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Iraq: Bodies of captured soldiers found near Baghdad
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Breaking story:
A high-ranking official with the Iraqi defense ministry told CNN on Tuesday that the bodies of two missing U.S. soldiers have been found south of Baghdad.

No more details were immediately available. The U.S. military said it could not confirm the report.

A senior U.S. official told CNN that two bodies had been found in Iraq but could not confirm that those bodies were the two soldiers.

Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, Texas, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., went missing Friday at a traffic checkpoint near the town of Yusufiya, 12 miles (20 km) south of Baghdad.

Iraqi officials said the bodies were found in the town of Jurf al-Sakhar, 50 miles (80 km) south of Baghdad.
This is a sad end, a result of a basic tactical error by the leader of the group to which these soldiers belonged. As I mentioned below, we'll learn from this. This will be the lesson of the day from every commander out there. When you have a group that small, you never split them. You either all go, or you all stay.

There's another lesson, an unofficial one, which will be passed among the troops themselves. Never surrender. They'll just kill you anyway. It's better to go down fighting.


UPDATE (Dale): A few more details are coming in, and they aren't good.
Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Muhammed-Jassim, head of operations at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, said the soldiers had been "barbarically" killed and that there were traces of torture on their bodies.
This just reinforces McQ's point. Surrendering to these insurgents is a non-starter.

UPDATE: Apparently there is a certain percentage out there (and they've shown up in the comments) who think this has to all be an elaborate insurgent propaganda ploy, and, in fact, these soldiers were already dead when taken.

That's certainly not how the military is reporting it:
Answering questions, [Maj. Gen. William B.] Caldwell [spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq] said the two soldiers had been kidnapped after the attack — the first time the military confirmed the men had been abducted by insurgents.

He said an investigation was underway as to why the three soldiers were alone at a checkpoint.
And in answer to those who question my assessment that the spliting of the force was a tactical mistake, read the last line in the cite carefully. I'm obviously not the only one who sees it as such.
 
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Take the gloves off. Free the Pendelton 8. Send in the Marines.

Stop screwing around and win this thing.

Proud Marine Dad of a LCPL in Iraq now.

 
Written By: John
URL: http://marinejourney.blogspot.com
But, but.... what about the Geneva Convention and the slaughter of prisoners?
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Tom, the US brought this on itself, 1st by it’s ILLEGAL war and then 2ndly by abandonning the Conventions, with their torture and illegal detentions at Gitmo! I speak tongue-in-cheek...No doubt Jon and/or Michael Moore will make these arguments. The reality was that the insurgents weren’t too likely to EVER follow the Conventions.

I feel sorry for the section leader...I’m sure that Congress will demand that he be "disciplined". He made a mistake, mistakes aren’t illegal, just painful, as I’m sure he’s discovering now.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
There’s another lesson to be learned here. Well, RE-learned. Not something that we often talked about, but that resounds from Mogadishu to Baghdad; you can’t let yourself be taken.
Don’t shoot your weapon dry - save one for yourself.
God bless you, boys. And your families. I am mourning your loss today.
 
Written By: Paul In Iowa
URL: http://
Hey Joe — what makes a war illegal?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Tongue-in-cheek...Ornery... I’d imagine that the war would be illegal w/o a Congressional Declaration of war... or the UN Ok’ing it... or it was illegal because no WMD’s were found... I don’t know, since I don’t believe the war to be illegal, immoral, OR fattening.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Godspeed to the departed.....and may we soon find these subhumans and give them the Zarkawi treatment
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Well, there are many over there doing a real good job http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/007256.php
 
Written By: markm
URL: http://
The fact that so few of our troops have let themselves be taken alive is prima facie evidence that they already know not to let themselves be taken alive. It doesnt’ take a genius to figure out what your fate will be in such an event; so if you’re dead anyway, might as well die fighting instead of waiting around to be tortured and butchered in front of a video camera.

What’s puzzling is why these two let that happen.

Anyway, at this point all one can hope for is that they died honorably, as soldiers: no reading of enemy propaganda statements, no pathetic begging for their lives.

And shame on that uncle of the soldier from Oregon, that fool who blames our own government for what not paying ransom to the butchers. Never mind that the enemy didn’t demand ransom or a "prisoner exchange;" never mind that such a pusillanimous gesture would only encourage more of the same; never mind that several other soldiers were injured, and apparently one even gave his life trying to rescue these two men. The very sentiment is disgusting.
 
Written By: Spurius Ligustinus
URL: http://
The Mexicans, taking a leaf from the pages of war in Europe circa 1820, used to fly a red flag to signify that no prisoners would be taken. I suppose we should do the same thing. The jihadists do not represent a recognized government nor wear uniforms nor conform to the norms of the four Geneva conventions. Therefore, under international law, they operate outside that law. They should be treated equally...outside the law and not subject to any of its protections.
 
Written By: Spinoneone
URL: http://
Why are people stating that these two soldiers surrendered? Is there an account that I’ve missed? It is quite possible that they were wounded or otherwise incapacitated, allowing their capture. The accounts state that there were 7 gunmen vs. 3 soldiers. One soldier was killed at some point during the encounter, making the odds 7 to 2. While I don’t know the terrain at the checkpoint, there are several scenarios I could construct where these soldiers got bummed rushed from a blind spot after their fellow soldier was killed, allowing capture.

Bottomline, let’s stop speculation over surrender before someone runs with that as a fact and then makes disparaging remarks towards the character of the soldiers.

Thank You.
 
Written By: Shek
URL: http://
When you have a group that small, you never split them. You either all go, or you all stay.

I disagree. We don’t know all the facts about ALL the causes that led to the capture of these soldiers. While dividing the unit into two elements contributed in this case, there are so many other elements to consider that a blanket statement of never split your unit fails. Communications, the ability to provide mutual support, available weapons systems, and terrain are just some of the other considerations.

The other lesson, which thankfully hasn’t been mentioned, that shouldn’t be "learned" is to automatically increase the size of patrols. Historical examples abound where patrols that are too large and cumbersome are also ineffective. They become like an elephant stomping through the jungle - you know they’re coming, where they’re coming from, and that they are bigger than you, so why try to initiate contact.

In the end, commanders need to gauge their tactics based on the tactics of the enemy, the terrain, and the risk/reward calculations when pursuing certain courses of action.
 
Written By: Shek
URL: http://
Why are people stating that these two soldiers surrendered? Is there an account that I’ve missed? It is quite possible that they were wounded or otherwise incapacitated, allowing their capture.
A witness saw them led away, disarmed but under their own power and apparently not wounded.

Now regardless of how they ended up in the hands of the terrorists, one can properly surmise that at some point they quit fighting and allowed themselves to be taken.

That’s surrender.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I disagree. We don’t know all the facts about ALL the causes that led to the capture of these soldiers. While dividing the unit into two elements contributed in this case, there are so many other elements to consider that a blanket statement of never split your unit fails. Communications, the ability to provide mutual support, available weapons systems, and terrain are just some of the other considerations.
And apparently all of that wasn’t available to them, was it?

So the rule of thumb holds: never split a unit THAT SMALL (which is what I stipulated above) because the leave behind unit in this case was too small to defend itself. QED
The other lesson, which thankfully hasn’t been mentioned, that shouldn’t be "learned" is to automatically increase the size of patrols.
It was a 12 man patrol. You’ve just made my point, for heaven sake. When it became a 3 man patrol, because the other 9 went off chasing bad guys, they were lost. Had it stayed as a 12 man patrol, this wouldn’t have happened ... that’s the point for heaven sake.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
A SUPPOSED witness CLAIMS to have seen such.

That’s the status of things right now, correct?

This speculation about surrender strikes me as baseless and quite premature. I prefer to always remember the tactics of the enemy first — false propaganda is not only their greatest tool but their greatest weapon.
 
Written By: RattlerGator
URL: http://rattlergator.typepad.com
This speculation about surrender strikes me as baseless and quite premature. I prefer to always remember the tactics of the enemy first — false propaganda is not only their greatest tool but their greatest weapon.
Really? So what do you suppose happened and what do you base your version of the events on?

Or said another way, what have you to contradict this "supposed" witnesses "claim"?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, calm down...this is akin to Haditha. Someone claims to have seen something, it may or may NOT have happened. To be honest I don’t think ANYONE knows much of anything about this. It’s OK, IMO, to say "all this is conditional" or to make the point that this may NOT have happened in a certain way...

All we know is that 3 soldiers are dead, 2 bodies mutilated, and that they were a part of a larger patrol that separated after contact was made with enemy forces. That’s REALLY it... were they captured, did they surrender, I don’t know and neither does anyone else.

It’s not a personal attack, I hope, to question what we REALLY know in this situation...There DOES seem to have been an assumption that the troops "surrendered". We DON’T KNOW. Their Humvee may have been hit with an RPG and they may have been unconscious. They may have been confronted at close range by 40 insurgents from a ditch and made the decision, "Hey I can’t win this one" and they dropped their weapons. As far as I can tell no one does.

All we can say is that a tragedy has occurred. As I said I feel for their section leader and their families. As far as those folks are concerned this was the WORST military disaster that has ever occurred... because "I made a mistake" or "my son died in it". Everything else happened to SOMEONE else’s son or rifle section....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
...The bodies were found in the Yusufiya area, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said, adding he believes the soldiers were mortally wounded, then moved. (Emph. added)

It was unclear whether he meant the wounds were suffered in the initial attack on a checkpoint or afterward.


From the current CNN story. No one knows, or if they do they aren’t speaking "on the record" yet.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ, calm down...this is akin to Haditha. Someone claims to have seen something, it may or may NOT have happened.
Then you have the same job as the other guy.

You get to explain your theory as to why they were in the hands of the bad guys.

At this point, we have no reason not to believe the witness.
...The bodies were found in the Yusufiya area, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said, adding he believes the soldiers were mortally wounded, then moved. (Emph. added)

It was unclear whether he meant the wounds were suffered in the initial attack on a checkpoint or afterward.
Right ... were they killed elsewhere and dumped. Which could have zip to do with the checkpoint.

And, if the intent was to mutilate the bodies, why not take all 3?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
From the original story:
According to Iraqis in the area, who were interviewed by telephone from Baghdad, the two American soldiers who survived the gun battle were led away by the insurgents to a pair of cars.

Hassan Abdul Hadi was tending to his date palms and apple trees near the village of Karagol when he heard gunfire and explosions. When he walked to the road, he spotted an American Humvee, he said.

"I was shocked to see the Humvee — nothing seemed to be wrong with it," Mr. Hadi said. "Then I heard the men shouting ’God is great!’ and I saw that they had taken the Americans with them. The gunmen took them and drove away."
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Ok, McQ I’ll bite I know I shouldn’t but here it goes...
Then I heard the men shouting ’God is great!’ and I saw that they had taken the Americans with them. The gunmen took them and drove away."
(Emph. added.)
This statement makes no claim nor offers any "proof" about the state of the Americans when they were "driven away." It merely states that the gunmen took them, conscious or otherwise, and drove away. We can conclude NOTHING about the capture other than one occurred and that the captors had cars.

As usual we are heading towards a forensic parsing of words and phrases, and "What I SAID", etc. ,etc. but really we don’t know all that much about the specifics and so it is probably for the best to couch any conclusions or statements with a conditional, "IF"...

IF the troops laid down their arms, THEN it might well behoove any Coalition forces to realize that surrender is NOT an option. IF the troops were unconscious, then not much can be said, other than a bad thing happened.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
This statement makes no claim nor offers any "proof" about the state of the Americans when they were "driven away."
So did you miss this part, Joe?
According to Iraqis in the area, who were interviewed by telephone from Baghdad, the two American soldiers who survived the gun battle were led away by the insurgents to a pair of cars.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Sorry McQ I DID miss that part... SEE we can be wrong and admit it...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
SEE we can be wrong and admit it...
And see, I can point it out without being an *ss as well. ;)
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
All I can think is this;

I waited 19 months for my husband to return. He is part of the Army Combat Engineers. I can not imagine what their familes are facing right now... to wait with such hope, only for this...

I hope our troops learn from this... Go down fighting and don’t give the bastards the pleasure of capturing you, bragging about it and than killing you.


 
Written By: Angel
URL: http://
I hope that what happened in the last hours and minutes of the two unfortunate soldiers is not swept under the rug and "sanitized" like the media does religiously with purging images of burnt Pentagon soldiers or WTC jumpers "for the sake of the Almighty Victim Families".

America needs to understand what the enemy is, what they do.

Otherwise, we can expect another 2-4 years of the media sweeping aside any meaningful exploration of enemy atrocities as they eagerly await the next "accused American war criminals" to devote 12-50 Front Page spreads to, all the reporter lectures of how Bush’s interrogation policies "made" the innocent Islamic Freedom Fighters behave so. And we can expect more long weepy lectures from the Senate well from a Dick Durbin about how America "tooooortuuuuures" captured enemy through "Koran abuse", "sleep deprevation" and "Nazi-like water-boarding". And the liberal secular Jews who dominate the ACLU can continue to push for all the Islamofascist "enemy rights and liberties" they crave so much in their zeal to safeguard the Islamofascists from any military trials or detention - and seek to make them the equivalent of everyday American citizens - given full US Constitutional rights and their unlawful enemy combat transformed into only "innocent until proven guilty" civilian misconduct explored in civilian trials where America’s secrets are sought to be exposed in open court and mitigating factors like "he had a stern father" are weighed...

The seditous campaign by enemy sympathizer groups here in the US to establish moral equivalency, demand enemy comforts or their freedom, to reveal our spy secrets to the enemy, to monitor and seek to nail any US soldier for the slightest misstep while seeking the enemy’s amnesty and freedom is not "patriotic dissent". It is sedition. We should understand the difference and reward such sedition, with the rewards it merits.

The enemy sympathizers deliberately ignore that the Islamofascists do not take prisoners except to be used later as playtoys in their sadistic, inhuman "Religion of Peace" ceremonies. There is always a conspicuous lack of outrage in their camp when Islamofascists do evil barbaric stuff outside all laws of warfare. As "joe" sarcastically suggested, the torture-murders of the 2 soldiers will not bring condemnation from the "usual suspects" on the Left - but will be seen as a political opportunity to frame it as the result of (1)Bush-Hitler’s illegal War; (2)Disregard for sacred enemy rights bringing chickens home to roost to the little Eichmanns in our military;(3)Another reason to declare defeat and retreat - to spare other soldiers the awful fate & suffering BUSH was responsible for in the case of the two guys the Islamofascists captured.

There is no "moral equivalency" as much as Durbin, Kennedy, the ACLU, and NYTimes try to establish it as the New Truth.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
I wonder if they were separated from a unit or if they were just a three man team. They were manning a traffic check point. I’m not sure how many people they send out to guard a specific check point.
 
Written By: Shawn
URL: http://politicalcritic.com
I wonder if they were separated from a unit or if they were just a three man team. They were manning a traffic check point. I’m not sure how many people they send out to guard a specific check point.
According to the story it was 3 Humvees and 12 men. Insurgents initiated an attacke, soldiers returned fire, insurgents withdrew, 2 Humvees and 9 soldiers went after them. When out of sight and unable to support the three left behind, another insurgent group attacked and overwhelmed them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This is for any of you who served...will the leader who made the tactical error face any penalty for this? Does he have to answer to a review board, anything? (I don’t think he deserves any penalty just curious in this case)

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
RattlerGator - You are correct - At this point it is not known that they were taken alive and they very well could have been killed during the initial attack -

McQ - You are all wet - Just because something is reported by some anonymous farmer who "says" he saw this or that....that is meaningless (especially when one knows nothing about this "witnesss").

Lets hope these two brave soldiers were KIA at the scene of the initial attack and not tortured like these animals are suggesting. At this point there is no reason to think with any certainty that they were taken alive.


 
Written By: Dev
URL: http://
McQ - You are all wet - Just because something is reported by some anonymous farmer who "says" he saw this or that....that is meaningless (especially when one knows nothing about this "witnesss").
Whatever, Dev. Obviously your mind is made up and nothing in terms of facts or witnesses is going to change it.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This is for any of you who served...will the leader who made the tactical error face any penalty for this? Does he have to answer to a review board, anything? (I don’t think he deserves any penalty just curious in this case)
He’ll hear about Shark. And it may be in the form of formal counseling or even the possiblity of charges (I’d think that the least likely to happen).

Most importantly he now has to live with it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ: So the rule of thumb holds: never split a unit THAT SMALL (which is what I stipulated above) because the leave behind unit in this case was too small to defend itself. QED,

You’ve placed a qualifier on your argument now, citing it as a "general rule of thumb." This changes the presentation of your lesson from an absolute to a general rule, which is how I would qualify it from the get go. There are scenarios where splitting a 12 man unit is wholly consistent with good tactics.

Furthermore, if your lesson is that a 3 man patrol is always too small, then you have now elimated the use of the 2 or 3 man sniper teams that just about every unit in Iraq has available for employment. Which brings me back to my original point - you need to evaluate multiple factors before making a decision to operate an element that small. However, an absolute policy that you should never split a unit that small is just plain off the mark.

Shek: The other lesson, which thankfully hasn’t been mentioned, that shouldn’t be "learned" is to automatically increase the size of patrols.

McQ: It was a 12 man patrol. You’ve just made my point, for heaven sake. When it became a 3 man patrol, because the other 9 went off chasing bad guys, they were lost. Had it stayed as a 12 man patrol, this wouldn’t have happened ... that’s the point for heaven sake.


I’m not following your remark whatsoever. I was referring to tactics in past COIN where unit patrols were conducted at platoon/company/battalion size because bigger was better. So, it was wholly in jest when I referred to making patrols bigger reflexively as a "lesson" learned.

Back to the incident at hand, while I don’t challenge the fact that it was too small in this instance, as we know what the end result is, you have to look at other factors to determine if the size was too small. What was the cover and concealment around the TCP? How many avenues of approach were there? How long had they been at the TCP? Were there buildings around the TCP? What distance? How many stories? What other observation platforms were available for the patrol? What was the average traffic through the TCP? What was the line of sight from the TCP? I could go on and on - it is the totality of the answers to all these questions and the others that I didn’t ask that allow a commander to make the appropriate call about whether leaving a 3 man stay behind element creates undue risk or not.

On the flip side, if patrol didn’t split to perform some pursuit of the attackers, what would that do for future TCPs? Would it encourage more attacks? Would a pursuit deter future attacks? What were the limits placed on pursuit? What were the contingencies that were rehearsed in one form or another for the mission. Again, we could chase this rat down the hole quite a ways to determine if the risk that the first set of questions determined would provide an outcome worth that potential risk.
 
Written By: Shek
URL: http://
Geez, McQ, you’re becoming as careless and presumptuous as Jon. What if this was just a tragic mishap? The driver on the tail Humvee gets shot and killed so no following or communications. Lack of awareness by the middle Humvee leads to a few disorienting minutes going by before reacting. Two guys in rear of immobilized Humvee get overwhelmed in close quarters thanks to the confusion. Why extrapolate a dearth of facts into some lessons-learned tactical mistake?

Why not take all 3? Well, let’s see...7 men...3 bodies. Two per body one left for cover. Or is this just too complicated to figure out. Geez-us.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
Apparently it is too difficult to figure out...for me anyways. Preview? Moi?
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
Shrek,

There aren’t any conditions of which I am aware that it would be a good idea to leave 3 people at a check point after it has been attacked by a force large enough to threaten 12 people.

About all 3 people at a checkpoint can do for you is tell you when the enemy has occupied the checkpoint when they stop sending status reports. G*dd*mnit, I was a battalion SIGO when I got out in ’92 and I effing hated sending my retrans HUMVEEs out into the boonies. Not a problem during peace time maneuvers, but in wartime you’ve just sent out some tasty little bits out to get wacked.

Sometimes you have to make sh*tty choices. In this specific case, there was no reason that I can see to leave 3 people behind at the checkpoint. I know the poor SOB who made that decision will have to live with that knowledge for the rest of his life. Unless he’s an extreme sociopath, that’s going to eat away at him like acid for the rest of his days.

(Yeah. I shouldn’t comment while drunk.)
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
You’ve placed a qualifier on your argument now, citing it as a "general rule of thumb."
Yeah ... that’s because we’re talking about tactics and since the first war was fought, no tactic has been 100% guaranteed to work everytime. So given the situation, rule of thumb says "if you all stay together, you have a better chance of surviving than if you split into smaller groups.

Don’t know about you but that seems pretty easy to understand. Obviously, however, if you were going to try to infiltrate or exfiltrate an area, that might not apply, huh?
Furthermore, if your lesson is that a 3 man patrol is always too small, then you have now elimated the use of the 2 or 3 man sniper teams that just about every unit in Iraq has available for employment.
If you believe that then you don’t understand how 2 and 3 man sniper teams are deployed.
Back to the incident at hand, while I don’t challenge the fact that it was too small in this instance, as we know what the end result is, you have to look at other factors to determine if the size was too small. What was the cover and concealment around the TCP? How many avenues of approach were there? How long had they been at the TCP? Were there buildings around the TCP? What distance? How many stories? What other observation platforms were available for the patrol? What was the average traffic through the TCP? What was the line of sight from the TCP? I could go on and on - it is the totality of the answers to all these questions and the others that I didn’t ask that allow a commander to make the appropriate call about whether leaving a 3 man stay behind element creates undue risk or not.
Actually you don’t have to understand any of that to understand that in asymmetical warfare there are no friends, so you assume worst case and plan for it. That means you don’t break down below squad level.

Squads are your smallest maneuver unit. They’re broken into fire teams and you can still fire and maneuver using one team to provide a base of fire and the other to maneuver. When you break out below squad you simply provide a target. And that target is going to be pinned down. And that target is going to be killed or captured by a larger unit which CAN fire and maneuver.

In this particular case, what you need to understand is the area had enough concealment to hide a group which was big enough to overwhelm the stay behind soldiers. What is also obvious is that the 9 who went after the other group of insurgents went too far and were unable to support those who were killed and captured.

Whether you like it or not, that is a tactical mistake.
However, an absolute policy that you should never split a unit that small is just plain off the mark.
Well, if you’re so sure of that, tell me when it would be on the mark to do so? And again, don’t try sniper teams, because they’re not deployed alone.
On the flip side, if patrol didn’t split to perform some pursuit of the attackers, what would that do for future TCPs?
What was the mission? If the mission was to man the TCP, then you stay there and call for help. If it was to chase insurgents, then you do so and abandon the TCP. You can’t do both with that size of a unit and the incident proves the point.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Geez, McQ, you’re becoming as careless and presumptuous as Jon. What if this was just a tragic mishap? The driver on the tail Humvee gets shot and killed so no following or communications. Lack of awareness by the middle Humvee leads to a few disorienting minutes going by before reacting. Two guys in rear of immobilized Humvee get overwhelmed in close quarters thanks to the confusion. Why extrapolate a dearth of facts into some lessons-learned tactical mistake?
LOL!

Who’s doing the extapolating here? You’re making stuff up out of whole cloth.

There was no "tail Humvee". They were stopped and conducting a traffic control point. The Humvee left behind never moved. The other two went off after the insurgents. That’s information provided by the military for heaven sake.
Why not take all 3? Well, let’s see...7 men...3 bodies. Two per body one left for cover. Or is this just too complicated to figure out. Geez-us.
Uh, because they killed one during the firefight preceeding the capture of the other two and they had no desire to take him? Seems logical to me.

And by the way, you don’t "torture" dead bodies, you mutilate them. And the difference is pretty obvious. The officer specifically said their bodies showed signs of ’barbaric torture’.

Is it too complicated to figure out? Well apparently it is for you.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I believe that the soldiers were already dead and the insurgents took the remain, claiming that they have prisoners. There is no internet video of the soldiers; this is not typical behavior. Whenever insurgents captured US soldiers, they displayed them on video and murdered them on video.
Then why not take all three, if that was the intent and all?

And nothing says that just because a video hasn’t surfaced yet that there isn’t one.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
By the way, for those of you still questioning the basics of the story:
Answering questions, [Maj. Gen. William B.] Caldwell [spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq] said the two soldiers had been kidnapped after the attack — the first time the military confirmed the men had been abducted by insurgents.

He said an investigation was underway as to why the three soldiers were alone at a checkpoint.
Obviously I’m not the only one who questioning the tactics involved.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ,
You can save the doctrinal discussion. As an infantry officer of 10 years, I am well versed in the book answer on things. Having commanded a rifle company in Iraq, I am also well versed on the various considerations that you take into mind when employing your units and in passing guidance and directives on to your subordinates, and the practical application of that doctrine. There were times when I employed my 3 man sniper team all by their lonesome (thereby refuting your assertion that they are never deployed alone), and there were plenty more times when I was not comfortable in employing them in that small of an element. This is just one example of where I had to make patrol size decisions.

Bottomline, I agree with you when you state that as a general rule of thumb that it is a bad idea to split up small elements. However, as you initially phrased it, you made an absolute argument. This is the point that I am attacking. So, conflating my argument by discussing that it was the incorrect tactic in this incident is a strawman. I’ve never offered that splitting up was a good idea in this instance, and I’ve never offered up that splitting up is always a good idea.

Instead, my argument is that the ground commander must go through a decision process to determine the risks of splitting up and weighing this against the rewards for pursuing the course of action, and then deciding if the course of action should be taken or a new one developed.

Lastly, I am not surprised that there are investigations that have been initiated, as this is a mandatory procedure for any serious incident of this nature. The investigations will cover many of the questions that I listed to determine ALL the factors that contributed to the tragic deaths of these soldiers.
 
Written By: Shek
URL: http://
What does it matter what the 3 Humvees were doing? If they are attacked and they decide to pursue only to have one driver shot then the tail Humvee won’t...move. I don’t think movement by all 3 is implicit in nor required for anything I said. You assumed some tactical mistake was made. I made up a possibility that was nothing more than happenstance. The only difference I can tell is that I can’t point a finger. Of course, that isn’t my priority.

As for the quote about "barbaric torture" that was from an Iraqi general and unconfirmed by the U.S. military. People have been speculating on PBS and online that both were beheaded but I remember reading a quote that the families were told the bodies were intact. So there’s plenty of baseless speculation all over this story. I just didn’t expect to see any of that here. Well, atleast any of that here by you, McQ.

As for the investigation that is standard. And it does not conflict in any way with anything I said. It could come out that indeed they were abandoned by a craven superior out to save his own skin. Then again it might not. Any insight on tonight’s Mav’s game? If not I’ll flip a coin.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
As for the flippant remark about an "insurgents’ ploy"...possession of 2 U.S. military personnel is just too juicy for them to pass up. Have you ever watched the videos out of Chechnya? Russian Hell or the other snuff movies showing Russian soldiers? If you honestly think that two live soldiers were abducted and murdered with zero fanfare you’re not arguing with me...you’re arguing with history. This wasn’t some splinter, amateur-hour group like the one that got Keith Maupin. This was the big leagues...AQ’s umbrella group in Iraq. Anyways, "kidnapped after the attack" does not conflict in any way with any of the theories floated.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
As an infantry officer of 10 years, I am well versed in the book answer on things.
Good. I was an infantry officer for 28 years. My experience goes back to Vietnam.
There were times when I employed my 3 man sniper team all by their lonesome (thereby refuting your assertion that they are never deployed alone),
Doing something stupid doesn’t refute anything, it simply means you got lucky.
Bottomline, I agree with you when you state that as a general rule of thumb that it is a bad idea to split up small elements. However, as you initially phrased it, you made an absolute argument.
When dealing with young leaders sometimes that is precisely how you deal with such things. As an officer you have some flexibility. Your also dealing with a larger unit. That’s what you get paid for.

But when you’re talking about an E5 or young E6 at squad level, you set out absolutes. That’s your job. Because you’re usually going to save a h*ll of lot more lives if they stay together than if they think they have the option of splitting up in that sort of environment.

And you should know that better than anyone.
Instead, my argument is that the ground commander must go through a decision process to determine the risks of splitting up and weighing this against the rewards for pursuing the course of action, and then deciding if the course of action should be taken or a new one developed.
What the commander in that situation should have done was his mission. If it was TCP, then he should have hunkered down and called for help. If it was pursue insurgents, then let higher know what’s up, hat up and go ... and take everyone. But he tried to do both things and that is where he failed.

So his decision making process was flawed and the resulting death of the three he left behind is a result. That’s how that works in combat and you should know that as well.

Now, you may find that defensible.

I don’t.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What does it matter what the 3 Humvees were doing? If they are attacked and they decide to pursue only to have one driver shot then the tail Humvee won’t...move. I don’t think movement by all 3 is implicit in nor required for anything I said.
Christ ... read the freaking reports, will you?

Your innane nonsense is tiresome.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’ve been reading the reports since I first heard about this around 1am on Friday. How about you read them with a dictionary nearby? This quote that you thought important enough to bold in no way contradicts anything I said or anything anyone else has said.
the two soldiers had been kidnapped after the attack
Why not just admit you don’t have enough facts to support your assertion that people died as a result of a mistake? Like I said...in a month you might be proven entirely correct. But tonight...sorry.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
On the torture and murder of two American soldiers in Iraq, June, 2006
We abhor the treatment our soldiers suffered because we abhor the treatment; expect only the affectation of concern from the sociopath.
Torture is an accepted practice by the Bush administration, although they use the attorneys Gonzales and Yoo’s redefinition of torture, so that when they torture they don’t call it torture. It is the same tactic as calling human beings “Enemy Combatants”, thereby allowing for the abuse of those human beings, allowing for the denial of their human rights, rights the United States has agreed to in the Geneva Conventions. Hell, I’m no Psychologist, but there seems to be something pathological about individuals who can so easily excuse themselves from conventions, taboos, or even, reality
Torture is an accepted practice by the Bush administration, all the consternation; the revulsion and disgust that our traditional society may display over the torture and murder of our soldiers means nothing to them. In “Crime and Punishment”, Dostoevsky explored the effect on the consciousness of an murderer who acted in a fit of desperation, the effects of guilt, and fear of being seen as a murderer. But I doubt the serial killer suffers any such remorse and disassociation, until it is prevented by external forces the criminal activity methodically continues. The diabolical agenda of the Bush administration has death and destruction built into its implementation; it is part of the agenda. To them torture is not merely inconsequential, it is essential.
To regain the ethical balance that allows us to walk upright with dignity, we must purge ourselves of the poisonous effect of such practices. As a society we cannot always count on every individual to adhere even to our most basic standards, like our understanding of our inherent right to life and liberty. Those miscreant individuals must be ostracized and isolated from society, we must protect ourselves from them. If we must try them for crimes committed, then we must. If we must incarcerate them to prevent further crimes, then we must. We must do what we must to right ourselves.
 
Written By: Robt. Braam
URL: http://
Robt.Braam,

To be taken seriously, you need to understand the subject matter instead of just spouting off. In armed conflict, persons are separated into combatants and non-combatants. Looking at combatants, you have either friendly or enemy combatants. So, "enemy combatants" solely define those whom we are fighting.

Now, you probably take issue with declaring individuals "illegal" enemy combatants. However, once again, this is definitional - you can find the circumstances that cause a combatant to be deemed an illegal combatant by looking at the Third Geneva Convention from 1949 as well as at an earlier Hague Convention.

Finally, while you refer to the evil Yoo and evil Gonzalez, you might want to note that Yoo’s legal brief has been rescinded and replaced by the following to the best of my knowledge: http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/dagmemo.pdf

I would challenge you then to find actually instances of torture that have been proven, not just bogus allegations that so far have to the allegation been unsubstantiated. While there have been instances where acts less than torture been committed, this doesn’t support your assertion of torture. Also, you should note in those instances where abuse has been substantiated, that the individuals have been prosecuted.
 
Written By: Shek
URL: http://
Two wrongs don’t make a right people. I can’t believe that intelligent people would advocate breaking with civilization to sink to the level of these people (read: Abu Gharib was ok since they did this). If you want to fight fire with fire you might as well all become savages like these people. The only way we’re going to win this thing is with intelligence and force, but NOT by putting the years of civilization behind us that have made us the great nation we are. Anyone willing to do this is short-sighted and mistaking emotion for good judgement.
 
Written By: L R
URL: http://

 
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