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  • Another My Lai?

    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...estigations_12

    I've been worried that this was coming since I read that the marine commanders in the area had been relieved: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...eadlines-world

    Not good.

  • #2
    Re: Another My Lai?

    The official, who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the yet-to-be-completed investigation...did not disclose specific evidence.
    Don't you just love these guys? They're specifically told they can't discuss something, because the investigation is underway...and so they go report it to the media anyway, except without any actual facts to base the case on, or even their own name as a source of credibility.

    That's not to say that nothing happened, of course. Just that we ought to wait for some actual evidence before jumping to conclusions, and guys like THIS promote paranoia.

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    • #3
      Re: Another My Lai?

      I remember reading about this a while back... Quite distressing.
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      • #4
        Re: Another My Lai?

        Originally posted by Kerostasis
        Don't you just love these guys? They're specifically told they can't discuss something, because the investigation is underway...and so they go report it to the media anyway, except without any actual facts to base the case on, or even their own name as a source of credibility.

        That's not to say that nothing happened, of course. Just that we ought to wait for some actual evidence before jumping to conclusions, and guys like THIS promote paranoia.
        Yeah I tend to agree, but the tea leaves were definitely there when those commanders were relieved shortly after the event in question.

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        • #5
          Re: Another My Lai?

          Ok so I've been paying attention to the stories and commentary about this all week. I'm sure several of you have. Earlier in the week Michelle Malkin blasted Murtha for his perceived glee at this situation. All of the conservative commentators have rested on the position that the investigation is underway and we simply don't know what's going on yet.

          I have two theories:

          1) bad news is always true (with the occasional pleasant surprise)
          2) the "irresponsible" leaks that begin before an investigation like this are complete are not for the benefit of the political opportunists on the opposite side but is a process of damage control. Better to dribble out the bad news over the space of a few weeks than to blare the news all at once on the front pages. It's the whole reason we have bumpers and cars designed to crumple in a wreck: cause the energy to dissipate over space and time so it doesn't kill the driver.

          Personally, I decided this wasn't going to end well when I saw the news of the officers' being relieved. It's a BIG DEAL to relieve and officer in the middle of combat operations in the field, and that was the only bad news that was floating around out there. Somebody higher up decided that something was broken and needed fixing at a high level.

          Looks like things are shaping up for a weekend news release.

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          • #6
            Re: Another My Lai?

            Yeah, this is some pretty disappointing news.
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            • #7
              Re: Another My Lai?

              Excellent write-up here.

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              • #8
                Re: Another My Lai?

                I don't think it's another Mai Lai. The situation is quite different in many respects, from the soldiers involved (draftees vs. marines), the orders (search and destroy vs. search and secure), and of course the theater itself and the politics surrounding it. I keep hearing that 99% of the marines are ethical soldiers, and I believe that to be true. It's difficult if not impossible to get that number to 100%, even in an all-volunteer force. I have faith that the vast majority of US forces over there are doing the best job they know how (under extreme conditions and limited resources), and outrage at incidents like this should be used to make that point even stronger.

                The best we can hope for in this situation is an honest and public investigation, with the soldiers involved being punished for whatever crimes they are proven to have committed. So far this seems to be happening, albeit a bit late. It won't undo the damage, but it will help heal it and serve to prevent it in the future.

                While I don't subscribe to blindly supporting the troops, I take even more issue with condemning them based on the actions or mistakes of a few. If anything, I would hope that reasons like this would be taken into account more carefully when making decisions on going to war in the first place. Sending troops into heavily populated areas is a very dangerous proposition for all involved, and I'm not sure that was fully realized in planning for this conflict.

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                • #9
                  Re: Another My Lai?

                  Yeah I'm thinking it's comparable to My Lai in terms of the political fallout, but you make excellent points about how this situation is different.

                  Originally posted by AMosely
                  Sending troops into heavily populated areas is a very dangerous proposition for all involved, and I'm not sure that was fully realized in planning for this conflict.
                  I disagree. I think the MSM got big goo-goo eyes at how well the initial stages went (when they weren't comparing a planned refuel and resupply stop to Vietnam) and painted a picture that the American people bought. But I don't know of anyone who thought that sending troops into cities wasn't dicey to say the least.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Another My Lai?

                    Looks like another one is starting to take shape, a smaller ordeal but bad nonetheless:

                    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/...bes/index.html

                    A Balad police official told CNN at the time that witnesses claimed that U.S. soldiers kept an entire family in a room before spraying them with bullets randomly.

                    U.S. soldiers destroyed the building and also killed livestock belonging to people in the house, the official said.

                    Police found bullet casings in the house that would only have been used by U.S. soldiers, the official asserted.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Another My Lai?

                      Yeah I'm still skeptical about that one.
                      A BBC report on Thursday ran video of the apparent aftermath of the incident, obtained from a Sunni political group. The BBC says the video shows dead bodies with gunshot wounds.
                      That story's source is iffy, and it seems hyped. But we'll see. Sprayed the room, burned the house, killed the livestock, slept with their girlfriends, kicked their dog...

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                      • #12
                        Re: Another My Lai?

                        ...And stole their bible. ehh, err, Koran ;)
                        ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
                        No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

                        <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Another My Lai?

                          Bad news is ALWAYS best delivered all at once to avoid the perception of one thing happening after another.

                          The story here is not the incident itself, but rather whether someone tried to hide it. Nobody should be surprised at all that the incident happened (assuming it really did happen).
                          Peace through fear... since 1947!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Another My Lai?

                            Originally posted by Rincewind
                            ...And stole their bible. ehh, err, Koran ;)
                            Exactly. And said their mommas are fat. Looks like it was a myth: http://abcnews.go.com/International/...2032795&page=1

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                            • #15
                              Re: Another My Lai?

                              Originally posted by icky
                              Bad news is ALWAYS best delivered all at once to avoid the perception of one thing happening after another.

                              The story here is not the incident itself, but rather whether someone tried to hide it. Nobody should be surprised at all that the incident happened (assuming it really did happen).
                              No, the story is that the incident occured, AND that there may have been a coverup. I think people can understand the high risk of stressed-out soldiers disregarding the ROE, but however sympathetic one may be to these young soldiers' situation it remains unacceptable. For their leaders to compound the problem by attempting to cover it up is unexcusable.

                              I agree with you on a personal level about delivering bad news quickly and fully, but I think that from a PR perspective one has to manage communications somewhat differently. That's just the reality of how one plays the game.

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