Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Iraq rape, killings probe focuses on 'supervision' of soldiers

Iraq rape, killings probe focuses on 'supervision' of soldiers
Published: Tuesday July 4, 2006

"The military investigation into soldiers suspected of raping an Iraqi woman and killing her and her family is looking at whether poor oversight within the soldiers' unit helped give them the chance to commit the crime, American military officials said Tuesday," according to an article set for Wednesday's edition of The New York Times.

"Specifically, investigators are examining whether procedural lapses in how the unit handled convoys and traffic checkpoints gave the soldiers leeway to operate too independently outside their base, the officials said," writes Edward Wong.

Excerpts from the Times article:

At least four soldiers are already being investigated, including a recently discharged man, Steven D. Green, 21, who had been a private. He was arrested in North Carolina on Monday and charged with rape and the murders of four Iraqis on March 12 in a farming area around Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad. Investigators believe Green was the "ringleader," a military official said Tuesday.

In the hours before the deaths, the soldiers were stationed at a traffic control point about 600 feet from the victims' home, apparently operating with just a single vehicle, according to an American military official and a federal affidavit filed by prosecutors on Monday.

That violates military regulations here. Because of the dangers of Iraq, it is virtually unheard of for a military vehicle to be allowed to exit an American base without being accompanied by at least one other. So a central question is: How were these soldiers able to get out and operate on their own, presumably in a Humvee?

"We do not as a rule travel as a single-vehicle convoy," said a military official who, like other officials, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.


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