Although this site seems to have been around for a while I haven't heard of it before today, when it was in the news for its latest leaked video. WikiLeaks is essentially a site where people can post information that traditional media such as newspapers wouldn't be able to publish because of injunctions. The reason it was in the news today was that it has just posted a video from an appache helicopter in Iraq showing American soldiers firing on news reporters and others, including two children. Its pretty shocking and some people would think it's awful to even show it, or perhaps that if you watch it its because of some perverse nosiness. But I think it shows the truly horrific side of war, with innocent people getting caught up in the crossfire. It doesn't look too good for the Americans either, their gung-ho attitude to shooting on people who posed no immediate threat to safety is extremely disturbing.
These days its pretty taboo to speak ill of the military, you can be against the war but you have to support the troops. Yes, some of them may be fighting for the right reasons, but this video demonstrates that you can't unquestionably assume that everyone in the military is a good person, they're only human. Someone has to be watching, to make sure that protecting the country isn't used as an excuse to cover up the incompetencies of military strategy.
More than anything I'd hope that since this event the rules of engagement have been changed, the military presence might be necessary, but it shoudn't be used to excuse the killing of people who did nothing more than be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Monday, 5 April 2010