Wikileaks Posts Video of U.S. Army Killings in Iraq: Collateral Murder?

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 5 months ago

From the BBC, Wikileaks has posted a video (also sponsored by a web site called Collateral Murder) purporting to show the “murder” of a couple of Reuters photographers in Iraq, circa July 2007.  I am embedding the video below, but before you watch it, it is best to keep a few things in mind.

If you want a roundup of reactions across the web, check out Around the Sphere.  If you want to see a rather silly reaction, check out Lawyers, Guns, & Money.  They link my NCOs Speak on Rules of Engagement, asking if this is an example of the ROE that troops were operating under at the time.  They apparently didn’t read my article, as it goes to great lengths to exhibit the troubles that the highly restrictive ROE had caused to that point.  Furthermore, the ROE for close air support and combat aviation was not the subject of my article.

Better is the Jawa Report, which details various scenes where RPGs are clearly being brandished, demonstrating that this was a group of insurgents.  It stands as recommended reading and study.  Hot Air also has some worthy comments concerning this event.  Finally, Bill Roggio has some comments at The Weekly Standard.

Unfortunately, these two Reuters journalists were embedded with insurgents.  My reaction when Nir Rosen embedded with the Taliban in Afghanistan was as follows:

As for Nir Rosen, (The Captain’s Journal) doesn’t need the embedded report. We can figure it out on our own. We may as well have had someone embed with the Schutzstaffel while the Jews were being exterminated. Just as there is nothing romantic about putting Jews in ovens to die, there is nothing good, wholesome, romantic or righteous about Taliban ideology. Nir Rosen had better watch his six, or better yet, embed with U.S. troops.

And so too with the Reuters journalists.  Embedding with insurgents is highly dangerous, and in this instance it turned around and bit Reuters like a snake.  Reuters is in no position to question the ROE or the decisions made that fateful day.  But concerning those decisions, I have repeatedly pressed the issue with rules of engagement for snipers that offensive operations are not contemplated in the standing ROE, and yet they should be.  I have no problem with any of the decisions made that day.  I support allowing ground forces to follow the same ROE that CAS followed in this instance and the drones follow in their attacks against the Taliban leadership in Pakistan.

This isn’t the same thing as saying that, in retrospect, all decisions turned out to be beneficial to the campaign.  But knowing this in advance of those decisions places an impossible burden on the troops.  Anyone can take cheap shots by detailing videos two or three years after the fact – after months of researching and viewing video feed of on the spot decisions made by men with the responsibility to kill the enemy while keeping their behavior between the ditches.  I believe that the troops succeeded in doing just that; staying between the ditches.


You are currently reading "Wikileaks Posts Video of U.S. Army Killings in Iraq: Collateral Murder?", entry #4792 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iraq,Rules of Engagement and was published April 6th, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

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