This is what war is, if you don’t think so I’m sure there’s a recruiting sergeant willing to enlist you:-
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) – A staff sergeant gave soldiers the option of taking part in the shooting of three Iraqi detainees before the killings took place, a soldier testified Wednesday.
Staff Sgt. Ray Girouard, 24, called members of his squad into a meeting near Samarra, Iraq, in May and said the three men were going to be shot after they were freed, Pfc. Juston Graber testified. Girouard said Spc. William Husaker and Pfc. Corey Clagett were going to shoot the men, but other soldiers had the option to take part or leave, Graber said.
Girouard, 24, who is charged with murder, is the last and most senior soldier from the 101st Airborne Division to face trial for the killings during a May 9 raid on a suspected insurgent camp. He is accused of ordering soldiers in his squad to kill the men and cover up their crime as self-defense.
Graber pleaded guilty in January to aggravated assault for shooting one of the three detainees who had been wounded and was sentenced to nine months in a military jail.
Graber said that after the detainees were shot, he walked over to two of them who appeared to still be alive.
“There was one that was puking up blood and had agonizing breathing,” Graber said. “Sgt. Girouard said, ‘Go ahead and put him out of his misery.’ I felt it was the right thing to do.”
Graber pointed to a photo of the detainee that he shot, pointing out the entry wound just below his left eye. Graber said he aimed there because he knew that would cause immediate death.
Graber said although he initially didn’t tell investigators about the meeting and his “mercy killing” of the detainee, he confessed to investigators in June.
“I wanted to get it off my chest,” Graber said.
Graber was expected to be questioned by Girouard’s attorney later Wednesday.
Graber is the third soldier charged in the killings to testify against Girouard.
Husaker and Clagett testified Tuesday that Girouard gave them the order to release the three men and shoot them as they fled. They each have pleaded guilty to murder and sentenced to 18 years in military prison.
“Sgt. Girouard said Clagett and Hunsaker wanted to kill the detainees,” Graber testified Wednesday.
Hunsaker said he and Clagett took the three detainees outside, away from other soldiers. Hunsaker said that he pulled down their blindfolds and looked them in the eyes and that Clagett told them in Arabic to run.
Clagett testified Tuesday night that he dropped a knife near a detainee’s body to make it look like the detainees had attacked the soldiers. Other soldiers in the squad who have not been charged said they also heard Girouard’s plot to kill the men while on their mission but did not agree or go along with it.
The soldiers had previously told investigators they were given rules of engagement by 3rd Brigade commander Col. Michael Steele to kill all military-age men. Steele has denied this but invoked his right not to testify.