Video of U.S. Troops in Iraq Draws Comparison to Games

April 6, 2010 -

Leaked video of U.S. troops in Iraq shooting civilians that were mistaken for insurgents caused a WikiLeaks spokesperson to compare the footage to a videogame.

The footage in question, which can be viewed here if you have yet to see it (warning, it is graphic) shows a pair of Apache helicopters circling a group of people on the streets of New Baghdad in July of 2007. A Fox News report states that the choppers were responding to reports of AK-47 fire in the area. The group of 9-12 people included a pair of Reuters journalists.

U.S. troops apparently mistook cameras and photography equipment for weapons and eventually open-fired, killing an undetermined amount of people, including the two Reuters photographers. A Pentagon spokesperson called the attacks justified and told Fox News that, “The individuals who were killed, apart from the Reuters journalists, were involved in hostile activity.”

Reuters had been attempting to acquire the video, unsuccessfully, through the Freedom of Information Act.

In presenting the video at the National Press Club in Washington, WikiLeaks Julian Assange stated, “The behavior of the pilots is like they're playing a video game. It's like they want to get high-scores in that computer game."

Earlier this year, WikiLeaks claimed that its members were being harassed by the U.S. government. The group also recently uncovered a purported document (PDF) authored by the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center  referencing it, which was titled, WikiLeaks.org -- An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?


Via Kotaku, Thanks Andrew and Mdo7


Comments

Re: Video of U.S. Troops in Iraq Draws Comparison to Games

Fourteen innocent people were killed and for years the government responded with "all people shot were hostiles", while knowing fully well they were talking shit, and you're afraid this is going to be blown out of proportion?

And yes, let's send the children we just tried to kill to a hospital, so we can finish the job and make sure they can't testify. It's not as if we want people to prove we were wrong.

Re: Video of U.S. Troops in Iraq Draws Comparison to Games

I'm afraid I have to agree with PxDnNinja.  He seems to know what he's talking about.  It'll be blown out of proportion, and   This is what Jack Thompson, The Eagle Forum and the anti-video game group need to back up their evidence.  This video can be use to convince people, They're going to say this:

"you see violent video game made these soldier kill innocent Iraqis.  If that happen to them it can happen to your children.  Your children may end up shooting up school like the way those soldiers shot innocent civillians.  Don't listen to the gamers saying video game don't make people kill people.  All gamer are sociopathic or psychiological killer, you just don't see it.  Anyone that play violent video game will become a mindless homicidal killer and this video proves it.  Are you going to believe this video or the gamer themselves."

 

 

Re: Video of U.S. Troops in Iraq Draws Comparison to Games

Yes, I am afraid it is going to be blown out of proportion.

"Obviously, the soldiers were callous due to time playing video games."

"The military uses farms of gaming systems to supress the instinct to not kill in soldiers."

"US Soldiers are just child killing sadists."

All of the above statements can easily be seen spouted by various news sources and fanatics online, without a true knowledge of the situation. Put yourself in the seat of that apache helicopter, after having served over in Iraq and having had missiles and bullets fired at you more times than anyone wants to count, truly think about how you might have reacted.

I have thought about it, and I wouldn't have requested permission to engage until the guy appeared to be readying an RPG around the corner. That would have pushed me to request engagement rights, or at least request support so I could extract before I was engaged. I don't know what intel was handed out prior to this, nor what activity had been going on in the area. With that info, I might have requested engagement rights instead of extraction.

As for your snide comment about "let's send the children we just tried to kill to a hospital, so we can finish the job and make sure they can't testify", what would you rather us do. We sent them to an Iraqi hospital and we are yelled at for them getting much worse medical treatment. We send them to a US hospital, and people say we are attempting to cover up things (because clearly our government is nothing but a network of conspiricies). All that is left is for us to leave them there dying.

I won't say we shouldn't have come forward and said we messed up sooner (quite the opposite, we should have owned up much earlier), but to demonize the soldiers involved like many of the people who read this, especially this wikileaks site, is terrible.

Re: Video of U.S. Troops in Iraq Draws Comparison to Games

They say the same things even when there aren't these incidents, so no, the incident itself didn't get blown out of proportions, not more than the rest of the war. Nothing ever changed there, ever since Vietnam soldiers got seen by monsters by many, and unfortunately, sometimes they are, which makes it even harder to deal with those that merely pull that trigger too fast. And to be honest, can you prove it's just an incident? There's no telling how many of these cases were covered up. That's the bad part about lying, once a single lie is exposed, even your truths will be doubted.

And what's left is not covering everything up. If your first response is to cover it up for years, then you lose the right to complain about people distrusting you to let witnesses live. I'm still not sure whether or not those children would have survived a US hospital, exactly because this was covered up.

Re: Video of U.S. Troops in Iraq Draws Comparison to Games

If they were sent to a US hospital, they would have survived (if their wounds COULD be survived).

 

High command sent them to a local hospital in order to begin the coverup aspect. No children on American soil means no one to ask questsion. IF they allowed the kids over, then they would have announced the accident and as a PR effort would have did everything to save the kids.

 

I know that sounds counterproductive to my earlier arguements, but I'm not blind to the fact that this was covered up, and simple logic easily explains the view of the children as tokens in the coverup, but that doesn't change the fact that the soldiers themselves followed protocol and have to live with their mistake.

Re: Video of U.S. Troops in Iraq Draws Comparison to Games

I do have to question why the observers thought the people down below were hostile. They were walking in the open, didn't even look up at the helicopter, and were walking in a clump, something I'd imagine wouldn't happen if they indeed had hostile intentions. Why would someone be dumb enough to be walking with a RPG in the middle of the road?

The big thing for me is firing on the van that was trying to drag the wounded in. Is it military procedure to fire on a target, regardless of being labelled hostile, if they're trying to rescue wounded? While I understand the concept of finishing off the opposition because they could just come right back and get you the next time, it seems rather... barbaric? in todays standards.

I'm not trying to judge, I can't imagine the stress of being out there having people wanting to kill you, and this was all just a very tragic mistake.

But the bigger thing is how the military just seems to have covered it up and denied any responsibility. That's the biggest issue here.

Re: Video of U.S. Troops in Iraq Draws Comparison to Games

This I can agree with. The firing on the van was pushing it a bit. There didn't seem to be an immediate threat, though again it depends on the area. Perhaps there have been issues of attacks from insurgents firing RPGs out the sids and backs of vans, so that could have lead to the decision to open fire. Keep in mind the pilot and gunner requested permission to engage from command, and followed through with the results.

Again putting myself in the spot, I would have reported the vehicle as attempting to evac the wounded, but wouldn't have requested engagement rights at the time that the pilot did.

The coverup aspect by the high command is a bit shady and indeed a larger issue, and for that I would want more information and do not defend in any way.

My big concern is that the soldiers in the field aren't under attack for following procedure by people who have never served or been in such a situation to understand the different dynamic that battlefield can present.

 
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