Not All Troops Would Report Abuse, Study Says


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May 5, 2007
Published in the New York Crimes:

Only 40 percent of American marines and 55 percent of soldiers in Iraq say they would report a fellow service member for killing or injuring an innocent Iraqi, a Pentagon study published Friday showed.

The study, which showed increasing rates of mental health problems for troops on extended or multiple deployments, also said well over one-third of soldiers and marines believed that torture should be allowed to gain information that could save the lives of American troops, or knowledge about insurgents....
Almost half of surveyed troops say torture OK

More than 40 percent of soldiers and Marines who recently served in the war zone believe torture should be allowed if it would save the life of a comrade, according to a 2006 military mental health assessment.

In addition, less than half the 1,350 soldiers and only about one-third of the nearly 450 Marines polled anonymously in Iraq from August to October 2006 told members of Mental Health Advisory Team IV they believe all noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect....
Petraeus expresses concern over ethics report

The top U.S. commander in Iraq said Monday he was “greatly concerned” by a recent survey that concluded many combat troops in Iraq would not report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian.

Speaking to the annual meeting of The Associated Press, Gen. David Petraeus called for a “redoubling of our education efforts” to identify potential abuses among soldiers and anticipate problems related to combat stress....
Gen. Petraeus Warns Against Using Torture

Published in the Washington Compost:

The top U.S. commander in Iraq admonished his troops regarding the results of an Army survey that found that many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades.

"This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we -- not our enemies -- occupy the moral high ground," Army Gen. David H. Petraeus wrote in an open letter dated May 10 and posted on a military Web site....
Petraeus reminds troops to fight by the rules

The top U.S. commander in Iraq reminded troops Thursday they must fight by the rules after a Pentagon survey found many of them support torture in certain cases and would not report a comrade for killing or wounding civilians.

In a letter to U.S. service members, Gen. David Petraeus said that adhering to high moral values “distinguishes us from our enemy” and is essential to winning support among the Iraqi population — the cornerstone of the new U.S. counterinsurgency strategy....


Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq, has reminded troops to obey rules of war.
Here is the study - worth reading:

Disclaimer: I wholeheartedly agree that our troops should be and are held to a higher standard. No torture etc...................

Now let me say this - We (the US as a whole - incl the administration and military leaders) needs to get to the root of the problem.
We are asking a tremendous amount from our soldiers - repeated deployments, stress from waiting to get blown up etc.....
No one should be surprised as the the answer to the question - we should be doing all we can to alleviate the stress - if that is even possible.

The bottom line is that there are no easy answers here - If I was on patol in Baghdad spending day after day wondering if I was going to get blown up that day and someone threw a rock at me - I would want to beat the crap out of him too.

It is not fair for us to sit at home with our families intact and judge these soldiers - I bet if that survey was done during Vietnam then the answers would have been similar. Maybe it is part of the price we pay for being at war.