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A television journalist was shot dead as he made a live broadcast from Baghdad yesterday when United States helicopters fired on a crowd that had gathered round the burning wreckage of an American armoured vehicle.

Mazen al-Tumeizi, a Palestinian working for Al-Arabiya, one of the main Arab satellite television channels, was among 12 people - all believed to be civilians - killed in the incident on Haifa Street.

TV reporter killed by US fire during live Baghdad broadcast

Tell me again why they hate us? Oh, I remember: it's because we love freedom.

I learned about this from the ABC evening news. They showed a reporter talking in front of an incapacitated US armored vehicle with people swarmed around it; then an explosion with the camera flying to the ground; then, when the camera's picked up, you can see the reporter's blood on the lens.

Well, now we know why Bremer made one of the conditions of the "handover" of power that no US military personnel are to be subject to Iraqi law, as if the reason wasn't obvious from the very beginning.

I bet again there's not going to be so much a squeak out of American politicians, editorial writers, or columnists. And where is the UN General Assembly? Why doesn't it condemn the US?

Update [2004-9-13 15:59:38 by Alexander]: Patrick Cockburn of the Independent has a story about this:

"I am a journalist. I'm dying, I'm dying," screamed Mazen al-Tumeizi, a correspondent for the Arabic television channel al-Arabiya, after shrapnel from a rocket fired by an American helicopter interrupted his live broadcast and slammed into his back.

Twelve others were killed and 61 wounded by rockets from two US helicopters on Haifa Street in central Baghdad. They had fired into a crowd milling around a burning Bradley fighting vehicle that had been hit by a rocket or bomb hours before...

"The helicopter fired on the Bradley to destroy it after it had been hit earlier and it was on fire," said Major Phil Smith of the 1st Cavalry Division. "It was for the safety of the people around it."

US missile attack kills 13 civilians in Iraq

Update [2004-9-14 7:50:34 by Alexander]:Paul Krugman starts today's op-ed with this story.

Originally posted to Alexander on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 06:38 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This could have happened 2 weeks ago in NYC (none)
    If Bush wins reelection, God help our souls.
    •  You mean if he wins (none)
      the election.

      He can't be re-elected because he was never elected in the first place.

      And you're right.  God help all of us.

      Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. -- George Santayana

      by Page van der Linden on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:57:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bumped up from below (none)
        Version of events (4.00 / 3)

        From Le Monde

        The most serious incident yesterday took place in Haifa street, on the right bank of the Tigirs. One of several US patrols is trying to locate the artillerymen who have been firing since dawn on the Green Zone.  A boobytrapped car approaches a Bradley armored vehicle and explodes.  The six US soliders inside, all of whom are wounded, manage to escape the burning vehicle but come under Kalachnikov fire.  They withdraw. In the muzzle of the tank cannon, insurgents plant the black and yellow flag of Tawhid wal Jihad, the group led by Abu Mussab Al-Zarkaoui, a presumed Al Qaeda leader in Iraq.  

        Once the small arms fire ends, a crowd of curious onlookers assembles.  People stare at the scene, stupefied.

        Rather than sending in ground reinforcements to recover the Bradley, the US military dispatched combat helicopters.  Even though by now there are only civilians in the street, some of whom are dancing and singing in celebration next to the burning hulk of the Bradley, the helicopter launches its missiles at them to "avoid looting of sensitive equipment" and to "avoid harming the Iraqi people."  At the end of the day, the Iraqi Health Ministry reports 13 dead and 60 wounded in Haifa Street.

        The first journalists on the scene are casualties.  A correspondent for Al-Arabiya TV of Palestinian origin, Mazen Toumeizi, is killed while two Iraqi reporters, one a Reuters cameraman and the other a photography for the Getty agency are wounded.

        Incredibly, the wire services are reporting the US gunships are launching more missles on downtown Baghdad and that a city curfew has been imposed.

        by paper tigress on Mon Sep 13th, 2004 at 06:58:27 PDT

        also...

        here's the BBC video link (Real Player needed): http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/video/40063000/rm/_40063230_iraq22_hawley12_vi.ram

        Idea:No Blood for Oil. Action:I use Biodiesel. site blog

        by KumarP on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 10:50:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You'll still be among the better offs (none)
      because you're probably not iranian, syrian, palestinian, afghan ...

      Bush the Good Christian already has tens of thousands of dead souls on his non-existant conscience, and nobody knows how many will die if he is elected, but rest assured that for each dead american there will be 10, 20, 50 or 100 dead non-americans.

      You'll still be better off than most.

    •  Just saw the video (none)
      (BBC link is down the page)

      It is disturbing. If this doesn't become a big news story, then we are FUBAR'd.

      THE REVOLUTION BEGINS NOW, PEOPLE!!!!

      Idea:No Blood for Oil. Action:I use Biodiesel. site blog

      by KumarP on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 10:25:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can be sure, however, that if the reporter (none)
    had been a Fox News talking head tsk-tsking the people swarming around the burning humvee there would have been absolute hell to pay.

    The 'reason' that the crowd was fired apon, by the way, was that the military says it saw a single flag painted with a terrorist organizations logo flying amongst the crowd.

    That would be that ol' 'killing 500 bystanders to kill 50 bad guys' again. A strategy that has never paid any dividend for the U.S. in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    "The world is full of Eddie Barzooms just jogging into the future." -Satan in The Devil's Advocate

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 06:47:23 PM PDT

    •  flag painted with a terrorist organizations logo? (4.00)
      What's the source for this? Just curious, because by my count, we now have four justifications for this war crime:

      1. There was small-arms fire at the helicopter.

      2. Actually, no small-arms fire. They fired to "save' the crowd from the Bradley.

      3. Well, not exactly to save them, but to keep the Bradley armaments from falling into the wrong hands.

      4. No, no, no. Those "civilians" were actually flag-waving terrorists.

      And it's just a handful of "bad apples" that are responsible for the deaths of 30,000 Iraqi civilians.

      My prediction: history is going to conclude that all these horrors were the repsonsibility of 300 million bad apples living between Canada and Mexico.

      •  Argument No. 3 (none)
        will not work on any person who has seen video of the incident.  The damn thing is on fire and rounds inside it are cooking off.  To go into that thing would be death.  Turns out being around it was death too.

        God I hate my government right now.

        I am a catastrophic success!

        by lapin on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 11:11:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like I said below.. (none)
          .. why wasn't there a detachment there, creating a cordon, to keep civillians back while the ammo cooked off safely and/or the Apache's swung by to finish the job?

          The fact that the US swung by, grabbed their guys, and LEFT - that's the crime.  If they were really going to finish off the Bradley, they should have made an effort to make people aware of that, keep them away from it while it was done.  Instead, they just shot it and if you were nearby, too bad.

    •  And the Charlie Daniels Crowd loves it (4.00)
      The American public has been inocculated against seeing anything wrong in this, because of Hollywood rogue cop movies.

      "McBain, you killed five innocent bystanders!"

      "I would've killed a million to get Mendoza."

      "Dammit McBain, if you weren't the best cop on the force, I'd have your badge so fast..."

      I am not part of your nutritious breakfast--I am a Free Man!!

      by AdmiralNaismith on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 09:50:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is so true (none)
        Ever since Reagan said, "Go ahead, make my day," it's occured to me that America was tacitly yearning for fascism. We have been taught to believe that only "rogue cops" can cut through the bureaucratic red-top of ineffectual politicians. We're now reaping the harvest of this sorry, masculinty-threatened fantasy.
    •  Well, that just goes to show ya... (none)
      You shouldn't fly those terrorist flags.  Now, see, if I was a terrorist, I'd keep it to myself, don't ya know, so, like, I could sneak up on people and terrorize them, yell boo and blow them up and stuff.  But those terror-flag waving terrorists, I mean, come on!  Soooooo retarded.  They're just show offs and wannabes.
  •  Hearts and Minds (none)
    Winning hearts and minds the Rumsfeld way.

    Kerry needs to repeat his call to fire Rumsfeld, Abu Graib, Gitmo, now this?  It's unbearable.

    Attention is living; inattention is dying. The attentive never stop; the inattentive are dead already. -Dhammapada 21

    by Ten Buddhas on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 06:48:11 PM PDT

  •  How can we get this story out? (none)
    How can we convince the SCLM that this story is important?
    •  NBC Actually Did a Pretty Good Job (none)
      Don't know if anyone watched the evening news on NBC this evening, but they showed the Al-Arabiya footage of the reporter's death.  Very jarring, to say the least.
      •  MSNBC link (none)
        Thanks for the tip.  Video link here includes some footage of the burning vehicle, the helicopters, and the reporter.
        •  The story is out. (none)
          Multiple blogs from Iraq mentioned it.  All newswires mentioned it.  One blog I follow, American expat fluent in Arabic with years in the ME posted news of it entitled "Mother of God" and mentioned he had gotten on the phone with the slain man's colleagues thereafter.

          Despite the public statements by US Mil, I am half assed guessing that either somebody wanted to send a message or somebody thought there were personnel inside the damaged vehicle or somebody really thought there was ground arms fire incoming.

          •  Is there an IQ test to join the military? (none)
            I think the problem probably existed between the controls and the chair of the helicopter.  

            In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

            by Asak on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:15:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Bad sign: 'Control Room' (4.00)
      showed that the US targeted the Palestine Hotel, where Al Jazeera was stationed, with three rockets from different directions iirc. (Three rockets from different directions does not look random). Their reporter was broadcasting when he died. Earlier in the film you see the station manager talking about notifying the Americans where they would be so the US would know they were journalists. Probably thought that would protect them. No.
      The footage showed the reporter, Tarek Ayoub, on camera just before he was killed, on April 8, 2003. On the next day, April 9, 2003, the US military staged the toppling of the Saddam statue as if it were a popular uprising. 'Control Room', unlike F/911, makes no editorial comment at all, but the juxtaposition is shocking. The narrative supports a conclusion that the journalist was killed by the US government to get them out of there so the US could control the images we see.
      In the past week Al Jazeera Baghdad has been shut down, no? I think I read their Baghdad office was sealed with red wax. So no pictures from them any time soon. Now this.
      Does this new attack on an Arab journalist mean something else will be staged soon? Does it mean that the American people will only have DOD controlled images of Iraq until the election? Will we know what's happening in Iraq?
      The American press never reported on the targeting of the first reporter, or connected the dots even when Control Room was released. Now this - given the first episode I have to believe the Arab street will believe this was done on purpose.
      Freedom.
  •  actually (none)
    even Drudge is carrying the story
  •  Remember about a month ago (none)
    when a lot of liberals were complaining of "outrage fatigue"? Well, we had a little breather and there's a fresh wave of news crashing down to bruise and outrage us as fresh as ever.

    Soldier on, beloved friends.

  •  Footage? (none)
    Anyone have the footage (the smoking JPEG)?

    Will James R. Bath reveal the secret behind George Bush's National Guard Service before it's too late?

    by pontificator on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 07:15:34 PM PDT

  •  Right Wing Reaction: (none)
    Palestinian journalist? Oh, too bad.

    Sucks to be him, I guess.

    That's what the right's reaction will be. No compassion, just pure hatred.

    •  "It was his own fault" (none)
      "If he'd been broadcasting about how much better off they are now than under that rotten old Saddam regime, he wouldn't have been hurt.  All I know is there's one less terrorist sympathiser."

      I am not part of your nutritious breakfast--I am a Free Man!!

      by AdmiralNaismith on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 09:53:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't Al-Arabiyah (none)
      the US funded network in Iraq?  We surely wouldn't have employed a bad guy, would we?

      I am a catastrophic success!

      by lapin on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 11:13:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No (none)
        It's the number two Arab cable station--like Al Jazeera only not so derided by the US government. Although they have already lost some reporters because they were 1) reporting or 2) of Arab appearance or 3) doing their job. They may not be targeted as clearly as Al Jazeera, but the US hasn't gone out of its way to keep Al Arabiya reporters safe.
      •  Al-Arabiyah's General Manager's recent editorial (none)
        The Beslan atrocity prompted some prominent people in the Arab media to speak out against the actions by terrorists that damage the image of Islam. One of these voices was the manager of Al-Arabiyah.

        "Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture," Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya television wrote in his daily column published in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. It ran under the headline, "The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!"

        Al-Rashed ran through a list of recent attacks by Islamic extremist groups - in Russia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - many of which are influenced by the ideology of Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi-born leader of the al-Qaida terror network.

        "Most perpetrators of suicide operations in buses, schools and residential buildings around the world for the past 10 years have been Muslims," he wrote. Muslims will be unable to cleanse their image unless "we admit the scandalous facts," rather than offer condemnations or justifications.

        "The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us," al-Rashed wrote.

        Political skill in the absence of statesmanship is the first act of a tragedy. - Garrison Keillor

        by bumblebums on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 07:19:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Saudi, no American (none)
        Arabiyah, as in Saudi Arabia.


        It's funded by the Saudis, so is generally much more sympathetic to them. In contrast, al-Jazeera really does try to present all sides, including bin Laden's.
    •  asfd (none)
      the right wing's reaction is to completely deny it happened.  turn the channel, turn the page on the newspaper, block it out.  the second they start taking things like this in and letting it effect them, they'll crumble.  so they opperate under the presupposition that they simply can't pay attention to these things.  

      living zombies.

  •  LA Times report (4.00)
    More here: Al Arabiya Reporter Dies Near Battle Site, by Ashraf Khalil, Times Staff Writer.  (Registration or
    bugmenot workaround required.)

    BAGHDAD, Iraq -- On the final day of his life, Mazen al-Tumeizi woke to the sound of battle.

    The 26-year-old reporter for the Arab-language Al Arabiya television channel lived near the site of a Sunday-morning battle between insurgents and U.S. soldiers along Baghdad's Haifa Street. He died from injuries suffered when a Bradley Armored Vehicle, disabled in the fighting, exploded behind him as he was filming a report.

    He really loved the work and he was brave," said Rajih Khalil, a graduate student at Mustansiraya University and Tumeizi's roommate, recovering from leg and chest injuries in Baghdad's Karch Hospital.

    The details are tragic indeed:

    Without a video camera of their own, Tumeizi borrowed a camera from a colleague working with the Reuters news agency and used it to record a brief report. But as the pair were heading away from the scene of the battle, "he remembered that he forgot to say, 'This is Mazen al-Tumeizi,"' Khalil said.

    The story includes more background info on the reporter and official responses from Iraqi Interior Ministry and U.S. Embassy spokespeople.  

    Tumeizi is the third Al Arabiya employee killed in Baghdad this year. In March, journalist Ali Khatib and cameraman Ali Abdul Aziz were shot by U.S. troops at a Baghdad checkpoint. The U.S. military said the deaths were accidental and expressed regret for the incident.
    •  That omits why the vehicle "exploded" (4.00)
      Even ABC news gave the reason. Here's an eyewitness account:
      A Reuters cameraman, Seif Fouad, recording the scene, was also wounded in the blast. "I looked at the sky and saw a helicopter at very low altitude," he told Reuters. "Just moments later I saw a flash of light from the Apache, then a strong explosion. Mazen's blood was on my camera and face," Mr Fouad said from his hospital bed. He added that his friend screamed: "Seif, Seif! I'm going to die. I'm going to die."

      To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel

      by Alexander on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 07:46:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for the link (none)
        Given that text it sounds like Saddam's trial is the backstory, is that right? So is this about control over what we see of the trial? Or what we hear?
        •  Saddam (none)
          They can't get a judge to try him.

          Nueim al-Okeili, the latest, has refused the job.

          •  Still I bet (none)
            They'll get somebody. They want this big time. And they don't want the world to hear Saddam talk about his past support from the Reagan administration, or any contact with Bush1 if there was any, or Rumsfeld's visits to Iraq to make deals with him. We have those pix but American TV doesn't run them. That's down the memory hole.
            The audio will be controlled I expect.
          •  There's Got to be a Bunch That Would ... (none)
            ... if they could avoid the stain of association with BushCo. That's got to be a de facto death warrant.

            We're all soooo Cheney'd ...

            vote early - vote often

            by wystler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 10:59:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Civilian deaths are so myst-erious (4.00)
        So unresolved.  So open to question.  And usually, so . . . invisible.

        I missed the evening news reports tonight, so thanks for this diary.  It does sound like this incident will be difficult for the military to 'splain away with the usual vague generalities and polite regret.    

        More from Reuters via Aljazeera.net.  

        Reuters footage showed the crowd to be made up of unarmed boys and men, two of whom were standing on top of the Bradley.

        Some had been celebrating the destruction of the armoured car.

        Others were discussing what had happened and quietly watching the Bradley burn, sending thick black smoke into the sky. Then the attack began.

        And from a March 2004 story, Journalists protest at deaths of colleagues, note this about the previous checkpoint killings:  

        "They were shot when they were going away from the checkpoint, not approaching it, so they were shot from the back. This is what eyewitnesses from the bureau are saying," he added.

        The horrible irony is that even in death, these reporters have continued to bring out stories that we would never otherwise see.

  •  Hypocrisy (none)
    Events like this - which are repeated many times each day in Iraq (just not on TV) show the utter hypocisy of Bush, who was shedding crocodile tears at the Russian embassy today because of the Beslan atrocities.

    Dialog macht Sinn / Dialogue makes sense

    by DowneastDem on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 07:33:06 PM PDT

  •  Why we killed them? (none)
    The U.S. Commandantes can't even come up with a straight story for why the helicopter fired on the crowd. The initial lie:

    Earlier, the U.S. military had said a helicopter destroyed the vehicle "to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people" after four U.S. soldiers were lightly wounded in the attack on the Bradley.

    Right, we shoot them so they won't be harmed by looters.  Don't buy that story, then go to the old standby:

    The U.S. military said two of its helicopters had opened fire after coming under attack from the crowd.

    "As the helicopters flew over the burning Bradley they received small arms fire from the insurgents in vicinity of the vehicle," a military statement said.

    So to supress alleged small arms fire at a helicopter they fire into a crowd of civilians? Why?

    "Clearly within the rules of engagement, the helicopters returned fire destroying some anti-Iraqi forces in the vicinity of the Bradley."

    Oh.  I guess he was an anti-Iraqi reporter, so he must have deserved to die.

    Winning the hearts and minds, even if we have to do it by splattering them all over the streets.

    Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to Stand Naked

    by Sabarte on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 08:51:06 PM PDT

  •  Keeping the fighting there... (none)
    So we don't have to fight it here. That's what they keep telling people. These bastards must go, and November 2nd doesn't come quickly enough!!

    Damn! Damn us all for letting this happen in our name, and not demanding that it end NOW.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - FDR

    by Vitarai on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 08:51:41 PM PDT

  •  They know they've lost (none)
    These actions are reminiscent of Somoza's National Guard in 1979 Nicaragua.

    Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!

    by eoglesby on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 09:17:37 PM PDT

  •  We had to destroy the crowd (none)
    in order to save it.

    That cocaine snorting, drunk driving, felony concealing, execution dealing, election stealing, smirking AWOL fratboy ain't MY president!

    by jazzmaniac on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 09:26:17 PM PDT

  •  Forgotten by tomorrow (4.00)
    Who remembers the wedding party they fired on this Spring?

    The church ladies never even acknowledged it.  "Something like that could never have happened; you're just trying to smear Bush."

    Later on, "How do we know they weren't terrorists pretending to be a wedding party so they could shoot guns at our aircraft?"

    I predict the Freepers will assume the terrorists blew up their own civilians so they could try to make it look like we did it.  "The sad thing is that so many liberals will repeat the lie that an American helicopter did it, just because they hate America and Bush so much."

    The media and their partisans who will believe anything a Republican says are getting too damn predictable.

    I am not part of your nutritious breakfast--I am a Free Man!!

    by AdmiralNaismith on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 09:58:05 PM PDT

    •  Spring? (none)
      Who remembers the man who set himself on fire when they told him his son died in Iraq? That was two weeks ago. Cable loudmouths didn't care about him much.
    •  One reason this is so depressing... (4.00)
      is that I am sure that this is not significantly different from the vast majority of Iraqi deaths now occurring as a result of US actions. Here, one of the people killed was a journalist, and his death was videotaped, and a couple of US networks decided to play parts of the videotape. If it wasn't for that chain of events, we never would have learned about this. At best, these deaths would have been added to the statistics of civilian Iraqi casualties that informal organizations, but not the US or Iraqi governments, try to keep. How many murders of Iraqis by US forces occur every day, every bit as brutal and senseless as this one? I am not sure if anyone knows.

      To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel

      by Alexander on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 10:15:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  just for the record (3.50)
     i was in iraq and when you are in a combat situation, and ANYTHING gets fired your way, or you just THINK someone is shooting at you, you open up on it, and so do all your buddies, and the guy with the tank, and the guy in the apache, and EVERYBODY else and their bro. there is no such thing as a warning shot over there.
     because your 20 years old, and you don't want to die. you want to go home.
     i'm not saying it's justified, i'm just saying that's the way it is.
     let's not condemn these guys too quickly. they really just want to live.
    •  No one condemned "these guys"... (4.00)
      or even "our military". I think the condemnation has been directed at the US, or the American public, as a whole. And in the diary, I even condemned the UN for not condemning the US.

      When you can learn about these things on the Web if you make the least bit of effort, or occasionally run across them on TV even if you didn't really want to, it becomes difficult to say there is all that much difference between your average American and "these guys".

      But what is the excuse of ordinary Americans? "These guys" just want to live, as you say -- so they shoot. Ordinary Americans want to live too: but they are not under enemy fire. So why do so many of them act as if they have no more time to think than a soldier on patrol in Iraq? If they thought, they would demand the immediate resignation of all of the Bush administration.

      To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel

      by Alexander on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 11:48:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This just shows (4.00)
      why the whole basis for this midadventure is so fucked up.

      We are fighting the Iraqi people over what?  We are in the position of killing anyone, seeing everyone as the enemy.  Basically, the entire population of Iraq is now our enemy, subject to being shot at if we feel provoked.

      Something is completely insane about this.  No good can come of it.

      Democrats: The party of rights.

      by Katydid on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 11:55:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's exactly why (4.00)
      I don't blame them any more than I blame myself and every other American who's allowed our country to do all this.
    •  definitely (none)
      I'm certainly not condemning these guys ... they were stuck in the middle of a bad situation with a tough decision to make on a moment's notice. My nephew's over there right now; he's been up in the mountains but now he's moving further south.

      The guys in that helicopter were already in a lose-lose situation. Whatever the reason - if they were under orders to blow up the Bradley regardless of civilians, if they saw aggressors around it, if they mistook the camera for an RPG - they were stuck between two bad choices. Can't blame them for picking one, but I'm sure the choice will haunt them anyway.

      Here's the point that any story like this drives home for me. Those of us HERE, back home, we need to be doing OUR part. This shit happens because WE have allowed it to happen. Whether you voted or didn't vote, Bush got into office on our watch. Anyone else you can conceive of as President - including the last four (Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton) - either wouldn't have started the war in the first place, or wouldn't have run it so recklessly.

      Our part of the battle is to fight for accountability in our leaders, truth in our media, and sanity in our foreign relations. There's no excuse for anyone reading this... you HAVE to fight to fix the damn system when our guys are over there fighting for their lives and dealing with the consequences of the decisions being made stateside.

      •  Indefensible (none)
        the guys in the the helicopter committed a morally indefensible act by killing that journalist and the kids in the crowd. They acted out of anger...and likely racism.  

        Remember that scene in Apocalypse Now when the helicrew literally shoots the ass off the Vietnamese girl?  That's what's going on over there.

        •  Your powers of perception are truly amazing... (4.00)
          Tigress,

          It is not my intention to provoke you, but I think your statement should be reconsidered.

          You are certain of the pilot/gunner's knowledge of who was in the crowd (journalists, kids, et. al?)?

          You knew the pilot/gunner as firing out of anger?

          You know the pilot/gunner to be racists?

          I do not believe that this war was one that the US should have engaged in, and certainly not in such a manner. That said, I will give a GREAT deal of leeway to the split-second decisions reached by our military forces in harm's way. This is not a film, this is reality.

          One would think that a better target for your anger and contempt would be the powers that put our troops in such a situation, as opposed to our troops who are trying to deal with a bad situation, and trying to make it back home NOT in a bag.

          The incident was tragic and regretable. One such instance among a great many. I do not mean to trivialize it, nor do I mean to condemn you. I only ask that you reflect on your post.

          If indeed you were in such a situation (forgoing the obvious and easy escape of denying you could ever be in such a situation), could you be certain of your actions? There are few of us who could have such certainty. Perhaps you are one, I regretably, am not.

          I only hope that some good that can come of this debacle, is that the rest of our great nation will be loathe to enter into another such conflict, and if we were to do so, we would remember with accurate memory and serious disposition the horror and true costs of such actions.

          "It is well that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it." - Robert E. Lee

           - Zhirem

          "...daft as a bush..." - Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

          by zhirem on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 07:25:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Y'Know, Z, When Yer Rite, Yer Rite (4.00)
            As Bob Sommerby often notes, we cannot know what somebody else is thinking.  But, in mitigation, I offer that PT's suggestion is going to become common wisdom among most of the few in the Arab world - that US soldiers and marines are anti-Muslim and anti-Arab, and that some of our troops blast civilians to kingdom come just for jollies.

            Oft times appearances are more powerful than the underlying reality. Western culture has a long history of heinous acts perpetrated on the innocent in the middle east. Lip service cannot possibly undo these perceptions.

            vote early - vote often

            by wystler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 11:08:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Don't accept your argument (none)
            read the Le Monde piece downthread.

            This incident occurred in the capital city, not in Fallujah. The US did not want to send in ground reinforcement and sent the attack helicopers.  Incredibly, military intelligence wasn't monitoring Al Arabiya, or they would have known the guerrillas had left the scene and that the crowd were onlookers.  Pitifully, they had no one the ground...not a battlefield, but a major thoroughfare in a metropolitan area.

            We know that the gunship crews are wired and that they are taking orders as they shoot, which they find pleasurable and stimulating. There is no doubt in my mind that what happened was beyond negligence--it was hatred, bloodlust and xenophobia.

        •  Untermenschen (none)
          I'm making broad generalizations here, but my observations have led to the thought that if there's one thing 'Murka does best it's train people to kill.

          Here is a perfect example...my ex-neighbor is an ex-Marine and now an ex-deputy from the county I live in.  He enjoyed shot stray dogs in town and dragged them to the gravel pit.  Maybe his braggadacio and behaviors both were offensive to me, I don't know, but my friend who met him once said, "he really wants to kill someone, doesn't he?"  My friend was kidding on the square...

          A month later, Deputy X shot and killed a 17 year old native kid (links below).  Being part Indian I often wonder if a dark person is subhuman-"Untermenschen".  

          http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/888132.html

          http://redwebz.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=639

          Talking to another deputy, he said, "I'm a college boy (like you) and I'm going to use my head instead of going for my gun.  Deputy X was pretty gung-ho...."  

          One might say this is an isolated incident...let's talk about the wives that were murdered by soldiers returning from Afghanistan or even....the DC sniper...the list goes on...

          That's one of the hardest things for me to balance.  I feel grief for every one of the 1000 plus soldiers killed, but also wonder how many innocent Iraqis are slain for each one of our guys.  20?  50?  ??? ...rambling on...   ...(profit)...follow the $$ trail....

          Americans seem to be more concerned with taking their own lifestyles from 10 to 11 than to help others bring theirs from 0 to 1. www.helpoutothers.org

          by quartzite on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:10:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  typo and French (none)
            enjoyed shot should be enjoyed shooting...sorry.

            RE; french...why do they hate Jefferson so much???

            Americans seem to be more concerned with taking their own lifestyles from 10 to 11 than to help others bring theirs from 0 to 1. www.helpoutothers.org

            by quartzite on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:18:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Indefensible (none)
          No. What's indefensible is that these guys were put into this position by the inevitable results of our government's policies, and that you and I and everyone reading this is responsible for those deaths.

          On an individual basis, our guys over there are pretty average. Just like the population of our country, some are thoughtful and intelligent, some are assholes, some are caring parents, some are racists, etc. Granted, the population is skewed a bit: I'm sure there are not very many pacifists. But please don't confuse fantasy with reality. Apocalypse Now was deliberately meant to show a fictional, explicitly cinematic account of the horrors of war. It shows reality to the same extent that "That 70's Show" shows what life was really like in the 70's.

          You don't know what the guys in the helicopter were thinking, what they had or didn't have. My nephew is a smart, thoughtful guy who is doing his best to do his job and come back alive while following his own moral code, and he's a genuinely good person. Other guys I know who've been in the service are the same way. You might think you know what they were supposed to have in terms of MI, but that's different from what they actually had.

          The tragedy is that they were put in that position by us in the first place, having to do these things for a supposed "greater good". If you don't believe in that "greater good", or if you don't think it's going to be worth the cost, or if you think that we need more accountability so that the real culprits for things like this are punished rather than given accolades for doing a "superb job" ... well, there's a chain of command that goes right up to the top that is your and my responsibility to fix. And that's all I have to say.

    •  That mindset (none)
      Is why we shouldn't even be there.

      Our soldiers should not be so ostracized, so surrounded by a population that they feel hates them, to the point where they willingly shoot at anything that is even remotely suspect.  Ever.

      Events like this will haunt everyone who fired on that vehicle.  And yet I can sympathise with the men on the ground.  If I was there, i'd open fire too, because, like you said, you just want to go home.

      This event is why we should not be in Iraq.

    •  For what it's worth, (none)
      I read that they blew up the vehicle so insurgents couldn't get the weapons that were in it.

      I still haven't decided if that is justifiable or not.

      "How do you ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake?" -John Kerry

      by tryptamine on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 05:43:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One wonders.. (none)
        1. Why weren't the weapons taken out when the wounded soldiers were taken out?

        Okay, so they could be stored inside the vehicle in a place not easily removable.  Or it could be dangerous while it's on fire.  Or something.

        2. Why didn't a detachment of soldiers stay behind and create a cordon to hold back the curious/victorious public while an Apache swung by and finished off the Bradley?

        Neither happened.  And there sure as hell wasn't anyone shooting at the Apache.  Do you think people would be milling around in the street if they heard gunfire?  Would a camera crew be standing in the middle of the street, filing a report, if they heard gunfire?

        It's all a load of bollocks.

      •  My Godson is a Bradley crewman (none)
        Just got back from Korea. They are supposed to spike the gun with a thermite grenade. The pilots of the Apache couldn't help but see the crow just milling around. Even if you are taking fire you don't shoot into a crowd. They should be Court Marshaled. Or have we advanced to "free fire zones" now?
      •  Nothing the US does in Iraq is justifiable (none)
        The invasion was illegal; so is the occupation. Therefore, any act the US performs there is an act of aggression and violence: the brute use of physical force, with no possible justification. US troops in Iraq have no right to self-defense, since they have no right to be there in the first place.

        That some American individuals in Iraq may do one or two nice things for the Iraqis can't make up for that systemic nature of the occupation: that it is one prolonged act of rape and murder of one country by another.

        To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel

        by Alexander on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 08:34:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  good point (none)
      who is the enemy? You stick those kids out there and this happens. Although in the case I cited upthread it looked like someone issued orders to target journalists. No evidence that the soldiers knew who the targets were.
  •  BBC Video shows reporter being hit - madness (4.00)
    Here is the BBC video.  Man this is f'ed up.  You can see it's just curiosity seekers and the reporter is on the edge away from the crowd when the explosion hits.  MADNESS>  This is the kind of thing they're seeing over there, the rest of the world must be ENRAGED.  This is just unacceptable.  We are hated.

    "Go to hell." - Bush, when asked what he would tell the Jews on his first visit to Israel. Austin American Statesman, 12/1/98

    by reef the dog on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 01:50:11 AM PDT

    •  Shoot first! Questions later. (none)
      The next time the Chump-in-Chief gets up and says "They hate us for our freedom" I wonder if he'll be laughed out of the room.  These stills and this video are going to be the top visited links this week and it is Abu Ghraib all over again.

      If the press has any espirit de corps they are going to pick up this fumble and run very far with it.    

    •  If we lived in a decent human country (4.00)
      this video would be shown as many times on all the cable stations as the Swift Boat Liars ad was.

      But of course it won't be. Which is why I now think just watching a commercial American TV broadcast is collaborating with evil.

  •  So...why are we supposed to be upset about 9-11? (3.00)
    I mean, I'm sad to say, but we pretty much deserved it.  If not at the time, then retroactively so.  

    It sucks, but if I were blown up by a terrorist tomorrow, I don't think I could honestly say that it was an injustice.  Everyone in this country is responsible for the atrocities we commit abroad, and the worst part is, most people just don't give a shit.  

    It makes me sick to be an American.  It makes me sick to be surrounded by so many stupid, selfish assholes who seem to make up the majority of this country.  I really think its silly when liberals claim that "it's our flag too", because I'd never fly the American flag for any reason.  If I had a flag I'd either hide it in the deepest reaches of my closet where it was never seen, or more likely just throw it in the trash.  

    What do we have to be proud of?  America was founded based on many grand ideals, but our current incarnation is nothing but pure shit.  People don't even know or appreciate their rights.  They don't even bother to vote.  They don't know anything about the world and just react based on their myopic, ignorant and entirely selfish world view.  

    We don't deserve to be a super power, and though we will all suffer for it, I long for the day when we are just one among many equally powerful nations.  

    In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

    by Asak on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:34:23 AM PDT

    •  That makes you part of the problem... (none)
      I mean this part of your post makes you part of the problem....

      If I had a flag I'd either hide it in the deepest reaches of my closet where it was never seen, or more likely just throw it in the trash.  

      "Some people call you the elite....I call you my base." George W. Bush in Fahrenheit 9/11 trailer.

      by tomathawl on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 05:45:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry... slip of the mouse... (none)
      I had more to say.  When you want to hide from reality by throwing away or hiding your American flag, you're missing the point.  Face the fact that we ARE the world's only super power, and the fact that bad things are being done in our name is not a function of that status, but of the kind of people we have allowed to control our military and its weaponry.  What we need is leadership who will remember that we have a "Department of Defense", not a "Department of War".  

      Let's not be ashamed our our country.  Let's be ashamed that we didn't work hard enough to prevent this disastrous "election", and resolve not to let it happen again.  Let's be more aware of our own potential to cause chaos, not because we are cruel, but simply because we are stronger than any other people on earth.

      Let's get a new President in the White House, one who respects the American people, our history of being a friend and benefactor to the weak of the world, and the fallacy of preemptive war.  

      Let's elect John Kerry and wave our flags proudly.

      "Some people call you the elite....I call you my base." George W. Bush in Fahrenheit 9/11 trailer.

      by tomathawl on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 05:56:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because 9/11 happened before (none)
      not after this. UBL wanted our troops out of Saudi Arabia but nothing like this happened there.
      No question Bush has inflamed it though. The Iraqis suffered under the brutal dictator Saddam and now we are killing them.
      We couldn't find countries on a map, much less know what's being done in our name until the magnitude of this Iraq invasion. Bush is a gift to Usama. It's the war he wants.
  •  Murderers (none)
    That's what that helicopter crew are, and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    But I forgot - their victims were Iraqis, and therefore don't count.

    •  Bremer deliberately imposed terms of occupation... (none)
      which make US military personnel not subject to Iraqi law. It is standard practice for the US to require such immunity to the law of the local country in any country in which the US has military bases. You can see why.

      To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel

      by Alexander on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 08:46:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure (none)
        but they can definately be tried under US military law. The UCMJ bars murder, does it not?

        If those helicopter pilots were British, they'd already be facing charges, possibly in a civilian court.  But that's the difference: the UK is actually serious about protecting the lives of Iraqis, and prosecutes every dodgy shooting to ensure that their soldiers only use force when it is necessary.  The US is not serious; as far as they're concerned, Iraqis are untermenchen, and can be killed at will.

        Idiot/Savant
        No Right Turn - New Zealand's second-best liberal blog

        •  I guess given the way US military officials (none)
          speak about such attacks, not to mention the never-ending "surgical strikes" on "suspected safe houses", it didn't occur to me that the US military would consider prosecuting these pilots.

          As for the Brits, they are Bush's strongest allies, which makes the UK no better than the US, in my eyes. It is a truly decadent culture -- America's Trojan horse in Europe.

          To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel

          by Alexander on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:40:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Version of events (4.00)
    From Le Monde

    The most serious incident yesterday took place in Haifa street, on the right bank of the Tigirs. One of several US patrols is trying to locate the artillerymen who have been firing since dawn on the Green Zone.  A boobytrapped car approaches a Bradley armored vehicle and explodes.  The six US soliders inside, all of whom are wounded, manage to escape the burning vehicle but come under Kalachnikov fire.  They withdraw. In the muzzle of the tank cannon, insurgents plant the black and yellow flag of Tawhid wal Jihad, the group led by Abu Mussab Al-Zarkaoui, a presumed Al Qaeda leader in Iraq.  

    Once the small arms fire ends, a crowd of curious onlookers assembles.  People stare at the scene, stupefied.

    Rather than sending in ground reinforcements to recover the Bradley, the US military dispatched combat helicopters.  Even though by now there are only civilians in the street, some of whom are dancing and singing in celebration next to the burning hulk of the Bradley, the helicopter launches its missiles at them to "avoid looting of sensitive equipment" and to "avoid harming the Iraqi people."  At the end of the day, the Iraqi Health Ministry reports 13 dead and 60 wounded in Haifa Street.

    The first journalists on the scene are casualties.  A correspondent for Al-Arabiya TV of Palestinian origin, Mazen Toumeizi, is killed while two Iraqi reporters, one a Reuters cameraman and the other a photography for the Getty agency are wounded.

    Incredibly, the wire services are reporting the US gunships are launching more missles on downtown Baghdad and that a city curfew has been imposed.

  •  Arabs not Real People (none)
    Can you imagine the outrage if they had done this to us?  I hate the double standard.  What right do we have to go to another country and just shoot people?  It infuriates me.  Last week Nightline did a show about newspapers publishing pictures of beheadings.  Not once was it mentioned that the beheading in question happened in Saudi Arabia.  We are in their countries.  We chose to take this risk - well not the soldiers who were sent over there.  Bush chose to take the risk on their behalf.  Just once I want someone in the media to point out that we are in their country.
  •  CNN is showing the video (none)
    Walter Rodgers (sp?) report contained the footage of the reporter bing killed. 2:22pm EST. One difference in the recent reporting by Rodgers is the way he is balancing casualty reports. He cites Iraqi sources first and includes civilian deaths, hilighting women and children killed, then cites US military sources. It seems better than in the past. I think it conveys at least some of the criminality of wanton bombing in civilian neighborhoods.
  •  See what I wrote above. (none)
    I was wrong. It was even worse.

    The AP report describes the deaths of "Iraqis"--the word "civilians" or "noncombatants" is not used--many of whom were killed when the helicopter fired into "a crowd that was swarming around a damaged armored Bradley vehicle, cheering, throwing rocks, and waving the yellow sunburst banner of Iraq's most feared terror organization."

    No wonder the Charlie Daniels crowd loves the slaughter of unarmed civilians. They're being told this was a desperate act of self-defense against an out-of-control mob of terrorist partisans.

    And of course, the church ladies, like clockwork, have gotten around to citing Texas media sources to atisfy themselves that Kerry personally forged Killian's signature on faked documents to smear Bush.  End of story, as far as they're concerned. I'm just waiting for one of them to assert that it was Bush who pulled Rassman out of the water while Kerry spent the whole war dodging national guard duty with Hanoi Jane.  

    Truth means nothing to a Republican.  Only power.

    I am not part of your nutritious breakfast--I am a Free Man!!

    by AdmiralNaismith on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 11:37:50 AM PDT

    •  Dude (none)
      Truth means nothing to a Republican.  Only power.

      There are good people that are republicans. Not all of them think this way. Most don't. They're just duped. It's unfortunate, but this kind of generalization just makes us look like partisan assholes. I've been guilty of it, too.

      Idea:No Blood for Oil. Action:I use Biodiesel. site blog

      by KumarP on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:51:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The only good Republican (4.00)
        is one who's voting Democratic this year. There's no excuse for being "duped" at this stage. They're lying to themselves if they still think a vote for Bush is anything but support for the most criminal regime in our history.
  •  Meanwhile in Tel Afar (4.00)
    (AP) -- U.S. troops barred anguished crowds from returning to their homes in the besieged city of Tal Afar on Monday as residents described corpses scattered across orchards and the collapse of essential services such as water and electricity.

    Fucking shit up...that's what we are doing.

  •  FUBAR indeed (none)
    "It is hard to change people's minds after you've just killed their reletives"

    Wes Clark

  •  Mission Accomplished! (none)
    Well, we knew from the beginning that the US was getting training from the IDF, but who knew we'd catch on so quickly?

    1.  The event

    19 May 2004, Israeli helicopter and tanks fire missiles and shells into a crowd of Palestinian protestors in Tel Sultan, Gaza Strip, killing 8 civilians including four children.

    13 Sept 2004, US helicopter fires missile into crowd of Iraqis milling around a burning Bradley fighting vehicle, killing 13 civilians.

    2.    Blowing smoke to hide our tracks

    IDF spokesmen -
    "They were killed by their own bomb".
    "We did fire missiles, but not at the crowd"
    "We did shoot at the crowd, but at least five of the dead were armed"
    "One of the dead was armed"
    "We're not sure that that one was armed after all"

    U.S. spokesmen (from matt n nyc, above) -

    1. There was small-arms fire at the helicopter.
    2. Actually, no small-arms fire. They fired to "save' the crowd from the Bradley.
    3. Well, not exactly to save them, but to keep the Bradley armaments from falling into the wrong hands.
    4. No, no, no. Those "civilians" were actually flag-waving terrorists.

    3. The Pants On Fire moment.

    IDF caught on AP news footage. (Click on Video: Attack On Rafah Camp)
    US caught on BBC news footage. (linked above)

    4. End Result

    Gaza
    rafah.jpg

    Baghdad
    haifa_st.jpg

    It took the Israelis 38 years to descend this far, and we've managed it in 18 months.  We really are #1.  Thank you Mr President.

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