Thu, Apr 15, 2010
Attack Has Been "Thoroughly Investigated"
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.
Secretary of Defense Robert
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
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.
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