This is an absolute outrage:
The wildly popular video-sharing Web site YouTube.com has dozens of videos purporting to show individual American soldiers being killed in Iraq, in what amounts to snuff films, overlaid with music and insurgent slogans.
Some of the videos, including ones of American soldiers purportedly being picked off by snipers or being blown up by improvised explosive devices, have been viewed tens of thousands of times each in the past few months. Some are posted in YouTube’s “news and blogs” category, but others are listed under “entertainment” and even “comedy.”
One shows what appears to be three U.S. soldiers in desert fatigues questioning Iraqi men in a street or alley as young boys mingle around. Suddenly, one soldier slumps to the ground, felled by a single bullet, as the children scatter. In another, a U.S. soldier is standing through the top hatch of a Humvee, then slumps over as the sniper strikes.
Their presence on YouTube shows that insurgent propaganda — including genuine footage — already available on more obscure Web sites has seeped in the mainstream of American popular culture, said Eben Kaplan, assistant editor of CFR.org, the Web site of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank headquartered in New York.
“It is authentic. Most of (the videos) have insignia of Iraqi insurgent groups” and some likely were reposted from jihadist Web sites, said Kaplan, who has written extensively about terrorists’ use of the Internet. “That it’s being picked up in YouTube does give it a much wider audience.”
Yes, this is America, and in this country of course we have the right to freedom of speech. But, as Jules Crittenden reminds us, with that freedom comes responsibility – and accountability:
It all has to do with context. I think every adult American should watch the Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg videos. Pearl’s is chilling. Berg’s death on video is possibly the most horrifying thing I have seen, exceeding the horror of violent death I’ve witnessed firsthand. Once you have watched these, you can have no doubt whatsoever about the depravity of our enemy, and the link between 9/11 and Iraq. It is simple. They will kill us anywhere they can get at us, in the most brutal fashion they can.
Which brings us back to Islamic insurgent G.I. snuff films. I also think sober-minded adults might want to see these, to better understand the nature and the thinking of the enemy we face. Presenting the deaths of American soldiers as “entertainment” on YouTube, however, is another matter.
The Internet is notoriously responsibility free. It’s a brave new world of expression, and almost entirely lawless. But not quite.
YouTube disclaims any responsibility for its content, but that’s too precious a dodge.What YouTube, an American-based medium, has chosen to do is allow itself to be used to amplify and facilitate enemy propaganda. Not in the context of reporting on that propaganda, not to foster a serious discussion of that propaganda. But for entertainment. For comedy. For money.
Let YouTube know what you think here.