In Iraq, these stories have caused bitter resentment and distrust of the troops. Among Americans, they have strained units, leaving some Army supervisors saying troops seem reluctant to carry out their duties, and have led to an outpouring of anger in hometowns across the United States. "These guys go out and do what their country asks them to do, and now they're being told they did it wrong?" said Rich Hendrix, a Vietnam-era veteran who spent a recent afternoon inside the American Legion Hall in Ferdinand, Corporal Berg's hometown of 2,300 in Southern Indiana, where residents overwhelmingly say they support him. "I say they're doing the best they can. You can't even be sure who's your friend and who's your enemy over there, so what are they supposed to do?"So what did Dustin Berg do? What is it that Mr. Hendrix thinks people are unduly criticizing about?
The soldier, Cpl. Dustin M. Berg, fired three times at his Iraqi partner, Hussein Kamel Hadi Dawood al-Zubeidi, and killed him. As Corporal Berg ran away, he picked up Mr. Zubeidi's AK-47 and shot himself in the side. In the days that followed, Corporal Berg lied about what happened, saying Mr. Zubeidi was the one who had shot him. And for months he went right on lying, after he recovered from his wound, after he left Iraq, even after he received a Purple Heart he did not deserve with his parents watching at a solemn ceremony back home in Indiana.I can't believe there's a controversy over criticism of this guy. But there is.
"In earlier wars, I don't think some of these homicide cases would be prosecuted at all," said Guy L. Womack, a Houston lawyer and retired Marine lieutenant colonel who prosecuted marines and has represented the Army reservist accused of being the ringleader of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. "We're second-guessing things we don't need to second-guess."I wonder what sort of action would be worthy of second-guessing.