All military action should be questioned and the military is not always on the right side of history, but the meme that all US troops are out for blood and will kill people without remorse is a bit over the top as well. So sayeth Oliver Willis

When it comes to war and the military, there are two attitudes that I despise. The first, and more widespread, comes from the right and their insistence that military action and decisions should never be questioned. Attempts to probe the military are always regarded by this group as traitorious rather than the necessary function of a strong democracy.

The second group without a clue are liberals who buy into the caricature of America’s soldiers as bloodthirsty savages who kill for the heck of it. Glenn Greenwald is in this camp. Greenwald insists that things like killing of Iraqi civilians in the Wikileaks video and Abu Ghraib are just standard operating procedure for American soldiers, and not aberrations from the norm.

In the case of the Wikileaks video, Greenwald characterizes it as “the plainly unjustified killing of a group of unarmed men (with their children) carrying away an unarmed, seriously wounded man to safety”. Except in the mindset of the soldiers shown, this wasn’t just some guy, but part of a group of insurgents. While it’s very clear that the military coverup of the activities was wrong, and possibly a crime, it galls me that it becomes so simple for people “over here” to Monday morning quarterback the decisions soldiers make in the field when they feel their lives and the lives of others are on the line.

This incident should be completely probed by an independent body, but to indict the entire U.S. military over a video like this is stupid. Furthermore, it isn’t as if Wikileaks just released the video. Every element that Wikileaks put out alongside the video was designed to indict the soldiers and the military coverup in the worst light possible. It was nearly as dishonest as the post-incident bullshit spin the Pentagon put out.

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