Friday, May 04, 2007

Lapses found in battlefield ethics study

The overall study was the fourth in a series done by a special mental health advisory team since 2003 aimed at assessing the well-being of forces serving in Iraq.
Officials said the teams visited Iraq last August to October, talking to troops, health care providers and chaplains.
The study team also found that long and repeated deployments were increasing troop mental health problems.
But Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, the Army's acting surgeon general, said the team's "most critical" findings were on ethics.
"They looked under every rock, and what they found was not always easy to look at," said Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health.
Findings included:
•Sixty-two% of soldiers and 66% of Marines said that they knew someone seriously injured or killed, or that a member of their team had become a casualty.
•The 2006 adjusted rate of suicides per 100,000 soldiers was 17.3 soldiers, lower than the 19.9 rate reported in 2005.
•Only 47% of the soldiers and 38% of Marines said non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect.
•About a third of troops said they had insulted or cursed at civilians in their presence.
•About 10% of soldiers and Marines reported mistreating civilians or damaging property when it was not necessary. Mistreatment includes hitting or kicking a civilian.
•Forty-four% of Marines and 41% of soldiers said torture should be allowed to save the life of a soldier or Marine.
•Thirty-nine% of Marines and 36% of soldiers said torture should be allowed to gather important information from insurgents.


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