OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Iraq, from the air

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Whoah. I may have some issues with the post, but I'm not ready to lump Keith with the guys described in this book.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Also, although the invasion may have been unlawful, such a complaint cannot be leveled at the continued presence of US and other forces in 2007, which by then was at the invitation of the Iraqi Government.

    War of aggression was described by the Nuremberg Tribunal as the supreme international crime because it "contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." They were talking about massacres like these. Not only is the occupation a fait accompli but these rednecks flying around in helicopters just shouldn't be there in the first place.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    liberal apologists like Keith

    I didn't see that. I also didn't see that he approved of the US presence in Iraq. Rather that judging the whole on a part may lead to distortions of vision and that it might be more complicated than that. Seemed like a thoughtful post to me.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    And anyway Keith was just asking a question (s) inviting a balanced response rather pushing a point of view. So great Post Keith.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Keith asks "Is it possible for this to be a genuine, reasonable, yet catastrophic mistake?"

    The answer is no, this is simply an adjunct to the initial illegal act of aggressive war, the supreme war crime.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    "If those people actually *were* a group of insurgents with weapons on their way to an ambush, would it look different?"

    And shouldn't these rednecks have been asking the opposite question?

    How many journalists has the U.S. killed in Iraq now I wonder. Seems to be working out quite well for them so far.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    You are right. Scary to watch. Apaches have these "wonderful" guns that are effectively aimed with a head display the pilot can wear. The cross is where the gun is aiming. So he just looks, the gun swivels and he hits the go button. It looked like it did have about 10m spread in the shots so not really pinpoint accuracy. And about a km or so away given the shot to damage time. That gets the techie bits out of the way.

    I was rather interested to hear one group asking the shooters to identify which ROOF the group of Iraqis(?) were on who were firing "smallarms fire" at them. These guys they hit were on the ground. This makes it suspicious they hit the wrong group.

    Remember, the US Dog is bigger than their Dog. Don't mention Satan...oh...he did...

    Someone mentioned music while you shoot em up. Remember TopGun anyone? Just look at the penchant for callsigns! Crazyhorse. Bushmaster. Its a game.

    The scarier thing is - and it is time to get brutal - is that it has to be a game. After WW2 some folk did some research and found that only about 15% of those who were in position to shoot someone or something deliberately, actually aimed at the target. The vast majority aimed to miss, shoot over the top or into the ground or kept loading and reloading their gun. Killing changed after that. Soldiers where trained to shoot on reflex. Trained to shoot first, ask questions after. It worked in Vietnam. But.....it caused all sorts of post stress and it is almost certain once they thought about their actions they regretted what they did and suffered for it. It makes you wonder if there is only 15% of us who would shoot without any qualms.

    Who is right? Who is wrong? Who started it? Who is trying to "finish" it? Who wants revenge? Who wants revenge for the revenge?

    Libraries have been written with those themes. But as an awful lot of books have mentioned. "If only their mothers could see them lying here. The war would stop".

    Unfortunately they don't. So it won't. I can't help think that if you educate young adults that your country/religion is the only one worth fighting for and impose on the rest of the world then you are asking for it. And I am not just talking of the USA.

    We are blessed in this country that we have the opportunities to get to see an awful lot of the world from an enormous number of points of view. We ARE able to make better assessments of where and what we should do as a nation.

    We have taught our young well. Too well in some cases.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    And not only did they not ask the opposite question but they actually lied about "a guy shooting."

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    It worked in Vietnam

    A sentence you don't often see; ) Interesting post.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 888 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Keith, what do you think about Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Bleichwehl's comment to the New York Times that "There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force"?

    Do you think this may have been just a terrible mistake too?

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The Government of Iraq (elected by the Iraqi people) has asked the US to be there, therefore that the US is there isn't illegal.

    Cmon, how can it count if you violently removed the previous government and installed your own puppets - same as Afghanistan. Free elections my arse.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15715 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I'm sure this is a common enough refrain here that it almost needs it's own HTML tag, but good lord don't read the Kiwiblog comments on this topic if you don't want blood to boil.

    I think your point around assessing exactly what the points of failure are here is a good one - although the "would it look different?" statement is a little to close to suggesting that should lean against any criticism. When it seems to me to be an argument for dramatically greater caution and raising the bar for engagement, not lowering it.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    from every war
    the dead and wounded stream
    their cries and calls echo
    -derange &

    echo night after day after
    evernight and never
    while the redeyed warrior
    tries to sleep -ever
    go away

    and we wonder
    why lacerated land
    her people and all who thought
    safe haven here
    see daily violence wrought
    as strange

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Islander: thank you.

    For what it's worth this is still an enduring favourite of mine.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    So will New Zealand stop supporting US military campaigns?

    FWIW, we rather conspicuously refused to join the Alliance of the Willing, or whatever the hell Bush liked to call it (I'm honestly surprised he didn't just go with "The Good Guys".) Afghanistan is another kettle of fish, though, and I wouldn't expect a pullout there any time soon.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    finally, they make reference to "bushmaster" which is probably the 25mm variety of autocannon (i still need to watch the remainder of the vid)

    I think Bushmaster was the callsign for the ground team.

    http://collateralmurder.com/en/transcript.html

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 522 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    FWIW, we rather conspicuously refused to join the Alliance of the Willing, or whatever the hell Bush liked to call it

    Not quite true, we just made a point of underplaying our involvement.

    A list of those in the so-called coalition. Our involvement was small and was not at the pointed end but we were there as a part of GWB's Grand FUBAR of The Willing nevertheless

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3184 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Sam F - that is a work I've never come across before - and will spend much time rereading..thank you!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    Isn't that one way they recruit them these days?

    They built this for kids to come and get a taste of the army experience

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 213 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Cmon, how can it count if you violently removed the previous government and installed your own puppets - same as Afghanistan. Free elections my arse.

    Agreed, but lets not forget that Saddam too, as part of an Iraqi tradition, very violently removed the one he replaced some years back.

    Legit governance of any sort is not something most Iraqis have had the chance to ever experience, but the current lot of thugs, gangsters, petty warlords and power hungry religious beacons are about as close as they've come.

    The last chapter of the paperback edition of Rick's The Gamble, added in mid 2009, is about as depressing as it gets and unfolding as he predicted pretty much right now.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3184 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Agreed, but lets not forget that Saddam too, as part of an Iraqi tradition, very violently removed the one he replaced some years back.

    The old two wrongs make a right trick. At least Saddam was an Iraqi.

    Legit governance of any sort is not something most Iraqis have had the chance to ever experience, but the current lot of thugs, gangsters, petty warlords and power hungry religious beacons are about as close as they've come.

    Ah yes, democracy we bring. Except for the millions dead of course but that's the price you pay for not living how the West tells you to.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    FWIW, we rather conspicuously refused to join the Alliance of the Willing, or whatever the hell Bush liked to call it (I'm honestly surprised he didn't just go with "The Good Guys".) Afghanistan is another kettle of fish, though, and I wouldn't expect a pullout there any time soon.

    Not meaning to repeat anything Simon said.

    Conspicuously within New Zealand certainly, Globally I'd say it's debateable Lucy, nothing to the extent of pulling military support from Afghanistan in protest. But it's merely a conspicuousness of absence-once.

    In the grand scheme of things I think we tend to underestimate the visibility of this use for our country, blinded by Glorifying headlines about Our Stance (which was undermined by Air New Zealand's involvement in Australian troop transportation).

    Certainly after all the allegations of torture and massacres and illegal invasions, we have done nowhere near enough to distance ourselves from that global perception that New Zealand is just another the US war machine's regular Yes Men.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 888 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Hmm, I watched the video again and just realised that they got the green-light to engage *before* they misidentified the "RPG". Which kills the heat-of-the-moment argument...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 522 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    At least Saddam was an Iraqi.

    A Sunni first, an Iraqi second I'd say.

    The old two wrongs make a right trick.

    Nope but it goes both ways. Saddam's horrors don't justify Bush's, as the Americans and an expat vistor who strolls into this forum every now and then would argue, and neither do Bush's give Saddam a get out of jail. He was an evil murderous bastard regardless of his bloodline, and, yes, who armed and supported him.

    Y'know Christiaan, most folks here would agree with large parts of what you've got to say, and if you go back through the archives most of your arguments have been forcefully and rather well made over the past years. I'm not really sure what you've got to gain by leaping into a forum and then sniping at people.

    Just sayin'

    Certainly after all the allegations tof torture and massacres and illegal invasions, we have done nowhere near enough to distance ourselves from that global sense that New Zealand is just another the US war machine's regular Yes Men.

    Just be thankful we weren't under the thoughtful guidance of Simon Power et al back then:

    without reservation we will support our close allies, Australia, the United States and Britain, when and wheresoever our commitment is called for

    Power never gets a pass for that one.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3184 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    It's a ludicrous thing to say. Being familiar with the ilk what would have voted him in, I'm not surprised.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 888 posts Report Reply

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