Two former soldiers from the Army unit responsible for the Wikileaks “Collateral Murder” incident have written an open-letter of “Reconciliation and Responsibility” to those injured in the July 2007 attack, in which U.S. forces wounded two children and killed over a dozen people, including the father of those children and two Reuters employees.
Ethan Mccord and Josh Stieber deployed to Baghdad with Bravo Company 2-16 in 2007. Ethan was on the ground at the scene of the shooting, and is seen on the video rushing one of the injured children to a U.S. Vehicle; “When I saw those kids, all I could picture was my kids back home”. Ethan applied for mental health support following this incident and was denied by his commanding officer.
Josh Stieber was not at the scene of the shooting but says similar incidents happened throughout his 14-month tour; “The acts depicted in this video are everyday occurrences of this war.””¨ Josh states that these casualties demonstrate the impact of U.S. military policy on both the civilians and the soldiers on the ground.
Ethan and Josh claim that though their unit was following the Rules of Engagement that day, they are taking responsibility for their role in the incident and initiating a dialogue around it; “Though we have acted with cold hearts far too many times, we have not forgotten our actions towards you. Our heavy hearts still hold hope that we can restore inside our country the acknowledgment of your humanity, that we were taught to deny.”
The letter, which they hope to get to the family who lost their father and whose children were injured in the attack, states that they “are acknowledging our responsibility for bringing the battle to your neighborhood, and to your family. We did unto you what we would not want done to us.”
The letter can be seen at: www.lettertoiraq.com