[Marxism] Friendly fire (amazing)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 6 07:39:01 MST 2007


Cockpit shock dispels Top Gun myth
By Peter Walker 01:01pm

It is the silence that is most telling. After 11 minutes of near-constant 
chat, the two US pilots learn that the convoy they have just attacked was 
most likely a line of British light tanks.

One of the A-10 pilots asks a controller on the ground for news on the 
convoy's crew. Eventually he gets a reply: "We are getting an initial brief 
that there was one killed and one wounded, over."

The tape goes quiet. The silence lasts only seven seconds, but feels like 
an age. "Copy," says the pilot. Another nine seconds pass. "I'm going to be 
sick," he says.

Thus, according to a cockpit videotape of the incident in southern Iraq in 
March 2003, did the pilots learn they had killed a British soldier, Lance 
Corporal Matty Hull.

The tape - which L/Cpl Hull's family have been fighting to have released 
publicly - was leaked to The Sun, which has placed a full transcript and 
the video on its website. 

US authorities have been extremely reluctant to allow the tape to be played 
at the ongoing inquest into L/Cpl Hull's death, and in some ways you can 
understand why.

The pilots clearly see orange panels on top of the vehicles, an indicator 
of coalition troops, but attack when ground controllers say there are no 
friendly forces nearby.

But at the same time, the video gives little sign that the unnamed pilots, 
believed to be reservists with no previous combat experience, are the 
gung-ho would-be Top Guns of popular myth.

There is some unpleasant triumphalism after the attack. "It looks like he 
is hauling ass," laughs the pilot who fired on the convoy as he watches a 
soldier pulling a wounded comrade free.

But the shock when the pilots realise who they have hit seems deep and 
genuine. Both curse repeatedly, while one appears to weep.

Most of all, the tape shows that the start of the Iraq invasion was marked 
by confusion and occasional incompetence. But this was already well known. 
So why try to keep it hidden?



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