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Americans living up to their stereotype.

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simonsays
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Great Britain and America are meant to be in war together but when an American pilot fired on British soldiers in a most unfortunate incident (killing one soldier and injuring others), the Americans were most uncooperative in the ensuing investigation. For example, no US witnesses were allowed to go to the UK. The Americans refused to release the cockpit video until it was leaked the Sun, a tabloid newspaper in the UK.

The American government is only interested in saving its own skin and keeping themselves in power and will not admit any mistakes. What a f*cking mess this war is.

Video:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/avdb/news/vide...638_16x9_bb.asx

Full transcript of video:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6334231.stm

My favourite parts from the transcript:

Popov 36: They look like they have orange panels on though.

Popov35: He told me, he told me there's nobody north of here, no friendlies.

.....

Popov36: They've got something orange on top of them

Orange panels? Never mind them, fire away!

Popov35: Did you hear?

Popov36: Yeah, this sucks.

Popov35: We're in jail dude

No you are not in jail. Although the British have ruled that the pilots should go to jail (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6449227.stm), the Americans have said they did nothing wrong (!).

This was clearly gross negligence or a complete lack of training. If it truly was an unpreventable accident then why have the Americans been so uncooperative in the investigation - because they know they are in the wrong. This war makes me sick.

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Let me get this straight:

The coroner at Oxford is a lawyer charged with identifying the cause of death in his jurisdiction. He's frustrated because the Dept of Defense did not force anyone to come to the UK to testify in person for his sham investigation.

It seems to me that:

(A) A coroner in Oxford has absolutely no jurisdiction or expertise over a military matter in Iraq.

(B) A coroner only has the power to rule on the cause of death - he's not a judge, and cannot convict or sentence anyone.

© This has no bearing on whether the war in Iraq was a mess - in fact, the initial conflict was a major success with very minor casualties.

(D) We have no idea whether the friendly fire was the result of incompetence or not, since friendly fire can happen in any conflict, and civilians lawyers are not qualified to make such a determination.

(E) This is just a witch hunt by peacemongering hippies trying to lash at the evil Americans the only way they can.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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My favourite parts from the transcript:

Orange panels? Never mind them, fire away!

No you are not in jail. Although the British have ruled that the pilots should go to jail (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6449227.stm), the Americans have said they did nothing wrong (!).

This was clearly gross negligence or a complete lack of training. If it truly was an unpreventable accident then why have the Americans been so uncooperative in the investigation - because they know they are in the wrong. This war makes me sick.

I'd not heard about this case, but I think it's noteworthy that this is what the media focuses on. Firing on friendlies is an unfortunate part of war. It happens, and is virtually unavoidable. In fact, I believe it was far more prevalent in WWII. The media is attempting to turn the American military into villains.

To amplify further, the enemy is primarily responsible for deaths, because they put us in that situation, and I'd include post-modernist professors, who have brought this war on us in the first place by appeasing muslims and vilifying the west, in that mix. Secondarily, those who wanted to wage a half war, instead of just obliterating the source of the problem -- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria -- and then think we have the obligation to risk our lives to bring "democracy" to Iraq.

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The coroner at Oxford is a lawyer charged with identifying the cause of death in his jurisdiction. He's frustrated because the Dept of Defense did not force anyone to come to the UK to testify in person for his sham investigation.
Correct.

A. A coroner in Oxford has absolutely no jurisdiction or expertise over a military matter in Iraq.

B. A coroner only has the power to rule on the cause of death - he's not a judge, and cannot convict or sentence anyone.

Correct.

C. This has no bearing on whether the war in Iraq was a mess - in fact, the initial conflict was a major success with very minor casualties.
Poorly trained pilots have no bearing on the success of the war? This is not about just this one incident. This is about the use of immoral actions and/or stupid actions since the war began. From going to war on false intelligence (completely undermining the case for future wars) and now to poorly trained pilots and then not releasing a video when allied governments are trying to investigate. Listen, I am no pacifist I believe actions should be taken to defeat threats to the West - I believe Iran's government should be removed for example. So don't think only pacifists can think George Bush and certain pilots in the US military are orangutans.

D. We have no idea whether the friendly fire was the result of incompetence or not, since friendly fire can happen in any conflict, and civilians lawyers are not qualified to make such a determination.
Did you watch the full 15 minute video? How many times did the pilot express doubts over whether the target was friendly? How many times damn it!?

E. This is just a witch hunt by peacemongering hippies trying to lash at the evil Americans the only way they can.

This is simply a reporting of the news. The facts are that a poorly trained pilot opened fire on an ally when there was absolutely no pressure to do so and when doubts were expressed many times over whether the target was friendly. These are the facts! Who is a peacemongering hippie?

Firing on friendlies is an unfortunate part of war. It happens, and is virtually unavoidable.
Of course friendly fire is going to happen in a war. That is missing the point. The point is that the accident was caused by an extremely stupid and/or badly trained pilot who repeatedly expressed doubt over the nature of the target. He knew the nature of his stupidity as soon as it was done saying "We are going to jail." And so he should be going to jail.

If this were a case of confusion on the battlefield with decisions having to be made quickly with no time to check whether a target has a big orange panel on it (ie if there is a risk that you yourself will be fired at, at any moment) then fine, that could be an unpreventable accident. This accident was entirely preventable.

Friendly fire is unavoidable; so are road traffic accidents involving high speed police chases. When a pilot has doubts about the target and fires when under no pressure to make a decision and kills a friendly soldier then that is criminal; when a police officer uses unnessecary speed when under no pressure and causes an accident then that is also criminal.

The media is attempting to turn the American military into villains.
No, in this case (and normally I have very little respect for the media), they have done a good job. The Sun obtained and reported the video which the Americans were keeping rapt up. Why wouldn't they release the video? To repeat:

Why wouldn't they release the video?

Because in the video there contains the truth, and the truth makes them look like fools.

And now I'm pissed off at this forum to boot.

To amplify further, the enemy is primarily responsible for deaths, because they put us in that situation, and I'd include post-modernist professors, who have brought this war on us in the first place by appeasing muslims and vilifying the west, in that mix. Secondarily, those who wanted to wage a half war, instead of just obliterating the source of the problem -- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria -- and then think we have the obligation to risk our lives to bring "democracy" to Iraq.
Correct.
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Of course friendly fire is going to happen in a war. That is missing the point. The point is that the accident was caused by an extremely stupid and/or badly trained pilot who repeatedly expressed doubt over the nature of the target. He knew the nature of his stupidity as soon as it was done saying "We are going to jail." And so he should be going to jail.

You may be right, but these sorts of incidences are going to happen in war too. Incompetence will happen. The Pat Tillman incident is a case in point. Now maybe they should go to jail, but I'm not going to speak out against the American military, not when they have so many enemies and the bulk of them are doing a great job and many of them are heroic.

No, in this case (and normally I have very little respect for the media), they have done a good job. The Sun obtained and reported the video which the Americans were keeping rapt up. Why wouldn't they release the video? To repeat:

Maybe, but this is the sort of story they relish telling. Far be it from them to tell stories of heroism on the battle field.

And now I'm pissed off at this forum to boot.

I’m all for justice, which is why I’m very, very careful in contexts like this. I wish it were as easy as taking things at face value, but these days the media is simply not trustworthy and so I’m careful.

Btw, I don't know what the "American stereotype" is, and, frankly, I don't give a flip.

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I am not sufficiently familiar with the facts of the investigation to form a judgment on it--but the title you gave this thread and your choice of font size in your last post allow me to be quite certain in judging your motivations here. To be less subtle about it: your anti-American bias is showing from your first word to the last.

Besides, if a video actually happens to make American pilots look like fools, isn't that a damn good reason to keep it under wraps? Nothing emboldens the enemy as much as the perception that the people trying to bring them to justice are incompetent. The overwhelming majority of American pilots are men of outstanding skill and self-discipline; it is this fact that should be advertised all over the world, not the occasional exception.

And finally, allies are allies because they don't see each other as "us and them" but rather as individuals who live in different geographical areas but share the same values and goals. Whether you live on this or the other side of the Atlantic should have no bearing on how you see this incident: it was one of the allied servicemen accidentally killing another one of the allied servicemen. The collectivists in Britain who are trying to turn this into a story of the "aggressive, stupid Americans" having hurt "us British" have no right to tell us how to run the alliance, as they have never been part of it in the first place.

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Simon, You're misrepresenting the video. Put yourself in the shoes of the pilot and see who made the mistake and who did not. Here is the sequence as it occured:

  1. The pilot sees possible target vehicles, but sees orange panels. So, he asks the forward ground controller if there are friendly troops in the area.
  2. The controller says there are no friendlies there
  3. The pilot repeats the location, tells the controller that he sees orange and asks the controller to confirm that there are no friendlies
  4. The forward controller confirms what he previously said (that there are no friendlies)
  5. The pilot in the second aircraft says to the pilot in the first that he sees orange
  6. The first pilot confirms that he has already asked the ground controller this and has been told there are no friendlies in the area
  7. The pilot decides to confirm in a slightly different way, asking the ground controller if another ground controller was in that area
  8. The controller repeats that they are clear of the area
  9. Meanwhile the vehicles are getting closer to the town, so the pilot decides to act (after having received three confirmations that the orange on the vehicles does not indicate friendlies)
  10. The pilots attacks
  11. A different controller comes on the radio saying friendlies have been hit, presumably the troops being hit have alerted the controller
  12. The pilot aborts the mission, cursing and telling the other pilot they'll probably go to jail for this
  13. The second pilot reminds him that the controlelr told them that it was not a friendly
  14. The first pilot replies that the orange panels look like orange rockets from the top, but the orange is going to screw them.

At least from this video, and to a layperson, it appears that the pilots acted responsibly. Of course, one would want an expert military person to tell one what a pilot ought to do if he sees orange on a vehicle and his forward ground controller tells him three times that it is not friendly. One would ask a military person this: should a pilot abort a mission if he sees orange, regardless of what the forward cground controller tells him.

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Besides, if a video actually happens to make American pilots look like fools, isn't that a damn good reason to keep it under wraps? Nothing emboldens the enemy as much as the perception that the people trying to bring them to justice are incompetent. The overwhelming majority of American pilots are men of outstanding skill and self-discipline; it is this fact that should be advertised all over the world, not the occasional exception.

Isn't the truth far more important than what emboldens the enemy? Not letting a video get posted is pragmatic, whereas allowing the truth to be told is honest.

The rest of your argument I agree with. It's just this one part I don't.

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Simon, You're misrepresenting the video. Put yourself in the shoes of the pilot and see who made the mistake and who did not.

I think its quite possible neither the control center nor the pilot made the mistake. We have no way knowing whether the allied ground troops in the area failed to provide proper notification to the control center(s). Perhaps someone at another control center failed to relay information. Etc, etc.

I agree with sNerds assessment. I can not say for certain what they have been trained to do in this type of situation.

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I am not sufficiently familiar with the facts of the investigation to form a judgment on it--but the title you gave this thread and your choice of font size in your last post allow me to be quite certain in judging your motivations here. To be less subtle about it: your anti-American bias is showing from your first word to the last.
I am not anti-American. For example, I would support the UK becoming a 51st state over remaining in the EU. Americans do have a stereotype and that stereotype is one of a fat stupid nation. And for the record I do not like it when Americans live up to the stereotype.

Besides, if a video actually happens to make American pilots look like fools, isn't that a damn good reason to keep it under wraps? Nothing emboldens the enemy as much as the perception that the people trying to bring them to justice are incompetent. The overwhelming majority of American pilots are men of outstanding skill and self-discipline; it is this fact that should be advertised all over the world, not the occasional exception.
I agree that there is a debate to be had over whether releasing video is good for the military. What needs to be balanced is the security and integrity of the military, with the need for justice for the sake of the widow of the soldier killed. I think releasing the video, jailing the pilot (or whoever was responsible) for a short amount of time, and apologising to the family would be the right thing to do. The small loss of credibility that the military would suffer would be a small price to pay in the interests of justice. This isn't even an issue since the whole credibility of the war is under question because of faulty intelligence. What I am saying is that the Americans don't need this video to shoot themselves in the foot, they already do that perfectly well already.

To be clear, when I refer to "the Americans", I am talking about mainly the Bush administration and elements of the military and intelligence agencies - basically the people in power.

And finally, allies are allies because they don't see each other as "us and them" but rather as individuals who live in different geographical areas but share the same values and goals. Whether you live on this or the other side of the Atlantic should have no bearing on how you see this incident: it was one of the allied servicemen accidentally killing another one of the allied servicemen. The collectivists in Britain who are trying to turn this into a story of the "aggressive, stupid Americans" having hurt "us British" have no right to tell us how to run the alliance, as they have never been part of it in the first place.

This is how the situation should be, but sadly, in reality this is not how the situation is. Allies should help eachother out and in this case it is not happening, because of a desire (on both sides of the Atlantic) to not admit mistakes.

At least from this video, and to a layperson, it appears that the pilots acted responsibly. Of course, one would want an expert military person to tell one what a pilot ought to do if he sees orange on a vehicle and his forward ground controller tells him three times that it is not friendly. One would ask a military person this: should a pilot abort a mission if he sees orange, regardless of what the forward cground controller tells him.
Surely we have not watched the same video.

Defence analyst Paul Beaver said: "I can see no reason for classifying it, other than it is deeply embarrassing to the US military.

He said it showed a "catalogue of errors" including pilots ignoring orange panels on vehicles - the NATO symbol for friendly forces.

This defence analyst has watched the same video I have.

Constitutional Affairs minister Ms Harman said she would not be drawn on whether the source of the leak should be prosecuted.

However she did say she would be holding meetings with British officials throughout the day to discuss how to resolve the matter.

"We have always had a very clear view that what matters is the information should be available to the family and, whilst the Americans cannot be legally obliged to help, they should do so, bearing in mind they are our allies," she added.

To repeat my main point in this post, the Americans don't need this video to embarass themselves, they embarass themselves anyway and should have released it to their allies.
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Simon, Yes, we watched the same video, but, from what I can tell, we differ on a single question: If a pilot sees orange panels on a target and his front controller confirms that it is not a friendly, should the pilot reject that advice and refuse to hit anything that is orange.

It sounds like you're saying that pilots should not attack anything orange, period. If not, what rule of engagement are you suggesting?

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Isn't the truth far more important than what emboldens the enemy? Not letting a video get posted is pragmatic, whereas allowing the truth to be told is honest.

In normal, peaceful situations it is definitely more important to be truthful than to worry about what other people think of you. Except that saying "more important" doesn't really capture the difference: truthfulness is crucial while the opinion of others is irrelevant.

But remember that we are talking about the actions of a government in its proper role: using force to defend the rights of its citizens. When you're going to use force, you're not going to be truthful to your enemies. You are going to destroy them--with bullets, with missiles, with misinformation, in whatever combination they are best suited to your particular situation.

Within the military, mistakes should be admitted and dealt with honestly, and when allied forces are concerned, they too should be consulted with openly. But these discussions and investigations should not be conducted publicly ; they should not be open to a global audience that includes the enemy. Due to the nature of the military's job, it needs to keep most of its actions, plans, and strengths and weaknesses a secret and only declassify information if doing so will not affect the success of its missions.

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I am not anti-American. For example, I would support the UK becoming a 51st state over remaining in the EU.

Hear, hear! That does indeed sound rather pro-American. :D

To be clear, when I refer to "the Americans", I am talking about mainly the Bush administration and elements of the military and intelligence agencies - basically the people in power.

I think you should find another way of referring to them because "the Americans" usually refers to Americans in general. Especially when mentioned in conjunction with stereotypes.

This isn't even an issue since the whole credibility of the war is under question because of faulty intelligence.

Faulty intelligence or not, Saddam needed killing. He was one of the major anti-Western tyrants in the region and he had demonstrated his lust for conquest when he annexed Kuwait and his willingness to use WMD when he gassed the Kurds. I only hope that his eastern neighbor will be dealt with as well, before it is too late; worrying about "what if our intelligence is faulty again" could have fatal consequences.

I think releasing the video, jailing the pilot (or whoever was responsible) for a short amount of time, and apologising to the family would be the right thing to do.

I don't see how releasing the video would have helped anyone. Apologizing to the family--I'm pretty sure they've done that. As for jailing, that depends on whether the person responsible made an honest mistake, was negligent, or willfully sabotaged the mission. From this video alone, we cannot even tell who was responsible, so we cannot even begin to decide whether and in what way he was guilty. After reading the full transcript, I agree with softwareNerd that it clears the pilots.

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Americans do have a stereotype and that stereotype is one of a fat stupid nation. And for the record I do not like it when Americans live up to the stereotype.

To be clear, when I refer to "the Americans", I am talking about mainly the Bush administration and elements of the military and intelligence agencies - basically the people in power.

So, it is the Bush administration and elements of the military and intelligence agencies ( "the people in power") which have the stereotype of "a fat stupid nation"?

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