Sunday, May 25, 2008

Apaches Attack Sadr City


From the Washington Post is an article covering recent actions in Sadr City, Iraq (Click on the link for the entire article and some video.)


In Iraq, a Surge in U.S. Airstrikes
Military Says Attacks Save Troops' Lives, but Civilian Casualties Elicit Criticism

By Ernesto LondoƱo and Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, May 23, 2008; Page A10

CAMP TAJI, Iraq -- From an Apache helicopter, Capt. Ben Katzenberger's battlefield resembles a vast mosaic of tiny brown boxes.

"The city looks like a bucket of Legos dumped out on the ground," the 26-year-old pilot said. "It's brown Legos, no color. It's really dense and hard to pick things out because everything looks the same."

He uses a powerful lens to zoom in on tiny silhouettes, trying to identify people with "hostile intent" among hundreds of ordinary citizens in Baghdad.

In recent weeks, Katzenberger and other pilots have dramatically increased their use of helicopter-fired missiles against enemy fighters, often in densely populated areas. Since late March, the military has fired more than 200 Hellfire missiles in the capital, compared with just six missiles fired in the previous three months...

...U.S. officials say they go to great lengths to avoid harming civilians in airstrikes.

"It's not Hollywood and it's not 110 percent perfect," said Col. Timothy J. Edens, the commander of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, of the accuracy of his unit's strikes. "It is as precise as very hardworking soldiers and commanders can make it. These criminals do not operate in a clean battle space. It is occupied by civilians, law-abiding Iraqis."


Those civilians include people like Zahara Fadhil, a 10-year-old girl with a tiny frame and long brown hair. Relatives said she was wounded by a missile on April 20 at approximately 8 p.m. in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City. The U.S. military said it fired a Hellfire missile in Zahara's neighborhood at that time, targeting men who were seen loading rockets into a sedan.

Her face drained of color and her legs scarred by shrapnel, Zahara spoke haltingly when asked what she thought of U.S. troops.

"They kill people," she said. Lying in bed, she gasped for air before continuing. "They should leave Iraq now."



What is really striking to me are the comments on the article...


sales3 wrote:
War, schnore. It's an occupation and we don't know who we're "fighting." Bombing a population, not unlike mass retaliation, is a desperate tactic AND a war crime. Congrats, once again, bu$hler. Pathetic.
5/24/2008 2:45:18 PM


mgtrade2 wrote:
A lot of posts crying and wailing because they are so saddened by their evil government. Do you really want to draw attention to this matter? I suggest you crybabies start setting yourselves on fire in the middle of Main Street. That would maybe convince me that you are serious.
5/24/2008 1:49:47 PM


Stephan_Q wrote:
Some Facts

Katzenberger is also a name of a Jew known for being a victim of the nazi injustice (see the trial of Nuremberg)
so it is ironically enough to see it linked to the biggest trial against warcrimes so far.

Hellfire missiles are antitank weapons The iraqi resistance has no armored vehicles. To fire these Weapons against populated areas is without any doubt a warcrime.
The use of such disproportionate force only makes sense in the context of terror. It is used to terrorize the civil population to stop them supporting the resistance. Whatever the success of this strategy it is nevertheless called "Terrorism"

The disproportionate force use is well know strategy used by the wehrmacht in occupied territories.

The trial of Nuremberg was called a winners justice with reason which means you will never see Bush jailed whatever his guild.

Q


5/24/2008 11:24:37 AM


harkadahl wrote:
Daedelus Rex wrote:
"Furthermore, there's absolutely NO mention of the key contextual issue: that the increase in air support is due to requests by the *Iraqi Army*, which is trying to clear out the area largely by itself."

Thanks to your sophistry and hair-splitting is you who are not seeing the larger context. The US should not even be there. The uninvited invader is always wrong and always a legitimate target. The Iraqi Army is under the control of the invader - or its paid minions in the Iraqi government, so stop bleating that "they asked us". There is no independence.

Furthermore, NONE of this would have happenend if America didn't invade Iraq on a bunch of sick lies. Every lost soul is on Americas conscience (such that it is). Where is your basic humanity, man?
5/24/2008 4:54:13 AM


mchaun wrote:
Most "suicide bombs" and "truck bombs" are really Predator strikes. Ask Bad A$$ Ben how many gasoline trucks in crowded markets he has hit?

"The team of Tennile Stocking,
nursing major, and Ben Katzenberger,
criminal justice major, was first in the
coed division."

He'll make a great cop when he gets out. Sand Ni___s, Asphalt Ni____s, what's the diff?




5/24/2008 2:00:46 AM


Deadline wrote:
We've been there six years and it's still too dangerous to patrol on foot so we have to fire from helicopters? What the hell is going on over there? We sure aren't winning as bush claims if we have to bomb away from afar knowing that innocent civilians will be killed. This just makes our whole point of being there useless. How can we pacify these people and win them over to our way of government when after six years we're are still on free fire mode from 2000 feet high. What a waste.
5/24/2008 1:17:01 AM
mchaun wrote:
Searp Wrote:
"So, a question: if this is the only way to strike these targets, do we take a pass, understanding that the result will be more dead Americans?"

"Fighting in the Iraq "War" is about as dangerous as skiing. If those Dead-Enders weren't in Iraq, they would be boozed and doped up and running their cars into trees on Saturday Night.


5/24/2008 1:14:07 AM


dancewater wrote:
Maybe Katzenberger will get over his "detached feeling" if he goes and visits the children that he blew the legs off of.
5/23/2008 10:42:40 PM


dancewater wrote:
The fact that they write "HAJI" on the missiles shows the total lack of respect for the Iraqi people and culture.

So, the US military is not there because Iraq attacked the US - they are not there because Iraq was a threat to the US - they are not there to bring them "freedom and democracy" if they don't even feel basic respect.....

CONCLUSION: they are there to help the oil corporations steal the oil. They are nothing but mercenaries, and there is nothing noble about this war crime that they are committing.
5/23/2008 10:38:32 PM


dancewater wrote:
I just watched the video where the guy firing at the Iraqi people thinks he is a hero. In my eyes, he is a murderer.
5/23/2008 10:33:39 PM


dancewater wrote:
WHY ARE WE BOMBING THESE PEOPLE?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT THEY ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN?

WHY ARE THE CRIMINALS WHO STARTED THIS NOT IMPEACHED?

I am 52 years old and do not recognize my country any more.


Those are some of the 172 comments. Since none of the people who commented there have ever flown over Sadr City or Iraq for that matter, I find their judgement somewhat misguided and faulty...that's the nice way of saying they are fucking wrong.

I am sure none of these brave souls would ever have the cajones to say the things that they did about CPT Katzenberger to his face.

It is interesting that they can be so filled with hatred that they would automatically assume that American Soldiers would fire on civilians, would indiscriminately lay waste to neighborhoods...etc, when the truth so totally the opposite.

I have flown more hours over Sadr City than I care to recall...anyone who has ever seen the amount of fire coming out of there would find the descriptions given in that article somewhat laughable...even given all of that, I know of nobody who would ever just open fire on that area, and no commander who would put up with it for one second if anyone ever did.

Finally I reserve the right to call someone who is trying to kill me whatever name I choose...so fuck off Washington Post reader, "dancwater" in your easy chair telling us all how it realy should be...god damned oxygen thief.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

H/T LT Nixon Rants
(UPDATE) I think I really failed to explain my experience with the Sadr City area fully. In both OIF 02 and OIF 06-08 I operated in the area of Sadr City. During OIF 02 the enemy fire coming out of that area was as intense as any I had ever seen. One aircraft was shot down and several more were damaged during that time. Additionally it was the only place in the city of Baghdad that I ever say heavy caliber weapons fire coming from. During OIF 06-08 the fire wasn't as intense but we still received fire out of there and most rocket/mortar attacks against the "green zone" originated from there. Even given all of that, we never engaged unless we had a clear target and even then collateral damage was taken into consideration. This talk of people slinging weapons carelessly with no regard for where they go and what they do is both upsetting and insulting to me and my aviation brothers. I am sure these people were saying the same thing about me while I was over there...I just didn't read it. I only hope the guys mentioned in this article don't read this tripe that is being ginned up about them.

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