U.S. News & World Report had this same story a week ago, identical in all respects (probably because they come from the same Army report) save for one critical detail — apparently, we killed one of their guys while he was in the act of firing an RPG. Yowza.
A short Army press release issued on the day of the skirmish offered the following information: U.S. soldiers from the 5th Squadron 73rd Cavalry 82nd Airborne were accompanying Iraqi forces on a routine joint patrol along the border with Iran, about 75 miles east of Baghdad, when they spotted two Iranian soldiers retreating from Iraqi territory back into Iran. A moment later, U.S. and Iraqi forces came upon a third Iranian soldier on the Iraqi side of the border, who stood his ground. As U.S. and Iraqi soldiers approached the Iranian officer and began speaking with him, a platoon of Iranian soldiers appeared and moved to surround the coalition patrol, taking up positions on high ground. At that point, according to the Army’s statement, the Iranian captain told the U.S. and Iraqi soldiers that if they tried to leave they would be fired on. Fearing abduction by the Iranians, U.S. troops moved to go anyway, and fighting broke out. Army officials say the Iranian troops fired first with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, and that U.S. troops fell further back into Iraqi territory, while four Iraqi army soldiers, one interpreter and one Iraqi border guard remained in the hands of the Iranians.
The official release says there were no casualties among the Americans, and makes no mention of any on the Iranian side. U.S. soldiers present at the firefight, however, tell TIME that American forces killed at least one Iranian soldier who had been aiming a rocket-propelled grenade at their convoy of Humvees.
Verrry curious that U.S. News found out about this only last week, within 24 hours or so of the British sailors being kidnapped.
Speaking of which, are you sitting down? Because the Associated Press is about to rock. your. world.
The letters released by the Iranian government and attributed to the captive sailor have been increasingly strident and oddly written for a 26-year-old from southwest England, an indication that they were produced under duress, linguistics experts and psychologists said Friday….
“I would bet my house on the fact that this is basically Persian speakers who have written this,” Holes said. “This is very, very mannered English. … It’s stilted. It’s not natural.”
Holes also took issue with a passage from the third letter in which Turney describes her captors as “caring, compassionate, hospitable and friendly.”
“The same adjectives are used more or less in the other two letters, which leads me to believe they’ve been dictated,” he said.
Coming soon from the AP: a frame by frame analysis of today’s hostage tape that suggests there might have been another man in the room telling the sailor what to say.