Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Propaganda with Gattling Gun

WikiLeaks has somehow posted helicopter gun-camera video, complete with radio chatter, from an incident in Baghdad in which a number of people loitering in the street were blown away on suspicion that they were carrying weapons. In at least two of the cases, as the video shows, the weapons were mere cameras, Reuters news cameras as it turns out. A reporter and his driver were killed.

After the initial burst of 30mm cannonfire a van pulls up to the scene, and people emerge from it to attend to the surviving wounded. No weapons or other evidence of hostility appears but the helicopter's gunner opens fire anyway, killing the would-be rescuers and incidentally, wounding two children who happen to be in the van.

Appalling as the carnage is, even more awful is the abundant frat-boy chatter and laughter that attends the slaughter. It's really not the Hollywood picture of brave aviators, facing down danger, taking life in full awful congnizance of the gravity of their actions. No, these guys are completely safe, high above the action, not particularly concerned with whether or not they're killing innocents, and highly amused, in the aftermath by the carnage they have wrought. It's just a video game to them. When it's all over, and it's made clear to the choppers that they've shot a little girl, they just shrug it off, one of them says, "Well, it's their fault for bringing their children into a battle." Only there is no battle. He might just as well have said, "It's their fault for bringing their children into the city where they live."

Now, I know that war doesn't really make a man out of you. In fact, it more often brutalizes -- turns you into something much worse than you were, and might have been. And I also know that not every soldier is the sort of sociopath these boys seem to be. But the chatter on the tape reminds me of the "gorilla in the mist" jokes the Rodney King cops made on the radio after their police riot. Ther mere fact that they feel free to speak this way suggests a pervasive attitude.

And we wonder why the wars aren't going so well, why we aren't -- once again -- winning the hearts and minds.

Of course Wolf Blitzer and Crap Not News took the "Shit happens" route with this story. Nothing to see here folks.


Post a Comment

<< Home