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Army Col. Said Kill Iraqi Military-Age Males

January 22, 2007

American Army Colonel Michael Steele will not be allowed to give any more orders that kill innocent Iraq citizens.  One of the more sad and chilling aspects of the American invasion of Iraq, are the actions of soldiers such as Colonel Steele, which lead to reckless and unwarranted bloodshed in an already hell hole of a situation.   It was his orders and style of command that led to senseless and needless deaths of four Iraqi men.  In the end his actions led to his  reprimand last week, a weak response for his actions.

The most horrible part of this war for me is the never-ending scores of innocent citizens in Iraq who are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and meet a cruel end to their lives.  Four such men were on the outskirts of Baghdad when a group of American soldiers under the command of Steele initially captured the men, then released them, and finally shot them in an effort to stage an escape attempt. One of the Iraqi men shot and killed was 70 years old and unarmed.  The military investigation of this awful story goes to the heart of the rules of engagement that all soldiers are to follow on the battlefield.

Steele did not properly order his troops to distinguish combatants from noncombatants, in fact it is asserted that he led those under him to believe it not necessary to make that all important distinction.  Even more depressing and sad is that soldiers under Steele’s command have sworn that he told them to kill all Iraqi military-age males.  What a deplorable attitude.  How do we, as a society, create this type of person?

The character flaw of Colonel Steele, and those like him in the military, has long-term consequences for the path of American foreign policy.   The way that we are viewed in Iraq and throughout the Middle East on the basis of this war is something that Steele and other soldiers like him seem all to easily to forget.  Our ‘footprint’ in Iraq is a sad and shameful one.  I am sure that Steele has some convoluted way to explain the deaths, and might suggest that in war bad things happen.  While war is an unforgiving place, it is also true that some soldiers and in this case commanders, have severe character flaws that make them unfit to serve.

We can at least be assured that this reckless Colonel will not have a future in the United States military.  His role was featured in the book and movie ‘Black Hawk Down” but sadly it is his actions in the Iraq war that will best define him.

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4 Comments
  1. January 28, 2007 7:46 PM

    Mr Johnson fails to distinguish between having to accept the deaths of some innocents in a warzone where it’s difficult to distinguish between friend and foe and having a policy of outright slaughter of all civilians. His argument doesn’t wash.

  2. Scott Johnson permalink
    January 24, 2007 12:44 PM

    The author of this piece hasn’t the foggiest notion what war is like, especially one where the enemy violates Western Civilization’s Geneva Conventions and doesn’t wear a uniform. His abysmal ignorance of the melieu in which our Army and Marines must operate daily in Iraq leads him to conclusions beyond the realm of both common sense and reality. He should heed the old Sioux proverb: “Before you condemn a man, walk in his mocassins for one full moon.”

  3. January 23, 2007 2:35 AM

    Interesting post. I think this is a case of Trickle Down. There will always be guys who show poor character and God knows how well I would handle combat (not well I’d guess) but I can’t help but think career military are heavily influenced by the attitude of their Commander-in-Chief.

    Bush has given us a vague ideology-and-race based war. He orders attacks when ever and where ever, all he has to do is say “al Qaeda was there” to justify any breach of a border and any deaths at all. A neighborhood sandbox or a Somali city – just say “al Qaeda” and it’s okay.

    Bush has not made a distinction between combatants and non-combatants. How can his men?

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