Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

If you haven’t yet seen this video of an American Apache helicopter crew shooting at suspected insurgents, I recommend you skip past the intro to 2:45 in, when the gun-cam footage starts. Try to ignore any helpful captions, so you can see it with your own eyes.

You can stop watching after a few minutes.

Now, viewed without the intro and the captions, the video seems straightforward. An Apache was dispatched to the area for some reason, spots some insurgents armed with AK-47s and RPG-7s, shoots them, spots more insurgents coming to their aid, and then shoots them, too. Simple.

Only, we’re told, those weren’t insurgents armed with AK-47s and RPG-7s, but locals and a reporter with a professional video camera. So the whole thing is tragic — but apparently many, many people on the Net see it as downright sinister.

I think Foseti has it right:

I submit that anyone with a historical perspective will find this video to be 0% shocking. In wars, this stuff happens. If modern warfare is remarkable for anything, it’s for how far some militaries go to avoid these incidents. Nevertheless, it is shocking and sickening and harsh — it is war and it can’t be otherwise.

What I find most interesting, is that no one talks of the most interesting part — namely, the fact that Wikileaks exists. It’s a site that coordinates an illegal activity — one whose only purpose is to facilitate government employees illegally undermining their government agency.

I understand that our system of government (the unwritten American Constitution) depends on leaks from official government (agencies) to unofficial government (press). But I still find it astounding.

If your theory of the way the US government works cannot explain why Wikileaks exists, then your theory sucks. If your plans to reform government do not deal with the Wikileaks phenomenon, then your plans for reform suck. As far as I know, Mencius Moldbug is the only person who has come up with a convincing explanation of why Wikileaks is allowed to exists.

Addendum: It looks like they were carrying weapons — at least by some accounts:

The footage is grainy, but, in fact, it is very clear that some of the men were carrying weapons. See this photo at the Jawa report. Clearly one man is carrying a gun and, it seems to me, the other is carrying an RPG. According to the military, troops on the ground had taken fire and called in for air support. As Bill Roggio wrote yesterday, “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.”

Apparently the official report was that they found RPG rounds at the site:

We remained above the engagement site while Bushmaster sent ground forces to the site. Bushmaster arrived and reported 11 x AIF KIA and found RPGs and RPG rounds at the site. We also witnessed a loaded RPG lying 2-3 blocks south of the engagement site.

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