I don’t think that I ever actually watched the infamous horrific video that was leaked by Army intelligence analyst Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning back in 2010 showing soldiers in Baghdad firing from the air on Iraqi civilians – including two journalists – but after stumbling across it this evening and sitting through almost twenty minutes of it … which apparently is only even half of it … all I can say is that this video is the quintessential example of why whistleblowers in our military deserve protection just as much as they do throughout the rest of our society…
I could never handle being in the military, however as one of 350 million Americans who ours represents to the rest of humanity, I don’t understand how anyone could watch a display like this and not argue that the United States has a grave need for more accountability in its armed forces. The justifications for shooting, the behaviors throughout the attack, and the blind defenses both in 2007 when the incident took place and even three years later when it resurfaced through the leak – they don’t speak of a noble cause fighting to defend freedom and democracy in a foreign land.
They speak of the iconic American cowboy – one who loves fucking and fighting – and whose bloodlust, while arguably necessary for such a job, question if this is really the kind of job that needs to exist in first place, at least in a country where we never should’ve gone to war in the first place.
Ongoing internal investigations that never seem to find themselves of guilt are the simple reason that we need people like Chelsea Manning because although I don’t want our solders’ safety to be compromised on the battlefield, I don’t want to see our country being rightfully accused of being the very terrorists that we claim to be hunting due to incidents like this where we won’t even accept fault after the cards laid on the table show that our motives in that helicopter were suspect at best. There are far more videos on YouTube than I’d care to listen to from Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans themselves sharing gruesome tales of how this isn’t just an example, but an expectation in the American military today.
We all deserve better, much less those brave and selfless enough to risk their lives to reveal such aberrational behavior for us to take notice.