52 Comments

"The body count in Fallujah till now is 518 Iraqis dead (160 of them women, and about 50 children) and 1250 badly injured. Doctors from Fallujah mentioned that a large number of the dead women and children were shot in the head and that they were saving the extracted bullets to prove that they were being targetted by Marines snipers in the city."

Zeyad, Healing Iraq - April 13

The rest of the story

-- the insurgents are using ambulances to move gunmen and ammo
-- the insurgents are shooting from behind kids and women
-- some of the insurgents are kids

If you believe Al Jazeera coverage, you haven't paid much attention. These are the bozos who claimed a massacre in Jenin.

Joi, c'mon. Fine if you've decided to use your platform to bash bush. But tagging a post "US snipers shooting kids?" is crossing the line. Sort of in the "Are you still beating your wife?" category. While I greatly enjoy your stream-of-consciousness blogging style, this particular post is in need of an editor to ask you, Do you really think a photo of a dead baby on Al Jazeera suggests U.S. snippers (plural) have been issued rules of engagement that encourage them to pick off little children? The death of a child is tragic...and so is the use of this photo (and the meme you are participating in) to shout out a mis-guided "question" to the world before any facts are known.

I don't necessarily believe Al Jazeera coverage, but I believe stuff like this would not be well covered in other media if it were happening. My question is whether there is any truth to this. The question of whether it is snipers or just random fire is important. I know a few snipers and they don't hit many things by accident. I think the current evidence is a bit weak, but I'm trying get to the bottom of this.

And before you call me partisan on this one, remember, I linked to Drudge when he was accusing Kerry of infidelity. (Although that was probably a mistake in hindsight. ;-p

There isn't really much coming out of Iraq "from the other side" than Al Jazeera and a few blogs so picking up their stories and trying to vet them is really the only way I can think of to not be consumed by the US media machine, no?

And that's really one of the questions. Is it one soldier? Is it a sniper? Have they been issued orders or are they on their own? How do you investigate stuff like this, because a sniper picking off babies is clearly a violation of SOMETHING and not something you dismiss as Al Jazeera propaganda, in my opinion.

Reminds me of a quote during the heat of the Cold War, when an American diplomat told his Russian counterpart "the problem with the Soviets is that they believe their own propaganda."

The issue of snipers has been covered by the mainstream media, but unlike your citation (and perhaps your belief??) they also report that the other side has snipers too...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A113-2004Apr9.html

UPI, Reuters, and many other sources have repeated the Al Jazeera line (although with more of a caveat than you).

Given that most snipers are totally invisible to the enemy, don't you even have the curiousity to question the person you cited and say "how do you know it was an American?" Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but aren't you even a bit curious how the person (who is totally biased by the way) deduced that Americans were firing on him, when he couldn't see them? I see a picture of a kid, but where is the picture of the bullet that killed him?

Your source sounds like quite the authority on Fallujah. Well, maybe you should remember to "question authority".

There are reasons to oppose the war, but come on, you can do better than this...

I think the use of an open, unconfirmed question as a title/headline is a poor choice.

If I knew the answer, I wouldn't be asking it. ;-)

I think questions make good blog headlines.

The implication that the US military is targeting women and children seems (generally) far fetched, but I do not doubt the bullets in the heads of innocents. Trying to "build a democratic country" with bullets, bombs, and censorship is, I believe, a patently unproven approach, and one that indicates little care for the people of such would be democracy. It goes downhill from here, and this was forseeable and foreseen. When we decided they could not be allowed free press - the golden opportunity to start a democracy - which was there for only a moment - was lost.

The title should accurately reflect the content of the post (i.e. "WildFireJo reports...looking for more coverage"), nothing wrong with asking the question, it's just poor form for the title of a post that doesn't address it. There is no opinion offered, it's really just minor references and a call to action, the title should reflect that.

I tend to lose it when I hear about kids getting hurt and/or abused, but I won't jump to conclusions. Commisioned officers in the US military are not baby killers and they would come down like the Wrath of God on any nut in their ranks who pulled such a stunt.

Dare I mention parental responsibility? If foreign hordes who are armed to the teeth ever decide to invade my town, I will gather up my family and get the fcuk out of dodge.

One question mark at the end of the title is sufficient to reflect the content, no?

At least the US army can't deny commitment here. It's the same situation where Vietcong partisan mingled with civilian. An Iraqi child may have a bomb under cover of a white flag. Whether those with white flag are actually shot by a US sniper or shot by a soldier of the other side, if local Iraqi people believe that they are shot by the US army, it'll be tougher situation for the occupation army anyway, away from all blogging meme on safe shores. Trying to extinguish or ignore it will only spread it more.

BTW, since this blog of wildfirejo mentions about recently dismissed Japanese hostages, apparently it was somehow picked up by Japanese activists on the net well. In Japan, domestic news media report that foreign media think Japan as strange country because hostages are blamed :) IMHO as they were captured after they were against governmental admonition so many times, they shouldn't be seen as simply heroic people as they could know their own value as negotiation tools.

It's not just snipers. Dropping 500 and 1000 pound bombs on neighborhoods is bound to kill civilians, too. The US can no longer understand what words like "occupation" and "liberation" mean. The military and their civilian leaders are totally confused as to why they are in Iraq and what they are supposed to be doing. Most people in the world recognize this for what it is, and even the American public seems to be waking up, ever so slightly, to the inherent contradictions. The Democrats should be running an opposition candidate who truly sees the folly in the whole concept of liberating Iraq, instead of one who simply thinks the execution is flawed.

Let me clarify one thing about my earlier comment: It is not the use of questions in a post title that I find problematic. It's the inflamatory question Joi "asks" in this specific post -- a "question" that with its wording and structure presents shocking information and then feigns innocence under the cover of a question mark. Thus, the comparison to the classic example of this practice: "Are you still beating your wife?"

My complaint is not about any kind of protocol or weblog grammar practices...anything goes.

But in this specific case, Joi writes a declarative statement, "US snipers shooting kids in Falluja" and then adds a question mark at the end (which can be cut off in newsreaders like Shrook that I'm using.) Even the word "Are" at the beginning of the sentence would have helped make it clear that Joi didn't believe there is a presumptive answer to his "question."

Again, I think anyone can use any form of post heading he or she chooses, however, in this particular instance, the use of the conventional newspaper headline practice of dropping verbs and adding question marks made it appear that Joi was practicing his own type of snipper attack. (His intention?)

OK I'll concede the point that I could have made the title assertive. Interesting to hear your opinions on this though.

Tune in later for more from the dead baby network (AJ).

Joseph

It's the inflamatory question Joi "asks" in this specific post -- a "question" that with its wording and structure presents shocking information and then feigns innocence under the cover of a question mark. Thus, the comparison to the classic example of this practice: "Are you still beating your wife?"

I dunno. Did Joi word his question thusly ?

“US snipers still shooting kids in Falluja?”

Tune in later for more from the dead baby network (AJ).

Yup. Let’s all blame the messenger!

Wow, I'm impressed, I thought this would be about bashing the US Military.

I agree that the headline is inflammatory but was it what Al Jazeera used? In that case, I think Joi was just using what Al Jazeera was using and therefore making a statement about this.

Other than that, I agree that the US Military would come down as one reader noted like the wrath of God on anyone who did this. This kind of behavior is not tolerated in the military, at least amoung my friends who are in the military. Considering that a lot them have kids of their own, I wonder how many would allow this to happen.

War is ugly, casualties happen, but we are dealing with an enemy that follows no rules of war.

US snipers are trying to hit little kids? Yes, I believe that somebody would make that claim and no, I don't believe the claim is true. It can only be true if US soldiers are monsters, which I don't believe. But just based on common sense, what would be the benefit to the soldiers or to the US of killing children? This doesn't make sense.

BTW, I was and am against the War in Iraq. "Mission accomplished"? Soldiers and civilians are still getting killed every day.

The US President lied to his own people when attempting to justify the Iraq war. He is an idiot and effectively a liar. Yet, the barbaric minds at work in this war are not wearing army green.

Bad form Mr. Ito, not only are you adding to the problem, you are ignorant in your approach. You are smarter than this. If this was indeed the case, that American Snipers were going around and deliberately shooting children, it would be a big story anywhere. The fact of the matter is, that innocent civilians get killed in wars. This is a war, and the insurgents aren't playing by the rules.

I don't think that it is American military snipers. But, if it is, good. I can see how a "normal" (it takes a special type of man to be that kind of warrior) soldier can go insane from the pressures of being in war for over a year. If an American soldier is killing their children, good. I hope he gets some of their women, too. You speak of innocent civilians getting killed by accident in war? Has any successful suicide bombing been successful? Yes. Innocents killed? Many. When will it reach our own streets? Well, only the American military can prevent it. And if a few "innocent" women and children get in the way, so be it.

Mike B. He is clearly not a liar. To state so you are either stupid, ignorant or a liar yourself. You are in good company!

No - I haven't seen 'dead baby' coverage/propaganda in any media I consume, but I expect it does exist somewhere.

Not being a professional, my reaction would be to 'bounce the rubble' and yes I know that is wrong - because we can do much better these days. It would be nice if we were ready to go non-leathal, maybe next time.

If we do this right, Iraqi++ troublemakers will self concentrate, at least the big ones, and we can get them off the map for the new/transitional Iraqi government. Like clearing the inbox before your replacement comes by. Don't think 'war' think change management.

I like what they did with the Flag - great 'lookythere' task to stress the primary relationships! yellow stripe - pushahh

Mike - disunderstanding? i.e. not understanding what you don't like in a willful way. now there's an ugly American! LOL

I think Joi.Ito should never self censor, UBU! =) TIA

Joi, I can't and won't believe any group of professional solders would willingly shoot to kill women and kids unless it was by mistake. This post, even in the spirit of making up for under reported media, just plain sucks.

This was covered early on by two on-the-ground bloggers.

http://www.empirenotes.org

and

http://blog.newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches/

Neither of these sources will do anything to dissuade the "it's just liberal paranoia" argument, as both journalists lean way left. But one was an eye witness, the other was shot at personally.


Just do a google for "Iraq ambulance" and you'll get a mess o' hits that will tell you both that ambulances have been used as bombs, and that our sharpshooters have been killing the drivers.

Dear "DO's"

I am not a liar and I am not stupid. Your comments liberate me from having to refute any further points you may choose to make, but I will say one thing. Bush may have truly believed that WMD's were in Iraq, but he's to be held responsible for bad intelligence.

Now listen "DO's", please refrain from making any further posts here, because your 5-watt cranial capacity tarnishes what is otherwise a wonderful forum for intelligent debate.

Dear "DO's"

I am not a liar and I am not stupid. Your comments liberate me from having to refute any further points you may choose to make, but I will say one thing. While Bush may have truly believed that WMD's were in Iraq, he's to be held responsible for starting a war due to fradulent intelligence. That stunt is either a huge mistake of unbelievably idiotic proportions or cover for a bald faced lie. For all intents and purposes, he lied.

Now listen "DO's", I hope you don't post anything else here, because your 5-watt cranial capacity tarnishes what is otherwise a wonderful forum for intelligent debate.

Whoops. Maybe I am a little soft in the brain today.

I find myself too often consumed by the US "media machine" as well, and so I can understand Joi's attempts to hear local Iraqi opinions. Their voice in the global dialogue on their own future country is quite limited, which is very disappointing as their own ability thus far for any form of self-determination has been non-existant, largely because the expectation exists that if given the choice, a government unfriendly to America will be chosen. Whether the coverage in this particular case is actually true or not, I think, may be beside the point. What I would not be surprised to find, if such a poll could be taken, is that a large number of Iraqis, and Middle Easterners on the whole, believe this to be true, and this only serves the goals of the resistance groups. Once public opinion moves firmly against the US, the situation becomes nearly impossible to reclaim.

And their reasons for not "playing by the rules" is relatively obvious. What would you do, if you were invaded, your way of life taken away? Granted, life under Saddam was not exactly a picnic, but there was a class of people who were clearly better off. Would you stand in front of the tanks and the guys with machine guns and wait for them to roll over you? "Asymmetrical warefare" is a fact of life when you have few resources and you decide to go up against a group much better equiped.

good job joi! with your simple title you started a discussion. might not have been the nicest title but it is not a nice subject either. if you had used a more mild title the post would have been lost.

Don Park dixit:

Joi, I can't and won't believe any group of professional solders would willingly shoot to kill women and kids unless it was by mistake.

I don’t want to believe it either, but then again:

My Lai massacre (U.S. troops, 1968, Vietnam)
Amritsar massacre (British troops, 1919, India)
Kwangju massacre (Korean troops, 1980, Korea)
etc etc etc.

Let’s hope that there are no psychologically damaged trigger-happy US yahoos deployed in Iraq, keen to take out some “towelheads” and “towelheads wannabes.”

One must also remember that post-9/11, there were incidents in the US where people wearing turbans were assaulted and/or killed by “patriots.”

Surely the rumors that the U.S. Army will enlist most anybody who’s got a pulse are only rumors ? Wouldn’t most people who have served agree that U.S. ground troops are overwhelmingly WASP, well-balanced and well-educated liberal types from priviledged socio-economic backgrounds ?

Woops.
Huge font syndrome after a "blockquote" tag strikes again.
Style sheet bugs ? :-(

MostlyVowels, yes I'll accept that solders can do crazy things in the battleground and demonizing or coercion can lead professional solders to kill women and children. But is that what is going on here?

If the story is true, it must be just one or two crazy snipers. Is this what the story seems to suggest?

As to Kwangji massacre, there was a dictator behind it and the solders were told there was a communist insurgence in Kwangju. Is that what is going in Iraq? Are American soldiers being told that everyone in Falluja are terrorists?

I don't like Bush and I don't like what is happening in Iraq, but demonizing American soldiers as brutal killers of women and children is inappropriate IMHO. They are just like you and I except they are in Iraq and doing a job.

1) if a sniper bullet hits a person in the head, there would be no bullet to extract because the bullet would go through.
2) Wildfirejo gives us a wonderful view from ground zero. Falluja.
3) Black Hawk Down showed us how "insurgent" fighters use the civilian population as cover. I wonder if it is different in Falluja? If so, what is the embattled Marine supposed to do? The situation in Iraq could well turn into another Mogadishu, with even more disasterous effect on the Iraqi civilian population . . . but, of course, by definition, insurgents are civilians, no? It's easy to tell a Marine. He wears a camoflage uniform that somewhere on it has an eagle, globe, and fouled anchor symbol. How do you tell an insurgent? Is it all right to shoot Marines or blow their vehicles up from ambush, but not all right to return fire, to search and destroy? I wonder if any insurgent understands that the quickest way to get the Americans out of Iraq would be to institute a countrywide ceasefire, call for elections, and set up their own legitimate government?

Is it all right to shoot Marines or blow their vehicles up from ambush, but not all right to return fire, to search and destroy?
There’s the small issue of the legitimacy of the Marine’s presence there, but that’s another can of worms, I guess.
I wonder if any insurgent understands that the quickest way to get the Americans out of Iraq
Rumor has it the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad will house a staff of about 3,000. It seems the Americans are planning for a quite, um, substantive presence even after the “hand-over.”

Don Park dixit:


MostlyVowels, yes I'll accept that solders can do crazy things in the battleground and demonizing or coercion can lead professional solders to kill women and children.

Yup. Your previously voiced worldview that “I can't and won't believe any group of professional solders would willingly shoot to kill women and kids” was perhaps a bit too removed from reality.

But is that what is going on here?

We do NOT know.
The psychological elements that drive military personnel to exactions — e.g. stress caused by the casualties inflicted by an invisible enemy, desire for revenge, disregard for civilian lives, racism... — seem there, though.

If the story is true, it must be just one or two crazy snipers.

We do NOT know.


(Hoping that the fontsize will not unpredictably become huge in this comment...)

I think Joi's post was fair enough.

Regarding information from Fallujah: see this statement from a refugee as reported by Raed's mum:

"On the first day when the coalition forces entered the city, they announced over loudspeakers, that schools and shops were closed, curfew: that it would be absolutely forbidden to leave one’s home from seven in the morning."

This would appear to tie-in with an accumulation of reports of people being shot by snipers as they left their homes, or moved around the city.

Like the graveyard, the hospital reveals a lot about what has happened. At the beginning, the main hospital across the river was cut off and doctors moved into three small clinics. During the initial fighting, most wounded civilians came in with what Dr Mohammed Samarae describes as 'multiple blast wounds - lost limbs, abdomens blown open,' the result of shelling when much of the population were trapped in their houses.

'After that, almost all the casualties were head and chest wounds from snipers,' said Samarae. 'Ninety per cent of the injured were civilians - children, old people, women - the fighters take their medicine and leave. The characteristics of the wounds suggest they are American-inflicted. We have had a lot of experience of American weapons in the past year.'

Patrick Graham, The Guardian - May 2, 2004

After what has occurred at Abu Ghraib prison I wouldn't doubt anything anymore. At least a portion of the men and women of the U.S. Military are definitely not saints but of course an argument could be made that neither are the insurgents. But the question is do the insurgents have at least some justification for their anger? even if many of their actual actions are unjustifiable. It's impossible for us on the outside to know the truth either way, but the British military commanders in Iraq seem to believe that the American military has the same attitude in general to the Iraqi's as the World War II German soldiers had towards the Slavs under German occupation, that is viewing them as sub-human and treating them accordingly. If this is the attitude not only are these military people asking for whatever they are receiving but they are also endangering the lives of Americans everywhere by driving angry Middle Easterners and Muslims everywhere into the arms of Radical anti-western Islamic leaders for solace. Perhaps it could be that the U.S. soldiers somehow feel that the Iraq's are at least partially to blame for the 9/11 attacks and this why they behave like this? I don't know if this is the attitude for certain but I have heard this attitude by American civilians here in the states so it's not out of the realm of plausibility that at least a percentage in the military share this attitude. The trouble is that most westerns don't know their butts from a hole in the ground when it comes to the middle east. It's history or the scorn that many of the secular minded youth of the Middle East have for strict orthodox Islam. Islam unlike Christianity cannot be really separated from secular life, it never had it's New Testament so it is trapped in the archaic. Historically the U.S. has always been favorable to strict orthodox and radical Muslims whenever it could use them, such as in Afghanistan. Islam protects private property which is the cornerstone of capitalism. There have been many attempts to Nationalize the Oil of the middle east such as Saddam's secular based government once did. Now that Iraq's oli industry has been privatized in all likely hood the best defense of this privatization is an Islamic government, that can control the youth, under direct U.S. influence and protection. If it wasn't the U.S. it would be France,Russia or maybe even China pulling the strings. The people of the non-nuclear countries of the world cannot win in the long run because their options are limited. This struggle can only be overcome in the nuclear countries themselves, by the people living in them. Hopefully like the end of Slavery in 19th century Great Britain the people of the nuclear nations will decide that their lifestyles are not in the best interests of the future of the human species and will refuse to support a system that perpetrates their own demise but instead will take matters in their own hands and find creative solutions to the problem that face us all, namely meaningless suffering and death and anything that leads to it. Like another said, if the people lead the leaders might just follow.

Earlier in this thread, I made some comment to the effect that, "commisioned officers are not baby killers".

I still believe that, but after the abuse incidents in Iraq were brought to light, I have to admit that my respect for the troops has been reduced. That's unfair to the troops who conducted themselves well, but the burden of responsibility is on them as well.

America's obligation to Iraq is greater than ever now. We must find a way to help the Iraqi people the best we can economomically and then get the hell out of their country.

Hey President Bush, what's your exit strategy? Oh... there isn't one? How about a strategy, period?

I'm afraid that like his father, GW Bush is a man without a plan.

I don't mean to sound over-dramatic, but as an American, I hang my head in shame.

The implication that the US military is targeting women and children seems (generally) far fetched, but I do not doubt the bullets in the heads of innocents. Trying to "build a democratic country" with bullets, bombs, and censorship is, I believe, a patently unproven approach, and one that indicates little care for the people of such would be democracy. It goes downhill from here, and this was forseeable and foreseen. When we decided they could not be allowed free press - the golden opportunity to start a democracy - which was there for only a moment - was lost.

u dont talk to dogs, if their getting crazy shoot them

evil work

evil work

While i doubt it is entirely true. There are some twisted individuals in the us army who think of this war as a video game, and have a points scale going around. I know this as my cousin was fighting in baghdad.

Lets not let ourselves get lost in what might and could be a lie or a case of deceit. We all know that it would not be hard for the enemy to get a hold of a US Marines sniper weapon and use it on their own people and blame it on the USA! I am an ex-Marine and I know that they do not target civilians, even if the enemy uses a child or adult as a human shield. Myself I would not even visit an Al Jazeera site, to me thats like a Propaganda site. I have full faith in our troops and I know in my heart that they will do what is right. It really hurts to think all of you think that way of our Troops! I am also against the war in Iraq, but I am behind our Troops 100%!

Thanks for reading this:
L/cpl V. K. Schaefer
USMC 1978-1982

Just so you understand something. Several of our marines are killed and action and with their weapons left unrecovered in many cases. It takes nothing for Iraqi's to collect our own arms and use them against us or their own people to stimulate propaganda. Take time to think about it for one minute. Do you really think our own military men and women would purposely snipe innocent women and children.

Nothing would surprise me, really, after the way they just shot at their own reporters in the hotel. I saw the video, there is ABSOLUTELY no argument or response. The soldier said he was returning fire, and that he was fired upon, but you watch and listen to the video, you hear nothing for 10 minutes, and then he fires on a press hotel killing two people. Pro-bush pro-war guys explain that!

this is pretty messed up, i mean why are these "americans" killing innocent children, supposably were able to help out people who crashed the world trade center in new york but yet we snipe kids. thats just plain stupid and messed up

United States of America soldiers do not kill civilians. Never in the history of man and warfare has any army taken such care to avoid hurting civilians.
Anything otherwise is simple propoganda.

The enemy of America and the free world intentionally targets civilian men, women, and children in America, Iraq, and anywhere else it can the opportunity.
This is acceptable to Al Jazeera, Joi Eto, and the leftist dominated press.

The United States was founded on the Christian/Judeo ethic. As such, the typical Christian says "I will die for what I believe.," while the Islamic Fundamentalist says "you will die for what I believe".
This is confirmed by all honest evidence of record.
I trust the judgement of any sniper in the service of the United States.

Leave a comment

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Business and the Economy category.

Books is the previous category.

Computer and Network Risks is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index.

Monthly Archives