War is UGLY, that is why so few of us are willing to do it

I was originally going to write this for the YouServed.com blog, but decided against it as I didn’t want to bring any controversy over there. I am sure I will get some military-hating, unpatriotic and ignorant about combat people to comment on this. So to those people, feel free to comment.

If you have seen the video that WikiLeaks that came out in the press the other day, then I am sure you have an opinion about it. I personally watched the entire the entire 39 minutes, and 14 seconds.

I have embedded the video below in case you have not seen it. However let me caution you that for those that are easily disturbed and upset, this video could be uncomfortable for you to watch. Also, let me caution you to please ignore the liberal-leaning spun comments by wiki-leaks at the start and the end.


Yesterday I was invited to be on BBC’s World Have Your Say. A show that I am regularly on as a guest. However I could not make it yesterday but a fellow milblogger CDR Salamander did a great job pointing out the true facts and putting the video in context. You can listen to the archive of the BBC program at

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/whys/whys_20100406-1925a.mp3

It may or may not (if you have ever heard me on this show) surprise you how many ignorant and un-educated people there are in the world that have never been in combat but all seem to be experts on what it is like or supposed to be like. CDR Salamander did a superb job on the show countering so many “disturbed people”. Also, the host of the show did as good as always of keeping the guests on tasks and very balanced.

So here is my opinion, without re-hashing too much of CDR Salamander. If you watch the video there is without a doubt there are weapons being carried by some of the insurgents. There is also no doubt that the pilots did not willy-nilly shoot at these people, they confirmed PID (Positive Identity), and they did this several time. The pilots identified weapons multiple times, they cleared with higher command to engage, what angle to engage, etc.

Some have mentioned that the the soldiers treated this like a video game. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Let me clear something up here. Video games are created to mimic war, not the other way around. We don’t conduct warfare to look like video games. They try to make their games as realistic as possible. I guarantee you that the ground soldiers who eventually made it on scene were not thinking of video games as they worked to clear the ground and then had to deal with two wounded children. The pilots look through their optics and that is how they engage with their weapons. What do people expect them to do, open the canopy and shoot their hand-held weapons and throw down hand-grenades.

Soldiers cannot get wrapped around every single life they are forced to take by virtue of being in combat. Soldiers (and I use soldiers generally describing all service-members), use dark humor and take it all in stride when they have to take lives. They can’t be effective by getting wrapped around the axle over taking human lives. So what you hear in this video is soldiers being soldiers. Nobody likes killing innocents, especially children and that is evident when the soldiers on the ground immediately start calling for a MEDEVAC to come get the wounded children.

This is a GREAT video, it shows how efficient our military is. It also shows the number of hoops our soldiers go through before they engage. Lastly it shows how our soldiers quickly transition from life-takers to life-savers when enemy or innocents are wounded. God Bless our military, and God Bless all the men involved with this one incident. I hope they don’t regret or feel bad about anything in this video. I also pray and hope that the military has their men’s backs and don’t cave to the liberal leaning media.

I am really looking forward to comments on this one. I would like to know what you think.

For some other views and opinion on this topic, I suggest checking out
http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/201901.php
http://hotair.com/archives/2010/04/05/video-collateral-murder-or-the-risks-of-war-zones/
http://www.blackfive.net/main/2010/04/open-letter-to-centcom-pao.html
http://www.blackfive.net/main/2010/04/the-wikileaks-video.html
http://www.blackfive.net/main/2010/04/wikileaks-or-agitprop.html


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20 Responses to War is UGLY, that is why so few of us are willing to do it

  1. Kevin S. LangNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for covering this. I am not in the military and personally I think warfare is overused as an answer to problems. That being said I can not stand it when our soldiers are criticized every time a civilian is injured. It’s a war zone. I think people need to sit down and seriously give some thought about what exactly that means and what exactly the job is that our government tasked these soldiers with. Are mistakes made? Yes, everywhere all the time. I would say that restoring and protecting order in Baghdad would be an extremely difficult task to do without any mistakes; and I’d say given the circumstances our military does the best job in the world at limiting those mistakes.
    What a great effect on target.
    Bless those men involved; I wouldn’t want anyone else protecting my country.

    -K

    • BouhammerNo Gravatar says:

      Yes Kevin, I agree…there is nobody else I would want protecting my country, my brothers in arms and my family.

  2. cklarockNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a lefty myself, but I agree with your assessment. As the Reuters editor suggested, war is a dangerous subject to cover, and such are the risks of working in a war zone.

    I think it’s the gallows humor and gung-ho bravado of the soldiers that makes it salacious and stirs the passions of people who don’t understand the full context or the fog of war.

    I think If you’d taken all the whoo-ha and jokes out of the radio conversation, I don’t think you have as much moral outrage, and there might be more voices feeling sorry for the soldiers who have to carry the burden of this mistake. Having not been there, I only imagine, but I would think that killing your enemy is a lot lighter on the spirit than harming or killing non-combatants.

    All that aside, it’s easy to criticize combatants from our armchairs, but we should also point out how much care we take as a culture to minimize collateral damage and civilian casualties — we have the most civilized military in the history of Western warfare in that regard, full stop. IMO, the amount of care we do take is special within the historical context and deserves praise.

    If the soldiers followed their ROE, then it is a tragedy, not a crime.

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  4. cklarockNo Gravatar says:

    I was thinking about it a bit more, and it seems to me that one of the disconnects between peaceniks and warfighters when looking at this kind of stuff is the notion that if you’re a warfighter in contact, you *want* to kill your enemy.

    You’re not doing it reluctantly, like the hero in a 50s western trying to shoot people in the legs. They are trying to kill you and therefore killing them is a good thing. The ROE is there to put a boundary around the killing, but in the end, you want to get that other f-ker before he gets a chance to get you.

    For people who don’t spend any time in this kind of reality, that might be hard to understand.

  5. GordonNo Gravatar says:

    Having been there done that, I greive for the pilots and troops on the ground who have to deal with the reality of war on an almost daily basis. These troops did what they had to do and did it within the rules that all but tie their hands behind their backs.
    Only to be second guessed by fools.

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  10. s burkeNo Gravatar says:

    The aactions that our profesionals made were totally justified. I cant say much more than that, other than the fact that it’s totally stupid to “bring your kids to battle”. And it is really stupid to embed with the enemy. We reap the results of stupidity. It’s a law of physics.

  11. s burkeNo Gravatar says:

    Let me go a bit futher from my last post about putting children in harms way like these bastards did. Anyone who would do such insanity is totally insane, or an immoral piece of shit. They truly deserve to be culled from existence. I’ll say again also that the US military did absolutely NO wrong in this incident. And the idiots that take issue with this are just that. They are either idiots , or traitors.And btw, I’m not ex military, or military. I’m simply a law abiding , tax paying American who appreciats the hell out of what these heros are doing to keep us all safe. God bless them all.

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  13. NY-DavidNo Gravatar says:

    This is a great analysis. I think it does a really good job at showing how hard it is to make decsions in combat.
    And for the umteeth time, my friend, Liberals aren’t Lefty Peacniks.
    NY-David

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  16. Dorothy HealyNo Gravatar says:

    I have looked at the links you have posted. I would like to add another.

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/04/07/gordon-duff-collateral-damage-spinning-away-murder-in-iraq/

    Having looked at a few points of view, I will add mine, although I am no one special. This is what war looks like.

    The people who leaked the video should have slept on it. I also think the engagement might have gone differently if the group had been encountered by ground troops first.

    It reminds me of the riots in Plainfield, NJ when I was growing up. A crowd cornered a cop in an ally. They had baseball bats, knives, and a gun. He fired 3 warning shots and then shot into the crowd. As he fired, the adults dove to the side leaving a little boy standing in the line of fire. The bullet hit a 7 year old boy in the stomach. He died.
    I have thought so often since then, who brings a child to a murder? Apparently a lot of people. Who knew? Oh, and the police officer was also shot in the stomach and died.
    .-= Dorothy Healy´s last blog ..**Alash Tuvan Throat Singers** =-.

  17. Dorothy HealyNo Gravatar says:

    BTW ,Gordon Duff is in the business of self aggrandizement. His view points are a little too au courant with the left media to pass the smell test, But I think some items on the link are of interest. If his background is to be believed , I’m surprised at the vehemence of his stance. I cant take his facts seriously because he give them no reference and I don’t see how he could possibly know some of them to be true unless he was there. which he was not.
    Was the video an accurate image of what the helicopter could see? How is it that the commentator of the video knew where the children where in the van? I could not tell. Who told them? If someone told them , I would like to know what else they had to say. Could they enhance the video in away the military could not?
    I think it is relevant that journalists would employ protection and that is why contact with ground forces MIGHT have led to a different outcome.
    But really, if you bring a gun to a gunfight, you might get shot.!
    .-= Dorothy Healy´s last blog ..**Alash Tuvan Throat Singers** =-.

  18. Adam ZakyNo Gravatar says:

    If you look at the footage especially at 2:15 an RPG is clearly visible, as one of the guys spins it around. If Reuters reporters are hanging around dangerous people like that. Then dangerous situations are bound to arise.

    And as always, the video is being edited and spun different directions constantly. So trying to find out what actually occurred becomes harder every minute.

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