Wikileaks Apache attack video questioned by soldier on the scene
U.S. soldier Ethan McCord was one of the first on the scene following the Apache helicopter attack that killed two Reuters employees – as shown in the much discussed Wikileaks-released gun-sight footage. Interviewed by Wired.com McCord tells of his distress at discovering the two children wounded by 30mm chain-gun rounds but is also realistic about what happened:
Wired.com: Wikileaks presented the incident as though there was no engagement from insurgents. But you guys did have a firefight a couple of blocks away. Was it reasonable for the Apache soldiers to think that maybe the people they attacked were part of that insurgent firefight?
McCord: I doubt that they were a part of that firefight. However, when I did come up on the scene, there was an RPG as well as AK-47s there…. You just don’t walk around with an RPG in Iraq, especially three blocks away from a firefight…. Personally, I believe the first attack on the group standing by the wall was appropriate, was warranted by the rules of engagement. They did have weapons there. However, I don’t feel that the attack on the [rescue] van was necessary.
Now, as far as rules of engagement, [Iraqis] are not supposed to pick up the wounded. But they could have been easily deterred from doing what they were doing by just firing simply a few warning shots in the direction…. Instead, the Apaches decided to completely obliterate everybody in the van. That’s the hard part to swallow.
And where the soldier said [in the video], “Well, you shouldn’t take your kids to battle.” Well in all actuality, we brought the battle to your kids. There’s no front lines here. This is urban combat and we’re taking the war to children and women and innocents.
There were plenty of times in the past where other insurgents would come by and pick up the bodies, and then we’d have no evidence or anything to what happened, so in looking at it from the Apache’s point of view, they were thinking that [someone was] picking up the weapons and bodies; when, in hindsight, clearly they were picking up the wounded man. But you’re not supposed to do that in Iraq.
This testimony from someone actually at the scene will disappoint leftist armchair experts like Crikey blogging barrister Jeremy Sear:
The military (the same military that worked so hard to bury the video) says they were terrorists! The military says there was a firefight going on somewhere in the vicinity! Ignore what the video shows, just believe the people who didn’t want you to see it in the first place!
Will Sear acknowledge that the Wikileaks video is not the clear cut indictment of the U.S. military that he makes it seem? Don't count on it: Jeremy isn't noted for his corrections.