I read Bob Herbert's latest slam on American troops last night in the New York Times. He's using the "It's Viet Nam all over again..." and "GI's bad, terrorists good" themes without providing any detail or corroboration for the accusations of one soldier who became an Conscientious Objector:
By BOB HERBERT
I spent some time recently with Aidan Delgado, a 23-year-old religion major at New College of Florida, a small, highly selective school in Sarasota.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, before hearing anything about the terror attacks that would change the direction of American history, Mr. Delgado enlisted as a private in the Army Reserve. Suddenly, in ways he had never anticipated, the military took over his life. He was trained as a mechanic and assigned to the 320th Military Police Company in St. Petersburg. By the spring of 2003, he was in Iraq. Eventually he would be stationed at the prison compound in Abu Ghraib.
Mr. Delgado's background is unusual. He is an American citizen, but because his father was in the diplomatic corps, he grew up overseas. He spent eight years in Egypt, speaks Arabic and knows a great deal about the various cultures of the Middle East. He wasn't happy when, even before his unit left the states, a top officer made wisecracks about the soldiers heading off to Iraq to kill some ragheads and burn some turbans.
"He laughed," Mr. Delgado said, "and everybody in the unit laughed with him."
The officer's comment was a harbinger of the gratuitous violence that, according to Mr. Delgado, is routinely inflicted by American soldiers on ordinary Iraqis...
I was annoyed by this obvious slander and Delgado discussing physical abuse without any corroboration. Couldn't Mr. Herbert have found someone who also was there to confirm these accusations of abuse?
This morning, Lorie Byrd at Polipundit is asking the right questions and finds more about Delgado. He's been speaking out about the abuses around the country and been interviewed by a few more media outlets.
Please read Lorie/Polipundit's post and see if you can help either corroborate or debunk Delgado's claims. I think she is on to something here...
Update 2: About the Coke bottles (there's lots of speculation on the force needed to break one), I am not doubting that there are Coke bottles in Iraq. However, I find it hard to believe that soldiers are having multiple empty glass bottles rolling around in the back of a humvee during a patrol. Noise, distraction, possibility of glass shards in the back with the troops, etc. Plastic bottles, maybe. Glass bottles, doubt it.
Update 3: Sergeant First Class Ted was there. He's also a MilBlogger. Been There, Done That:
...This Delgado guy was a mechanic; he was no where near those compounds. I also highly doubt he "confronted" the SGT who fired; he wouldn't have even known who he was. Different unit, not working anywhere near the compounds.