09 April 2010

I lied, final thoughts on the Apache video (for the morning)

A brief roundup as I await the start of the upcoming Milblogger Conference:

  • MountainRunner--Matt Armstrong--mentions what is perhaps the greatest failure in the entire debacle: the inability of the US military to effectively mount any sort of response to the video. At this point, a response from the Pentagon is so overdue that it's probably best the Pentagon does nothing but simply hope that Miley Cyrus releases a sex tape this week, thus diverting attention away from the Apache video. Although the official investigation, which provides some critical context for the video, is in the public domain, the military hasn't done a whole lot to call attention to it. In fact, half of the time the CENTCOM server which hosts it appears to be down. We could have beaten Wikilinks to the punch and at least shown the public the chaos and difficulty of operating in Baghdad in 2007.
  • The New York Times has a great article regarding the psychology of those involved in combat, and provides context--though maybe not an excuse--for the pilots' comments during the video.
  • It's obvious that there are some vital portions of the video which are missing. Nevertheless, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade seems to be unable to produce an uncut version of the video, prompting number of commenters to offer a sarcastic "go figure". I also agree that I'm not surprised that the footage is missing, though not for cynical purposes. The video is nearly three years old by this time, and the investigation was long since complete. As far as I know, most units don't keep footage of this sort on hand for very long, so it seems only natural that it would have been deleted over time. Consider the fact that a large portion of a military organization tends to leave a few months after a deployment. Even if the video survived the deployment, it's plausible that someone might have deleted it, not knowing what it was. Who knows, maybe whoever leaked the video to WikiLinks might have deleted it after they copied it.
  • If you can't access the Army's 15-6 investigation, here's a site that sums it up nicely and adds some excellent analysis.

Anyway, next report will be from the Milblog Conference 2010. Hope to see you there!

1 comment:

Madhu said...

So, because I'm essentially a very lazy person, I'm going to comment on the next post and this post, both, in the same comment.

1. Gary Trudeau!

The Sandbox (is that correct?) is wonderful as "micromemoir", which I guess, is one way to describe short autobiographical comments at blogs, or milblogs, or any other place on the internet where people happen to park their thoughts.

Humbling, isn't it? All those people and all those lives and all those experiences.

2. Food for thought because I don't know for sure: I don't think it's ever too late to follow-up on a public relations problem, I just think the response is different at different points. For something this far out, maybe what needs to be done is something methodical in terms of the lost tape (we are reviewing why it happened, yada yada yada), provide a clear official explanation of the video (has this been done? I'm laying low on that because there is so much misinformation out there and everyone is just spouting off), and try and anticipate the next issue, which there will be one.

I don't know how you do these things. Images are very powerful things and there are so many potential images to spread around out there. I hope someone smarter than me is thinking about how you process, relate to, and explain images to the general public. They will not know, and they will not always know where to look for correct information.

- Madhu