Snipers Describe Classified Program
By Josh White and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 24, 2007; A01
A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of "bait," such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items, according to military court documents.
. . . "Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy," Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of an elite sniper scout platoon attached to the 1st Battalion of the 501st Infantry Regiment, said in a sworn statement. "Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. Forces.". .
. . . Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said such a baiting program should be examined "quite meticulously" because it raises troubling possibilities, such as what happens when civilians pick up the items.
"In a country that is awash in armaments and magazines and implements of war, if every time somebody picked up something that was potentially useful as a weapon, you might as well ask every Iraqi to walk around with a target on his back," Fidell said.
Talk about your slippery slopes.
Let's not lose the thread of this folks, because the disaster that has befallen our once proud military has a thread and it all leads back to Secretary Rumsfeld's leaner, meaner fighting force dependent upon overwhelming air-strikes and fewer boots on the ground.
Star Wars instead of military draft in time of war. Fighting on the cheap, because this war was going to be a cake-walk.
Then, of course it all went wrong and we ended up sending and sending and sending the same reservists back and back and back again. The generals who said it couldn't be done, like Eric Shinseki (Army Chief of Staff) were retired and dishonored by the likes of Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Rumsfeld is now an old and bitter man, Wolfowitz unemployable in any responsible capacity.
Panic and hubris are not the proper tools of war and yet the Pentagon was dominated by them both.
From that desperation and unwillingness to change, came the unconscionable hiring of Blackwater-type mercenaries and our proud military became the equal of those most desperate African dictatorships we revile. General after general after general retired rather than follow Rumsfeld and the adjective 'broken' became synonymous with the American military.
The more broken, the more desperate, the more trapped in the Green Zone, the more vulnerable we became--not only to insurgents, but to the unforgiving light of world opinion. Now we have descended from light to darkness, into the abyss of 'baiting' our enemy, a deplorable action we prohibit by law in the hunting of animals.
Like 'chumming' fishing waters, the result of baiting is indiscriminate, taking everything that is lured to the net.