Peggy Buryj was told in 2004 that her son Jesse died near Karbala, Iraq, sustaining a back injury while heroically defending an Army checkpoint. She would later learn that he was shot in the back. While the Army, which has destroyed important evidence related to the case, insists a Polish soldier fired the shot, a friend of Jesse’s who served with him told his mother an American soldier was to blame.
Editor and Publisher:
For the past five weeks, in this column, I have spotlighted the misreporting of American deaths in Iraq and among veterans of that war here at home. Over and over, the press—and parents and spouses—have been lied to about how young Americans in the military have died. Now another case, this one involving Jesse Buryj, a soldier from Canton, Ohio, who (it turns out) died in a friendly fire incident—shot in the back—has gained some attention.
The U.S. military has tried to blame Polish soldiers for his death, but a soldier who served with Buryi told his parents an American G.I. was actually at fault. Buryj’s father was so shaken by the alleged cover-up that he came to question whether the body they buried was even their son’s.
The Associated Press had announced the death of the soldier back in [May] 2004, asserting that he had died “while heroically trying to stop an attack on an Army checkpoint.” Of course, they are at the mercy of the military for any information.
“Jesse Buryj, 21, of Canton, fired more than 400 rounds at a dump truck trying to crash the checkpoint near Karbala,” AP related. “He shot the driver of the truck, which then crashed into the Humvee in which he was riding, an Army sergeant told his mother, Peggy Buryj ... .”
The official U.S. casualty report said that Buryj had died of “a back injury” caused by “hostile enemy activity.” Actually,
the dump truck was filled with dirt or sand, not explosives, and was driven by civilians who had no weapons.
... Yet even after his mother learned of the shot in the back, the lies continued.
[This week] Josh White in the Washington Post reported that U.S. Army officials destroyed critical evidence that could have determined who shot and killed Buryj, “one of several problems with the friendly-fire inquiry that may permanently shroud Buryj’s death in mystery, according to an Army inspector general’s review.”
Spc. Jesse Ryan Buryj was killed by friendly fire in May 2004 near Karbala, Iraq.