As with most videos, our context may be slightly scewed but initially it did appear to me that 2 of the individuals had long guns which is a violation on the streets of Bagdad and automatically makes you a "hostile". All there know, pick up a weapon, expect to be engaged. I can also see where the individual looking around the corner bearing a long object could be mistaken for an RPG which they encounter frequently.
As for the van. It could have simply been rendering aid to the wounded. I noticed it went directly to the wounded man without a weapon. It did not go to the fatalities.
My problem with the video is the bar of proof required to approve deadly force seems to be set very low. As they were not being fired upon, some magnification or even the ground unit deployed to their location to evaluate might have been wise.
Having said that, hostiles in that area do not wear uniforms or signs identifying them as such. It could be a 14 year old child or an 80 year old farmer. I can imagine that the confusion and the feeling of urgentcy to act to prevent friendly casualties can be daunting. They also state in the video that they have already encountered some hostiles with RPG's earlier that day, so this is not an uncommon event which could lend itself to assumption. The "if it looks like a weapon, it probably is" mentality.
Although I don't think we ever had any bussiness being there then or now, I can empathize with the difficulty of decisions our service men and women are having to make.
IMO: I think this was poor judgement made without sufficient proof of hostility. I think this was the case when we entered this conflict as well. I do not think it is criminal. A fact of war is that things get broken and people get hurt. It's not always the right things or people. It's called the "fog of war". Commanders know this. That is why they are often hesitant about deploying this type of overwhelming firepower in civillian areas. it's like a bull in a china shop. Some shits gonna get broken.
Last edited by Ditchdoc on May 21st 2010, 4:20pm, edited 1 time in total.