Saturday, February 9, 2008

And We Liberated Iraq From Sadaam? Who Will Liberate Iraq From Us?

[I have promoted this powerful and important late-night post back to the top of the page for a couple of more hours. --Blue Girl @ 10:40 am]

This is one of the sickest and most disturbing things I have seen in a while. America the good is dead and gone. What we have done, and are doing, in Iraq is not only no better than Sadaam Hussein, it is worse. At least it was his country. Read this stunning article from Solomon Moore in Saturday’s NY Times and try not to cry for both Iraq and what is now the rotting festering shell of America:

A top Army sniper testified Friday in a military court that he had ordered a subordinate to kill an unarmed Iraqi man who wandered into their hiding position near Iskandariya, then planted an AK-47 rifle near the body to support his false report about the shooting.

Under a grant of immunity, the sniper, Sgt. Michael A. Hensley, an expert marksman and sniper trainer, testified in the court-martial of Sgt. Evan Vela. Sergeant Vela is accused of murder, impeding a military investigation and planting evidence to cover up an unjust shooting. An earlier charge of premeditated murder was dropped.

Sergeant Vela is the third soldier to be charged in the death of the Iraqi, Genei Nesir Khudair al-Janabi, last May. Sergeant Hensley and another soldier, Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., were acquitted of murder charges last year, but were convicted of planting evidence. As part of his sentence, Sergeant Hensley was demoted from staff sergeant.
(Please Keep Reading After Jump)
All three soldiers were elite snipers with the 501st Infantry Regiment, Fourth Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

The military trials have highlighted a secret baiting program, begun in early 2007, in which snipers placed lures like fake explosives or other weaponry to draw insurgents into the open, where they could be killed.

But Sergeant Hensley’s testimony at the base here suggested that by last spring, in addition to baiting and killing, soldiers had added a new tactic: carrying weapons to plant on bodies to deter prosecution.

Mr. Culp also said his client’s superiors pressed his squad to increase their kill rate, while holding out the threat of prosecution for unjust shootings.

Sergeant Hensley said that on May 11, he led his squad to a hiding spot overlooking a village they suspected was controlled by Sunni insurgents. But after several days with little rest, soldiers were drifting into sleep.

“I woke up to a local national squatting in front me with his hands up,” Sergeant Hensley testified. The man was Mr. Janabi, who lived nearby. Sergeant Hensley said he tackled Mr. Janabi and pinned him to the ground.

Mr. Janabi was followed into the hide-out by his son, Mustafa, 17. Sergeant Hensley and his team held the two captive until he spotted several Iraqi men in the distance and Mr. Janabi became agitated. Sergeant Hensley feared that Mr. Janabi’s thrashing would alert the other Iraqis.

Sergeant Hensley said he released the boy and ordered everyone except Sergeant Vela to leave because he “didn’t want them to bear witness” to what they were about to do.

“I pretty much knew at this point that something was going to happen to the father,” Sergeant Hensley testified. “He was making too much noise. I thought that the only way to protect my guys was to take this guy’s life.”

Sergeant Hensley said he ordered Sergeant Vela to load his 9-millimeter pistol, and then made four radio calls to his command post to support a cover story. The first call reported that an Iraqi man was approaching, the second that the man was armed, the third that the sergeant was preparing to shoot.

The fourth call confirmed that he had killed his target.

“At that point his head was at Sergeant Vela’s feet, and I asked him if he was ready and then I moved out of the way,” Sergeant Hensley said. He ordered Sergeant Vela to fire, and Sergeant Vela complied immediately, Sergeant Hensley said.

“A round was fired into his head,” he said.

Mr. Janabi did not die immediately, Sergeant Hensley said. As his brain hemorrhaged, he choked on his blood. Sergeant Hensley simulated the gurgling sound and testified that he ordered Sergeant Vela to fire again.

Sergeant Hensley said he pulled out an AK-47 that he had ordered one of his men to carry and placed it near the body.
But, hey, being the beacon of light, democracy, sanctity of life, truth, justice and accountability that we are under the Pol Pot Bush Administration; we meted out fair and equal justice, because “As part of his sentence, Sergeant Hensley was demoted from staff sergeant”. Words just really don’t mean much here…