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March 29, 2011

Yon: Rolling Stone Is Lying About Parts of the "KILL TEAM" Story

One of the most prominent parts of the story concerns the shooting of two armed men on a motorcycle. It's prominent, chiefly because the team took video of the shooting; that is, since it's hot video of course, if you're trying to sell magazines, it has to be featured prominently in the story.

I didn't cite that when I excerpted the story because hot footage aside, it didn't seem out-of-the-ordinary.

Even Rolling Stone seems to concede as much:

The clip presented here is excerpted from 'Motorcycle Kill,' a video collected and shared by members of the “kill team” of U.S. soldiers who murdered civilians in Afghanistan and mutilated the corpses. The jumpy, 30-minute video – shot by soldiers believed to be with another battalion in the 5th Stryker Brigade – shows American troops gunning down two Afghans on a motorcycle who may have been armed. Even if the killings were part of a legitimate combat engagement, however, it is a clear violation of Army standards to share such footage.

Oh, it's a clear violation of Army standards to share such footage? Oh dear, that does sound serious. I bet some soldiers even have contraband pornography in their possession.

Were they armed? I can't tell from the video (I've tried to stop the video as the passenger raises his right hand to see if there's a gun in it but just as he raises it a US soldier steps out, in foreground, obscuring it.)

Yon said they were armed, and furthermore, this was not a case of waylaying a random cyclist; this was during an intense fight.

Rolling Stone commits a literary “crime” by deceptively entwining this normal combat video with the Kill Team story. The Taliban on the motorcycle were killed during an intense operation in the Arghandab near Kandahar City. People who have been to the Arghandab realize the extreme danger there. The Soviets got beaten horribly in the Arghandab, despite throwing everything including the Soviet kitchen sink into the battle that lasted over a month. Others fared little better. To my knowledge, 5/2 and supporting units were the first ever to take Arghandab, and these two dead Taliban were part of that process.

The killing of the armed Taliban on the motorcycle was legal and within the rules of engagement.

As they say, if it bleeds, it leads. Rolling Stone has footage of someone getting shot and damnit if they're not going to contrive a way to present lurid material as somehow important.

I call it "lurid" not because the soldiers' actions are themselves lurid, but because people like to see other people die. But Rolling Stone can't just be upfront about it (like that old death-porn site, Ogrish) and say "Check it out! A couple of guys get wasted on camera!" Instead it's wrapped up in this false narrative of political import.



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posted by Ace at 01:03 PM

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