Candid Camera

I watched this video last week and a few times since. It’s supposedly a video taken from an AC130 Gunship as it rains down death and destruction on a supposed “terrorist compound”, although I have been unable to find on the web any real evidence as to a) where this video was shot, b) when it was shot, or c) who the supposed terrorists were.

Go ahead and view this video and read on for my general reaction.

I had a range of emotions and reactions while watching this video. In order, they are:

  1. Wow, they seem really confused about which building is the mosque, I hope they don’t accidentally level it.
  2. Wow, they’re targetting the individual vehicles.. Amazing!
  3. Holy crap, they just blew up that guy!! Can they do that? Can they target PEOPLE? Is that LEGAL?
  4. Googley eyes, mouth agape staring, etc…

Naturally, the naivete and idiocy in some of my reactions are obvious. Can they kill people? Of course they can. This is war. Well, it’s not technically war, but it’s pseudo-war. What’s the difference? It seems we’re always at war, these days, doesn’t it?

Anyways, I think my reactions are telling.. This video is what doesn’t normally get showed on CNN. They show us the neat video of the compound going up in flames from a 100mm howitzer shell, but they leave out the gruesome footage of those same 100mm howitzer shells taking out individual personnel. Yet, these things are happening every day.

No, this isn’t some sort of one-sided liberal anti-war rant. Yes, I realize that thousands of people have been killed by terrorists over the past few decades.

What gets me is how the media glosses things, and how jarring this video was for me. It jarred me. It shocked me to see people being blown in half by 100mm shells. It doesn’t make me feel good to watch, no matter how many atrocities these people may or may not have committed. Maybe it’s just me.

Even more repulsive, though, is the general response to this same video in what little commentary I could find on the web. Most of the comments were, basically: “Cool!!” or “That’ll show Osama’s boys who they’re messin with!!” and such. The general assumption is that this video was shot shortly after 9/11, but there’s no real indication of when or even where this took place.

The truly sad part, in addition, is that this video is a poor example of what the operations in Afghanistan really consisted of, anyway. Most responses to this video seemed to really enjoy that we were sticking it to the terrorists. Death rained down from above. Technological superiority.

But, in reality, most of the progress made to topple the Taliban and establish order in Afghanistan was done with very traditional deployment of ground troops, and very traditional, face-to-face small-arms combat. I hope people don’t get the impression from videos like this and what they’re fed on CNN that a similar endeavor in Iraq would be all CA130 Gunship joyrides and cruise-missle barrages like some sort of deranged video game.

Give peace a chance. Just don’t wear it on a t-shirt to a mall, whatever you do.