04.06.2010 12:33 PM

“Well, it’s their fault.”

The WikiLeaks video that the U.S. military attempted to suppress – about how children and reporters became targets. This is very disturbing to watch, but it tells a story that needed to be told.

30 Comments

  1. James Smith says:

    When I saw this on the weekend it made me sick. It illustrates what happens when violence & aggression go unchecked & unsupervised.
    As an American I am ashamed.
    As a Canadian, this is a lesson for our forces in Afghanistan.
    As a Christian, I pray that this violence & that violence this will fosters will end soon. If Ulster can become a more peaceful place then perhaps there’s hope for other troubled nations. But it will take folks shining light on evil situations like this, & people talking to their perceived enemies & working out their issues But it will also take ordinary people to voice their outrage that this evil goes on in our name.

  2. A_Boojum says:

    Please watch the full video – 39 minutes worth. Opinions may or may not change, but it’s prudent to comment only after seeing the full spectrum of the incident without heavy editing geared towards making a propaganda clip.

    Wikileaks leaked video of Civilians killed in Baghdad – Full video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik

    • Eugene Parks says:

      I watched both clips and this is what I saw:

      I did see someone point a RPG at the helicopter as the soldier said before and after the incident. The soldiers had ligitimate reason to want to shoot at that moment.

      When the shooting actually starts a minute later most of the people shot had no weapons; a mix of unarmed and possibly armed were shot. [I don’t see the guy with the RPG in the mix, but he might be.]

      Then, when the bongo arrives 5 minutes later to pick up the single surviving wounded man, they had no weapons and were shot for picking up a wounded man. They were plainly unarmed and clearly entered the scene after the motivating event was over.

      Do you see it differently?

  3. parnel says:

    War is a dirty business and unfortunately mistakes do happen. While the video is nauseating I would not have liked to be in the position of those gunners who pulled the trigger. Their lives and those of their comrades on the ground are in constant danger which puts them in a sometimes awkward position.

    • Mulletaur says:

      What total nonsense. This wasn’t a mistake. They shot at what they thought was a threat. Except that they didn’t have anything to go on to prove that there was a threat. The Apache was not under threat, it was not under fire and the Iraqis who were shot up by the Apache weren’t even aware of its presence until the Apache opened fire. The ground support was nowhere close, and wasn’t brought in until the Apache had killed everything in sight. If this Apache crew acted in accordance with their rules of engagement and did not misrepresent the facts to their air controllers, the United States has a serious problem, perhaps even a criminal problem. One can only imagine how many innnocent Iraqis lost their lives as a result of what you call “mistakes”.

  4. Spalin says:

    It’s a tragedy for sure, but war is hell, and there will be collateral damage. I don’t think the guys in the heli acted inappropriately at all.

    • Warren says:

      Then why do you think the Army try to prevent the release of the tape for three years?

      • parnel says:

        The coverup was wrong but the intent of the soldiers involved was not criminal.

      • Blair Shumlich says:

        Of course you wouldn’t want the video released because they made a mistake. Do you think people would have been more forgiving if they had just let it out when there is video evidence of it? Look at the hub-bub this video has caused so far. The media is absolutely loving this, just look at this article: http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC100407-0000058/US-helicopter-crew-shot-Iraqi-civilians How is that for unbiased reporting?
        90% of people don’t understand rules of military engagement, hence the anger over the van. Remember, the soldiers thought those were insurgents. What if a truck drove up with armed men in the back? If it isn’t–as it is supposed to be–marked as an ambulance they have to treat it like it is hostile. It’s a tragedy for sure but that doesn’t mean the soldiers are monsters. That is why-I think, of course, you’re a smart man I’m sure you have a reason for disagreeing–the military wanted this video to stay quiet. Look how damaging the sponsorship scandal was to Chretien, and he didn’t do anything wrong either. Perception is everything and this can be perceived terribly!

        None of us know what the soldiers know. The fact that this video was released lets us all sit and judge from our ivory towers; meanwhile, the solider is the one in the helicopter making the tough decisions.

      • Spalin says:

        Look at what the media did with Abu Ghraib. They take an isolated incident (in that case, an isolated group of people) and paint them as representative of the system as a whole, which simply isn’t true. There would be an equal uproar if one of those guys had killed a bunch of civilians and it was found out that Americans were watching from up above and did nothing to stop it. I’ll say it again, war is hell, and decisions have to made in the blink of an eye. They’re not always correct, but they do the best they can. It’s an unfortunate tragedy, but everybody knows the risks in a war zone.

    • Ted says:

      Collateral damage is when you engage with a combatant and innocents inadvertently or unavoidably get caught in the cross-fire.

      First, there was no cross-fire. The heli soldiers completely misinformed base in order to get the green light to “engage”.

      Second, there was no collateral damage: the soldiers deliberately and directly attempted to kill and did kill these non-combatants.

      Third, when the vehicle with the kids shows up to take dead bodies and injured away, there was even less of a threat or danger. It was outright murder with a “Ha Ha” thrown in for good measure.

      I am all for obliterating an enemy in a war with all that you have. I accept the concept of collateral damage if it is truly collateral. But there is no excuse for this murder.

    • James Smith says:

      Parnel,

      With sincere respect, it is comments like the one you made are part of the reason these horrors go on, and on, and on. Your comments further underline the need for our troops to learn from this evil, & not just ho-hum part of the job rationalize it away. This same attitude it the one taken by US forces in the so-called friendly fire incidents.

    • smelter rat says:

      Spalin, you can’t be serious. “War is hell”? You must be watching the oldies channel. Get real.

    • Kyle says:

      “War is hell” Yep there you go, case closed. I’ll be sure to let the families know. Well Mr and Mrs… we investigated the death of your son and we concluded that “War is hell.” Oh yes that is comforting thank you. Way to ignore accountability for anything. I think that was the second biggest excuse after “I was just following orders” at the Nuremburgh trials. Grow up.

  5. John Mraz says:

    When one is trained as a photo/journalist working in active theatres, one is warned about how easily extended 400/800mm lenses can be mistaken for RPGs or mortar tubes, and one is warned that rigged extended lenses on shoulder straps can replicate an AK from a distance. So go the risks of war reportage. Once the Apache’s crew had committed, they closed the deal. An absolute tragedy – but not as unususal as one might think. And every army/militia/corps has made this mistake – it’s not unique to the American services.

    jm

  6. Iris Mclean says:

    That’s what happens when you hide Americas oil under your sand.

  7. Blair Shumlich says:

    It’s really sad this video was released. People haven’t read that background information on it, they are watching the edited version, they don’t understand the rules of engaging an enemy.

    For example, the van? All ambulances are to be clearly marked. For all they know those were more insurgents coming up. It’s a tragedy but that is their job–they had to do it.

    While I agree that in an informed society the release of this tape would be warranted the political left’s versions of Coulter are going to have a heyday with this at the expense of the legitimate good work that is being done over there.

  8. Martin Partridge says:

    I’m speechless. How can any Canadian, in fact any responsible human being, possibly condone such cavalier violence? What ever happened to our peaceable Canada?

    • Derek Lipman says:

      Blair:

      So do you believe using white phosphorous”over there” constitutes “good work”?

      Thank goodness we had Mr. Chretien in power when the worst President in modern American history (save Nixon) decided to follow the neo-con braintrust and lead his country into further unilateral third-world adventurism. If Mr. Harper had been running things, some of our relatives could have been knee-deep in that quagmire.

      I agree with you, Martin.

      • Blair Shumlich says:

        No, but I do believe in the building of schools and roads. You may disagree with the war, and I myself–despite appearances–am not a supporter of the Iraq war and am glad Canada is not there. However, to point to a few events like this detracts from the good that is done though and we must avoid that. It’s all about taking an unbiased approach and with titles like “Collateral Murder” I question the likelihood of that. There is good; there is bad. You can’t forget one at the expense of the other.

        • Derek Lipman says:

          Blair:

          Have you read the Lancet study from a few years back detailing civilian casualties?

          The Lancet is one of the most esteemed, peer-reviewed medical journals in the entire world. Even if their methodology is off just a bit, the numbers (even then) were staggering.

  9. Clarke Wood says:

    If the US had troops in Toronto and they behaved like they do in Iraq, you would have a full blown insurgency against them in no more than six months.

  10. Wendy Camp says:

    Thank you Warren for having the courage to remind us of the horror and sadness of war. If we could stop the bullets and get aid to women and children we might be able to end this. One of our most revered Canadian women, Flora MacDonald, has been trying for years to make this case.

    So sad. Too bad. This is Viet Nam revisited.

    Wendy Camp

  11. HonestB says:

    The phrase wikileaks used was “Collateral Murder.” I think it’s pretty apt. The thing that disgusts me more than the murders themselves are the people falling over themselves to talk about how hard it must have been to be in the gunners’ positions and excuse the fact that they killed people. With such a capacity for empathy, try imagining yourselves in the shoes of the families of the people that those gunners killed.

  12. Northbaytrapper says:

    Very sad. If I saw an RPG I would have shot as well. Doesn’t make me feel good or macho. Kinda makes me feel shitty in fact–but I still would have shot.

    • Derek Lipman says:

      Hey, what’s the point of giving it any more thought, right? Policy makers couldn’t possibly be wrong could they…

      Honest B: There is a political agenda at work; or, at some level those who are less erudite, buy into or adhere to, an Orientalist master narrative that excludes “the other”.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I’m not watching. Not yet anyway – but I’m wondering of course about the Afghan detainee documents. I’m in the habit now of assuming the worst, and working backwards from that, rather than being led, step by step to the awful conclusion. I wonder if it’s worse than the Somalia scandal.

    I’m watching HAIR, which I just ordered through Chapters.

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