There are new allegations that heavily armed private security contractors in Iraq are brutalizing Iraqi civilians. In an exclusive interview, four former security contractors told NBC News that they watched as innocent Iraqi civilians were fired upon, and one crushed by a truck. The contractors worked for an American company paid by U.S. taxpayers. The Army is looking into the allegations.
The four men are all retired military veterans: Capt. Bill Craun, Army Rangers; Sgt. Jim Errante, military police; Cpl. Ernest Colling, U.S. Army; and Will Hough, U.S. Marines. All went to Iraq months ago as private security contractors
The story describes three separate incidents involving brutalization of civilians, and the reactions from the contractors who witnessed those incidents.
Two of the men — Craun and Colling — say they quit immediately.
Craun, in an e-mail two days later to a friend at the Pentagon, wrote: "I didn’t want any part of an organization that deliberately murders children and innocent civilians."
Errante says he also quit after witnessing wild, indiscriminate shootings on two other missions.
"I said I didn’t want to be a witness to any of these, what could be classified as a war crime," says Errante.
Once back in the U.S., Craun — recipient of the Bronze Star — took the allegations to Army criminal investigators.
But, on the positive side, maybe some of those brutalized Iraqi civilians got to vote a few weeks ago, so it was probably worth it.
By the way, one wonders if these incidents would have ever come to light if it wasn’t for these four men with a conscience.