Separately from the political news this morning, the Sunday shows like This Week and CNN are discussing this video from a Kurdish news site which features “helmet-cam” footage of the U.S.-Kurdish joint rescue mission that liberated 70 prisoners from an ISIS prison in northern Iraq.
The video shows Kurdish Peshmerga special forces and supported by elite U.S. Delta Force soldiers, searching prisoners; then after a moment, in a darker passage, gunfire and prisoners running around a dark corner, waved along by armed troops. After a few moments, the offscreen gunfire increases in frequency and volume and the prisoners run past the camera more quickly. The video closes with more footage of searching prisoners.
It is rare that the public gets to see any footage of U.S. special forces in action. During this operation, Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler was shot while moving to help pinned-down Kurdish forces, and he later died from his wounds.
The administration contends that the raid did not constitute “combat”:
Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated that the raid was part of the “train, advise and assist” mission, and said that the rules of engagement also allowed for the defense of partners, and that combat was not anticipated.
At the same time, he implied that Wheeler and another soldier acted on their own to assist the Peshmerga.
“The plan was not for the U.S. advise and assist and accompanying forces to enter the compound or be involved in the fire fight,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday.
White House officials were quick to emphasize that President Obama “was notified of the operation but didn’t sign off on it.”