Comments: NATO Helicopters Kill Nine Afghan Boys Collecting Firewood

Worse,
You can't win anything like this. It accomplishes nothing. The rules of engagement are sup[posed to be much tighter than this. The gunships know they are operating in an area populated by civilians. They cannot assume every group of people carrying stuff are enemies.

Posted by Professor hale at March 3, 2011 11:48 AM

Well, the degree of outrage is completely dependent on the number of secondaries after the wood ignited.

Posted by Douglas at March 3, 2011 11:52 AM

I can guarantee that there will be a full body cavity search type of investigation, but no one should assume that the pilots can see perfectly. This is real life, not TV. There were enough military-age people in the video to fool them, so if the information they were given was incorrect, they made a horrible mistake.
All that being said, this is a great tragedy and someone should pay.

Posted by Mike at March 3, 2011 04:45 PM

I can't get worked up over this. If we send our military into a region, then people are going to get hurt and that is war. If we don't like this, then pull the military out and let the people police themselves. The only thing worse would be if these people were armed and injuried an American soldier. As far as I am concerned, the American soldier comes first.

We ran into this problem in Vietnam. The answer was to move all people out of a region and sterilize the area. Then allow the people back once they were processed for views and adherence to our concepts. Otherwise, lets get out and leave the area to the Russians.

Posted by david at March 3, 2011 06:28 PM

Sounds like a set-up to me! Ground intelligence could have been corrupt and lured the helos in with deliberately bad info, in hopes of a psy-ops coup. I'd believe that before anything else blaming the helos and their usually overly-cautious JAG-approved handlers!

Posted by Earl T at March 3, 2011 11:54 PM

You know, we used to win wars back when we considered anyone in the target area fair game. The Japanese were as fanatical as any Muslim ever spawned, but somehow "resistance to occupiers" didn't develop very well when you are having to plot it in cities systematically burned to ash, in between having to spend time collecting the day's food from the occupiers.

"Attack us and die" works so much better than "Kumbayah".

Posted by SDN at March 4, 2011 07:12 AM

SDN,
That would be a sensible policy if we were at war against Afghanistan, but we are not. This is the nature of counterinsurgency and how it is defeated. We are at war against a few non-national groups who believe in the "all is fair" principle of war. We do not believe in that principle because we are both morally superior to our enemies and because we recognize the "kill them all" is counterproductive. The rules of engagement are not designed to hold us back, they are designed to help us win in the shortest time possible.

Posted by Professor hale at March 4, 2011 01:27 PM

Good post CY. What distinguishes us from our enemies is our concern, most of the time, to limit human suffering. Callousness plays into the hands of every anti-American crackpot out there. And David, would you say the same thing to the wives of and children of the CIA officers blown up by the suicide bomber a while back? "Hey, it's war, people die, so suck it up"?

Posted by Will Smith at March 4, 2011 07:43 PM

I am the smartest handsomest guy on the short bou and people like me!

Posted by Professer Hale at March 5, 2011 04:04 PM

"I can't get worked up over this. If we send our military into a region, then people are going to get hurt and that is war. If we don't like this, then pull the military out and let the people police themselves. The only thing worse would be if these people were armed and injuried an American soldier. As far as I am concerned, the American soldier comes first.

We ran into this problem in Vietnam. The answer was to move all people out of a region and sterilize the area. Then allow the people back once they were processed for views and adherence to our concepts. Otherwise, lets get out and leave the area to the Russians."


Yeah, David. And look how well Viet Nam worked out.

Posted by rhino at March 5, 2011 07:58 PM

rhino,
Is is a little known fact that after Tet 68 we had essentially won the war. When we left the country was in good order. However, thanks to our liberal friends, the country and our efforts were given away when the liberals failed to standup when it counted. So, yes, the policy worked. But you made the point in that no matter what we do, the left will back down and make any American deaths not worth the effort.

Will,
What is your point? The discussion is on a friendly fire issue. This is common in war. If you don't like it, lets get out of the country.

Posted by david at March 5, 2011 11:03 PM

So, not having read the article, and being over here right now, did we see and identify the bodies, or were we told about them? Did we check the graves to see if they are goats or humans? Of course not. Local officials rely on what local leaders tell them and we can't verify the stories without offending local sensibilities. Any evidence we have showing things like gun camera footage of men with weapons is classified and they'll just claim we didn't release the key footage if we let it out. Between the ones who hate infidels and the ones who hope to get compensated, we don't do information ops nearly as well as the enemy.

Posted by Graves at March 5, 2011 11:05 PM