Senior enlisted man testifies in deaths of Iraqi detainees


March 15, 2007|By Los Angeles Times

Fort Campbell, Ky. -- A senior enlisted man testified yesterday that he had angrily asked over a military radio why his soldiers had not killed several Iraqi men they had taken into custody during a combat sweep in Iraq last May.

Minutes later, three detainees were shot dead. A 101st Airborne Division squad leader, Staff Sgt. Raymond Girouard, is charged with ordering his soldiers to kill the Iraqis.

"I don't understand why we have these guys alive!" 1st Sgt. Eric Geressy testified he shouted over the radio shortly before two soldiers in Girouard's squad shot and killed the unarmed Iraqis.

Testifying at Girouard's court-martial, Geressy said he believed that the Iraqis had been shooting at his men during a firefight on a marshy island and should have been killed. In fact, the men had been detained without incident.

Girouard's defense team maintains that top commanders gave orders to kill every military-aged Iraqi male on the island.

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