Why won’t people just take the military that suppressed that video at its word that it found RPGs and guns on the bodies? (Apart from it being irrelevant to their shooting the group when it wasn’t doing anything, let alone the unarmed people who came to rescue the wounded photographer.) Because there are a lot of soldiers out there who know how the game was played:
Washburn testified on a panel that discussed the rules of engagement (ROE) in Iraq, and how lax they were, to the point of being virtually nonexistent.
“During the course of my three tours, the rules of engagement changed a lot,” Washburn’s testimony continued, “The higher the threat the more viciously we were permitted and expected to respond. Something else we were encouraged to do, almost with a wink and nudge, was to carry ‘drop weapons’, or by my third tour, ‘drop shovels’. We would carry these weapons or shovels with us because if we accidentally shot a civilian, we could just toss the weapon on the body, and make them look like an insurgent.”
But I’m sure that didn’t happen in this case. Why would they lie AND suppress the video evidence?
Anyway, it’s a complete lie that the “Rules of Engagement” represent absolute contempt for Iraqi lives:
Jason Wayne Lemue is a Marine who served three tours in Iraq.
“My commander told me, ‘Kill those who need to be killed, and save those who need to be saved’; that was our mission on our first tour,” he said of his first deployment during the invasion.
“After that the ROE changed, and carrying a shovel, or standing on a rooftop talking on a cell phone, or being out after curfew [meant those people] were to be killed. I can’t tell you how many people died because of this. By my third tour, we were told to just shoot people, and the officers would take care of us.”
There’s more. A depressing – and, in the context, unsurprising – amount more. No wonder soldiers resort to dehumanising laughter to cope. And if you still think there’s no problem with the way the occupation is being prosecuted in our name in Iraq, and that we shouldn’t be concerned or demand change, then you should bloody well read it.
(Via Darryl Mason)
ELSEWHERE: Apologists for the killing go on the attack.