Friday, March 14, 2008

Rules of Engagement - Part 2

Friday March 14, 9:00AM – 10:45AM

*Note – We are Live Blogging Winter Soldier Friday through Sunday. *You may see more typographical errers errors than usual as we type like @$#!*
*Please bear with us as we get the news out to you*

4:25: Jason Washburn served 3 tours in Iraq - blew up a woman coming up on their patrol who would not stop and they "blew her away" only to find that she had food in her bag which she had been bringing to offer to them. Jason describes physical contact with any Iraqi that got too close. THey once destroyed the bike of a kid who passed through their patrol line, most of the kills were people in cars who were suspected of carrying IEDs. Carried drop weapons or shovels to put on body if they shot someone shot someone accidentally. This was encouraged behind closed doors.
4:35: Jason Wayne Lemieux is a Marine who served 3 tours in Iraq described the rules of engagement as an effort to legitemize a particular war or action. However rules of engagement in Iraq were designed to protect American soldiers at the expense of lives of Iraqi civilians.
Rules of engagement changed as the occupation progressed. In Al Anbar in 2004 the rule finally became that any person on the street was to be considered an enemy combatant. Marines who had served multiple tours had suffered so much psychological trauma that their judgement of who was the enemy deteriorated to shooting obviously innocent civilians. Rules of Engagement had become a device to hid war crimes behind.

The audience is standing and applauding every speaker.
A young marine, Hart Vigas, contrasts the saying "Once a Marine always a Marine" to "Eat the apple; F#$@ the Core" and the audience stands and applauds again.
Hart served in Ramadi. Again his command told soldiers in private to take care of any threat you see and we will deal with it later. he is showing visuals which makes the description of these incidents much more visceral.
Viga's squad also carried drop weapons to cover up mistakes made. The photos show the dehumanization of the enemy.
HArt pointed out that everyone on the panel has these stories and over a million troops have rotated in and out of Iraq. He apologizes for the hate and destruction that He and others have inflicted on innocent people. As long as the war goes on, this will continue.
Logan Laituri - Joined IVAW as a cynic. Was very skeptical of the idea of pulling out our troops. He has changed his mind. Enlisted for college money and commitment to the military. Belonged to 82nd Air Bourne in Kirkuk and as a quick reaction force through out the country. Applied to be a Conscientious Objector. Requested to return to the battle field without a weapon. Released from active duty in 2006.
Sense of occupation is both violation of sovereignty and and attempt on the part of both military leaders and contractors to enrich themselves at others expense.

Tomgram: Michael Schwartz on Iraq as a Killing Ground: "The Real Rules of Engagement in Iraq

This article addresses the use of Air Power on civilians in Iraq

We can gain some perspective on this military strategy by imagining similar rules of engagement for an American police force in some large city. Imagine, for example, a team of criminals in that city fleeing into a nearby apartment building after gunning down a policeman. It would be almost unthinkable for the police to simply call in airships to demolish the structure, killing any people -- helpless hostages, neighbors, or even friends of the perpetrators -- who were with or near them"(though we should not forget the attack on MOVE by Philadelphia police in 1985). In fact, the rules of engagement for the police, even in such a situation of extreme provocation, call for them to "hold their fire" -- if necessary allowing the perpetrators to escape -- if there is a risk of injuring civilians. And this is a reasonable rule... because we value the lives of innocent American citizens over our determination to capture a criminal, even a cop killer.

But in Iraqi cities, our values and priorities are quite differently arranged. The contrast derives from three important principles under which the Iraq war is being fought: that the war should be conducted to absolutely minimize the risk to American troops; that guerrilla fighters should not be allowed to escape if there is any way to capture or kill them; and that Iraqi civilians should not be allowed to harbor or encourage the resistance fighters.

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