Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Dereliction of duty

The US army platoon leader, Lieutenant Jack Saville, who ordered his men to throw two Iraqi prisoners into the Tigris in January 2004 (one is presumed dead) was given a stiff sentence of 45 days for “dereliction of duty.” Saville apologized because his actions “adversely affected U.S.-Iraqi trust during critical times of reconstruction.” Ya think? And he asked to be allowed to remain in the army (it’s unclear if he will be discharged or not), and said God had forgiven him and he hopes “to use these experiences for greater good.” How one uses the experience of drowning a prisoner for greater good is beyond me.

And since this story (and a couple of other sources’ reports on this) seriously buries the lead, I’m gonna put it in red:
Lt Saville agreed to testify against his captain, who had given him a hit list of five Iraqis who were to be executed on the spot if they were captured in a raid.
Matthew Cunningham is the captain’s name (it’s not mentioned in the Guardian, AP or BBC reports).

The two guys thrown into the river were not on the hit list. Rather, two platoons had a bet (the stakes are not specified in any news report) over which one would throw an Iraqi into the river first.

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