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Army officers said they are working to understand what happened on the bridge Jan. 4 near the Sunni Triangle town of Samarra, including such basic facts as whether anyone died in the river that night. The soldiers have admitted they forced the two men into the river but say they saw both men swim to shore and emerge, officials said.
"There are elements of what happened in Samarra . . . that still are under investigation and in dispute," said Col. Frederick Rudesheim, commander of the brigade that includes Sassaman's battalion. "What we don't know is what really happened that evening. What I know is that we did something wrong."
That night, Rudesheim said, an infantry patrol picked up two Iraqi men on curfew violations. "For no explicable reason," he said, soldiers in the patrol, from the battalion's Alpha Company, forced the two men to jump into the Tigris River.
At least one of the men made it to shore and filed a complaint about the incident some days later. He said his compatriot had drowned, according to Rudesheim, who said he later met with the man who filed the complaint.
A body was recovered from the river about 10 days after the incident, Rudesheim said, but military authorities are not sure it is the man who was detained that night. Investigators have received another report that the man is alive in Samarra. To this day, Rudesheim said, soldiers in the patrol "still contend they saw both men getting out of the water, up a slight embankment, as they departed."
Twisted, and not likely to be settled to everyone's satisfaction. Hopefully the truth will ultimately come to light, and justice will ultimately be served.
Update: Andrew Olmsted comments
Update: Blackfive does the right thing.
Amazing. I can't even begin to understand why they would do this.Posted by Michael at April 5, 2004 12:35 PM
Wait for the outcome of mil investigation - is too early or superficial to say any crime or dereliction occurred!?Posted by JosephMendiola at April 6, 2004 02:49 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)