Posted by: Tony Carson | 25 September, 2007

U.S. snipers ‘bait’ Iraqis then ‘engage’

Even unnecessary wars produce cruel tactics.

WASHINGTON – Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to “bait” their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, and then kill whoever picked up the items, according to the defense attorney for a soldier accused of planting evidence on an Iraqi he killed. Gary Myers, an attorney for Sgt. Evan Vela, said his client had acted “pursuant to orders.”

“We believe that our client has done nothing more than he was instructed to do by superiors,” Myers said in a telephone interview.

Myers and Vela’s father, Curtis Carnahan of Idaho Falls, Idaho, said in separate interviews that sworn statements and testimony in the cases of two other accused Ranger snipers indicate that the Army has a classified program that encourages snipers to “bait” potential targets and then kill whoever takes the bait.

The Army on Monday declined to confirm such a program exists.

“To prevent the enemy from learning about our tactics, techniques and training procedures, we don’t discuss specific methods targeting enemy combatants,” said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman.

he Washington Post, which first reported the existence of the “baiting” program, cited the sworn statement of Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of a Ranger sniper scout platoon.

“Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy,” Didier said in the statement. “Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. forces.”

The Post said the program was devised by the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, which advises commanders on more effective methods in today’s unconventional conflicts, including ways to combat roadside bombs.

The full story is here: U.S. snipers accused of ‘baiting’ Iraqis.

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