Hasty "surge" caused friendly-fire deaths?
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Taking a page from the Pat Tillman debacle, the military -- knowing full well that there were doubts about the facts -- told the families of soldiers killed in the earliest stages of the "surge" that their loved one was killed by enemy fire.
According to E&P's tireless Greg Mitchell: "One of the soldiers died just hours after arriving in Iraq -- and was one of those troops rushed to the country in the 'surge' who did not receive full training."
Mitchell continues: "The military suspected friendly fire later in February but did not inform the dead soldiers' families of these new doubts."
The incidents are under investigation. We won't know if Bush himself received communiquÃ©s about the doubts, as in the Pat Tillman case, but I'd lay odds that there are political motivations behind murky reporting on early deaths from the surge.
And then there's this from the Savannah Morning News, again via Mitchell:
"At least 143 soldiers joined Fort Stewart's 1st Brigade too late to participate in a final combat exercise before their units deployed to Iraq. Last week, one of those soldiers - Pvt. Matthew T. Zeimer, 18 - was the first from the brigade to be killed when he was hit by enemy fire in Ramadi, the stronghold of Iraq's Sunni insurgency.
"Zeimer arrived at Fort Stewart on Dec. 18 after basic training and deployed to Iraq just a few weeks later. He missed the brigade's intensive four-week mission rehearsal in October when more than 1,300 trainers and Iraqi role-players came to the post as part of the most realistic training program the Army offers for Iraq operations.
"The fact some of the brigade's 4,000 soldiers missed that training raises questions about how well the Army is preparing troops for war in the face of accelerated and repeat deployments."