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On the Media: A grim reminder of Iraq tragedy from WikiLeaks

A cable among the latest release of government communiques corroborates an account that detailed U.S. troops' killing of a family in Ishaqi, Iraq. It also shows the importance of determined reporting.

September 02, 2011|James Rainey

Schofield's reporting has been corroborated and a big story revived. But there is no joy in it for the journalist. He felt sickened back then at the thought that young Americans could have visited such horror on women and small children. He stayed up late into the night after writing the story to talk through the story with colleagues, they still recall.

Schofield now writes a column and edits opinion pieces for McClatchy's Kansas City Star. But he keeps photos taken that March morning in Ishaqi in his computer. One that he can't get out of his mind shows tiny bodies wrapped in blankets.

The journalist tries to fit all that he has learned about Ishaqi into a less troubling scenario.

"I can't get my head around the idea of U.S. soldiers standing behind these boys and pulling the trigger," he said. "Maybe with everyone huddled in one room, there was shooting and everyone was dead by the time they knew what happened. Maybe," he paused. "Who knows? I would like very much to know what happened."

The U.S. government should open its files from Ishaqi. Clarifying what happened that March day would meet a couple of American imperatives: protecting the homeland, and maintaining our most basic values, even in a time of war. Among many others, that would be a fitting 9/11 anniversary tribute.

james.rainey@latimes.com

Twitter: latimesrainey

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