Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has defended the U.S. soldiers who were made infamous in a video released by the website Wikileaks last week, saying the critiques of those who fired upon and killed a group of reporters and civilians lack context.
The video, available below, shows American soldiers mistaking reporters for insurgents and firing at them from a helicopter. One journalist with a camera on his shoulder is believed to have an RPG, while a family that arrives in a van to help the wounded is impatiently fired upon after being thought to be a group of insurgent sympathizers. —JCL
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday defended the soldiers shown firing on a group of people near Baghdad in a classified military video released last week, saying the troops were caught in a “split-second” situation and the video doesn’t show the “broader picture.”
Gates acknowledged that the grainy, black-and-white video showing men on the streets running from gunfire while U.S. troops appear to make playful remarks, is a “hard thing to see,” but said he doesn’t anticipate the footage will hurt the U.S. image abroad.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s clearly not helpful, but by the same token I think it should not have any lasting consequences,” Gates told ABC’s “This Week.”