- Ralph Lopez
Ethan McCord, one of the soldiers seen in the now-famous Wikileaks video in which two American Apache helicopters fire upon a relaxed, unhurried gaggle of men in Baghdad, has stated in an interview with World Socialist Website that he witnessed numerous times the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in Iraq after IED attacks. McCord is one of the soldiers seen helping two wounded children after the attack. He has stepped forward with open opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and written a letter of apology for his part in the incident to the mother of the children, who has accepted his apology. The mother's husband was killed in the attack and found with his body shielding that of one of his children.
McCord said to reporter Bill Van Auken:
- "We had a pretty gung-ho commander, who decided that because we were getting hit by IEDs a lot, there would be a new battalion SOP [standard operating procedure]. He goes, "If someone in your line gets hit with an IED, 360 rotational fire. You kill every motherf*cker on the street." Myself and Josh and a lot of other soldiers were just sitting there looking at each other like, "Are you kidding me? You want us to kill women and children on the street?" And you couldn't just disobey orders to shoot, because they could just make your life hell in Iraq. So like with myself, I would shoot up into the roof of a building instead of down on the ground toward civilians. But I've seen it many times, where people are just walking down the street and an IED goes off and the troops open fire and kill them."
The deliberate killing of civilians is a war crime (Nanking 1937, Hankow 1938, German Invasion of Poland 1939.) McCord is one of a growing number of soldiers and support groups who have renounced their actions in Iraq.