Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Let's See...The Enemy of the Enemy of the Enemy...Once We've Trained Them... my friend? Or...hell, it's hard work."

H/T First Draft

Geez, Team Bush makes the Keystone Cops look like Mossad:

A few weeks before he died, a depressed Spc. Patrick Ryan McCaffrey called his father from Iraq and told him that he had just been fired upon by the Iraqi troops he was helping to train.

"They were on night patrol, and they had been fired upon by what they thought were 12 insurgents. They killed several of them, and three surrendered," said Bob McCaffrey on Tuesday in a phone interview with The Chronicle. "Some of the dead ones were part of the group that they had been training for a week, and the survivors were also part of that group."

McCaffrey said that his 34-year-old son notified his commanding officer but "was told to keep his mouth shut." A month later, on June 22, 2004, his son was dead. The Army said his unit was ambushed by enemy forces on a patrol near Balad, Iraq.

On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said that the Army's Criminal Investigation Command has concluded that McCaffrey, from Tracy, and 2nd Lt. Andre Demetrius Tyson, 33, of Riverside, were killed by Iraqi soldiers who were patrolling alongside the U.S. soldiers.

"It's god-awful," said Bob McCaffrey, a Redding rancher and Army veteran. "It underlies the lie of this whole situation in Iraq. It's all to me a pack of lies."

Army Brig. Gen. Oscar Hilman, the soldiers' commander at the time, and three other field officers are expected to brief Nadia McCaffrey, the mother of Patrick McCaffrey, today at her home in Tracy.

"I have a lot of questions to ask him," Nadia McCaffrey said Tuesday night.

The delegation is believed to have briefed Tyson family members Tuesday in Southern California...

There have been past reports of Iraqi soldiers and police switching sides -- such as Sunni troops joining insurgents in Fallujah in November 2004, or Shiite troops joining insurgents loyal to renegade cleric Moqtada al Sadr during his uprising earlier that year.

Kalev Sepp, assistant professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, said the problem was especially pronounced early in the conflict, around the time McCaffrey was killed.

"During the early part of the coalition occupation of Iraq, in the rush to quickly train so-called security forces -- civil defense corps and local militias and local police -- almost no vetting was done of personnel that were being recruited or brought through the training," said Sepp, whose multiple trips to Iraq have included working with U.S. forces training the Iraqi troops.

"Many insurgents deliberately joined these local forces to receive training and equipment and weapons from the Americans and then would immediately turn around and use them against the Americans," he said.

Sepp also noted it wasn't very surprising for news of the alleged killing to have taken so long to have come out, because in the early stages of the war casualties were often reported with minimal information -- such as the kind of weapon used in the attack -- and did not include information on who might have been responsible for the killing.

"In June of '04 ... things were so chaotic that there wasn't a clear reporting system," he said.

Bob McCaffrey said that his son was assigned to assist in the training of Iraqi civil defense forces, helping them learn how to fire their weapons accurately, march in order, and clean and dismantle their weapons. He also said that his son would call him frequently on a satellite phone.

McCaffrey said that he was not surprised at all by the Army's conclusions, but angry that it took the Pentagon so long to verify his suspicions about the incident. "It does not take two years to produce investigation results," he said. "I'm sure this was known very quickly."

He said that members of his son's company told him that insurgents were offering Iraqi soldiers about $100 apiece for each American they could kill.

"Members of his unit had mentioned to me and his mother a year ago that (Iraqi civil defense forces) were responsible for the ambush or a part of it," he said. "It wasn't the first time that they had turned on them. ... We discussed it openly and freely. Some of these boys are pretty traumatized over this."

Sad to say, I'm beginning to see how it's possible, as I somewhat rhetorically asked below, for the military to put soldiers in such an exposed, isolated positions (which resulted in abduction, torture, and death for two soldiers, and the equally tragic designation "KIA" for a third). Well, you don't have any choice but to look to the top: absent ANY plan or strategic vision, they've MADE the decision, de facto or not, that soldiers are expendable.

That's not just callous--that's dumb, and, if you ask me, criminal.

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