One of the charges I have heard in response to the 12 July incident was that it was not investigated, or that the investigations were a whitewash. That there was a coverup or the investigators did not do due diligence. That is simply not the case. Thanks to Outlaw 1-3, I have two of the 15-6 investigations conducted involving the incident. Both paint the same picture. Both make it clear that when Noor-Eldeen leaned out he presented a clear and imminent threat form the facts the pilots had in the air. They saw men with RPGs and they saw a guy peeking around a corner in a perfect firing position, thus they were very anxious to engage as soon as they could. As I have stated again and again, there were no Press vests, or distinctive markings, and having a telephoto lens does not exclude you from being a target. Why? Because pretty much all militias by that point were filming their attacks.
To be clear, had Noor-Eldeen and his driver been alone, they would probably still be alive. Had he not leaned out around the corner, the Apache might've waited to fire. Had Noor-Eldeen not been so close to the insurgents, he probably would still be alive. Again and again I have hammered these points. Again and again I get this "but he was a journalist" or "they shouldn't have. . . " I am tired of people saying things they can not know. Assange was almost gleeful about giving the US a black eye. He's profited from this enormously, all the while doing his level best to cause as much harm as he can. So why he is still treated like a saint is beyond me.
What is abundantly clear from the 15-6 (referring to the regulation that covers this type of investigation) from both 1st Air Cav Brigade, and 2nd Brigade 2nd Infantry Division, is that they questioned everyone that played a major role. They did not question Ryan Searls in the 2-2 investigation, they questioned me, but it was to ascertain treatment protocols and to see if any stone is left unturned. Searles, would not doubt have been questioned as well, but it is my belief that the investigating officer at that point was satisfied we did our medical duty. Had Ethan McCord played a critical role, or had he seen something that was vitally important to the investigation, some evidence that he as a non-NCO, and non-Officer, and really only a minor player in, he would have been grilled. Had any evidence been found of actual War Crimes as defined by the Geneva Conventions you can bet the investigating authority would have been a LOT higher.
As I have stated time and again, the Van was engaged because, for the time and place, it seemed like a threat. This may seem strange to you, but you have to realize that Ambulances were being used as VBIEDs (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devises) Mosques were being used as torture houses and weapons Cashes. To say the threats were fluid is a bit of an understatement. Even kids coming up and asking for candy was (at one point) and extreme threat, because fathers would strap bombs to their kids (especially the retarded ones) and blow them up when they got near soldiers.
At the time it looked like they came as if summoned, and it looked as if they were removing evidence, or something along those lines. They very well could have been doing just that. We will never know, and the children have (thankfully) been left alone. I think the last thing they need is to be pestered endlessly by Reporters or activists trying to get a scoop about wonton violence of the American Soldier, but I have no doubt that if this becomes enough of an issue some yahoo without scrupuls will track them down, force them to relive their story (tears and all), and then gleefully do a victory lap.
I find no joy in this whole affair, there is nothing here that proves that US troops were anything but professionals under a lot of stress doing the best damn job they can. Keep in mind that in WWII, despite claims that the Nordon Bomb-sight could drop bombs "right in the pickle barrel" in reality the accuracy was on the best days about 35%, but more often it was much lower. The reason the bomber formations were so massive is that they required mass, an overall weight of bombs to accomplish their task. Had this engagement happened say in 1944, you might be talking about a whole neighborhood disappearing, and in light of the threats of 1944, that would have been perfectly acceptable.
The God-like view offered by the AH-64-D, gives a lot of people the idea that they can realistically put themselves in that seat and make the "right" decision. This of course is absent the stress, and fear (for one's comrades on the ground) that would have been present. Play Call of Duty again some time. See if you can spot any civilians in the levels where you play as the AC-130. I would be willing to bet two things 1). either they're not in the game at all or 2). even if they were you couldn't pick them out, without someone pointing it out to you. Here's a thought try watching the video one time. Watch it real time. Bare in mind all the facts I've just laid out, and while your at it see if a friend has an Epi-pen, shoot yourself up with that wait 30 mins then watch it. Chances are by that point you're feeling generally the same level of adrenalin the pilots that day were. See if in that mindset you would make the same call.
I would be willing to bet, and I'd bet my beautiful Stang on this, that if half the people who call this a "war crime" were placed on the ground with that level of threat, they'd not only call for fire, but demand disproportionate amounts of fire. The investigations if anything show how restrained the troops were. When the Apaches saw Noor-Eldeen poking around the corner, they COULD HAVE ENGAGED RIGHT THEN. They certainly felt the threat was extreme. They waited to get a clear shot. This is not the act of brutal thugs. Keep in mind they could have killed Noor-Eldeen about three times before they got permission to fire. Given the time, given the circumstances, I believe that the Soldiers on the Ground and in the Air did their duty to the best of their ability. They did it in a professional manner, and I still can not fault Crazyhorse 1-8 or 1-9 for what they did that day.