NYT’s OK With Apache 30mm Cannon Attack Video Banter

The New York Times takes another shot at the controversy surrounding the recently-leaked video of the 2007 Army Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad. Despite the fact that the action was a case of bad intel, and children died in the incident, the Gray Lady attempts fair and balance the whole deal, providing justifications for the casual “banter” that’s drawn so much fire. “In recent days, many veterans have made the point that fighters cannot do their jobs without creating psychological distance from the enemy. One reason that the soldiers seemed as if they were playing a video game is that, in a morbid but necessary sense, they were . . .  In recent days, many veterans have made the point that fighters cannot do their jobs without creating psychological distance from the enemy. One reason that the soldiers seemed as if they were playing a video game is that, in a morbid but necessary sense, they were.” Jeez. What happened to the paper’s left-leaning moral indignation? Gone.

The video’s emotional impact on viewers is also partly rooted in the combination of intimacy and distance it gives them, some experts said. The viewer sees a wider tragedy unfolding, in hindsight, from the safety of a desk; the soldiers are reacting in real time, on high alert, exposed.

In recent studies, researchers have shown that such distance tempts people to script how they would act in the same place, and overestimate the force of their own professed moral principles.

“We don’t express our better angels as much as we’d like to think, especially when strong emotions are involved,” Dr. Dunning said. He added, “What another person does in that situation should stand as forewarning for what we would do ourselves.”

comments

  1. avatar Robert Fure says:

    Glad the NYT hosted a reasonable article on a sensitive issue.

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