Recently, a video was released by WikiLeaks from an unknown source showing the killing of Iraqi civilians by American troops from an Apache helicopter July 12, 2007.
Their excuse for firing the shots was they “mistook” a journalist’s camera for either an AK-47 or a rocket launcher, and they “thought” they might be insurgents. The horrendous 17-minute video shows real footage of the heinous crime that makes anybody with a true moral conscious question whether these “soldiers” were in a sane state of mind.
While watching the horrific video, I kept thinking these troops were acting like they were playing a video game. They were basically shooting at anything that moves.
According to more than one news source, the Apache helicopter killed 12 Iraqis and was equipped with Hellfire missiles and .30-caliber machine guns. Even when a minivan showed up to rescue the victims, shots were fired at the driver from the Apache helicopter.
I was outraged by the video — not necessarily shocked — because the U.S. Army has a history of slaying innocents and has always labeled it as “collateral damage.” Since the war started in Iraq, civilians — including journalists, farmers, doctors and children, to name a few — have been ambushed and caught in the line of fire by military forces.
Among the 12 Iraqis killed on that tragic day was Namir Noor-Eldeen, a prominent photojournalist who worked for Reuters.
Though he was only 22 when he was killed, friends and coworkers describe him as a well-respected, brave human being who left behind an incredible body of work that documents the reality of war in Iraq. Another victim was Saeed Chmagh, a Reuters driver and assistant. He was 40 years old and left behind a wife and four children. Along with the dozen deceased Iraqis, two children were wounded.
I could not help but think about these two human beings who had nothing to do with insurgency and did not even have weapons.
They were normal, hardworking men with families, values and passion for their profession. How come these acts of murder are not covered by the U.S. media? Why do so many Iraqi victims get killed this way and their stories go untold?
Don’t they deserve to be recognized and known for who they were, rather than be lumped together and become just a statistic?
Nobody can deny that these war crimes are serious violations of the Geneva Convention, and I defy anyone who says otherwise. These violators need to be put on trial; justice must be served. They owe it to the families of the deceased.
I am not surprised this did not get enough media coverage. When it was shown on the news, the footage was covered by a black box across the screen.
News reporters claimed it was out of respect for the victims’ families. I am sure their families want the world to see this shameful atrocity that led to the loss of their loved ones forever, but typical American media gives precedence to celebrity news over exposed government cover-ups and war crimes.
Teba Mohammad is a bilingual education graduate student.