US Army Accused Of "Video Game" Killings In Leaked Iraq War Video

Investigative organisation WikiLeaks released classified United States military video today showing the killing of more than a dozen Iraqis, including two Reuters employees, with a spokesperson for the whistle-blower group slamming the soldiers involved for their "video game"-like behaviour.

That video, which is incredibly disturbing and graphic, shows a group of Iraqis walking the streets of New Baghdad, identified as armed "insurgents" by military personnel. The group, which reportedly included Reuters photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and assistant Saeed Chmagh, is gunned down by a pair of Apache attack helicopters. Later, a minivan that appears to come to the assistance of the wounded is fired upon.

Australian journalist and WikiLeaks advisory board member Julian Assange released the video at the National Press Club in Washington. "The behaviour of the pilots is like they're playing a video game," said Assange, according to a report from Fox News. "It's like they want to get high-scores in that computer game."

Assange may be referring to the detached, casual nature of the dialogue between military personnel and the excitable language following the attack.

The gruesome video will be visually familiar to anyone who has played through Infinity Ward's most recent Call of Duty games, in which the player pilots an AC-130 gunship in an attack on ground forces. The in-game dialogue, which closely mirrors that of the WikiLeaks-released video, appears to be just as realistic in its nature as the piloting of a military aircraft.

Video Appears to Show U.S. Forces Firing on Unarmed Suspects in Baghdad [Fox News]


Comments

    Clearly it's the videogames

    CLEARLY

    it couldn't be the fact you gave a crazy person the power of god at his freaking fingertips.

    I stopped reading at "Fox News"

    I watched up until the initial shots were fired, then quickly had to turn it off. No-one who has played CoD4 can watch that without at least briefly thinking of the 'Death From Above' level. I put no moral spin on that, but it is true.

    Last time i checked Apache attack helicopters have been around since the early 1990's (Gulf War) and i'm pretty sure Call of Duty wasn't around then.

    Because it totally couldn't be the fact that Call Of Duty actually mirrors that of real life military situations.

    Is it really so surprising that soldiers that have been given orders from High Command deal with having to carry out and execute missions like this that are horrifying in nature to be emotionally detached from the situation? If I was there, I certainly wouldn't be trying to think about "Man, what have I done?" I would shut the fuck up and follow orders - and try to believe that what I'm doing is the right thing - which is blowing away insurgents.

    The fact that soldiers reacted this way really isn't so upsetting or the least bit surprising - its a way the brain deals with it to avoid trauma.

      Agreed. Someone fucked up in this operation, obviously. But it's not the people doing the shooting. For all they know, they're clearing out a threat - a threat to their comrades on the ground. Of course they're going to be agitated when they couldn't get any permission to fire for a while when the van arrived. I would be too.

      And really - is it that big a deal when they had a little laugh over driving over (for all they know at the moment) *enemy* bodies?

    OMG millitary personel are imitating games which imitate what real military personel say!
    How could they do such a thing :S

    This is disgusting.

    The civilians were just milling about ignoring the Apache attack helicopter, clearly they weren't acting guilty. They didn't look up and didn't point ANY weapons (I didn't even see any weapons).

    The soldiers lied to get permission to fire. Statements like I have 5 to 6 individuals with AK-47's. I didn't see any when I watch the video (although some ONE was carrying something I couldn't identify). These personnel were there and could see a lot better than the tiny video we see, they probably had better monitors in the Apache as well. So why did they lie? Are they just blood thirsty killers?

    When the van came by (a good samaritan who just happened to be driving by it seems) the gunner was BEGGING to kill them! I couldn't believe it. The gunner lied that the van was picking up the survivors and they're GUNS (what BS).

    They giggled when a tank ran over the bodies!

    These killers and the irresponsible leaders who covered it up must be held accountable and come to trial for mass murder.

      Either a nice troll or you are ignorant to how Apaches operate.

      The helicopter isn't sitting above their heads watching them, it is off in the distance.

      The pilot/gunner are soldiers, and are trained to do this kinda thing... I didn't realise you were taught to recognise AK-47s as part of Couch-Expert 101?

        Apparently they weren't, either, since they were WRONG. They mistook a camera lens for an RPG, ffs.

        They should've had to CONFIRM the men were armed, visually, from the ground, before firing. Actually, scratch that - it's not a crime to have a gun in Iraq. They should've waited until they were THREATENED before slaughtering those people.

        And this isn't about blaming videogames, it's about professional soldiers treating REAL murder as if it were a game.

          There is intent. At about 4 mins into the video, we see a man on the ground using a building as cover with what easily appears as an RPG, who raises and takes aim at the helo just as it finishes rounding the corner.

          And to liken this murder to that committed by a civilian is ridiculous. You are talking about people in an environment where attack could come against them at any moment, who have weapons and live ammunition. The two situations are very distinct, and you could argue that one is pre-meditated, the other is self defence.

            you are correct, murder is premeditated and that was more self defense.

            however, there was no need to fire up on them as there was no distinct or evident threat. like you said an in an area where an attack can come at any moment, you must be on high alert at all times. high alert does not mean shoot everything and anything that moves. and to top it all off, they are in a civil area and it is easy to injure bystanders and innocent civilians. this calls for extreme precision and accurate judgments NOT assumptions.

            if you roam the streets at night, alone, i suspect you will be cautious, as it would be unsafe. do you punch and react to everyone you see as an act of 'self defence'?

    Apart from the fact they've got the reasoning backwards (games imitating reality, not reality imitating games), if these men couldn't seal with killing people casually, then they wouldn't be responsible for killing people as part of their job.
    They are trained to act on orders, not consequence. They had been told the people were enemies, they acted.

    A couple of them had AK-47s, maybe three of them.

    It was obviously a really bad judgement on the soldiers part. Unfortunately, bad judgments in war get innocent people killed. This is the nature of war.

    Very sad, but expected.

    I don't see this as having a go at video games anyway. The reference is actualy as mentioned above to the casual nature of the killings and the attitude toward it afterwards (not the fact that this is caused by gaming!)Interestingly, hasn't the US army used video games to attract/recruit young people previously? It is not surprising in this day and age of modern warfare (not the game) where killing is done while looking through a monitor and the Army are soo well trained to simply execute orders that to an outsider this seems callous.

      THIS.

      The defensive comments here trying to take offence that someone mentioned videogames entirely miss the point.

      The issue is:
      (a) the US Rules of Engagement that permit the slaughter of people for no reason whatsoever.
      (b) the cavalier attitude of the gunners as they slaughter unarmed people... and then their rescuers (and their children)...
      (c) the US Department of Defence COVERING THIS VIDEO UP FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS.

    what really irks me is that war is now more of a cowards game than ever.
    what happened to the days when a participants looked each other dead in the eye as one of them perished honorably... Or as honorable as a death in a war can be.

    Now it's all death from afar.

    it makes me sick.

    it made me sick to watch that. There is no glory, no honor, no victory in any of that... only silly boys playing with guns, not understanding what it is they are really doing..

    and yes, everyone else is right so far... the game mimicked real life, not the other way around, this act just further proves it...

      Yes, because risking your life to kill your enemy is any more honorable.

      What happend to those days is they were killed by a guy hiding in the bushes the next hill over whilst "those days" were distracted fighting "those other days" in hand to hand combat.

    I don't think Call of Duty is to blame, I think it's the arrogant and juvenile American military. What else is going to happen if you pluck up every 18-24 year old who's keen to join the Army. I haven't seen the Australian military running around acting like dick heads.

    hey in video games u cant usually kill civilians...in cod if u attack civilians the game restarts to before u did it

    Do these people ever stop to think that some of these soldiers are just idiots in their own right? I mean, no offence to the hundreds of thousands of soldiers out there putting their lives on the line for the sake of all that is good (or out of government bullcrap, whichever way you want to put it) but a very small number of em should not be out there to start with.

    It doesn't matter how much dicipline you drill into some people, they just don't have the mental capacity to be a proper soldier and for those who do, some are just traumatised and will do things out of character because they've seen things that no one ever should. You can't blame video games for that.

    Lets also not put aside the fact that this could have been a bloody honest mistake.

    People seem to forget this is war. Innocent lives WILL be lost. It's inevitable... and when journalists and photographers hang around terrorists with RPGs and AK-47s then you have to expect to be fire upon. Unfortunately we cant just ask them down below if they are dangerous or not... "Do you have any journalists down there? No? Can i fire on you now, please?".. if they did you'd know exactly what they'd do with that RPG.

    Lets not forget; they are killing the same bastards that fire at them all day long, capture and torture their fellow brothers and execute their own people in the most barbaric of ways. I must admit they could have been a bit more professional about their engagement; but their actions seemed justified.

      That "RPG" was first identified as a AK-47 just as the other camera initially was, though there are armed men protecting them, God forbid they want to try and be slightly safe in a warzone. I will admit the camera was easily mistaken for an RPG in the situation, though the reality of the matter is that the detached perspective of the coalition forces in an area where lives are endangered.

      These lives were lost through lack of observance and reasoning, several examples of this show in the video; The initial identification of the cameras, them not keeping track of what weapons the possible hostile force has and not even noticing the two children with their heads out the window.

      Obviously they had the permission to engage with deadly force, but the detached perspective of the battlefield attributed to the senseless killings which could have been handled differently, through observation and I think a military recording probably should not be comparable to your average Xbox live foulmouth.

    Thank you FatShady for being the first person to give me the impression someone read the damned thing. The reference to video games was simply to the manner in which the military personnel did not seem to place weight on their actions nor connect with any real-world consequence. It is not at any point implying video games are to blame for the behaviour on display.

    theCiv, what you are suggesting is paramount to killing this hostages just to get the bank robbers. It's no different, no matter how you try to rationalise it. Besides that, the 'RPG' looked a lot more like a camera to me.

    Furthermore, there was obviously no direct hostile intent in the actions of the people shown. There was no time-pressure that necessitated the slaughter of civilians. I would also like to see you explain why it was necessary to kill the people that arrived later whose only offence was to try to assist a wounded man on the seen of a massacre? Also, tell me if you can why American soldiers are not terrorists when killing a dozen innocent civilians whilst the insurgents are terrorits for wielding a weapon in their occupied country?

      Because they are totally fighting for FREEDOM and LIBERTY, man!

      /sarcasm

    This is incredibly fucked up and shocking and horrible. Though, I think the fact that videogames were mentioned briefly in relation to it is only worth considering as an afterthought to the sheer utter fucked-up-ness of the murder of civilians.

    Though I cannot stand all the "video games make kids violent" arguments that get tossed around, I do not feel there was any problem with these being called "videogame killings". In the sense that to the soldiers involved, these were not human beings, they were targets on a monitor whose death meant nothing, the term is entirely adequate, as that is exactly what we are killing in videogames. That is not to say videogames are responsible for this happening in real-life, but the analogy is apt.

    The video game reference is only mentioned by one source, and he doesn't seem to be blaming video games, but comparing the casual nature of the killing to that sometimes present in video games. Additionally, Fox News is relatively fair in this, avoiding outright labeling the video as true. Of course, that would be illegal, but has that ever stopped a media outlet?

    Anyway, regardless of it's authenticity, I don't think this is an issue regarding video games in anyway other than a single person (not even Fox News) who might be insinuating a connection.

    Regardless, thanks for posting, as it will be something interesting to follow up on.

    actually what the chopper gunner thought was an RPG was in fact a long lensed camera .. and i could make that distinction from the cruddy youtube clip. the guys with ak47's were body guards for the 2 reporters also you hear over the radio that there are in fact no ground troops in the area (right before the clearance to fire) secondly .. its against international law to shoot medics even though it is often done... there was no discretion no remorse even after killing the 2 children in the van, it was total horrific overkill in a war we shouldn't be involved in, in the first place. to justify this action is obviously morally corrupt

    You guys are all fucking pathetic. This is a really nasty situation in which the Apache gunner was way to trigger-happy and wasted a bunch of innocent people, then went on to shoot up some good samaritan that tried to help them.. and all you guys can think about is "BAWWW they mentioned videogames!!!!!" It wasn't even said in the sense of 'playing videogames made him do it', the way it was stated was 'the gunner shows the detachment and eagerness to kill of someone playing a videogame'.

    Actually watch the video before you go spouting some bullshit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

      Thank God, I'm not the only one who feels this way. In fact, I find nothing at all wrong with their statements.

      They said: "The behaviour of the pilots is like they’re playing a video game". Is that not what is happening? He treated these living, breathing people as if they were just enemies in a video game.

      People here are like to video games what religious fanatics are to their faith. Defend any mention of it without reason!

      Exactly. The "videogames waaaa" reaction is unbelievably childish. This is a serous issue about how the military can slaughter civilians so outrageously and then cover it up for two and a half years.

      While I neither condone, defend nor accept that the actions of the soldiers are in the slightest morally right, what you must understand is that you can't associate people as 'flesh and blood' on the battlefield.

      The enemy is no longer a human, not a person. The enemy is an entity the resembles something sub human. It justifies killing in the mind, because you're no longer killing a person just 'an enemy'.

      With that established, suddenly killing is exactly like a video game. It reduces or removes the gravity of killing another human being. Because now they're an 'opposing force'. You can get 'excited' to kill people because you don't feel they are people. The operating procedure starts to mirror this, to the point where all you see is enemies and you forget about innocents.

      And this is just one of the many tragedies of war. Dehumanizing others to humanize the act of killing.

    I can't believe no ones asked this yet...link to video? A news article is dandy but I wanna see it happen. Guess I'll trawl theync

    Teach me to post before I look at the comment above me lol.

    The guy fromWikileaks who made the official announcement wasnt saying that they were acting like this due to or because of games, he was making the connotation that they were as devoid of emotion as a gamer.
    This to me is saying that they are worried about points and not moral issues, which a gamer shouldnt or woldnt due to it being a video game.
    There was no correlation between video games and the act of violence other than this, and as a hardcore gamer who hates games being used as a scapegoat, I think the description was apt and not in any way offensive to me.

    No offence Kotaku, but wtf you even reporting on this for. Especially if your going to chop and change stuff like a two bit news caster with an agenda.

    It's not video game behaviour, it's terrorism from our soldiers, according to Fox ;)

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