Last night on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert interviewed the founder of WikiLeaks and all-round creepy-man Julian Assange, who recently released video of a U.S. Apache helicopter allegedly massacring civilians in Iraq. He definitely earned the first three letters in his last name.
The war in Iraq is something Colbert clearly opposes, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling enraged at this depiction of American soldiers—a heart-felt emotion rarely seen on Colbert as he sticks to his character meant to mock conservative television and radio hosts.
This is, as far as I know, the first really contentious interview Colbert has had, and the first where (for the most part) he drops his character to deliver a well-deserved verbal curb-stomp. Watch the extended interview below:
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Exclusives – Julian Assange Unedited Interview|
As Bill Roggio points out, New Baghdad was a Mehdi Army stronghold at this point. The Apache attack came after small arms fire was reported, and some of the men were seen carrying weapons. The streets were empty, indicating that a firefight indeed did take place. Jayme Evans also dissects the video here. A rebuttal video that puts each part of the footage in context can be watched here.
The greater point is what motivates Assange and his sources that leak this sort of stuff. What are they trying to prove? The context strongly suggests that they aren’t simply trying to show the horrors of war, as video and news stories about that are plentiful. Assange wants to show the American soldiers as bloodthirsty and the military as so uncaring and evil as to murder Iraqi civilians without reason.
These leaks come without context, and enable Assange and his cohorts to write their own narrative. By the time the truth comes out, the story is already embedded into the minds of the public. The argument about censorship and whether the U.S. government should be more forthcoming in releasing documents can be saved for another day—for now, let’s just focus on what Assange is trying to accomplish and rejoice that Colbert found the perfect opportunity to drop his act and get serious.