Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Orders Are Orders 

A Bad Apple, charged with the death of an Iraqi civilian, claims his superiors ordered a coverup:
One of four soldiers charged with pushing two Iraqi civilians into the river, where one of them drowned, says he was ordered to do so and told what to say to officials looking into the death, an Army investigator testified Wednesday.

Spc. Terry Bowman said he “was told by his chain of command what version to give” investigators, Sgt. Irene Cintron of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command said during a teleconference from Iraq as the military convened a hearing to determine whether the soldiers will be court-martialed.

Bowman said he had been ordered to push the men into the Tigris River, Cintron said.

It was not disclosed who gave the order. three of the soldiers’ commanders have received nonjudicial punishments for their roles in the incident. None of those punishments include jail time . . . .

The soldiers’ commanders, Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, Maj. Robert Gwinner and Capt. Matthew Cunningham, were punished last spring under Article 15, which allows punishments without a court proceeding or public record. Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., has asked for congressional hearings into why their cases were handled differently than those of the soldiers.

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