Transparency saves lives.

Discussions about what to do following the release of the video of the Apache helicopter attack that showed the killing of two Reuters correspondents continues. The video was released by WikiLeaks earlier this month.

Many praised the organization for making the video public. Others complained that WikiLeaks released the video to promote a political agenda. (Something WikiLeaks does not deny. Just the hede the company gave the story — Collateral Murder — bespeaks a political agenda.) And others said the video did not tell the whole story. (There were snipers in the area and fighting taking place just block away.)

Even with all the discussion that has taken place, questions remain.

David Schlesinger Reuters editor in chief, wrote in the Guardian yesterday:

It was impossible for me to watch and not feel outrage and great sorrow – but this is not about trying to tell anyone else what to feel. This is about trying to find out exactly what happened and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

What I want from the Pentagon – and from all militaries – is simple: acknowledgment, transparency, accountability.

What does he mean by these three points?

  • Acknowledgment means both understanding at headquarters and training in the field that journalists have a right to be on the battlefield.
  • Transparency is vital. This is the honesty for all to learn lessons from what has transpired.
  • Finally there is accountability…Let’s fully understand the rules the military were operating under.

Schlesinger is not calling for anyone’s head on a platter. He wants the horrible events put in context.

Let’s dig behind the video. Let’s fully understand the rules the military were operating under. Let’s have a complete picture of what was going through the fliers’ minds.

My guess is that we would all be better off if there was more acceptance, transparency and accountability.

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