The Fog Of YouTubed War

A video from Syria purports to show Al Qaeda aligned rebels executing unarmed prisoners. Max Fisher watches it a few times but is ultimately unable to discern what it actually shows:

I can’t say whether or not the video is authentic. I can’t say how it made its way online in the middle of an Internet blackout. I can’t tell who the gunman is, whom he shoots during the video, who is already shot when filming starts (two men are conspicuously motionless throughout, and one is clearly bleeding from his wrist), or what might be happening off screen as the camera shakes and spins. But this is, in some ways, symbolic of how the outside world watches the Syrian war: by scrutinizing shaky, bloody YouTube videos in a fruitless effort to deduce who is committing which atrocities and for what cause.

It’s hard to tell what we’re looking at in this video, but whatever it is, it’s bloody, disturbing and cruel. That might be said of the 18-month war itself.