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Two Kidnapped U.S. Soldiers Tortured, Killed

Posted on Jun 20, 2006
Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker,

Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., left, and Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston.

The new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al Muhajer, claimed responsibility for the killings, dealing a setback to U.S. efforts to seize momentum against Al Qaeda in the wake of killing Muhajer’s predecessor, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Meanwhile, violence continued unabated in Iraq, with at least 18 people killed in attacks nationwide.


The U.S. military recovered the bodies Tuesday of two missing soldiers from an area it said was rigged with explosives. An Iraqi official said the Americans were tortured and killed in a “barbaric” way.

An insurgent group claimed the new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq executed the men personally, but it offered no evidence. The U.S. military did not confirm whether the soldiers died from wounds suffered in an attack Friday or were kidnapped and later killed.

The discovery of the bodies dealt a new setback to U.S. efforts to seize the momentum against al-Qaida in Iraq after killing its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in a June 7 airstrike. Violence was unabated Tuesday, with at least 18 people killed in attacks nationwide, including a suicide bombing of a home for the elderly in the southern city of Basra.



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By Colter, July 1, 2006 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In case you were wondering why the troops might have been targeted, here is one possibility.  Note how they are from the same platoon as the two soldiers.

GIs May Have Planned Iraq Rape, Slayings

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Jul 1, 6:54 AM (ET)


(AP) U.S. Army soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment conduct a routine patrol in…
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BEIJI, Iraq (AP) - Investigators believe a group of U.S. soldiers suspected of raping an Iraqi woman, then killing her and three members of her family plotted the attack for nearly a week, a U.S. military official said Saturday.

Up to five soldiers are being investigated in the March killings, the fifth pending case involving alleged slayings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops.

The Americans entered the Sunni Arab’s family home, separated three males from the woman, raped her and burned her body using a flammable liquid in a cover-up attempt, a military official close to the investigation said. The three males were also slain.

The soldiers had studied their victims for about a week and the attack was “totally premeditated,” the official said on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. The family had just moved into the home in the insurgent-riddled area around Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad.

The U.S. military issued a terse statement about the killings Friday, saying only that Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged slaying of a family of four in Mahmoudiya.

U.S. officials said they knew of the deaths but thought the victims were killed in sectarian violence. But Mahmoudiya police Capt. Ihsan Abdul-Rahman said Iraqi officials received a report on March 13 alleging that American soldiers had killed the family in the Khasir Abyad area, about 6 miles north of Mahmoudiya.

There were some discrepancies over how many soldiers were being investigated. The U.S. military official said it was at least four. Two other U.S. officials said Friday that five were under investigation but one already had been discharged for unspecified charges unrelated to the killings and was believed to be in the United States.

The four still in the Army have had their weapons taken away and were confined to a U.S. base near Mahmoudiya, officials said. If convicted of premeditated murder, the soldiers could receive a death sentence under U.S. military law.

The suspects were from the 502nd Infantry Regiment and belonged to the same platoon as two soldiers kidnapped and killed south of Baghdad this month, another official close to the investigation said Friday. The soldiers’ mutilated bodies were found June 19, three days after they were abducted by insurgents near Youssifiyah southwest of Baghdad.

The military has said one and possibly both of the slain soldiers were tortured and beheaded. The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one member of the platoon to reveal the rape-slaying on June 22.

One soldier was arrested after admitting his role in the alleged attack on the family, the official said on condition of anonymity because the case was under way. The official said the rape and killings appeared to have been a “crime of opportunity,” noting that the soldiers had not been attacked by insurgents but had noticed the woman on previous patrols.

One of the family members they allegedly killed was a child, said a senior Army official who also requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. The senior official said the alleged incident was first revealed by a soldier during a routine counseling-type session. The official said that soldier did not witness the incident but heard about it.

A second soldier, who also was not involved, said he overhead soldiers conspiring to commit the crimes and then later saw bloodstains on their clothes, the official said.

The allegations of rape could generate a particularly strong backlash in Iraq, a conservative, strongly religious society in which many women will not even shake hands with men who are not close relatives.

The case is among the most serious against U.S. soldiers allegedly involved in the deaths of Iraqi civilians. At least 14 U.S. troops have been convicted.

Last week, seven Marines and one Navy medic were charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of an Iraqi man near Fallujah west of Baghdad.

U.S. officials are also investigating allegations that U.S. Marines killed two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians Nov. 19 in the western town of Haditha in a revenge attack after a fellow Marine died in a roadside bombing.

Other cases involve the deaths of three male detainees in Salahuddin province in May, the shooting death of an unarmed Iraqi man near Ramadi in February and the death of an Iraqi soldier after an interrogation at a detention camp in Qaim in 2003.

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By ed, June 22, 2006 at 8:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Apparently Joe Sullivan (see above) has more allegiance with Bush and the interests of his corporate friends at Halliburton (who are making billions in profits from the war), the defense industries, and Big Oil than OUR SOLDIERS!  Wake up Joe, the soldiers don’t want to be there. My best friend is there right now and writes to be about how the soldiers are disillusioned, scared, and want to be home safe.  SUPPORT OUR TROOPS means bringing them home now not keeping them in a dangerous situation that has nothing to do with our freedom here at home (in fact we have more enemies today than we did before we went into Iraq.  Pro-Bush means anti-Troop and anti-American. So where do your loyalties lay Joe?  Bush has betrayed the soldiers by sending them into a meaningless war.  If you believe that we went there to bring freedom to Iraqis you gotta wake up.  If our government cared about oppressed people we would have stopped the genocide in Rwanda and all the other African countries that are run by ruthless dictators.

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By Joe Sullivan, June 21, 2006 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No one posting here has any sense of loyalty to this country.  These are our soldiers who were tortured.  I am absolutely outraged that these men were tortured and it makes me want to strap my boots back on.
  Contrary to your beliefs there are things worth fighting for.  The rights of those that are less fortunate than you is one of them.
  I can’t believe that anyone can have anything to say but how outraged they are.

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By R. A. Earl, June 20, 2006 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

... and now the US will find and kill more “insurgents”... and then “insurgents” will find and kill more soldiers… and then the US will find and kill more “insurgents”... and then “insurgents” will find and kill more soldiers… and then… and then…

Get used to it. Nothing’s changed since one group of cave"men” decided to raid another group of cave"men”. Nothing. Not even the excuses and justifications and lies.

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By Mother of US Special Forces Soldier, June 20, 2006 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You Generals are REPEATING VIETNAM all over again.

How many more are YOU willing to get killed becuase YOU won’t tell the truth?

Don’t YOU have any form of morals or ethics?  Don’t YOU care?  Why are YOUR stars more important than LIVES?  Why?  The money? How many more LIES must YOU tell?  Do YOU realize how YOU look to the American people?

YOU are GUILTY of all of the above!

Westmoreland went DOWN in the publics eyes as the INCOMPENTENT KILLER and LIAR of Vietnam!  You “have” joined HIM!

Mother of US Special Forces Soldier

Speak UP tell ENRON BUSH YOU need thousands and thousands MORE BOOTS!

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