‘Collateral Murder’ Soldier Speaks in New Film | Threat Level
Ethan McCord, a 33-year-old Army specialist, was engaged in a firefight with insurgents in an Iraqi suburb in July 2007, when his platoon, part of Bravo Company, 2-16 Infantry, got orders to investigate the aftermath of a recent firefight on a nearby street.
When McCord’s platoon arrived, the soldiers found a scene of fresh carnage –- the scattered remains of a group of men, believed to be armed, who had just been gunned down by Apache attack helicopters. They also found 10-year-old Sajad Mutashar and his 5-year-old sister Doaha covered in blood in a van. Their 43-year-old father, Saleh, had been driving them to a class when he spotted one of the wounded men moving in the street and drove over to help him, only to become a victim of the Apache guns.
McCord was photographed in a video shot from one helicopter as he ran frantically to a military vehicle with Sajad in his arms seeking medical care. That video created its own firestorm when the whistleblower site WikiLeaks published it April 5, 2010, one year ago Tuesday, on a site called “Collateral Murder.” It was the leak that put WikiLeaks on the map and is among a multitude of high-profile leaks allegedly provided to the site by former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.
Wired.com interviewed McCord last year about the incident and about his experience of suddenly seeing himself on the news, three years after the event. McCord had just returned from dropping his children at school on April 5, when he turned on the TV news to see grainy black-and-white video footage of himself running from a bombed-out van with Sajad in his arms. It was a scene that had played repeatedly in his mind for three years and had caused him much grief.
A new short film about the Baghdad incident will be showing this month at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. In it, McCord goes into more detail about the events of that day and shows a number of photos he took of his fellow soldiers before and after the controversial attack. You can see a clip from the film Incident in New Baghdad above.