And these are the troops we will be fighting with in Afghanistan
'The Army pounds it into your head: kill everybody'
COLORADO SPRINGS - Soldiers from an Army unit that had 10 infantrymen accused of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter after returning to civilian life described a breakdown in discipline during their Iraq deployment in which troops murdered civilians. Some Fort Carson, Colorado-based soldiers have had trouble adjusting to life back in the United States, saying they refused to seek help, or were belittled or punished for seeking help. Others say they were ignored by their commanders, or coped through drug and alcohol abuse before they allegedly committed crimes, the Gazette of Colorado Springs said. The Gazette based its report on months of interviews with soldiers and their families, medical and military records, court documents and photographs. Several soldiers said discipline in the 3500-soldier unit deteriorated while in Iraq. "Toward the end, we were so mad and tired and frustrated," said Daniel Freeman. "You came too close, we lit you up. You didn't stop, we ran your car over with the Bradley" - an armoured fighting vehicle. Taxi drivers got shot for no reason, and others were dropped off bridges after interrogations, said Marcus Mifflin, who was eventually discharged with post traumatic stress syndrome. "You didn't get blamed unless someone could be absolutely sure you did something wrong," he said. Soldiers interviewed by the Gazette cited lengthy deployments, engaging in some of the bloodiest combat in Iraq. Since 2005, brigade soldiers also have been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides. The unit was deployed for a year to Iraq's Sunni Triangle in September 2004. Sixty-four unit soldiers were killed and more than 400 wounded - about double the average for Army brigades in Iraq, according to Fort Carson. In 2007, the unit served a bloody 15-month mission in Baghdad. It's currently deployed to the Khyber Pass region in Afghanistan.
And these are the soldiers NZ will be fighting alongside are they? Burnt out, emotionally damaged US soldiers who have moved from a kill everything zone, stretched even thinner to be redeployed into Afghanistan? Are NZers going to be happy for the SAS to turn a blind eye to American atrocities witnessed in Afghanistan? Will these burnt out US troops win hearts and minds?