Troops accused of murder

I agree with Doug. This video is worth watching. But it must be watched very carefully. The video shows Iraqi men, some of them armed, being gunned down by an American helicopter. Two of the men turned out to be photographers for Reuters.

The video was captured by a camera on the helicopter, and has been released by Wikileaks, on a website it calls collateralmurder.com. The video includes significant commentary from Wikileaks, intended to supports its accusation of murder. Yet based on the contents of the video, the accusation of murder seems extraordinarily presumptuous.

The events shown in the video took place in July 2007. At the time, the military told reporters American soldiers had been attacked, in response to which a helicopter gunship engaged their attackers. As Bill Roggio notes,

There is nothing in that video that is inconsitent with the military’s report. What you see is the air weapons team engaging armed men.

Second, note how empty the streets are in the video. The only people visible on the streets are the armed men and the accompanying Reuters cameramen. This is a very good indicator that there was a battle going on in the vicinity. Civilians smartly clear the streets during a gunfight.

For non-experts (such as myself), it is hard to know exactly what is happening in the video. The rush to judgment by Wikileaks suggests that it is more interested in politics and publicity than in figuring out what actually happened.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly

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