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Meet Sgt Dennis Edwards:
When Army Sergeant Dennis Edwards spoke at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School last month, 100 students listened in rapt silence as he told chilling tales of battlefield horror in Iraq and criticized President Bush's motives for going to war.
Edwards, 23, a Barnstable High School graduate, said he and two other soldiers shot and killed a 10-year-old boy in Iraq who pretended to be wounded and suddenly fired an AK-47 rifle. The boy was found to have explosives attached to his body, Edwards told the stunned audience.
Now, Edwards has admitted to his superiors in the elite 82d Airborne Division that the story about the shooting was a lie, Army officials yesterday. As a result, the veteran of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could be charged with making false statements, face a court-martial, and be stripped of his rank.
His confession has also saddened Dennis-Yarmouth teachers and students, who said they felt honored and captivated by his appearance.
''We need to use this as a teachable moment," Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi said yesterday. ''We need to make sure our students . . . clearly understand that sometimes individuals might elaborate stories or examples for their own benefit."
And that sometimes some grownups believe everything they hear that supports other wrong ideas they have. Teachers, reporters...
Why would they want to believe?
Edwards was on leave visiting family when he appeared Nov. 23 in the school cafeteria at a teacher's invitation. The Cape Cod Times reported that Edwards criticized Bush's invasion of Iraq as a ''personal vendetta" to complete President George H.W. Bush's unfinished work against Saddam Hussein. ''The first Bush couldn't get it done, so it's time for the next Bush to do it," the Times quoted Edwards as saying in the talk.
In an interview later, the Times reported, Edwards said that ''we went over there for one reason, and because that fell through we're stuck over there for another reason." Edwards, who served in Iraq from August 2003 to March of this year, said US officials had not planned well for the mission.
They'll probably still cling to that part though.
UPDATE: How did I miss this the first time?: "His confession has also saddened Dennis-Yarmouth teachers and students, who said they felt honored and captivated by his appearance."
The admission that no ten-year-old boy was killed has saddened them?