Four Americans Kidnapped, Murdered by English-Speaking Iraqis

Four American soldiers previous reported as having been killed “repelling” an insurgent attack were actually kidnapped and murdered by English speaking Iraqis wearing U.S. uniforms.

In perhaps the boldest and most sophisticated attack in four years of warfare, gunmen speaking English, wearing U.S. military uniforms and carrying American weapons abducted four U.S. soldiers last week at the provincial headquarters in the Shiite holy city of Karbala and then shot them to death.

The U.S. military confirmed a report earlier Friday by The Associated Press that three of the soldiers were dead and one was mortally wounded with a gunshot to the head when they were found in a neighboring province, about 25 miles from the compound where they were captured. A fifth soldier was killed in the initial attack on the compound.

The new account contradicted a U.S. military statement on Jan. 20, the day of the raid on an Iraqi governor’s office, that five soldiers were killed “repelling” the attack.

The security breakdown and the dramatic kidnapping and murder of four soldiers leaked out just as President Bush faces stiffening congressional opposition over his plan to flood Baghdad and surrounding regions with 21,500 more American troops. Two of Congress’s most vocal war critics, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Murtha, were in the Iraqi capital as the news broke.

In a statement issued late Friday, the military said two of the soldiers were handcuffed together in the back seat of an SUV near the southern Iraqi town of Mahawil. A third dead soldier was on the ground nearby. The fourth soldier died on the way to the hospital.

The brazen assault, 50 miles south of Baghdad, was conducted by nine to 12 gunmen posing as an American security team, the military confirmed. The attackers traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles (the type used by U.S. government convoys), had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English, according to two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials.

A bold tactic, indeed, and one likely to sow further distrust between American soldiers and friendly Iraqis.

It’s also yet another war crime committed by our enemies in this conflict. I suspect no international outrage will ensue, since no one expects them to abide by the rules of civilization.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Another reason I am in favor of finishing in Iraq, not leaving like many suggest. Leaving has no guarantees and neither does remaining there. But if we use the latest Bush proposal and successfully secure Baghdad, I believe the rest will fall in place.

  2. Sam says:

    You said:

    “It’s also yet another war crime committed by our enemies in this conflict. I suspect no international outrage will ensue, since no one expects them to abide by the rules of civilization.”

    My God, is that ever true. But if an American soldier out of 100’s of 1000’s murders or rapes an Iraqi girl everyone is screaming for blood and Hollywood is stumbling over itself to make a movie about it.

  3. >

    Not only does no one expect them to abide by the rules, no one actually thinks they should. Because they are fighting America and democratic freedom, nothing is off limits.

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    Ha-ha Donald, a perfect statement on the role of the Democrats and their “Culture of Treason”, oops you where talking about terrorists, sorry for the mistake.

  5. graywolf says:

    Where is Colin Powell, Lindsay Graham, the military lawyers and all the other people worried about terrorist’s Geneva Convention rights?

    If the terrorists don’t get real whipped cream in their hot chocolate, they will take it out on American soldiers.
    Well,at Gitmo, they’re getting whipped cream in their hot chocolate; these GI’s are still dead.

    I can’t figure out if these people (Powell, Graham, etc.) are simple-minded naive or just plain stupid.
    A lifetime spent in government, though, pretty much guarantees oatmeal for brains.

  6. marshall law says:

    “The Geniva conventions are quaint and outdated” Attorney General of the USA

    There are no more war crimes, everything is fair, Alberto says so, so stop complaining.