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Snipers Accused of Murder in Iraq: Ordered to Kill ’em All

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on October 5th, 2007 8:59 am by HL

Sniper team tells of pressure from above

LA Times
ExcerptMembers of a U.S. Army unit in Iraq accused in murder trials say they felt pushed to notch more ‘kills.’

Interviews and court transcripts portray a 13-man sniper unit that felt under pressure to produce a high body count, a Vietnam-era measure that the Pentagon officially has disavowed in this war. They describe a sniper unit whose margins of right and wrong were blurred: by Hensley, if you believe Army prosecutors; by the Army, if you believe the accused.

The main line of defense for Vela and Hensley is a shocking one: In their zeal to get more “kills” out of snipers, officers of the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, allegedly pushed a program of leaving weaponry as “bait,” and allowing snipers to kill anyone who came to pick the items up. That, defense attorneys say, led to loose rules of engagement that the Army now says amounted to murder.

HL’s Take It’s like Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) said in Apocalypse Now: “Charging someone with murder around here, (vietnam) is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500” Everyone is doing it, but no one gets in trouble for it. One more reason we can’t trust anyone during a war.

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