FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Real War Games

by SAUL LANDAU

Write “war games.” Hit Google search. In a millisecond untold possibilities appear. I endure a Charmin toilet paper commercial where a cartoon bear wipes his butt with the tissues. Then I enter the real game: “You’re a young cadet, taking part in war games, war zones include jeeps, tanks and jets to take cover behind,” the screen assures me.

Animated characters emerge. I try in vain to manipulate them to shoot the others before they shoot me. Harmless fun, part of the American Dream – at least when you’re escaping from reality!

Now type www.collateralmurder.com  Click on the video on top of the screen and you’ll see a reality show of the American experience in Baghdad in 2007.

In early April Wikileaks (a whistle-blowing and investigative journalism organization) released 17-minute edited black-and-white video taken from the camera attached to the Apache helicopter’s gun sight . This “classified” military video shows the gunners blowing away 12 civilians, including two Reuters news employees working in a Baghdad neighborhood. The internet public can now “enjoy” this video with its reality soundtrack. Imagine, from your computer screen or blackberry, you see real bullets hit dirt in front of their human targets.

The static-infested sound track features some of the shooters guffawing as their victims drop.  Will this tape inspire brand new video games that allow kids lounging in their living rooms to blow away image that look like people?

In the video a group of seemingly unarmed men walk down a street. Then we see a man carrying something black in his hand.  Hard to know what it is from a small image taken at a distance of several hundred feet. There had been combat somewhere in that neighborhood.

They do not know that in the air at a distance. Apache helicopter guns with attached cameras record the men walking, soldiers chatter into the radio about their suspicions until one “discovers” a gun in a man’s hand (it later turned out to be a camera). The soldier identifies it as an AK-47 and gets permission to fire.

We watch bullets churning up dirt, men falling and a soldier’s voice says:: “ha ha I hit ‘em .”

At one point, as the camera shows the corpses in the street, a soldier in sums up the quarter hour: “Look at those dead bastards.” Still another soldier chimes in :  “Light em all up. Come on, fire!”

This chatter occurs while a man, Saeed Chmagh, crawls, wounded on the ground. A solider in the gunship pleads: over the radio as if the wounded man could hear him to pick up a gun so he can finish him. Saeed subsequently died. The uniformed US gunmen, flying in a highly armored war copter, also shot and killed Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen. He held a camera, not a rifle, in his hand.

Then a van drives up, men emerge from it and from nearby houses and pick a wounded Iraqi. The Apache pilots plead to re-engage and quickly receive permission to open fire a second time. The Apache guns pulverize the van,  seriously wounding two children (as ground troops later discovered). Later in the video a Bradley vehicle enters the screen. Its driver laughingly reports. “I just ran over a body.” Neighbors reported the “body” of a man had been alive until the Bradley cut him in half.

WikiLeaks said it obtained the video from military whistleblowers and had been able to view and investigate it after breaking the encryption code.

Major John Redfield, a Central Command spokesman, said on Wednesday that neither Central Command based in Tampa, Florida, nor U.S. forces in Iraq “have a copy of that video” but added: “We’re not disputing the authenticity of it.”

Amnesty International called for an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the incident shown in the video. The Pentagon had classified the film before WikiLeaks told the military censors to stuff it.
A senior US military official confirmed the video’s authenticity. The media at first ignored it. After all, Tiger Woods was about to hold a press conference.

Remember a common war against terrorism cliché: “They hate us for our freedom.”

Maybe “their” hate comes from concrete actions, not our freedom. The contents of this video shows the daily reality of war – when US troops invade and occupy another country – now 8 years in Afghanistan.

 In the fall of 2002 while filming “Iraq: Voices from the Street,” I asked Iraqis if they wanted the US to liberate them from Saddam Hussein.  In each neighborhood Iraqis pleaded, and demanded I tell President Bush not to come to Iraq. None defended Saddam Hussein. All scoffed at the idea that the regime had hidden wmd.

“Who invites you here?” one man asked. “Do not come. Not welcome. To come to another man’s land when you are not welcome is rude, bad manners.”

Millions of Vietnamese might have said “ditto” as millions of Afghans and Iraqis still do. No one invited us. The US government invades other countries, kills lots of its people, destroys its land, property and integrity and calls it defense of freedom and spread of democracy. But who invited us?

SAUL LANDAU is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose films are available (roundworldproductions.com). He is the author of A Bush and Botox World.

 

WORDS THAT STICK

 

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail