Too terrible to contemplate

Yeah, war is hell and all. But when you read an article like this, you have to wonder how we ever plan to be seen as Iraq’s liberators (a notion that by now seems quite antiquated). The implications are staggering, and will most likely not help to garner additional warm and fuzzy feelings for the American liberators.

Four soldiers from an Army combat unit that killed three Iraqi men in a raid in May testified Wednesday that they had received orders from superior officers to kill all the military-age men they encountered.

The soldiers gave their accounts at a military hearing here to determine if four colleagues should face courts-martial on charges that they carried out a plan to murder the three Iraqis, whom they had seized after an assault on what they were told was an insurgent stronghold northwest of Baghdad.

Their testimony gave credence to statements from two defendants that an officer had told their platoon to ‘kill all military-age males’ in the assault, regardless of any threat they posed. That officer, Col. Michael Steele, has declined to testify, an unusual decision for a commander.

The four soldiers charged in the case, from Company C, Third Battalion Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division, said they fired on the three Iraqis after they broke loose from plastic handcuffs, attacked two soldiers and tried to escape.

Military prosecutors accused the unit’s leader, Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard, with orchestrating a scheme to cut the men’s’ handcuffs, shoot them as they fled and then have two soldiers inflict injuries on each other to cast the killings as self-defense.

Sergeant Girouard and three other soldiers – Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, Specialist William B. Hunsaker and Specialist Juston R. Graber – are charged with murdering the three Iraqis. In his testimony on Wednesday, Pfc. Bradley Mason of Company C said that on May 8, the night before the raid, Colonel Steele told soldiers to ‘kill all of them.’

Kill all the men old enough to fight. Create a staged escape to justify murder. These are time-honored techniques mployed by genocidists the world over. That we might actually have such a policy in parts of Iraq…well, it’s just unthinkable. Or at least it should be. The only encouraging aspect of the story is that the military, at least in this instance, still has the integrity to police itself. It forces me to wonder yet again what good can come of this venture.

The Discussion: No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.