April 07, 2010

Collateral Murder by US In Iraq

At last we see the instance of a whistle blowing incident from the US army - a classified US military video shot from an Apache helicopter. Reuters had been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act but failed until Wikileaks.org published them online. The US helicopter gunship attacked a group of Iraqi men in New Baghdad on July 12, 2007:

Short Version

Full version (38 minutes)

Two Reuters journalists were killed and more innocent people were killed. Reddit.com analyzes the video and comes up with these conclusions:

1. The cover-up of the pilots' mistake in killing the Reuters cameramen and mistaking their cameras for an RPG is the worst thing about this episode

2. While the pilots who fired at apparently armed men (and at least 3 were actually armed) thought they were saving US ground troops who had been pinned down from men with small arms, they had less justification for firing on the van. Indeed, the latter action may have been a war crime since the van was trying to pick up the wounded and it is illegal to fire on the wounded and those hors de combat.

3. While many actions of the pilots may not have been completely wrong under their rules of engagement, nevertheless they often acted inexcusably, and their attitude is inhuman and deplorable.

(Image courtesy IMGUR)

Some excerpts from Times online:

The voice betrays the adrenalin of combat, but the words are clearly audible over the static. “Let me engage,” the gunner demands, “can I shoot?”

A ground controller asks: “Picking up the wounded?” Seconds later the gunner asks again: “Come on, let us shoot.”

Permission is granted and a dust cloud envelopes a van and several Iraqis picking up bodies from a Baghdad square. Only afterwards do the crew of the American helicopter gunship realise that two children, now gravely wounded, are in the van. “Well,” one says, “it’s their fault for bringing kids into a battle.”

And this is the US government's reaction:

US officials acknowledge privately that the tape was genuine, but the Pentagon has continued to argue that the pilots followed their rules of engagement and that there was no evidence that the two Reuters employees were not working with insurgents. A spokesman for US Central Command in Florida said there were no plans to reopen the original 2007 investigation, which was conducted at brigade level by US forces in Baghdad.

Teeth Maestro from Pakistan refers to the ongoing US drone attacks on Pakistan and is apprehensive about the human rights violation of the US forces.

"Then I must ask, with such a hideous track record, what assurance do
we have that they wouldn’t do that in Pakistan."

A Sri Lankan blogger analyzes this video and defends Sri Lanka's war crime against LTTE by naming USA and a hypocrite and asserting that "they have no right to judge us" as they also have blood on their hand. I can see where the world is heading.


  1. Why do they never understand that in the end the cost of cover-up, like the cost of torture, is almost inevitably more than the perceived gain?