Monday, May 31, 2004

Interesting timing on this "revelation"

U.S. Army investigators obtained concrete evidence in August that Sgt. Donald Walters had been held in a building in southern Iraq, a Defense Department document shows.

But it wasn't until Thursday, just a few days after notifying family members, that the military announced Walters had been executed by Iraqi paramilitaries. Until then, he was thought to have been killed during the same March 23, 2003, combat that led to Jessica Lynch's capture.
  Seattle Times article

So quit thinking about those Abu Ghraib torturers and focus on the evil bastards we're fighting, who actually execute people. Our people. Our soldiers who are over there risking their lives so you can be free to whine about the price of gas.

What it doesn't answer is why it took so long for the military to reverse itself and announce that Walters, 33, was shot in the back after being captured.

A spokesman for the Department of Defense said he would not comment on the investigation.

Well, I'll give you one good reason: the photo op was Jessica Lynch. The story was Jessica Lynch, and the heroic rescue. We didn't need a story about a food service soldier being shot in the back after being captured.

And I'll give you another one: it may not be true.

The Army's official report last summer on the March 23 attack concluded that "some information" suggested that Walters died alone while fighting his way toward a canal.

Like you'll ever know the truth about any of it.

"These criminal investigators are really tenacious," said his widow, Stacie Walters of Kansas City, Mo. "They're like pit bulls with this. They are on the hunt for these animals, and they will be brought to justice."

Yep, we've got some seriously gullible goobers here in Missouri.

Now, I remember reading something about this guy back when the Lynch story was captivating the American public. It wasn't hard to find.

So...flashback to July 2003....
For Mrs. Walters, however, the standing ovation and praise lavished on the young woman soldier, who was captured by Iraqi forces and later freed in a dramatic American raid, served only to highlight the contrasting treatment of her dead son, who fought in the same unit.

It was, fellow soldiers have told her, Sgt. Donald Walters who performed many of the heroics attributed to Pfc. Lynch by early news reports, and Sgt. Walters who was killed after mounting a lone stand against the Iraqis who ambushed their convoy of maintenance vehicles near Nasiriyah.

"The fighter that they thought was Jessica Lynch was Donald. When he was found he had two stab wounds in the abdomen, and he'd been shot once in the right leg and twice in the back. And he'd emptied his rounds of ammunition. Just like they said Jessica had done at first."

..."There is some information to suggest that a U.S. soldier, that could have been Walters, fought his way south of Highway 16 towards a canal and was killed in action. Sgt. Walters was in fact killed at some point during this portion of the attack. The circumstances of his death cannot be conclusively determined," the report says.

Fellow soldiers who witnessed the ambush have been less guarded. "One told me that if I read reports about a brave female soldier fighting, those reports were actually about Don," said Mrs. Walters.
  Washington Times article

Doesn't sound like he was captured, does it? The fellow soldiers describing what happened to him. And even if that's not quite the right story, the Army's story to the Walters family at the time is pretty pathetic.

Last week, with no fanfare, the Army released a detailed report of the incident, which made it clear that a lone American fighter did, indeed, hold out against the Iraqis — but that the soldier was not Pfc. Lynch. It said that following the ambush, Sgt. Walters might have been left behind, hiding beside a disabled tractor-trailer, as Iraqi troops closed in. The report confirmed that he died of wounds identical to those first attributed to Pfc. Lynch.

..."I just can't imagine him being left out there in the desert alone," said Mrs. Walters, who is still haunted by images of her son's lone stand.

She has her own theories about the Army's reluctance to give him due credit.

"Perhaps the Army don't want to admit to the fact that he was left behind in the desert to fight alone," she said. "It isn't a good news story."

No, but with a little tweaking, it's a good one now.

Mrs. Walters and her husband now are struggling to persuade the U.S. military to acknowledge fully their son's bravery. Sgt Walters has been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, but his relatives argue that higher honors are deserved. The Army says the investigation into the incident is now closed.

What? Closed, you say? What was that about tenacious investigators? Newly tenacious, I guess, since they'd already closed the case back in July of last year. And even now, his parents are agreeing with his wife that they have confidence in the army's investigation, according to the Seattle Times article.

I'd say the Army has pulled this one out of the pile and cajoled or bribed the Walters family into a new story. Make them happy. Make the yahoos here in the states remember that we're fighting "animals" over there in Iraq.

If it's animals at work, assuming they actually shot the man in the back during an attack, let's not forget this little scene.

Do you suppose they'll be brought to justice?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.