Field of Science

Murder on Wikileaks

American helicopter opens fire on twelve men standing in broad daylight in a square in Baghdad. Video released on Wikileaks (news story).

See the longer version on Collateral Murder.

The soldiers in the helicopters open fire after getting permission. Allegedly some of the twelve were carrying AK-47s. But they were only journalists carrying cameras.

The really, really gruesome thing about this video is how the soldiers talk about these men they end up killing. The indifference is shocking. At times they even laugh about the whole thing. Men died and children were wounded (did they survive), and that's horrible. But it happens in war. I don't approve, but I'm told that honest mistakes are made, and killing of civilians happens. But I did not know that soldiers would have this careless attitudes towards the people at the other end of the barrel.

Fucking disgusting. Makes me sick to my stomach.


  1. The video is sickening. However, I wasn't surprised. In fact I'm surprised you're surprised about the careless attitude, that's pretty normal in modern warfare, not a new thing at all. And, after all, war is, and has been all along, a matter of maiming, wounding, killing, disabling, torturing, etc.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Well, I really am surprised about the careless (disrespectful, really) attitude. My mistake.

  3. We see two fatal mistakes, and I would have made one of them:

    I thought they were carrying weapons too, and also an RPG, so I would have interpreted the images the same way as the gunner did.

    The mistake I would not have made was to be in the position to shoot people in the first place, which is the mistake that outweighs everything else, and we should not get unclear about who is responsible for this:
    Every voter in America! It is the government you elected, and voting against some one doesn't free you from the responsibility that came with that vote. Democracy means shared responsibility. These soldiers carried out a command, that was in behalf of every US citizen.

    This is the other reason why this is so sickening. The people responsible for this have "in God we trust" on their currency, which tells me they are trying to get rid of the responsibility and relay it to a higher power, which is the most disturbing thing I can imagine.

    I know, some of you voted against Bush/war, but that doesn't mean Bush wasn't acting on your behalf... if you want to change that, I am with you.

    Cheers Arend

  4. Even if I was in that helicopter and I was sure (which I wasn't) that those were weapons, I would not fire on that group. I may not know much about being a soldier, but if that's what it means - to shoot people are are just standing around talking - then I've made another mistake about what it means.

  5. I had the assumption that in war (which this situation wasn't) it comes down to a very simple question: Who dies first? You or me?

    And in that situation I would choose me.

    In the situation of the video, the question was admittedly different, the guy behind the trigger was sitting well protected in an Apache helicopter out gunning the civilians (or even potential hostiles) a million to one.

    Still I would have thought these guys were having guns, it looked that way. But again that is no excuse for being there in the first place.

    Cheers Arend

  6. Second what Marcussi said. Horrific, and people who voted for war voted for this. It always happens. The people at the front line become desensitized and lose empathy for the people they kill. Either that or go home mentally damaged. How could you do it otherwise?


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