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As if a Soldier's Life isn't Hard Enough. A Life Ruined in 4 Seconds
 Part of channel(s): Afghanistan (current event)

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By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times - June 10, 2012, 6:05 a.m.

Sgt. 1st Class Walter Taylor's life collapsed in four interminable seconds in a dusty field in central Afghanistan.



His convoy was reeling from a roadside bomb, his fellow soldiers were engaged in combat with insurgents — and a mysterious black car had just screeched to a stop in the middle of the firefight. Some nine minutes later, a black door opens.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Second 1: A figure dressed in dark, bulky clothing emerges.

Second 2: The figure begins walking toward the trunk.

Second 3: Taylor, with five wounded comrades behind him, sees a thin trigger wire seeming to snake directly toward the black car. Could there be a second bomb in the trunk?

Second 4: Taylor squeezes the trigger on his M-4 carbine. The figure crumples to the dirt.

The figure was not an insurgent, but Dr. Aqilah Hikmat, a 49-year-old mother of four who headed the obstetrics department at the nearby Ghazni provincial hospital. Also dead inside the car were Hikmat's 18-year-old son and her 16-year-old niece. Hikmat's husband, in the front seat, was wounded.

Army prosecutors say Hikmat's killing in July 2011 was not just a casualty of combat, but a crime. Charged with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty, Taylor will face a hearing June 19 before a U.S. military judge in Germany to determine whether the case goes to a full court-martial, with the possibility of three years in prison.

***

Ten days after the explosion and firefight, Taylor got what he is convinced was a dose of Afghan street justice: His vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, which blew off his nose, shattered his cheeks, ripped open his lips, drove his teeth back toward his throat, blinded him in one eye — in short, left him without a face as he had known it.

The 30-year-old sergeant, who had served three previous combat deployments, accepted a Purple Heart in August 2011 and a criminal charge sheet shortly thereafter.

"I feel to this day that this makes no sense. It's just wrong," Taylor said recently, sitting at a table in the kitchen of his small apartment near Bamberg, Germany, with his German wife, Nina, and their two young children. "I mean, can people please look at everything I did, and why I did what I did?"

Taylor was a well-regarded field leader whose split-second decision came as the Army was trying to minimize allied-caused civilian casualties.

The military has increasingly emphasized precision weapons and positive identification of targets before shooting. Its leaders have emphasized that unidentified people should be presumed to be civilians who can't be engaged unless they show obvious signs of hostile intent.

Last year there were 3,021 civilian deaths, according to the United Nations. This year so far, deaths are down 36% from the same period last year, though violence has been spiking in recent weeks as the weather has warmed.

Hikmat's death put the Army on the defensive, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai calling for an investigation.

Taylor's civilian lawyer, James Culp, will argue at next week's hearing that every soldier is entitled to shoot in self-defense, no matter what the rules of engagement say. Infantrymen who engage heavily armed combatants have fewer protections under the law than police officers, he contends.

"Before criminal charges can be filed [against a police officer], it has to be demonstrated ... that no other police officer under those circumstances would have acted that way," he said.
"But there's no such system for guys who are 100 times more likely to encounter a lethal scenario on a daily basis and die, and that's our soldiers."

Army officials would not comment on Taylor's case but said commanders of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force were determined to uphold the law.

full story:
http://www.latimes.com/news

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Added: Jun-11-2012 Occurred On: Jun-11-2012
By: stirgy
In:
Afghanistan
Tags: Afghanistan, shooting, mistake, war, is, hell
Location: Afghanistan (load item map)
Views: 14819 | Comments: 218 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 2 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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  • A drone fires a few missiles at a target and kills civilians as collateral damage and the generals mutter sorry with no accountability until the next target comes up and they do it again. However, boots on the ground misidentifies a target during a hot op and then gets charged as a criminal? It's a complete disgrace and a typical double standard.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • Guns are loud,very loud. why would you drive a car full of family into a firefight???

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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    • @DuchN

      Sure, blame the victims. Pull your head out your ass. They obviously didn't drive into a firefight but were unexpectedly caught up in it and stopped in a panic unsure of what to do. Stay put in the relative safety of a car? Drive forward and be considered a threat? Back up and into a crossfire? A single road doesn't give you to many options of where to go. I'd like to see how you'd react.

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    • @Cujo1234 I would drive my car through the nearest garage door opened or closed. Or back up the street the way I came. But you can be damned sure I would not stay their or put my family in danger. There is nearly always some other place you can be or go.. If nothing else i would unload my entire family and get behind a wall while taking off my t-shirt to make a white flag.. Americans will honor a white flag even if Islam won't.

      Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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    • @DemocratWithDerringer

      Easy to say from behind the safety of your computer. Not so easy when you're in the middle of it.

      So are you really blaming the victims?

      White flag? HA! Of course Americans know about white flags, not so sure the Afghans do.

      Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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    • @Cujo1234

      Nope, get out of the car draped in black and head toward the trunk of the car during a firefight....

      Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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    • @Cujo1234 Yeah behind the safety of my computer. Gotcha. Because I repy to some foolishness you pop in with the standard internet BS. "Oh what could you possibly know you're at a computer!"

      I stated what I would do. Simple as that. I also am pretty sure I mentioned that Islam would not likely respect a white flag. So do I blame the victims? Yes..

      You are in a war zone. Leave.

      I have been saying Israel should pack up and move for years.

      If there is a war in you vicinity GET THE More..

      Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • The government acknowledges that our enemy dresses as civilians but when shit like this happens they act like it is a new concept.

    Fucking scumbag politicians.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • War is hell. Why did she approach a combat scene and park her car there for 9 minutes?? Wisdom would have been to GTFO of there. Then get out and open your trunk?? Dumb. Sorry for innocent people that got killed, but don't be stupid.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • Bullshit. Fuck the crybaby liberals.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • this is simply another disgusting and infuriating case of the U.S. military putting publican relations ahead of its soldier's safety and the realities of war. as usual, politicians in washington tie one arm around the backs of its soldiers and expects them to fight against bottom feeders that could care less about fellow afghan citizens. this guy is fighting for himself and his buddies, has to make a split second decision and then has to pay for it. utterly pathetic.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • Theyre scaprgoating him. Its not right put someone in a situation where every thing is un sure then prosecute them for making a decision. Sorry the lady died but what was she doing fooling around in a battle zone?

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • Now if this was an Afghan soldier that accidentally shot up a American family on the way to the doctor, these whiney right wingers would be screaming bloody murder.... but because the victims were just "muslim rats" these people think the shooter should get a free pass.

    Posted Jun-13-2012 By 

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    • @loweyes It is totally not reasonable to disallow soldiers to defend themselves on the basis of reasonable fear, especially when the soldier is acting to protect a whole group, not just his or herself.

      Posted Dec-19-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'Alpha1' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • he did the right thing, if he didnt his kids might not have a father. if civillians dont wanna get shoot its probably not a good idea to turn up at a firefight.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • Get those guys the hell out of there.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • Completely disgracefull for the brass in Washington to prosecute these soldiers.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • More civilians driving into a battle... how about you go AWAY from the people shooting if you don't want to be shot at? a brain dead is what a brain dead does

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'knightgarbage' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • I see the post below me but again.



    "The figure was not an insurgent, but Dr. Aqilah Hikmat, a 49-year-old mother of four who headed the obstetrics department at the nearby Ghazni provincial hospital. Also dead inside the car were Hikmat's 18-year-old son and her 16-year-old niece. Hikmat's husband, in the front seat, was wounded."

    WHAT......................THE.........................FUCK WAS SHE DOING ON THE BATTLEFIELD????????????????

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • I would have killed every MoFo that wasn't on my team....its the heat of battle. Deal with it.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • What a crock of shit charge. Hope he beats it.

    Posted Jun-12-2012 By 

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  • US convoy being attacked by IED and shot up. Hurr As a civilian, I'm going to run TOWARDS the violence and no expect to be treated as a hostile. Smart.

    Posted Jun-12-2012 By 

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    • @mindofarock This is what I was thinking. Even if she was qualified to help she should have known it would be extremely risky to approach a group of soldiers who had been under fire.

      Posted Jun-12-2012 By 

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  • Well he got hung out to dry.

    Posted Jun-12-2012 By 

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  • If you take chances in that type of environment, you will probably end up dead.
    This is the type of war they fight, they have no rules of engagement so why should our troops?

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'BIGLOUBRUNO' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • I know a kid who recently went over to Afghanistan for his first tour (he's an infantry Marine). Before he left I asked him why he chose to go over there to that stone-aged country to fight. I was very curious about his mindset. He said, "didn't have anything else going on."
    Wonder how he's doing these days...

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • I hope this idiot goes to prison. He couldn't see where he was getting shot at from so he shoots some innocent people. What a piece of filth.

    Posted Jun-12-2012 By 

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    • @PKM9999 You want someone to blame? Blame the politicians who sent us to war in places where we shouldn't be. Our leaders put these soldiers in these positions and then want to hang them out to dry for split-second decisions when their lives are on the line. I find it amazing how armchair warriors are quick to cast a verdict about a situation they've never been in.

      Posted Jun-13-2012 By 

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    • @Texaroni - fuckin' A!

      Posted Jun-13-2012 By 

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    • @PKM9999 That would be standard practice for men in arms. Not reasonable to expect these guys to take chances like our ROE require.

      Posted Dec-19-2012 By 

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  • She was probably picking up her terrorist family to take to the hospital and stitch up. Fucking ridiculous

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user 'BubbaSmash' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @BubbaSmash If we ever were invaded I bet you would be first in line to suck the enemies cock - traitor, why don't you swim down to Cuba if you don't like it here? Because here you can speak your mind - a freadomm that was paid for by blood.

      Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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    • @humanbean: So you tell BubbaSmash to leave america coz he speaks his mind.. then you say in america you can speak your mind. You're a first class fuckin idiot aren't ya. A well trained dog.

      Speak ya mind or don't speak ya mind? Your choice buddy, make up ya fukin mind! Hilarious.

      Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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    • @humanbean Actually.. On the internet you can speak your mind, where it doesn't make a difference and where it's not sensored by your government- if you'd like. But try and impose your opinion with government if you don't agree with it.. GOOD LUCK. Free speech protest has been made a felony in the US wherever there are government officials or secret service present.. In other words- wherever the president thinks it matters he will have secret service there to shut your ass up and put you in jai More..

      Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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    • @mdrmusic LOL. Well said my friend. I think his avatar explains himself pretty damn well if you ask me.

      Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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  • He'll get off later but i feel sorry for him, poor guy surves our country looses his face then gets punished. In war you have 0.01 of a second to decide if its enemy or allied, if you're wrong, your dead.. or in his case they died, just a tragedy all round.

    Posted Jun-11-2012 By 

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