Glenn Greenwald discusses the WikiLinks tape on Democracy Now: “This is something that takes place on a virtually daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan…. This is what war is. This is what the United States does in these countries”

From: Democracy Now!

Massacre Caught on Tape: US Military Confirms Authenticity of Their Own Chilling Video Showing Killing of Journalists


The US military has confirmed the authenticity of newly released video showing US forces indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians. On Monday, the website posted footage taken from a US military helicopter in July 2007 as it killed twelve people and wounded two children. The dead included two employees of the Reuters news agency, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh. We speak with WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange and blogger Glenn Greenwald. [includes rush transcript]


GLENN GREENWALD: I think, in one sense, that WikiLeaks has done an extraordinarily valuable service, because it has exposed what it is that war actually is, what we’re actually doing in Afghanistan and Iraq on a day-to-day basis.

My concern with the discussions that have been triggered, though, is that there seems to be the suggestion, in many circles—not, of course, by Julian—that this is some sort of extreme event, or this is some sort of aberration, and that’s the reason why we’re all talking about it and are horrified about it. In fact, it’s anything but rare. The only thing that’s rare about this is that we happen to know about it and are seeing it take place on video. This is something that takes place on a virtually daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places where we invade and bomb and occupy. And the reason why there are hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq and thousands of dead in Afghanistan is because this is what happens constantly when we are engaged in warfare in those countries.

And you see that, as Julian said, in the fact that every step of the way they got formal approval for what they wanted to do. And if you read the Defense Department investigations, which cleared the individuals involved, in every sense, and said that they acted complete [no audio]—

AMY GOODMAN: We may have just lost—

GLENN GREENWALD: —operating procedure.

AMY GOODMAN: There it is. Go ahead.

GLENN GREENWALD: And you see that this is standard operating procedure. The military was not at all concerned about what took place. They didn’t even think there were remedial steps needed to prevent a future reoccurrence. They concluded definitively that the members of the military involved did exactly the right thing.

This is what war is. This is what the United States does in these countries. And that, I think, is the crucial point to note, along with the fact that the military fought tooth and nail to prevent this video from surfacing, precisely because they knew that it would shed light on what their actual behavior is during war, and instead of the propaganda to which we’re typically subjected.

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