Monday, July 28, 2008

U.S. Says 3 Iraqis Killed In June Were Law-Abiding

More than a month ago, three innocent Iraqis were killed by U.S. soldiers. In a belated press release, which presumably follows the findings of an AR15-6 investigation by an appointed officer, the 4th Infantry Division admits the killings were "unfortunate and tragic." The three victims were not criminals and were not armed, as originally reported by the Army. Instead, they were hapless civilians, traveling under completely authorized circumstances who were shot by U.S. soldiers after they, reportedly, did not respond properly to warning shots. The soldiers had taken a wrong turn onto a road frequented by civilians traveling to the airport.

One concedes that this might indeed have been a complete accident, a tragic case of missed signals. Nonetheless, there are three elements of this report that smell: the length of time it took to determine that the victims were neither criminals nor armed, the fact that someone inserted false information into the initial report, and the failure to hold anyone accountable for the initial false reporting.

As someone with more than a bit of experience in the U.S. Army, I sense that this late admission of error has the scent of CYA. Given the gravity of what happened on the 25th of June, we should expect much more of the Army leadership. There is compelling public interest in releasing the 15-6 investigating report, which should be done promptly to insure that there is not, in fact, a cover-up underway.

U.S. Says 3 Iraqis Killed In June Were Law-Abiding

Links to earlier reports.

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