Two Missing U.S. Soldiers Barbarically Killed

PFC Kristian Menchaca and PFC Thomas L. Tucker, missing since Friday, were brutally murdered, the Army reports.

The two U.S. soldiers missing since an attack on a checkpoint last week were found dead near a power plant in Yusifiyah, south of Baghdad, according to an Iraqi defense official. General Abdul Aziz Muhammed, head of operations at Iraqi Ministry of Defense said in a news conference in Baghdad this afternoon that the soldiers had been “barbarically” killed and that there were traces of torture on their bodies. He offered no further details. U.S. officials could not immediately be reached for comment or confirmation.

The Army yesterday identified the missing soldiers as Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore. They were attacked at a checkpoint near Yusufiyah. A third soldier, Spec. David J. Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Mass., was killed in the incident.

Checkpoint Soldiers Killed PHOTO
CNN Breaking News.

Ugh. Presumably, though, this vitiates claims yesterday that they had been kidnapped. Not much point in murdering hostages without dragging it out for publicity purposes.

via John Stevenson

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Uncategorized, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. RiverRat says:

    But it does beg the question as to whether the search cornered the kidnappers resulting in “dumping” the evidence and fading into the background.

  2. Herb says:

    Now, let’s hear from all those chicken hearted, cowardly, do gooder rear ends that often raise the cry about the “torture” of Iraqi and Al Qaeda prisoners that we have in custody. Let them tell every American how unjust and unfair we are towards those that we taken prisoner. Let them tell us that we should let those murdering holes we have at GITMO go free. Let them lecture to us that we should be “above reproach” in dealing with the thugs we have in the various prisons. And lastly, let them do everything possible to charge and convict every American solder in Afghanistan and Iraq with “murder and Torture” while they are defending the sorry asses of those who criticize them.

    When they are done and have their say, Every American should and needs to put these CS, cowardly individuals in their place that is no where near to America and decent freedom loving people everywhere.

  3. ken says:

    Thanks to Bush and people like Herb we no longer have the moral high ground to complain about the enemies treatment of our soldiers. How many people has the Bush policy been responsible for leading to death by torture? Several hundred?

    These soldiers look like kids. Proper outrage at their treatment deserves a moral dimension which we have been robbed of by the conservatives. Thanks a lot, you creeps.

  4. SgtFluffy says:

    Sit down Francis

  5. To Herb, and others like him: When we get to the point where we judge the decency of our own behavior by saying “at least we’re better than the terrorists,” then we’ve truly lost any credibility we have.

    Have a seat. Keep your mouth shut. You’re not helping…

  6. Bhoe says:

    I hope they catch these bastards who kidnapped these kids.

    Of course, if they do happen to catch them, they will unlikely suffer any consequences since Bush & Nouri al-Maliki have cooked up a plan to provide amnesty for insurgents who have attacked US troops.

  7. ICallMasICM says:

    Speak for yourself when it comes to lack of morality. Funny it didn’t take long for the terror symps to speak up.

  8. Mack says:

    To Michael, and others like him: When the holier-than-thou elitist non-military-serving, non-soldier knowing, non-blue-collar associating, Bush Derangement Syndrome suffering, NASCAR bashing twits can make pronouncements of moral equivalency while conveniently ignoring the fact that our troops have some of the most restrictive Rules of Engagement on the face of the planet, and that our military actively investigates and prosecutes violations of those rules, then you know that we never had credibility with that crowd in the first place.

    Talk to a returning soldier or Marine about the rules of engagement and what it meant to them, and how many times it put their lives in danger; then come back and tell me how there is any kind of equivalence between the US military and the terrorists. We’re not anywhere near that point, palsy.

    Do yourself a favor; do a search on all the instances where our military is investigating and prosecuting abuses. Here, I’ll do it for you.

    Have a seat. Keep your mouth shut. Youâ??re not helpingâ?¦

  9. ken says:

    Since the conservative Bush administration changed US policy in order to allow for the torture of people in American custody I have been convinced this would come back to haunt our soldiers. Now, thanks to Bush and his conservative apoligists, our soldiers do not even have the faintest hopes of being treated like they should if captured. If our military is torturing people to death can they really expect anything else if they are captured themselves.

    No wonder so many people in the military absolutely loathe Bush and what the conservatives have done to America.

  10. McGehee says:

    All you people saying “Sit down and shut up,” please sit down and shut up.

  11. James Joyner says:

    ken: Is it your contention that, absent Bush policies, these terrorists would be adhering to the Geneva Conventions?

  12. ken says:

    James, I thought my point was pretty clear. Since Bush policies allow for the torture of captured prisoners and many of those captured prisoners have died as a result of this torture, then our soldiers are left with the knowledge that they no longer have the right to expect to be treated any better.

    Conservative policies denied them the right to the moral high ground and dashed their legitimate demands for decent treatment if captured.

  13. James Joyner says:

    ken: What I’m asking is, in a hypothetical state where the U.S. had treated each and every one if its prisoner as honored guests, catering to their every need and whim, do you believe the terrorists wouldn’t be killing Americans they captured?

  14. ICallMasICM says:

    Ken: Like in Mogadishu? Or was that because of Clinton’s policies? Idiot.

  15. ken says:

    James, the important thing to realize is that thanks to the conservtive Bush policies our soldiers do not have the moral high ground to expect decent treatment, regardless of how they are in fact treated.

    Most of our soldiers are decent people and many are outraged at Bush and those who abandoned them in the swamp of their immoral war.

  16. legion says:

    Um, everybody _was_ outraged and appalled by what was done to our troops in Mogadishu. Because it was a horrifying abberration. People will not be nearly so appalled by the treatment of these unfortunate kids precisely because it’s no longer an abberration – it’s our own policy.

    And James-
    I see where you’re going, but whether or not our enemies follow our rules should not affect whether or not we follow our rules.

  17. James Joyner says:


    No doubt. I think I’ve been pretty consistent on that issue, arguing against torture for a variety of reasons.

    I just dismiss the casual relationship between that and these events. Terrorists, pretty much by definition, don’t play by the rules.

    Furthermore, it’s silly to say that murdering people and dragging their bodies through the streets is now “our policy.” While I think they’re self-defeating, stress positions and the like that are policy at Gitmo are far, far short of that. And the handful of incidents of alleged homicides are crimes for which perpetrators are prosecuted, not “policy.”

  18. quark2 says:

    I’d like to see some verifiable sources backing up the accusations of the outside the Geneva Convention
    terrorists who’ve been apprehended of being tortured.
    So far all I’ve read are unfounded accusations.
    And of course this doesn’t cover all the tortured and beheaded souls who were not involved in fighting the terrorists like librarians, doctors, teachers, bakers and etc…
    Don’t tell them to shut up, just keep count of them.
    Certainly not someone I would want watching my Six.

  19. Herb says:

    Is it no wonder that those who wake up every day with their entire body filled with their “Extreme Hate” towards Bush, that they defend those who actively engage and carry out the torture and killing of solder pr isomers.

    We now have seen in some of the previous comments that we, in the US, have those who live and enjoy the freedoms this country have to offer and, that is defended by our solders, let their personal hate towards Bush, rule their total lives each and every day.

    There is now no doubt that these individuals literally have no souls and will never live a life with any peace and the knowledge that they were a part of the furtherance of a peaceful mankind.

  20. Anderson says:

    Is it no wonder that those who wake up every day with their entire body filled with their â??Extreme Hateâ?? towards Bush, that they defend those who actively engage and carry out the torture and killing of solder pr isomers.

    Herb, what is *your* body filled with, so that you can’t read?

    Show me *one* comment above that “defends” these torturing bastards.

    And then take a look at this from a review of Ron Suskind’s new book:

    “I said [Abu Zubaydah] was important,” Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. “You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?” “No sir, Mr. President,” Tenet replied. Bush “was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,” Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, “Do some of these harsh methods really work?” Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, “thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target.” And so, Suskind writes, “the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered.”

    So, are these torturing bastards really people we need to be *imitating*?

  21. LJD says:

    Lemme get this straight. If our troops treated prisoners kindly, then regardless of how they were actually treated when captured, they would at least have the ‘moral high ground’ to expect better?

    I can see it now: ‘You can’t toture me! I have the moral high ground!’

    I have news for you. Our troops NEVER expected to be treated in accordance with the G.C. in this GWOT. This is partly where their motivation comes from- to provide a painful death for these murdering bastards.

    I have more news. Nowhere is it U.S. policy to torture anyone to death. It may have happened in some isolated instances, but is far from policy. Saying it is just refelcts the bitter hatred coming from the left, sacrificing the integrity of our troops to discredit the Administration.

    Which brings me to my final point. How dare any one use the horrible deaths of these young men for any such commentary? Their loss of life int he service of our country is in no way related to other soldiers actions, the actions of the enemy, or anything else. It is a tragedy plain and simple- nothing more.

    What I would like to see is their killers given the choice of a painful death or a lifetime mebership at GITMO.

  22. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘ stress positions and the like that are policy at Gitmo are far, far short of that. ‘

    No, no – to the terror symps they’re the same. Any excuse that can be made to rationalize the killing of Americans is good enough for them. But don’t question their patriotism.

  23. Mack says:

    Anderson, even more telling was the paragraph preceding your quote, which you wisely chose leave out.

    Suskind’s portrait of Tenet, respectful but far from adulatory, depicts a man compromised by “insecurity and gratitude” to a president who chose not to fire him after 9/11. “At that point, George Tenet would do anything his President asked,” Suskind writes.

    Sounds more like a caricature than a portrayal.

    So we have a CIA Chief playing bottom to Bush’s top; Bush the master dominant who ‘reportedly’ says to the the ball-gagged gimp, “I said he was important.” Suskind the omnicient gazes down at the hot dusty cement basement and does a mind meld to really feel his motivation.

    Bush “was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,” Suskind writes.

    And this is the dime-store pulp fiction you’re using to support the thesis that we are morally equivalent to terrorists whose very institutional doctrine is to target civilians, women and children and to physically torture and behead their captives?

  24. Anderson says:

    Sounds more like a caricature than a portrayal.

    That’s true of so much we’ve seen from this White House, isn’t it? I’m sorry if Tenet’s psychology isn’t up to your standards. Close thy Flaubert; open thy Suskind.

    I’ve ordered the book & will report on it at my blog when I’ve read it. Maybe it’s full of crap, but I haven’t noticed any of Suskind’s other reports about this White House getting shot down, and it appears he talked to Tenet and others in the intel community. (And wasn’t afraid, as you’ve shown, to make Tenet look like a sap.)

    Of course, I realize the idea is to simply deny any facts that don’t fit the worldview.

  25. ken says:

    I think any thinking Americans will agree:

    1) Torture is always wrong

    2) Bush changed American policy to allow for torture.

    3) As a result of this policy change a huge number of people were tortured, many tortured to death.

    4) Never before has the American military engaged in torture like they have since this change in policy. Not in VietNam, not in Korea, not during either world wars.

    5) This policy change was not only immoral but also illegal as Bush does not have the authority to unilaterally change laws.

    6) This policy change has denied America the moral high ground when it comes to defending our values.

    7) Conservatives for the most part approve of torture.

    8) Liberals like most Americans do not approve of torture as it goes against our values.

  26. Mack says:

    Of course, I realize the idea is to simply deny any facts that donâ??t fit the worldview.

    Opinion is not fact. Not even Ron Suskind’s opinion.

    You can certainly believe that I am so shallow and brainwashed that I deny with every filament of my being anything that doesn’t “fit my worldview”, if you so desire. I have no doubt that Suskind spoke to many in the CIA and intel community; but don’t bank on the fact that I don’t know very well that the CIA is at least as much a beauracracy as the post office.

    I also know that there are just as many senior agents that entered the service and whose formative years and “best years in the Agency” were under Clinton as under the Bushes. Analysts in that business tend to be by nature bright and independent; of course there are going to be divergence of opinion on many, many issues. To believe that the Agency or the Intel community as a whole is monolithically Republican and the administration critics in the Agency are motivated only by the “good of [fill in the blank] or are just regular Elliot Nesses who had a “road to Damascus” epiphany is just plain naive and silly.

  27. Anderson says:

    To believe that the Agency or the Intel community as a whole is monolithically Republican and the administration critics in the Agency are motivated only by the â??good of [fill in the blank] or are just regular Elliot Nesses who had a â??road to Damascusâ?? epiphany is just plain naive and silly.

    Sure. Now, who believes those things?

  28. ICallMasICM says:

    8) Liberals like most Americans do not approve of torture as it goes against our values.

    Except when Americans are tortured and murdered and then they can think of any reason to excuse it.

  29. Herb says:


    You need to get your head out of the “Up and Locked” position.

    I was referring to Kowardly Ken and his cohort Michael Deammons who, by their criticism, was in essence supporting the terrorist who committed this crime against humanity.

    Or, is it Anderson, that you also want to let your Bush Hate guide your every thought and action.

    There are some who want this country to lose big in Iraq and their hate for Bush is guiding their every thought. Are you one of therm Anderson, Are another Kowardly Ken ?

    For the record, Ken never served a single hour, let alone a single day in the service of this country, All Ken has ever done is Take, Take, and Take more. He constantly and consistently demeans our troops, our country and everyone who disagrees with him, guided by his extreme hate for George Bush. Hate is his guide in his everyday life and for that, He has NO SOUL and will surely end up like those who conduct those acts of Torture and Killing in Iraq and elsewhere.

  30. ken says:

    So when Americans stand up for American values and denounce torture, then according to Herb, we are supporting terrorism. Conservatism has sunk below pond scum. You guys are pathetic.

  31. Anderson says:

    who, by their criticism, was in essence supporting the terrorist who committed this crime against humanity

    An important metaphysical discovery! Herb discovers that “in essence” is a synonym for “not actually“! Absence is presence! Freedom is slavery! Peace is war!

    Proof, if it were needed, that great philosophical discoveries in no way depend on an elementary grasp of grammar, syntax, or rational thought.

  32. Anderson says:

    P.S.–Ken, equating Herb (RA, ICallM, etc.) with conservatism is unfair to conservatism. For some reason, these bottom-feeders are drawn to OTB … let’s hope that they at least are helping JJ’s ad revenue.

  33. LJD says:

    Attention (donkey)-wipes:

    In case you didn’t notice, two young American men were brutally murdered in the sevice of their country.

    Take a break from being such outstanding (richard)-heads. Put down the Starbuccaccino, set aside your bush bashing crapola, and shut your freakin (rooster) holsters.

    These brave young men deserve better than your empty political posturing.

  34. ATM says:

    Is there actually any evidence that anyone has been tortured to death for the purpose of gaining information? Or are the deaths in captivity due to guards simply beating someone to death because of something the captive has done or said?

    Frankly, though after the Daniel Pearl incident, we should realized that the Islamists aren’t going to give us any quarter. They believe they are superior to us simply due to the religion they follow and that is why they will do the things they do.

  35. Roddy says:

    No quarrel to these neurotic criminals, animals. This is not the first time this happens too.

    No one that call himself a supporter of democratic values or Christian values can support a weak action against these animals.

    Stop killing your own people, stop supporting the Kerries, the Kennedies, the Clintons. Help bring stability and peace to IRAQ and deal the stronger blow to the ISLAMIC enemy. Stop being a useful fool of the left.

  36. Mack says:

    Anderson, regarding your question:

    Sure. Now, who believes those things?

    Hmmm… maybe the guy that butresses his argument and bolsters Ron Suskind’s authority by pointing out that,”Maybe itâ??s full of crap, but I havenâ??t noticed any of Suskindâ??s other reports about this White House getting shot down, and it appears he talked to Tenet and others in the intel community.

    Unless you meant to imply that the “others in the intel community” that he spoke to were not predominately adminstration critics and you are willing to give even weighting to any administration supporters he sources.

    My point is that it’s not going to be all that hard to find Bush critics in the CIA. Anybody with LOS of fourteen years started in the Clinton Administration and spent eight years under that administration. That includes a lot of senior people; the CIA is a bureaucracy, and they don’t have purges with every new administration.

    That’s not to say that everybody who came into the CIA under Clinton is a malcontent, but you are not going to impress me by parading quotes from CIA critics of the administration any more that I think I could impress you by quoting administration supporters in the special ops community. “CIA agent critical of the administration” and “partisan hack”, while not inextricably linked, are also not mutually exclusive terms.

    Take Larry Johnson and the kind words he have for the passing of Karl Rove’s mom for example…

    Again, Anderson, opinion is not fact, not even if it comes from a CIA agent.

  37. ICallMasICM says:

    Good name calling Anderson – it really butresses your non existent arguments. BTW – I’m not conservative in any rational sense but since you can’t think beyond name calling stick with it.