Today Wikileaks released an intensely disturbing video of an American Apache helicopter crew killing several Iraqi civilians in 2007 – including a young Reuters journalist and his driver.
The video is a remarkably vivid – and rare – document of precisely how the Iraq occupation has been handled for the past several years. What’s even more shocking is the seeming insouciance and disregard for consequences that the American soldiers exhibit as they seek permission to gun down men carrying weapons, perhaps legally. (Heck, in some parts of the USA it’s apparently hunky-dory to flash unconcealed weaponry in your local Starbucks.) Even more disturbing is the incompetence that leads them to mistake a photographer’s camera for a weapon – and not spot the two (visible) little girls who were injured in the conflagration and taken to a local hospital rather than a better-equipped Army facility.
Reuters has sought access to this video since the tragedy, and US military officials have subsequently covered up for the soldiers. (If their actions were justified under 2007 Rules of Engagement, why not simply release the video to clear the air?) Wikileaks received it from an anonymous source. Unfortunately, Americans don’t have access to much real footage of the carnage our tax dollars pays for, justly or otherwise. If you can’t bring yourself to watch it (the version I’ve linked to contains both subtitles and context), you can read about it here.