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All About Combat Footage on the Internet

All About Combat Footage on the Internet

Is it really possible to watch authentic combat footage online? To watch armies, gunfire, tanks, and the whole ball of wax? It may sound strange, even morbid, but the answer is “absolutely you can.” Combat footage which used to be relegated to edited snippets on the evening news is now all over cyberspace, demonstrating once again the absolutely amazing power and incredible reach of the Internet.

How Is Combat Footage Taken?

As a kid, I remember watching the old black and white filmstrips in elementary school of the troops storming the beach at Normandy in World War II, but that combat footage was authorized, approved and probably censored as well. The same cannot be said of the combat footage available today, though. These days, if you search on the internet anyone can watch real and sometimes violent combat footage—sometimes even live, right as it’s happening—at the click of a mouse.

So where is this combat footage coming from? Who’s filming these incredible scenes? Quite frankly, the answer is “everybody.” In a world where even small children have access to cell phone cameras, devices which can take crystal clear video images and access to an online computer on which they can upload these videos, combat footage is literally everywhere and being shot by almost anyone in a war-torn area.

Much of the combat footage being taken these days is by the soldiers themselves who are fighting these wars, both foreign and domestic, and then leaked to websites that publicize the shocking footage on the Internet. Sites like Wikileaks and LiveLeak, for example, routinely show real combat footage in areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, and claim it’s their duty to inform the people of what’s going on in these countries. Others, however, particularly the US State Department, disagree. Many military leaders insist that releasing this type of footage along with other classified information weakens US security and places us all in danger.

The real danger, according to many experts, of showing combat footage online is its availability to children. Most home computers have access to the Internet these days and the simple truth is this: If a child wanted to watch some of these gruesome scenes he/she could with very little difficulty. It is sites like these, they say, that glorify violence and send the wrong message to our young people.

But regardless of where you stand on the “combat footage” debate, there can be no doubt that these scenes are everywhere and probably will be for…, well, forever. As long as there are sites like YouTube and those “leak” sites mentioned above, there will always be a market and a channel for both taking and broadcasting combat footage across the airways.

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