialed. Things happen in combat, but that does not free you of responsibility for your behavior. The military should not have lied and said reporters and children getting caught in a clear exchange of fire. Not once did anybody return fire or even try and fire. This made me sick.

I have nothing but love for the guys serving over there. They were doing a hard job in a hard place but this….this is not the honorable behavior I expect from folks representing us over there.I want them to fight and protect themselves but I want them to be better than our enemies morally as well as militarily. This is not that and someone should be held to account for it.

Originally published at McCoy's Geeky Emporium of Thought. You can comment here or there.


Apr. 6th, 2010 08:58 am (UTC)
The initial engagement was an easily avoidable mistake that happened because of well know psychological factors such as priming.

The pilots where looking for hostile forces. When they see a group of people they assume it is hostile. They see a couple of people are carrying things and assume it is people carrying weapons because a hostile group must be carrying weapons. Once the pilots believe that the group is armed, the tragedy is just inevitable.

The pilots had no awareness of their own decision making process or the 'group think' mechanics that lead them to confirm each other's mistaken analysis, escalating the situation.

What failed here was the pilots training in dealing with complexity of urban, low intensity warfare. It never occurred to them that people in a war zone could be doing something innocent.

These sort of mistakes are unavoidable but they can be reduced and the easiest way to do that is feedback. Let pilots learn from other pilots mistakes.

Covering up this video, denying the killing of innocents prevents this.

If the video was released and used as training material for other pilots, the next time a pilot sees a group on the streets, they may double check their assumptions.



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