War; Crimes.


Another important article from the LA Times (reg. required), this one on the unusually high number of soldiers in one U.S. battalion charged with murders, of both Iraqi civilians and fellow soldiers.

    Soldiers have described renegade infantrymen who bragged about their kills. In one case, they testified, soldiers from a 1-41 platoon argued over who should get credit for killing an unarmed Iraqi because they had bet on who would be the first.

    Four of the victims were Iraqi civilians. In addition to the two alleged executions, soldiers were accused of shooting a critically wounded Iraqi teenager in a “mercy killing,” and shooting an unarmed Iraqi, who, according to two soldiers, was waving a white cloth. Two more infantrymen were charged with murdering two fellow 1-41 soldiers in Kansas.

Sgt. Michael Williams, 25, is charged with especially brutal crimes, according to the article, including killing an Iraqi who “smirked” at him, and another one waving a white flag. He is also alleged to have told a subordinate who found guns in an Iraqi home that “You know what you have to do.” The soldier shot and killed a man he had dragged from the house.

There is a lot of talk in the article about the stresses the soldiers face, especially young ones who have never seen combat before. Email me or comment below if you have thoughts on this topic.