How many of these "tragic incidents" have there been now? I've lost count!
Did this happen when we occupied Germany?
Greeted as liberators? That's what John McCain is saying these days. Has he been possessed by the spirit of Dick Cheney? An army of liberation doesn't act like this?
Maybe this is a problem with an all volunteer army. When the army is all volunteer, it is going to get more than its fair share of natural born killers; psychopaths.
Perhaps, this instinct to kill comes from having been subjected to a hostile people who were the victims of such lovely things as "shock and awe," Abu Ghraib and other "liberating tactics"; basically a poorly managed war that never should have happened in the first place."
If this is liberation, I would hate to see a war on these people, whose only crime was being born on top of huge oil fields.
BAGHDAD — The American military admitted Sunday night that a platoon of soldiers raked a car of innocent Iraqi civilians with hundreds of rounds of gunfire and that the military then issued a news release larded with misstatements, asserting that the victims were criminals who had fired on the troops.
The attack on June 25 killed three people, a man and two women, as they drove to work at a bank at Baghdad’s airport. The attack infuriated Iraqi officials and even prompted the Iraqi armed forces general command to call the shooting cold-blooded murder.
It also bolstered calls from Iraqi politicians to pressure the American military to leave Iraq after this year, when a United Nations mandate expires, unless the United States agrees to permit its soldiers to be subject to criminal prosecution under Iraqi law for attacks on civilians.
In a statement issued late Sunday, the American military said that “a thorough investigation determined that the driver and passengers were law-abiding citizens of Iraq.” It added that the soldiers were not at fault for the killings because they had fired warning shots and exercised proper “escalation of force” measures before they opened fire on the people in the car.
But the findings called into question the way the military handled the aftermath of the shootings.
For example, a key assertion of the news release issued by the military on the day of the killings was that “a weapon was recovered from the wreckage.” But the military said Sunday that no one claimed to have found a weapon in the car or had seen a weapon taken from it.
Instead, one of the soldiers at the scene reported seeing an Iraqi police officer pull something from the burned car and then place it in the front seat of an ambulance, according to Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a spokesman for the Fourth Infantry Division, which patrols Baghdad.
The soldier never said the item pulled from the car was a weapon, he said. But the soldier’s account nevertheless formed the basis for a statement in an initial internal military assessment of the attack, which said that a weapon had been pulled from the car.
“We don’t believe there was any cover-up,” Colonel Stover said.
The investigation also revealed that the car had already passed through a major checkpoint leading into the airport, which required the occupants to submit to a thorough search for weapons and other dangerous objects. As they had many times before, the bank employees then drove down the main civilian road to the airport.
But this time they encountered a four-vehicle military convoy that was not supposed to be there. The convoy had taken the wrong road and failed to turn into a military checkpoint. Instead, the military vehicles had traveled down a road that serves as the main entry for thousands of Iraqis who drive to the Baghdad airport.
The convoy had stopped on the side of the road to try to fix a problem with a vehicle when the car with the bank employees approached. A soldier guarding the rear of the convoy fired several warning shots, according to Colonel Stover. When the car did not stop, 9 of the 18 soldiers in the platoon opened fire.
In its initial news release about the killings, the military said that the car then crashed and “exploded.” But that, too, was false, Colonel Stover said. After the shootings, the car’s engine compartment ignited, he said, and the fire then “spread throughout the car.”
Soldiers also fired warning shots near at least two other vehicles, causing them to stop and turn around. Some of the soldiers involved in the shooting had previously been involved in what the military calls “escalation of force” episodes involving civilians, he added.
In addition, the military had stated last month that two vehicles in the convoy had sustained “bullet hole damage” from the supposed attack. But on Sunday the military changed its story about that, saying that while there was a fresh bullet mark on one vehicle, it had nothing to do with the June 25 attack.
The soldiers “thought they were in danger, they really did,” Colonel Stover said, adding that the soldiers said they had thought they saw gunfire. “We now know there were no weapons in the car, and there were not any shell casings.” The military’s investigating officer filed his report on the attack on July 7, and the soldiers involved returned to duty on July 15.
“This was an extremely unfortunate and tragic incident,” Col. Allen Batschelet, chief of staff for the Fourth Infantry Division, said in the statement issued Sunday night. He said the military would take “several corrective measures to amend and eliminate the possibility of such situations happening in the future.”
According to Colonel Stover, those measures include ensuring that troops do not accidentally travel down the civilian road to the airport as well as reviewing escalation of force procedures “to see if they are meeting needs of the current environment.”
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.