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Pentagon Monitors War Videos Online 216

jonfr writes "According to the BBC, the Pentagon is monitoring online war videos on YouTube and other webpages." From the article: "There is no specific policy that bans troops from posting graphic material. But troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are hearing the message that they should consider carefully what videos they upload to the web. Sites such as YouTube and Ogrish have hundreds or thousands of clips from soldiers, some set to rock music."
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Pentagon Monitors War Videos Online

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  • by Sixtyten ( 991538 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @06:56PM (#15807972)
    If you have any concerns, just speak into a nearby phone and the NSA will be right with you.
  • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:02PM (#15808001) Homepage Journal
    I just surfed on over to Ogrish.com and found this headline and linked video:

    Army of Ansar Alsunnah Attacks an Iraqi National Guard Recruitment Center
    Friday, July 28 2006


    The Army of Ansar Alsunnah, an Iraqi Insurgency group, released a 19 minute video showing a raid on an Iraqi National Guard Recruitment center. The video shows the group capturing members of the Iraqi center and then executing them on the streets. The video then ends with the militants entering the building and destroying the recruiment center with explosives.


    Wow.
    • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:20PM (#15808360) Homepage Journal
      It's incredible how seedy the dark underbelly of the internet has become. I'm sorry, but the videorecording of such events, and posting them on websites for all the world to see, is truly a new low in the conduct of the human race.
      • by LordSnooty ( 853791 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:58PM (#15808535)
        If they had the technology 100 years ago, they'd be doing it. Perhaps more people would be doing it.
      • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Saturday July 29, 2006 @10:08PM (#15808827)
        It's incredible how seedy the dark underbelly of the internet has become. I'm sorry, but the videorecording of such events, and posting them on websites for all the world to see, is truly a new low in the conduct of the human race.

        I believe that it is not a new low, but rather a new hope for human change.

        The smartbombs blowing up buildings on CNN was supposedly real, but I took from it, "Damn, we are good!" Seeing an internet video of an Apache helicopter crew taking out some Iraqis in cold blood made me say, "Damn, we are bad!" And I see the latter as being more real, honest, and hope for change. The torture stuff such as this [google.com] is a good thing to have this exposed. Compare that to the Google.cn search results for Tiananmen Square vs Google.com's searches is not a good thing.

        I believe that although there are tons of bad stuff coming from the internet, the good vastly outweighs the bad. The amount of information out there and the latency between the event and the vast amounts of coverage for such a thing is absolutely amazing. Even the wacko conspiracy stuff is still a good thing because it at least makes people question what is real vs just taking whatever CNN and Fox or whoever tells us is "news".

        I see the internet as one of the biggest boom to human development since other landmarks. So, Pentagon keep monitoring us, because we are monitoring you too. Oh yeah, and there is more of us than you Pentagon guys.

      • Is whitewashing and censoring the realities of war somehow better? Maybe if people would realize the horrors of war, they wouldn't let their elected puppets rush out and sacrifice the lives of the unprivileged. It is incredible how conformant and toothless the population has become. Enlist and see the "conduct of the human race" or get off your moral high-chair.
      • Yes, but it's what you would expect from a terrorist group. What really shocked me are stories of teens [bbc.co.uk] videoing [bbc.co.uk] their attacks on others and sending it to friends on mobiles. It's apparently pretty common in the UK, so it would not suprise me if it was happening in the U.S. as well.

        Yes, I know teens were beating each other up before (hell, I was once or twice), but I imagine that putting it on video would make things a bit worse in terms of pride and self-esteem.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:06PM (#15808026)
    I used to have a co-worker who had served in Gulf War I a few years earlier. One day for no apparent reason he pulled out snapshots of charred bodies and body parts, which he had taken on the "highway of death", some days after the end of the conflict. I wonder if some soldiers feel a need to help the rest of us understand what it's really like out there, or if it's cathartic for them.

    I don't choose to look at the photos, but in a way I think it's good to de-sanitize war, because it isn't.

    • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:06PM (#15808304) Homepage
      The Iraq War is differs markedly from past wars in one critical aspect: while Washington sends a small minority (i.e., the soldiers) of Americans to Iraq to possibly die, the overwhelming majority of Americans has made no sacrifices whatsoever for this war. During World War II, the entire nation made sacrifices for the war. Yet, during the Iraq War, we Americans are not even paying extra taxes to finance the war. We are simply delaying the payment of the war to future generations.

      The Iraq War has not affected the lives of the majority of Americans.

      Personally, I find such a situation to be gross and atrocious. If we demand that a minority (i.e., the soldiers) of Americans sacrifice their lives for a war, then the rest of America should endure, at a minimum, the sacrifice of paying extra taxes to finance the war. How can I, as an American, support sending another American to die in a foreign land yet refuse to make any sacrifice for the war?

      Since the Iraq War has not affected the lives of the majority of Americans, we Americans unconsciously view the war as a sort of remote thing that is happening "over there". The war becomes even more remote when we do not see the upfront carnage of the war. People in Iraq are bleeding and dying on the streets. Islamic thugs are blowing up the bodies of both Iraqi civilians and British soldiers. Yet, we see none of this carnage. It is out of sight and out of mind for most Americans as we stuff ourselves with hot dogs at the baseball stadium. Life is good, and we do not experience the suffering "over there".

      I firmly agree with exposing the public to as much of the war as possible. I encourage American soldiers to upload as much of the videos of carnage (to YouTube and the like) as possible. We need to, at least, see the suffering to understand what war is.

      I applaud the "News Hour" [pbs.org] for broadcasting all the names and faces of the fallen American soldiers as their names are released by the Pentagon. I also applaud Ted Koppel for devoting an entire episode of "Nightline" in 2004 [cnn.com] to reading the names of the soldiers who had died in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They must not die in obscurity.

      By the way, the prime political supporters of the Iraq War have tried to generate American "support" for the war by sanitizing it -- removing any sacrifice (i.e., delaying paying the cost of the war to future generations) and trying to stop reporters, like Ted Koppel, from broadcasting the names of the fallen soldiers. "Support" generated by such manipulative means does not equate to actual support for the war. If we Americans were forced to pay the actual cost of the war (through higher taxes) and were forced to know the daily carnage in Iraq, then this "support" might evaporate. I daresay that even most neo-conservatives would oppose this Iraq if they were forced to pay for it (through higher taxes).

      If the majority of Americans refuse to genuinely support a war (by paying for the cost of the war and by facing squarely the carnage caused by the war), then we should never send our soldiers to die in that war. I believe that most Americans do not genuinely support the Iraq War.

      • I agree. That's a very profound thought, and I think it's time for all of us to take the high ground in our own right, and not wait for the government to demand that we sacrifice for the war. I think I will start a letter-writing campaign to the men and women over there.

        Yes, I'm serious.

      • My guess is that Bush & Company realize that if they raise taxes there will be far more outcry against the war. If it doesn't cost us anything then moderates can afford to be apathetic - but once it starts costing, everyone takes a side.

        Can't have an infinite war if your country is screaming for your head... remember, the American public cares most about money - if you don't hurt the dollar then 50% of people are fine with you, at least in the short run (4-8 years).

        The thing that mystifies me is that p
      • How can I, as an American, support sending another American to die in a foreign land yet refuse to make any sacrifice for the war?

        Good, bad, or indifferent, all of those guys who went over there and were killed or wounded volunteered for such work, and they should have understood the consequences of such a decision. You and I did not volunteer for such a job. AFAIK, the military tries to filter out people that are not of sound mind or body to take such a job.

        I've talked with such people, and they know the
      • To put it bluntly, I'm glad we are not being forced to make this extra effort. While I give all my moral support to the troops stationed there, because god knows they need it...I do not want to have to play any part in financing this unjust war that has set my country back politically, economically and ethically to a level that will we likely will not recover from in my lifetime.

        I'll do what I can to vote Bush out of office, but part of me fears there will be a day when he will just decide not to leave off

        • I do not want to have to play any part in financing this unjust war


          Unless you are planning to emigrate, or go to jail for tax evasion, I don't see how you can avoid financing it.

      • I applaud the "News Hour" [pbs.org] for broadcasting all the names and faces of the fallen American soldiers as their names are released by the Pentagon.

        Thing is, do they do the normal thing of playing patriotic music, and showing a happy family photo of them in front of a US flag flapping in the wind? That almost makes it look like an honour for them to have died for the US in the war, no matter what the reasoning behind it. The US version of martyrs. Are you saying that's a good thing? I'd say it's p
    • I think you're probably right, and as other posters have pointed out soldiers in the front line often also use black humour to keep themselves sane... but a thought came to my mind - how would you feel if a DVD/ video clip came to light made by Iraqi insurgents which had some sort of funky triumphal music played to shots of US soldiers getting blown up and gunned down, and images of US bodies?

      Would you be happy with that and accept it as a fair outlet for the insurgents need to help explain to people what t
    • [pictures of carnage] I wonder if some soldiers feel a need to help the rest of us understand what it's really like out there, or if it's cathartic for them.

      I think in most cases it is neither. In a war zone soldiers have to desensitize themselves to things that in normal life would be horrifying. I think these photos start out to be just the military war-zone version of vacation pictures. Later, when back in the real world, the pictures, souvenirs, ears, etc. often become things the soldiers regret havi
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:07PM (#15808030)

    I lost significant respect for soldiers the day I found some clips on a military-ish website.

    One was a surveilance helicopter (dunno which one...probably the one with the camera/sensor ball above the rotor) and the video was from a training session. Most of the video, however, was of the crew watching thermal imaging of a couple having sex in the back seat of a convertible. So, if you think your military isn't spying on you as a civilian, you're right- "The Military" isn't, but a bunch of bored 20-somethings in multi-million-dollar toys ARE. And discipline in the military is so lax that apparently that kind of crap is tolerated.

    Second sealed the deal for me. It was video from one of the big cargo-plane gunships in either Iraq or Aghanistan. The video consisted of thermal camera footage of them systematically gunning down people at some sort of small building- almost like a small church, quite possibly a mosque.

    It showed people running for cover and the crew gunning them down, and it went for a good 5-10 minutes. They didn't appear to have any weapons, and were trying to hide behind walls and such (which didn't work since the gunship was circling.) That turned my stomach. However, when I listened more closely to the radio chatter, I wanted to throw up. The gunners and crew were laughing and joking. "Oh, quick, get 'im, there he goes!" "Oh, he thinks he's safe now, ahaha!", "hey, good shot there man! You really got him good!" etc. It was like a video game to them; my portrayal just doesn't do it "justice". There was no hate or malice- just very sickening joy on the part of those watching a video screen and plugging real people with real bullets and shells from miles away up in the sky.

    Talk about video game violence just doesn't compare to the joy these murderers (I don't think the term "soldier" is even appropriate) took in killing other human beings. I feel a twang of guilt after a session of Battlefield 2, but these guys took joy in the real thing.

    • by AIX-Hood ( 682681 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:18PM (#15808071)
      Yeah, this one: http://militaryvideos.net/videos.php?videonum=7 [militaryvideos.net]
    • It's unfortunate that you've allowed your perception of our military to be shaped by some misunderstanding. Many times you don't see insurgents firing back because they generally don't have any idea where the fire is coming from, especially if this is happening at night. It does not mean however, that aerial gunners just go roaming from village to village shooting random people. I assure you our gunners are very disciplined and follow strict ROE. Most of the time those flying in to deliver the Close Air Sup
      • This may be hard for you to accept, but in war people die.

        I don't think he believed otherwise.

        Their language may be crude

        I don't think his problem was with the language.

        I think it was about how they found it fun. The mentality.

        It makes no difference to a dead insurgent, but it do make a difference in the perception of the US army.
        • I think it was about how they found it fun. The mentality. It makes no difference to a dead insurgent, but it do make a difference in the perception of the US army.

          And what would you have them be? Terrified? Emotionless?

          In case you haven't noticed, these guys are at war. Which means they are under a great deal of stress. Probably a greater deal of stress than you or I will ever come to know. Probably a greater adreniline rush than you or I will ever come to know. Their attitudes which you found so crud

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:31PM (#15808686)
        look, "warrior", YOU invaded THEIR nation based on LIES. They are not "insurgents". You are the invader, they fight back against much higher tech and bad odds. YOU are the "bad guys" in this situation.

        And if you can't understand this, you are also a moron. Want a badguy to go depose? How about Mugabe, 1,000 times worse than saddam, not only an evil dude, but can't even keep an economy going? Oh, he doesn't have any oil for the neocons? Or no central location in the middle of all the other oil? You really think oil doesn't have anything to do with this? You dig on mass theft along with murder?

        Get real. Very few people "support" you now. The numbers drop daily. Pretty soon you'll be down below single digit support-it's already lower than during the waning days of the nam war. this is a clue, get it? Because the facts are fact, it's a stupid war based on lies told by professional liars out for mega profits and support for some weird ass armageddon end times prophecy crp. these people who are giving you orders are LOONS and liars.. You got in, took out saddam,swell, now go home, if yuou can. Let them folks sort their own crap out, they don't need your high speed screaming death "help". If they choose to destroy their own nation, so be it, it's THEIR nation, not yours. If they need to split up into three distinct countries, again, so be it. None of your damn business, none whatsoever, and never was. Not a single iraqi was involved in 9-11, even though most of you brainwashed tards seem to think so..

          How would you feel if some coalition decided to move into the US and start wasting people that they called "insurgents" because they dared to resist the invasion? What would you do?
      • It does not mean however, that aerial gunners just go roaming from village to village shooting random people. I assure you our gunners are very disciplined and follow strict ROE. Most of the time those flying in to deliver the Close Air Support (CAS) are radioed in by a platoon or company that's pinned in some position on the ground and require these A-10s or AC-130s to come in and light the bad guys up.

        This really needs to be emphasized. The restrictions on using CAS (over here, at least) are non-trivial

        • People came running out? It sounds like you got a second-rate bomb. Dud?
          • It was a pretty big one, actually. We couldn't believe it--I thought it would be leveled.

            Their construction methods are surprisingly sturdy, considering the materials they have to work with. There is very little wood here, for example--the compound walls are some type of mud which seems to hold up really well against shrapnel and concussion.
      • This may be hard for you to accept, but in war people die. Their language may be crude, but either way I'm sure it makes no difference to the dead insurgent and all the difference in the world to our guys who live to fight another day.

        I think the problem is that you are implicitly assuming that they would not be firing on innocent people. I have heard of slaughters in this war. The killing of women and children. The killing of all "military aged" men in a town. If we had a guarantee that all the people

      • by Shanep ( 68243 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @02:17AM (#15809832) Homepage
        It does not mean however, that aerial gunners just go roaming from village to village shooting random people. I assure you our gunners are very disciplined and follow strict ROE.

        This is laughable. Do you think that every soldier obeys the ROE? I have seen a US soldier fire full auto at almost point blank range, into an unarmed old man who is half lying down in a mosque. In a slow frail manner, he extends his empty hand to the soldier standing over him and then gets a chest full. BTW, the US Army has acknowledged that incident, took the soldier out of action and are "investigating". It happens. Please don't be a tard with rose coloured glasses. We teach soldiers to kill people and to varying degrees dehumanize them for the role and then we're shocked that ROE are broken when these soldiers are high on adrenaline, fear and sometimes the drugs they use to escape the hell of war?

        Have you seen the video they are talking about? I saw it a long while ago and I don't see where ROE or identification of these people even come into it. They keep saying over and over to stay away from the building which is considered to be a mosque, yet gun down people who are in the beginning just casually walking around, oblivious to the threat above. There is no way that any of the gunners can identify that the people they are killing are combatants, let alone armed combatants. The people on the ground AT NO TIME fire at the AC-130 or even appear to be holding or moving weapons at all.

        But don't hit the mosque!!!!

        Please, ROE is to cover the militarys own ass. Remember, as a police friend once told me, "dead men tell no lies".
    • by ubrayj02 ( 513476 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:40PM (#15808184) Homepage Journal
      No offense, but what else do you expect? I assume that you know people who have served in the military. What should a gunship operator be saying as he is gunning someone down? If it were me, I too would have to use a very black sense of humor in order to forget about the reality of having a job as a professional person killer.

      The stupidity, foibles, and miscommunication that exist in our everyday lives also exist in soldiers' everyday lives. When you reflect on it, I believe that you will see that these videos are not so outrageous after all.

      Whether or not they belong on the internet however - that is another question entirely.
    • by Flavio ( 12072 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:43PM (#15808198)
      They didn't appear to have any weapons, and were trying to hide behind walls and such (which didn't work since the gunship was circling.) That turned my stomach.

      Why are you under the impression that war should be fair? That crew is not obligated to give the insurgents a fighting chance -- if they don't have weapons ready, don't know where the fire is coming from and cannot defend themselves -- tough luck!

      This response reminds me of recent comments about Israel's "disproportionate response" to Hezbollah. The whole point of war is to destroy the enemy. War is not an Olympic event!
      • War is not an Olympic event!

        Hey, there's a good idea! It should be!
      • Sure, but assuming (and I will be the first to admit, this is a very, very big assumption) that they knew, without a doubt, that the building had no weapons in it and the people weren't fighting back in any measurable way, they should have taken them prisoner rather than completely obliterating anyone inside.
        • Sure, if there were no weapons and if they had no chance of fighting back, then taking them prisoner would've been the right thing to do. But this is an ideal scenario, because you never have this sort of certainty, and storming the place would most likely result in casualties.
      • This response reminds me of recent comments about Israel's "disproportionate response" to Hezbollah. The whole point of war is to destroy the enemy. War is not an Olympic event!

        A country is allowed to defend itself, but it has to be a proportionate response, otherwise it is a war crime. The Israelis are destroying the entire Lebanon infrastructure with little or no regard for civilian lives. Surely you agree that the Israeli response to Hezbolla capturing prisoners of war is a "disproportionate response

        • A country is allowed to defend itself, but it has to be a proportionate response, otherwise it is a war crime. The Israelis are destroying the entire Lebanon infrastructure with little or no regard for civilian lives. Surely you agree that the Israeli response to Hezbolla capturing prisoners of war is a "disproportionate response".

          It's not so clear to me. Hezbollah created a state within a state, so in effect Lebanon is responsible for Hezbollah's actions. It impresses me that no government official in Leba
        • And surely you must agree that regularly firing rockets across the border towards civilian targets in Israel is acceptable behavior? Sure, Hezbolla is launching a lot more rockets today than in the past, but they have been firing rockets at northern Israel for YEARS. Those abductions were just the final straw.
      • > Why are you under the impression that war should be fair? That crew is not obligated to give the insurgents a fighting chance -- if they don't have weapons ready, don't know where the fire is coming from and cannot defend themselves -- tough luck!
        What gives you the impression that they were actually insurgents? I haven't watched the video yet but the OP gives the impression they may well have been innocent worshippers.

        > This response reminds me of recent comments about Israel's "disproportionate res
        • What gives you the impression that they were actually insurgents? I haven't watched the video yet but the OP gives the impression they may well have been innocent worshippers.

          Considering the quality of the video, automatically assuming this was a mosque is... questionable. Yeah, it doesn't look like a heavily fortified building, but the major characteristic of both Afghanistan & Iraq is that the guys trying to kill the American & British troops don't look look any different from the guys who are

      • by imemyself ( 757318 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @10:13PM (#15808846)
        I don't think most people would have an issue with Israel striking Hezbollah rocket launchers/ammunition. What I (and others too I assume), have a problem with is the hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians that have been killed in Israeli "precision" airstrikes. I also have a problem with Israel destroying infrastructure, preventing civilians from leaving the area.

        None of this excuses Hezbollah's missile attacks on civilians in Israel. Or their holding captured Israeli soldiers as hostages. People like Hezbollah, who attack civilians are scum. Plain and simple.

        It really sickens me that we (the US) are supporting what Israel is doing. Not only because of how many innocent civilians have lost their lives in the past few weeks as a result of Israeli airstrikes, but because I find it really hard to believe that forcing half a million people from their homes, killing a few innocent people along with a few militants/terrorists, and launching ground assaults against that foreign country, are going to solve any problems. Even if Israel destroys Hezbollah, at what cost? How many non-combatants on both sides will have died in the violence? And how many people in Lebanon who didn't previously have hostile feelings towards Israel will be filled with hate and anger because of Israel's response? Violence breeds violence. Hezbollah's kidnappings caused Israeli airstrikes, which caused Hezbollah to start firing more missiles at Israel, which caused more Israeli airstrikes, ad infinitum.

        Atleast Israel has sort of stated what they want to accomplish (drive Hezbollah from southern Lebanon and destroy their unguided rockets and launchers), and that's an OK goal, though maybe a little unrealistic. Hezbollah's (AFAIK atleast) has no real goal - other than inflicting as much pain as possible on Israel and getting them to stop attacking. I guess you could say their goal is to get Israel to exchange prisoners with them, but I think everyone has moved past that now.

        I guess I sound rather anti-Israeli, but I'm really not. Before this conflict, I was probably heavily pro-Israeli, and I still favor Israel. I think both sides in this conflict are rather fscked up, though Israel IMHO still has the "moral highground." It's just that I would have thought that Israel would have been smart enough to realize that this wasn't going to accomplish much by now. They can't stop Hezbollah from launching rockets at them, but they could atleast try to not give Hezbollah any more political ammuntion to recruit more militants with. I will praise Israel for not involving Syria or Iran directly yet. If Iran were to get involved, then I can only imagine how ugly it would get - their border with Iraq, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Persian Gulf could all be threatened.

        What do I think a reasonable response from Israel would have been? I think sending special forces into Lebanon to try and rescue their captured soldiers, and to destroy the Hezbollah unguided rocket/artillery infrastructure would have been a reasonable response. There would be significantly less collateral damage, and they would have had a better chance at rescuing their captured soldiers than they have after weeks of airstrikes. Hezbollah started this conflict, but if Israel hadn't attacked Lebanon as strongly as they did, then maybe the conflict wouldn't have escalated as much as it has.


        PS: Sorry if this comes out as an incoherent ramble, I'm tired from traveling half way across the country today.
        • Violence breeds violence.

          Hasn't WW2 resulted in a relatively lasting peace in Europe?
        • "I don't think most people would have an issue with Israel striking Hezbollah rocket launchers/ammunition. What I (and others too I assume), have a problem with is the hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians that have been killed in Israeli "precision" airstrikes. I also have a problem with Israel destroying infrastructure, preventing civilians from leaving the area."

          Well, then you DO have a problem with Israel striking Hezbollah positions. Groups like this use civilian areas, deliberately to increase body
    • by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:03PM (#15808289) Journal
      Now, I'm not the most pro-militart guy on the planet, and I opposed the war in Iraq (for any number of reasons), but I don't think your reasons are really the most well thought out, nor would I consider most soldiers to be murderers.

      On the first: yeah, this suprises you? The military is mostly young men, and this is the kind of shit they pull on a regular basis. I'm not sure it would even be a misdemeanor, if it was in public and seen from a plane. If anything, the couple was commiting the offence of having sex in public.

      On the second: War is about killing people, and often you do not let the enemy have the oppurtunity to hide or shoot back. What, you wanted them to get down on the ground and have a duel with those people? Talk to my grandpa about the time B-29s burned down his city, he understands that it was part of a war, and he doesn't think Americans were 'evil' for doing it. Not to say that the experience was a good thing, by any means.

      As for the crew treating it as a joke, it's the normal dehumanization of the enemy that happens. Soldiers will get humor out of their situation whenever possible, and not treat it as a grave, somber duty. In that sense, films like Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now were more accurate than the ultra-serious films like Black Hawk Down. It's probobly a coping mechanism, I don't think you could do a job like that if you really felt the weight of every death you cause seriously.
      • Killing is ok, but having sex in public is an offense? Get real, dogs cats birds have sex all the time in public.
        If people do it AT NIGHT , IN A CAR, out of the way of traffic, ITS A GOOD THING, dont get jealous.

        Btw, Americans, ie IBM also helped the nazis with cool new mechanical computers to help find the jews etc.. and organize
        their resources better.

        War is 100% about money, and making shit loads, not some 'do goody fighting for freedom' crap.

        Remember, before all big wars, there is a surge is prosperity,
        • War is 100% about money, and making shit loads, not some 'do goody fighting for freedom' crap.

          And the American Revolution was just about taxes. And World War 2 was just about getting out of the Great Depression.

          Man, some of you people amaze me.

    • You used to have respect for soldiers? I find *that* shocking!
    • I think it is easy for many of us to underestimate the psychological effects and potential trauma war has on its actors. In conflict, in order to survive you have to dehumanize your enemy and it some ways dehumanize your peers. On the battlefield you don't have the luxury to remove yourself from the combat environment.

      War is the lowest stage of human interaction. The effects of war on the human condition are long-lasting and devastating. Even for those who escape physical harm, war can be a mind-crippling e
    • The chopper you refer to is called an Apache longbow. Although the thermal imaging doesn't come from that dome over the rotor. Any camera/thermal imaging is done through another rotating turret under the nose of the chopper at the front. This turret contains a 50 caliber gun as well as some sensors (camera/thermal). It's movement is controlled by where the pilot is looking.

      Although I don't condone what they did, the soldiers looking at some couple having sex didn't just take the chopper up to spy on peo
    • WTF would you do if you had a thermal imaging sensor and saw a couple having sex in a car? Maybe I am a bad human, but I would probably watch and laugh with a few guys. 20 years old laughing at sex... how surprising. Soldiers are still human. They still do stupid shit to entertain themselves.

      As far as turning slaughtering people into a joke, that is a coping mechanism. An order comes in that some Taliban military leaders are meeting at a certain location. You are the gunner who is ordered to take them
      • 20 years old laughing at sex... how surprising. Soldiers are still human. They still do stupid shit to entertain themselves.

        Well, if our soldiers can use a $20 million helicopter to watch people having sex, then I don't see why other government employees (teachers, officeholders, etc) shouldn't be allowed to use their $1000 office PC to watch porn while on the job. After all, they are only human.

        If you are going to have to gun down people (regardless if they truly are villains or not) in cold blood, you mi

        • Well, if our soldiers can use a $20 million helicopter to watch people having sex, then I don't see why other government employees (teachers, officeholders, etc) shouldn't be allowed to use their $1000 office PC to watch porn while on the job. After all, they are only human.

          What makes you think they don't? I am not saying that the soldiers shouldn't be punished, just that I don't think it is a damning revelation to find out that 20 year old kids with thermal imaging devices act like 20 year old kids. The
    • It showed people running for cover and the crew gunning them down, and it went for a good 5-10 minutes. They didn't appear to have any weapons, and were trying to hide behind walls and such (which didn't work since the gunship was circling.)

      Perfectly symmetrical warfare never solved anything.
    • Hang on now. The job of our military is to break things and kill people. That's what war is, that's what we pay them to do. Just because we have a corrupt, incompetent administration that systematically removed every dissenting voice from the military ranks and is misusing our military and military force is no reason to color all our armed forces. The guys on the ground do a hell of a job. And, yes, the gallows humor and callous comments can be disturbing to outsiders, but it's as much a defense mechan
    • Most of the video, however, was of the crew watching thermal imaging of a couple having sex in the back seat of a convertible. So, if you think your military isn't spying on you as a civilian,

      Being in public eliminates most of your rights to privacy. The fact that someone who happens to be employed by the government is trying out their new nightvision gear, and just happens to see people doing something, IS NOT what most people consider "spying".

      It showed people running for cover and the crew gunning them d

  • Typical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mad Quacker ( 3327 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:08PM (#15808033) Homepage
    The problem isn't that it happened - it's that someone dares to post it.

    Now what do we all think of those who fear the truth?
    • What problem? I read the Slashdot story and the BBC article, and saw nobody having a problem, other than that "He said the US Department of Defense would prefer that his website not have such videos."

      It sounds like the Pentagon would "rather they didn't post it," but that's as far as it goes. They have people watching it, but they'd be fools not to watch what people are saying about their activities.

      What, exactly, is the problem that you're talking about? Have I misunderstood you?

    • Maybe they look at the videos to find out if their soldiers are doing something wrong? If the soldiers post it openly, there's no reason their employer should not see what they are taking videos of. If the next Abu-Gharib-like scandal happens, it'd be best if the DoD already knew about it before it hits the New York Times, as then they can be prepared for the inevitable shitstorm. They can announce that they already have the soldiers/ex-soldiers in custody and have started the disciplinary review process
  • by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:10PM (#15808043)
    Holy shit! No wonder the Pentagra^H^Hon is worried, after all, rock music is the tool of the devil, and we can't have that!

    Not having a clear policy doesn't make it any better, and probably worse. There's a line, and if you cross it, you're fucked. But we're not telling you where the line is. The pentagon has certainly learned a lot from FCC, probably thanks to the initiative to bring all government agencies closer together, or something.
    • ...Holy shit! No wonder the Pentagra^H^Hon is worried, after all, rock music is the tool of the devil, and we can't...

      I'm not sure whether you're joking or serious... but you do realize the Pentagon has a sense of humor. I read in one article Psyop troops played the theme from "Team America: World Police" when the troops invaded Fallujah. [sayanythingblog.com] Gramted, a bizarre sense of humor, but a sense of humor.

  • by TheFlyingGoat ( 161967 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:12PM (#15808049) Homepage Journal
    I understand the reason this is in the censorship section is related to videos showing abusive behavior by US troops, but the Pentagon has far better reasons for clamping down on these videos. Just as they censored the embedded news reports during the initial push into Iraq, they should censor some of these videos because they can reveal operational protocol and troop movements, which would make it even easier to inflict damage on our troops.

    Despite what a lot of people want you to believe, most of our troops are good people trying to help establish infrastructure and order in Iraq. It's a small handful of people that are giving the US military a bad image, and those individuals should be exposed and punished for their behavior.

    Everything isn't always black and white... this is definitely one instance where there's a lot of gray area.
    • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:31PM (#15808140) Journal
      It's a small handful of people that are giving the US military a bad image...

      But those people are in Washington.
    • you must be crazy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by misanthrope101 ( 253915 ) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:54PM (#15808249)
      It's a small handful of people that are giving the US military a bad image
      You must have large hands, because far more than five have been indicted already. There are dozens of cases, spanning multiple locations and units. We aren't talking about three or four guys who got a little carried away and were promptly punished by horrified superiors when their excecces were discovered. People have been beaten to death, causes of death forged, bodies hid, and coverups orchestrated by unit commanders and even higher in the chain of command.

      This isn't "the military," but a facet of human nature that we don't want to face. People are more bloodthirsty, and have less decency than we want to believe. If you take a random sampling of people and put them in a situation where extreme violence is normalized, where they are patted on the back after killing a lot of people or using "extreme" tactics to extract information, then latent tendencies tend to flower. We take our moral cues from our environment. These guys were put in a situation where brutal tactics were tacitly sanctioned, where their actions were shrouded in secrecy, where they could beat someone to death and still be considered a patriotic, decent human being, and what the living hell did you think was going to happen?

      Read about Milgram's experiments, or Zimbardo's prison experiment--when given power, when given the chance to hurt someone along with the feeling that they aren't responsible, indifference to suffering, or even outright cruelty, quickly surfaces. I knew about Abu Ghraib before I knew about Abu Ghraib, because I already know that if you put people in that situation, those things will happen. Any country, any time. They were shielded from public scrutiny, pressured to "get results," violence was winked at, and they were told outright by the administration that the Geneva Convention was "quaint and outdated." If you can't predict what's going to happen in that situation, you have your head in the sand. People are nice when their environment expects them to be nice. If you put people in a situation where they can torture someone to death and still be considered a great guy, then a considerable percentage (not all, but enough) will gladly do so, and still sleep well at night. The issue here is not that I dislike Bush or hate the military, only that I acknowledge human fallibility and the darker side of human nature, and I know that people will act in these ways when put in these situations.

      • While I agree with everything you said, in defence of the average soldier on the line the basic training (boot camp) process is basically designed to brainwash people into being indifferent to death and cruelty.

        I don't really decry the use of "conversion tactics" such as this in basic training, because otherwise, you end up with situations like those reported in wwII, where in the heat of conflict 60-75% of soldiers avoided firing their weapons because they are still horrified by the idea of killing another
    • Despite what a lot of people want you to believe, most of our troops are good people trying to help establish infrastructure and order in Iraq.

      I agree. But I think the problem is that the environment we've created in Iraq turns good people bad. Imagine you're an American soldier sent to Iraq: you arrive with the best of intentions, but after weeks and months of trying to help the Iraqi people and seeing things only get worse, of seeing your friends and countless civilians murdered, of not knowing who you

  • This is not a YRO issue. Every soldier knows that they are not allowed to provide information to the "enemy." Sure, it would be great if we could release videos of everything we did, but we dimply can't. There is a very good chance that someone will see it that could use it against other soldiers. Say for instance you send a video showing you introducing the viewers (initially family and friends) to your life at a base in Iraq. During the video you walk around the entire base describing what each build
  • There is no specific policy that bans troops from posting graphic material.

    But they are paying all these people money to monitor what has been posted...? If they are honest in saying that such stuff is not banned what are they doing when they find the next video with U.S. soldiers blowing up Iraqis? Send them threats? Kidnap them, drug them, put them on a plane and fly them to Romania for torture?

    The goverment is used to controlling the media (directly or indirectly) but when faced with blogging and YouT

  • I wonder -- Should soldiers really expect the same rights as far as freedom of speech as other civilians? They are already severely limited in that respect according to the military code of justice. I realize this is about pentagon surveillance (possibly to limit negative propaganda, possibly under the cover of protecting top secret information), but can't they just order them not to post videos? The troops are now "hearing the message". What does that mean? Strong hints along the lines of "if you do t
    • In theory, military members have the same rights as all U.S. citizens. In reality, they willingly limit those rights, because everything is subordinate to the military mission. You can't, for example, use your free speech to call the President an idiot, advocate overthrow of the government, advocate an illegal act, or divulge information that would be harmful to OPSEC. So OPSEC is a valid reason to monitor these videos. Also, the military is keen to protect its squeaky-clean image, and so they can't ha
  • Slashdot needs a "Well, duh!" category.
  • There isn't anything terribly new or sinister sounding about this. They always have, and always will, monitor media coming out of war zones. Soldiers and contractors are informed of this going in, and consent to far more intrusive things. They always have, they always will.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Its better that we see these videos now, than 30 years from now when its too late. Heck yes there will be a backlash.

    I don't know about you, but those napalm bombs being dropped on civilian houses in Vietnam ARE civilian houses... heck, that countryside and houses look just like rural Georgia to me...

    http://websrvr20.audiovideoweb.com/avwebdswebsrvr2 143/news_video/fallujah_ING512K.mov [audiovideoweb.com]

    From ThirdWorldTraveler.com
    http://thirdworldtraveler.com/Book_Excerpts/Book_E xcerpts.html [thirdworldtraveler.com]

    The US military has no busines

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