About that Wikileaks video...

« Previous story
Next story »


Cold-blooded murder, or tactical neccessity? Presumably everyone has seen it by now, but by way of introducing, this is what the NYT says:
Three months ago, WikiLeaks, a whistleblower Web site that posts classified and sensitive documents, put out an urgent call for help on Twitter. “Have encrypted videos of U.S. bomb strikes on civilians. We need super computer time," stated the Web site, which calls itself “an intelligence agency of the people.” Somehow — it will not say how — WikiLeaks found the necessary computer time to decrypt a graphic video, released Monday, of a United States Army assault in Baghdad in 2007 that left 12 people dead, including two employees of the news agency Reuters. The video has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube, and has been replayed hundreds of times in television news reports.
For those who haven't seen the video, have at it: Honestly, I don't know that my opinion of it is any different than the others I have read defending the troops. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I find my own views closest to those of Laughing Wolf at Blackfive who said:
War correspondents, new media, old media, whatever know the risks and the costs. To pretend otherwise is many things, including patronizing and insulting to the media and to others. War is dangerous, and stupidity can be terminal. If you hang around with insurgents, or go charging towards a firefight in an unmarked vehicle, you can pay the price. Deservedly so even. Good intentions don't mean a thing when the bullets are flying, and only fools think they do.
Ed Morrissey struck a very similiar chord:
War correspondents take huge risks to bring news of a war to readers far away. What this shows is just how risky it is to embed with terrorists, especially when their enemy controls the air. War is not the same thing as law enforcement; the US forces had no responsibility for identifying each member of the group and determining their mens rea. Legitimate rescue operations would have included markings on the vehicle and on uniforms to let hostile forces know to hold fire, and in the absence of that, the hostile forces have every reason to consider the second support group as a legitimate target as well. It’s heartbreaking for the families of these journalists, but this isn’t “collateral murder” — it’s war.
If you want more of an in-depth breakdown of what you see, and how it does not conform with the diologue and explanation provided by Wikileaks, you can't do better than my friend Rusty Shackleford of the Jawa Report, who goes through the video frame by frame before exclaiming:
People, this is war. This happens in war. It can't be avoided. If you want to end civilian casualties then end war. Start by asking armed Islamists to put down their weapons. But you won't do that because your real objection isn't war, it's America. Which is why anti-war activists around the globe never protest al-Qaeda, only America. They're not anti-war, they're anti-American. Again, watch it. It's tragic, yes. War is tragic.
Bill Roggio at Weekly Standard lists six reasons "why this was anything but 'Collateral Murder,' as Wikileaks describes the incident" the third reason of which states succinctly:
Third, several of the men are clearly armed with assault rifles; one appears to have an RPG. Wikileaks purposely chooses not to identify them, but instead focuses on the Reuters cameraman. Why?
I suppose this video is amazingly susceptible to personal evaluation, but to me it seems the cost of doing business in a place where folks are trying their damndest to kill you dead. UPDATE: Watch this video that explains whay Wiki missed in their videos:
Posted in the burner | 9 comments
« Previous story
Next story »


* To comment without a Facebook account, please scroll to the bottom.


Let's face it war is hell . It's called collateral damage . These folks put themselves in harms way . If they didn't know the dangers
they should have . It happens in every war . Vietnam , Korea , WWII , and beyond . As long as there is war there will be death
innocent or otherwise . And as a veteran you cannot second guess the dangers involved .

It looks like the footage was definately edited to have it appear to viewers that we more or less just fired upon and killed civilians for "grins". That is the troubling thing about the Media and war. They are constantly editing so that WE seem as the BAD GUYS. In the past they have released information that led to the killing of many of our troops. Freedom of the Press is one thing but to use it to report locations and times of Strikes is just wrong as hell and if they want to go dancing off with the ememy then they should know that they will be killed if any group is Weaponized. If it were up to me, there would be only FILM CAMERAS allowed for the Media. That way the goofballs couldn't give away our positions in an instant, thanks to the Internet. The World is moving at a rapid pace, but War still remains the same old trudgery with the only chages being the advancements of the weaponry. A General could sit in his living room at home and give orders to his men based on images sent to his screen by the drones that are flying in the area. Wish we had those in '68...it makes all strikes tighter and more precise with less Civilian damage. War is a man-made event so it can be cancelled but with so many religious zealots hating Americans...it will never stop..turn it to glass and get OUR NATION back on track! Quit fighting over the oil. Those nuts have been fighting since before Christ. They won't ever stop. Turn it to Glass!

1st: They failed to get video from other helicopters. The report stated that their video was taken from the lead chopper, this tells me that there is more video that they are not showing.

2nd: They failed to point out that as the wounded man is trying to crawl away, the air-crew HOLD FIRE and are directing ground troops to the man's location. The air-crew even say that all he has to do is pick up a weapon before they open fire on him again.

3rd: They fail to give credit to the American soldiers who are RUNNING with the children to get them some medical help. It was not covered whether or not the rules state that civillians must go to a civillian hospital.

4rd: They failed to mention if any weapons were found or not, and weapons were, in fact, found there.

5th: They failed to mention that the van had been seen dropping off armed men in an area where American soldiers were receiving small arms fire.

Simply put, Wikileaks FAILED to show any wrong-doing by any of the Americans that were there!!!!

unfortunately news people were shot by us troops the question is why were they with the enemy?

Is it Murder? answer NO! reguardless of who you are or what newspaper or news media your with, when you are with the enemy, your the enemy, when our troop engage the enemy we don't have time to establish your credential. Should you wish a news story and you feel you need it first hand then become a war correspondent for U.S. troops. For the news media to say murder in a combat zone there just stupid and their level of reality is fornicated. the biggest problem in todays news media is they do not print the truth, its that plain and simple. example, when a 17year old kid is shot to death dealing drugs the news media shows his high school picture and interview the immediate family member who says oh, he was a good boy. then the new media says, 17 year old gunned down in city streets. When I was a kid, the real news was reported, they would show the remains of the 17 year old on the street and the caption would of read, drug dealer shot while dealing drugs. the same applies here, what the news media should of said was, members of news team where with the enemy when they were engaged by U.S. Forces, unfortunately they did not survive the engagement.

Murder? I hardly think so. Would these "innocent" men be able to casually interact with the insurgents if they were not of the same mind-set? Muslim radicalism would not allow this to happen. War does not necessarily define each individual in a group. If a person is part of a group in a "no friendlies" zone and multiple types of enemy weapons are being carried by members of the group, then that person is considered an enemy by association. None of it is pretty. Every death is heart-wrenching. It is extremely unfair to the American fighting person to be judged by "techies" worldwide who probably have not had the opportunity to defend someone's human rights. Until the ones that yell "murder" get out of their nice clean and secure environments, they cannot understand how dirty and ugly war is.

Bill Roggio's breakdown is pretty spot on. Is this a difficult video to watch, in that you actually see people dying? Yes. War is not a pretty place, however it's quite clear that this is precisely what is transpiring in the video, war. As noted, the only people on the streets in this video appear to be a group of men, many of whom are armed with AK-type assault rifles (I'm not going to pretend I can identify from this video quality whether or not they are AK-47s, AKMs, AK-74s, etc...) and RPG rocket launchers. The dialogue shows that the air crew makes every effort to identify that these are in fact hostiles before opening fire. When they do open fire, the effects are ugly, but no less or more ugly than any real depiction of combat. Combat is not a pretty occurance, by definition it leads to death, and death is ugly by any measure. However, it is a consequence of war.

Reporters have a choice of what they choose to cover. If you cover the Super Bowl, your chances of being shot drop dramatically. If you cover war, and you choose to do so by being in the midst of the fighting, you run the same risks as any combatant. I have nothing but respect for the men and women who embed themselves with combatants armed only with pen and camera. In the same manner I have great resepect for men and women who take up arms in the service to their country. In the two way live fire range, they're all out there as targets, and they all face death on a daily basis.

It does not matter whether or not a reporter embeds with an American Marine unit, or a unit of insurgents, the other side is not going to be able to avoid potentially taking out those unarmed reporters while firing on their armed opposition.

The difference would be that we seem to care. We seem to care whether or not we have legitimate targets in our sights before opening fire, and afterwards we consider and express remorse over the deaths of those who were perhaps not armed opponants. I've yet to see those concerns mirrored by our opposition. Quite the contrary I would say.

As to the costs of war, I think Sherman said it best, but then again, you all know what he said.

Why would any reporter choose to be embeded with insurgents. I was in Iraq in 2005 and we had multiple reporters embeded with us. It was our responsibility to make sure we knew exactly where our reporter was at all times. Perhaps if these journalists chose to cover the conflict from the side of the good guys, they would still be alive and with their families today. This truly is a tragedy and very hard to watch knowing that two perfectly innocent individuals lost their lives. But, the soldiers involved here were doing exactly what they were trained to do...take out the bad guys. And if that means a couple of journalists (who chose to be there) had to lose their lives in the process then so be it. They obviously knew the risks when they signed on for the assignment. Don't hate the soldier for doing their job. Hate the people who are the reason why we are there in the first place.

This is another reason why the mainstream media can not be trusted anymore. anything can be manipulated and bent to meet their needs. in the worn place at the wrong time and they have only themselves to blaim.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Have a tip for us? A link that should appear here? Contact us.
News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.