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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.
I completely agree that the marionette cannot be held responsible for what happens when the puppet masters pull the strings.
According to the UCMJ, it's illegal to obey an illegal order.
To say that they are indoctrinated to this level of behaviour in bootcamp is just plain wrong...if not an outright liable.
indoctrinating obedience to the chain of command into every recruit at boot camp
Lt. Col. James P. Daniel Jr. concluded that the slayings were premeditated and warranted the death sentence based on evidence he heard at an August hearing. The case will now be forwarded to Army officials, who will decide whether Daniel's recommendation should be followed.
The soldiers, all from the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division's 187th Infantry Regiment, are accused of killing three Iraqi men taken from a house May 9 on a marshy island outside Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
Prosecutors argue the soldiers conspired to kill the men and then altered the scene to fit their story. They contend Girouard stabbed Hunsaker as part of the killing plot.
Paul Bergrin, Clagett's civilian attorney, said he was surprised that Daniel recommended the case be taken to trial at all.
"I'm extremely disappointed and disheartened," Bergrin said Saturday. "They are being used as pawns in the war on terror. They followed the rules of engagement. They were confronted with violence by a known al-Qaida training camp member."