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November 16, 2009

Killings At The Canal: The Army Tapes

Posted: 01:34 PM ET

By Abbie Boudreau
Special Investigations Unit Correspondent

A group of 13 soldiers left Iraq holding on to a secret – the murders of four detainees at a Baghdad canal. They were told not to say a word, and for nine months, they kept quiet.

abbie

Then, one of the 13 soldiers reported the crime and the secret was out.

But what if that soldier hadn't come forward and reported the murders? What if years had gone by, and these young soldiers were still holding on to this battlefield secret?

Especially for the 20-somethings who are fighting this war – how do they keep a secret in a day and age where people from their generation are encouraged to live such public lives?

They are taught from a very young age to "talk it out," and why it's unhealthy to "keep it all inside." And now, with easy access to social networking sites, it's almost expected for people to splash their private lives, and personal photos all over the pages of Facebook and MySpace. We share our lives with just about anyone who will listen – we expose our fears, our likes and dislikes, and even our secrets to a community of on-line strangers.

Yet, for soldiers who might come home, holding on to real secrets – big deal secrets – What happens? Where do they turn? And how do the secrets affect them?

Filed under: Abbie Boudreau • Special Investigations Unit


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madison   November 17th, 2009 9:02 pm ET

Secrets alway come out at one time or another. It took alot for that 1 person to come out and say something. Guilt can be a terrible thing to keep lock up in you. I don't agree with what they all did. The only thing I can do is prayer for them.


frank Rey   November 17th, 2009 10:06 pm ET

let those soldiers free!


Robert Ret army 1967-1987   November 17th, 2009 10:57 pm ET

Intill you have been where they , been seen what they have have seen, Done what they had to do . Watch who you condem. It is easy to say weth should have been done when you were not there. I found out a long time ago that as long as was not there when it happen I realy dont have the right to say anything. And for all these bleeding harts that want a clean and just war. They should go over there and play polictic and leave are brave servicman at home. One thing you I want everyone to Know is that ever solder man or woman live what they do in war, wether it can be justified or not. They were in there oun littey prsion with the fight person they hurt.


Ramses Byron MN   November 17th, 2009 11:21 pm ET

You have my support
1sgt hatley you have my 100% support. You should not be in prison. Your driver in OIF II 04-05. We survived a near ambush together. had it not been for your guidance I would not be here today. To anyone who has not served in our armed forces in combat and yet criticize/demonize actions of those in it just remember. If not for us you would not be able to say they hateful and disrespectful things you do. Secondly I challenge you to serve in a combat zone not as a photographer or some support M.O.S but as and infantrymen. On the ground being the tip of the spear head defending freedom


Al   November 17th, 2009 11:46 pm ET

Justice served. Our soldiers only error in judgment was taking them as prisoners in the first place. Our servicemen are heroes, our politicians are cowards that lack the intestinal fortitude to exact war upon the enemy and utterly destroy them. Thanks to these men these terrorists are no longer able to kill our service members or innocent civilians ever again.


thomas james   November 18th, 2009 2:44 am ET

This is disgusting, they find the enemy who had more than enough ammo to kill our u.s soldiers and would have killed all 4 u.s solders had they had better combat skills, so when the army kills there own they cover it up see former NFL player Sargent Tillman, and these 4 iraqies would have killed almost 60 u.s solders with the ammo they have, WE ASKED THESE SOLDERS TO PROTECT US TO PUT THERE LIFE ON THE LINE AND THEY DID,

HOW DARE THE ARMY PROSECUTE THESE HERO'S WHO MUST I WRITE TO WHO MUST I EMAIL THESE MAN NEED TO GO HOME TO THEIR FAMILIES..

THIS MAKES ME SORRY TO BE AN AMERICAN...I PRAY THESE SOLDERS SPEND 1 YEAR IN JAIL AND GO HOME TO THIER FAMILIES

IF WE DONT WANT SOLDERS TO PROTECT US THEN WHY ARE THEY THERE, LET THEM COME HOME

PRESIDENT OBAMA PLEASE LET THESE MEN COME HOME TO THEIR FAMILIES WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES . BUT THESE MEN DIDNT ASK TO BE THERE


specter   November 18th, 2009 7:03 am ET

I don't blame these men for their acts I blame their president(bush) who sent them there with no clear post war plan. You trained these men to fight and kill the enemy then punish them for doing so. this and lots of other reasons like this is why I will never be in the millitary.


Wolfpack   November 18th, 2009 7:31 am ET

It was not guilt that made one soldier come forward. He was being charged for a seperate incident and in return for them dropping the charges against him, he sold out his "Band of Brothers".


todd   November 18th, 2009 8:16 am ET

I feel these men's actions were warranted. They come under fire everyday, the enemy looks just like everyone else. I feel they knew they had the right men in custody and felt their lives or others lives would be in danger if these men were let go. They are heroes in every since of the word. I believe we as Americans need to stand up and demand they be let out of prison.


Larry Wisc Rapids, WI   November 18th, 2009 8:26 am ET

War and combat does unexplainable things to one's mind, and in order to understand it, you have to take part in it, These guy's are not criminals, and they should not be in jail. The US government put them in harms way, gave them the training, and the tools (weapons) to use for their mission, then tell them that they cannot make a decision on how to handle a situation. No differant that LT Calley during VN,what a shame to put a soldier through this humilliation for doing what he was trained to do. Once you start killing people, it's not easy to turn that switch on and off at a whim. War sucks, and the uglist part of war is what can happen to the guy;s fighting it, just like this incident. Let's see how we handle the Terrorist attack at Fort Hood, this killing spree was in every sense of the word "MURDER" and that SOB needs to be aken out without reslove. Do the right thing and Let our three soldiers out of jail. Former USMC VN Veteran, VN 68/69/70 consecutive..


jb   November 18th, 2009 9:10 am ET

It is always easy for REMF's to judge what happens in a combat zone. It is entirely a diifferent situation when you are actually there. Sometimes right or wrong in a zone like that is not so crystal clear when faced with a difficult situation.

These guys should be set free as I don't think any of them are muderous criminals. Just people faced with a hard choice in a hard situation.


Hasan Arbaji   November 18th, 2009 9:21 am ET

even murdering a murderer is a crime.becauese in my opinion an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind


Harper   November 18th, 2009 9:49 am ET

Soldiers need to serve the time for the punishment. Just because your a cop or part of the military it does not excuse you from killing innocent civilians. No matter what country they are from. What if the three soldiers had done this in New York city to three americans? Just shot them in the back of the head in a canal. How much jailtime would they serve then?

Iraqis are humans, just the same as americans.


washington DC   November 18th, 2009 9:50 am ET

To Frank Rey, also let Hassan go free as well. That way both crimes will be canceled out. But of course this will not happen because Americans feel that they can kill others, whilst when they are killed, it is murder or a criminal act.


Lizzie   November 18th, 2009 9:53 am ET

So far, I have not heard the whole story, barring the fact that the soldiers are guilty of a crime that I have yet to hear the whole, unbiased facts. There is an old expression, "It's a rich man's war, but a poor man's fight," and I feel that this statement still stands true today- the lower ranking soldier's still take a lot of flak for calls made by the higher ranking officer's orders. However, when the smoke has cleared, who is it who takes the fall? Just some food for thought before one begins to actually point fingers.


David N.   November 18th, 2009 10:14 am ET

You lose your rights as a soldier when you commit murder. They defeated their purpose for being there. What they did is not what America stands for.


Jimmy   November 18th, 2009 10:14 am ET

Regardless of what we are all accountable for our action.


David N.   November 18th, 2009 10:15 am ET

Unnecessary!


dissapointed   November 18th, 2009 10:21 am ET

There is a motive of self defense involved here. I think they believed they were taking a huge risk in killing these terrorists, but that they were also taking a huge risk in letting them go.

What are you willing to do to protect the lives of your men. Die? Go to prison? We teach them to be willing to die to protect each other, then surprised they are willing to go to prison to protect each other.


James   November 18th, 2009 10:22 am ET

They are Hero's . just look at what the enemy did to our men and women


Vince D   November 18th, 2009 10:28 am ET

My heart breaks for the families of these soldiers. The rules of engagement in a conflict where there isn't a visible enemy, blurs the lines of war to the point of total confusion. I am a veteran, however I wasn't ever in a combat situation. I can't imagine what it must be like not knowing if a person approaching me is about to detonate a bomb, blowing up everyone around. I can't imagine capturing these animals and seeing then released. I can imagine wanting to take matters into my own hands. This is a slippery slope. No, these soldiers did wrong and need to be punished. Unfortunately, the families are being punished as well. I believe a life sentance is too long. But punishment of dishonorable discharge and a 7-10 year prision term is appropriate so that a message is sent to others that taking judge and jury into your own hands isn't allowed. We also need to look closely at the ways suspects are evaluated in a war where there are no uniforms......


Steve   November 18th, 2009 10:43 am ET

If two people know something, it will only be a matter of time before the secret is out. So for all of you conspiracy theorists out there, you're imagining things.

As for the soldiers, I can sympathize with their frustrations; however, the Law of Armed Conflict is very clear and these individuals violated those rules. What they did may have kept a few bad guys off the street, but it had an overall negative effect on our efforts in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. Their actions could have (and probably did) create more anti-US sentiment, putting more Americans at risk. So in effect, their actions had the opposite impact that they intended.

We are overseas defending freedom and democracy. Why would we die for those things if we're not willing to support those things with our actions?

My heart goes out to the soldiers' families who are now suffering as a result of some very poor decisions.


Tony   November 18th, 2009 10:43 am ET

They did what they had to do to survive let them free! our soldiers are fighting an unfair war with rules and laws that apply to us but dont for terrorist. The system cant even convict the ones that are caught fighting!!


Shannon   November 18th, 2009 10:48 am ET

War is hell, these soliders were protecting themselves from future attacks by the enemy. They should not be jailed for protecting theselves. It's obvious that the terrorists would have just been released to attack again. If anyone should be in jail, it's the chain of command who created an ineffective system of dealing with these types of combatants. It's the liberal pinko's who think that war is a sitiuation where rules exist and terrorist/combatants are entitled to due process, due process is a bullet in the head. Why are these guys being jailed, WTF??


Louis A. Morales   November 18th, 2009 10:49 am ET

I believe the soldiers have paid enough of their time already for a crime that the environment caused them to commit. When under pressure in dealing with the unknown (terrorism) one cannot be sure what one will do if one finds itself under similar circumstances. These guys have suffered enough.....release them to their freedom to be with their love ones.......


Thomas in AZ   November 18th, 2009 11:02 am ET

You don't get to murder unarmed civilians because you think they might be a future threat. Guaranteed they received training in army ethics that condemns this very act. It wouldn't have been a "secret" if they hadn't feared it being found out...

Prosection was the right thing. Sorry guys, you screwed up. Life measured equally, even if they're brown.


Thomas in AZ   November 18th, 2009 11:02 am ET

You don't get to murder unarmed civilians because you think they might be a future threat. Guaranteed they received training in army ethics that condemns this very act. It wouldn't have been a "secret" if they hadn't feared it being found out...

Prosecution was the right thing. Sorry guys, you screwed up. Life is measured equally, even if they're brown.


a lane ross   November 18th, 2009 11:16 am ET

please let those soldiers be free what else could they do .again please free them


brenda pickett   November 18th, 2009 11:19 am ET

if the soldiers committed this unlawful crime, they are no hero to me,my son served 3 tours and i have no compassion for the wrong doers. if they are guilty they should be punished.

if the tables were turned would one feel the same


joe from Lowell   November 18th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

Excuse me, but these soldiers did not "keep quiet," at least not all of them.

The 1st Sergeant of this unit, for example – a man now serving a prison sentence for murder – made himself quite a celebrity in the right-wing blogosphere by denouncing one Scott Beauchamp for reporting on other acts of inhumane anti-Iraqi behavior while he served there. Private Beauchamp was in this man's command, and he went public, outed Beauchamp, dragged his name through the mud, and denied that he or anyone else had done anything wrong. And of course, the right wing in this country went into full-on freakout mode, attacking Beauchamp and insisting that accusing any soldier of acting badly was an attack on the troops and anti-American.

In fact, CNN covered the Scott Beauchamp controversy at the time. That was THIS unit that the right-wing media rose up as one to defend – Scott Beauchamp's unit.

In light of what's now come out about these people, doesn't the management at CNN think you owe it to your viewers to report on the fact that one side of that controversy has been completely, thoroughly vindicated, and the other has been completely, thoroughly refuted?


Sean   November 18th, 2009 3:35 pm ET

obviously none of u have been there. There is no life, only survival. get them before they get u...and thats what they did, they protected themselves, their comrades, and the REAL civilians. haji can F#@k himself...good job boys


michaelP   November 18th, 2009 4:35 pm ET

SERIOUSLY get over it- they fought for their country and saw things that no man should see. What would have happened to these men if they didn't do what they did. They more than likely would have been another number @ Arlington. They paid and will always pay. If their crime was murder what about Bush and all his cronies for putting us in this war. Suggestion- if you haven't served don't comment-
Ask the parents and spouses of the ones who have died and ask what their thoughts are. i bet you they would say do anything you can to save your lives and anyone around you lives.
veteran 01


Pamela   November 18th, 2009 6:01 pm ET

This is how the Army and our President want to reward our heroes for putting their lives on the line? I call for an immediate boycott of recruiting until Obama gives these three a FULL Presidential pardon and restoration of all military benefits! Let's see you fight these wars when you have to troops to send. I'm going to start encouraging our young men and women NOT to enlist, or reenlist until these soldiers released. What a way to support our troops – God help us all.


cam   November 18th, 2009 7:17 pm ET

The fact is that these soldiers had the capacity to bring these insurgents into custody and rather than follow army procedure they decided to murder these four individuals. I can understand that they were doing what they thought was best, but they weren't in a fire fight, they had the men in custody and should have placed them under arrest instead they murdered them, and that is that... after all the abuse cases at Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo you'd think the American public would want to inact policies which ask there men and women in service to be held to the highest regard, but I guess thats asking to much from a country that's near the bottom in education in the developed world. Also servicemen and women should be thanked for there service, and we do owe them a debt of gratitude, but that should not blind us when some of them go astray these men need and should be punished for as the queen of the rednecks likes to say "going rouge".


randy vaught   November 18th, 2009 8:11 pm ET

War is hell.always will be.this is vietnam all over again. send out a patrol, go bacck to base camp.next day all over again. this happens over and over again.then it happens bullets start flying. American soldier s diewhen will this goverment learn to fight a war.I know soldiers, good people who can't figure out who's who.friend or foe.friendly one day, shooting at you the next.what has happened to the terriost who have BEHEADED,BEAT,noncombants,they are praised for what they have done.Yes there are rules.BUT RULES DONT APPLY TO TERRIOST.THEY ARE LIKE GUNFIGHTERS OF THE OLD WEST.KNOTCHES ON THERE GUNS.WAKE UP AMERICA.they want to see all western allies dead. AMERICA DEAD. Why have a military to defend OUR FREEDOM if your not going to support them.there supporting you.YOUR FREEDOM.
release these soldiers
no one likes to see people die.no one likes war.
these men are heros. Obama free these men.give them back what was taken from them.full benefits retirement, we as Americans owe it to them,all of them.


Evan   November 18th, 2009 8:29 pm ET

Out of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that sacrifice everyday, the heroic acts untold. Why has CNN chosen this story to tell us?


Barbara   November 18th, 2009 8:33 pm ET

This is a Joke, these soldiers should be set free.


randy   November 18th, 2009 9:21 pm ET

I agree with michaelP and pamela. how about ted kennedy. give back what the american goverment took away.people love there freedom as long as its someone else fighting.the american goverment and american people need to wake up.terrorist want americans dead. we have rules they dont. people need to remember pearl horbor, the twin towers, oh dont forget ft hood. we didnt attack them, they attacked us
people need to watch the history channel on whats happening over there(just a small idea). president obama pardon these soldiers
return there benefits. SUPPORT OUR MILITARY TROOPS

1st cav air assault


Jim of Sacramento   November 18th, 2009 9:25 pm ET

While I can understand the reasons why they did this, it was still wrong. We're better than this, actions like this simply bring us as a nation down to their level. In past wars we've villified our enemies because they did things like this. We've got to keep to the high ground in this war. If we don't we become just like our enemies.

The soldiers that did this are probably very good men who took a wrong turn, made some very bad decisions. And as sucn they are
being punished for it. And this is as it should be.


weaver   November 18th, 2009 9:42 pm ET

It is correct to say that these men are not criminals.

Once someone has surrendered to you and you have taken them captive, killing them becomes something called a "war crime."

These men are war criminals. They are the opposite of heroes.


joe from Lowell   November 18th, 2009 10:37 pm ET

These "heros" were convicted by a MILITARY court. Their peers, their superior officers, found them guilty of premeditated murder. Soldiers who had served in Iraq, who know more about what goes on over there than the Keyboard Kommandoes going all "Free Lt. Calley" on this thread, think that these "heros" belong behind bars for a few decades.

Actual soldiers – as opposed to their internet fanbois – understand the difference between combat and an execution.


Michael Paroussis   November 18th, 2009 10:55 pm ET

I think that these men were put in a position where they had to fight in a war with both hands tied behind their back. Like it or not, a soldiers job is to destroy the enemy. To me the real crime is these young men and women being asked to fight a war with no clear objective.It just seems to drag on with no clear end.Whatever happened to Real leadership and American intuition. I often wonder what great Generals like Patton,Lee,Grant or Macarther would have thought of this mess that we are in. All I have to say is God bless our service men and women you truly are the cream of the crop of America. Our heart and soul.


Been there   November 19th, 2009 1:47 am ET

You did the right ting, and it's our screwed up burachacy that screws it all up.

Semper Fi


prophet   November 19th, 2009 6:21 am ET

Well first thing first, There is no reason on this planet that those criminals should be called hero's! Would any of you say that ,if it was four of our's that had been captured and then killed that way. I suspect not If you are on the side of right then you can't do wrong!!!! A dog is a dog nomatter what you pretend. All of you that would let them go home as you put it, Need to get a mental and moral exam. I don't care how hard the job may be it does not give you the right to break the laws murder is murder even war have rules. Remeber we helped make them! And I know it may come to you as a shock, but even our's must be held to the same standards. They did wrong and must be punished!!!!!!!


Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan   November 19th, 2009 10:22 am ET

I was a combat Marine in Vietnam who witnessed incidents much akin to what these soldiers have.

War is not a one sided pristine act full of glamor, romanticism, and valor as Hollywood portrays. It is dirty, and it is evil, no matter what side you are on. There are human boundaries that after prolonged time in constant fear, and coupled with a willingness to hate, become blurred. Where guilt and remorse are denied and abandoned, and where empathy becomes apathy. At one time I called it returning to our animal beginnings. And all through 1969 I was one of the best at this, resulting in my greatest sorrow today.

Mr. Hartley and his comrades, one day, will regain their human consciousness and their choices will haunt them deep inside their hearts everyday they continue to live. They were wrong, they allowed themselves to become all that they probably professed they were fighting against. They became part of the evil. The toxic shame will eat them up until they are able to see the realities in their denials and justifications and accept their mistake.

We, as a species, must discover a higher level of consciousness. Because our ideals are different gives us no right to take another life. Because we are taught to hate gives us no right to disregard what is morally human. Vengeance and hate are not justifications to war, and certainly not executions, but are only signs of our weaknesses.

I have no doubt these are good men, who got caught up in their own self righteousness and dysfunctions. But what they have done does not ring of freedom, justice or comradeship, it is murder and is no different than what our enemies have done to our people minus the video tape. If the system is flawed why in the hell must an individual become flawed? Try and change the system.


Ed McClendon   November 19th, 2009 11:12 am ET

The persons killed may very well have gone on in their lives to kill our troops. Or at least try. Or not. But, they were prisoners, not firing at our troops, and they were flat-out murdered. They died not as war causalties of their contry, but as prisoners of our country. The Rules of Engagement were clear in in the minds of our troops, and they intentionally violated them. This is how our enemy acts. This is how Hitler's troops acted. And Saddam's, etc. Our troops are Americans, representing a totally different set of human values. They ignored their military obligations, the law, and their integrity. They are muderers.


nathaniel   November 19th, 2009 11:58 am ET

As a veteran of the Iraq war, I cam sympathize with both sides of this issue. What I can’t sympathize with is the condemnation that people so easily dish out. War is not civilized, no matter what “rules” we try to put on it. The American public allows us to be deployed to foreign nations to kill and be killed, but is somehow shocked when things like this happens. You as a people allow our government to sacrifice us daily while the criminals on capital hill line their pockets with the cash of private contracts. Soldiers have do a lot of horrible things to survive war, let us be careful of trying to judge the situation from the comforts of the couch. We will continue to fight this unjust war because that’s what soldiers do, and you will continue oppose the war in your home and bite your tongue in public unless it is to condemn us. Thanks for nothing.


Gunny Bob   November 19th, 2009 1:23 pm ET

These crimes have beeen going on for 100 years and the military has a double standered with this.The only reason this has happen to these 4 soldiers because command needs to send a message to all our troops to stop doing this.This bye no means is the first time this has happened over there.War is a battle field court judge and jury.Civilians will never understand this .When a soldier fires his weapon for the first time and kills he or she lives with this for the rest of there life .When they close there eyes at night it never goes away but somehow they live with it.And when you see a dead soldier over there that never goes away to.You people that say these horrible things about these soldiers stop right now ad get up and look out your window .They call that freedom and thats what they are killing for and dying for everyday.ONLY FOR YOU .Let them go home to ther families when you take away there honor you take away there life.So dont hate them cry for them because the troops over there cry for you every day.


Adele B   November 19th, 2009 1:38 pm ET

Abuse or murder of prisoners of war is not okay. It is not okay for our enemies, it is not okay for our allies, it is not okay for our own soldiers. We must hold soldiers accountable for their actions, or we will foster a culture in which war crimes are okay.


gunnybob   November 19th, 2009 1:44 pm ET

These crimes have beeen going on for 100 years and the military has a double standered with this.The only reason this has happen to these 4 soldiers because command needs to send a message to all our troops to stop doing this.This bye no means is the first time this has happened over there.War is a battle field court judge and jury.Civilians will never understand this .When a soldier fires his weapon for the first time and kills he or she lives with this for the rest of there life .When they close there eyes at night it never goes away but somehow they live with it.And when you see a dead soldier over there that never goes away to.You people that say these horrible things about these soldiers stop right now ad get up and look out your window .They call that freedom and thats what they are killing for and dying for everyday.ONLY FOR YOU .Let them go home to ther families when you take away there honor you take away there life.So dont hate them cry for them because the troops over there cry for you every day


Sirilda J   November 19th, 2009 3:11 pm ET

I served and retired from the US Army and served my country faithfully and with honor. There are many soldiers who obey the rules, policies and procedures of the US Army and the leaders in whom they serve. As far as I am concerned they are no different than murderers who feel that they are justified in their thinking and do what they want. This is the price and cost of war and because you are angry or don't like the system, doesn't mean that you can act upon your beliefs and don't think that you won't pay the ultimate price for it. If every soldier did what they did, then we wouldn't have any need for a military, we could just become vigilantes. They should have got out of the military and went home.

I think that when we become judge, jury and executioners than we bring not only shame and dishonor to our country, the military but ourselves and making the decision to kill people without due process of law. It is quite possible that these men were innocent, but we will never know will we?

Although, I do understand what it is like to be in Iraq and can imagine what it js like to be under the constant daily pressure of being shot at and facing the possibility of death everyday. But these soldiers swore under oath to obey the constitution of the United States and US Army, and to serve honorably. Although I consider them courageous in their willingness to serve their country, they actions leave something to be desired. If they felt they were justified in their actions, then why try to hide it and cover it up?

Their behavior was cowardly and unbecoming of a military soldier and leader. Also, they displayed a poor and unacceptable example of what a leader should be in front their subordinates. Lastly, I wonder if they would not have gotten caught, would they have taken this to the grave? I honestly felt that they thought they were going to get away with it and only thought of themselves, not their command, unit, or their families. I really wish I could have pity on them, but I can't. I do feel sorry for their families who they have hurt because of their actions.


yolanda   November 19th, 2009 4:02 pm ET

I'm proud of them! they have nothing to hide!


anonymous   November 19th, 2009 4:03 pm ET

Soldiers agree to obey orders and follow procedures. One set of orders that all soldiers must obey has to do with their conduct over prisoners. The reason that orders are given and procedures specified is that in the heat of the moment, soldiers might make bad decisions. So, they aren't allowed to make those decisions–they are to obey orders and follow procedures.

If there were some ambiguity in the orders or procedures, there would be a case that these men were unfairly tried/convicted. But, their fellow soldiers find that they knew the procedures and intentionally did not follow them. Failure to follow orders and procedures in a combat situation will result in severe penalties. Anyone who doesn't like that shouldn't become a soldier.

If the shoe were on the other foot, and American soldiers captured by enemy soldiers who then summarily executed them, you would all be crying out for "justice." We follow the Geneva Convention because that's what we want for our own soldiers. Whatever punishment their fellow soldiers meted out was for the good of the military. This is really, seriously, no one's business other than those military personnel involved. I have no reason to criticize the military for its procedures–they know what they are doing.


Van Wilson   November 19th, 2009 5:32 pm ET

Let these Hero go!!!! The only mistake they made,was not taking care of the job at the location were these criminals was trying to kill are American soldiers at the location were it all started at !!!


Bill Simpson   November 19th, 2009 7:48 pm ET

while this guy is at it why doesn't he just turn and not look at all his brothers and sisters who died right or wrong for him to be free enough to say what happened .right or wrong he has to let with 2 things.Betraying his fellow comrades in arms and the comrades who died for him.You think the enemy would have do the same thing if they 4 of our people right or wrong guilty or innocent ?I DON'T THINK SO


francis   November 19th, 2009 9:21 pm ET

After "shock & awe" I think we killed thousands of innocent people and no one got any jail time, this is a war, when you send kids to a war that they dont undrestand, they are confused, frustrated and scared.
they put their lives on the line every day and this is how we pay them back, shame on us. They need help & support not Jail time.


myron   November 20th, 2009 1:13 am ET

on the face of it what these american soldiers did was wrong. However, one have to be in their shoes at the material time the alleged crime was committed inorder to fully appreciate and comprehend what they did. before making comments:one should ask him herself what he/she would have done if he/she was in their shoes at the time.
otherwise all amercian soldiers who had killed the enemy in the war should be prosecuted likewise. Because I dont see any fairness in all these.


Mark from OKC   November 20th, 2009 10:03 am ET

This is an open and shut criminal case.

It was premeditated and then they attempted to cover it up. Had they known they were doing the right thing, they would not have had to convence people to keep quiet.

An insurgent is a POW once de-armed and taken captive. They are then subject to the Geneva Convention, which US soldiers must follow. They violated this, and in doing so...gave more power to the insurgency.

The insurgency uses are failures as a way to convert many to their cause. They now have a barbaric act they can parade around showing that the American's are not following thier own rules and are going to kill you no matter what. They do the same thing, but they never claim that they don't.

As a soldier, I must follow the ROE and other rules set forth by those appointed over me. Unlawfully violating them is a violation of my oath and my ethics. They violated these rules and their oaths.

They just needed to photograph the cache and turn it in with them. This would have bolstered the case to keep these insurgents locked up and not be released.


A. Smith, Oregon   November 20th, 2009 2:19 pm ET

I hope the News Media reports on the huge double standard that is clearly evident in this case.

Three decorated Ranger Sgts were placed under a military field order that any detainee must have clear evidence found against them and have pending charges within 3 days of their apprehension.

CIA Agents and their private sector contractors have routinely kidnapped individuals in Iraq, and from many other country's around the world, and has detained them for well over 7 years without any supportive evidence found against them and still have NO Charges filed against them.

Decorated Sgt's have 3 days.

CIA Agents and their contractors have over 7 years to uncover clear supportive evidence of criminal offenses.

Now that is a double standard!


Nick Gray   November 20th, 2009 3:49 pm ET

Our enemy uses our lack of resolve against us.
They thrive on the fact that alot of our coutryman
think that what we do is cruel or inhumane in a war.
the fact is ..we are at WAR..that means get in get out.
Hit them as hard as we can and finish the war..
That means we got to kill our enemy..as fast and efficent as we can.
That is the humane way to stop.
"I read where the Afghan fighters said that the Americans are as weak as the Russians...because if "Our enemy had the weapons we had..they would have done used them on us and finished the war."
"Better to kill their sons than mine..lets finish it."
Free the hands of our men ..let them do the job and come home.
GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS


john hardin   November 20th, 2009 10:01 pm ET

If you do the crime- you do the time.
Anyone in the Army for 5 minutes knows you can't execute prisoners, anyone in the Army for a few more minutes knows if you do something like this and it gets out-and it ALWAYS gets out- the Army will make an example of you. 3 NCOs, one of them a 1rst SGT, they knew better. I've seen a lot of comments about these guys being heroes, I agree with that up until the part where they murdered 4 unarmed, zip-cuffed men. And yes I said murdered, not battle field justice, The Army has clear rules about using force. If they shoot at you- shoot back, if there about to shoot at you- shoot first, if they shoot and ditch the weapon, then run away-shoot to kill. If they surrender, any harm that comes to them is your responsibility. I really dont understand how anyone can think shooting an un-armed, tied up man in the back of the head is anything but cold-blooded murder. As an Infantryman deployed to Iraq 3 times, and Desert Storm, I feel pity for these sodier's families, but not a bit for them. Thousands of people just like me have deployed multiple times, had to deal with frustrating rules, a brutal civil war, and constant exposure to IED and small-arms attacks. We lost friends, and saw things we never want to see again. We have been far away from our families for long periods of time, and we have all had to let people go because of a lack of evidence. And theres thousands of us who never commited murder. We did our jobs, and found a way to accomplish the mission with out any illegal killings. These guys arent special, they were under the same stress everybody else was- they knew what they were doing, they knew it was wrong. And they pulled the trigger anyway.


john hardin   November 20th, 2009 10:24 pm ET

Part 2.
As I was saying, they pulled the trigger. Every NCO has two basic responsiblities; mission accomplishment and troop welfare.It ids understood within the Army that if forced to choose between the two, mission accomplishment comes first. Everybody wants to come home, but do we really go to war just to survive it? I don't think so, we go there to accomplish the mission. These three NCO's may have lost sight of the big picture-I'm not judging, it could happen to anyone, I know it happened to me several times- and let the mission become making it out alive. But killing four prisoners can undermine, or completely destroy, everything you have been working so hard to do for months. Anybody remember Abu Grahib? I won't bore you with strategies concerning counter-insurgent warfare, suffice it to say the ONLY way to win is to get the locals to support you. You can't 'kill em all' because everytime you kill someone, you make a new insurgent. Whether or not he deserved it doesn't matter if the people know you murdered 4 detainees. To them, every insurgent you kill from there on out was probably a detainee- and most likely innocent. You lose all crediability.


loveliam   November 21st, 2009 7:54 pm ET

This makes me so angry. There is no murder "All is fair in Love and War" – Why don't we just give up now -f it, they can torture, behead everyone the want, America's PC has no place in WAR.
We should send all of our elected officials over there (along with any other jack ass who bows to foreigns leaders) maybe if a few of them or their family members are beheaded, all of this bs will stop.

What have we allowed to be done to our country? Our forefathers are rolling in their graves. Maybe our president and Congress, House of Representatives should read the Federalist Papers- assuming they remember our country has a constitution.. Where's John Marshall when you need him? Guess our Supreme Court no longer remembers it either....


Justin   November 21st, 2009 8:22 pm ET

I'm a soldier and I've seen this system the army has....... let them free


HyeAghcheg   November 21st, 2009 9:28 pm ET

It is a disgrace that our government has imprisoned these soldiers! These men are heroes, not killers. Many people wonder why these two wars have lasted so long, well here's your answer. Our soldiers have been trained to fight and they're the best in the world. It's a pity our government doesn't allow them to do their job. War is ugly and perhaps our government should think twice before entering into conflicts. Once we send our soldiers to fight, however, they should be allowed to take care of biz.

Our enemies are not following any semblance of law and order, when fighting our men and women in uniform. The cowards won't even reveal themselves as foes. They disguise themselves as police and military, fighting alongside us, yet they betray us at every turn. These rules of combat are ridiculous...an innocent civilian wouldn't be found in a location, with weapons to be used against us. If you're found where you shouldn't be, our soldiers should be allowed to take them out. One dead enemy equals fewer dead U.S. soldiers.

The politicians in Washington need to stop trying to run the war, when they're not on the front lines, facing the enemy. Why should our soldiers be forced to follow nonsense methods of battle, when the enemy is not fighting fair? I say, let our soldiers loose to battle the enemy, win and come home!


HyeAghcheg   November 21st, 2009 9:35 pm ET

President Obama should pardon all three men and send them home to their families. That will never happen, of course, but that would be the right thing to do. It's a pity our government go after our enemies, like they do our own. The 9/11 terrorists will probably get treated better than what these soldiers have endured. Should this encourage enlistment in our military?


w. walter   November 21st, 2009 9:37 pm ET

I am a retired First Sergeant and now a Police Sergeant, I am infuriated that the U.S. Army would establish such a counter productive policy in requiring soldiers to collect and persent evidence in order for the detention of enemy combatants....Oh and your statement as a U.S. soldier doesn't count!

Clearly these sergeants violated the rules of war and deserved to be tried in a military court, but the outcome appears to wrong. It appears (the show does not present all the facts) that the First Sergeant felt he had to kill the detainees to protect his soldiers lives the next day and then the next etc. It also appears that the Army's policies actually supported his beliefs. If the facts are as CNN presented them, I think finding them guilty and then sentencing them to long prison terms is an injustice.

If you had three people who hated your family and the first attempted to kill your son and then was let go for lack of evidence, and then the second attempts to kill your wife and is let go for lack of evidence, then the third one you actually witness trying to kill your daughter and they fail but the justice system would not accept your first hand testimony because you're a "family member", how far would you go to protect your family from future attempts by these people on your family's lives???

Folks, soldiers fight wars, police officers protect society from criminals, the two are not the same. The laws of war are not the same as those provided by the U.S. Constitution, not should enemy combatants be provided these same rights.

If the U.S. government wants to prosecute a war(s) using U.S. criminal law as the standard, then bring all the troops home and ask U.S. Lawenforcemnt for volunteers at soldier's pay to go "police" Iraq and Afghanistan.......don't hold your breath for volunteers though.


Luis Nazario   November 22nd, 2009 7:23 am ET

After watching your report, we should start bringing home our women and men of the military, back home to their love one's. Right now, it has created to many P.O.W.s; our troops, their families and our fellow Americans. We are a great nation, but there's so much we can do.

Nam Vet


Frank Benson   November 22nd, 2009 1:42 pm ET

I am absolutely appalled at the number of Americans who can call these renegade soldiers "heroes" and then suggest that they be immediately released. What kind of message would that send to other more honorable soldiers? I am also surprised at the number of women respondents who are so willing to overlook the barbaric acts of murder of innocent civilians caught up in a military action. I suspect that is someone killed members of their family without cause they'd be the first in line to lynch them. Let's stop seeing everything in terms of black and white, you're either with me or against me and if you're anywhere in a war zone, you are a potential enemy and can be justifiably murdered. War can bring out the worst and the best in us. Let's recognize and reward those who act honorably and punnish those who don't. Wearing a uniform and calling yourself a soldier does not justify murder...period.


Pamela   November 22nd, 2009 6:24 pm ET

I think this is ridiculous. The Military is going after the wrong people. They went after 3 lower ranking officers instead of blaming the people up the "military ranking ladder". America is the ONLY country who does not hold higher ranking officials accountable. It has been proven that all of these soldiers had PTSD and were not on any medication for it. It has also been proven that the investigators used REID TECHNIQUES. Yes, there is "murder" but the punishment is severely too harsh. Look at all of the facts.


Janice   November 22nd, 2009 6:41 pm ET

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS GOV! LOOK WHAT THEY DONE TO OUR MEN!THIS COUNTRY IS GOING TO HELL IN A HAND BASKET! HOW DARE THEY CHARGE THEM FOR ANYTHING ,THE WAY OUR SOILDERS BEEN HUNG,DRAGGER DOWN THE STREETS OVER THER.THEY TOOK NO MERCY ON THEM! THIS IS A SAD ,SAD WHEN YOUR COUNTRY TURNS ON OUR PEOPLE IS SEVERING IN A WAR &TRYING TO STAYING ALIVE THERE SELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Michael   November 22nd, 2009 6:47 pm ET

I'm Sorry but i cant understand what the hell people expect from us we are out the fighting in a war zone where we cant tell who is who until there firing at us first everyday we see or hear about our buddy's dieing or being injured coming back disfigured what do you expect them to do its beyond frustrating to go threw all that. I support those troops and hope for an early release, by doing what they did they probably saved 20 or more troops god bless them.


Dana S. Mckeithan   November 22nd, 2009 8:16 pm ET

If we are not going to abide by rules why have them. How many more of these detainees have they killed. It appears knowingly taking a human life by shooting someone in the back of the head is to be commended. Then why keep it a secret. The young man that reported it , is also guilty and should have served time, he was there, he participated and he got his revenged on a fellow soldier that's what happens when you have these clicks. We will see more of this and the army will loose it 's credibility. Where is the honor in that. band of brothers, seems that has happened right here at home. They are called gangs. I pray for our country and how we look at things. After while we will be turning on each other. So sad. Please pray for their children. Uncle Sam needs you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Norma   November 22nd, 2009 8:32 pm ET

I do not know where CNN got these tapes, but I think it is terrible that they are airing them on national television.

We are at war & the soldiers need to do whatever is necessary to protect themselves & our country. They certainly have no mercy on the US soldiers that they kill & maime.

The fact that one of the '13' broke the silence is atrocious! He should be very, very ashamed that he turned on his own brotherhood!!!!! I think he will live to regret his actions. In my opinion, he is nothing less than a 'traitor'.

I believe the President of the United States should give these men a full pardon!


Dean Mackey   November 22nd, 2009 8:58 pm ET

This is the only way we are going to win the war on terror Is to do just what these Men have done ! then just let them terrorist go after they were talked to whats up with that ? so they go and kill again That is just stupid ! we will never win any war that way What is wrong with this country and all the rules? Hell lets just stay home then if the US Army wont stand up and do whats right then why should our boys be killed everyday for stupidity of the rules They are all killers there they dont like us ! Does anyone listen to old war stories the real guys that had to kill or be killed what happen to that ? everything is so backwards today ! What happen to the country I grew up in when i was young ??? I pray every day and hope things are turned around in this country or we will all die from our stupid rules !


robin   November 22nd, 2009 9:45 pm ET

These men should be pardoned. I am surprised that there aren't more cases like these that are waiting to happen or have already happened. US troops have killed prisoners in World War 2 and Vietnam. Read history to learn what happened to German prisoners in the Airborne Assault on D-DAY. They were told not to take prisoners. Read about the submarine captain who ordered surviving Japanese soldiers killed because the danger was that if they were rescued they could have possibly gone on to kill other Americans. This is such hypocrisy. Why aren't the fellow soldiers in the all the Band of Brothers sticking up for these heroes who are now in Leavenworth? Give them all amnesty and bring the troops home.


Adam   November 22nd, 2009 11:31 pm ET

Just saw the story on CNN tonight. What is the difference of what these guys did compared with either sniper teams setting up and taking out insurgents planting an IED or an Apache smoking our dear pajama clad friends setting up an ambush for the troops? There is none, other than the fact of them being taken alive first. Based on what aired, Cunningham is just a little traitor who was getting in trouble, so he decided to be a good little girl, and bring up the past. So what they killed four Iraqis. Big deal. Mark it down as collateral damage. Thats four less guys that our troops over there have to worry about when they are patrolling that s-hole of a country. Sorry America, the truth hurts. Your not over there, so don't judge the morality of anyone's actions over there. Soldiers and Marines complete their mission, regardless of any circumstances. I'd like Ms. Boudreau's email address so I can thank her for posing tough questions to the General.

Infantry Vet
OEF 06-07
OIF 07-09


rb   November 22nd, 2009 11:51 pm ET

Great report, Abbie. Keep up the good work.


b1toma   November 23rd, 2009 12:28 am ET

SAME OLD STORY. THE U.S. GOVT SUPPORTS EVERYBODY BUT AMERICANS. REMEMBER THE BORDER GUARDS WHO WERE SENT TO PRISON FOR WOUNDING A MEXICAN DOPE DEALER, AND THEN PAYING THE DOPER $1M ? HOW ABOUT THE $54B THEY SPENT ON IRAQ'S INFRASTRUCTURE WHILE OUR ROADS AND BRIDGES CRUMBLE AND THE BILLIONS THEY GIVE FOREIGN CITIZENS AND CORPORATIONS TO START ANEW IN THE U.S. ? WARTIME RATIONALE IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING WE EXPERIENCE IN THIS COUNTRY.THE GOVT SHOULD HAVE LEARNED THAT IN VIET NAM, BUT THEY DIDN'T. THESE HORRIFIC ACTS HAPPEN IN WAR ON ALL SIDES.I GUESS SAWING-OFF INNOCENT AMERICAN HEADS IS ACCEPTABLE. I CAN'T AND WON'T FAULT THESE SOLDIERS FOR THEIR ACTIONS. THEY WERE JUST OUTTED BY A RAT WHO NSHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT IN THAT CANAL.


Shepp   November 23rd, 2009 3:00 am ET

Murder...execution..this is NOT what The United States of America that I belive in stands for or would ever tolerate. Yes it has happened..yes it has been ordered under combat situations before..it has also been prosecuted as war crimes.This is a blatant dissregard for the rule of law and basic Human decency. War is hell a grunt should not become the Devil's advocate.It is a crime.


Dave   November 23rd, 2009 1:57 pm ET

I am outraged at the fact that in a “War Scenario” these men could be charged with murder of identified enemy forces. In my mind, only unarmed women and children can be considered innocent bystanders. Doesn’t everyone realize had these men not been stopped they would have certainly killed other American soldiers. This is all out war, not a policing effort, where one applies “civilian rules.”

Dave


greg   November 23rd, 2009 2:30 pm ET

I can't believe what I watched when these poor guys are doing 3 tours over there fighting animals who blow up there own people. Our Goverment is an absolute joke for letting this happen. To make them prove that they are quilty by bringing weapons,bombs,etc to hold them in jail is unbelievable. It is time to bring the troops back if this is what they have to worry about. All the Liberals can then worry when
things start blowing up here, because we can't do what we have to.


tjdooley   November 23rd, 2009 6:10 pm ET

I think the news woman should be put up on charges! Are we in a WAR!!! As a former US Marine, combat vet , Viet Nam, These terrorists
who were trying to kill them, were tracked down and caught. They were cowards. They are the same people who killed people that never did anything to them on 9/11.Remember???? Let's send that
poor excuse for a American, news woman to the War for a month. I hope We wake up, and let those warriors go.


Cherie   November 24th, 2009 3:47 pm ET

First in yesterday's tapes one of the wives were asked "Did you think your husband was capable of something like this" The wife answered "no". I am ex-military, my husband is still in and he has been deployed to Iraq. I don't believe my husband to be a murderer, but capable of killing under a type of circumstances, absolutely. The job of a soldier no matter what is to kill. You can be a paper pusher or in the Army band, you are taught how to use a weapon with excellent accuracy and if you are not capable of killing than the military is not the place for you or your family. We are soldiers first and foremost, and a soldier's job is to protect by any means necessary. I am not naive enough to believe that the situation at the canal is a random incident. Would I be okay with it if it were my husband? Not likely. Do I understand it? Not completely. Today I watched the new investigative requirements behind the motives for the soldiers doing what they did. How do I feel about it now? I understand now. Did they do the right thing? Giving the position they are in-absolutely! Should my husband be in the same situation ever in the future, would I believe him to be capable of this-yes? I also feel many other soldiers would as well. Is it okay, well i would rather them be dead than my husband, so if my husband was going to survive because those four men died, absolutely. All the protest from non war supporters is understandable and the disgust over the killings is understandable also, but if their family member was killed by one of those men after they were released from a detainee camp, you would angry for having let them go. The young man who broke the silence and came forward did do the right thing because now the world is aware of the position our soldiers are put it in. The men responsible for the actual killings should understand that the soldier who came forward is actually helping them so that the world understands what is happening and the troubles they face. Should there be reprecussions for what they did? Yes, but premedidated murder? No.


Average American   November 25th, 2009 2:10 pm ET

I'm disgusted by some of the comments coming from apologists on this blog, making excuses for the actions of these men: it's clear the men from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment murdered those four Iraqi detainees. This isn't about who the Iraqi men were, it's about who we are: American's. Murdering men, execution-style, alongside a road in a ditch, is not the American way. In that instant the men of Alpha Company became no better than the Al Qaeda jihadi murderers we've seen committing atrocities in so many internet videos. They became the evil we deplore. Those who defend the actions of these men likely don't see anything wrong with the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, either. The men of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, stopped being solders that day in 2007 and became criminals. If you don't agree with the rules of war, then don't fight. Alpha Company has brought shame on themselves, the armed services, and to the United States of America.


Jwoolf   November 25th, 2009 2:56 pm ET

Great reporting Abbie! Having been a photojournalist in some of the United States worst neighborhoods, I have seen your men get off for murder, within months they two are back on the streets, sometimes killing again.. These are the men that should be locked up forever.

It is nearly insane to me to think that decorated US Soldiers are now locked up because the rules of war pushed them to the age. The amount of sacrifice and pressure these men make no one really understands. Is what happened Right, No? But does their punishment fit their crime? I do not think so. I understand rules of war, but I am not sure we should be questioning men fighting day to day on the streets in another country. I am sure soliders have fired out of fear, have killed innocent lives, and were never punished for it. Because these men can say they were defending themselves.

But who is to say that these men weren't simply defending themselves in a different way. They said they did not have enough evidence against the men but they thought they were the same men who had fired upon them. What if they had let them go and the next day they had killed one of the US Soldiers? The tables would now be turned - and I have no doubt in my mind that the US Army would find and kill whomever they thought killed their comrade.

They should be discharged from the military – thanked for their service – released from prision and allowed to spend their life working as citizens in the USA. This country believes in second chances for many of its worst criminals, I have seen it and reported on it, and those people were thugs living in the streets.

Once again, great reporting Abbie


James McEleny   November 25th, 2009 3:12 pm ET

Excellent report.
How wonderful that we have the luxury of debating the merits of this action by these heros/killers (choose your side) over coffee or drinks. Of course this freedom of debate is brought to us courtesy of our nation's many brave solders. Solders much like those who, at this very minute are conducting patrols in the mine and ambush laden areas of Iraq and Afghanistan. But uniquely now, now that there are these absurd rules, these men and women face the same dilemma the solders featured in the report faced.

The cowardice and plain stupidity of our military leaders and our congress to have put these brave Americans in this situation is despicable! Do any generals have the courage to risk rank and pension to threaten to resign unless these rules are changed?


Robert Gardner   November 25th, 2009 3:52 pm ET

This was a Great article, but i must say these three men are being made into SCAPEGOATS. The individual that came forward was only protecting his BUTT. I served in the MARINE CORPS from 1960 to 1964, and all the training was very simple KILL or BE KILLED. These men and there familes are paying unjustly.They need to be pardoned completely. The President should pardon these men and let them return to their families.
THANK YOU.


Lisa   November 27th, 2009 12:27 pm ET

The issue at hand is about going rouge and disobeying orders.


Otto   November 27th, 2009 12:28 pm ET

When I was in the military, I never shared a secret. When someone tried to tell me something about his activities, I would ask them to leave me out of it as there is always some slimy, backstabbing rat such as Sergeant Cunningham, who will throw his comrades to the dogs. The same goes in civilian life. Even loved ones will try to seek notoriety by being a soil selling, slimy rat.


US Army SGT   November 27th, 2009 12:37 pm ET

I feel that what happens in our United States Military household, should stay in our US Military household. I know that the public eye wants to see whats going on, but certain situation should not be so public. I have seen some broadcast of this incident and I realize that the media enhances peoples emotional view, both in a positive and unfortunately in a negative way towards certain news that are being broadcasted. With this Report "killings at the canal", way does our media do this? Because of ratings? These US Soldiers lives have been under alot stress, mentally, physically, & emotionally. I personally am not going to post my view for on the actions of these Soldiers, Men, Fathers, Sons, Husbands, of our "Great US of A". I pray that these Soldiers stay strong in all aspects and keep their faith in God! War is never a nice thing. Please Support all of Military Troops!


kabscorner   November 27th, 2009 12:55 pm ET

I'm a retired military man (E-9) and proudly served in Viet Nam for over three years. However, in reading many of the posts supporting these killers makes me almost ashamed to be an American. This incident was cold blooded killing no matter how you try to slice it.

The entire matter reminds me of the My Lai massacre in Viet Nam when our troops, under Lt. William Calley, murdered between 300 and 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men. There were no weapons found in the village and not a single shot was fired on our troops that day and yet our soldiers just went on a killing rampage. This story was also covered up for over three years and the majority of our citizens came to the defense of these murderers just as they appear to be doing now. Lt Calley was the only person found guilty in a Courts Martial and he served only a couple of years of confinement in his quarters before being pardoned by President Nixon. Excusing cold blooded murder doesn't say much for the morals of a Christian nation.

Follow the trail of this case and I'm positive that we will find that there were many more such incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Recommend that CNN contact California's U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter for his knowledge of this sort of behavior. He is on record of personally seeing our troops kill detainees instead of capturing and confining them, as well as seeing them kill detainees who have been ordered released. I submit that killing detainees is much more serious than torturing them.


Mike   November 27th, 2009 1:21 pm ET

I am Ashamed of this country for what it is doing to these three soldiers. They are being treated like the animals that left their post and raped and killed the family in Iraq a few years ago. These are two entirely different situations and should be treated differently. They made a combat decision that likely saved the lives of fellow soldiers and civilians. Civilians have been dying because the enemy engages our troops with civilians in the area. If I have followed this story correctly the ones who were eliminated are not from the area and are not missed, that would indicate that the sergeants did not have innocent civilians and that they eliminated the enemy which is their job and what this country has asked them to do. If we are not willing to understand things like this are going to happen then we should not be engaged in WAR. And if anyone is going to be held responsible for these things it should be the ones that put these soldiers into this situation. Which were our leadership and people like me that thought this was a good idea at the time due to our ignorance of how ugly this war would get. Let’s set these men free and give them the honor they have earned.


Lisa   November 27th, 2009 9:21 pm ET

These soldiers took an oath and understood the ROE, the Geneva Convention, Geneva Protocol and Hague Convention.
They went rouge and disobeyed orders.
What if you were responsible for a 1k troops and several decided to create their own orders and jepordize the mission, everyone in it and in essence pretend they were their own NCO.
The issue is disobeying orders and wiping one's feet on the oath that was sworn to be upheld.
The Three, not the Country, did this to themselves.


kgbrenda   November 29th, 2009 6:14 am ET

Sad sad story all round.

Cannot imagine what it would be like being in a war zone but I strongly feel these guys have been hung out to dry.

Killing people sucks regardless of the so called laws pertaining to warfare but they have been conditioned to follow a completely different set of rules over there for their own protection.
Killing another human being is not a normal everyday act and yet after these men have done this time and again in situations that arn't normal we expect them to recognise & respect common law. Sad all round.


Adrian Novicio   November 29th, 2009 6:22 am ET

if i understand it correctly, i think those soldiers did what they have to do to survive. just imagine their frustration in defeating the threat to their country and themselves that pushed them to do what is appropriate in those conditions. these are men with conviction and they have all my respect. they knew what they had to do when they had to do it at those times when the system is not in favor of them, not in favor of what's really happening that is a threat to the survival of their unit, for their families and countrymen. what has to be done isn't always written for one to follow and that's what they did... what has to be done.


lambs   November 30th, 2009 1:35 pm ET

Free The Soldiers !!!!!


H.A.Deats IV   December 3rd, 2009 3:41 pm ET

This entire comment column shows the new culture and traditions of the American people. It proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the American constitution and bill of rights is unwanted .
It's glaringly true that those of us that did get to enjoy the America of the past,; are indeed fortunate. The nation of men, not laws is doomed to destruction. The masses that approve of g dubya bush ( and his daddy) attacking and mass murdering when and where they choose is unthinkable to rational people. Iraq, nor Afganistan never attacked America. All well read and well informed Americans have now seen the photos of both bush presidents arm in arm with Bin Ladin at the board of director's meetings at UNICAL OIL. Every American over the age of 50 knows that another REPUBLICAN president; ronnie reagan, handed Bin Ladin the war machines to defeat the russian army with. These same munitions have been used to kill young americans by the bushel.
Why is it, that americans want america to be governed by a military junta, or a elected mass murderer ? When did the American people change the concept of COMMANDER IN CHIEF ? Todays american public clamors for our president to do exactly like the military tells him to do. Whats wrong with this picture ? It began with the election of a DEMOCRAT commander in chief.
I was born on the anniversity of D-DAY but, in 1949. During my lifetime, America has bombed 24 nations, and not one nation, nor one army, has bombed America. America has only met with hostile action as American military was somewhere except in America. Is it weird that so many nations do not have there problems because they do not butt into others business ?
Perhaps we need to put the constitution in the garbage can and be proud of the millions of casualties that the 2 bush presidents (and reagan) have made possible. The persian gulf war was about japan's oil supplies was in danger. Daddy bush favorite nation. (America imported 3 % of its oil from the region at that time) REPUBLICAN presidents draw " in the interest of our national security" like roy rogers drew his pistol, so many times that no one can keep an accurate count.
I am a disabled American veteran, and a registered voter. I dont go along with the bully concept, nor do i enjoy hearing a American combat brigade commander say that he hates the system where the commanders want war to continue because they need their ticket punched in hostile fire zones, to advance their carreers.
g dubya bush sent less troops to Afganistan than New York City has cops. This was to ensure that a Bin Ladin family member will not be harmed. The bush gang is true to their best friends. The smoke screen for the American people was fun for g dubya. I dont think General Swartzkoff would work for bush. bush lied and lied and 4500 americans lie in their grave for what ?
Now that the elected American president is actually going after the 911 murderers, America is out to hang him because he is black and it makes Americans sick that bush is looking like the bum that bush was.
The American people condoned torture under the bush regime, detained POW's with no trials , ever. Not one reader that proclaims to be pro- military, or right wing, or conservative, will ask General Swartzkoff or Senator Jokn McCain ; for their opinion of waterboarding.
No matter where Americans are stationed or where Americans are visiting, or where Americans are living, Americans will commit crimes. Americans are raised to understand that little consequences will come their way for their actions and the lawyers elected to enact laws that will enrich lawyers will be the way of life for every ameican. Americans hate the thought of not being able to pay their way out of penalties for their crimes.
The Americans that commited crimes at the canal are indeed educated by the American culture and traditions that are America today. I personally do not take issue with it. The militart court martial is over and the sentence is being served. Had it happened in America, the guys would probably be out on bail to commit more crimes


Lisa   December 4th, 2009 3:02 am ET

Why does everyone not understand the reality of this matter that these soldiers took an oath and swore to uphold the ROE, the Geneva Convention, Geneva Protocol and Hague Convention.
They went rouge and disobeyed orders.
What if you were responsible for a thousand troops and several decided to create their own orders and jepordize the mission, everyone in it and in essence pretend they were their own NCO.
The issue is disobeying orders and wiping one's feet on the oath that was sworn to be upheld.
The Three, not the Country, did this to themselves.
Seemingly almost everyone thinks all soldiers are an army of one and are their own NCO. I am disgusted by some of the drival in this thread


Tiffany   December 16th, 2009 8:18 pm ET

During the Holidays one thinks about family, relatives and those in need. Nothing comes to mind to me more than the American Heroes that are in prison for crimes against a corrupt government system. God Bless First Sgt. John Hatley, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Mayo and Sgt. Michael Leahy. They are heroes against an evil enemy! I commend your executive decision, your bravery and your honor for your country and your God! Even the Bible backs you up: "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you." John 15:18.


carrie l. cook   December 16th, 2009 11:58 pm ET

man who spend 28 years inprison for nothing, and was set free. I would like to meet the people who work on there case. My son been in prison from 7 years. And he is inessence. I will leave his website, so you can show it to as many people as you can please! http://www.jamesgrant.net/Willis I need there help! THANK YOU


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