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Report says soldiers were not protected

Release Time: 2007-5-17|Read: 5412 times | Print

Report says soldiers were not protected

Updated: 2007-05-17 20:26

WASHINGTON - Three US soldiers slaughtered in a grisly kidnapping-murder plot south of Baghdad last June were not properly protected during a mission that was not well planned or executed, a military investigation has concluded.

Two military officers have been relieved of their commands as a result of the litany of mistakes, but neither faced criminal charges, a military official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

A report on the investigation said the platoon leader and company commander - whose names were not released - failed to provide proper supervision to the unit or enforce military standards.

A seven-page summary of the investigation provided to the AP also said it appears insurgents may have rehearsed the attack two days earlier, and that Iraqi security forces near the soldiers' outpost probably saw and heard the attack and "chose to not become an active participant in the attack on either side."

"This was an event caused by numerous acts of complacency, and a lack of standards at the platoon level," said the investigating officer, Lt. Col. Timothy Daugherty, in the summary.

Three 101st Airborne Division soldiers were killed in the June 16, 2006, attack. Spc. David J. Babineau, of Springfield, Mass., was found dead at the scene, and two others - Pfc. Kristian Menchaca of Houston and Pfc. Thomas Tucker of Madras, Ore. - were abducted. Their mutilated bodies were found three days later, tied together and booby-trapped with bombs.

Details of the attack and what led up to it came as thousands of US and Iraqi forces were scouring the same area near Youssifiyah, in what's called the Triangle of Death, for three soldiers believed to have been abducted last Saturday by an al-Qaida-related group.

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