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  • Writer's pictureKristin Lyman

The Day I Watched Footage Leaked by Chelsea Manning

Updated: Jul 21, 2023




The video, which WikiLeaks titled Collateral Murder, showed the crew firing on a group of men and killing several of them, including two Reuters journalists, and then laughing at some of the casualties, all of whom were civilians.


The first time I watched this was about a year ago.

Two things struck me in this video:

1) The tenor of the voices of the soldiers on the Apache helicopters. You can feel the adrenaline 16 years later.

2) The visceral reaction I had once the civilians were being fired upon (my adrenaline went up, along with the hair on my head standing up). I've never witnessed anything that has made my brain send out "THIS IS WRONG" and "THIS GOES AGAINST GOD" alert messages so immediately and so loudly.


I hold all parties in this situation blameless. In health care, when there is a sentinel event (any unanticipated event in a healthcare setting that results in death or serious physical or psychological injury to a patient, not related to the natural course of the patient's illness), the practice is to analyze the conditions that led to the event, not to point fingers, because you want all parties involved to be able to share openly and honestly about what happened---to prevent a repeat.


A systems problem led to the killing of these civilians and the rippling out of more grief into the world.
The first ingredient to playing out neocon doctrine is who is in office, who is making policy decisions, the State Dept., the War Dept., etc. Second, it's the money--what if a war was declared (which we never do anymore, we just "work around" that pesky hurdle) and we didn't give them any money to wage it? And what if no one showed up? Third, it's how it's spun to the American people. Has anyone noticed that all conflicts these days are sold to us under the glory banner of WWII, but they evolve into a Vietnam? I know you saw those evacuations out of Afghanistan not too long ago.





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