All entries for Wednesday 07 June 2006

June 07, 2006

Soldiers cleared of 15 yr old Iraqi boy's killing

This was splashed over the front cover of the Times today.

It's the story of the Iraqi boy, apparantly a looter, who drowned in a tidal canal. A witness (discredited because has was "a self–confessed looter") described how UK soldiers forced the boy into the canal at gunpoint as a punishment.

The officers at the court martial aquitted the soldiers accused unanimously, amid much talking down of the system of prosecuting soldiers in the army.

But what, I ask, is the alternative? Soldiers with immunity? What then happens if a Haditha–type incident happens involving our troops. Perhaps it is true that these men shouldn't have brought to trial, but we need to be careful that the reaction to this doesn't criminals aren't brought to justice. Excessive trials leading to innocent verdicts is surely better than few reaching trial and killers not being brought to justice.

The real sad thing here is the injustice served to the boy in question. The article admits that, "the policy of 'wetting' looters, forcing them into dykes and ditches as punishment, was widespread and appeared to have been approved higher up the chain of command.", yet there is no mention of questions of how and why this boy died, and if it was a result of this 'wetting' policy. Surely this is the sad thing about the case, not the fact that 4 soldiers have been put on trial, then aquitted?

Maybe other papers talked these question, but I only had time to read the one over a Viva sandwich..

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