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Iraq Veterans Against the War - Rules of Engagement





 



Garett Reppenhagen

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:27:48 +0000

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Logan Laituri

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:27:33 +0000

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Jon Turner

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:27:27 +0000

Jon Turner went to Iraq with an Arabic phrase tattooed on his wrist. It says ‘fuck you.’ “I got that because it was my choking hand. Anytime I felt the need to take out aggression, I would go ahead and use it.” But in his video testimony, and through the use of video and photographs from his tour, Turner recounts the mistakes that he made. That everybody in Iraq made. “On April 18, 2006, I had my first confirmed kill. This man was innocent,” he says. In case of such mistakes, the company carried Iraqi weapons to drop, Turner recalls. They instigated fights and sprayed bullets like sugar. “I just want to say that I’m sorry for the hate and destruction that I’ve inflicted on innocent people…” Turner says. “I am no longer the monster that I once was.”

Editors Note: Audio has been corrected

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Jason Lemieux

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:27:20 +0000

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In Iraq, the rules of engagement are being loosely defined and broadly enforced at the expense of the Iraqi people, says Jason Lemieux. "Anyone who tells you different is either a liar or a fool." When he got to Baghdad, he says he was explicitly instructed by his commanders that he could shoot anyone who made him uncomfortable and refused to move when he ordered them to do so. "Better them than us," was the prevailing philosophy, he says, and everyone on the street was considered an enemy combatant who could be killed.

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Jason Washburn

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:27:11 +0000

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Jason Washburn’s unit was told to shoot anyone digging near the side of the road because they might be planting a bomb. They carried spare weapons and shovels in their vehicles. If they killed an innocent Iraqi, they could throw a shovel on the corpse and say the person had been digging. At one point, Washburn’s commander called the unit together to praise Marines for accurate shooting, his pride apparently undiminished by the fact that the victim was not an insurgent but the local mayor.

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Sergio Kochergin

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:27:05 +0000

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As the casualties grew in Sergio Kochergin's platoon, the rules of engagement eroded. After seeing their friends blown up, "We were angry," he says, "we just wanted to do our job and come back." At one point, that meant that an Iraqi carrying a heavy bag and a shovel was at risk of being shot. Within months, Kochergin says that the rules of engagement were left entirely up to he and his fellow soldiers. "I want to apologize to all the people in Iraq," says a shaken Kochergin.

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Vincent Emanuele

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:26:58 +0000

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Marine Corps Rifleman Vincent Emanuele was deployed to an Iraqi village, near the border with Syria, in August 2004. During his eight months there, he witnessed and participated in: the aimless shooting at Iraqi vehicles; the random firing of rifles and mortars into the village rather than at specific targets; the physical abuse of Iraqi prisoners and the driving of prisoners out into the desert where they were abandoned; and the disrespectful handling of the Iraqi dead. And in his testimony, Rifleman Vincent Emanuel repeatedly said: “These were not isolated incidents.”

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Jason Hurd

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:26:51 +0000

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Jason Hurd, a self-described Tennessee mountain man, spent ten years in the Army and National Guard. He enlisted after high school, though his father, a Marine in WWII, objected. Hurd says of his father, "He was one of the most war-mongering, gun-loving people you could ever meet," but he didn't want his son to enlist because he knew firsthand the psychological toll war takes on its warriors. Hurd spent his year in Iraq in central Baghdad as a medic, sometimes doing meet-and- greets with the local population, but he didn't escape the shooting and bombardment of civilian targets, which he describes in his testimony. He tells of an incident that took place while he was guarding a checkpoint. Car bombs were an ever-present danger, he says, so when a car kept approaching, despite his escalating signals to stop, he raised his gun and was about to fire at the driver. Suddenly, a man appeared and got the car to turn around. An old woman, highly-respected in the community, emerged. "I am a peaceful person," Hurd says, "but I drew down on an 80-year-old woman who could not see me." He attests to the harassment and disruption of Iraqi lives that he says happens - and continues to haunt him - daily.

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Adam Kokesh

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:26:44 +0000

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Adam Kokesh did not agree with the war, but he volunteered to serve in Iraq to "do the right thing" and "clean up our mess." He was in Fallujah shortly after the four Blackwater contractors were killed. In that city, the rules of engagement were always changing.

During the siege of Fallujah, fires broke out and Iraqi firefighters and police raced to the scene. US forces saw their silhouettes in the area from which they had taken fire and started shooting. Miscommunication was often the cause of scenes like this.

Kokesh's unit was told Al Zarqawi was fleeing the city in a Black Opal and to stop all black Opals . . . black Opals were everywhere in Iraq.

He testifies that all the detainees, guilty or innocent, get treated the same, which leads more and more "innocent" ones to join the insurgency.

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Jesse Hamilton

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:26:38 +0000

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Jesse Hamilton, who'd been in the Army since 1998, was entirely against the war when he signed up to go and serve as an advisor to the newly formed Iraqi army. But the Arabic speaker wanted to do what he could to expedite the war's end. Hamilton found untrained Iraqi soldiers who often resorted to "spray and pray" techniques in which they would shoot indiscriminately and hope it hit their target, and who would abuse their prisoners. "It is a lost cause in Iraq," says Hamilton.

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