I know I am very late in getting to this video, but I still thought I would add some thoughts. First, some background for those living under rocks. On April 5 Wikileaks – a website dedicated to publishing governmental leaks – published a video of the US military gunning down a group of Iraqis from an Apache helicopter, including two Reuters reporters. For the past three years (the event happened in 2007) Reuters has been petitioning the US under the Freedom of Information Act for the US to release the video, only to see their efforts spurned by the Pentagon. According to the Majlis Wikileaks confirmed the authenticity of the video by sending two people to Baghdad.
[tweetmeme] The video is pretty depressing. The US military seemed to follow protocol for the initial attack, but seemed less justified in the attack on the van that was picking up bodies (though, as the Majlis points out, it was unmarked). Andrew Sullivan has some other reactions to the video, but I tend to agree with Stephen Walt.
The real troubling aspect of this video is that the audio that accompanies the tape demonstrates a real callousness; the pilots at one point refer to those killed as “dead bastards” and laugh when a tank rolls over one of the bodies. Walt does well to point out that the pilots observed protocol, but follows with: “what bothers me is that they were clearly trying to operate within the rules, and still made a tragic error” – one that has probably been repeated numerous times, yet gone unreported.
On an odd, but related note, the US military has apparently lost the video of the incident.
Photo from Aviation News [UPDATE: Photo removed]