Of course, in a war zone, people get killed. This unfortunately includes civilians as well. To prevent the latter from happening as much as possible, certain rules have been enacted, such as the law of war, and more specifically for the U.S. Army, rules of engagement. The latter states, for example, that an actor must display hostile activity in order for it to be engaged. If a military force blatantly violates these rules, there’s a crime; and if this same military force tries to cover up this crime, that counts double.
Now it’s still possible that the WikiLeaks video is a fake. But if it’s not, well, then this deserves the broadest public attention possible. Please help along by distributing this video to everyone you know.
Yglesias voices exactly what’s the matter here:
Three points about this that I find particularly disturbing. One is that if this is authentic, you have military personnel killing people without making any reference to the rules of engagement. The confusion or whatever about the weapons is bad enough, but the people on this recording don’t seem to have any idea what the rules of engagement they’re supposed to be operating under are, or else they don’t care. This obviously raises the question of how many broadly parallel incidents there have been that haven’t come to light since they haven’t happened to have involved a Reuters employee.
The second is that according to WikiLeaks “Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack.” That appears to indicate a deliberate cover-up of the incident by the relevant officials at the Pentagon. And that, again, obviously raises the question of how many broadly parallel incidents there have been that haven’t come to light since they haven’t happened to have involved a Reuters employee.
Last is the incredible paucity of media attention given to this incident. You have what appears to be criminal activity by American soldiers and what appears to be a coverup perpetrated by someone and . . . nobody cares. Normally when General Petraeus sneezes, dozens of reporters spring into action.