Irak — Gates Calls Air Strike Video ‘Painful to Watch’

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2010 — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said recent­ly pub­lished footage of a U.S. Apache heli­copter killing 12 peo­ple in Iraq, includ­ing two Reuters news agency per­son­nel, was “painful to watch,” and that the attack has been thor­ough­ly inves­ti­gat­ed.
The 17-minute video from a July 12, 2007, air strike shows U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel gun­ning down a group per­ceived to be armed mil­i­tants and open­ing fire on a sub­se­quent res­cue attempt. The footage was made avail­able last week by Wik­iLeaks, a whis­tle-blow­ing Web site that pub­lish­es anony­mous sub­mis­sions and leaked doc­u­ments.

“We’ve inves­ti­gat­ed it very thor­ough­ly. And it’s unfor­tu­nate — it’s clear­ly not help­ful,” Gates said yes­ter­day on ABC News’ “This Week.” “But by the same token, I think it should not have any last­ing con­se­quences.”

Asked if the release of the video would dam­age the image of the Unit­ed States in the world, Gates said he did­n’t think so.

“They’re in a com­bat sit­u­a­tion. The video does­n’t show the broad­er pic­ture of the fir­ing that was going on at Amer­i­can troops,” he said. “It’s obvi­ous­ly a hard thing to see. It’s painful to see, espe­cial­ly when you learn, after the fact, what was going on.”

A defense offi­cial inter­viewed for the sto­ry said “a per­fect storm” of cir­cum­stances con­tributed to the mis­steps. The offi­cial said a longer ver­sion of the video, also avail­able online, shows the fuller con­text of the air strike, includ­ing evi­dence of near­by gun­fire.

“You talked about the fog of war — these peo­ple were oper­at­ing in split-sec­ond sit­u­a­tions,” Gates said.

The find­ings of the U.S. mil­i­tary inves­ti­ga­tion are avail­able on the U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand Web site in the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act Read­ing Room sec­tion.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →