Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Perspective: Untangling the web of betrayal

Left, top: Johnathan Millican was the first to die in the attack when he threw himself atop a concussion grenade to save 4 others in the room. Severely wounded, he was shot in the back of the head by the attackers. Left, bottom: Brian Freeman was the only one found alive when help finally arrived, but mortally wouned he died on the way to the hospital, the last of the four abducted soldiers to die.

The five sport-utility vehicles sat abandoned in the darkness. A faint beeping sound signaled that their doors were open. Some of the Iraqi police who arrived at the scene initially feared going near the cars, thinking the sound meant they were rigged to explode. Finally a few ventured closer. In the back of two of the vehicles were the four Americans. One of them was alive, though barely. Handcuffed, he had been shot in the back of the head, but he was breathing. The other soldiers were already dead. One had taken bullets in both legs and his right hand, and at some point the kidnappers had torn open his body armor and fired bullets into his chest and torso. Two others were handcuffed together, with one's right hand joined to the other's left. Two shots in the face and neck had killed one. Four bullets in the chest had killed the other.

None of the soldiers had identification. The killers had taken everything from the men's pockets before fleeing the scene. In his last moments, one of the soldiers, a young lieutenant, realized his body might be unidentifiable when he was discovered. In the dust caked on one of the vehicles he managed to write his last name, Fritz, a final act before dying...

How did the attackers breach the base's security?

Read the rest at Time