Friday, July 21, 2006

Winning Hearts and Minds

Meanwhile, in the "other" war:

Four U.S. soldiers accused of murdering suspected insurgents during a raid in
Iraq said they were under orders to "kill all military age males," according to sworn statements obtained by The Associated Press.

The soldiers first took some of the men into custody because they were using two women and a toddler as human shields. They shot three of the men after the women and child were safe and say the men attacked them.

"The ROE (rule of engagement) was to kill all military age males on Objective Murray," Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard told investigators, referring to the target by its code name.

That target, an island on a canal in the northern Salahuddin province, was believed to be an al-Qaida training camp. The soldiers said officers in their chain of command gave them the order and explained that special forces had tried before to target the island and had come under fire from insurgents.
It isn't a question of guilt or innocence. The story, if true, would seem to justify the force used.

But an order to "kill all military age males" is a bit chilling. If that's the level of force deemed necessary, we've already lost that battle. And probably the war for hearts and minds, too.

Remind me again why we are still there.

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