Business as usual

WikiLeaks, the whistleblower site, does what one would expect from any serious news source: expose cover-ups and lies, dig for the truth. In the days of CNN and Fox News, however, this has become so extraordinary and uncommon that the people who work for WikiLeaks are being harrassed by the CIA, and called a radical leftist group which severely damages the image of the United States abroad.

What did they do? They released a video showing an American helicopter shooting and killing a Reuters photographer and driver in a July 2007 attack in Baghdad. It is deeply disturbing, and I hesitated at first whether to include the link here. I decided to do so because from the point of view of Pentagon officials, this is a completely ordinary incident. Similar events take place in Afghanistan, maybe every day. It’s war, baby, what do you expect. Sure, the soldiers involved sound like they’re having fun, as if they were playing a video game, but that’s the least we should grant our heroes, isn’t it.

So, please be prepared to view and listen to something truly awful. Or, if you know all this, you can skip it. I thought I knew, and yet, I was seriously shocked.

This particular event got some attention because it involved a Reuters journalist. However, even Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger couldn’t solicit any admission of wrongdoing from Defense Secretary Robert Gates in an interview with the ABC News “This Week” program. The U.S. forces were simply mistaking a camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Happens every day.

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