We’re batting .060 at our checkpoints in Iraq.

July 7, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More

Brian Palmer reports on this statement of a USMC training officer, a captain:

“Over the last 12 months or so we killed about 1000 Iraqis at blocking positions and checkpoints,” the captain told the grunts. “About 60 — six zero — we could demonstrate that, yeah, he was a bad guy. He was an insurgent. Six zero out of about 1000. So all we’re doing — if we don’t communicate what we want them to do, all we’re doing is creating more enemies.”

His words didn’t faze the grunts, but they startled the hell out of me. Innocent Iraqis are killed at checkpoints frequently. I knew that, but I’d never heard anyone of rank admit it categorically. When I was in country in 2004, 2005, and 2006 I often heard grunts talk about “lighting up” cars that didn’t stop at the trigger line. Why did the drivers keep going? Bad brakes, a misunderstanding of Marines’ hand signals, darkness, stupidity, grunts ventured. But who could say? I had also read USMC investigation reports of checkpoint shootings. No Marines were charged in any of these incidents because they had followed the Rules of Engagement and their commanders’ directives: shoot to kill the moment a vehicle crosses the trigger line.

I’m not suggesting that it’s easy to run a checkpoint.  It’s not.  I couldn’t imagine anything more difficult or nerve frazzling.  What I would suggest is that the Bush administration’s deceitful invasion of Iraq has forced our military into these impossible assignments.  One other thing: how many candy bars will we need to pass out to Iraqi children to undo the damage of the 940 innocent Iraqis we’ve accidentally gunned down this year?

I suppose the mainstream media was too busy to cover this catastrophe.  If a small commercial airplane went down in the U.S. killing a couple dozen American people, though, we wouldn’t hear the end of it.


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Category: Iraq, Media

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    I've heard that a relatively large percentage (~30%) of the American troops returning from Iraq require mental health counseling, with some fraction of these troops showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. So, here's my question: if trained, seasoned American soldiers are having serious emotional problems because of what's going on in Iraq, what is happening to Iraqi civilians? What sorts of emotional problems are they having and, more importantly, what treatment are they getting? And what about the children? If adult soldiers are having psychological problems because of the violence, what about the kids?

    More to the point: exactly how much sense does it make to shoot up a country, create a whole generation of traumatized (even orphaned) children, then blindly declare you are "winning the war on terrorism" when you have no idea how many of those kids will become tomorrow's suicide bombers? Bush's unnecessary, illegal invasion has killed over 150,000 Iraqis (including more than 50,000 civilians) and maimed many more. This in response to a terrorist attack that killed just 3,000 Americans and that had NOTHING to do with Iraq. If, say, Australia, instead of America, had been hit by Al Qaeda and had lost 3,000 of its citizens, and if the Aussies had responded by invading America (based on fraudulent intelligence) and causing more than 150,000 American fatalities, what do you suppose the odds would be that Australia would be free from terrorist attacks by disgruntled Americans? Now, instead of America, substitute a nation in which at least some of its religious fundamentalists celebrate martyrdom.

    I don't know about other Americans, but I'd sure like to know what metric the Bush Administration is using to conclude that it is "winning" anything from its fraudulent invasion.

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