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THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ

Some Marines Mentally Ill After Iraq, Documents Show

December 15, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

U.S. Navy documents released Tuesday provided detailed accounts of Marines suffering from deep psychiatric problems after serving in Iraq.

The portraits of the psychologically damaged troops were painted in documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through a Freedom of Information Act petition.

According to the documents, some Marines appeared delusional, describing how they single-handedly shot Iraqi soldiers in combat, or stabbed Iraqis on the ground who might have been feigning death.

One said he was feted at a special dinner with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Another bragged of being honored at a homecoming parade. Neither event occurred.

Another Marine described shooting Iraqi soldiers off a conveyor belt in a cement factory, and then being shot himself. He said he next "fired all his ammo and threw his knives at his assailant."

Another Marine told how he and his unit would "go through villages" and stab Iraqi soldiers lying on the ground to make sure they were dead. Some were stabbed 28 times, he said.

"I didn't have a bayonet; the Marines were out of bayonets," the Marine told investigators. "I had to stick Iraqis with machetes."

Both stories were discredited.

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