Battlepanda: Death by Robot


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Death by Robot

It seems incredible to me that we can leave so much of the killing process to machines.
Several members of the same family, including women and children, have been killed in a US air strike that destroyed their home in northern Iraq.

There was confusion over the number of casualties, but local authorities in the town of Beiji, north of Tikrit, have confirmed at least six dead.

US forces said they acted after seeing three men suspected of planting a roadside bomb enter the house.

The raid has prompted anger among some local political leaders.

US military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Johnson said the men, who ran into the house after digging a hole, were assesed as a threat to civilians and military forces.

"An unmanned aerial vehicle... observed the would-be attackers as they dug a hole following the common pattern of roadside bomb emplacement," he told the AFP news agency.
"The individuals left the road site and were followed from the air to a nearby building. Coalition forces employed precision guided munitions on the structure."

But he did not confirm the number of casualties or whether a roadside bomb has been found.

Local police chief Colonel Sufyan Mustafa said he believed there were no anti-US insurgents present in the house.

"Even if there had been, why didn't they surround the area and detain the terrorists instead?," he told the Reuters news agency.[snip]

Ghadban Nahd Hassan, 56, told AFP that 14 members of his family had been in the house when it was it bombed.

"I was with some friends in a small shop 100m away from the house when I heard the bombing at around 2130 (1830 GMT)," he said.

"I rushed over to see. My house was destroyed and there was smoke everywhere."

So far, the bodies of a nine-year-old boy, an 11-year-old girl, three women and three men have been found in the rubble, police said.

Who signed off on the destruction of this family? Or have we so much trust in our guided missiles and drones that we simplyunleash them to bomb away? There will always be a certain percentage of "collateral damage" when your criteria of determining who is a terrorist is as broad as "people digging random holes".