RANGER AGAINST WAR: Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue <

Friday, September 19, 2008

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue

Somebody Broke Your Wings,
Little Bird -- You Can't Fly.

Somebody Broke Your Wings --

Beat 'Em Down, Beat 'Em Down,

--Broken Wings
, John Mayall

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

, The Beatles

I'm like a bird, I'll only fly away
I don't know where my soul is
I don't know where my home is
--I'm like a Bird, Nelly Furtado


A story carried in the Portland Press Herald (Maine) a few days ago did not get MSM coverage, but it is tragic and indicative of the insoluble madness that is the current U.S. wars. That some well-meaning people take this as a good thing is also sad. There is nothing good about this story.

Noora Afif Abdulhameed, 6, whose skull was "shattered by a U.S. sniper's bullet" in October 2006, will soon be undergoing gratis neurosurgery in Portland. Her father was also shot in the jaw while the family was driving together in Heet, Iraq.

Ranger was bothered by the story since it is hard to shoot a little girl in the head after lining her up in the crosshairs of a 9 power sniper scope and not notice that it was a little girl.

Democracy is messy, but not so much as a bullet into a little girl's brain housing group. Yes, we must fight them there as we certainly don't want our dear offspring being shot on the street by terrorists here. Forget the fact that this has never occurred. Maybe to be a "terrorist" is defined by what side of the scope you are on.

After Noora's skull was rent by a high-velocity round, she has made it to Portland with the help of the non-profit group No More Victims that brings war-injured Iraqi children to the United States for medical treatment. Treatment that will never return her to normal, and for what?

Group founder Cole Miller said, "It's a sweet moment, huh?" when Noora arrived in July (Noora's Journey). But does anybody really believe this is a feel-good story? Do we expect her family will be grateful for the medical treatment?

In a generous gesture, "Madison Hurley, 5, of Portland gave Noora a bouquet of balloons -- one of which looked like a U.S. flag -- tied with colorful ribbons." Not to utterly dismiss the efforts of these good-minded people, but does anyone see the absurdity here?

Several southern Maine communities held fund-raising events for Noora, and Miller said "such community-based efforts could help combat terrorism by showing the world that ordinary Americans care about what's going on in other countries." Huh? The only terrorism exhibited here is that wrought upon the Iraqi populace by an uninvited occupier.

It is an irresponsible act to place U.S. combat soldiers as traffic cops when the soldiers are improperly trained and temperamentally ill-suited for the mission. Ranger can not blame a scared young man for being trigger-happy, but he can question the occupation of a nation that never aggressed upon our Homeland.

Yes, Noora's head needs to be repaired, and it is fortunate for her that a group of small-town Americans has banded together to sell spaghetti dinners and sell grocery bags to get her here. But the real story every time is the insanity of the war.

People focus on the small things because it is something they can do. But the small things they do, like sending ditty bags to soldiers and knitting quilts, too often ends up being a glorification and a de facto furtherance of the wars. Groups such as No More Victims and Doctors Without Borders do a just work, but their stock in trade is the brutality of war.

That much conviction must be applied to effecting the cessation of the violence, as is applied to treating the victims and the fighters.

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Anonymous In prison they call me "Fish" said...

I am a connoisseur of President Bush's factual contradictions.

Here, check this out.

1) U.S. is fighting insurgents in Iraq to foster a stable, democratically-elected government there, one that will serve as a model for further democratization in the Middle East.

2) U.S. is fighting terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them at home in America.

3) U.S. is still fighting in Iraq because it is our obligation to finish the job, since we were the country that made demanded and executed regime change there.

All three are mutually exclusive. If Iraq is to be democratic, it must be stabilized against anarchy (#1). This is impossible if U.S. is always using Iraq as a proxy battlefield (i.e. anarchic cesspool) to draw off and fight the terrorists. And THAT is impossible if we consider it our responsibility to stay in Iraq until what? Until all the terrorists, whom Bush has in #2 clearly stated WE WANT IN IRAQ, are defeated. #3, a supposedly sacred obligation to stay in Iraq until such time as we have discharged our blood-debt, conflicts with the vision of Iraq as proxy killing-jar for terrorists, and with Iraq as model democracy...since the very presence of foreign troops under arms in a sovereign nation means that Iraq is at that time NOT a model democracy.

But remember that the human brain has trouble with paradoxes, so insisting on the necessity of reconciling three different mutually exclusive motivations for the war is the biggest mindfuck since Moses got the Ten Commandments from God and then went on to enumerate hundreds of other follow-up commandments of his own like "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

I say thou shalt not suffer a Bush to live. God told me that as a voice from from a burning shrub.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 9:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Rick98c said...


You seem to be unaware of the fact that Americans are incapable of being war criminals. It's in our very nature as the "good guys." That little girl must have looked mighty suspicious... probably looked like an Iraqi or something.

And yes, the absurdity of the situation and the depth of lack of understanding on the part of these oterwise good-hearted people is nothing short of stunning.

It's great that they are helping her, but the level of criminal intent in shooting a little girl in the head needs to be addressed. It's a far cry from our usual killing of innocent civilians by dropping bombs on them, which we've always figured was ok as long as it was us doing it.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 10:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i cannot fathom a soldier who would take that shot. not. at. all.

given the modern optics there is no way i can imagine somebody not knowing that this was a little girl.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 10:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


That is why I wrote this. We both know what the world looks like through a sniper scope.

There must be layers of security. This vehicle should not have drawn fire, if there were proper inner and outer security.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 10:32:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


From my knowledge of military ops, this shooting violates the rules of engagement, since the target was not clearly identified.

But of course, this four-year-old girl could have been a cleverly disguised terrorist, or even an Iraqi, like you say.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 10:35:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys the Bitter said...

I often find a "ritual" component to the feel good news stories...and the actions like bringing this broken child here to effect at least a cosmetic repair. It reminds me of old mythological bits wherein a "glamour" is created by some sorceress like Circe; and then I think...well, yes, that is precisely what is going on. Such actions put the "glamour" and the glory back in war....to distract us from the horror. I'm tired of red, white, and blue bullshit.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 11:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous fnord said...

ranger: I would like to make a distinction between organizations such as No More Victims and Doctors without borders. DWB do their work in places where the media doesnt bother to report, they are fiercly anti-nationalistic and save lives because of their hippocratic oath with neutrality as their central principle. No More Victims, laudable as they are (bless them) are doing damage-limitation on behalf of the nation doing the damage, and so are a partisan force. Theres a principal difference between being neutral and being commited.

P.S. Is the Hruska in charge of the USS Stiletto part of the family? http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/09/stiletto-vs-dru.html

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 1:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

My suspicion is that the sniper pulled the trigger because he could. MB mentioned how some people break in combat and become unable to function. Some people break the other way, that's all.

As for the atrocity which lead to this, the continuing atrocity, I cannot comment further without breaking out into language which Ranger and MB likely are quite familiar with but which is not appropriate for a public blog...

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 3:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


It's quite hard for me not to swear also, but as you say, to give in to that temptation is to distract from our message.

I use those epithets only in the most dire circumstances, though it is hard to imagine one more dire.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 6:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Sherry said...

ah god, why do we do this. we as in the human race, we as in the u.s. we, oh god.just sick.

just damn sick.

and what about that solider?
what will he have to try to live with when and if he makes it back?

what about his family, how will they cope?

like a deadly ripple in a toxic pond.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 6:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Doctors Without Borders is indeed a noble and unaffiliated organization which operates in the least savory portions of the world to little fanfare.

No More Victims is a homegrown, nonpartisan effort, anti-militaristic in nature and dedicated to bringing kids wounded in the Iraq war to the States for treatment. We would never have known about them had we not been passing through the Portland area. No big papers carried this story.

They are not doing damage limitation for anyone. They get donations from everyone--Ronald McDonald House, the neurosurgeon involved, etc. Our opposition was to the essential fact of the story: Why did/does this continue to happen?

Quite inadvertently, organizations such as this one which do good in this country may be seen as cheerleading or enabling the destructive efforts they seek to tend to. By necessity, to tend to victims is to silently acknowledge and inadvertently sanction the violence. This is unfortunate, and must be recognized, though without them, the few children assisted would be the worse.

Capt. Hruska is not a relative.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 6:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


We feel your desperate feelings,too.

On your thought re. the soldier, if he is a man of compassion, that will be a heavy burden for him to bear. However, I have known men who laugh at such things.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 6:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous CTuttle said...

Aloha, Ranger!

Tragically, the sniper issue has been raised before...

Here's one take...
"Killing by the numbers

In 2007 elite U.S. snipers executed an unarmed Iraqi prisoner in cold blood. Have the insidious tactics that led to atrocities in Vietnam reemerged in Iraq?"

I've seen numerous others too... Btw, although I've never had the opportunity to look through a sniper's scope with 9X res... My 3X res scope would've determined the age and sex too...!

Btw, could you send me an e-mail on your take of the Nation story...? I'd be much obliged! Maybe, I could even coax a post outta ya on it...? 8-)

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 7:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I rogered your earlier transmission, it's just that I'm on the road, and can't take the time now. When I return around 10/10, I'll be happy to send you my thoughts on that Nation piece (or any other you'd like me to do for M & C.)

A 3x scope would've done yeoman's service. In fact, a 1x scope would've done the job. And it was daylight.

At your service,


Friday, September 19, 2008 at 7:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


It is ritualistic, yes. Even though the reality is stone, cold hard, the coverage feels theatrical in its scripted feeling.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 7:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous CTuttle said...

Mahalo, Ranger!

Lima Charlie! I primarily hate to give credence to Ted Sampley and his BS he's been spewing...

I have found a response to the story... Why the Vietnam POW issue will not go away Any input on Streeter's or Schanberg's credibility?

Numerous Nam Vets have told me Sampley's cred is worthless...

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 8:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

"I'm tired of red, white, and blue bullshit." Me, too. Whatever happened to "mom and apple pie"? Guess it went the same place as, "Truth, justice and the American way."

fnord, I agree with Ranger's correction WRT these types of organizations. No matter where they may be based, no matter whether they're "partisan" or not, the fact is they're doing something special for their fellow man (or child). The fact that a lot of Americans can do such things makes me think there may be hope for this nation.

As to how this happened, I've also sighted through scopes of various magnification. This could not have been a righteous shoot. Guess it got written off to "collateral damage."

Ctuttle, as an old Vietnam guy, I have no idea as to whether Sampley, et al, are credible. But, I'm given to musing and it sometimes seems to me as if these attacks might be one just desserts types of things. After all, I'm not aware of Senator McCain ever doing anything to discredit those scurrilous attacks by the "Swiftboaters" on his fellow senator, fellow Navy veteran, another decorated Vietnam guy by the name of Kerry, back in '04.

Could be karma, could be what goes around comes around. Anybody besides me ever wonder why McCain is not routinely surrounded by and vouched for by a bunch of former comrades in arms? Ever wonder why his military records are sealed? Mine are, as are all such records, but I could get them released. Which I would if I were running for office, because of all of the lies on my OERs. You'd elect the guy described in those OERs in a heartbeat. You can't believe how good I was. My wife used to laugh when I showed 'em to her.

I'd like to see McCain's OERs. I know how to read 'em.

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 8:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Mad Celt said...

"I believe that at every level of society — familial, tribal, national and international — the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities."
(His Holiness The Dalai Lama)

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 9:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous CTuttle said...

Publius, Except for one prick 1Sgt, my NCOER's said I walked on water...!

Considering I did save a few O-3's and O-5's bacon from being fried, literally, and, played an integral role in several units being recognized DoD wide in Unit Readiness...!

However, my wife fully empathizes with yours! ;-)

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 9:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Range--I once read about a lady US soldier who had a similar (to Noora's) head injury. Perhaps if the two hooked up (I don't know how, though)it would speak volumes for peace.

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 7:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

"...and what about that soldier?" -- Sherry

As Erich Maria Remarque wrote in the Prologue to "All Quiet on the Western Front":
"This story is neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war..."

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 7:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

C Tuttle,

Unfortunately I have no input on Streeter/Schanberg.

As for POW's there's historical data that from WW2 to RVN that the US has knowingly left POW's behind and unaccounted for. Well-democracy is messy.


Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 9:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Since McC is the rep of conservative values I'm sure that his OER's will reflect that he talked to God daily.:)

Ref. McC/Kerry et al. I find it most amusing that only conservative Republican party members are the ONLY heroes authorized for adoration in Amerika.

I believe the soldier in question here panicked and fired a quik burst to stop what he viewed as an approaching suicide bomber in a vehicle.I doubt a scope was used as was reported in the early coverage of this fiasco.It's indeed strange that the MSM NEVER covers these incidents of US pointless violence. jim

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 9:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Rick98c said...

I don't think it's strange at all....totally fu^%ed up, but not strange. To cover such incidents would be considered "unpatriotic" and not "supporting the troops." Besides, that sort of thing really doesn't happen. Stories like this are made up by leftists who hate America.

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 9:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

"I believe the soldier in question here panicked and fired a quick burst to stop what he viewed as an approaching suicide bomber in a vehicle. I doubt a scope was used as was reported in the early coverage of this fiasco."

Thanks for that Ranger. I agree. Not that it makes it right. That does NOT, as Publius says, make it a righteous shoot. But too many here were implying that it was cold blooded attempted murder of a child. The guilt for that is with the Bush cabal. The young soldier who pulled the trigger is more in the vicinity involuntary manslaughter, but I would leave that to better legal minds than my own. His leaders also bear some responsibility as they apparently neglected in properly instructing him in the Rules Of Engagement.

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 12:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Mike, where the pointy tip of the spear hits the highway the only rule of engagement is "do whatever it takes to stay alive." If that requires firing a burst into any car coming at you at high speed, that is what you will do, rules of engagement are for perfumed princes making decrees upon high in that situation.

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 2:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Mike and Badtux,
In my original post I clearly state that I can't fault a young ,scared trooper for firing on a vehicle that is percieved rightly or wrongly as a threat. This is a question of training and experience.

Bad Tux- I don't feel Mike is being too harsh on this soldier. If Iraq were a nation and had sovereignty then this soldier would face civilian charges, without a doubt.I imagine the Iraqis and Afghans are very tired of these oops moments.Soldiers are war fighters and not traffic cops.The twain will never meet./Mike is not a perfumed princess- he's a Marine and he knows of what he speaks. /Both of you are on common ground with different words of agreement. jim

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 3:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

I have no intent of charging the young man or recommending charges for any crime. And I had no intent of criticizing him when I am solely an armchair onlooker. My intent, however badly stated, was to absolve him of some of the comments here that seemed to indicate that he clearly saw and identified the target as a child and took the shot anyway. My apologies for not being more clear.

I believe strongly in Teddy Roosevelt's words about the man in the arena from his 'Citizenship in a Republic' speech which he gave at the Sorbonne in Paris 98 years ago:
"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

All that aside, you are wrong about ROE. They are needed and especially in COIN ops. All modern militaries use them, most good law enforcement agencies use them. The people who do not use them are groups like all Quaeda and the wannabees who are looking for shock value, and gangbangers in American cities that spray bullets indiscriminately, miss the opposing gang member and hit innocent bystanders.

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 7:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

PS - Teddy R was one of the originals - a progressive Republican - too bad that slimesters like Nixon and McCain have twisted the words in that speech.

Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 7:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

"U.S. sniper fired from a rooftop toward the family's car."


Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 7:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Civilian reporters once removed don't know the difference between "rifleman" and "snipers".

The article used the words "soldier" and "sniper" interchangeably. While all snipers are soldiers, not all soldiers are snipers. Hence the ambiguity.

All I would say is, it is possible this was not a sniper, but a spooked soldier. However, all indicators point to this being the action of a sniper. Even though the father and the daughter were both hit, that doesn't rule out just one shot.

Mike, I agree, ROE is a necessity, but we should remember that police and soldiers are two different concepts. Police protect and serve and value all life, including that of the lawbreakers, or so it used to be. Soldiers share no such distinction.

I'm not so sure that I accept the position that al-Qaeda does not have rules of engagement, as they too are fighting a COIN operation, and must be judicious in their use of rifle fire and application of violence.

Heck, even Hezbollah may have ROE. They, too, are fighting COIN and want the target audience to embrace them. They don't even need an FM 3-24.


Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 10:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

I'm also suspicious about the "sniper" identification. If I'm the NCOIC of a checkpoint I'm not going to use a single-shot or semiauto weapon to try and stop what I think may be a car-bomb approaching my position. I'm gonna light it up with my heaviest automatic weapon - hell, if I have a .50cal I'm going to use it - and hope to kill the engine, shoot away the wheels or the transmission or detonate the explosives.

So this is either a jacked-up GI going all mad minute under confused conditions...or, if it WAS a sniper w/ scope rifle, it was a bad shoot.

Bottom line here is Jim's: when you put young soldiers in the middle of a foreign people who have to go about their business of living and then make them fight an enemy who looks and sounds like the civilians all around them?

This isn't a bug. It's a feature.

Which is why this little girl should be the poster girl for all the "COINcentrists" who want to remake the U.S. Army and the USMC into a constabulary for more of these FID/neoimperial missions. 'Cause you like? You're gonna get.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 7:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


It's a fine line between charisma and bullshit; the same line is observed here. It's the reality of Coin v. the theory. I can wear several hats, infantry, SF, Ranger and each sees a different problem and a different solution. As a sniper trained person I can see covering the check point as a failsafe.

But none of that gets us past the bullshit factor. Coin and US policy are just that, and in capital letters. The losers are little people and soldiers.


Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 10:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

RAW: "...we should remember that police and soldiers are two different concepts. Police protect and serve and value all life, including that of the lawbreakers, or so it used to be. Soldiers share no such distinction."

I agree, I do not believe that I implied anything different.

RAW: "I'm not so sure that I accept the position that al-Qaeda does not have rules of engagement, as they too are fighting a COIN operation, and must be judicious in their use of rifle fire and application of violence."

I disagree with you on this one. Although perhaps you are partially right in that they just recently perceived the value of not butchering those they are trying to convert to their cause. Sons of Iraq being a case in point.

Bottom line, in my humble opinion:

1] The shooting of Noora was unintentional. That does not make it right. I believe the guy behind the trigger knows that.

2] The 'No More Victims' group that brought Noora to Portland did a righteous thing. I do not believe it was for propaganda as someone above thought. In the picture you posted of Noora, she appears to be a bright intelligent child. Hopefully she will forgive. My wife's old 'BabyNames' book says that the meaning of Noora is 'The Light' or 'Lightness'.

However, I also believe that many in Iraq or elsewhere in the Mideast will not forget and will use her as propaganda; like we did with Jane McCrea against the Brits; and like the Brits did with Edie Cavell against the Germans

3] ROE = a good thing. Who said: "The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea."? Counterinsurgents should do the same, else you have to shoot them all or go Roman on them as the Chief would say.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 11:36:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Upon review, I see you implied nothing more about the police. Just a clarification for other readers.

I agree about al-Qaeda only late coming to the idea of ROE. The Sons of Iraq may have come over to our side, but we killed more of them than al-Qaeda. We destroyed entire towns, but we did have an ROE, so we are covered on paper.

All insurgent movements wisely swim with the population, per Mao. Che Guevara was killed b/c he didn't. My point is, even al-Qaeda understands this. We have no idea what their internal policies are, all we have is propaganda fed to us by the government.

Much of the killing ascribed to al- Q. in Iraq could be black psy-ops, or criminality or simple turf disputes between tribes. Al-Q. isn't the boogyman.

Bottom line: we agree that Noora will be used by all sides, the shooting may not have been intentional, and ROE are a good thing. If the Iraqi police were doing their job, and we really were nation-building, our soldiers wouldn't have to be shooting civilians for any reason.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 3:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


addenda: our president admits JSOC is awesomely assassinating people in theatre, so how can we know when black ops are responsible or al-Qaeda?

Dead is dead.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 3:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...


The more people involved in a conspiracy means it is harder to cover up. And I do not believe that JSOC or CIA is using suicide bombers.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 7:49:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I agree they are not using suicide bombers, but I'll bet they're using bombers to target individuals.

Woodward's book speaks of JSOC's targeted assassinations. It is a sad day when the U.S. military becomes professional assassins. The people they're killing have not been tried, nor are they military targets; even if they were the Hague convention outlaws the targeting or individuals.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 8:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Bottom line here is Jim's: when you put young soldiers in the middle of a foreign people who have to go about their business of living and then make them fight an enemy who looks and sounds like the civilians all around them?

This isn't a bug. It's a feature.

Indeed, and that was what I was trying to say with my comment on ROE. The ROE vs. reality are two different things, and while you hope that the ROE avoids situations like this, the fact remains that they will happen. They will happen because that's what happens in this sort of "COIN" where you have a foreign soldier in a land where he has no intelligence, doesn't speak the language, no ability in some situations to tell the difference between those trying to kill him and those who are not. You can hand down all sorts of ROE from on high and that will not change the thing. You cannot order that innocents shall not die or be grievously injured in war any more than you can legislate that Pi be exactly 3.0. Reality simply doesn't work that way.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 11:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Bad Tux,

We talk about democracy and add words like COIN and ROE as though that makes the whole thing legitimate, YET the Geneva Conventions don't apply. It's a form of legitimacy without legality or is it the other way around?

What about the 35,000 people in Iraqi prisons under US control? Does ROE or COIN help these people get out of jail? How does one even begin to unwind this mess? If this is democracy then what are the wishes of the Iraqi people?

The gov't is not reliable to reflect this attitude b/c they are not really a gov't; they are the dominant power at the moment.

Monday, September 22, 2008 at 10:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

badtux -

Good comment! As I and many others here have said: "The guilt for that is with the Bush cabal." That may or not be the case for 1st Lt Mike Behenna, see link at:

Monday, September 22, 2008 at 11:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Rick98c said...

ROE or no ROE, scared or not, intentional or not... anybody who shoots a kid in the head is going to be living with the fact for the rest of their life. Unless the shooter is truly evil or an expert in the art of denial and rationalization that is not going to be easy.

Also, if that was your kid I doubt very much that any explanation as to why the shooting occurred is going to hold water.

Let's hope they ramp up the training on when to fire when they are doing these f%$ked up "dwell" missions. Bloody hell..training to occupy the USA.

Monday, September 22, 2008 at 1:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

Ranger, I was going to write a thought, but realized that Mike and Chief beat me too it.

The first suspect in any story is the reporter...sorry to all you msm, but you're human, and you suffer from the same myopia all of us suffer from...our individual perspective based on our experiences.

So here is my view.

The powers that be put a trained soldier, not a cop, but a soldier, on traffic duty.
The difference between a cop and a soldier is this...cops are trained to ask first, shoot second.
Soldiers are trained to shoot first, ask second.
To a cop, the car is suspicious, and therefore needs to be approached cautiously.
"You in the car, stop, pull over, and place your hands on top of your head."
Presumably in a language the driver can understand.
A soldier sees a suspicious car, and he goes full auto on it.
It is in the training, soldiers are soldiers, they are trained to kill. Cops are not soldiers, they are trained to isolate, and interrogate...and if need be, shoot. Escalation of force it's called in law enforcement, moving from the bottom up, in the military, you start from the top down.
This is not to make lite of the girls pain, but to put it in perspective.
Allowing benefit of the doubt, I'm sure the soldier felt sick after determining that it wasn't a car bomb, but rather a family that was confused.

Monday, September 22, 2008 at 3:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Rick 98,

Indeed; looking at this as a parent is a fine way to approach the problem, or as a grandparent;uncle ; aunt ;etc....

The key is always - whose ox is getting gored.It's hard for me to get personally warm and fuzzy but this shooting and the entire PWOT evokes all the negatives in my emotional cupboard. jim

Monday, September 22, 2008 at 4:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I find it hard to give the benefit of the doubt to a bullet travelling at 2700 to 3200 fps.You cannot call it back.Feeling bad about launching it does not cut it; but I acknowledge all your points.

This incident causes schizophrenic response b/c we always give the benefit of the doubt to our soldiers-even in their court martials for murder.When should we in fact quit giving this free pass to the military? This is not a reality show.

Let's add a feature here- this is not only about a girls pain but the pain of an entire society.This micro reflects the macro perfectly.


Monday, September 22, 2008 at 4:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

I think the reason soldiers get the benefit of the doubt is because they didn't order themselves into a situation they're not trained or equipped to deal with. Their superiors did, from the POTUS down.

Much of what we're talking about is that unique American custom of finding someone to blame. The solution to the problem of U.S. soldiers shooting Iraqis is of course clear and simple -- end the war. Talking about who's to blame has nothing to do about that, but it seems that casting blame as an excuse to avoid taking action is the core of the American psyche today. By blaming someone, anyone, for the continued killing in Iraq, we (the U.S. people and its leadership) avoid actually taking action and ending the war.

It is like the failed projects that I have gone into writ large. It is like the whole nation has become one of those failed projects, with everybody more concerned about bickering and blaming each other for the fact that nothing is getting done than in actually moving the project forward. I have turned around such failed projects in the past. Unfortunately, this is one failed project where I can't re-focus everybody on achieving the desired results and fire the people who aren't willing to get with the program of moving the project forward... how can you fire the American people?

Monday, September 22, 2008 at 7:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Bad Tux,

You know my position-I would issue warning/movement orders today-effective tomorrow to bring the troops home. I would end this screw job immediately, if not sooner.

Not giving the soldiers the benefit of the doubt is not the same as assigning blame. It is assigning responsibility for actions. As a leader what could be done in this situation? Whatever is done would be wrong.

A CDR can't say, "Here are the ROE, but you must be vigilant and combat ready and willing to protect yourself and the soldiers around you." But gee you just blasted a little girl. Your bad! If you punish, you lose, and if you ignore it, then you also lose. I honestly don't know what I would do, b/c I'm not there AND I no longer have the correct mind set to play this game.

It does seem that this nation (the U.S.) is a failed project.


Monday, September 22, 2008 at 9:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Timothy H. Warneka said...

Thanks for writing this column. I'm not military and have never looked through the scope of a sniper rifle.

If I understand you correctly, then the shooter either: (1) knew who he was shooting at; or (2) shouldn't have taken the shot.

How very, very sad.

As a mental health professional, I belong to a group that donates therapy time to returning solders and their families ... I often struggle with the thought that I'm somehow supporting this horrific war by quietly helping the victims.

Thanks again for your blog, and your willingness to take an unpopular stance.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 12:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Hi Tim,

First, thanks for your good work with the veterans. The need is surely large.

It is always nice to hear from another Clevelander. As a health care professional, you got my message exactly. There is a great ambivalence here: to help is to enable, in a way. Please feel free to offer your informed observations in the future.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 6:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ann said...

Dear Ranger,

First off, I'd like to thank you for your concern about the civilians of Iraq, and our devastation of their country. Your action by way of your blog, is inspiring.

However, as National Community Coordinator of No More Victims (the organization which brought Noora to Maine), I'd like to clarify our mission. We work to provide medical sponsorships for war-injured Iraqi children by pairing communities across the US with a child, in an effort to educate and advocate for Peace.

We have no intent to be a "feel-good" group, or to make it look like we're "good Americans". We are guilty of what's happening to these children and solely work with children injured by our own forces, as we feel that's where our primary moral responsibility lies. Cole Miller founded NMV in 2002 in anticipation of the invasion, hoping to show Americans the human face of collateral damage. We don't put band-aids on these children and send them home; we hope that our efforts give a voice to the Iraqi civilian, one that is not heard in our mainstream media. The parents of these children want their stories told, and we can only hope that people are listening, caring, and realizing that we are all one human family. We feel that this is the most tangible way to stop US militarism in Iraq, and bring some semblance of Peace to the Iraqi people.

Please see our website at www.nomorevictims.org for more information, and again, thank you so much for what you do.

with peace,

Ann Oliver Cothran
National Community Coordinator
No More Victims

Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 12:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for your post, Ann.

We are indeed one family, and the consequences which ripple out are the profound tragedy of any hostilities. I did not mean to degrade the efforts of your group, which are indeed exceptional. For Noora, you are a lifesaver.

A friend recently told me of the words of visiting theologian to her church: It is good to attack the immediate problem, but it is also necessary to address the governmental actions which have brought you to the point that you have a problem to address.

We are all doing our part to alleviate the suffering. Thank you for clarifying your mission, and we wish both you and the recipients of your efforts only the best.

Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 4:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Lets go one step farther and end US militarism in the world. Iraq is just one arena that is visible. Secret budgets and covert oerations blanket the world.This must stop.
As a former infantry officer it breaks my heart to see wounded beings whether civilian or military.
War is insanity. jim

Friday, October 10, 2008 at 9:56:00 AM GMT-5  

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