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Kraigmo's avatar

Should the mainstream media report on the video covering the accidental murder of the Reuters photographers?

Asked by Kraigmo (7389 points ) April 6th, 2010

Warning, very graphic, I recommend only listening to it.
here’s the video: wikileaks.org or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0&feature=player_embedded

It was a hectic day in Iraq. The military guys in the Apache above were probably very tired and very scared. They see a group of Arabic looking men below carrying cameras, but they figured the cameras were AK-47s or RPGs. They report that they see men with guns, and ask permission to shoot. Permission granted. They then slaughter everyone in the area, including women and children (but most likely they could not tell it was necessarily “women” or “children” from their vantage point).

They killed two Reuters photographers and other civilians. It could be argued that perhaps they killed some terrorists, but there is no evidence of this, no reports of it by any locals, nor any evidence found afterwards of this.

I’m not here to blame the guys in the Apache. I do blame the people who voted for their Commander in Chief, the ones who’d blindly do so yet again My personal feeling is that this type of thing should be reported by the mainstream media, because it is a part of war that most have no idea about. The Pentagon argues this damages national security.

Shouldn’t the mainstream media report this stuff more? Beyond just token occasional mentions?

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7 Answers

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I saw that video earlier and it made me sick to my stomach. I wish the media would report this stuff more often. The commanders clearly tried covering up what happened, and I don’t know what kind of engagement rules they were on but something didn’t feel right about what happened.

RocketSquid's avatar

Originally when I watched this video, I was infuriated. They begged for permission to fire on a group casually walking down the street in what looked to be street clothes. They then opened up fire on a van trying to collect the bodies that contained children. The whole display is disgusting, and some of the commentary from the gunner and the pilots toward the end is shameful. They made no attempts to hide until they were shot at,

However, I watched it again and made a couple of realizations. The biggest being the video itself. The quality is incredibly bad, and I only knew what was going on based on what the webpage told me. I didn’t even realize there were children in the van until the end, where it zooms into the van window and points toward two white spheres labelled “Children”. I also did not know the situation. Had the area been evacuated earlier? Was there a mission or a convoy going through that the group was unknowingly approaching? Although I thought it was ridiculous to claim they all had AK-47s, I could see how a large telephoto lens on a camera could be mistaken for some kind of RPG.

In a lot of ways I blame the technology. Why is the cam in black and white, when color might have helped avoid this tragedy entirely? I don’t want to vindicate the soldiers, but I don’t exactly want to rush them to the chopping block either.

In answer to your question, I personally believe that yes, they should. I think not only for the US, but for the world as well. It’s frighteningly easy to distance ourselves from events now, and sometimes I feel like the news I see treats the war as some kind of sport. But I can see why they don’t. It’s a tough story from either side, and any kind of friendly fire report is demoralizing. It’s easier for news organizations to “sweep it under the rug” then try to tell the story without outright demonizing the troops.

Scooby's avatar

After the fact this can be seen to be an injustice, although men with guns clearly seen, cameras miss-identified as RPG from quite a distance. A congregation of armed men peering around a the corner of a building & approaching US forces, I think the apache had grounds to fire initially upon this scenario but when the van approached & it’s occupants (unarmed) could clearly be seen extracting an unarmed man (no weapon in sight) this is when the injustice occurs (where were the weapons?) or am I missing something? was there any Intel or communication to say journalists were in the area? Did they Have press vests on??
This should be reported world wide so lessons can be learned….

rebbel's avatar

Yes, i did see that yesterday and it was very, very gruesome to watch.
It was in a tv-show on the Dutch television where they show some ‘intersting’ clips of things to happened that day in international media every day, so i wasn’t warned.
Could not believe what i saw in the first instance, after a moment i could believe it, because every now and then we are shown what terrible things we are capable of of doing to other humans.
Terrible.

Grisaille's avatar

I absolutely believe this should be picked up by the mainstream.

There were so many things wrong in this video. It is astounding. Many lessons can be learned from it, including the most obvious and gut-wrenching: the faceless, impersonal and brutal reality of industrialized warfare.

ETpro's avatar

I think it needs to be reported, but the whole story MUST be told. The two Reuters news guys were actually meeting with known insurgents. The guys in the Apache had positive ID on the group with the exception of the newsmen. They had every reason to believe the two newcomers to the meeting were insurgents as well. They certainly had no way of knowing who was in the van. It’s a very sad fact of war these days when so many of the combatants don’t wear uniforms, but can be very deadly and ruthless.

kevbo's avatar

An insightful interview from a former member of the ground unit involved in this incident (who wasn’t on this mission and has since been discharged as a conscientious objector).

The gist: “The natural thing to do would be to instantly judge or criticize the soldiers in this video,” says Josh Stieber. “Not to justify what they did, but militarily speaking, they did exactly what they were trained to do…If we’re shocked by this video, we need to be asking questions of the larger system, because this is how these soldiers were trained to act.”

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