As a newly indoctrinated Critter ™ it is incumbent upon me toregularly contribute to the general welfare of this blog with incisive articles of topical interest in order to elicit appropriate self-satisfying tantrums of outrage from the hippie leftist Saul Alinsky-worshipping George Soros funded Islamo-fascist Obamanauts that cruise this site for cheap thrills at the mocking expense of Christmas and the job-creating military industrial complex/Koch Brothers/ Fox News.
However, Obama’s secret FEMA-Camps for Conservatives/Death Panel agenda is preventing me from exercising my something-Amendnment rights and entrepreneurship due to job-killing over-regulation and K-through 12 indoctrination, so…. I’ve decided to post this never before seen on the Intertubes …um… post…that has been kept secret form the world for at least five years, but which I wrote originally five years ago, which is as relevant today as when I didn’t post it five years ago because because I forgot to do so, or something—but it;s just as relevant today as whenever it was what it was when it was wrote and such, ;ole 5 years ago I think….:
In a move that further undermines the goals of the Kyoto Accord of 1997, an agreement was signed today calling for an increase (rather than a decrease) in the production of greenhouse gases that are believed to be a major cause of global warming.
Dubbed “The North Pole Beach-Party Agreement” (NOPOBEPA), it was signed by constantly ice- and snow-bound Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Nepal, Bhutan and Siberia.
“Like the Kyoto group, we accept that global warming is indeed a byproduct of industrialization and that it is real”, announced the chairman of the NOPOBEPA, Dr. Skag Skommerveldingsmeldingsen, “but the conclusion that this is somehow a bad thing is erroneous”
“By signing this agreement”, Dr. Skommerveldingsmeldingsen continued, “the member nations have committed to building factories dedicated to producing the finest greenhouse gases in the world, with the goal of raising temperatures above the 52nd Parallel an average of twenty degrees by 2016. The building of these factories will provide both short-term construction jobs and long-term employment for their maintenance and management. The higher temperatures will encourage the growth of tourism, the manufacture of deck chairs and air conditioners, and will stimulate the cabana-boy industry —parts of our respective economies that have languished behind other nations for far too long”.
Reaction to the agreement has been mixed.
Inuit scientists such as Nanook Whaleblubber, Professor of Interminable Freezing White Wilderness Studies at the University of Thatigloonearthepolarbear have applauded the agreement:
“We have 23 different words for snow”, said Professor Nanook. “Twenty-three, for snow, for fuck’s sake! Whose idea was it to stay all the way up here, is what I want to know! Wise elders? A bunch of fucking Idiotarods, if you ask me! You know what our culture has contributed to the human race? Uggs, the kayak, and clubbing baby seals! That’s it! That’s all! What idiot in our tribal past looked around at this vast white wasteland and said “hey, this is great spot! Let’s camp here, it’s so peaceful and close to nature!? Fucking retards! Enough of this sub-zero shit!” “
But others in the scientific community have taken a dimmer view.
Professor Toyota Panasonic of the Hokkaido Institute of Giant Mutated Antisocial Lizard Studies and co-author of the Kyoto Accord was the first to condemn the NOPOBEPA in a carefully translated press release.
“Who dares this insolence? Can you not see the necessity of incredulous? The intervention of the two parts will bring luck to the unfortunate! Mothra is ruining my rice harvest! Exploding bandicoots exacerbate the cherry blossom’s demise! Is this dishonor most excellent?”
“Professor Panasonic is simply stating tired conventional wisdom”, responded Dr. Skommerveldingsmeldingsen:
“The idea that equatorial regions with already high temperatures will be turned into vast barren deserts incapable of supporting life is clearly utterly incorrect, as Professor Panasonic is relying solely on data from Tamagochi studies and a statically flawed survey of Japanese schoolgirl tentacle –sex Pr0n.
As temperatures rise, the ice caps will melt. The overall rise in sea level will then flood and irrigate the hot and dry regions of Africa and the Middle East allowing plant and animal life to flourish in those areas as never before . relieving the local inhabitants of the constant irritation from sand in their underwear. Water-polo, jet-skiing and MTV Spring Break parties will suddenly be accessible to the most impoverished peoples.”
“The Kyoto group has it all wrong, they just haven’t thought this global warming thing through” Dr. Skommerveldingsmeldingsen concluded. “Everyone should have their chance of a place in the sun, and this is ours”.
If anyone wants to rape Liz Trotta then go right ahead, she’d be totally okay with it, because she understands how rapey men are, especially when they are in “close contact” with women–like, say in any working environment such as the Senate or the House or any business anywhere, or the deli-counter at lunch time or a restaurant or the DMV or at an airport, or in some large city or small town, or at home .
LIZ TROTTA: “Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact…”
Everyone knows men love sports, and beer and barbecues and fast cars; but they also love rape (duh!).
Soldiers love all those things too, plus thrash metal and blowing things up but since 2006 American soldiers also love rape 64% more than those too cowardly to join-up and defend our freedom to be raped.
So why is this news? I mean, shouldn’t we be glad that our soldiers are getting 64% more rape-benefits than civilians? Don’t our brave men deserve to have more rape-benefits than male civilians do?
Well, of course. That’s not the problem.
The problem is when women complain about being raped—it generates a lot of paperwork, and that costs money, a lot of money.
LIZ TROTTA: “The budget for the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office leapt from $5 million in fiscal 2005 to more than $23 million in fiscal 2010. Total Defense Department spending on sexual assault prevention and related efforts now exceeds $113 million annually.” That’s from McClatchy Newspapers.”
$23 million is the price of an Apache 64A Attack Helicopter. Here’s a picture of a rape victim (Warning: Graphic content, may be disturbing to viewers):
Who’s to blame for this reckless spending on trying to replace our rape freedoms with inefficient anti-free-market Big Government anti-rape regulations?
Not patriotic real women like Sarah Palin of course, but frumpy feminists! Feminist women who have the crazy liberal ‘if it feels good do it” irresponsible attitude that rape is a criminal offense instead of a totally natural male activity, like leaving the toilet seat up or not being able to find their socks!
It’s these ‘feminist’ hemp-chewing harridans, comfortably sitting at home ‘blogging’ on their Solyndra solar-powered computers (ironically using the Internet by the way, which was invented by the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency to ensure the US military could exchange vital morale-boosting rape stories via e-mail, in the event of a nuclear war with Russia) who have been spitting on America’s victory in Iraq ever since May 30 2003, when President George Bush landed on an aircraft carrier, declared that major combat operations were over and everything else would be plain –sailing, and didn’t then rape anyone—even though he obviously had the ‘package’ (and the John Woo imparted executive authority) to do so . No–one on the loony-left gives Bush credit for not raping any female, sailors, do they? Well DO THEY?!
No, they don’t! (*sniff*)
In ‘fact’ (copyright FOX News) it’s now obvious that the whole Iraq War was a plot hatched by the top-secret George Soros-funded liberal think-tank Post-it Notes Are Cool (PNAC) to drive-up the price of office-supplies so they could privately profit from the paperwork involved in rape–claims in order to increase the size of government and establish a socialist nirvana of bureaucracy.
But, I digress.
The thing is, ‘rape’ is more than totally okay when American freedoms and the cost of office supplies are at stake (not to mention the pernicious growth of Big Government and Big Feminism).
‘Rape’ is not an act of violence but a natural male instinct that women should not only expect but nurture in accordance with their own nature; not just for the good of the country, but also for the good of Boeing ( manufacturer of the 23 million-dollar Apache AH-64A, which desperately needs to be upgraded to the $35 million AH-64D standard)and not-so- much for the benefit of Post-It note manufacturer, 3M).
The point is, Liz Trotta, as a female of the opposite sex, won’t mind if you (or anyone else with a penis or reasonable facsimile thereof, like a broom or a toilet plunger) not only won’t mind being ‘raped’ but actually welcomes the opportunity, on behalf of freedom loving, Big Government hating, fiscally conservative, anti- expensive office-supply free-market ladies everywhere in the lower 48 and Alaska but not the African-country of Hawaii.
Liz Trotta totally wants you to bang her like a shit-house door in a hurricane–but not too much!
64% more than normal should be enough to ensure freedom’s future.
And if you patriotic guys somehow need a little more incentive, here’s a picture of Liz, totally gagging for it:
Who wouldn’t want to’ hit- that’, for Freeeeedommmmmm!?
What was Bachmann thinking? Well obviously she wasn’t thinking anything other than doing her job—pretending to be ‘regular folks’ by being seen tasting the local cuisine.
“How-Poor-are-America’s-Poor—Examining-the-Plague-of-Poverty-in-America” is the title of a “new report” from the Heritage Foundation in which “Senior Research Fellow” Robert Rector determines that the federal-government-defined “poor” aren’t actually “poor” at all due to their ownership of sundry appliances.
Of course the FOX Network simply had to help Rector deliver the good news that the poor aren’t actually poor, courtesy of Stuart Varney guest hosting on the July 19 edition of ‘Your’ World with Neil Cavuto. (transcript from Media Matters)
STUART VARNEY: A new report showing poor families in the United States are not what they used to be. Now, many poor families have homes with cable TV, cell phones, computers, you name it — much, much, more. My next guest is digging up all of this stuff. Robert Rector is with the Heritage Foundation. Robert, I’m just going to give our viewers a quick run-through of what items poor families in America have.
Ninety-nine percent of them have a refrigerator. Eighty-one percent have a microwave. Seventy-eight percent have air conditioning. Sixty-three percent have cable TV. Fifty-four percent have cell phones. Forty-eight percent have a coffee maker — I’m not surprised, they’re only about 10 bucks. Thirty-eight percent have a computer. Thirty-two percent have more than two TVs. Twenty-five percent have a dishwasher.
This, Sir, Mr. Rector, is very different what it was just a few years ago, isn’t it?
ROBERT RECTOR: No, actually what you see is that the living standards of the poor have increased rather steadily for the last 30 years. And in fact, the poverty report has not accurately reflected their living conditions really for several decades.
Yeah…ummm… given that Varney introduced the piece by saying “… poor families in the United States are not what they used to be. Now, many poor families have homes with cable TV, cell phones, computers, you name it” I’m not sure why Rector then disagrees with Varney by saying “No” and then immediately re-iterates Vareny’s argument which happens to re-iterate the argument of Rector’s own report—-but, what-ever).
ROBERT RECTOR: “And in fact, the poverty report has not accurately reflected their living conditions really for several decades”.
So instead of poverty being defined in terms of income relative to the Cost Of Living Index, actual wages, savings, housing and health conditions and nutrition, the most meaningful measure of poverty should in fact be simply the possession of appliances—without, of course, providing any namby-pamby east-coast intellectual weighting of appliance ownership in terms of age, practicality and actual use.
VARNEY: “Now, I understand that today, the federal government says 14 percent of the population lives in poverty, and that’s roughly the same as it was back in 1966, before all the Great Society programs. But doesn’t that look [at] poverty as a financial, a monetary thing?”
RECTOR: “Yes, part of the reason that when you look at the actual living conditions of the 43 million people that the Census says are poor, you see that in fact, they have all these modern conveniences.”
Because modern-conveniences (whether new or old, affordable to operate and maintain or not) surely represent the totality of “actual living conditions”.
RECTOR: “If you ask them, did your family have enough food to eat at all times during the last year, the overwhelming majority will say yes.”
Yeah…ummm….the reason why the poor might have had enough to eat in 2010 would be because they qualified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP” (more commonly known as “Food Stamps), because they didn’t have the income to properly feed their families (i.e. they were poor) not because they had “modern conveniences”—appliances simply aren’t “good eating”.
RECTOR: “If you ask them were you able to meet any medical needs you may have had, they will say yes.”
Because the poor are all fit and healthy from not being forced to eat caviar and foie-gras, and because when they are asked by a Heritage Foundation Right-Wing Welfare-Queen if they’ve been able to get their scurvy and mange attended-to they aren’t about to burden the man in the suit from Washington with their tragic stories of restless leg syndrome because really it’s nothing that an appliance can’t fix and after all why upset the nice man pretend-inquiring in his imagination after their health? After all, what’s that old aphorism—“At least I’ve got my appliances”?
RECTOR: “The typical poor family in the United States lives in a house or an apartment and actually has more living space than the average European. Not a poor European, but the average Frenchman or the average German.”
And the average Manhattan apartment is about the size of a trailer home which is where the actually rich American poor keep their appliances so that they can be eaten by tornadoes. But if you call now and sponsor a poor Manhattanite with just one appliance a month, you’ll be giving them not just the gift of hope, but the gift of poverty-eliminating appliances and the chance to live a non-European-style life!
RECTOR: “So, in fact, there really isn’t any connection between the government’s identification of poor people and the actual living standards and the typical American — when an American hears the word “poverty,” he’s thinking about somebody that doesn’t have enough food to eat, someone that’s possibly homeless. It’s not true.”
Ummm… what’s not true? That an American thinks a starving homeless person isn’t poor? Oh—I see…Rector means that “the government’s identification of poor people” isn’t “true”. An actually poor person should be begging for food, homeless, and, let’s not forget, appliance-less.
Alright, enough with the sarcastic deconstructions; it’s time to seriously examine Rector’s (and Varney’s) plague of lies and sociopathic bullshit.
First of all this “new report” (as Varney describes it and to which he refers) has no academic authority beyond the Heritage Foundation. Secondly the “new report” in fact dates from 2007, relies on data from 2005 and furthermore merely reiterates the “poor aren’t poor because of appliances theme contained in yet another dishonest and intellectually retarded social agenda-driven piece of drivel that Rector published twenty-one years ago!.
Here’s an excerpt from that 1990 polemic titled, simply, How Poor are America’s Poor?
Today, officially “poor” households are more likely to own common consumer durables such as televisions and refrigerators than the average family in the 1950s. In 1930, nearly two-thirds of U.S. households did not own a radio; over half had no form of refrigeration. Among the poor today, less than one percent lack a refrigerator.
Seventeen percent of U.S. households in “poverty” have automatic dishwashers, well above the rate for the general West European population in 1980. Among America’s “poor” there are 344 cars per 1,000 persons. This is roughly the same ratio as exists for the total population of the United Kingdom. A poor American is 40 percent more likely to own a car than the average Japanese; 30 times more likely than the average Pole; and 50 times more likely than the average Mexican.”
Of course in 1990 Rector had to ignore pertinent facts in order to imply that the American poor were not actually poor by comparing them to nations where the smaller populations provide lower economics of scale that made cars and gasoline (all of it imported and highly taxed) more expensive than in the US, and where population densities and extensive public transportation made car ownership less of a necessity, to dishonestly and ignorantly support his fatuous argument—and in 2007 and now in 2011.
On the Cavuto show, Rector declares: “And in fact, the poverty report has not accurately reflected their living conditions really for several decades” to which Varney responds, “Robert, I’m just going to give our viewers a quick run-through of what items poor families in America have”, and then proceeds to rattle off statistics about appliance ownership by the government-defined “poor”.
The impression is easily gained from Rector and Varney that they are referencing the same “report”. In fact Varney actually read from an excerpt from a 2005 Department of Energy report on appliance ownership amongst the poor— as identified by means other than appliance ownership—that was tabulated to determine their likely energy consumption in order to determine what level of financial assistance they might need during periods of high energy prices.
(That discrepancy may appear minor, in the context of one short exchange and it might be construed as a ‘mistake’ but it is demonstrably a pathological characteristic of FOX ‘talent’, Heritage Foundation minions and the vast majority of conservatives that due diligence, facts and intellectual honesty have to ignored in order to make their specious arguments appear plausible and rational—every single page of the Media Matters and Think Progress web-sites to name but two sources provide hundreds of examples, of calculated misrepresentation and outright lying by FOX, practically every right-wing “think tank” that there is, and by Republicans).
The “poverty report” that Rector criticizes as ‘not accurately reflecting living conditions’, is produced every year by the US Census Bureau (here’s the 2010 Poverty Report). The term “poor” (and thus poverty) is basically determined according to income relative to the Consumer Price Index which is determined by the Bureau of Labor as “a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services.”
Obviously if the cost of basic/essential goods and services increases whilst income remains the same the citizen becomes relatively poorer and when the cost of fundamental goods and services in total exceeds the citizen’s ability to pay for them, then that citizen may be designated as being officially “poor”.
Here’s an example provided by the Census Bureau where the Poverty Threshold for a family of five (with two children) for 2009 was $26,245:
Family Member Income
Mother $ 10,000
Father $ 7,000
Great-aunt $ 10,000
First Child $ 0
Second Child $ 0
Total Family Annual Income: $ $27,000
Clearly this sample family isn’t rich, but it isn’t officially “poor” as its income exceeds the Poverty Threshold by $755. (The 2009 Poverty Threshold level for two adults under the age of 65 with two children was $21,756; for a single adult under 65, $11,161).
Even if this sample family wholly-owned its home, that $27,000 a year divided amongst five people equals $5,400 each per annum, or $14.75 per person per day which as to be apportioned between house maintenance, property taxes, utilities, general cleaning and personal hygiene products, food, clothing, at least one phone (a necessity), school supplies for the children, and health care supplies and services. If the family owns a car—a necessity for most Americans—it must pay for gas, insurance and maintenance (and license and registration renewal).
Those ordinary and persistent expenses are irrelevant according to Robert Rector—he insists that the real measure of poverty is appliance ownership––not appliance function or actual use, not the age or efficiency of appliances, not the necessity of certain appliances or their cost of their maintenance or energy, but simply the mere existence of appliances in the household
Let me also point out that Varney is quoting statistics from 2005—back when Food Stamp enrollment (a common and rational measure of actual poverty) had hit 25.7 million. Now in 2011 that enrollment is at 40 million. I am one of those 40 million food stamp recipients because all my savings have gone and I don’t have a job.
Last year I sold my microwave. I sold my air-conditioner (which I only ran when the temps got above 90F). I cancelled my basic cable TV+ Internet. No-one wanted to buy my 10-year old television but I was able to sell my 8-year old computer. I cancelled my land-line phone two years ago and THEN I had to cancel my basic cell-phone service last year. I’ve never owned a dishwasher.
BUT I CAN”T BE POOR, according to Rector and Varney because I still own a refrigerator (8 years old) a 6-year old computer, a 10-year old television, a 5 year old electric kettle, a 4 year old portable hard drive, a 4-year old portable DVD-Burner, a toaster and a digital watch. Only when I’ve eaten my appliances and I’m wandering the streets covered in filth and gesticulating to my distended belly will Varney and Rector be satisfied that I am actually poor due to my utter lack of appliance-ownership—whereupon no doubt they will then tell me to stop being so ungrateful because I’m still living on appliance-like concrete pavements and can dumpster dive at McDonalds, unlike the “real poor” who have live in dirt and eat grass in some country somewhere that the US isn’t interested in helping because the US itself is poor on account of the OMG DEBT-CEILING! (thanks to Jason Linkins for the phraseology).
And of course this little dog and pony rhetorical magic show of Rector isn’t just some arbitrary air-time-filling tat that Varney just stumbled upon whilst Neil Cavuto was away getting his hair re-calibrated (or whatever he does with it to make it look like that); it is just part of the old Reagan Cadillac–driving welfare-queen trope being presented a-new out of the urgent political necessity to pretend that Republican politics and ‘slash-and spend’ policies haven’t actually driven the government to the brink of bankruptcy and millions of its citizens (including Republican voters) into real and record poverty, as the Republican-controlled House attempts to complete the unfinished business of definitively sacrificing ‘socialist’ anti-poverty programs on the altar of right-wing libertarian dogma in Washington, just as newly elected Teabagger state governors are dismantling local social safety nets whilst they have the rapidly diminishing opportunity to do so as their constituents increasingly revolt against their policies.
Here’s Polkbody-award winning culture-warrior and ‘little-guy champion’ Bill O’Reilly discussing appliance ownership wealth and the so-called poor with fellow multiple-TV owning person Lou Dobbs:
O’REILLY: “The Census Bureau reports that 43 million Americans are currently living in poverty. The bureau defines poverty as a family of four earning less than $22,000 a year. But the conservative Heritage Foundation says that many poor American families have lots of stuff. Here now to analyze, Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs”.
O’REILLY: Eight-two percent have a microwave. This is 82 percent of American poor families. Seventy-eight percent have air conditioning. More than one television, 65 percent. Cable or satellite TV, 64 percent —thank God.
DOBBS: Amen, brother.
O’REILLY: Cell phones, 55 percent. Personal computer, 39 percent. And as we said, that’s a 6-year-old consumption survey, so these numbers are way up. So how can you be so poor and have all this stuff?
(Yeah; the poor only get appliance- richer, just like house-prices always go up!)
And here’s Dubya’s cheer-liar Dana Perino on Fox’s Glenn Beck Show replacement, ‘The Five’, a week later where the subject was ostensibly about health care but which quickly transmogrified into a snide critique of the definition of the poor and their imagined self-impoverishment through wasteful irresponsible spending habits:
“[What if] we should give free birth control to people. That women wouldn’t have to pay co-pays when they go to the doctors. I might be for that, if I didn’t see a lot of people out there able to buy a new pair of shoes. We have to be able to make some choices here“, setting up Greg Gutfield to bizarrely ’joke’ that “the left has figured out a way to eradicate the poor by eradicating the poor“, after which a little later Perino illogically and ignorantly opined “if you can afford a $5 Frappacino at Starbucks you can afford your $5 co-pay.” ( Note: Would it not then also follow that if you can afford to keep giving tax breaks to the already wealthy then you can also afford to maintain anti–poverty programs? )
Of course since Obama’s election Republicans have been constantly (and falsely, naturally) complaining that his economic policies have been bankrupting America and impoverishing its citizens, yet now they are claiming that there aren’t as many poor as the Obama-led government claims,-because appliance-ownership equals wealth! It then follows that that poverty programs can be eliminated because there are suddenly no more people.
I’m actually surprised this appliance-wealth trope hasn’t received more exposure than it’s been given so-far. Not only could the GOP score massive political points for 2012 by announcing they’ve actually reduced poverty in America enough to drown the remaining poor in a bathtub (to borrow from Grover Norquist), but they could also solve the teabagger-manufactured national deficit crisis by paying off the Chinese with the appliance-wealth that the so-called poor obviously don’t deserve!
Facebook’s Marketing Director Thinks “Online anonymity has to go”— Why I Think She’s Wrong and Quite Possibly Just Trying to Fatten FaceBook’s and Her Own Finances.
In a panel discussion on social media hosted by Marie Claire magazine on Tuesday May 26th 2011, marketing director for Facebook Randi Zuckerberg opined that eliminating “online anonymity” (according to the Huffington Post) would mitigate “cyber-bullying”:
“People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”
Randi Zuckerberg’s arguments may actually be more considered that the ‘HuffPo’ reports but if the above quote represents her reasoning then I have to take issue because her reasoning appears to be based on pure supposition, and may actually be based on her own business interests rather than any dispassionate intellectual examination or real social concern.
1) RANDI ZUCKERBERG: “People behave a lot better when they have their real names down…”
That statement would appear to be contrary to evidence and to reason:
Facebook is now the largest and most trafficked social network according to Alexa, whilst formerly dominant MySpace subscribers and traffic has shrunk significantly.
According to the Pew Research Center “39% of social network users have experienced” cyber-bullying (page 14 of the research slide show)
Logically and statistically then, the majority of cyber-bullying would occur on the largest and most trafficked social network which is Facebook.
Common evidence strongly suggests that the majority of cyber-bullying news stories appear to involve Facebook,
Therefore Randi Zuckerberg’s claim that “People behave a lot better when they have their real names down” is not supported by evidence, to which she, above-all. surely has the most immediate and uncompromised access.
2) RANDI ZUCKERBERG:“I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors”
Whilst it is true that private behavior in general is highly likely to be less inhibited than public behavior, online anonymity is NOT analogous to behavior “behind closed doors”; whilst the identity of the person behaving in a particular way may be private by virtue of a pseudonym, the actual behavior exhibited is more often very public. Bullies, by their nature, get more satisfaction out of their bullying when there is an audience for them to impress and witnesses to compound and amplify the humiliation of the victim.
As a social network Facebook provides a ‘playground’ of potential victims for the bully and the witnesses and even supporters the bully desires. Furthermore the LACK of anonymity on Facebook arena for it is in fact the LACK of anonymity on Facebook that makes cyberbullying so effective because it is so public and because the victim is so explicitly identified.
A bully actually typically doesn’t want to be anonymous but instead wants to be well-known, as a person of power and authority, as someone to be feared and submitted-to.
It may be noted that FOX News provides many examples of “cyber-bullies” who revel-in and actually depend-upon their explicit visibility, such as Bill O’Reilly who uses not only his television pulpit but also his website to bully his perceived political, social and moral enemies—his four years of lying scolding and violence-laced verbal and written attacks on the murdered Dr Tiller provides a classic and horrific example, for which, being the bully he is, he offers no apologies.
It is the potential and actual victim of bullying that is more likely to desire anonymity to mitigate the social embarrassment of being bullied and in fact anonymity, or rather pseudonymity that actually provides some protection against the effects of bullying because the victim thus only exists as an on-line persona and not as a real immutable person, and can always change his or her name and thus remove themselves as an easily identified target for bullying; therefore pseudonymity actually helps mitigate the effects of bullying rather than the onymity that Randi Zuckerberg is currently espousing.
Facebook is not some touchy–feely Kumbaya Aquarian-age attempt to “teach the world to sing in perfect harmony”, it is a business that exploits communications technology and sociology that, by its insistence on subscriber onymity (that is, real-name identification), can and does deliver precise marketing metrics for which it can charge product manufacturers and service providers more tangible and more efficiently targeted ‘deliverables’ than the more generic broadcast technology of earlier media forms.
The whole point of FaceBook is its business model which is entirely dependent on specific, explicit, real time, real-world identification of its users, for which other corporations and investors will and do, pay a lot of money to access and exploit for their own financial gain; thus online anonymity does not serve Facebook’s business model or that of its eager corporate customers—it is the product and service corporations that are FaceBook’s fundamental customers and not the subscribers who are in fact simply the market resource, and as such it is therefore fundamentally in Randi Zukerberg’s interest to promote online onymity instead of anonymity.
I’m confident that in this post I have provided a solid and superior counter argument based on reason and as much empirical evidence as I could muster on short notice.
Given the brevity of the reporting on Randi Zukerberg’s opinion it might be unfair to adamantly question her motives in the above manner solely on that basis, but as it is all I have to go on at the moment, at the very least regardless of motive she appears to know nothing about the nature of bullying and appears to me to be at best ignorant-of, or incapable-of comprehending, the prevalent data to which she has access above all others—in short I argue that Randi Zuckerberg is out of her depth on this subject, or she’s just thinking out loud and her ruminations are being reported as actual intellectual determinations, or else she’s being willfully ignorant of the empirical data and disingenuously serving her own interests as FaceBook’s Marketing Director and the interests of the Facebook business model upon which her undoubtedly now quite spectacular lifestyle depends.
Randi Zuckerberg’s analysis of cyber-bullying is actually directly opposed to the evidence that common experience, independent research and her own company’s data provides, and so on this basis she’s an idiot regarding this subject or, given her professional position, she may well be an agenda-driven self-serving liar pretending social concern.
In so-saying, do I now appear to be a cyber-bully “hiding behind anonymity”, and real Randi Zuckerberg therefore my public victim? Hell no! She’s the one with the audience and the power of business success to command a supportive or complicit audience, whilst I am, in my online anonymity as an intermittent blogger with an online pseudonym and no great audience to influence or feed-from to bolster my public presence and potential or actual ‘authority’ just one of a crowd of millions, and I have no great interest in building-up my own online visibility and popularity by trying to tear down the visibility and popularity of others, else I would have identified myself plainly from the outset of my intermittent yet so far relatively persistent and definitively insignificant blogging ‘career’ and thus sought out a significant constituency to support my opinions—just as the bully demands and requires an audience for greater empowerment.
Randi Zuckerberg is, I argue, empirically wrong about bullying in general and about cyber-bullying in particular and is either accidentally deluded or else is being willfully ignorant and deceitful about the pros and cons of identity and social dynamics, be they ‘cyber’ or real.
darkiedarkness seized control of real America, a new heroinheroine leapt forth from the shadows of Congress to restore vigilante hope to the citizens of GOPham, to save them from the evil secret muslim schemes of a socialist psychopath known as The Jokerbama.
Summoned by a special signal when GOPham and its media-machine find themselves in desperate need of something and someone to distract them from awful reality, Bachmann leaps into action from her secret asylum to battle against the arch-foes of the Right, to fight for the victims of victimization and the victiminated victims of gotcha journalism.
Bachmann Begins is the latest in the stable of DC Comical superficial-heroes to be transferred from the web-pages of cult fans to the small screen, aiming to build on the Koch Brothers Studios box-office successes of Flight-Lieutenant America (played by George W. Bush) and Flight-Lieutenant America II: This Time Its More of The Same, Only Worse, and The Adventures of Wonder If She’ll-Run/When She’ll Quit-Woman (played by Sarah Palin who, incidentally, has yet to break character despite the short movie of her political performance having failed to win any political Oscars in 2008).
Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone would not approve of the above pastiche. Taibbi, who has personal experience of the relationship of organized evangelism and politics warned last week that in the political context, Bachmann is no joke and publicly mocking her will not thwart her public progress—indeed Taibbi argues that mockery will only provide sympathetic momentum from right-wing voters.
After all Sarah Palin’s survival in the political scene is due in no small part to her acting the victim with which the right-wing public identifies and to which they sympathetically respond. Although the estimation of Palin’s political viability and her personal popularity amongst Republican voters has fallen steadily and significantly, her demise isn’t the result of a left-wing campaign of mockery but is instead the natural consequence of overplaying victimhood, exposing her own inadequacies in her many media appearances without any assistance from left-wing critics and her persistent rallying of her troops for some grandiose action only to disappear at the critical moment of leadership to attend to some personal business instead.
NOTE: As of January 2011 Palin scored just 38% favorable to 53% unfavorable in a Gallup poll, and her popularity in her own state, which stood at 82% in September 2008 had fallen to 47% by January 2010— after which it appears that polling companies have either stopped measuring Palin’s home state popularity or no one can be bothered to report on it anymore.
Nonetheless much of the MSM has studiously ignored her two years of declining popularity to continually pitch her as a ‘serious’ presidential candidate (here’s an unabashed example of clueless and desperate Palin–boosting from CBS’ political correspondent Jan Crawford; “New Sarah Palin movie hints at presidential run”).
As Bachmann is a described as a “serious” GOP nomination contender it then follows that she is a serious contender for the White House too; here’s an excellent example of the reptilian-brained and ADD-addled mindset of a typical ‘Beltway-Boy’ Ed Kilgore of The New Republic in his convoluted yet facile ‘pre-game’ analysis of “Why She’s a Serious Contender for 2012” in which Kilgore acknowledges “it’s hard to imagine someone as radical as her [Bachmann] actually winning the nomination “ yet still writes admiringly and at length about her qualifications, and ridiculously concludes”
“Bachmann need look no further than Palin’s example to see that making a big splash in a national election can secure success more quickly than crawling up the career ladder in Washington. (NOTE: Palin’s big splash on the national stage was entirely due to a desperate decision by the McCain campaign, her success was secured by FOX News and an idiotic political infotainment industry, Palin’s “career ladder” has actually been a no-effort-involved private elevator and of course she never got to Washington except as a tourist). “And also like her doppelganger, Bachmann has never been shy about her ambitions—or the conviction that her career is being guided by none other than the Lord himself. Why wouldn’t she take a leap of faith?” (That’s it?! Bachmann is a serious contender because…why the hell not? What the fuck kind of analysis is that?!)
An actual reason why Bachmann might be considered a serious contender is that in very recent CBS News poll of Republican voters Bachmann tied with CNN’s pre-selected GOP ‘debate’ winner Mitt Romney with regard to voter enthusiasm.
However, direct examination of the poll reveals a much bleaker picture than the above artful parsing suggests:
Question: Are You Satisfied With The Choices For Republican Candidate Or Do You Want More Choices?
Satisfied with the Choices: 23%
Want More Choice: 71%
Question: Which Candidate Do You Feel Enthusiastic About?
No one 67%
Mitt Romney 7%
Michele Bachmann 7%
Herman Cain 2%
So Bachmann and Romney individually are presently as popular amongst Republican voters as Fred Thompson was, or combined, about as popular as America’s Adulterous Cross-dressing Mayor of Gay Armageddon-Town, Rudy Verbnoun911 was, in 2008. (Fred Thompson, you will recall, just wandered-off in a fog one day, whilst Rudy couldn’t even get his own kids to vote for him); in other words Bachmann’s and Romney’s present scores in the CBS poll are actually those of losers in comparison to previous GOP races at the same stage in the game which is particularly interesting, given their high media profiles.
Of this pair, Romney presumably has the greater recognition, having been a respectable competitor in the 2008 GOP Primaries and for having served as a Governor which is statistically a very reliable waypoint for a White House wannabe, but at the same time Romney’s record is well documented and many Republicans clearly don’t like what they have seen so far. Romney’s biggest problems are his Mormon faith which he can’t leverage, his tolerance of abortion which is a major liability, and his “socialist” ‘RomneyCare’ health system which has proven particularly difficult for him to lie about effectively.
Bachmann’s cupboard of record appears at first to be bereft of political skeletons though not because she’s never done anything ‘wrong’ but because in her six years as a Congresswoman she’s never done anything at all-–she hasn’t even co-sponsored a successful bill.
What she has done is waste her colleagues’ time with a couple of pointless proposals whilst benefiting from the “big-government” socialist welfare policies of farm subsidies and worker-training subsidies that she publicly criticizes. (NOTE: Arguably Bachmann’s best known legislative effort has been her March 2011 “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act” which forced the GAO to work unnecessarily on a report that of course destroyed her idiotic rationale).
With a dutiful but invisible back-bench voting record and absolutely no practical legislative record of her own, Bachmann’s words are the most obvious means by which the media can describe her and explain her to the larger public. The surprise ‘last-minute’ choice of Palin and the careful management of her public exposure, combined with the political bias of the corporate owned MSM largely prevented significant public examination of McCain’s VP candidate, but in Bachmann’s case there’s years of easily accessed material, most of it provided by Bachmann herself, and 12 months until the election for thorough discovery of who she is what she’s done and what she’s about.
However try as it might the MSM is struggling to discover anything she’s ever said that isn’t profoundly ignorant, stupid, a lie, paranoid and/or insane, such as:
Disney’s the Lion King could be used as ‘gay propaganda’: “A very effective way to do this with a bunch of second- graders, is take a picture of ‘The Lion King’ for instance, and a teacher might say, ‘Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?’ The message is: I’m better at what I do, because I’m gay.”
Eliminating the Minimum Wage would Solve Unemployment: “Literally, if we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”
Intelligent Design is widely supported by Nobel prize-winning scientists: “There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.”
Baghdad in 2007 was just like America’s largest shopping mall: “[T]here’s a commonality with the Mall of America, in that it’s on that proportion. There’s marble everywhere. The other thing I remarked about was there is water everywhere.”
Carbon Dioxide is harmless because it’s natural and on-one has proven it to be anything but benign: “Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
Completing the Census Form is Unconstitutional, therefore the law requiring completion doesn’t apply: “I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. “We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”
NOTE: Thanks to Think Progress for most of the above, and there’s tons more at Buzzfeed’s Ultimate Collection od Stupid Bachmann Quotes
The comparison between Bachmann and Palin is mostly apt and accurate; Bachmann, like Palin, is a self-serving serial liar and a hypocrite. She is ignorant and uncomprehending of the essential principles of American civics, government and law (Bachmann’s ‘law degree’ is a joke). She is utterly irrational, and her success, such as it is, is entirely dependent on the fortunate condition of representing a district with a voting majority as consistently deranged as she is—and yet despite all the above, already, she’s still being touted by many in the corporate MSM as a ‘serious’ player in national politics, who deserves serious attention.
The only arguments for Bachmann being taken seriously are that she is committed to the GOP nomination contest (unlike Palin, or Gingrich, or Trump) and that being an ignorant, stupid, paranoid delusional liar is clearly no liability for a certain degree of electoral success—after all, Bachmann has now spent three consecutive terms in Congress and the teabagger contingent of the Republican Party had a remarkably successful year in 2010.
The actual seriousness of Bachmann is she is being treated seriously when she’s actually unqualified, irresponsible utterly deranged and a danger to democracy, just as her teabagger compatriots who gained power at the national and state levels in 2010 are predictably proving to be.
But here’s another crazy thing about this seriously crazy woman and her serious candidacy that the majority of the political punditocracy is currently choosing to ignore, and that is that Bachmann is vying for the national leadership of a political party that traditionally and presently, largely fears and despises women—and not just in attitude but in action.
Bachmann’s own radical religious constituency likes what she says, but their brand of religion insists that women are subservient to men, that an independent powerful woman is an abomination. The only reason Bachmann is being tolerated at all by the Republican ranks is because she’s easy to look at (like Palin) and faithfully and passionately delivers the rhetorical read meat to the GOP masses (like Palin) and because the corporate MSM is treating her ‘seriously’.
Palin was picked for the VP slot as a publicity stunt and had McCain won, her VP role would have been exactly the same. —she’d have been Dan Quayle, only with sass and tits. Bachmann is being allowed to run just to motivate the troops and to keep the gormless press occupied and the more feeble-minded political left, distracted; but with up to a year of scrutiny and exposure ahead the corporate MSM simply won’t be able to fully maintain the pretense of her supposed viability.
That Bachmann has any credibility at all in Republican ranks is entirely due to her having become the foster-mother of the disturbed children of the Washington freshmen teabag caucus and their bully-buddies currently occupying a variety of governorships and state legislatures. Enabled by the desperate expedient adoption of Palin in 2008 the establishment GOP is now obliged to indulge the Teabagger tykes every tantrum for fear of losing their most activist base, only to risk losing their less nutty national constituency.
Look at that poll CBS poll again: The press is describing Bachmann and Romney as co-equal front-runners, but they are also equally disliked by 2/3rds to 3/4ths of Republican voters!!
The Republican’s familiarity with Romney since 2004 has unsurprisingly resulted in dispassionate contempt, but if Bachmann is supposed to be the rising star of the GOP, why are her figures equally as crappy? It’s surely not for a present lack of familiarity—the less voters really know about a candidate, especially one so adept with the dog-whistles and codes of Republican rhetoric, the more enthusiastic they are at first encounter, as Palin’s initial political trajectory so obviously demonstrated.
I’d argue that the broader Republican constituency (which includes the critical self-described “Independents” who regularly still vote Republican), as bad at history and self examination as they are, appear to have seen and heard it all before in the useless form of Sarah Palin, who is now quite clearly the disdainfully remembered ex-girlfriend of the generic Republican majority. Bachmann’s present pole-position (add your own stripper jokes if you like) is entirely a fantasy of the political MSM and has nothing to do with the realities of the national political present or a reasonably projected national political future (again, where the hell is Palin and what has she actually done since to 2008 except plummet in popularity and thus political potential?)
Furthermore look at the basis of Bachmann’s supposed political power across the nation—the implied caucus of Teabaggers at the state level that might provide her with the machinery and momentum she will need to make a serious impact on the national level:
Scott Walker, the Teabagger Governor of Wisconsin saw his overall approval rating drop from 52% to 43% by March 2011—two months after taking office, thanks to his union-busting efforts from which he has yet to back down
Teabagger Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, scored a 29% approval rating in a Quinnipiac poll in May 2011 after five months on the job.
Ohio Teabagging Governor John Kasich scored a 30% approval in March 2011 after releasing his budget which 56% of Ohioans described as “unfair”.
Governor Paul LePage, Maine’s main Teabagger has also observed his approval ratings succumbing to the gravitational forces of his own douche-baggery, dropping from 43% in March 2011 to 31% in May.
South Carolina’s Nikki Haley is one of the better-performing Teabag governors, but her approval ratings still dropped 11 points to 42% in June.
Those who voted for Teabagger politicians at the state level and have now begun to experience their extreme policies are clearly regretting their reactionary choice, whilst in Washington, various establishment Republicans have expressed some resentment and frustration with their unruly neophyte Teabagger colleagues, presumably because the Teabaggers are just too damn obvious about their desire to apply a wrecking ball to the entire government structure whereas the old-boys want to gut some of the insides and rearrange a few interior walls (and clear out some basement space as a rental-unit for the Democrats) but are desperately keen to maintain the façade and decorative trim so they can use its value to keep acquiring home-equity loans, so to speak.
The teabagging proles who shouted in delusion at Obama, “hands-off my Medicaid!”, are shouting the exact same thing now, only at the Teabag politicians who really are bent on dismantling Medicaid that these teabagging idiots voted into power a few months ago! These are the morons that Michelle Bachmann expects to support her, and no doubt they will, but contrary to the impression that the corporate MSM and Tea Party Patriots/Express have been so busy promoting, the Teabaggers are NOT a majority of the national Republican constituency, they are just the noisiest.
Again, look at the poll and look at the popularity scores of teabagging governors. Look at the issues that have everyone riled-up–the national majority, regardless of party affiliation, wants to keep Medicare and Medicaid. The average Republican voter doesn’t want teachers and police and firefighters laid off. They don’t want their governors rejecting federal stimulus funds that would help improve the job situation; they want and need the goddamned jobs that stimulus money would fund and ‘socialism’ be-damned.
No one takes Bachmann’s predecessor Palin seriously any more (a considerable majority of Republicans rate her unfit for the White House) , and though it’s hard to overestimate the delusion and idiocy of many Republican voters it is clear that a sizeable number are regretting the Teabagger option they took in 2010, and a huge number aren’t the least bit enthusiastic about their non-Teabagger options for the 2012 presidential election either.
Given the present approval rating trends of Teabagger incumbents and the disinterest in the entire Republican presidential field which Romney and Bachmann presently lead with numbers that would have placed them barely above dead-last in 2008, Bachmann is simply not a viable national candidate by any extant measure and the corporate MSM is going to have a very hard time boosting her numbers because as lazy and self-serving as they are, they just can’t avoid revealing what a useless nutcase Bachmann really is for the simple fact that they will have to report all the insane things and lies she has said and will say—which is all there is by which she can be judged.
I’m trying to avoid wishful thinking here, hence the length and sourcing of this post. I don’t want to underestimate the fickleness, spitefulness, delusion and self destructive stupidity of Republican voters either—after all we had George Bush and the ‘Tea Party’ has gone from an incoherent rabble in a public park to an incoherent rabble holding actual seats of real power—at the moment.
It would also be unwise to discount the determination of the corporate MSM to influence the electorate in favor of Bachmann if she’s the one who attracts the eyeballs the most and generates the most web hits, and most ominously it should not be forgotten that the voting system itself is still being manipulated with various disfranchising voter ID and registration initiatives, and that easily manipulated electronic voting machines are still in service in many states.
But even with successful strategic voter suppression efforts, the Republicans still need the Christian conservative base as delivered in the past by the likes of Ralph Reed and they need to appeal to the more pragmatic right-leaning ‘Independents’ who in particular are well aware of their usually pivotal role in tight national races. The major issues of 2012 are clearly going to be about the preservation of those social services that the general population needs more desperately than ever, the housing market and above all JOBS. These are all being experienced as local issues.
The blinkered dogmatic Teabaggers now in power at the state level are on a dogmatic rampage from no deviation is can even be considered. At the national level in Washington the Teabagger faction driving the obstruction on raising the National Debt Ceiling, as of June a Washington Post-Abs news Poll found that 71% overall believed that not raising the limit would hurt the economy. 37% of the Republican respondents are adamantly opposed to raising the limit, but only 30% of Independents are in firm opposition. Of course there’s a swath of respondents from all voting blocs who want a debt limit raise and spending cuts BUT the majority don’t want cuts to Medicare.
Quite apart from the stupidity of this manufactured ‘issue’ of the debt limit, it is an issue that will disappear in the next month and over the next year all the local spending cuts that are already going into effect and the federal cuts that will soon likely go into effect will have a made a significant mark on the general population, so the protection of Medicare and JOBS are going to be the big election issues—for which neither the Teabaggers nor the Republicans have any compelling ‘solutions’ except to protect the tax breaks for corporations and the rich at a time when even more Americans will have been consigned to lower economic strata than is already the case.
Interestingly the WashPo Poll took the temperature of Tea Party support and added “Strong” and “Some Support” for the Tea Party faction to produce an overall Support figure of 46 to the Oppose sum of 44, presenting a near equal division that slightly favors the Tea Party ; however that slight edge is heavily dependent on “Some Support”, whilst the “Strong Oppose” figure is almost twice that of the “Strong Support”. What exactly elicits the support or opposition of the respondents is unresolved but what is clear is that “Support” for the Tea Party faction is much weaker than the sum suggests.
As it stands at the moment the enthusiasm about Bachmann’s chances (and by inference the Tea Party) appears to me to be far more like wishful thinking by the corporate MSM and the echo chamber that occupies the space between Bachmann’s ears due to Teabaggers attention-getting noise and bluster. Those Teabaggers that have scored electoral successes are now staring at re-election failure as they press on with their agendas without regard for the Some Support/Some Oppose/Strong Oppose Republican constituents, which does not bode well for the Teabaggers or the GOP in a nationwide election, and thus does not bode well for Bachmann.
But apart from the tea-leaf reading that all the above mentioned polling data permits, there is one other factor that will affect Bachmann’s chances that the punditocracy will not admit: she’s not a MAN, baby!
Republicans as whole obviously aren’t complete misogynists but the fundamentally religious Republicans are and judging from the crowds at Teabagging events and comments and articles on blogs and websites a significant proportion of Teabaggers are patriarchal ‘fundies’. For all their enthusiasm for Palin, she was being guided into the traditionally weak-authority VP position, whereas Bachmann is aiming for complete executive power.
Granted the Teabaggers and Fundies could certainly put aside their considerable sexism if it meant they’d have a dedicated bible-thumper running the nation, but the Teabaggers still aren’t the majority of Republican voters, even in the most Teabaggy of states and of course it is the state Electoral Colleges that vote directly for the President and the members of the RNC that calculates who the Republican candidate should be whether their preference is supported by the Primary voting or not and especially when the competition is close.
Referring again to the CBS poll, Bachmann is no more popular amongst Republicans at present than the lower tier of 2008’s also-rans and the Teabaggers’ potential influence is actually quite weak whilst the Teabaggers presently in power are alienating even those who voted for them.
Of course many Republicans will rally behind the eventual GOP candidate out of Party loyalty and political necessity, just as many Democrats will feel the need to support Obama despite their dissatisfaction with his performance, but if Bachmann does become the GOP choice, there’s also going to be those Republicans who simply won’t abide such a colossal idiot leading their Party and the nation and others who won’t abide a woman in the White House no matter how appealing her rhetoric may be.
A lot can happen between now and the GOP Primaries, and afterwards to the actual election but what can Bachmann do to build broader support when she has no policy accomplishments that she can point-to? To win over moderate Republicans and Independents she’s going to have to change her extremist inchoate rhetoric which may not fool enough of them, whilst risking disappointing or even angering her Teabagger base (they anger easily, in case you hadn’t noticed).
The McCain/Palin ticket of 2008 offered moderate Republicans, right leaning Independents and the nascent Teabaggers a share of the political pie and thus presented as united a front as could be put together against Obama. At present the most likely 2012 version, going by the numbers would appear to be a Romney/Bachmann, or Bachmann/Romney ticket, but their numbers even at this early stage are truly pathetic. Though one might point to Palin and Bachmann as examples of how rational calculation no longer applies to the Republican dynamic, Palin’s rise was sudden and short, her inadequacies spared the longer scrutiny that Bachmann will have to undergo.
Of course my current estimation that Bachmann won’t win the GOP nomination conveniently dovetails with my personal desire for such a result, but the factors that support my arguments aren’t derived from my own partisan prejudices but those of Republicans as represented in the above mentioned polls.
At present Bachmann is the most exciting Republican character the punditocracy can find, so that’s why they are taking her ‘seriously’. Matt Taibbi warns that Democrats should take Bachmann seriously because the media that shapes the national political dynamic is taking her seriously and Obama is showing no signs yet of taking Democratic voters seriously—he’s not even pandering to them (us), but thus far according to the polling data, most Republicans aren’t taking Bachmann particularly seriously either, and altogether there are plenty of factors to suggest quite strongly that Bachmann isn’t going to get significantly any more ‘serious’ than she is now—though between the shambles that the GOP is currently in and Obama’s present political cluelessness, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that apathy and anger on both sides could still deliver Bachmann to the White House, in which it will be “welcome to Arkham Asylum”. Seriously.
ADDENDUM: Unless the teabaggers, and evangelical Republicans know that Bachmann’s husband or some other male is going to instruct her in the duites of the Presdiency, they aren’t going to pick her as a nominee, obviously.
From Think Progress:
As the Washington Post’s profile of Bachmann’s husband today notes, Dr. Bachmann — not his wife — is the decision-maker of the household, and that “is an article of faith within the family.” An article that, in 2006, Rep. Bachmann preached to a congregation. Noting that she only pursued a law degree because her husband “told her to,” Bachmann told women in the audience “The Lord says: Be submissive, wives“:
“He is her godly husband,” said Peter Bachmann, Dr. Bachmann’s oldest brother, who lives on the family dairy farm across the eastern border in Wisconsin. “The husband is to be the head of the wife, according to God.” It is a philosophy that Michele Bachmann echoed to congregants of the the Living Word Christian Center in 2006, when she stated that she pursued her degree in tax law only because her husband had told her to. “The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands,” she said.
In a Huffington Post opinion piece of March 29th, 2011, Representative Mike Honda, the co-chairperson of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Peace and Security Taskforce, took issue with the President’s use of US military forces with regard to the month-old Libyan uprising that, after three-weeks of popular, political and geographic momentum had not only stalled in its progress but was under threat of total destruction by Moammar Ghaddafi’s resource-rich, formally-trained and overwhelmingly better-equipped forces.
“The key concern remains the lack of Congressional involvement and oversight. The War Powers Act of 1973, created after the Vietnam War to ensure legislative checks and balances before and during wartime situations, limits the president’s ability to commit armed forces to conditions that are not met in this case.
If the U.S. wants to lead and inspire the world in setting the standard for good governance, getting this executive-legislative relationship right is critical.”— (Mike Honda, Democrat).
The thrust of Representative Honda’s complaint is shared by several other Democratic Party members and by many Republicans too, representing a rare (these days) shared bipartisan concern over not only policy but also legal and constitutional issues—which would be encouraging if the expressed concerns from both sides of the political aisle shared the same motivation for complaint and even if, regardless of motivation, they were based on direct knowledge rather than vague interpretation and practical fact rather than conjectural fantasy.
Rep. Mike Honda: “The War Powers Act of 1973, created after the Vietnam War to ensure legislative checks and balances before and during wartime situations, limits the president’s ability to commit armed forces…”
Wrong—and for so many reasons!
1973 War Powers Act:
Sec. 4. (a) In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced—
(1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;
(2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or
(3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation; the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth—
(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
(B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and
(C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.
[Sec. 4](b) The President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to committing the Nation to war and to the use of United States Armed Forces abroad.
First of all; the constitutionality of any Act or general action is decided by a given, sitting, Supreme Court; the War Powers Act was not established as being constitutional by the 1973Supreme Court and has never been ratified or struck-down by the SCOTUS since, because it has never been placed on the Supreme Court’s docket—the invocation of “constitutional responsibilities” in the War Powers Act verbiage is a rhetorical argument only, not a matter of legal fact—but never mind that; theoretically any Act passed by Congress is both legal and constitutional until tested and proven otherwise, thus the War Powers Act is actually legal, absent a specific test of constitutionality .
Secondly; Mike Honda claims that the War Powers Act was written “to ensure legislative checks and balances before and during wartime situations, limits the president’s ability to commit armed forces…”
The War Power Act does no such thing:
[Sec. 4 (a) ] (3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation; the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth—
(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
(B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place;
The 1973 War Powers Act thus specifically allows the President to commit US military forces first without informing (let-alone seeking consent-of) Congress. This allowance is specifically referenced by “under which such introduction took place;”—note the use of the past tense.
The President is only required by the War Powers Act to explain such a commitment after the fact, and NOT “before” it.
Furthermore, the President is only required to deliver a written justification within 48 hours after the use of military force to “the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate”, NOT to the entirety of the Congress or even just the House of Representatives. It is up to those two official leaders of their respective Houses as to how (and whether) they communicate that report to their colleagues.
There’s more to 1973 War Powers Act than I’ve excerpted here, but mercifully not a lot more. It is an impressively brief piece of legislation and arguably as a result of that brevity it is inherently (and by design and/or accident) nowhere near as specific as its format might suggest and to me anyway, appears to be far less practical than was perhaps originally intended. (Here’s the War power Act in the original).
Here’s some background and context:
The 1973 War Powers Act was written and passed in belated response to the manner in which the USA embroiled itself-in (or rather co-created) the Vietnam War, which ended in ignominious fashion in 1975. Nixon vetoed the Act but was overridden by Congress.
During the 1980s when Iran under the rule of Ayatollah Khomeni began interfering with international shipping in the Persian Gulf, President Reagan deployed significant US Navy forces in the region to which he gave express authority to engage not only in self-defense but also attack, whereupon several armed exchanges took place between US and Iranian air and naval forces. Congress, fearing escalation into outright war, made noises invoking the War Powers Act at least twice. Reagan responded by deeming the War Powers Act unconstitutional and told the Congress to STFU, which Congress agreed to do.
As I understand it (having actually read the thing pursuant to formulating my opinion) the 1973 War Powers Act;
a) Has no definitive constitutional status, only ordinary legal status by virtue of it being an Act of Congress, so it can’t be used as a definitive imperative to contest the constitutionality of a President’s ostensibly unapproved use of military force and in so doing prevent such action by the President.
b) It actually allows the President to commit any and all branches of the American military in service of a cause of the President’s choosing and/or demanded by circumstance without prior consent not only of the whole Congress, but even of the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate.
c) The President is only obliged to provide a written report with 48 hours AFTER the commitment of forces, to only the Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tempore, a justification for the use of military force—the extent of detail in such a report is not particularly specific.
d) The President is further permitted to maintain and even escalate the commitment of forces for up to 90 days without a formal majority approval by Congress.
e) The specific application of the terms of the Act is entirely up to Congress—its invocation is meaningless if a majority of Congress doesn’t or won’t enforce its terms on the President’s actions (in other words, if the Congress doesn’t or won’t withhold funds to finance the specific use of military force and/or hold a vote regarding approval of the action.
f) By not holding a specific vote of approval and or/by not voting on the withholding of funds, the Congress by default approves of the military action taken in its original or escalated forms.
Representative Honda and his like-minded colleagues in both political parties should actually read and comprehend the actual content and caveats of the War Powers Act before invoking it as the basis of some complaint regarding the balance Congressional, Executive and Constitutional powers, and maybe direct their complaints towards the details of the Act itself, rather than towards the President’s current actions concerning Libya—by precedence, practice and in its particulars the War Powers Act has been and is irrelevant, in this case and every case in which it has been invoked, by virtue of its nebulous and toothless content.
Either the War Powers Act should be rewritten to ACTUALLY secure some restraint on a President’s power to commit military forces, or those invoking should at least read it first an acknowledge its irrelevance and stop wasting everyone’s time posturing and mewling about something they can’t and won’t, actually do anything about. .
As can been seen from the above graph there’s a clear reversal of the national job-loss trend since Barack Obama took over the Presidency from George Bush; but political pot-shots aside there’s still damn-all to be encouraged about.
In April, the number of unemployed persons was 15.3 million, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent (from 9.7 percent). […]
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) continued to trend up over the month, reaching 6.7 million. In April, 45.9 percent of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. […]
About 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in April, compared with 2.1 million a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Although the first four months of 2010 have together added about 600,000 jobs the average of job gains thus far is 150,000 per month which is the rate at which the national workforce grows naturally; in other words 150,000 ‘new jobs’ per month will produce exactly zero net gain.
Even if the monthly average new-job rate suddenly doubled and stabilized at 300,000 per month for the rest of the year the net gain would be 1.2 million jobs or about one-fifth of the jobs lost during 2008 (3.6 million) and 2009 (3.8 million).
There are presently 17.7 millions who are still unemployed and approximately 40 million enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (otherwise known as “Food Stamps”) for which one has to be living below the poverty line.
In real terms the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth less than nominal $5.15 of 1997 and the nominal $3.35 of 1981.
Now the ongoing BP Deepwater Horizon oil flood (it’s not a “spill”) is threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands in the Gulf of Mexico and around Florida and hurricane season is about to start (during the hottest year in the hottest decade every recorded) whilst energy costs (with oil currently trading around $70 a barrel) are poised to rise as they do every summer.
Even if employment situation has hit rock bottom and can only improve from this point on the historical data suggests it will be another two years before the job losses of the official recession are recovered—in other words it will be 2012 before the US can return to the underwhelming employment levels of 2008.
On the morning of July 12th 2007, Reuters news photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen (age 22) and his driver/assistant Saeed Chmagh (age 40) along with several other Iraqis were killed by an Apache helicopter. Reuters naturally asked for details as to how their employees died.
The US Army’s press release for July 12, 2007 operations was as follows:
Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, both operating in eastern Baghdad under the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, along with their Iraqi counterparts from the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Division National Police, were conducting a coordinated raid as part of a planned operation when they were attacked by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Coalition Forces returned fire and called in attack aviation reinforcement.
The New York Times reported on July 13, 2007:
The American military said in a statement late Thursday that 11 people had been killed: nine insurgents and two civilians. According to the statement, American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine insurgents were killed.
“There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,” said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad.
The military command offered condolences to the families of the civilians who were killed during the combat action, the statement said.
After every military operation ‘after-action’ reports are compiled and collated for intelligence analysis, future training, the development of tactics and the compilation of military histories. Such reports include testimony from the unit personnel involved supported by audio, photographic and video evidence.
The initial press release is impressive in its thorough identification of the military units involved and pathetic in its detailing of the actual operation. The brevity of the initial release may be reasonably excused, but the selected details it does provide about what happened are inaccurate.
The later statement offers a little more detail such as acknowledging the Reuters reporters being killed, but as the NY Times reported-it there was no mention of the injured children and spokesman Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl was clearly defensive about the circumstances that resulted in the civilian deaths. Either the Lt. Col was unqualified to be so adamant because he hadn’t seen any of the after-action reports, or the after action reports were incomplete or inaccurate, or the Lt. Colonel was lying.
According to Elizabeth Bumiller’s column in the Middle East Section of the NY Times of April 5, 2010, Reuters was privately shown the gun camera footage two weeks after the incident but were denied a copy of it. Not surprisingly Reuters filed a FOIA request for the video record and any other pertinent documentation shortly afterward. Over two and half years later, those requests apparently remain unfulfilled.
Bumiller also reported that “The American military in Baghdad investigated the episode and concluded that the forces involved had no reason to know that there were Reuters employees in the group. No disciplinary action was taken.”
Indeed they did not, but who employed them and in what capacity is irrelevant. the Apache gunner could see that the two men were together (and dressed identically and carrying camera bags) and that neither was armed. The helicopter crew killed eight other unarmed men without knowing who employed them either.
According to a redacted report released by the Defense Department late on April 5th, 2010, apparently in reaction to the web-posting of the Wikileaks video, the US military complained :
“The Reuters employees made no effort to visibly display their status as press or media representatives and their familiar behavior with, and close proximity to, the armed insurgents and their furtive attempts to photograph the coalition ground forces made them appear as hostile combatants to the Apaches that engaged them.”
This complaint is not only ripe with irrelevance it is also steeped in insulting stupidity.The Reuters employees had no opportunity to display their press credentials to the helicopter crew observing them from one quarter of a mile away and no reason to do so. The “attempt” to photograph coalition ground forces “furtively” is a simple precaution to take in an active combat zone. Apparently various officers within the Pentagon who wrote and approved of the release of this nonsense think that these arguments are a valid defense of the charges of murder.
During all the years that the US had been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan the US Army has consistently and immediately denied any fault on their part in attention-getting instances of “collateral damage” and vigorously obstructed practically every attempt at subsequent independent investigation. The US Military had also been consistent in thoroughly denying culpability in friendly-fire incidents involving US fire on British allies, and had, by 2007, also famously lied about the death of Pat Tillman, faked the ‘rescue’ of Jessica Lynch and covered-up the Haditha incident which involved rape and mass-murder.
When the Pentagon’s explanations of “collateral damage” incidents fail to satisfy evidence and reason, it has been the case time after time that only after persistent independent inquiry into discrepancies in the US military’s representations in relation to evidence that responsibility has then been commonly placed on “the fog of war”—in other words, the official narrative has been usually forcibly altered from adamant denial of responsibility via the false identification of some ‘guilty’ party, to admission of a innocent “mistake” resulting from unpredictable circumstances and reactions which the proven liars then claim it is impossible to attach any specific responsibility at all.
Though the US Military makes much of integrity, honor and humanitarian efforts in its recruitment commercials it has been clearly and repeatedly demonstrated in Iraq (and also in Afghanistan) that from generals of the US Army and the Marines to their lowest-ranks there are directly linked chains of military personnel that exhibit none of these desirable qualities.
What is the US Military Doing in Iraq Anyway?
The nation of Iraq was being used as an experiment in the calculated imposition of conservative Republican military, social and economic ideologies through the application of intimidation and violence (in-short, imperialism).
One only need read the testimonies from just a few Iraq veterans to appreciate that a war that began on lies was continued on lies. The US military’s real task was not to ‘liberate’ the Iraqis from an oppressive regime but simply to take control of Iraq for the benefit of the Bush administration and its cronies who deemed it’s control by the US to be an accessible key to America’s supremacy in global politics and economics for the next one-hundred years—as described and promoted by the Project for the New American Century.
The one brief spark of perverse realism in the PNAC’ neo-conservatives’ fantastic agenda was that even those Iraqis that would benefit from the deposing of Hussein’s regime were bound to take issue with a prolonged and pervasive, uninvited, armed US authority, despite public declarations that American forces would be regarded as “liberators” and would be “greeted with flowers and candy” . In private the architects of Operation Iraqi Freedom were not counting on local goodwill to facilitate their plans but expected opposition–though not enough to be a problem for the finest military in the world.
After the events of 9/11/2001 the Bush administration promoted the theory that it was “a lack of imagination” rather than criminal negligence of data and expert advice that allowed the murder of nearly three thousand civilians in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, National Security Adviser Rice and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld campaigned to convince the American public and the world that Al Qaeda’s attack had been enabled by Saddam Hussein and that it was but a prelude to even greater violence planned by Saddam Hussein and fueled and financed by the resources of the state he controlled with an iron fist, posing an imminent threat to the whole world. They all insisted we imagine a world where ”the smoking gun” might become “a mushroom cloud”—an image that was repeated thousands of times by every media outlet for months—and to trust them that the primary source of such threats was Iraq, or be branded a traitor and terrorist-sympathizer for expressing any doubt.
Avoiding the Issue and Defending the Indefensible
The publishing of the attack-helicopter footage on YouTube titled “Collateral Murder” has generated a fair amount of discussion on TV and radio news programs. But the discussions I’ve seen and heard revolve around “the issue” and not the specific content of the footage. Furthermore in such discussions on TV I haven’t seen the attack sequences shown even though gun camera footage from other conflicts has been willingly and widely shown many times before. There isn’t even any observable blood in the footage—any episode of ‘24’ is more ‘graphic’ than this video, so why so shy? It could be because to an average viewer what they’d see they’d see as murder plain and simple, even if viewed with the contextual footage before and after the killings themselves—because the ‘context’ does nothing to mitigate the Apaches deadly actions.
Whilst much of the media is walking softly on this story, presumably not wishing to jeopardize their professional relationships with the US military and various political sources but at least still airing and asking some of the questions the footage engenders, there are of course defenders in the press too and it comes as no surprise that Bill Roggio of the Weekly Standard (‘Bloody’ Bill Kristol’s money-losing neoconservative news-magazine) comes to the US military’s defense with a combination of straw-man arguments, sneering indignation and callous misdirection:
Where the US Army’s press-release regarding that day’s operations states that “Soldiers […] were conducting a coordinated raid as part of a planned operation when they were attacked by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades [and] Coalition Forces returned fire and called in attack aviation reinforcement”, Bill Roggio baldly and boldly claims “There is nothing in that video that is inconsistent with the military’s report. What you see is the air weapons team engaging armed men”. To Roggio’s credit he embeds the Wikileaks video in his article which, if a reader of average intelligence chooses to watch it, will see actually undermines his claim. (I’ve found this to be a common trait over the years amongst right-wingers who actually provide legitimate links to support their comments at Think Progress—they seem to have a consistent knack of failing to fully read and comprehend the sources they choose to rely-on to make their argument).
Roggio conflates the description in the press-release with the video of a single ‘engagement’ as concurrent with a very close larger engagement where gunfire was exchanged, and equates “armed” with “attacked”. The Apache helicopter in question wasn’t “called in” to provide a counter attack, instead the aircrew initiated the attack and were given permission to attack based only on their simple observation of “armed men”. Not only do the Iraqis in the video attack no-one, they show absolutely no intention of attacking anyone and of course the press-release was provided on the very sound assumption that no-one would ever see the gun camera footage. Furthermore the attack is conducted not just against armed men, but unarmed men as well, and there is a second distinct attack against unarmed civilians trying to help a wounded unarmed man (Saeed) who survived the original attack—with permission to fire being given based on minimal yet exaggerated information from the Apache crew which made no mention of them or anyone else coming under fire or any preparation to fire on the helicopter or other forces.
Roggio dismisses the injuring of the children (whose father has been killed right beside them) by plagiarizing (practically verbatim) a remark made by one of the Apache crew; “who drives their kids into the middle of a war zone anyway?”—disregarding the fact that all of Baghdad is a war zone.
Roggio concludes “To describe the attack you see in the video as “murder” is a sensationalist gimmick that succeeded in driving tons of media attention and traffic to Wikileaks’ website.”, implying that Wikileaks’ purpose is to smear the US military for profit and self-serving attention— ignoring the fact that the footage had to have been made accessible by someone (or several people) within the US military itself.
Clearly the person or people within the US military who provided the video to Wikileaks disagree(s) with Bill Roggio that the killings were justified, as does Specialist Josh Steiber of the 1st Infantry Division who at the time of the incident was based at Rustimayah (the US base from which the operations that day were conducted). “A lot of my friends are in that video,” says Stieber. “After watching the video, I would definitely say that that is, nine times out of ten, the way things ended up. Killing was following military protocol. It was going along with the rules as they are.”
Though Spc. Stieber’s words actually support one point of Roggio’s, that “there is no indication that the U.S. military weapons crew that fired on this group of armed men violated the military’s Rules of Engagement” (note Roggio’s mendacious use of “armed men” which is not the issue here), Roggio’s moral position is utterly undermined as Stieber explains that the ROEs used in Iraq in this instance (and since the very start) offer no practical constraints at all—which of course makes them in violation of the Geneva convention which, as a foreign treaty signed by the US, makes them also a violation of the US Military Code of Justice and Federal law.
Thus far, like many others, I have only argued about the arguments that refer to the evidence. Now let’s look at the evidence itself, how it develops and what issues it specifically raises.
Note: My audio card failed so I’ve been unable to attribute every single recorded comment by ear and have had to rely on the transcript subtitles, but most of the dialog can still be attributed by context and the use of call signs. I’ve substituted “chatter” where communications appear insignificant and impossible to reasonably interpret. Where I’m unsure of attribution, I have been cautious or refrained from attribution entirely.
Autopsy of a Mass Murder
As the unedited WikiLeaks video begins the Apache helicopter, “Crazyhorse One-Eight”, has its TADS (Target Acquisition Designation Sight) pointing at a mosque, a practical landmark.
0:41 I got a black vehicle under target. It’s arriving right to the north of the Mosque
0:47 Moving south by the mosque dome. Down that road.
0:52/55 Okay, we got a target fifteen coming at you. It’s a guy with a weapon.
The above appears to come from a helicopter other than the one whose video we are watching.
0:58 A snap zoom towards the mosque shows no evident personnel or movement as far as I can see.
1:24 See all those people standing down there?
1:28 The TADS, still in wide-angle mode, is centered just above a collection of trucks at the eastern end of the parking lot. The range at this point is 1300 feet. Obviously “down there” is the view from a helicopter but I don’t know which one. On the YouTube video at 480 pixels there are some blobs scattered on the road. I can’t tell what they are but obviously the Apache crew can—they are indeed people as the snap zoom is about to reveal.
Note: Whilst I have the luxury of seeing what the TADS saw in comfort and without any pressure, the image resolution in the posted video must be considerably degraded from the original as at this point where I can only see blobs, the helicopter crew can distinguish them easily people. (I can see what must be a person moving across the parking lot, but no one else.) The helicopter crew’s visual acuity and camera optics are obviously superior to mine, so any confusion the YouTube viewer may have about visual details is not going to be shared by the helicopter crew—their vision is much more clear and precise.
1:30 Stay firm.
The TADS is snap-zoomed in. A group of five men walking eastwards down the street is under the crosshairs. Another man trails some 10 yards behind. Four men are wandering aimlessly at the mouth of an alley to the north, 10 yards away. At least six men are near a flatbed trailer about 10-12 yards from the target group.
1:34 Yeah, roger. I just estimate there’s probably about twenty of them.
It’s a good estimate, but four “of them” (those at the alley) appear to have no interest or connection with the rest and are wandering away.
One member of the target group goes to join those at the alley. The target group is now 4 men, the larger group by the trailer appear to number eight, with two sitting on a scooter. Some are moving towards the target group, one is moving away and four are paying no attention to the approaching target group.
1:39 There’s one, yeah. Oh yeah
The man who had been partially obscured by the back-plate of the flatbed trailer is now fully visible as he turns to accompany Saaed who is trailing Namir by a about 3-4 yards. If the helicopter crew had spotted a weapon (going by the above remark) then I certainly couldn’t see it.
Namir and Saeed, wearing white (?) long sleeved shirts and dark pants are obviously carrying shoulder bags with straps wider than those used on weapons. Their movements and posture should be recognizable to anyone who has carried a camera-bag themselves or seen a professional photographer in the field.
1:44 A man standing nearer the camera, very close to the trailer, with the scooter behind him, turns and may, to my eye, have a shoulder-slung weapon.
1:46 That’s a weapon .Yeah.
This remark may refer to a second weapon being spotted, which I could see was clearly an RPG being held, vertically, with one end on the ground, by a man who has stayed right next to the trailer—the weapon is too long and thick to be a rifle or RPD light machine gun. If the reference is to the RPG the Apache crew, with superior vision than mine, fail or can’t be bothered to identify it as such, which is odd as the RPG is a practical threat to a helicopter, even at a range of 1300 feet/425 yards (though 300 yards is a more reliable range for accuracy and effectiveness).
1: 47 Hotel Two-Six; [this is] Crazyhorse One-Eight
1:48/2:00 The Apache gunship ‘Crazyhorse One Eight’ is now specifically tracking not the armed man or men, but the photographer Namir and his assistant Saeed.
2:01 Have individuals with weapons.
2:03 He’s got a weapon too.
A this point the TADS camera has tilted up and away from the photographers (who are now obscured by walls and buildings) to track a group of three men proceeding past the end of the flat bed trailer. It is clear that two of them have weapons.
2:11 Have five to six individuals with AK-47s. Request permission to engage.
To a listener unable to see the scene directly, what does this mean? Does each individual have an AK-47? We can see that’s not true. The failure to mention the RPG that has been plainly visible via the TADS for fifteen seconds now is a remarkable omission.
I wonder if the number of weapons that are implied, (five to six) is a threshold for approval of an engagement request? After-all, they counted two weapons earlier and didn’t immediately request engagement permission, and none of the men have acted in an aggressive or suspicious way or appear likely to do so. The aircrew has the time to describe explicitly the number of men who have weapons, their type, and how the men are acting, but they provide no such information. Why? Does it not matter? Is such information irrelevant regarding the ROE (Rules of Engangement)?
2:16 Roger that
2:17 Uh, we have no personnel east of our position.
2.19 So uh, you are free to engage. Over
2:22 The ammo indicator appears, showing 252 rounds available.
The situation thus far: An attack helicopter has reported up the chain of command ONLY that five to six individuals have AK-47s and on this information alone the permission to kill them is given.
The actual number of weapons is just two—one AK-47 and one (mysteriously disregarded) RPG with one grenade round. There is no mention of the targets’ actual behavior or activities, of the two obvious photographers, nor of these men’s proximity to any US soldiers.
If the Apache crew were instead acting as scouts ahead of a foot patrol and returned to report such minimal information, they would likely be punished for wasting time and risking lives. ; but relatively safe in their armored vehicle in the sky the Apache crew can apparently do whatever the hell they want—and what they want is to kill some people who aren’t threatening them, or anyone else because apparently Iraqis don’t deserve the right to bear arms in their own invaded and occupied country.
2:27 I’m gonna…I can’t get ‘em now because they’re behind that building.
Now the RPG carrier, whose weapon had been clearly visible for 15 seconds but has yet to be identified as such, wanders over to a wall between him and the helicopter. If he had any interest in attacking the helicopter the wall would be obvious cover but he’s shown no sign of having spotted the Apache (about 1250 feet/400 yards distant) and as he reaches the wall he appears to then stoop, as though he were laying the RPG down.
2:31 As the RPG carrier is obscured by his proximity to the wall the TADS camera rapidly pans left to the intersection about 60 feet away in about 1 second. A third man across the street, left of frame, appears to have an AK slung behind his shoulder but is immediately excluded from the frame as the cameras crosshairs fix on the street corner. We see two men now at the intersection corner, one crouched low and the other standing up, about three yards behind and south there is a third man.
2:32 Um, hey Bushmaster element…
2:34 He’s got an RPG!
2.35 Alright we got a guy with an RPG.
2:36 I’m gonna fire.
This is the first remark the crew has made about an RPG and it’s horribly wrong. The RPG carrier seen earlier could not have covered the 60 feet from where we last saw him in the middle of the block at the wall, to the corner, in one second.
The ‘RPG’ at the corner clearly ISN’T an RPG. A loaded RPG would show a distinctive pointed end, the end of this ‘RPG’ is blunt, so if it were an RPG it wouldn’t be loaded.
2:39 Okay. No, hold on. Let’s come around.
2:41 Behind buildings right now from our point of view….Okay we’re going to come around.
At precisely this point ‘RPG–man’ shifts his weight, leaning further out from the wall. The whole of the ‘weapon’ is clearly visible—it is a camera with a 300 or 400mm telephoto lens (less than two feet long) which is a war photographer’s ‘best friend’ in covering active combat operations. Though the Apache crew might be forgiven for not being able to identify the lens so precisely, it obviously ISN’T an RPG, in its dimensions, shape and the way it is being held. Remember, the observer/gunner should be concentrated only on the ‘RPG’ and his visual acuity is much higher than the YouTube images. It should be clear that the “RPG’ is in fact a camera.
2:43 Hotel Two-Six. Have eyes on individual with RPG. Getting ready to fire. We won’t…
Hotel Two Six seems to be the Apache’s commanding unit, the one that gave the okay to kill. The Apache gunner is reporting a mistake, not what’s actually there.
2:49 Yeah we had a guy shooting and now he’s behind the building.
2:50 Goddamn it.
2:52 Uh, negative, he was right in front of the Brad.
Clearly someone else had spotted a real RPG at practically the same time the Apache made its claim. There is no Bradley APC that the Apache’s ‘RPG’ was “right in front” of. There are clearly two different threats being described, at two different locations.
With the Apache’s mistaken ‘RPG’ out of sight and the other RPG obviously being different and elsewhere, why doesn’t the Apache crew warn the soldiers on the ground of their own (mistaken) target? Why don’t the ground troops ask the Apache who they are talking about and where their ‘RPG’ is actually located?
2:56 Uh, about there one ’o clock.
The TADS has been panned to roughly the center of the building block. A mans head is visible above the roof wall.
2:59 Haven’t seen anything since then
I have no idea what that means.
3:00 Just fu(kin’ once you get on ‘em. Open up on ‘em.
3:02 As the Apache continues to circle the increasing angle reveals two more men, one gesturing to someone down the street in the direction of the corner where the Apache misidentified the photographer’s camera lens. A small tree begins to obscure the small group of three as the turn continues.
The man coming from the corner doesn’t appear to be carrying an RPG, judging by his movements. He joins several of the observed men who are gathered by wall, but not hard up against it as though looking for cover. They all obviously have no interest in the Apache, and therefore must assume that the Apache will have no interest in them. A small tree by the wall obscures the actual size of the group
3:07 You’re clear. Alright, firing
Two more men have ‘appeared’, no longer obscured by the tree. As the Apache continues to turn the rest of the group becomes visible. It appears there are five or six men gathered around one, the apparent seventh or eighth is a yard away from the group and further into the street, using his phone. The gunner isn’t firing yet.
3:11 Let me know when you’ve got them. Let’s shoot.
There are now ten men in the frame. The huddle begins to break up, a couple of men moving with the photographer. There is no sign of an RPG.
3:13/16 Light ‘em all up. Come on, fire.
One man is leaving the frame to the right. The Apache gunner could begin shooting but waits. He can afford to wait as the men are still quite unhurried. As the group separates somewhat the original RPG carrier can be seen closest to the wall, holding his RPG vertically in front of him, nonchalantly resting one end on the ground. One man is leaving the frame to the right but the rest are still gathered together. .
3:18 With 252 rounds available the gunner opens fire with the M-230 from a range of about 1250 feet (about ¼ mile). Each M789 shell is 1-1/8 inches in diameter and is not just a ‘slug’ of metal but an explosive armor penetrator that travels at about ½ a mile per second, fired at a rate of 10 rounds a second.
Most of the group disappears in explosive clouds of smoke and dust.
3:20 Keep shooting, keep shooting.
Namir, who had already been on the perimeter of the group races away across the street and over a patch of rubble. The Apache gunner tracks him, the shells exploding behind him and around him.
At 3:22 Namir either trips or is knocked down by the percussion or shrapnel or all three. The Apache keeps firing; the scene is just dust and explosions.
3:30/32 Hotel, Bushmaster Two-Six. Bushmaster Two-Six, we need to move, time now.
The Apache has expended 80 rounds in 8 seconds.
3: 33 All right, we just engaged all eight individuals. Come on, fire!
The TADS camera zooms out for a wider view as smoke and dust still billow.
3:36 Yeah we see two birds and we’re still fire.
Someone who was apparently further up the street (west) some yards away from the group seems to peer for a second into the smoke, then turns and runs the other way. He is one of the two “birds”, but he surely can’t be a survivor of the original attack?
3:42 Two-Six, this is Two-Two six, we’re mobile. Oops I’m sorry, what’s going on?
The man trying to escape the scene is obliterated with a burst of cannon fire.
3:43 Goddamn it, Kyle, (a South Park reference) alright, hahaha, I hit ‘em.
3:53/4 Alright, you’re clear. I’m just trying to find targets again.
The dust has cleared, there’s no apparent movement on the street. All the original targets are visible. There are no more targets to find.
4:04 Got a bunch of bodies laying there.
The initial strike appears to have killed 7 men instantly. As the Apache circles the man who was running behind Namir can be seen lying in the street and trying to crawl away.
4:09/13 Yeah we got one guy crawling around down there…but uh you know, we got, we definitely got something.
4:15 We’re shooting some more.
More rounds hit the wounded man. The ammo counter now reads 170.
4:20 Hey, you shoot, I’ll talk.
4:29 The Apache calls Hotel Two-Six and informs them that they are “currently engaging approximately eight individuals, uh KIA, RPGs and AK47s.” Crazyhorse One Eight is lying about the weaponry again, talking of multiple RPG and AK when in fact there are only one of each.
4: 55/5:13 Hotel two Six; Crazyhorse One Eight, Oh yeah look at those dead bastards….Nice….Good shooting…Thank You
5:34 Bushmaster Seven requests the location of the bodies (stated as Mike Bravo 54588617).
Circling, they see Saeed is conscious, propping himself up on an elbow and his left hip, trying to move his legs. He is now the only survivor of the attack. ‘Bushmaster Seven’ is on its way to the scene. Crazyhorse says they won’t shoot anymore. Saeed bends his right leg and tries using it. His left leg seems useless.
6:25/6 He’s getting up. Maybe he has a weapon down in his hand?
They had already shot Saeed and killed the other unarmed men, I wonder why they need a weapon as an excuse to finish him off? They’d just killed a wounded survivor about two minutes earlier.
6:28 No I haven’t seen one yet.
Saeed is about 45 feet from the pile of bodies from the initial attack. Two of those now-dead men had the only two weapons seen. Does this Apache crew seriously expect the wounded Saeed to crawl 45 feet, find one of the weapons and then use it on someone? In the 30 seconds since they noticed him he hasn’t even managed to move four inches.
6:29 I see you guys got that guy crawling right now on that curb
So someone is watching a live feed from the Apache or the other helicopter is recording the same scene.
6:32 Yeah I got him. I put two rounds near him and you guys were shooting over there too, so we’ll see.
Saeed is still struggling to move himself.
6:39/56 Chatter between Bushmaster Seven and Hotel Two-Seven
6:58 Come on buddy. All you gotta do is pick-up a weapon.
It has take Saeed half a minute just to get himself up on one knee. If he had a pistol, or could reach a weapon, who would he shoot? There’s no one else there. Crazyhorse One-Eight is itching to shoot him. It seems a ridiculous contrivance on their part to conform to the ostensible spirit of the ROE (and the public protestations of the generals that the US military makes “every effort” to minimize civilian casualties) when they’ve already killed eight unarmed men with the permission of their superiors.
7:10 Bushmaster Five (one of the ground units) calls for directions to the location.
7:18/26 This is (Hotel) Two Six, roger I’ll pop flares. We also have one individual moving. We’re looking for weapons. If we see a weapon, we’re gonna engage.
It would appear that Hotel Two–Six is another Apache? I wonder if the camera footage is also being transmitted to headquarters as a live feed? The circling places Saeed out of sight behind the wall for a few seconds and the camera is switched to wide angle. The cross hairs are still trained on Saeed’s location.
7:31/6 Yeah Bushmaster, we have a van that’s approaching and picking up the bodies
This is not visible in Crazyhorse’s camera. Is the van being spotted by Hotel Two-Six? A man runs into frame from the bottom right (from the west) towards Saeed. For some reason the camera tilts up to look slightly east, leaving Saeed and the newcomer out of frame
7:36 Where’s that van at?
7:37 Right down there by the bodies.
7:40 Okay, yeah. Come on fire!
The van has now appeared from the west. If it were “picking up bodies” it would have only picked up one—the “bird” that had looked into the smoke and then ran away west (at 3:42) and was presumably killed as he’s been ignored in favor of Saeed.
7:41/7 Bushmaster; Crazyhorse. We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly uh picking up bodies and weapons.
Crazyhorse is playing with the truth again. The van is stopping by Saeed, not the group where the two weapons can be found. The van obscures Saeed and the pedestrian who is with him as the Apache continues to circle.
7:48 Let me engage.
Another man runs into frame from the west.
7:51 Can I shoot?
The van driver is now running around the front of the van.
7:51 Roger. Break.(Confirming receipt of request to shoot, not yet providing permission)
7.55 The driver is opening the van’s sliding side door.
7:56 Uh Crazyhorse One-Eight request permission to uh engage.
7:59 Picking up the wounded?
8.01 Yeah, we’re trying to get permission to engage.
The two pedestrians and the driver are now trying to pick Saeed up. There’s movement at the passenger seat, two smaller figures. One appears to be in the seat, the other behind it and leaning forward.
8:06 Come on, let us shoot!
8:08 Bushmaster; Crazyhorse One-Eight.
8:12 They’re taking him.
The men have Saeed by the legs and under the arms.
8:16 Bushmaster; Crazyhorse One-Eight.
8:19 This is Bushmaster Seven, go ahead.
Saeed has been dragged around to the sliding door side of the van.
8:23 Roger. We have a black SUV-uh Bongo truck picking up the bodies.
Saeed is being bundled into the van by the two pedestrians. And it’s just his body being picked up at this point, not “the bodies”. The van driver is back in the driver’s seat.
8:26 Request permission to engage.
“Fuck?” Is that because Crazyhorse is now looking directly into the front of the van and can see the two children? Or is it because it’s taking too long for the permission to engage?
8:31/2 This is Bushmaster Seven, roger. This is Bushmaster Seven, roger. Engage.
The van begins to turn slowly.
8:35 One-Eight, engage. (Crazyhorse confirming they have received permission to engage).
The TADS crosshairs are at the dead center of the van. There are 170 rounds available; the range is around 860 feet.
8:37 Come on!
One of the two pedestrians is clearly outside the truck as it tries to pull away, the other man is obscured or inside.
8.38 The first shells explode about three feet in front of the van.
8.39 The two pedestrians are ducking and running from behind the van as more shells overshoot the van and burst behind and beside them. 8:40 The two men have run almost out of frame, the van appears to have stopped though it apparently hasn’t been directly hit. The driver may be in shock.
8:41 The camera pans with the running men as they fall behind a wall
8.43 Shells rake the wall, exploding around the two men.
8:45 We’re engaging
The van appears to be quickly backing up into the wall but then is hurled around by more shells exploding around it. Forty shells have now been fired in the last 7 seconds.
8:47 The van is now taking direct hits.
8:49/50 Coming around. Clear. Roger. Trying to uh…
A man in dark trousers is seen lying face down about twelve feet in front of the van. A shell blasts one of his legs. He may be one of the two who had run to the wall, and then tried to run away across the street as the wall was being pounded. It isn’t the driver because his trousers are white. Another twenty rounds have been fired in the last 5 seconds.
8:53 Smoke and dust obscure the scene
8:59 I hear ’em co—, I lost ’em in the dust. I got ’em.
9:00 The camera switches to wide angle. The smoke is now drifting west, revealing the van once again
9:04 I’m firing.
Who is firing? Not the Apache at the moment.
9:05 This is Bushmaster Forty got any BDA on that truck. Over.
9:09/10 You’re clear. This is ah Crazyhorse. Stand by
9.11 I can’t shoot for some reason.
The gunner has an azimuth limit warning.
9:14 Go ahead. I think the van’s disabled.
9:17 Go ahead and shoot it.
9:18 I got an azimuth limit for some reason
9:19 The gunner fires off another 60 rounds at the clearly disabled van. He hasn’t zoomed in to see if anyone is still alive.
9:40 All right, Bushmaster [this is] Crazyhorse One-Eight.
9:45 A vehicle appears to be disabled.
9:47 There were approximately four to five individuals in vehicle moving bodies.
Wrong. They were moving one wounded man, not “bodies”. No mention of the children.
9:54 Directions to the site being given to Bradley APCs
9:59 No more shooting.
10:03 Crazyhorse; this is Bushmaster Four. We’re moving a dismounted element straight south through the Bradleys.
The Apache keeps circling as the ground forces are directed through the streets.
10:03 [Crazyhorse] Should have a van in the middle of the road with about twelve to fifteen bodies.
10:34 Oh yeah, look at that. Right through the windshield!
The camera is now zoomed in. There’s a big hole in the glass.
10:37 Ha ha!
10:40 All right. There were uh approximately four to five individuals in that truck, so I’m counting about twelve to fifteen.
Of which how many were armed and aggressive?
10:48 I would say that’s a fairly accurate assessment so far.
10:49 Roger that.
The Apache keeps circling whilst the ground troops are still making their way to the scene. There has been no visible movement from anyone in the last 3 minutes. The area is deserted.
11:34 Hey yeah, roger, be advised, there were some guys popping out with AKs behind that dirt pile break.
This from the ground forces?
11:39 We also took some RPGs off, uh, earlier, so just uh make sure your men keep your eyes open.
Ground chatter again? The other helicopter?
11:42 The camera briefly zooms onto Namirs body lying in the rubble.
11:54 Yeah Two-Six; [this is] Crazyhorse One-Eight.
12:00 Uh, location I have about twelve to fifteen dead bodies.
12:04 Uh, where else are we taking fire from?
12:10 Currently we’re not being engaged, ah, but just south of that location. Break.
South is to the camera’s left. The van is pointing south.
12:11 A woman has come out of the side street west of the van and is walking away west with her child, past the dead body of “the bird” who was killed at 3:26.
12:30 Crazyhorse reduces altitude—the range indicator changes from 590 to 450.
12:34 Six; this is four. We’re headed to the area where Crazyhorse engaged.
12:50 Bushmaster Six; this is Hotel Two-Six.
12:48 Request to go to the south to our original BP so if you flushed them to the south we will be there to uh intercept over.
13:00 Hey this is Bushmaster Seven; we’re coming up on B… on the ass end of the Brads .
13:16 Hey uh, Bushmaster Element; this is Copperhead One-Six break.
13:20 We’re moving in the vicinity of the engagement area and looks like we’ve got some slight movement from ah, the ah van that was engaged.
13:27 Looks like a kid. Over.
13:33 This is Bushmaster Seven, roger. Uh, we’re about a hundred meters behind you.
13:39 Got that big pile, to the right? / Roger, you gonna pull in here?
13:41 Do you want me to push stuff so you can, uh, get clear of it? / Right on the corner?
13:44 What’s that? / Got that big pile of bodies to the right, on the corner?
13:47 Yeah, right here./ We got a dismounted infantry and vehicles, over.
13:52 Again, roger. / And clear.
The camera is zoomed in on the pile of dead bodies. Why? They aren’t doing anything, obviously.
13:56 A Bradley enters the frame from the east, stops at the intersection and aims north, just as Namir had done with his camera.
14:23 Hotel two-six; are you uh at this grid over?
14:27 Yeah I wanted to get you around so you didn’t just get that one dude to scare them all away.
14 31 Yeah. It worked out pretty good. I didn’t want those fuckers to run away and scatter.
14:36 Bushmaster Six; Hotel Two-Six. Roger, we linked up with our two element, they are all mounted up in our trucks. Break.
Ground troops are now coming into the area from the east, trotting up from behind the Bradley
14:44 We moved south so that we could ah possibly intercept personnel being flushed south. So we are vicinity Fifth Street. And ah [unclear] Gadins. Over
14:56 A soldier reaches the dead bodies
14:59 Bring the trucks in; cordon this area off.
15:01 Can we move the Bradley forward so we can bring trucks in and cordon off this area? If the Bradleys could take the south cordon, that could help out a lot.
The rest of the patrol move along the street, quickly but carefully.
15:14 Bushmaster or Element. Which Element called in Crazyhorse to engage the eight-elem- eight-men team on top of a roof.
15:23 Bushmaster Six; this is Hotel Two-Six. Uh, I believe that was me.
When did that happen? Before the video started? Hotel Two-Six never called Crazyhorse to engage anyone on a roof, or anywhere.
15:28 They uh had AK-47s and were to our east, so, where we were taking small arms fire. Over.
The camera is now zoomed-in on the van. One soldier takes a position by the driver’s door, three move past it and one moves around to the passenger side and looks in. Then the camera zooms out.
15:42 Hotel [this is] Crazyhorse One-Eight.
15:47 Crazyhorse One-Eight; this is Hotel Two-Six.
15:50 Yeah Two-Six. [this is] One-Eight I just also wanted to make sure you knew that we had a guy with an RPG cropping round the corner getting ready to fire on your location. That’s why we ah, requested permission to engage.
Bullshit. Here’s what actually happened:
At 1:39 “There’s one, yeah. Oh yeah”
At 1:46 “That’s a weapon .Yeah.”
At 2:01 “Have individuals with weapons.”
At 2:03 “He’s got a weapon too.”
At 2:11 “Have five to six individuals with AK-47’s. Request permission to engage”
At 2.19 “So uh, you are free to engage. Over. ”
No mention of an RPG, only specific mention of AK-47s in the request to engage, for which permission was given.
Why is Crazyhorse mistaken or lying?
Is it possible they never actually noticed the actual RPG which was plainly visible for at least 15 seconds?
After badly misidentifying Namir’s camera as an RPG did the Apache crew notice as the group split up that Namir didn’t have an RPG at that point? Having missed the real RPG in plain sight once, did the gunner also miss seeing the real RPG in the group, when it was harder to spot?
Why was the gunner spending so much time focused on all the dead bodies afterwards when by rights he should have been scanning for other threats in the area?
Was he actually still looking for his bogus RPG (@ 2:34 “He’s got an RPG!”) supposedly carried by Namir who, just before the gunner pulled the trigger on the group, was clearly not carrying an RPG? The gunner wouldn’t be able to find the real RPG afterwards if it was buried by the bodies of the men he’d massacred (which is where it would have to be.).
What does the Army do with the dead bodies? If they let the Iraqi Police deal with them, would they report finding an RPG to the Army? Why would they bother? The US Army would surely have already searched for weapons.
16:02. Ok, roger that. Tango mike.
16:06 Hotel Two-Six; do you understand me, over?
The camera is zoomed in now on soldiers moving around the van.
16: 13 I did not copy last, uh, you got stepped on. Say again please?
16:19 Two Soldiers have gone through the gate behind the van and into a court yard. A single soldier walks around the front of the van and briefly peers into the passenger side
16:22 They cordoned off the building that the helicopters killed the personnel on.
16:27 Don’t go anywhere else. We need to cordon off that building so we can get on top of the roof and SSC (secure and clear?) the building. Over.
The soldier that looked into the van has walked away towards the Bradley. The camera changes to wide angle. The soldier is going back to the van, to the driver’s side.
16:34 Hotel Two-Six; [this is] Crazyhorse One-Eight.
16:39 This is Hotel Two-Six
16:40 Hey, whoever was talking about rooftops, know that all the personnel we engaged were ground level. I say again ground level
Crazyhorse is correcting what Hotel Two-Six said a minute and a half earlier (@ 15:23). Neither Hotel Two–Six nor the Apache crew have their information straight, despite all the communication between them.
16:50 Roger I copy ground level. Over.
16:52 One-Eight roger
16:54 Can I get a grid to that one more time please?
16:57 Target twenty. / Roger.
17:01 Two soldiers are approaching the van from the east.
17:02 You want me to take over talking to them? / S’alright.
17:09 Seven-Six Romeo Over.
17:11 Roger, I’ve got uh eleven Iraqi KIAs. One small child wounded. Over.
No mention of the other child? Why not? Because you think the he’s dead so he’s not worth mentioning?
17:19 Roger. Ah damn. Oh well.
Interesting. Is that the same kid Copper Head One–Six reported moving about four minutes ago (@13.27)? The child that a soldier briefly looked at about two-minutes ago? (@ 15:28)? The child that another soldier briefly looked-at one minute ago (@ 16:19)? Oh well. Shit happens. You can’t get upset about it otherwise you’d never make it through the day. Maybe someone should ask permission to engage and put her out of her misery—after all that’s what Crazyhorse did earlier to Saeed and another man.
17:25 Roger, we need, we need a uh to evac this child. Ah, she’s got a uh, she’s got a wound to the belly.
17:32 I can’t do anything here. She needs to get evaced, over.
17:39 Bushmaster Seven, Bushmaster Seven; this is Bushmaster Six-Romeo. We need your location over.
17:46 Roger, we’re at the location where Crazyhorse engaged the RPG fire, break.
Wrong, but not your fault. You’re just going-with the lies you heard from Hotel-Six and Crazyhorse.
17:58 Grid five-four-five-eight.
18:07 Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle. / That’s right.
Damn straight. It’s their fault they didn’t have the sense to not get their country illegally invaded and their city occupied based on George Bush’s and the Neoconservatives’ wet dreams. It’s their fault the US government and the US Army didn’t have clue-one about what they were doing. It’s their fault that the Americans have such awesome firepower. It’s simply bad parenting that got the kid wounded! She probably wasn’t even wearing a seat belt when the van crashed into the wall! It’s enough to make you want to shoot the girl’s dad for being so irresponsible! Oh wait, that already happened, remember? Crazyhorse thought that was hilarious! Good times…good times.
18:18 Got uh, eleven.
18:22 Yeah uh, roger. We’re monitoring.
18:25 Sorry. / No problem.
How polite! What well brought-up young men; obviously the products of good parenting!
18:27 Correction eight-six-one-six.
18:33The lead Bradley moves due west, the tank hull (not the tracks) passing over the body of the man lying in front of the van, showing a little respect for the dead.
18:36 Looking for more individuals south.
A second Bradley moves south-east over the rubble patch.
18:38 Bushmaster Six-Bushmaster Seven.
18:45 The camera snap zooms to where Namir is lying, following the Bradley.
18:51 I think they just drove over a body. / Really?
18:57 Maybe it was just a visual illusion, but it looked like it.
Oh the disappointment! The Bradley is careful to pass over Namir. What a shame! Seeing his body chewed to shreds by the tank tracks would have been a perfect ending to a perfect day, I’m sure.
19:03 Well, they’re dead, so…”
Yeah, it’s not all bad. After all, he couldn’t get any more dead.
Meanwhile, it’s been about 10 minutes since the little girl was wounded in the stomach after being shot-at with 100 rounds of armor piercing 30 millimeter shells. An American soldier would get a Purple Heart for that (maybe a Bronze Star too), the best medical care and a trip home. The girl however is already home, isn’t getting any relevant medical care and its now been over six minutes since it was realized she was alive. Perhaps everyone is busy writing their best wishes for her on a ‘Get Well Soon!’ card?
19:06 Bushmaster Six; Hotel Two-Six over.
19:10 A truck moves towards the van.
19:18 Six; this is Four. I got one individual looks like he’s got an RPG round laying underneath him. Break.
Ah ha! The actual RPG that Crazyhorse never mentioned is found!
19:22 A soldier starts running away from the van, heading east.
19:29 Probably like to get…
19:30 Crazy horse snap zooms to the soldiers by the body pile.
19:31 Shoot his ass. (Who? The dead man who was lying on top of the RPG? I believe that’s the definition of “overkill.”) / Bushmaster Six; Hotel Two-Six over.
19:52 Bushmaster Six; Romeo Hotel Two-Six over.
Three of the group of soldiers that were by the body pile are now walking towards the van, the fourth from the group appears to stop and take a picture of the man who was killed just behind Namir.
20:06 Bushmaster Six; Hotel Two-Six over.
20:19 Hotel Two-Six; Bushmaster Seven co-located with Six.
20:29 Hotel Two-Six; Bushmaster Seven. / Bushmaster Seven; Hotel Two-Six over.
20:37 Roger, we got a little girl who needs to be evaced. What’s your location over?
20:43 En route Gadins, I am all the way to the south. So I am Gadins and Fifth Street.
20:49 I say again Gadins and Fifth Street, over.
21:02 Bushmaster Seven; Hotel Two-Six. Do you want us to push to your location?
21:10 Zoom on the van again. Ten soldiers are moving around and about the van but there’s no one with the wounded girl.
21:16 Hey, uh, I need to get the Brads to drop rads. I got a wounded little girl we need to take her to Rustamiyah (back to base).
21:19 Wideangle then closeup on the truck near the van and soldiers milling about.
21:26 Bushmaster Seven; Hotel Two-Six. Do you want us to move to your location over?
21:43 Wideangle, a soldier is running from near the van, east and south.
21:44 Closeup. A soldier is running over the rubble. south east, carrying a small child.
21:53 Bushmaster Six; Hotel Two-Six over.
21:58 Hotel Two-Six; this is Bushmaster Seven. Roger, come to our location.
21:02 Okay, roger, we’re coming up north on Gadins and then we will push east to your location.
22:27 Bushmaster elements be advised we have friendlies coming from the south to your location. Over.
22:36 All right, got ’em moving up from the south.
23:00 Bushmaster elements be advised we are coming up from the east.
23:11 Closeup of the van as a second larger child is suddenly carried away in a hurry. I just noticed there are three men on the truck, definitely Iraqi, prisoners?
23:26 The kid is rushed over to the Bradley on the southern road,
23:52 Close up. Fifteen soldiers milling about at the intersection where the first Bradley stopped.
23:13 Hey One-Two; follow me over. I’m going to try and get out of here as quickly as possible.
The Bradley is going to leave the scene with the children on board.
24:38 You guys all right back there?
The Bradley with the children in it is backing-up.
24:00 Yeah, we’re with you.
24:55 The Bradley turns around in its length, apparently planning to take the road west
24:59 Lotta guys down there. / Oh yeah. Came out of the woodwork
Reference to Crazyhorse’s pile of dead bodies. Whoever responds “came out of the woodwork” is either speculating or lying.
25:02 This is operation, ah, Operation Secure.
25:11 It has been fifteen minutes since the children were wounded and two to three minutes since they were suddenly pulled out of the van and rushed over to the Bradley like it was some kind of emergency. Now the Bradley has stopped right next to the van that had very nearly been the kids coffin. The wounded children are exactly zero feet closer to the hospital care they need and fifteen minutes closer to dying,
25:38 [Crazyhorse] Yeah we have fifty rounds left. / Yep
25:41 Two-Six; Six Romeo over. / 25:21 Two-Six; Romeo over.
25:43 Hey roger, what’s your current location over?
Ground radio chatter.
26:06 Hotel Two-Six; Crazyhorse One-Eight.
26:21 Hey, did you got action on that target yet over?
26:25 Speak to Charlie, roger.
26:32 Hotel Two-Six; [this is] Crazyhorse One-Eight.
26:55 Bushmaster Six; [this is] Crazyhorse One-Eight.
26:59 Roger, you have traffic, over.
27:02 Roger. Uh, just wondering if you had anything else you wanted us to drive on?
27:08 Yeah roger keep on, ah, for the time being over,
The above exchange is too casual for me to interpret.
27:11 [Six calls Six-Romeo]. Can you tell Battalion [headquarters] that two civilian children casualties are coming back to SMI in the Bradley, over.
27:26 Six calls Six-Romeo.
27:29 Bushmaster-Six [this is] Copper White-Six.
27:32 Copperhead White-Six; this is Bushmaster Six-Romeo over.
27:36 Roger, that’s a negative on the evac of the two, ah, civilian, ah, kids to, ah, rusty (Camp Rustamiyah) they’re going to have the IPs (Iraqi Police) link up. They can put us over here. Break. IPs will take them up to a local hospital over.
27:50 Copy over.
So, having been accessories to murder and the attempted murder of a child (actually two children) the operation commanders now want to avoid taking any responsibility for their orders and their actions. They have decided to further endanger the child’s life with delay and to essentially get rid of the evidence of their decisions and their subordinates’ actions rather than render direct humanitarian assistance to an innocent of the country they invaded under George Bush’s orders supposedly for the benefit of this child, millions of other Iraqis and the rest of the free world.
27:54 One six oh.
28:08 … they’re all going to.
28:10 Say again?
28:23 Zoom south compass bearing 165 as a line of about eight soldiers make their way into one of the multi storey buildings across from where Crazyhorse first “lit-up” his five to six individuals with AK-47s and then battered an ordinary van with 100 rounds of armor piercing shells because the driver happened to stop to help the unarmed man whose leg they had destroyed and who they had urged to “just pick up a weapon” so they could really justify blowing him to kingdom-come and enthusiastically recount their ‘combat’ experience afterwards.
28:12 Where all those dismounts are going to?
28: 40 Close-up. It looks like a mess of dead bodies are on the roof.
28: 42 Going into this house. Sorry
…in order to get up on the roof above the arch –embellished covered balcony of a second floor where a mess of bodies lies
29:53 Three Six, Three Six; Bushmaster Six Romeo over.
29:59 Six Romeo, Six Romeo.
30:00 Roger, Bushmaster Seven wants an up [date?] on all personnel in your battalion over.
30:10. It’s now been 21 minutes since the van started taking direct hits, 20 minutes since Crazyhorse crowed about the hole they put in the windshield and all the holes they put through the kids’ father, sixteen-and-half minutes since anyone realized there was a 4 year old girl alive in the van, 13 minutes since “she needs to get evaced” and 12 minutes since the father was blamed for somehow forcing Crazyhorse to shoot at them 100 times and yet the Bradley with the wounded children still isn’t taking them anywhere because they’ve been ordered not to bring them back to base, nor yet been told where they can take them.
As it turns out the children were eventually taken back the camp Rustamiyah where they were treated by the 28th Combat Support Hospital.
It is unclear what time the children were admitted to the CSH but the records show that the four-year old girl had been treated by 10:38 UTC, 1.38 p.m. local time (five hours after it was discovered she was wounded), whilst her ten-year old brother Sayad had been treated by 13.25 UTC, 4.25 p.m. local time, about eight hours after the attack.
The very first line on Doaha’s medical record describes a “mortar/blast injury r. hand”. For all their experience the medical staff wouldn’t have been able to identify the exact munitions involved. She had shrapnel in her head, right hand, right leg and small intestine. Sayad’s external wounds were similar but more extensive as were his internal injuries which necessitated a blood transfusion and a chest tube.
Surely only psychopaths would dare to refute the evidence and excuse or defend the events that Wikileaks describes as “Collateral Murder”, and yet not only were these deadly events falsely justified by the guilty at the time, they are also being justified by volunteers such as Bill Roggio of the Weekly Standard ( whose boss. Bill Kristol helped engineer the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and has a vested interest in avoiding any blame for the bloodthirsty experiment) .
Furthermore, after a pattern of obfuscation, lies, false arguments and a refusal to conform to FOIA law, current Defense Secretary Robert Gates chose to invoke the abused, and in this specific case utterly irrelevant, “fog of war” argument that Jake Tapper of ABC’s ‘This Week’ handed to him on a silver platter:
“They’re in a combat situation. The video doesn’t show the broader picture of the firing that was going on at American troops. It’s obviously a hard thing to see. It’s painful to see, especially when you learn after the fact what was going on. But you talked about the fog of war. These people were operating in split-second situations.”
Gates lies. There was no split-second decision making as the footage makes clear. The Apache crew was given permission to engage without them reporting even aggressive or suspicious actions, let alone reporting coming under fire. The gunner had the time to wait for several seconds until the greatest number of targets was visible. The gunner had the time to circle the dead bodies and stay focused on them for minutes. He had the time to observe the two children in the front of the van. He had all the time in the world to choose to cease fire but chose instead to attack again when everyone he had specifically shot-at was already dead.
Defense Secretary Gates had the time to view the footage and accept the reality it contains. He had the time and the authority to blame the events on a couple of ‘bad apples’, just like the Haditha and Abu Ghraib scandals. Instead Gates took his time to continue to lie, obfuscate, and excuse the clearly inexcusable, and Jake Tapper let him get-away with it, out of deferential cowardice, moral torpor, intellectual dishonesty, sheer stupidity, willful ignorance and/or any of these reasons.
The plain fact of the matter is that since the initially justifiable military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 and the utterly illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 the US military has been intentionally given license to abduct, torture and murder on a massive scale and those policies have not only gone largely unchallenged by politicians and the American media, but have been actively encouraged and/or excused.
This story isn’t only about the obvious murder of two journalists and two groups of civilians. It isn’t only about the attempted murder of two children or the willingness of commanders to let two children die of the wounds they approved could be inflicted in the service of some supposedly great, essential and noble cause. This story isn’t about a single war crime. It is in fact about institutionalized inhumanity, mass hypocrisy, mass delusion, denial and lying, and collective responsibility for mass murder in the name of America’s self-appointed psychopathic exceptionalism.
It is about almost everything that Nazi Germany was rightly accused-of and convicted-of but one-lifetime ago.
It is about the conduct of a nation that authorized itself by its own arrogance to reshape and control the world and its future for its own selfish purposes through distorted and invented grievances that could only be addressed by calculated manipulation of reality, the distortion of reason, the abandonment of simple humanity and the obsessive and cruel application of superior military force against political economic and military inferiors.
It is ultimately about how America has lost the moral imperatives born from the humanity and reason that enabled its creation and development into a force for global good that during World War II around 16 million American men and women served and over four-hundred thousand died to protect and to bequeath its example to the world and its future.
Osama Bin Laden organized the killing of nearly three-thousand people in the US because he objected to American Middle East policies in principle, not because he himself had been hurt in any way. What form of justice might a boy who had been nearly murdered, whose father had been murdered, his family made destitute, seek in the future? How many future OBLs might the US have created in Iraq?
And yet still the US refuses to admit to these killings and many others. It refuses to admit that their presence in Iraq and all their actions were and are illegal (notwithstanding the UN resolution that accepted the fait-accompli of American forces as the only functional authority in Iraq, long after the fact). The US refuses to admit, let alone redress, the killings of its own soldiers (Pat Tillman for example, or those who died from KBR’s criminal negligence), or the killings of allied soldiers (mostly British). Everything about Iraq is being excused and defended and no-one is being held accountable for the most obvious crimes. If America refuses to hold itself accountable for its actions then who will, and by what means?
Bush’s policies haven’t reduced the risk of terrorism but increased it and as long as America refuses to at least acknowledge that then attempts at another 9/11 and more 9/11s are practically guaranteed—and what then?
Some of the People Apache CrazyHorse One-Eight Murdered and Attempted to Murder With US Approval.
Namir Noor-Eldeen (age 22) was a photographer working for a news organization upon which many Europeans and Americans rely—including those corporations and politicians that promoted the US occupation of Iraq and continue to protect and praise the US military’s actions there. His life was at risk by simply living in his home city due to a policy decisions made by a handful of people 6,000 miles away.
He was in the equivalent of Junior-High when the US invaded his country and had survived five years of constant and proximate war—something no American civilian has ever been subjected-to in their homeland. Rather than pick up a gun to defend himself and his country against invaders, he picked up a camera—and yet he was murdered for it.
Saeed Chmagh (age 40), is survived by his wife and four children who still live in a war zone with all the risks that pertain.
Salah Matasha Tomal (age 43), the driver of the van that stopped to help the severely wounded Saeed, was the husband of Anhlam Abid Althussir. The hiring of himself and his van was Salah’s source of income. It was their four-year old daughter Doaha and ten-year old son Sayad that the observer/gunner of the Apache attack helicopter “Crazyhorse” by pure bad luck failed to kill despite an impressive effort to do so with a M230 anti-armor automatic cannon, but who still managed to celebrate the killing of the husband and father right beside them before blaming him for his children’s injuries.
One wonders if Salah is able to reconcile the excellent attention and care her children were given by the US Army after being nearly murdered by the US Army and after initially being denied the best possible care available by US Army commanders particularly disinterested in accepting any moral or practical responsibility for her children’s’ injuries or for that matter to the Army’s own UCMJ and US and international law. If she has any gratitude for the saving of her children’s lives I imagine it would only be reserved for the doctors, nurses and the one or two American soldiers who still gave a damn about innocent life and basic humanity.
The guilt and the blame for this rightly described “collateral murder” lies not just with the Crazyhorse aircrew, but with the lying cowards within the US Army and with the present and former administration officials without whom this multiple murder and thousands of other murders would never have been carried out.
The murderous illegal Iraq ‘mistake’ has not only cost many thousands of lives, it promises to cost thousands more in the future as long the US Army and the US government refuses to admit to the crimes it has clearly committed and yet continues to excuse.