1. The military’s decision to immediately “light ’em up” when the men in question are anything but hostile. (Just because the ROE mean you can engage doesn’t mean you should engage).
2. The Apache gunman hoping that the mortally wounded man crawling along the road in agonising pain will reach for a weapon, so he can open fire again.
3. The military’s decision to open fire upon a van the pulls up and tries to medevac the wounded men.
4. The Apache crew’s hoo-rah fuck ’em up exaltation of their own cowardly actions, even after discovering there were children in the van.
5. The U.S. military’s decision, upon realising they had fucked up royal, to forego launching a clear and open investigation in favour of covering it all up.
6. The harassment of Wikileaks by U.S. intelligence agencies in the lead-up to the release of the video, including the detention and interrogation of a teenage project volunteer.
7. The apathetic attitude towards this video displayed by most major media organisations, who would prefer to devote headlines to Tiger Woods’ return to golf.
So, as you can see, this video is abhorrent on almost every imaginable level. Props to the Marines on the ground who hustled the wounded kids to safety, however – a timely reminder that not every member of the American war apparatus is a dehumanised killing machine like our friends hovering safely in the Apache. Wikileaks editing was also quite biased; the facts speak for themselves, and the pre-video montage of the deceased journalists was unnecessary, as was sticking the word “eventually” into the sentence describing the Marines evacuating the wounded children; their tone of voice is quite urgent, and they run across the road while holding the kids in their arms, so it’s anything but “eventual.”
On the whole, though, this video neatly encapsulates everything wrong with the American political and military status quo. Removing soldiers from the consequences of their actions by having them peer through lens a thousand metres away as though it’s a video game? Check. Covering up your transgressions rather than coming clean about them and working to ensure they don’t happen again? Check. Waging an illegal and unjust war that leads you into murky ROE territory? Check. Assuming that terrorists attack the US simply because they hate freedom, and that there are a finite number of them that can be killed, and that incidents like this don’t serve to create even more terrorists? Check!