October 22, 2004

Samarra bridge-pushing update

From the Army Times, yesterday:

"The Army has dropped conspiracy charges against two soldiers accused in the drowning death of an Iraqi civilian after complaints that higher-ranking soldiers were treated more leniently.

"First Lt. Jack M. Saville and Sgt. 1st Class Tracy E. Perkins of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team still face charges of manslaughter, assault, making false official statements and obstruction of justice in the Jan. 3 death...

"Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., whose district includes Fort Carson, had criticized the Army for giving lesser, administrative punishments to three senior officers who acknowledged in a hearing that they ordered Saville and Perkins to lie about the death."

For the record, those three officers who urged their soldiers to lie to military investigators were deputy CO Maj. Robert Gwinner, company commander Capt. Matthew Cunningham, and CO Lt. Col. Nathan "heavy dose of fear and violence" Sassaman.

Update: Other quotes from Nate Sassaman: "No one knows the town better than we do, we're gonna clean this place. They've made a mistake to attack U.S. forces. We will dominate Samarra."

"You've got to meet aggression with controlled violence. A lot of people will say violence leads to more violence, I'll tell you that controlled violence leads to no more violence."

"You need to understand that these people are Muslim, and their values are just different from Judeo-Christian values. They aren't for doing things for other people like we are; they're only out for themselves."

Sassaman apparently thought the drowning accusation was a plot by his brigade commander against him: more here. Two days before the drowning, he had held his mortally wounded close friend as he died. At one point, he threatened to forcibly relocate the entire village of Abu Hishma. The month before the drowning, he took 83 of the 85 male residents of the village of Abu Siffa and sent them to Abu Ghraib. He also did some nice things for a 13 year-old girl who lost the use of her legs and five of her family members in an American artillery attack.

Posted by BruceR at 12:19 PM

Your slip is showing

For the record, I don't think prior military service is evidence of anything. There's lots of soldiers and vets I know that probably shouldn't be trusted with a hatstand, let alone elected office. I might even count myself in their number.

But I still think referring to anyone's Vietnam tour with a combat unit as "a few months' target practice on some guys in pyjamas" is far more demeaning to the writer than the subject, Colby.

Posted by BruceR at 09:42 AM