FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Friendly Fire Ambush

by MARJORIE COHN

Sergeant Patrick R. McCaffrey, Sr. and First Lieutenant Andre D. Tyson died on this day two years ago in Balad, Iraq. Back then, military officials reported that enemy insurgents ambushed them. The Army subsequently conducted an investigation and learned the men were targeted and killed by Iraqi troops they were training.

Although the Army completed its investigation on September 30, 2005, it failed to clarify the initial notification to the families for nine months. It took a May 22 letter from Senator Barbara Boxer’s office to force the Army to finally come clean.

A month before he died, Patrick told his father that Iraqi forces they were training had attacked his unit. When he filed a complaint with his chain of command, Patrick “was told to keep his mouth shut,” his mother said.

After Patrick died, his parents conducted their own investigations. The Army denied requests to see autopsy reports. The McCaffreys persisted. They talked to soldiers in their son’s unit and managed to learn what really happened.

Bob McCaffrey was informed by members of his son’s company that insurgents were offering Iraqi soldiers about $100 for each American they could kill. “Iraqi troops are turning on their American counterparts,” Bob said. “That puts a knock in the spin that the White House is trying to put on this story — how the Iraqis are being well trained and are getting ready to take over.”

Nadia McCaffrey learned that after her son was shot, a US truck arrived. It picked up Lt. Tyson, who was dead, but did not take her son who was still alive. The truck returned later and took him to the base, where he bled to death.

Yesterday, Brig. Gen. Oscar Hilman and three other officers visited Patrick’s mother to deliver the official report. “It was overwhelming,” Nadia told me. I had to live through the whole thing again.”

The officers “tried to patronize me as a good Mom,” she added. “I said I won’t stand for that. I want the truth!”

When Nadia talked to Army officers yesterday she asked them, “How could you possibly let this happen”? They sat silent.

An Army official cited the “complexity” of the case as an excuse for the delay in telling the families how their sons really died, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“They never tell the family the truth,” said Ophelia Tyson, grandmother of Andre Tyson. “You know how politics is.”

“I really want this story to come out; I want people to know what happened to my son,” Nadia said. “There is no doubt to me that this is still happening to soldiers today, but our chain of command is awfully reckless; they don’t seem to give a damn about what’s happening to soldiers.”

The father of two children, Patrick joined the National Guard the day after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was the first combat death in the 58 year history of California’s 579 Engineer Battalion, based in Petaluma, Ca. Patrick was listed as “Casualty number 848.” That was 1652 deaths ago.

“He was killed by the Iraqis that he was training,” Nadia said. “People in this country need to know that.”

“It’s god-awful,” said Bob, himself an Army veteran. “It underlies the lie of this whole situation in Iraq. It’s all to me a pack of lies.”

Boxer noted, “You have to ask yourself, ‘What are we doing there with a blank check and a blind eye, when our soldiers are risking their lives for the Iraqi people and the Iraqis are turning around and killing our soldiers?’ We need an exit strategy.”

MARJORIE COHN is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild.

 

 

 

 

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She writes, speaks and does media about human rights and U.S. foreign policy. Her most recent book is “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.” Visit her website at http://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter at @marjoriecohn.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail