What is disturbing about the above video:
- Reuters tried to find out how & why their correspondents were killed by the US military. But the US slapped the incident with a "secret" label and said that releasing that information would "endanger" US troops. It wouldn't. It would simply show how cavalier US troops were about Iraqi lives. It would show how "rules of engagement" were simply lip service that allowed trigger-happy "soldiers" to play shoot-em-up and kill innocent civilians.
- This video was the one released by Wikileaks in its battle with the US about using "secrecy" to allow the US government to hide facts from its own citizens. If your war crimes are labelled "secret" then nobody will find out how mismanaged your war is and what crimes are being committed by your government without your knowledge.
- This kind of cavalier killing happens far more than US citizens know. The classic case for Canadians were the 4 Canadian soldiers killed and 8 injured near Kandahar on April 18, 2002 while they were in a properly defined "training area". A couple of trigger happen US pilots saw flashes from that area and proceeded to bomb it thinking they were going after "the terrorists". The US resisted all Canadian efforts for a full and proper inquiry into the "mistake". From a CBC news article:
U.S. air force Maj. Harry Schmidt, one of the pilots involved in the "friendly fire" incident that killed four Canadians in Afghanistan, was found guilty of dereliction of duty on July 6, 2004, in what the U.S. military calls a "non-judicial hearing" before a senior officer. The maximum penalty he had faced was 30 days of house arrest.
He was reprimanded and forfeited more than $5,000 US in pay. The air force agreed to allow Schmidt to remain in the Illinois Air National Guard, but not as a pilot. Schmidt later appealed the verdict, but the appeal was rejected. He also filed a lawsuit against the air force, saying it released his letter of reprimand to the media, in violation of his privacy.
Schmidt had made a deal in June 2004 so he could avoid a full court martial.
Legal wrangling had delayed the case again and again. In late March 2004, the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals refused to supply classified information to Schmidt's legal team, who had argued the data was crucial to the defence.
In a statement released by Gittins in the summer of 2003, Schmidt said: "It is clear that I cannot and will not receive a full and fair hearing" in a non-judicial proceeding which is heard by a senior U. S. Air Force officer.
Schmidt faced two counts of dereliction of duty for not making sure he was dropping a bomb on the enemy and for disobeying air controllers' instructions to "standby" while information was verified. The formal counts allege that he "failed to comply with the applicable rules of engagement" and "willfully failed to exercise appropriate flight discipline over his aircraft."
Schmidt was originally charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and eight counts of assault. Schmidt's wingman, Maj. William Umbach was originally charged with four counts of aiding and abetting manslaughter, and eight counts of aiding and abetting assault.
Umbach agreed to accept a reprimand and retire from the Air Force.
When it decided to proceed with the dereliction of duty charges on June 30, 2003, the Air Force dropped the original charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault against Schmidt.
On June 19, 2003, Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the U.S. 8th Air Force, who reviewed the case, decided that both pilots should receive non-judicial punishment. That meant the Air Force had decided not to court martial the two National Guard pilots who were charged in the incident outside Kandahar, Afghanistan on April 18, 2002. As well as the four Canadian soldiers who were killed, eight others were wounded when Schmidt dropped a 250-kilogram laser-guided bomb from his F-16 on the night-time live-fire military exercise.