August 31, 2010
As the president talks about ending the War in Iraq, a former soldier is speaking out about his role in the war. One Wichita man, who served in Iraq also appeared in a controversial video that went viral.
The video captures an attack that happened more than three years ago. A website leaked it in April. It documents American soldiers shooting down a group of people, mistaking their camera gear for weapons. Then, the soldiers fire at a van that stopped to collect the bodies.
After ground troops moved in, they found there were two children in the van. Now, the man who discovered those children is speaking out.
"My whole outlook on the war changed that day," said former U.S. Army Specialist Ethan McCord.
You can hear Ethan McCord's voice in the video as he pulled the children from the van. Now, McCord lives in Wichita but travels the country speaking out about his experience.
"It was heart wrenching," said McCord.
But not everyone involved felt the same way. You can hear one person in the video say, "Well it's their fault for bringing their kids into battle."
This mindset is the reason McCord is calling for change.
"It's really easy to blame soldiers for this action. But I think the blame needs to be more on the system, the system that trains these soldiers to act this way," said McCord.
The White House responded after the website WikiLeaks.org released the video. The statement said the Vice President spoke with Iraqi leaders and "conveyed sympathy and condolences for the victims of recent attacks." He also "stated his conviction that, notwithstanding these attempts at intimidation, the Iraqi's will not be deterred from moving forward."
"That's why I'm speaking out, is to let people know the atrocities of war," said McCord.
Because while the video is unique to the public, McCord says the scenario is not unique to the war.
"I see images of stuff like that every night," said McCord.
A news photographer and his driver died in the attack. The two children were seriously wounded but reportedly did survive. It's estimated more than seven million people have viewed the video documenting the incident.