Nov. 6, 2004

Mercy and Murder at Issue in Iraq Death

Mercy and Murder at Issue in Iraq Death THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ Mercy and Murder at Issue in Iraq Death * Two U.S. soldiers face charges after taking life of injured youth. They say he was already gone. By Edmund Sanders, Times Staff Writer BAGHDAD — As a U.S. Army patrol rolled into Sadr City one night in August, soldiers received a tip that militants in dump trucks were planting roadside bombs. American troops had been clashing regularly with Al Mahdi militiamen in the restive Baghdad slum. So when Staff Sgt. Cardenas Alban of Carson saw an object fall from a garbage truck in the distance, his company took positions around the vehicle and unleashed a barrage of fire from rifles and a 25-millimeter cannon atop a Bradley fighting vehicle. The truck exploded in flames. As soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, approached the burning vehicle, they did not find insurgents. The victims were mainly teenagers, hired to work the late shift picking up trash for about $5 a night, witnesses said. Medics scrambled to treat the half-dozen people strewn around the scene. A dispute broke out among a handful of soldiers standing over one severely wounded young man who was moaning in pain. An uninjured Iraqi claiming to be a relative pleaded in broken English for soldiers to help the victim. But to the horror of bystanders, Alban, 29, a boyish-faced sergeant who joined the Army in 1997, retrieved an M-231 assault rifle and fired at the wounded man. Seconds later, another soldier, Staff Sgt. Johnny Horne Jr., 30, of Winston-Salem, N.C., grabbed an M-16 rifle and also shot the victim. continued...... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bring 'em home ? This incident raises the question, "Do we really want to be teaching our youth how to kill in cold blood?" Yes, sometimes war is neccesary to protect our borders. Like Vietnam, Iraq wasn't one of them. The more soldiers we train then send off, only to return to our streets with wounded, often angry, tortured souls, is not going to make our country any safer. Mycos

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