Martyrdom in the UK

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Leading the news in the U.K., the trial of eight would-be terrorists is now underway in London. According to the prosecution, the plotters planned to simultaneously bomb seven transatlantic flights and, according to material seized from one of the suspect's computers, attack "one of the largest gas stations in the UK, oil refineries, the National Grid, and power stations including nuclear power stations." The Telegraph has the details. According to a wiretap transcript read to the jury, the bombers contemplated bringing their wives and babies along on their "martyrdom operation":

When one of the men, Abdulla Ali, was asked "how long 'til the event?" he replied: "A couple of weeks."

Another, Umar Islam, added: "This is really going to happen, isn't it?", the court heard.

The discussion is then said to have turned to whether the men should take their wives and children on the alleged suicide missions.

Umar Islam was asked whether his wife might consider going with him on the "operation". He allegedly said: "I think if I was to say to her that this was a significant operation she might even find it in herself to do that."

Ali asks: "What about the babies?… Maybe she taken them with her?" Islam replies: "Maybe, you know what I mean. She'd like to do it though."

The prosecution also has in its possession a series of "suicide videos," in which the would-be bombers rant about soap operas and soccer:

Excerpts from six "chilling" alleged suicide videos were played to a jury, in which the defendants said they would "scatter body parts" over the streets in revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.Wearing headscarves and posing in front of black flags with white Arabic writing, the defendants were filmed saying they would unleash "volcanoes of anger and revenge" and "rain terror and destruction" down on "non-believers".

They said the deaths of "so-called innocents" were justified because British taxpayers, who funded the Army, did not care about the fate of Muslims, as they were more interested in drinking, watching EastEnders and "complaining about the World Cup". The court has already been told that up to 18 suicide bombers were allegedly to be used to simultaneously bring down seven or more flights bound for the US and Canada from Heathrow Airport.

The Guardian's coverage here. The Times' coverage here. The incomparable little Englanders at the Daily Mail chime in here.

Update: The Mail adds this bit of detail from today's testimony: "[The prosecution] revealed that the fanatics hoped to hoodwink airport security officers by putting pornographic magazines and condoms in their hand luggage to indicate that they could not be Muslim zealots, the court was told."

NEXT: Afghan Realism

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  1. This isn’t one of those pro or con posts, is it.

  2. If I’m about to meet 72 virgins, there’s no way I’m bringing my wife along.

  3. I can turn it into one, Ken:

    Since we currently militarily occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, the fact that this plot could be contemplated proves that militarily occupying Afghanistan and Iraq does virtually nothing to stop terrorism.

    As I am happy to repeat over and over, we can conquer as many states as we like and it will have little to no impact on the capacity of small groups of men to plan mayhem using materials readily at hand.

  4. I followed all the links and read all the quotes. the only things that seem to be missing from the prosecution’s case are: (i) any explosives; and (ii) any statements to the effect that they were going to blow up anything specific. They remind me of people in the US who talk about “glass parking lot” and “back to the Stone Age.” Except for the fact that their living rooms were bugged.

  5. Any Brazilians get shot in the head on this one?

  6. As I am happy to repeat over and over, we can conquer as many states as we like and it will have little to no impact on the capacity of small groups of men to plan mayhem using materials readily at hand.

    Right. They’re trying to apply the Soviets’ Eastern European strategy – control territory, smash armies, install an friendly government, and those armies can’t invade you – to the problem of small bands of fanatics carrying out terrorist attacks.

    Even if everything went exactly as they predicted, what would a free, liberal, and democratic Iraq have to do with British self-starters like this?

  7. Why do they talk like teenagers? “Volcanoes of anger and revenge”?

  8. “Gonna shoot somebody if they don’t stop talking about Eastenders!”

    Apparently the Dead Milkmen are terrorists.

  9. the only things that seem to be missing from the prosecution’s case are: (i) any explosives; and (ii) any statements to the effect that they were going to blow up anything specific.

    (i) the bombs were going to be hexamethylene triperoxide diamine smuggled in hollowed-out batteries and injected with syringes into soda bottles using disposable cameras as detanators. (ii) after discussing numerous targets, they settled on blowing up 8 airplanes leaving Heathrow on the same day.

  10. Since we currently militarily occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, the fact that this plot could be contemplated proves that militarily occupying Afghanistan and Iraq does virtually nothing to stop terrorism.

    Can’t say much about Iraq, but Afghanistan isn’t just about stopping terorrism, it’s also about punishing the guys responsible for the biggest terrorist attack in world history.

  11. (i) the bombs were going to be hexamethylene triperoxide diamine smuggled in hollowed-out batteries and injected with syringes into soda bottles using disposable cameras as detanators. (ii) after discussing numerous targets, they settled on blowing up 8 airplanes leaving Heathrow on the same day.

    That is what the prosecutor says. Nothing quoted from the bugged conversations or martyrdom tapes says this, so far as I can see from the linked articles. The defendants are denying an actual conspiracy to actually blow anything up in real life. Why do you believe the prosecutor and not the defendants?

  12. Why do you believe the prosecutor and not the defendants?

    I guess it’s possible that the defendants had 18 liters of hyrdogen peroxide and made martrydom tapes because they’re really clumsy and get scraped up a lot, but I think its because they were trying to be terrorists.

  13. Abdul wins.

  14. Abdul- 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian. Most of the people who helped the hijackers were also Saudi Arabian.
    We threatened to invade Afghanistan because the Taliban refused to give us Bin Laden. When they realized we were serious, they capitulated, but our administration invaded anyway, and we still haven’t punished the guys responsible for the biggest attack in world history.
    This story is about making a big deal about the threat of terrorism, so that everyone understands we need to invade Iran too.

  15. “I think its because they were trying to be terrorists.”

    Wanna be gangstas are bad enough, now we have wanna be terrorists.

  16. [The prosecution] revealed that the fanatics hoped to hoodwink airport security officers by putting pornographic magazines and condoms in their hand luggage to indicate that they could not be Muslim zealots

    Worst excuse for buying porn EVER.

  17. “Why do they talk like teenagers? “Volcanoes of anger and revenge”?:

    Because they are emotionally retarded.

  18. What impresses me is that these guys sound sort of dumb, and are not really all that capable. They really don’t scare me that much.

    The number of women and children killed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, runs into the many tens of thousands, by conservative estimates.

    When it comes to killing innocents, especially women and kids, the U.S. Military is way out in front of these incompetents.

  19. “This story is about making a big deal about the threat of terrorism, so that everyone understands we need to invade Iran too.”

    That’s kind of a stretch.

  20. Because they are emotionally retarded.

    That was the conclusion I came to, as well, unless someone had a better theory.

  21. What impresses me is that these guys sound sort of dumb, and are not really all that capable. They really don’t scare me that much.

    The 9/11 hijackers weren’t geniuses either. I mean, they told the flight instructor they didn’t need to learn how to land. How dumb is that?

    That’s the problem with living in a free society: even a highly-motivated moron can screw things up for everyone.

  22. does virtually nothing to stop terrorism

    I guess that doesn’t count the guys on trial who authorities, um, stopped.

  23. The number of women and children killed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, runs into the many tens of thousands, by conservative estimates.

    Not true. Most are killed by the terrorists we’re fighting in those places.

  24. Whether prosecutors are right or wrong about this case, I’m pretty sure it has more to do with stopping terrorist attacks by fanatical Muslims – you know, like the bus bombings a couple years ago, or the failed car bombers – than anything else.

  25. When it comes to killing innocents, especially women and kids, the U.S. Military is way out in front of these incompetents.

    I’m not saying innocent people don’t die on the battlefield (esp. when insurgents fight it out in neighborhoods) but that’s a hell of a spin you put on it, there. With the “especially women and kids” crap.

  26. I mean, unless you think U.S. forces are the ones setting off car bombs in markets.

  27. I guess it’s possible that the defendants had 18 liters of hyrdogen peroxide and made martrydom tapes because they’re really clumsy and get scraped up a lot, but I think its because they were trying to be terrorists.

    It is the prosecutor that calls them martyrdom tapes. I think if they were truly martyrdom tapes then they would have better soundbites about specific plans to actually blow up specific things instead of the Muslim version of a Michael Savage spiel.

    Also:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUS255&q=hydrogen+peroxide+cleaning

  28. I thought Douglas Gray was going to spit on me and call me a “baby-killer”.

  29. This “don’t worry, they’re goofballs” talk is a red herring if you ask me. In the world of non-fiction, bad guys aren’t fashionable scheming masterminds. All it takes is a little bumbling initiative to kill a bunch of people and make headlines.

  30. These guys remind me of the terrorist cell that was broke up in Toronto a few years back. Their terrorist training consisted of paintball gun fights in the woods. These guys were planning on attacking a army base, anyone want to guess who would have won that gunfight.

  31. This is more typical.

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread284887/pg1

    You can see the Iraqi kid is actually hiding behind a U.S. soldier.

    We have strict rules of engagements intended to protect civilians; the terrorists, not so much.

  32. “The number of women and children killed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, runs into the many tens of thousands, by conservative estimates.”

    By WHOSE estimates? The fact that civilians are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t mean that the U.S. military is doing it. Bands of Muslim nutjobs are doing most of it, just as they always have.

  33. We’re dealing with something similar in Canada right now. An alleged terror cell happened to use the bathroom at Tim Horton’s while setting up their martyrdom camp in Northern Ontario. “What vengeful terrorists would visit a Tim Horton’s?!”, cried the defense lawyer, as if they fed on hate alone and refused to use Western restrooms…

  34. I think your average suicide bomber is probably a moron. Bin Laden isn’t strapping on bomb vests or flying planes into buildings. He gets some easily led follower to do it for him by promising him orgies in paradise for eternity.

  35. Everything positive that happens in Iraq is the direct result of the invasion, and the credit goes to the invaders.

    Nothing negative that happens in Iraq was a result of the invasion, and the responsibility is borne entirely be everyone else.

  36. I’m not saying to be paranoid, just realistic. Dumb people do stupid shit all the time. (quotable!)

  37. I’m sure there have been some innocent civilians killed by US forces. I imagine situations where an air strike takes out strategic buildings and the explosion throws debris into nearby housing and a woman and her child is killed. I also imagine scenarios like this are extremely rare.
    since this war was pointless in the first place, you could argue that one child killed by US forces is enough to condemn America; but that’s war.

  38. These guys were planning on attacking a army base

    Their initial plan was to go to Ottawa and behead the Prime Minister of Canada, but they dropped it because none of them knew the way around Ottawa. At least in that case it does appear that somebody was actually trying to actually buy actual explosives. That said, there was some gameplaying in the case last year by the prosecution:

    http://www.thestar.com/article/260193

    Apparently they want the testimony of the police informants to be a surprise at trial. For those who aren’t lawyers out there: that is not playing nice.

  39. I think the U.S. military has probably killed alot of innocent civilians in both Iraq & Afaghanistan but not on purpose. Insurgents routinely use civilian neighborhoods to fight from to make for their lack of firepower. That way they can blame the infidel invaders for all the carnage & gain sympathy throughout the middle east when the photos appear on al-jazeera.

  40. If I kick in your front door and walk away, I don’t get to say “No, Jim walked in and stole your stereo, so don’t blame me.”

    The question of specific intent to kill civilians is relevant to the morality of the individual troops/terrorists, but doesn’t really apply on the level of the government. If it was a consequence of our invasion – if it came about because of the conditions we created – then some of the responsibility accrues to us.

    If an Arab Spring had actually broken out and transformed the Middle East, do you think anybody would be saying “Those aren’t American troops doing the voting, so the U.S. is not responsible for causing liberal democracy to break out?”

    Causing stuff to happen in Iraq, beyond what our troops did themselves, was the point of this invasion.

  41. Since we currently militarily occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, the fact that this plot could be contemplated proves that militarily occupying Afghanistan and Iraq does virtually nothing to stop terrorism.

    Respectfully disagree with Fluffy. It is impossible to say how many potential or actual terrorist attacks would have occurred were we not occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. Maybe more, maybe less, maybe the same.

    That’s why disciplines like history are inferential, not experimental.

  42. I can’t think of two bigger losers on earth than Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols and they managed to do some damage. The “these guys are just losers so they are no threat” argument kills me. I guess if you don’t look like something out of a Bond movie you are not a threat. Sadly, the world doesn’t work that way. It is always pathetic nobodies like Lee Harvey Osward or Mahamad Atta or Tim McVeigh who do the damage.

  43. That’s the problem with living in a free society: even a highly-motivated moron can screw things up for everyone.

    Not really (or at least not directly). A highly motivated moron can screw things for perhaps a few hundred people. It takes a government overreaction playing on exaggerated fears to screw things up for the everyone.

  44. “The question of specific intent to kill civilians is relevant to the morality of the individual troops/terrorists, but doesn’t really apply on the level of the government. If it was a consequence of our invasion – if it came about because of the conditions we created – then some of the responsibility accrues to us.”

    So if I’m killed in a car crash, it’s your fault, right? You do support driving, right?

  45. Let me reiterate. I don’t support the war in Iraq, but I’ll fight it. Like the saying goes “Not for myself, but for those on my left and right.”

    99% of the anti-war movement is perfectly reasonable, but I get really upset by people who try to act like they’re morally superior because they never served in the military. I won’t write an essay on my frustration, but I’m really pissed off right now.

  46. I can’t think of two bigger losers on earth than Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols and they managed to do some damage.

    They must have had help.

  47. Those who sign up for military service know that they will be asked to kill other people for whatever reason the political leadership gins up. In essence, by joining you are signing away any right to a conscience, and are saying that you will kill anyone — no questions asked — just because some guy who won 51% of the vote (of the less than half who actually voted)tells you to.

    Statements like “I don’t support the war in Iraq, but I’ll fight it” are illustrative of this point. The war in Iraq is illegal and immoral, and by “fighting it” you are complicit in it. Of course, it’s the politicians who sent you there who are most to blame, but don’t act like the ones actually firing the guns don’t bare some of the blame for the people they kill.

  48. This shows that the Islamofascists will stop at nothing in their daibolical plan to raise a Global Caliphate from Spain to Indanesia.

    They want ALL of us dead, and we can’t give up in the central front (Iraq). Lets Surge to Victory!

  49. by joining you are signing away any right to a conscience, and are saying that you will kill anyone — no questions asked

    Here’s where you’re wrong. It’s not easy on the conscience to kill someone. It’s part of the reason a lot of veterans come back messed up. No, I don’t want to fight a war I don’t believe in, but if I can keep someone from having to go back for a third tour, you’re damn right I’ll do it.
    When we kill someone it’s harder on our conscience than it is on any politician. I signed my life away, but not my conscience.

  50. So if I’m killed in a car crash, it’s your fault, right? You do support driving, right?

    If I invented automobiles and roads, yes, I would bear some responsiblity for every car crash. I would also bear some responsibility for every trip to the supermarket, every person saved from a burning home at the last minute by fire fighters in trucks, and every wicked awesome car chase scene in a movie.

    Because, you see, I would have played a role in bringing those things about.

    Now, me, living the the late 20th/early 21st centuries with cars all over the place? Do I bear responsibility for car crashes because I don’t want to ban cars? I don’t think so – that seems a bit of a stretch.

  51. Lets Surge to Victory!

    I’m not in the mood for your Performance Art.

  52. I would bear some responsiblity for every car crash

    Not if the driver was drunk or unlicensed.

  53. Can’t say much about Iraq, but Afghanistan isn’t just about stopping terorrism, it’s also about punishing the guys responsible for the biggest terrorist attack in world history.

    No.

    Attacking Afghanistan was about punishing the guys responsible for the biggest terrorist attack in world history.

    Occupying Afghanistan years later, supporting the Kabul regime, and attempting to nation-build there is being done on the theory that turning Muslim states into “Belgiums” will prevent future terrorist attacks.

    Respectfully disagree with Fluffy. It is impossible to say how many potential or actual terrorist attacks would have occurred were we not occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. Maybe more, maybe less, maybe the same.

    Well, no. We’re talking about the claims of pro-war forces and whether they are borne out by events.

    The claim is that invading various Muslim states will stop terrorism.

    If you take a negative view, as I do, or even just a skeptical view as you do, then this claim is false, and the existence of current terrorist threats that don’t require the sponsorship of Muslim states renders it false.

    If it is, in fact, “impossible to say” if the invasions reduced terrorism, then what exactly was the trillion dollars and the thousands of lifes lost for? If we incurred those costs to attain a goal it is impossible to ever measure because history is not an experimental science, what the hell did we do it for?

  54. Like Art-POG, I’m just a guy who finds himself in a situation not of my own making.

    Car-wise, I mean.

  55. They must have had help.

    The building was secretly brought down by a secret device designed secretly by secret designers, all of whom were working (secretly!) for Hillary.

  56. Art, haven’t you noticed there haven’t been any attacks on American soil for almost 7 years? Its not by accident.

    There have been attacks in Europe true but notice since 9/11 they are getting less and less sophisticated, and less spectacular.

    I believe this is directly because of our wars against the Islamofascists in Iraq and Afgahnistan, why don’t you?

  57. Art P.O.G.,

    Not if the driver was drunk or unlicensed.

    I disagree. That some people would drive drunk or irresponsibly was a completely predictable consequence of creating automobiles. You are responsible for the situations your actions create.

    Of course, “the situation your actions create,” when applied to Ford and Benz, include a great deal of good stuff, too.

  58. Art, haven’t you noticed there haven’t been any attacks on American soil for almost 7 years? Its not by accident.

    There have been attacks in Europe true but notice since 9/11 they are getting less and less sophisticated, and less spectacular.

    I believe this is directly because of our wars against the Islamofascists in Iraq and Afgahnistan, why don’t you?

    Which invasion caused the gap in attacks on US soil between the first and second WTC attacks?

    And which invasions caused the complete absence of Islamic attacks on US soil prior for the first 200 years of the nation’s existence?

    And there is no need for an attack to be “sophisticated” to kill 2000 people again. Destroying the buildings required sophistication. But if 20 guys want to kill 2000 people, all they have to do is get automatic weapons and attack a megachurch on a Sunday morning. That doesn’t require much sophistication at all. This British gang could certainly have accomplished it, and since it would not have required a bomb factory they could probably have done it without the lengthy prep time allowing them to be detected in advance.

  59. The building was secretly brought down by a secret device designed secretly by secret designers, all of whom were working (secretly!) for Hillary.

    lol.

    Seriously, though, I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry for me if I get blown up by an IED, but please understand that I didn’t make my decision to serve based on bloodlust or complete ignorance of the political situation in Iraq.
    Michael Moore may be a douchebag, but he did raise a good point in Fahrenheit 9/11. Perhaps if more people in Congress had served, or had children serving, they would be more judicious in how and when they consented to prosecute wars.
    Please understand that many people are serving in the military because it is the best way that they have of providing for themselves or their families. Please understand that servicemembers are neither high-powered sociopaths nor sheep led to slaughter (most of the time).

  60. You are responsible for the situations your actions create.

    Maybe, in some highly attenuated sense.

    But when someone acts intentionally to inflict harm on someone else, then traditionally all the responsibility is assigned to them. Their decision to act wrongfully trumps anyone else’s second or third order “responsibility.”

  61. Fluffy the gap has been longer now, as there was only a five year gap between the first two attacks on America soil (first WTC and the embassy bombings). Embassies ARE American soil.

    What did Clinton do? He just sent a few cruise missiles and killed some camels, three years later we get 9/11.

    Its not a coincidence. Had Clinton instead spread Democracy to Afghanistan right then and there, there would have been no 9/11.

  62. I support the war in Afghanistan, I just feel that the war in Iraq was irresponsible.

  63. The building was secretly brought down by a secret device designed secretly by secret designers, all of whom were working (secretly!) for Hillary.

    Either that or it was the guy on the “WANTED” poster.

  64. Their decision to act wrongfully trumps anyone else’s second or third order “responsibility.”

    Define “trumps.”

    If you mean, “is worse than,” I agree. People who set up bombs among civilians are worse than naive policy-makers who thought it would start raining lollipops on Baghdad if only there were Marines there.

    If you mean “moots,” I disagree entirely. If I kick open your door and someone walks in and shoots you, although I am not a murderer, my responsibility remains.

  65. Either that or it was the guy on the “WANTED” poster.

    Uh-huh, that’s what she wanted you to believe…

  66. Why is it irresponsible Art? Leaving Saddam in power would’ve been much more irresponsible for the future of the Middle East.

    Lets say we left Saddam in power. He dies, his sons can’t decide who should succeeded him and theres a bloody civil war that engulfs the region. Either that, or we have Yugoslavia except on top of oil. His regime was going to end badly and its ended a lot less badly thanks to our troops.

    Whats more, Saddam was perfectly willing to test us on our own soil, anhd left to his own devices would have someday loved to attack America.

    Because of our invasion, Libya gave up its nuclear weapons, Iran is checkmated, and there was a democratic revolution in Lebanon.

    The bottom line is we have to be the policeman of the world because no one else can or will be. The U.N. doesn’t have any balls, the Europeans have no military, and I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want Russia or China filling the role!

    If we became isolationist again the world would be engulfed in war on every continent on a massive scale. Our presence preserves peace and limits the spread of wars.

  67. If we became isolationist again the world would be engulfed in war on every continent on a massive scale. Our presence preserves peace and limits the spread of wars.

    I appreciate your optimism, but it seems to me that the world’s already engulfed in wars. And I don’t blame the military for the mess, what about the administrations that funded Saddam and Osama and Lord knows who else because they were the enemies of our enemies. I just hope we become smarter about the long-term effects of our foreign policy.
    Looks to me, like Iraq’s going to go through a civil war no matter what we do.

  68. Well, we’re a young nation, we’re going to make some mistakes. Again, not to be glib.

  69. “Which invasion caused the gap in attacks on US soil between the first and second WTC attacks?”

    Bosnia

  70. ” But if 20 guys want to kill 2000 people, all they have to do is get automatic weapons and attack a megachurch on a Sunday morning.”

    In a black megachurch in Atlanta tey wouldn’t.

  71. TallDave,

    We have strict rules of engagements intended to protect civilians…

    If I am not mistaken one of the basic criticisms of pre-surge U.S. tactics was that the ROE wasn’t either clear enough in its emphasis regarding the protection of civilians in Iraq.

  72. Art of course there will be wars in the world but our superpower presence helps CONTAIN and MANAGE said wars.

    If we didn’t do it someone else would, probably China or Russia. Again is that seriously what you want? The Chinese or Russians dominating the world?

  73. Not true. Most are killed by the terrorists we’re fighting in those places.

    I think you are lying about this, TallDave.

  74. Neil

    It sounds like you mean well, but good god almighty, you are a frightfully ignorant man.

  75. Neil,

    There is very little the U.S. can do about the rise of the PRC as a superpower and this is particularly so re: its influence (of all manner of varieties) in East Asia. Also, that’s not particularly surprising since nations in the region often have a lot more in common with one another than they have with the U.S. (though that doesn’t mean they don’t also have significant differences).

  76. So what do you want us to do Calidore? Just leave Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea to the mercy of the Chi-Coms?

  77. “What did Clinton do? He just sent a few cruise missiles and killed some camels, three years later we get 9/11.”

    Those camels are such vindictive bastards.

  78. I’ll tell you what we can do.

    If China threatens any of our East Asia allies (esp. Taiwan) if we have friendly regimes in the Middle East we can threaten to cut off their oil and then the Chi-Coms will have to back down.

    Thats another reason (besides protecting Israel and preventing terror) to be very involved on every level in the Middle East.

    If we don’t protect Liberty, no one else will.

  79. But when someone acts intentionally to inflict harm on someone else, then traditionally all the responsibility is assigned to them. Their decision to act wrongfully trumps anyone else’s second or third order “responsibility.”

    So if I pay a hit man to kill someone I don’t like, the fact that the hit man actually inflicts the harm absolves me of any guilt? Aren’t you a lawyer?

  80. “I think you are lying about this, TallDave.”

    Then prove him wrong.

  81. Then prove him wrong.

    Ok. I went. I checked it out. Turns out I was right and he is lying.

  82. one of the basic criticisms of pre-surge U.S. tactics was that the ROE wasn’t either clear enough in its emphasis regarding the protection of civilians in Iraq

    I don’t see how this could be. The rules of engagement don’t change. Although, if they’re not implemented well that could be a problem.

    Ok. I went. I checked it out. Turns out I was right and he is lying.

    Link? I have to think a lot of sources have some kind of agenda. Also, the Armed Forces seem to be dropping less ordnance and basing operations on door-to-door searches, etc.

  83. Neil,

    At this point China has better relations with more middle eastern nations than we do.

    Art,

    here’s a semi-related question: prior to the surge was protection of the civilian population the primary goal of U.S. personnel there or was it something else?

  84. Update: The Mail adds this bit of detail from today’s testimony: “[The prosecution] revealed that the fanatics hoped to hoodwink airport security officers by putting pornographic magazines and condoms in their hand luggage to indicate that they could not be Muslim zealots, the court was told.”

    Of course, the previous 15 times they tried this, the suicide bombers became so engrossed in the porn that they forgot to blow up the plane. 😉

  85. Neil’s not a put-on!

    That was my WTF moment of the day. What was yours?

  86. Art,

    here’s a semi-related question: prior to the surge was protection of the civilian population the primary goal of U.S. personnel there or was it something else?

    Good question. I couldn’t really say, but in the training I went through, we always focused on differentiating between civilians and combatants (people that are holding/pointing weapons, especially at you). I suppose the emphasis of avoiding civilians/casualties depends on the command and mission.

  87. I suppose the emphasis of avoiding civilians/casualties depends on the command and mission.

    There is almost never a penalty for killing a non-combatant in Iraq and Afghanistan. The easiest way is to just say that the kills were combatants. Nobody checks. Nobody is interested in sending the troops to jail. You can frag Pat Tillman and get away with it for gosh sakes. We don’t believe your bs.

  88. The easiest way is to just say that the kills were combatants. Nobody checks.

    You ever hear of the Haditha killings? Have you ever heard of the Judge Advocate General? Something called the UCMJ?

    We don’t believe your bs.

    Yes, because I’m a high-ranking officer at the Pentagon who’s trying to snow you.
    I’m glad you’re not naive, but your cynicism is severe enough to lead me to believe that you don’t know anything about the military rank or command structure.

  89. You can frag Pat Tillman and get away with it for gosh sakes.

    Get away with what? Who feels good about friendly fire? The details surrounding Cpl. Tillman’s death were covered up because friendly fire incidents are deeply embarrassing to a unit. The officers who covered it up got into some hot water with their superiors over it all.

  90. We don’t believe your bs

    And who’s “we”?

  91. Because of our invasion, Libya gave up its nuclear weapons, Iran is checkmated, and there was a democratic revolution in Lebanon.

    I see what you did there. All three of ’em.

    You’re good, Neil.

  92. I think he is, highnumber.

    Look at the sentence I quoted. All three of ’em. That doesn’t happen by accident.

  93. Art,

    …but in the training I went through, we always focused on differentiating between civilians and combatants (people that are holding/pointing weapons, especially at you).

    Yeah, but that’s not what I am getting at: I’m talking about the “mission” itself. See what I am getting at? Was the primary mission protecting the local population or was it some other task which might lead indirectly to lowering the risks for civilians?

  94. Calidore, there are operations like this: 2nd Battle of Fallujah and there are ordinary patrols/missions. It really does depend on a situation to situation basis. Most missions the US runs are based on lowering risk for the civilian population, but slaying Uday and Qusay, for instance, endangered a lot of civilians from what I understand.

  95. Who feels good about friendly fire?

    I didn’t say “friendly fire.”

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