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Military Investigation Matches What Is Seen On Baghdad Strike Tape

1:40 PM, Apr 7, 2010 • By BILL ROGGIO
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...Crazyhorse 18's copilot/gunner (lead aircraft - front seat) perceived an escalation of the immediate threat to our ground troops after observing an individual peering around a building, preparing to fire an RPG at a friendly HMMWV positioned at the end of the block. Crazyhorse 18's pilot (lead aircraft - back seat) viewed the copilot/gunner's TADS imagery and confirmed his assessment after quickly looking outside the aircraft and acquiring the threat without optics.

If you watch that video again, you'll hear a direct reference to the ground element. At 3:05 in the full video, here, you'll hear a member of the Apache crew identify the ground element:

I see your element, uh, got about four Humvees, uh, out along...

And then later one of the Apache crew asks what appears to be the ground element commander for permission to engage, and is given permission. The ground commander responds:

Roger that. Uh, we have no personnel east of our position.

This all matches with the initial report on the incident in the Washington Post:

The intensive six-hour operation began at 6 a.m., when 240 U.S. soldiers in 65 Humvees, several Bradley Fighting Vehicles and two Apache attack helicopters descended on the al-Amin neighborhood, along with a dozen Iraqi troops, in response to increasing attacks on American soldiers by members of the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Finally, in the findings section of the report, the investigators concluded that the Apache crews acted appropriately and followed the rules of engagement.

As the situation developed, the AWT exercised sound judgment and discrimination during attempts to acquire insurgents, or moreover, to identify personnel engaged in hostile or threatening activities against our brothers on the ground.

Now the military's investigation and findings can be dismissed as a cover-up, as some have done, but from what we can see from the video, the description provided in the investigation matches what you see on the Apache gun camera video. It would be interesting to see if other video exists of the firefight that preceded the Apache strike (perhaps from other unarmed UAVs). But given that CENTCOM is unsure it can even recover the Apache videotape to match it with the WikiLeaks tape, the odds of it coming to light are slim. 

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