The Obama administration is now defending the US military’s indiscriminate killing of twelve Iraqis after refusing to back calls for a probe. Last week, the watchdog website WikiLeaks released a classified US military video showing a US helicopter gunship firing on Iraqi civilians in 2007. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates offered a staunch defense of the US servicemembers who carried out the attack. Speaking to ABC News, Gates claimed the forces were operating in a “combat” and “split-second” situation, despite the fact the civilians weren’t engaged in any hostile act and the helicopter had hovered above them for several minutes. Gates made the comments in response to a question of whether the video footage would damage the US image abroad.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “They’re in a combat situation. The video doesn’t show the broader picture of the — of the firing that was going on at American troops. It’s obviously a hard thing to see. It’s painful to see, especially when you learn after the fact what was going on. But you — you talked about the fog of war. These people were operating in split-second situations. And, you know, we — we’ve investigated it very thoroughly.”