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May 25, 2006

H&I Fires* 25 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Let's start with a little moment of Gunner Zen. Click here. -The Armorer


OMFG, too funny for words! Your Air Force in Action! "Glad I already had that one concussion..." Kudos to all concerned for a professional demeanor, however. I suspect that Guidon Bearer had a rough rest of the day... -The Armorer


I have a comment... For every story like that one there are dozens like this one, which won't make the MSM because it just isn't news to them. American troops saving people in the middle of a firefight isn't news because it's... normal? Whereas, American troops possibly shooting noncombatants *is* abnormal...

Coalition Forces Save Abandoned Boy

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces saved a young boy from imminent danger during significant fighting that resulted in the deaths of over 25 terrorists May 14th in Yusifiyah. In one incident during the course of the hours-long operation, several terrorists abandoned a two-year-old boy in an attempt to save themselves.

Upon initiating the attack, the troops immediately killed two terrorists in response to hostile activity emanating from a suspected safe house and an associated vehicle.

Only trying to preserve their own lives, escaping terrorists literally threw a toddler inside a vehicle near a burning van filled with ammunition and anti-aircraft rockets (the safe house and vehicle were previously struck by Coalition forces to neutralize the threat). The troops made the choice to save the child in lieu of pursuing the terrorists, rescuing the boy just before the rockets exploded.
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The troops took custody of the two-year-old and provided him security for almost an hour before they could safely return him to his mother. The boy and his mother were residing in a nearby safe house from where the terrorists originally fled and had abandoned other women and children.

Coalition forces previously reported that three females - one child, one teenager, and one adult - were injured in the initial raid; the youngest only required on-site treatment, the two older females were medically evacuated. As troops transported the two injured females and an unharmed maternal escort to the hospital, the terrorists attempted to shoot down the departing medical sortie (there was no red cross, the helicopter was being used as a medical evacuation transport to expedite care).

The pilots averted the small arms fire and safely delivered the two injured females and their escort the 10th CSH where the wounded were provided further treatment. Both females received additional medical care and were released from the hospital May 15th.

Just sayin'. Story came from the CENTCOM website.

Additional info here. Cross-posted by the Armorer at Milblogs. -Kat.

Sgt. Elijah Allen is one of the many milbloggers I met at the DC Conference who will remain in my mind and heart for many years to come. As a wounded Soldier, and recipient of a Valour-IT laptop, I was thrilled and honored to meet him. He's got an early Memorial Day post up that you should all read. Once you do, you'll understand why I stand here before you, John, Bill, Dusty, Sanger, Sgt. B, 1SG Keith, Jon, Lex and the many others I am forgetting, and simply say... Thank You. ~AFSis


Hot Air covers two different governments dealing with the press

Howard Fineman worships at the altar of Gore. I don't care for Al Gore either way, but this seems to me like just a little too much lovin' - FbL


Hit and run journalism. Under the headline, "Marine Corps to Probe Civilian Deaths," we learn that General Hagee fears "that some Marines could become 'indifferent to the loss of a human life.'" I don't know about you, but I heard the whisper "cold-blooded killers" in that opening paragraph.

In the fourth paragraph we finally get the "Indifferent to human life" phrase in context:

Many of our Marines have been involved in life or death combat or have witnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and the effects of these events can be numbing," Hagee wrote. "There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves.

Ah, I see. Instead of mechanistic killers trained for a horrible task "getting off their leash," it's a matter of hearts of flesh in danger of being hardened by horrifying experiences. To my mind, that casts warfighters in a very different light. But I'm not saying anything the readers here don't already know.

Overall not a bad article, considering what it could be. But then we get to the second-to-last paragraph:

On May 17, Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., a decorated former Marine, said...that U.S. troops killed innocent women and children "in cold blood." He said that nearly twice as many people were killed than first reported, maintaining that U.S. forces are "overstretched and overstressed" by the war in Iraq.
Maybe it's a sublte connection, but I see an attempted tie between the opening phrase of "indifferent to loss of human life" and "in cold blood." To say that leadership is (rightly) concerned that the horrors of battle not numb the combatants to their sense of honor and morality is a whole different ball of wax from calling those same combatants cold-blooded killers. And with the attendant connotations of that last phrase that would smear warfighters as a whole, I fear ex-Marine Murtha is going to be with us for a long, long time. Hey, Murtha! Thanks for handing our enemies within another club with which to beat our armed forces.

Update: General Hagee's full statement can be found here. - FbL

*A term of art from the artillery. Harassment and Interdiction Fires.

Back in the day, when you could just kill people and break things without a note from a lawyer, they were pre-planned, but to the enemy, random, fires at known gathering points, road junctions, Main Supply Routes, assembly areas, etc - to keep the bad guy nervous that the world around him might start exploding at any minute.

Not really relevant to today's operating environment, right? But, it *is*

The UAVs we fly over Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for targets of opportunity are a form of H&I fires, if you really want to parse it finely. We just have better sensors and fire control now.

I call the post that because it's random things posted by me and people I've given posting privileges to that particular topic. It's also an open trackback, so if (Don Surber uses it this way a lot) someone has a post they're proud of, but it really isn't either Castle kind of stuff, or topical to a particular post, I've basically given blanket permission to use that post for that purpose. Another term of art that might be appropriate is "Free Fire Zone".

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