One of the most explosive and prolific stories on the Net last week (almost crowding out Tiger Woods’ return to golf at the Masters!) was the story that Wikileaks broke about a supposed massacre of unarmed civilians in Iraq. For those who didn’t watch the video (and I highly recommend you watch the full 39 minute video), Wikileaks claims that the video, ostensibly obtained through covert military channels and claimed to have been decrypted by Wikileaks), shows the US military firing on unarmed civilians in the middle of the street (including a Reuters journalist), then deliberately killing the unarmed journalist after he was wounded, and then firing on a van picking up the wounded, deliberately shooting two children in the process.
Putting aside the deliberately emotionally loaded and sensationalist language of the Wikileaks story, here are the real facts – obvious to anyone who saw the full video:
1. “The US military deliberately fired on unarmed civilians“. False. Every person I saw in the video was carrying a firearm, either a handgun or an assault rifle, or an RPG.
2. “The attack was unprovoked“. Again, false. The reason the military was there in the first place was because another unit was taking small arms fire from the “unarmed civilians” position and requested air support. The Apache shows up and sees a bunch of guys carrying guns high-tailing it to cover. What would you do, land and tell them “stop, you’re all under arrest”? This isn’t Main Street, USA, this is a war zone and has been for years. You carry a firearm in a war zone, you’re either a good guy or a bad guy. The good guys wear uniforms, the bad guys wear civvies. Very simple.
3. “They were civilians!” Sorry, but wrong again – insurgents don’t wear uniforms, they wear the same clothes that the innocents do. The only difference is that the insurgents carry guns, shoot at the military and run when reinforcements show up.
4. “The guy at the corner of the building had a camera!” No, he didn’t – he had an RPG, probably a LAW rocket or similar. The trained pilot in the Apache knew it, too, and he was orbiting the building as fast as he could to put the building between him and the guy with the RPG before the Apache could be fired on. I can well imagine that the Apache pilot (and most of the crew) had to change their shorts afterwards!
5. “The military got permission to shoot BEFORE they saw the guy with the RPG!” True. So? You get a call that says another unit had been fired on from that position. You show up, and a bunch of guys with guns are running for cover like a bunch of roaches. If they get away, they will shoot more of your buddies. You aren’t a cop, you’re the military – you’re trained to “immediately neutralize the threat”. What would *you* do? Exactly what the Apache driver did – he shot all of them, and rightfully so, so they wouldn’t get away and kill more US personnel. In fact, the Apache pilot exercised considerable restraint – despite having a clear lane of fire, he waited until he received clear permission to fire, then did so. A major point here is that he did *not* shoot the Reuters journalist who was wounded on the ground, because he was not showing a weapon. That’s called “professional restraint”, not murder.
6. “The military deliberately shot up a van with kids in it!” Well, sort of. They didn’t know there were kids in the van – what responsible parent who loves his kids instead of trying to use them as pawns in a game of manipulation against the US (which Wikileaks obviously bought into) brings them into a war zone? Why weren’t they home where they belonged, instead of riding around in a van on the way to a hot LZ? Besides, the guys in the van were also obviously insurgents – look at how fast they showed up, and a common tactic of insurgents is to pick up their dead and wounded and salvage their weapons before the rest of the military can show up.
7. “The military deliberately killed a Reuters journalist!” Oh, please. The Reuters guy was killed by collateral fire when the van was fired on. He was also carring a firearm – absolutely FORBIDDEN by ALL news organizations. It’s pretty clear that this “journalist” was also working with the insurgents. In any case, he was *not* deliberately targeted, the van was.
I hope this throws the light of a little bit of TRUTH on the Wikileaks SPIN STORIES…