I found the following account from a CNN reporter who was in Iraq to be both heartfelt and sad.
I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking incoming fire, and I’ve seen them not fire a shot back because they did not have positive identification on a target.
I saw their horror when they thought that they finally had identified their target, fired a tank round that went through a wall and into a house filled with civilians. They then rushed to help the wounded — remarkably no one was killed.
The Haditha investigation will most likely reveal a horrible turn of events. But let’s not lose focus. The men and women who are fighting for our country are being put in harm’s way day in and day out. And as you know, these same men and women can’t help but be affected in a fundamental way by those circumstances. Many soldiers are returning home with PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which completely alters their life in a way they can’t really control without medication and counseling.
Imagine that you’re being fired upon nearly every day. Imagine that. Somebody is trying to kill you. Throw out your partisan leanings for a moment and just think about that. Because that’s the situation that not only soldiers are facing right now, but also reporters. In fact, this has been the deadliest war for reporters since they recorded these kinds of things.
The moral to this story? Frankly, I don’t have one. But I think it’s important to remember exactly how horrible war is. That doesn’t mean the war crimes should be ignored. Nor should bad reporting be ignored either.
But when things like this happen, should we maybe step back and not shout so loud? Possibly.