U.S. Army veteran Ethan McCord’s actions on July 12, 2007, have been seen throughout the world.
Now the Iraq war veteran is coming to Oklahoma to talk about what he witnessed firsthand.
McCord is one of the more prominent, if not heroic, figures featured in the so-called Collateral Murder video, which shows a U.S. helicopter gun-down a group of men gathered in New Baghdad, Iraq. Some of the men were alleged to have been armed. Most weren’t, however, and the group included two Reuters war correspondents.
As the copter continued to circle the scene, a van pulled up to one of the journalists attempting to crawl away, at which point the helicopter gunner began shooting at the van, killing the journalist, a rescuer, and injuring two children inside.
In total, eight people were killed. McCord’s unit was the first group of ground troops to arrive at the scene, and he can be seen in the video carrying one of the injured children out of the van.
The video was later released by WikiLeaks after being allegedly leaked (along with volumes of other classified and secret documents) by Oklahoma native and U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is currently awaiting a military trial.
McCord later spoke out against the Iraq war and voiced support for Manning.
“If PFC Bradley Manning did what he is accused of, he is a hero of mine; not because he’s perfect or because he never struggled with personal or family relationships — most of us do — but because in the midst of it all he had the courage to act on his conscience,” McCord wrote last year in an article on bradleymanning.org.
McCord will present the short documentary film Incident in New Baghdad, winner of the 2012 Boulder Film Festival and an Oscar nominee, at a screening at 7 p.m. Monday at the Church of the Open Arms in Oklahoma City. He will take questions following the screening.
“His story is inspiring,” said Rev.
Kathy McCallie, the church’s pastor.
She said the event was an important one for Oklahoma City and would allow a dialogue to be opened regarding some of the choices the country has made.
“It’s a really huge story and I’m surprised we’re not talking about it more as a society,” she said. “It’s just something that changed [McCord’s] life. It’s something we need to be talking about.”