There has been some pushback on calling this murder.
Even if we grant everything argued in defense of the actions of the Apache crew, including that (a) at least some of the men were armed; (b) that there was fighting in the vicinity; (c) that the press did not sufficiently identify themselves, this is still a criminal act.
In the final analysis, you have eight men, only two of whom appear to be armed. They are not engaging coalition forces at the time. There is no compelling military necessity to engage the entire group at that moment. We are the occupying power in Iraq. It is our affirmative duty to protect civilian lives under that circumstance. The presence of armed men, in a mixed group of people some of whom appear to be non-combatants (because they are clearly unarmed), does not justify killing them all. Attacking unarmed men who are helping a wounded man is also simply not justifiable. The man crawling on the ground is clearly no threat to coalition forces. He’s unarmed and crawling to his death. A van pulls up and unarmed men exit to help him, and we engage it?
Given the presence of unarmed men, there ought to have been an assessment of proportionality. Can we justify killing six unarmed men in order to strike at the one or two who are armed? The answer to that is, maybe (probably yes), but only if they are actively engaging coalition force. Not if they are just milling about. There was no military necessity here to over-ride the presumption of non-combatant immunity.
Sorry, but this was an unlawful killing. The Apache crew did not appear to be under fire. The men they attacked where not engaging anyone. This was not close air support. This was murder.
Unless the video was doctored, this is not actually a particularly hard case. Which is not to say that I can’t empathize with the Apache crew or the difficulties of operating at that kind of environment. But empathy is one thing, excusing the inexcusable in another.