I’ve gotten a decent number of responses to yesterday’s essay, so rather than post an addendum to it, I’ve decided to sling them up here.
First, you need to read Anthony Martinez’s take here. He actually did clearances for Crazy Horse elements in Iraq, so he knows whereof he speaks. It’s a balanced take on the whole thing.
Second, let me make this clear: even though I could see why they would initially engage, based on a misidentification, there was absolutely no reason to shoot up the van. The van didn’t present a threat of any kind – they were collecting bodies! – so, to me, the crew should definitely be facing discipline for that act.
Third, like Anthony, I support the general mission of transparency that Wikileaks is engaged in. That said, like Anthony, I’m also dismayed with some of the inaccuracies in the video, as well as the failure to make clear all the variables at play. In short, the presentation makes it seem as though there is only one legitimate viewpoint allowed, when in fact the situation isn’t as clear as Wikileaks makes it out to be. Again, read Anthony’s post for more on this.
Finally, the chatter on the radio. People say all kinds of crazy shit on “closed” radio systems. I know I have. But this goes to the larger point of what it means to indoctrinate men and women to kill and destroy the enemy. In combat, you’re either killing or being killed. There is no such thing as a military that doesn’t kill – and in order to accomplish that, you have to recondition people to overcome the real psychological barriers that prevent most of us from killing each other.
Now, unless you’ve been in the military, the chatter you hear on the video is shocking. But that’s the key – unless you’ve been in the military. There’s a reason why most folks who’ve served in combat don’t really talk about it when we get back home – because, honestly, people just don’t get it.
It seems to me that rather than getting exercised over the language, people would do better to get exercised over the fact that we have a Congress that has no problem deploying people based on false evidence.