Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Smackdown in the Green Zone (II): The SIR speaks

I’ve been reading the “Serious Incident Report” filed about the Sept. 28 confrontation between American bodyguards and Iraqi soldiers in the Green Zone. The e-mail I carried earlier this week got the facts right, but there are some more details that bring home just how serious the incident was. For example, as tempers flared at ...

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I've been reading the "Serious Incident Report" filed about the Sept. 28 confrontation between American bodyguards and Iraqi soldiers in the Green Zone. The e-mail I carried earlier this week got the facts right, but there are some more details that bring home just how serious the incident was.

For example, as tempers flared at around 5:30 that afternoon, the report says:

I’ve been reading the “Serious Incident Report” filed about the Sept. 28 confrontation between American bodyguards and Iraqi soldiers in the Green Zone. The e-mail I carried earlier this week got the facts right, but there are some more details that bring home just how serious the incident was.

For example, as tempers flared at around 5:30 that afternoon, the report says:

The Iraqi captain chambered a round in his Glock pistol subsequently shoving the muzzle into PSS Brandon Sene’s neck demanding Shane Baumgartner exit the vehicle. Upon seeing this, Baumgartner exited the vehicle only to be stripped of his equipment and seriously assaulted by the soldiers.

The four bodyguards were then arrested and their weapons confiscated. They were taken to the Iraqi brigade headquarters, where they were “repeatedly assaulted.” “One soldier used an Olympic Barbell (45 lbs in weight) to strike Brandon Sene in the abdomen and lower back.” He is listed in the report as suffering bruises and lacerations. His comrades were struck with the butts of AK-47 rifles.    

The four Americans were released after Glenn Meadows, identified in the report as chief of DynCorp’s Iraq operations, met with an Iraqi general. The team in question was DynCorp International’s “Shark Team One,” which is assigned, ironically, to protecting VIPs involved in training Iraqi police. I am guessing from some of the annotations to the paper that they work with the Interior Ministry, which has had some real problems in the past.

Proving that the MSM are not entirely asleep at the wheel, Anthony Shadid, who either works for the Washington Post or the New York Times (it no longer is clear to me) has an article about the incident today.   

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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