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   Undertoad  Monday Dec 17 02:35 PM

12/17: Busted-up Afghan van



It would be a cartoon event: this guy's van was hit by a mortar, which tore it up quite a bit. But it didn't hit any of the drivetrain. So he keeps on driving it, and hey! Why not! He's happy, he's stylin', thumbs up.

The original caption said it was a mini-van, but I can't figure out what make it is, and it's gotta have a rear engine...



dave  Monday Dec 17 02:37 PM

I saw this - was it from MSNBC? I forget. Anyway, I thought it was pretty funny too - said he was off taking a bathroom break or something. Lucky guy and he looks happy enough



alleycat  Monday Dec 17 02:41 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by dhamsaic
I saw this - was it from MSNBC? I forget. Anyway, I thought it was pretty funny too - said he was off taking a bathroom break or something. Lucky guy and he looks happy enough
bathroom break? och... i'd be lookin' pretty happy too.

somehow, it's sort of a charming picture.


dave  Monday Dec 17 03:09 PM

Yep. That's why I was thinking of posting it on Friday. Then the shaved Kangaroo just got to me, and I desisted.



MaggieL  Monday Dec 17 03:34 PM

Maybe I'm too cynical, but I'm having trouble beliving that van was hit by a mortar. The headliner isn't burned...in fact *none* of it shows any signs I see of scorching. It just doesn't *look* like there's been an explosion, it looks more like it was run into the archetypical immovable object at an oblique angle and at about the height of the windowsill....or had an similarly situated but moving object run into it. Like maybe part of a big truck, or a tank or BTU perhaps? Look how the roof is crumpled; that was pushed back, not blown away.

I suppose it's *possible* that they just cleaned it up really nice and replaced the carpet and driver's side door. But somthing is telling me this guy knew he'd get more money for thepicture if he had a good war story to go with the van... "I was taking a leak and a mortar shell hit it, yeah, that sounds good".



ndetroit  Monday Dec 17 05:04 PM

I suppose tho that if it rained, it would wash away all the muck and dust and ash that the seats and whatnot would be covered in from an explosion.


hmmm... unless ... it doesn't rain.... in that desert... never mind.



Whit  Monday Dec 17 05:08 PM

     I've got to agree with MaggieL here. I mean look at the body damage behind the driver door. How would an explosion damage that if it didn't destroy the axle? If I was to guess without any other info I'd say something hit highfront driver side. I realise the angle is limited but how could a mortar possibly do such limited damge across such a wide area? There's even glass farther back above the area the body is buckled. I suppose it's possible but I'm not buying it without a source I trust.



warch  Monday Dec 17 05:12 PM

Maybe it was hit by something hit by a mortar...
Oh well, lets just give him "war torn van". wait...hold it...is that OBL in the back?



MaggieL  Monday Dec 17 05:22 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by warch
Maybe it was hit by something hit by a mortar...
Oh well, lets just give him "war torn van". wait...hold it...is that OBL in the back?
No, it's Bert. :-)

Besides, "war torn van" is something I'd expect to see on the menu of a German-Chinese restauraunt. You, know, "Half an hour later you're hungry for power"?


warch  Monday Dec 17 05:25 PM

Quote:
Besides, "war torn van" is something I'd expect to see on the menu of a German-Chinese
restauraunt. You, know, "Half an hour later you're hungry for power"?
Excellent! I give you rim shot!


dave  Monday Dec 17 05:38 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by warch


Excellent! I give you rim shot!
Uh, ladies... that's pretty gro... oh. Rim shot.


alleycat  Monday Dec 17 06:06 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by MaggieL
Maybe I'm too cynical, but I'm having trouble beliving that van was hit by a mortar. The headliner isn't burned...in fact *none* of it shows any signs I see of scorching. It just doesn't *look* like there's been an explosion, it looks more like it was run into the archetypical immovable object at an oblique angle and at about the height of the windowsill....or had an similarly situated but moving object run into it. Like maybe part of a big truck, or a tank or BTU perhaps? Look how the roof is crumpled; that was pushed back, not blown away.
all good points.

but then again, some shells are duds. (many? anybody know?)

not so much to argue the point, but looking at the damage, i could imagine it being a dud coming in at a fairly shallow angle from driver's side top front and out lower/middle back of the passenger side door.

otherwise, assuming an impact with some stationary object, it's kind of difficult to explain other stuff, including but not limited to:

- why there wouldn't be a major "driver stain" on the driver's seat
- why the passenger side window post is still standing, but everything between it and the driver's side is gone
- why, if that's the case, is the steering wheel and driver's seat undamaged

one finds oneself idly constructing an arbitrarily complex fixed object for it to have hit that explains it all.

but i don't really care... just thought i'd toss out some possibilities, for fun, like. i like the photo anyway.


Undertoad  Monday Dec 17 06:10 PM

Or it could just be my bad memory. The AP caption says he was hit by "an airstrike" which tells us... nothing.



MaggieL  Monday Dec 17 06:53 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by dhamsaic


Uh, ladies... that's pretty gro... oh. Rim shot.
Aww...Dham actually sounds disappointed.

Tell you what, Dham, if she and I get involved, maybe we'll let you...uh...warch.

hee hee hee hee hee

"When Mom and Dad asked little Jimmy what he wanted for Christmas, he said 'I wanna watch'....so they let him."


Joe  Tuesday Dec 18 01:11 PM

I'm for the collision theory

It appears as if the major structures of the van have been pushed back and then down, which would follow from a windshield-level hit.

Civilian passenger vehicle hulls are made out of some very thin-gage metal, good for both fuel economy and crash safety as it crumples well. A hit by a military shell would probably have blown this van back into it's component parts.

There are no flash burns visible (could have been cleaned off, but should have left some permanent marks).

There isn't a single shrapnel puncture visible anywhere on the van. The thin metal skin should at least show some holes from the high-explosive disintegration of the bomb housing.

The floor of the van, and the drivetrain beneath, all seem very much intact, which would follow a collision high on the vehicle, and not a bomb.

I think this guy ran into something and that was all. Some western journalists come by and he makes up this story to see if we'll buy it.


That's my amateur view anyway.



Joe  Tuesday Dec 18 01:14 PM

and one last thing...

The floor of the van is actually pushed UP in the supposed blast area. How does a bomb do that?



modernhamlet  Tuesday Dec 18 03:34 PM

Looks like a...

VW Van.

I love Volkswagens!

peace,

mh



warch  Tuesday Dec 18 03:52 PM

Quote:
The floor of the van is actually pushed UP in the supposed blast area. How does a bomb do
that?
"up and to the left, (indicates with pointer) up and to the left." Thats one magic mortar.

I believe there is a second shooter.


MaggieL  Tuesday Dec 18 09:47 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by warch


I believe there is a second shooter.
Two words: "grassy knoll"


russotto  Wednesday Dec 19 04:19 PM

I think among other things the van rolled onto the passenger side and was righted. Might have been a near miss, might have been a hit with a solid (nonexploding) object, might have been an ordinary collision.



Whit  Wednesday Dec 19 05:09 PM

So, does anyone still believe the mortar story? Just curious.



Griff  Wednesday Dec 19 07:18 PM

The press says magic mortar, I believe magic mortar. Say has that guy got a mustard stain...



Bitman  Wednesday Dec 19 08:50 PM

Given the cause of the wars over there, perhaps greasy knoll is more apt. But thing I'm most curious about is -- is that even his van? For some reason, I get the impression that someone else had the accident; then these guys found the van and drove it away.

Why else would they be lying about the damage? I mean, other than the fact that ramming into a concrete abutment and squishing your passenger can be rather embarrasing.

-B



Undertoad  Friday Dec 21 12:46 AM

I found a picture of the same van from the front.




MaggieL  Friday Dec 21 12:32 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Bitman

Why else would they be lying about the damage? I mean, other than the fact that ramming into a concrete abutment and squishing your passenger can be rather embarrasing.
Because it makes a much better story, and gets the news photog to give them more money for the shot. What preess agency is going to run a photo "van that Afghan guy ran into something" as opposed to "plucky afghan man gives thumbs up from his battle-damaged van"

Thanks to Tony for finding the second photo. The shredding of the passenger-side grille area looks a bit more like a mortar or RPG hit. Still nothing that looks scorched, though. I wonder if somebody was driving rapidly *away* from a mortar barrage and ran it into a rock overhang in the mountains? I know there's no moutains in the pic, but I saw film of a van crossing into Pakistan that we were told had plates on it from Mazar e Sharif.

Maybe thr roof work was done by "Omar's Sunroofs"?


russotto  Friday Dec 21 01:20 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by MaggieL


Because it makes a much better story, and gets the news photog to give them more money for the shot. What preess agency is going to run a photo "van that Afghan guy ran into something" as opposed to "plucky afghan man gives thumbs up from his battle-damaged van"
Could also be the news guy just made the story up himself.


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