Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More On That Video

Blogger keeps giving me an error message when I try to respond to stickyfingers' comment to the below post, so I'm going to just put it here instead. She said: "This is awful. One of the oddest parts, of it, though, for me, is how easy it is to watch. And how distant all those guys sound -- there's clearly a lot of mis-communication and mis-interpretation going on. Whose actually 'seeing' the street? You know, from street level? And how does a shoulder camera look like an RPG?"

Exactly--the video is being presented in some contexts as an outrageous war crime, but I think as awful as the results of their actions are, it's more telling that the soldiers might not actually have violated any rules. I meant it to serve more as a reminder of what we do when we go to war, both to the innocents who inevitably die (or suffer from unpredictable, long-term physical and mental traumas) and to the soldiers who must surely be deeply damaged by conceiving of the world and other human beings like this for several years. This probably makes me sound hopelessly naive, but I would have thought Vietnam would have been sufficient to have made America beyond reluctant to engage in armed conflict without an extremely compelling reason.

To quickly answer a few of your questions: I read a bit more about the video after I posted it, and some of the dead men may have been armed (though in my obviously amateur opinion, it does not look that way in the video); what they thought was an "RPG" might have been a long telephoto lens; and I believe the street level view is from a nearby tank that they're in radio contact with, presumably the one that shows up later. Anyway, most of what I just wrote was taken from this, which is definitely worth reading.

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