There was a big tempest in a teapot that I missed last week when I was On The Road, apparently, over some gun camera footage revealed by an organization that calls itself Wikileaks.
Some angst out there over whether or not American attack helicopter crews are 'gaming' the Rules of Engagement and the Law of Land Warfare. If you ask me they're adhering to the ROE; and I'd give them a pass for firing up the guy pointing the shoulder-mounted TV camera at them - I know a guy who shot a man who was holding a video cassette box in his hand, on the grounds that it looked like an automatic pistol, and he wasn't even charged. Adrenalin does things like that to your peripheral vision.
Anyway here it is, you can look at it in it's entirety and judge for yourselves.
If you ask me this whole issue is Ultimate Armchair Quarterbacking and resides within the Dimension of Legaldom - and lawyers are the natural enemy of the warrior class. If I must offer an opinion based on the second-hand info presented here, I'd say we're talking about a war we won, against an enemy who was never held to the same rules with which we constrained ourselves.
When it comes to warfighting (or any kind of fighting) the Philosophy of Stormbringer draws upon the genius of Guderian: "Klotzen, nicht Kleckern!"
In other words proportionality works like this: they bring a knife, you bring a gun. They bring a gun, you call in Spectre AC-130 gunship. The current occupier of the Whitehouse agrees with me on this, apparently, or at least he talks a good game. Of course we all know how he talks out the side of his mouth.
In studying this material, I have no problem with the actions of the helicopter crews. Those outraged by this footage are grasping at straws if you ask me. If there is a war crime here, then I ask: is there a war crimes tribunal going on that I don't know about?
Something keeps bothering me, however; the video opens on a frame with a logo, and it says: "Wikileaks obtained and decrypted the video you are about to see."
The problem I have with this is: it is not possible to encrypt video.
Don't you remember that news story from about a month ago, where the Taliban were able to hack into the drone's signal and see the video that the drone could "see"?
This was no great technical feat - they were able to hack into it using computer interface skills, but there was no decryption required because . . . it is not possible to encrypt video.
More and more I say this is a tempest in a teacup.
Perhaps the file was zipped and bundled into secure software or something.