Real quick, before I head back to bed, the tireless Lorie Byrd is on a worthy quest, and seeking some help from the military, if possible. She writes:
When a Polipundit reader, and self-described “Army brat” read this Bob Herbert column in the New York Times about conscientious objector, Aidan Delgado, and his claims of brutality by U.S. soldiers, the story just didn’t sound quite right to him. When I read the story, it just didn’t sound quite right to me, either. I realize that there are bad people in all walks of life, and that includes the military, but I find it difficult to believe that the allegations of brutality and abuse by U.S. soldiers against the Iraqi people could be as widespread and commonplace as Delgado claims.
Delgado relates accounts of soldiers’ extreme racism, brutality against Iraqi prisoners, violent crimes against Iraqi civilians in the streets, crimes against Iraqi children, and many other disgusting stories of brutality against both the innocent and guilty in Iraq. The allegations Delgado makes are disturbing, but what is also disturbing to me is that he never reported any of the incidents he describes, even though he has some photographs he presents as evidence of misconduct by soldiers. He now travels around and gives speeches and slide shows about alleged abuses commited by U.S. soldiers against the Iraqi people, but he did nothing to report these alleged activities at the time.
Over the past six months or so, there have been quite a few interviews with and articles about Aidan Delgado and his claims – most covering the same material that the Bob Herbert column does. All the stories I read include a reference to the slide show that Delgado shows to groups illustrating the horrors of the Iraqi War. A few of these stories can be found here, here and here . While much of the material is the same, not all the accounts are identical. Rich Lowry points out one such instance at The Corner. Yet another account of the incident posted by Rich Lowry can be found in In Motion Magazine.
The worst incident that I was privy to was in late November. The prisoners were protesting nightly because of their living conditions. They protested the cold, the lack of clothing, the rotting food that was causing dysentery. And they wanted cigarettes. They tore up pieces of clothing, made banners and signs. One demonstration became intense and got unruly. The prisoners picked up stones, pieces of wood, and threw them at the guards. One of my buddies got hit in the face. He got a bloody nose. But he wasn’t hurt. The guards asked permission to use lethal force. They got it. They opened fire on the prisoners with the machine guns. They shot twelve and killed three. I know because I talked to the guy who did the killing. He showed me these grisly photographs, and he bragged about the results. “Oh,” he said, “I shot this guy in the face. See, his head is split open.” He talked like the Terminator. He shot this guy in the groin, he took three days to bleed to death.” I was shocked. This was the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. He was a family man, a really courteous guy, a devout Christian. I was stunned and said to him: “You shot an unarmed man behind barbed wire for throwing a stone.” He said, “Well, I knelt down. I said a prayer, stood up and gunned them all down.” There was a complete disconnect between what he had done and his own morality.
The In Motion Magazine piece also included some claims of abuse not mentioned in the other articles. I will continue to look into Aidan Delgado’s claims and update with any additional information I locate.
Since I am sort of out of the loop right now, and coming late to the game, Lorie has already had some pretty interesting responses, both in her comments section and elsewhere. Baldilocks is taking the ball and running with it, and Michelle Malkin , Mudville Gazette and Matt from Blackfive are also all over it.
This is when Bloggers are at their best, I think, when they work together to come up with what is reality, in the face of incessant spin, distortion and the selective presentation of information. I give Lorie lots of props for starting the ball rolling, and I hope the blogs are able to keep going with it.
And now, yes, I’m off to bed. Perhaps tonight I will be up for blogging a bit. Hope all are well!