More News That Dishonors Our Nation

Thursday, May 19, 2005

More News That Dishonors Our Nation

"My message to the troops was clear: your country is thankful for your service, we are proud of you, and America stands with you in all that you are doing to defend America."

President Bush, Nov. 29, 2003

Today, CNN reported:

More than 2,500 pages of documents just released by the Army reveal instances of detainee abuse, including mock executions, by U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

... "The Army does not tolerate detainee abuse and will continue to aggressively investigate all allegations of abuse and hold individuals accountable when appropriate," an Army spokesman said.

At least three soldiers were investigated and reprimanded for handling detainees outside of authorized military parameters, according to the documents.

In June 2003 an Army second lieutenant from the 1st Armored Division, identified in the redacted documents by the last name Yancey, and an unidentified sergeant were involved in two incidents in Iraq.

Witness statements from his platoon said Yancey took a boy detainee out of a truck and fired his weapon next to the detainee's head.

... Further investigation into the incident found that Yancey enjoyed administering "street justice," according to witnesses who had seen him firing warning shots. One soldier reported to investigators that Yancey "feels good when he scares people," according to the documents.

In another incident, just two days later, Yancey's platoon found a man and his sons taking metal from an ammunition factory. A sergeant in the platoon detained the bunch and asked the man to choose which son should die.

Witnesses in the platoon said the sergeant took one of the sons around the corner of a building and fired a shot to scare the father into believing his son had been shot. Army officials were unable to confirm what, if any, punishment was delivered to the unnamed sergeant.

Yancey received an administrative discharge from the Army instead of going through a court-martial, according to Army officials.

In another incident described in the documents, an Army captain carried out a mock execution of a man forced to dig his own grave.

Since Yancey wasn't court-martialed, I guess it means that the Army spokesman who said the military would "hold individuals accountable when appropriate" must define "appropriate" very differently than the rest of us do.

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