I'd like to do a quick rehash of the AP reporter shooting incident, pointing out an issue I don't think was adequately covered in previous discussions: the double-standard of responsibility that always hits the US hard. Previous thread here: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2658357 Note: the first thread on the subject quickly spiraled out of control due to counterfactual characterization of the events and was locked. The above linked thread was the second thread on the subject. The relevant facts of the incident are: 1. Two Iraqi national, AP acredited reporters were killed by a US helicopter gunship. 2. These reporters had embedded themselves with insurgents. 3. The helicopter pilots/gunners correctly identified insurgent weapons (which were later recovered at the site) and incorrectly identified the AP reporters' cameras as weapons. 4. After the initial shooting, a van carrying children drove up to assist the injured and was fired upon, injuring several children. From the standpoint of a gunner in a helicpoter, the situation that presented itself was crystal clear: armed insurgents = legitimate targets. The mistaken ID element muddies the water for some, but it does not change the tactical equation. What it does is add the element of propaganda, which is how this incident has been used. So if the AP reporters had been properly ID'd, it may have been prudent to disregard their mandate as soldiers and allow these insurgents to go unattacked. However, these insurgents were apparently trying to position themselves to attack a group of infantry nearby, so even if the AP reporters had been properly identified, there is a good chance the group still would have been fired upon. The AP reporters were embedded journalists. Embedded journalists sometimes die - that's an occupational hazard that they choose to accept. In this case, the reporters imprudently chose to embed themselves with the side of the conflict with the most risk. That was their choice and their deaths are therefore their own fault. Well over 100 embedded reporters have died in Iraq, most killed by the Iraqis (16 by American forces), probably because most are embedded with coalition troops: http://cpj.org/reports/2008/07/journalists-killed-in-iraq.php I have heard no outrage against the Iraqis/insurgents for these deaths, nor should there be any for legitimate combat killings, and the idea that the US bears culpability is a wrongful double-standard. There is also an inappropriate criticism of the US regarding general civilian casualties: there were probably civilian adults injured/killed in this incident and there were certainly civilian children. The US is routinely criticized for shooting at the van. But the injuries/deaths in the van are not the fault of the US, they are the fault of the driver of the van and the insurgents. Some of the more important laws of war are regarding protection of civilians and critical to those protections is separating and clearly identifying soldiers vs civilians. For the insurgents to hide among/mingle with civilians is a war crime and for the civilians to come to their aid is at best a mistake and at worst active participation in the insurgents' war effort. An extension of this issue is the general double-standard that follows the US around. The US is held to an extrordinary high standard, and reasonably so. When people perceive it falling short, it gets hit hard in world public opinion. That's improper, imo, because it ignores the enormous disparity between how we operate vs how our enemies operate. If people recognized just how wide the gap was and recognized that we put serious effort into being "good", then occasional shortfalls wouldn't be met with such vitrol from the international community as we saw in the last few years. Case-in-point: Abu Graib. This was a huge PR problem for the US and rightfully so - there were dozens of crimes up through murder there. But the incident can still be contrasted with the actions of our enemies: what happened there was not the policy and most of those involved were punished. Our enemies do such things as pretty much standard operating procedure. Perhaps we are desensitized to it, but being "normal" doesn't make it right and while the US should be condemned for allowing this to happen, it should also be praised for making an effort to correct it.