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Iraq Veterans Describe Atrocities to Lawmakers
Antiwar veterans of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan took their case to Capitol Hill Thursday, baring their souls with stories of killings of innocent civilians, torture and wrongful detentions.
“On several occasions our convoys came upon bodies that had been lying on the road, sometimes for weeks,” said Marine Corps veteran Vincent Emanuele, who served in al-Qaim near the Syrian border in 2004 and 2005.
“When encountering these bodies standard procedure was to run over the corpses, sometimes even stopping and taking pictures, which was also standard practice when encountering the dead in Iraq,” he told the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which organized the hearing.
Emanuele also said that U.S. military personnel often took “pot shots” at cars passing by.
“Our rules of engagement stated that we should first fire warning shots into the ground in front of the car, then the engine block, and the windshield. That is if the car was even moving in the first place,” he said. “Many times cars that actually had pulled off to the side of the road were also shot at.”
Montalvan said he personally witnessed U.S. military personnel carrying out waterboarding, the mock-drowning interrogation technique that has long been considered torture by U.S. courts.
Former Srgt. Adam Kokesh presented a picture of himself standing, smiling, in front of a dead Iraqi civilian that another marine had shot.
“This is a picture that I’m very ashamed of, having posed with this dead Iraqi as a trophy picture,” he said. “But what felt awkward to me at the time was not so much that I was taking the picture, but the fact that I had not killed this man and I was taking a trophy from somebody else’s kill.”
Kokesh said the person in the trophy photo was an innocent civilian whose car was accidentally “lit up” by marines.