The Wikileaks video that is being circulated deserves–indeed, requires–a repost. It’s the footage of a 2007 attack in Iraq that killed several civilians, including two Reuters reporters, and wounded two children. Reports at the time stated that the attack had followed the rules of engagement, and that the reporters had been killed in a firefight where Iraqis armed with RPGs fired on the helicopters.
This video shows a different story. While several of the civilians do appear to be carrying weapons, no shots are ever fired by the civilians, and the scene is peaceful and casual until the helicopter opens fire. The most shocking part is the audio transcript, where soldiers urge a wounded reporter to reach for a weapon so they can shoot him, say about the wounded children “It serves them right for bringing kids into battle,” and laugh as a military vehicle runs over the reporter’s body.
People are already rushing to the military’s defense, claiming that the presence of what look like weapons on some of the other civilians justifies the attack (although the helicopter’s sight is clearly trained on the two reporters while claiming to spot AK-47s and RPGs) and that mistakes are bound to be made in the chaos of combat. But there is nothing unclear or confusing about the video. If there has ever been a case of unwarranted aggression, it’s this.