U.S. Soldiers Ordered to Kill Iraq Civilians
From OpEdNews.com, Ross Sherwood adds further details to the story of a battalion commander in Iraq who ordered his soldiers to engage in "360 degree rotational fire" upon being hit by an IED, and to shoot "every motherf*cker on the street," including women and children. Roy Corcoles recounts the training which reinforced the reaction to obey the order. You were asked, if you saw an attacker with many civilians close by and it was certain some would be killed or hurt, would you fire your weapon? The correct answer was "yes." But if you did not answer yes fast enough, you were beaten.
This is a continuation of the underside of war now being revealed by Wikileaks, and of the training which is systematic and routine in the Army. It is intended to make you do things that the ordinary person, still sensitized to other human beings, could not do. Specialist Corcoles told the reporters, when the IEDs hit and it came time to shoot "every motherfucker on the street" as the Commander had ordered, he purposely turned his gun away from people. "You don't even know if somebody's shooting at you. It's just insanity to just start shooting people," he said.
What these soldiers are describing, tit-for-tat retaliation against civilians, is a clear war crime which has been successfully prosecuted after WWII in the case of German SS Obersturmbannführer Herbert Kappler. In 1944 Kappler ordered the mass execution of civilians in the ratio of 10 to 1 for every German soldier killed in a March 1944 hidden bomb attack by Italian partisans. The executions took place in the caves of Ardeatine in Italy. You may have seen a movie about it starring Richard Burton.
This is different from the usual atrocities we hear about in Iraq as it was ordered at a high level by a battalion commander as a "Standard Operating Procedure" in a cold-blooded and deliberate manner, and the order was carried out many times. Attempts to get the attention of Congress on this have so far fallen on deaf ears.
After the war Kappler stood trial for war crimes and was sentenced to life in prison. This dishonors the Armed Services and our servicemen and women, who are bound to abide by behavior specified in the US Military Code of Justice, and not start to resemble Saddam Hussein, who ordered the killing of civilian Kurds in retaliation for attacks on his troops.
Three former U.S. soldiers involved in the infamous "Collateral Murder" helicopter gunship attack on Baghdad civilians in July 2007, say that attack was nothing out of the ordinary. The massacre---that killed more than a dozen Iraqis, two of them employed by Reuters News Service---ignited a wave of international revulsion against the U.S. military when a video of the massacre was released by WikiLeaks last April.
"What the world did not see is the months of training that led up to the incident, in which soldiers were taught to respond to threats with a barrage of fire---a "wall of steel," in Army parlance---even if it put civilians at risk," report Sarah Lazare and Ryan Harvey in the August 16th issue of The Nation magazine....MORE