Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Video shows U.S. Apache helicopter firing at three Iraqi insurgents.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2004]
Origins: Many readers have asked us about an MPEG video clip (see links below), roughly a minute long, depicting a U.S. Apache helicopter gunship firing at men in a field. The men are Iraqis shown handling a long cylindrical object; the accompanying audio indicates that the helicopter crew believes the object to be a weapon, so they ask their commanders for permission to engage the enemy, then take out the three men one by one with the helicopter's
All we know so far is what ABCNews (presumably the source of the video) reported: the action depicted took place north of Baghdad on
A senior Army official who viewed the tape said the pilots had the legal right to kill the men because they were carrying a weapon. He said there were no ground troops in the area and if the Apache pilots had let the three Iraqis go, the men might have gone on to kill American troops.The video clip described above can be found on a variety of web sites. This following link was still active at last check:
Keane agreed. "Those weapons were obviously not being pointed at them in particular, but they [the three Iraqis] are using those weapons in their minds for lethal means and they [the Apache pilots] have a right to interfere with that," he said.
Anthony Cordesman, an ABCNEWS defense consultant who also viewed the tape, said the Apache pilots would have had a much clearer picture of the scene than what was recorded on the videotape. He also said they would have had intelligence about the identity of the men in the vehicles. "They're not getting a sort of blurred picture. They have a combination of intelligence and much better imagery than we can see."
As to whether the Apache pilots could have called in ground troops to apprehend the men, Cordesman said: "In this kind of war, wherever you find organized resistance among the insurgents, you have to act immediately. If you wait to send in ground troops almost invariably your enemy is going to be gone."
Army officials acknowledged that the 30 mm cannons used by the Apache gunners were far bigger than what was needed to kill the men, but said it is the smallest weapon the Apaches have.
Last updated: 3 September 2007
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.