May 27, 2004

QUITE A WHILE AGO, I noted a report of misconduct by U.S. troops from Iraqi blogger Zeyad. (Later posts here, here, and here, including links to reports in Slate and the Washington Post.).

Now Zeyad reports that the four soldiers involved have been reprimanded. Zeyad thinks it smells of a coverup. I agree. The action certainly makes no sense to me; if the story’s true, more than a reprimand seems warranted. If it’s not true, why punish anyone at all? Either way, a reprimand seems like it can’t possibly be the right response, except perhaps in terms of bureaucratic CYA.

UPDATE: Reader Tim Schmoyer emails:

I don’t think the Sydney Morning Herald story is accurate. As far as I can tell, Weller reported that Sassaman was reprimanded. Which is probably appropriate for Sassaman’s lying to investigators. However, I do not believe the military is done disciplining the soldiers involved in forcing them to jump in the river.

I do think we need to keep the pressure on.

Yes, and I hope they’re not done, but it’s not clear to me. A military reader with connections emails me that he’s looking into it. I’ll post again with whatever I hear from him.