November 27th, 2006
This roundup of YouTube clips is meant to give a small sense of what it's like for the people who are killing and getting killed in Iraq — a view that, limited as it is, one can't possibly get from the mainstream newsmedia.
1. Insurgents Shoot U.S. Soldier
According to the slate at the opening of this footage, it takes place on the 4th of July, 2005, so the fact it's from the perspective of a couple of insurgent snipers makes it all the more poignant. There are at least two males stalking the lone soldier, who is standing next to a Humvee on the far side of an automobile thoroughfare. They mutter to one another, perhaps discussing the optimal time to fire. We hear a sudden metallic clunk and then the soldier falls straight to the ground.
On a pro-Marines website also hosting the video, text reads, "Thank God for Body Armor!" and as the hit infantryman gets onto his feet, we see that he's unhurt. He quickly scuttles to the opposite side of the Humvee as the insurgents mutter praise to Allah. Their praise does not sound celebratory, but rather, fearful. Perhaps they expect an inevitable and massive retaliation.
2. Apache Gun Kill
This one has been around a while; it's from December 2003. But this extended near-4-minute footage gives an interesting glimpse into the thought process of people on the triggers of some of the biggest guns in the world. Note the very calm, clinical voices trying to discern what the two targets are doing, what they're carrying and, ultimately, when to "smoke ’em." The men seem to be aware that they're being watched, but it's unclear they know exactly what awaits. (The Apache has the ability to monitor and track targets even when concealed.) Adding to the detachment is the Terminator-like view through the Target Acquisition and Designation System. When the guns finally go, the destruction to the human bodies is sickeningly complete and obvious, even through the infrared scopes.
3. Mortar Attack on U.S. Troops
Here, a small group of troops are outside a military compound in a vehicle when mortars start to rain down. The footage is from a soldier's camcorder, and we hear them saying, "Damn!" as the explosions go off near by. We hear the whistling of incoming mortars, and the shock & awe of the guys when mortars go off inside the compound (“Ohh, right inside the fuckin' base!"). They rush to pack up and go into the compound to help with emergency aid. In the distance inside the compound, we can hear the chaos of urgent voices and we can see plumes of smoke rising. (“We obviously pissed somebody off in the last few days.") The clip has footage of a roadside explosion spliced onto the end; U.S. troops are jovial as they pass 3 apparently civilian cars, smile and wave, and then get hit.
4. Counter-ambush Operation
This dash-mounted video is straight out of Hollywood, and it makes you wonder whether war movies tell us about reality, or help shape it, or both. After an ambush, retaliation is called for. "Shoot those motherfuckers! Get some! Get some!" shouts one soldier as we zip down tight residential roads after an unseen enemy. "Get yer Sixteen up there!!!" Gunfire. "You stupid motherfuckers!" It's chaos, and adrenaline, and of course, death in the streets.
5. Apache Voyeur
It's not all artillery and death, though. The last two clips are glimpses of the lighter side of war. Here, the troops catch another sort of hot Iraqi action. "That's a chick." A dark figure in a convertible car with a ponytail is visible. "What's she doin'?" "She's bouncin' up and down. On him!" A burst of laughter. "I swear to god, man, this chick is going crazy on this guy, it's incredible." Indeed, with the night-vision we see it clearly. The clip is over 7 minutes long, but who knows how much time and fuel was wasted on this "operation." The woman switches positions. "Stop moving," says someone to the helicopter pilot. An official voice says, "We got activity out here but I don't think we really need to report it...appears to be fornication in the convertible." "Do a target/store and I'll be there in a second." "Oh, we're tapin' it."
6. Night Vision Donkey Sex
No commentary needed for this one.
Not all of the above items are new, but as a series, we find them powerful. We decided to exclude montages set to music. (It is possible to find these from Coalition and insurgent perspectives.)
Know of better clips? Leave links in the comments, but please do not embed them.
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