No doubt by now many of you have watched the video that supposedly shows the crews of two American Apache attack helicopters shooting up some lovely unarmed civilians, during which two Reuters journalists, embedded with what in fact were armed insurgents belonging to the Iranian backed Mahdi Army, were also killed.
So, despite the way this has been spun in the media, the people fired upon by the Americans were armed and they were the enemy. It is completely irrelevant that they appeared "relaxed," which seems to be part of Wikileaks justification for criticising the actions of the Americans.
Now, I've seen plenty of this kind of cockpit footage. It's always graphic and confronting to us people who lead lives of peace and safety. But the Mahdi Army was, (and still is to an extent), a bunch of very nasty killers.
As you'll be asked to do at the first link below, do watch either the short or the long version of the video. Listen to radio chatter involved in trying to establish that the men observed were indeed insurgents and not civilians and the process needed to be gone through to get permission to fire upon them.
Ask yourselves this - do you think members of the Mahdi Army have ever taken a moment to wonder about whether their actions may involve innocent people being killed or injured? Do they have military lawyers looking over their shoulders saying "I don't think you should do that" as American or British or Australian military planners do?
Of course not. And to secure democratic government in Iraq the Mahdi Army had to be taken on and had to be made to bleed.
That's war. It's about killing people. And sometimes it has to be done.
These two posts come from the Instapundit:
BOB OWENS: Shame on WikiLeaks: Framing Lawful Engagement as Anti-American Propaganda. “The video plainly shows U.S. forces identifying and killing armed Mahdi Army soldiers, following rules of engagement.”
UPDATE: Related item here. “If anything the video demonstrates the extremes to which the pilots went to follow the rules of engagement. (Go to 7:40 and watch until about 8:50.)”
ANOTHER UPDATE: More from Blackfive.
And this from a blogger at Firedoglake:
AT CAPTAIN’S JOURNAL, more on Wikileaks and the Rules of Engagement. “There is ample evidence that the actions did not violate the ROE. . . . To be sure, this video can be disturbing to those who do not understand that war means enacting and enforcing violence, and can be equally disturbing to those who have had to do so either in Iraq or Afghanistan. Memories can be difficult things. It’s always better in retrospect to learn that the targets you acquired and killed were indeed threats against U.S. forces. This is true in this instance except for two very stupid Reuters journalists embedded with insurgents, and two unfortunate children (who, by the way, lived) who should never have been brought into combat by some very stupid – and dead – insurgents.”