A ground soldier, who arrived on the scene just after the “collateral murder” incident had taken place has been interviewed (see the WikiLeaks video here). It turns out the “insurgents” were indeed carrying AK-47′s and an RPG, so it can be argued that an attack was justified according to the rules of engagement. However, the attack on the rescue van becomes even more gruesome after this personal account and the way in which the U.S. Army intimidated this soldier is also very disturbing. Here is the graphic description of the horrible scene he encountered:
DR: At the time you arrived on the scene, you didn’t know what had happened, is that right?
EM: Right. We were engaged in our own conflict roughly about three or four blocks away. We heard the gunships open up. [Then] we were just told … to move to this [other] location. It was pretty much a shock when we got there to see what had happened, the carnage and everything else.
DR: But you had been in combat before. It shouldn’t have surprised you what you saw.
EM: I have never seen anybody being shot by a 30-millimeter round before. It didn’t seem real, in the sense that it didn’t look like human beings. They were destroyed.
DR: Was anyone moving when you got there other than the two children?
EM: There were approximately two to three other people who were moving who were still somewhat alive, and the medics were attending to them.
DR: The first thing you saw was the little girl in the van. She had a stomach wound?
EM: She had a stomach wound and she had glass in her eyes and in her hair. She was crying. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I went to the van immediately, because I could hear her crying. It wasn’t like a cry of pain really. It was more of a child who was frightened out of her mind. And the next thing I saw was the boy. … He was kind of sitting on the floorboard of the van, but with his head laying on the bench seat in the front. And then the father, who I’m assuming was the father, in the driver’s seat slumped over on his side. Just from looking into the van, and the amount of blood that was on the boy and the father, I immediately figured they were dead.
Then I got yelled at by my platoon leader that I needed to stop trying to save these mf’n kids and go pull security. … I was told to go pull security on a rooftop. When we were on that roof, we were still taking fire. There were some people taking pot shots, sniper shots, at us on the rooftop. We were probably there on the roof for another four to five hours.
DR: How much sniper fire were you getting?
EM: It was random sporadic spurts. I did see a guy … moving from a rooftop from one position to another with an AK-47, who was firing at us. He was shot and killed.
After the incident, we went back to the FOB [forward operating base] and that’s when I was in my room. I had blood all down the front of me from the children. I was trying to wash it off in my room. I was pretty distraught over the whole situation with the children. So I went to a sergeant and asked to see [the mental health person], because I was having a hard time dealing with it. I was called a pussy and that I needed to suck it up and a lot of other horrible things. I was also told that there would be repercussions if I was to go to mental health.
DR: What did you understand that to mean?
EM: I would be smoked. Smoked is basically like you’re doing pushups a lot, you’re doing sit-ups … crunches and flutter kicks. They’re smoking you, they’re making you tired. I was told that I needed to get the sand out of my vagina. … So I just sucked it up nd tried to move on with everything.
Read more on Wired.
The reason I want to move depicted in a nice chart.
From Flowing Data.
Check out the Awkward Family Photos blog:
Other highlights are the final frontier, eye contact and this very warm invitation letter for a Thanksgiving party. They also have a new book out.
Says William Saletan on Slate.com:
Sarah Palin thinks Barack Obama is a wimp. She’s been going around to Tea Party rallies, invoking the spirit of revolutionary Boston and castigating Obama for failing to exalt American power and punish our adversaries. She seems blissfully unaware that the imperial arrogance she’s preaching isn’t how the American founders behaved. It’s how the British behaved, and why they lost. Palin represents everything the original Tea Party was against.
Last week, at a tax-day rally in Boston, she resumed her attack. Tea Party activists “will never apologize for being American,” she snarked. Our military power is “a force for good throughout this world, and that is nothing to apologize for.” She even implied a divine right to fossil fuel. “God knows we have the resources,” she told the crowd. “He created them for our use right here in America.”
On Dec. 16, 1773, colonial dissidents famously protested British taxation without representation by dumping shiploads of tea into Boston Harbor. According to John C. Miller’s Origins of the American Revolution, British hawks responded exactly as Palin now recommends: by focusing on ego, power, and dominance. They called the Tea Party a “wanton and unprovoked insult” and proposed “to blow the town of Boston about the ears of its inhabitants.” King George III declared, “We must master them or totally leave them to themselves and treat them as Alien.”
The British hawks, like Palin, saw self-restraint as wimpy and dangerous. If Britain retreated from the tax policies that had provoked the Tea Party, they warned, the colonists would take this as “Proofs of our Weakness, Disunion and Timidity.” Miller writes, “Few Englishmen believed that the mother country could retain its sovereignty if it retreated in the face of such outrage: it was now said upon every side that the colonists must be chastised into submission.”
So rather than apologize or reach out, Britain flaunted its dominance and power. It imposed military rule in Massachusetts and shut down the port of Boston, thinking that this would divide the colonies and starve the insurgents into submission. Instead, Miller writes, the crackdown made Bostonians, in the eyes of the other colonies, “martyrs to American liberty.” The colonies united, and Britain was defeated.
That’s how all the natural resources of this land—the ones Palin thinks God created “for our use right here in America”—ended up being American rather than British. There was no America, as a nation, until Britain foolishly behaved as Palin now wants America to behave. Her advice is a prescription for superpower suicide. If she understood the Boston Tea Party as more than a slogan, she’d know that.
This is another example of the weak historical justification of the modern Tea Party movement. It is not as ridiculous however as the rise of the new Dutch Tea Party movement. What are the historical grounds for that?
Wow. Some beekeeper tries to see what happens if you put a glass jar on top of one of the holes in a beehive. The result:
See the entire photo series here.
The Daily Telegraph:
Hardcore fans of The Beatles legend John Lennon uncovered where in the grounds of his Surrey, southern England, home he hid his stash of LSD more than 40 years ago.
Builders digging up the lawn of his old house, Kenwood, came across the remains of a leather holdall containing several large broken glass bottles, The Sun reports.
Legend has it that Lennon buried a large quantity of the drug in his garden in 1967 when The Beatles declared they had given up drugs in favour of transcendental meditation.
But when the band returned from India, John decided he had been a bit hasty and tried to dig it up - but never found it.
Now fans are convinced these bottles contained the missing treasure - though they will never know for sure as the one bottle found intact had a cracked cork, so it was empty.
This, I think, is interesting. You might see the Tea Partiers as a bunch of Sarah Palin supporters, thereby equating their views by default with those of her, but the reality is more complex. According to a Politico poll, Tea Partiers are ideologically split between the libertarianism of Ron Paul, and the traditionalist conservatism of Palin. And overall, they seem to care more about what they perceive as the economic intrusions of the government, than about moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Although the average view of Tea Partiers on these matters is, of course, still ridiculously conservative.
Tea party activists are divided roughly into two camps, according to a new POLITICO/TargetPoint poll: one that’s libertarian-minded and largely indifferent to hot-button values issues and another that’s culturally conservative and equally concerned about social and fiscal issues.
The results, however, suggest a distinct fault line that runs through the tea party activist base, characterized by two wings led by the politicians who ranked highest when respondents were asked who “best exemplifies the goals of the tea party movement” — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former GOP presidential candidate.
Palin, who topped the list with 15 percent, speaks for the 43 percent of those polled expressing the distinctly conservative view that government does too much, while also saying that it needs to promote traditional values.
Paul’s thinking is reflected by an almost identical 42 percent who said government does too much but should not try to promote any particular set of values — the hallmarks of libertarians. He came in second to Palin with 12 percent.
Asked to rate their level of anger about 22 issues on a scale of one (not angry at all) to five (extremely angry), the issue that drew the most anger: the growing national debt. The least: courts granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Twenty-four percent said they’re “not at all” upset about gay marriage.
While 73 percent are extremely angry about government intrusion into personal lives, only 48 percent express the same sentiment about “the moral direction of the country.” For instance, only 50 percent of the tea partiers overall said they’re extremely angry about the number of abortions performed each year (16th of 22). That’s less than the proportion extremely angry about bailouts, earmarks and frivolous lawsuits.
Specifically, 51 percent of tea party activists say “government should not promote any particular set of values,” while 46 percent said “government should promote traditional family values in our society.” Compare this to national Gallup Polls, which recently found 67 percent of self-identified Republicans think government should promote such values