Reconciling assholes for nearly a decade.

you know, these "didn't stop at the checkpoint" stories

are getting less and less credible

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7089948
Permalink muppet 
March 5th, 2005
Is it possible to have less than zero credibility?
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 5th, 2005
I think the president of Go Daddy blogged about the pressure of being soldiers at war and the kind of unusual decision-making process they are force to work with. He was talking about the soldier who reportedly shot wounded enemies, but this story reminds me of his blog.
Permalink Li-fan Chen 
March 5th, 2005
So what are you alleging, muppet? That soldiers are simply taking potshots at random vehicles? Or that she was deliberately targeted?

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 5th, 2005
The irony of this story really hit me when I read it today.

Freed after a month in the hands of Iraqi kidnappers and then shot at by US troops. WTF?

While I am deeply sorrowful that someone was killed, I think this incident happening in such a high profile way might perhaps prompt a deeper investigation of the cases where local people have been shot in similar circumstances.

A further update:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4320961.stm
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 5th, 2005
The only part of the report that didn't make any sense was the statement that 'They fired warning shots into the engine block'.

Now, if someone could explain how such a thing could be a warning and not a complete attempt to stop it and that with the notoriously innaccurate weaponry (these are not snipers on road blocks), firing at the engine block is much the same as firing at the windscreen.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 5th, 2005
The news stories I've heard reported that they fired warning shots in front of the car, and *then* into the engine block when it wouldn't stop.

Something tells me that most of the soldiers probably did that, but one or two skipped the warning stepa and went straight for the engine.
Permalink Greg Hurlman 
March 5th, 2005
What I'm alleging, Philo, is that we have a bunch of 19 year old kids over there who don't know what the fuck they're doing, who are all terrified, and who are shooting at every fucking thing that moves.
Permalink muppet 
March 5th, 2005
The propaganda department plays pretty loose with the term "checkpoint" as well.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
March 5th, 2005
A boomgate or obstacles placed to ensure traffic is slowed constitutes a checkpoint. As the car was going faster than the troops were comfortable with, the driver could not have been aware of any reason to slow. Woops.

Were there an effective barrier, blind freddie would see it and slow down to be inspected - leaving only drunks and bombers likely to approach at speed, and Iraq may actually have so few drunks that you could blaze away at vehicles speeding toward you with a clear conscience.

But what makes this different to any other casual traffic slaughter is possibly, just possibly, the outcome of the investigation Berlusconi has requested during an hour on the phone to Bush.
Permalink trollop 
March 5th, 2005
...just another example of the senselessness of this war.

It needs to be said everyday, Bush is an arrogant clueless ass, responsible for thousands of sensless deaths.

Q. Will Bush get us in another war in the next year or so?

Q. Will there be a military draft in the next year or so?
Permalink D 
March 5th, 2005
Okay, muppet - 100% agreed. Just wasn't sure where you were coming from.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 5th, 2005
>> What I'm alleging, Philo, is that we have a bunch of 19 year old kids over there who don't know what the fuck they're doing, who are all terrified, and who are shooting at every fucking thing that moves. <<

Well, is *is* a war, and that's what happens in wartime.

The idea that war is nice & clean (surgical), and no one ever makes a mistake, is a distinctly modern US invention.

It doesn't excuse what happened, but the difference between the ideal and the reality is closer than it has ever been in human history.
Permalink example 
March 5th, 2005
blah blah blah blah blah

How about if the government/military/whoever reports the truth instead of these bullshit "ran the checkpoint" stories?

How about, these bunch of kids saw a car driving toward them while out on patrol, freaked out, and made swiss cheese of the thing?
Permalink muppet 
March 5th, 2005
On Frontline's "Company of Soldiers" documentary, it appeared that a checkpoint was anywhere on the road near where soldiers stopped. Instead of a sign with flashing lights physically in a car's way.

If the government's chickenhawks cared about America's soldiers (and Iraqi civilians), they'd equip patrols with lightweight signs. Maybe they should stop whining about armoring soldiers' vehicles too.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 5th, 2005
Adding gasoline to the fire:

http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/headlines05/0305-05.htm
Permalink misanthrope 
March 5th, 2005
> Well, is *is* a war, and that's what happens in wartime.

It's not a war. 'War' is when you're fighting the uniformed army of an enemy government.

> The idea that war is nice & clean (surgical), and no one ever makes a mistake, is a distinctly modern US invention.

Whereas in reality, your soliers have a problem deciding whether and when they need to shoot "civilians" in the country that they're occupying?

> It doesn't excuse what happened, but the difference between the ideal and the reality is closer than it has ever been in human history.

The last winter of WWII in Holland for example was known locally as "the winter of hunger": the Axis soldiers having taken all the food. When Allied troops arrived to liberate Appledoorn, there was shooting. One of the tanks pulled into a space between two houses to get out of the fire. The tank commander heard a knocking on the side of the tank: looked out, and saw Dutch civilians trying to give them a tray of fruit.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 5th, 2005
Chris, not sure what you mean by the fruit story....
Permalink Li-fan Chen 
March 5th, 2005
I suppose I 'meant' that as an example of a time when soldiers were in a foreign country, and people on the ground weren't confused about who 'the enemy' was: knowing which would be a useful prerequisite to "clean surgery".

I read _example_'s statement as saying "We are fighting a [just] war [against an enemy]. War isn't clean, and anyone who thinks that it should be must be some kind of born-yesterday idealist [and possessed of American ideals at that]. However, [thank goodness] modern American weaponry makes wars nicer and cleaner and more surgical than ever before."
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 5th, 2005
I am willing to bet that in WWII there were plenty of cases of Allied troops accidentally shooting civilians.

And I know for a fact that in Iraq there are plenty of cases of Iraquis welcoming US troops.

May I suggest that the difference is the press...

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 5th, 2005
"May I suggest that the difference is the press..."

If I remember my history correctly, the war coverage in WWII was heavily censored. So I don't think that it's an apples-to-apples thing here. Or is that what you meant and I just didn't catch on?
Permalink cubiclegrrl 
March 5th, 2005
Philo, cggrl:

this covers the introduction, development and control of the war correspondent:

http://evatt.labor.net.au/publications/books/80.html

The basic difficulty is ensuring communications pass by trusted eyes. Technology advances either help or hinder the censors.
Permalink trollop 
March 6th, 2005
er, cgrrl -> cubiclegrrl, my profuse apollogations.
Permalink trollop 
March 6th, 2005
>> I read _example_'s statement as saying "We are fighting a [just] war [against an enemy]. War isn't clean, and anyone who thinks that it should be must be some kind of born-yesterday idealist [and possessed of American ideals at that]. However, [thank goodness] modern American weaponry makes wars nicer and cleaner and more surgical than ever before." <<

Nothing is nice about war. That's the point I was trying to make. And it's also why war should be avoided if possible. I was against the initiation of the war against Iraq, as I didn't see the connection between 9/11 and Saddam (seems like there wasn't one, imagine that). Now that we *have* captured the country, we have a responsibility to finish what we started and get them on the road to democracy. It'll take ten or more years, just as it did in Europe with the Marshall Plan.

>> I am willing to bet that in WWII there were plenty of cases of Allied troops accidentally shooting civilians. <<

Happened all the time, and was unfortunate. The air war of WW-II mostly consisted of bombing enemy cities in addition to war industries. There were also cases where Allied troops fired on their own units. It was unavoidable, given the weapons & tactics available at the time.

Modern military technology makes it possible to minimize civilian casualties, but it never ever goes to zero. We can fly a bomb through a specific window of a house, but if intelligence reports pick the wrong house...

There's a reason why it's called the fog of war -- you have a distinct lack of information about what's going on, and just have to act on what you do know.
Permalink example 
March 6th, 2005
"We can fly a bomb through a specific window of a house, but if intelligence reports pick the wrong house..."

On the flip side if the military feels that there is minimal backlash against picking the wrong house, it's possible that the less humane will be entirely willing to roll the die. Whooops, sorry.

Read the sorry of the American pilot who dropped a bomb on Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan (killing four of them, and maiming several others). It's a remarkable tale of what seems to be a trigger happy whacko that had the most dubious of justification so it was bombs away. Whoops, sorry.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
March 6th, 2005
I'm pissed I didn't see this thread earlier, b/c now my post will be at the bottom, but...

WTF were the soldiers supposed to do???

That road that the italians were speeding down was one of the most active attack routes. I'm sorry, but if you've been bombed several times, in the same manner, you stop letting people through. They warn the oncoming cars, they then fire warning shots at the road ahead, then fire shots into the engine, then open fire. What else can you do? Get bombed? How were they supposed to know that there were italians in this unmarked car??

People think we, as americans, are aggressive idiots just because our president is one. Trust me, I've been around the military all my life, and most (99%) of the military personnel do NOT enjoy killing people! Read that again please.

Also, just because some of these soldiers are 19, does not mean they are stupid or erratic, or untrained. I'll tell you the guys manning these roads now are incredibly trained. They didn't just "freak out" and shoot this car, they did what they were supposed to do.

Everyone is sorry that the Italians are dead, but it doesn't make what they did any less stupid. Yes I said stupid, and no I'm not posting anonymously (well kind of, I don't have my home address posted or anything!)

Every country has made it's mistakes in war, as mentioned above, we had a dumb air force reservist not follow protocol and bomb a poor bunch of Canadians. The difference between that incident and the italian incident is that the italian incident was not a mistake, it was a justifiable response to a certain activity. All reports have showed that we warned them, that we fired warning shots, etc.. so why is there an investigation?

I just don't get it.
Permalink Jared M. 
March 7th, 2005
Jared, you're taking this as a criticism of the soldiers. It's not -- the Bush politicians are putting big red targets on American soldiers.

Our soldiers are getting body parts blown off, and civilians are getting shot up. Now, we could be tricked to either blame the soldiers or the civilians. Or we could see who's getting off scot-free.

Just as with Abu Ghraib -- some soldiers took the fall for Rumsfeld.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 7th, 2005
Jared ypu're talking balls. If you want a road check you set up a road block so the car has to slow down. If you're just trying to stop cars by waving them down and them pumping them with around 400 bullets if they don't see you or are too afraid to stop, then it's because you don't give a fuck about human life.

It's true they didn't know there were Italians in the car. Woudl murdering Iraqis have been any better?
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 7th, 2005
First reply. I was referring to several posts up where the soldiers were being described as cowboys of sorts for shooting at a car.

Second reply.
Okay, instead of Italians, I should have said 'innocents' or 'civilians', but what I say is the same. It is by now, as much as I disagree with why we are there, common knowledge that the US is in charge of babysitting over there. When the US or Iraqi military ask you to stop, stop. Why did the 'innocents' not? They surely would have been sent to safety by the Americans. I just think that for whatever reason, everything we do is now 'on purpose'. From what I've read, there are many Italians that believe we actually TARGETED her car. That is just insane.

Unfortunately, we have 250,000 soldiers over there, and in any group of 250,000 people, you will surely find bad seeds. We have dumbfucks like the people involved in Abu G. prison scandal that screw up any sort of progess that we make with the world.

If I came off to harsh, in my first post, I appologize. I have 3 friends over there, one family member, and one of my friends from high school died because of some foreign suicide bomber coming into Iraq to fuck everything up.
Permalink Jared M. 
March 7th, 2005
++How about, these bunch of kids saw a car driving toward them while out on patrol, freaked out, and made swiss cheese of the thing?

That would be too much like a company saying something along the lines of, since we spent so many millions on <useless items> we will be laying off <so many thousand>.

It would be too much like Carter as a CEO. Carter had no second term, and neither would the General, or CEO. We don't like the truth.

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies....
Permalink I am Jack's lie littany 
March 7th, 2005
Stephen is right. I too have been in places where there are checkpoints on the roads. In such places, checkpoints look like checkpoints. There are physical gates or barriers across the road, and signs warning you to stop. There is no way you could speed in a car towards one without thinking you were going to crash into the barriers.

What goes on in Iraq really does make it sound like a group of soldiers beside the road just step out and try to wave down traffic. This might just work in the USA, though I doubt it. If a bunch of armed people jumped out in front of you on an American road and started flagging you down, I bet it would scare the shit out of you. In an unstable place like Iraq, how could acting like that make sense to anyone?
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 7th, 2005
Do you really think that if they fired 300 or 400 rounds at that car, like is claimed, anyone would have lived?
Permalink  
March 7th, 2005
Jared, there are obvious solutions to this problem. Lightweight signs, using police rather than soldiers, etc.

When people say we did it on purpose, they're just expressing the fact that the planners are so negligent, it is indistinguishable from malice. How can they think otherwise?

Like Abu Ghraib, which you think was a couple "bad seeds." No it's not, that's how guards act when they think the prisoners attacked America, hate freedom and kill their fellow soldiers. Look up the Stanford Prison Experiment: http://www.prisonexp.org/

Bad shit happens when you put people in incredibly stressful situations.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 7th, 2005
> that's how guards act when they think the prisoners
> attacked America, hate freedom and kill their fellow
> soldiers.

Based on the Standford Prison Experiment, you could've just left it at "That's how guards act."
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 7th, 2005
"That's how guards act."

Or should it be

"That's how untrained guards act."?
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 7th, 2005
Jared why do you think the suicide bomber was foreign. Even if he was, he would still be from somewhere a lot closer to Iraq than your mate.

And how the hell do you even think Anerican soldiers, who don't speak a word of the language and are trained (when they are trained) to kill, not to police, can maintain law and order? What kind of law and order would you expect in the States of all the police were disbanded, and the policing was left to Inodnesian or Mongolian paratroopists?

What is happening is simple. The Americans don't even control the road from the capital to the airport. They are so scared themselves, that they do not put up permanent blockades or appproach cars to tell them to stop or explain. And if all the Anericans are doing is protecting themselves, and that not very sucessfully, what the hell is the point of keeping them there to kill innocents and act as targets for the not so innocent.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 8th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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