Bad news in the search for three missing soldiers

Unconfirmed reports circulating that the bodies of all three soldiers have been found

Soldier from the 3rd “Spearhead” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment conduct operations in the Triangle of Death. Click to view.

As the search for the three missing U.S. soldiers nears the end of its eleventh, ominous news emerges from Iraq that three bodies have been discovered that may be those of the missing soldiers. Earlier today, an Iraqi police source told the Western media that a body “wearing U.S. military-issued pants” was seen floating in the Euphrates River near Mussayab, about 22 miles south of Mahmudiyah. “Witnesses said the man looked ‘Western’ and had a tattoo on his left arm. He had gunshot wounds to the head and torso,” CNN reported. Major General Caldwell confirmed Iraqi police found the body of a man wearing portions of an Army uniform, and Multinational Forces Iraq is working to identify the body.

Voice of Iraq reported two additional bodies wearing U.S. uniforms have been found in Babil province, also near Mussayab. “They bore signs of torture,” according to the report posted at IraqSlogger. “The police handed the bodies to the U.S. army and cordoned off the area,” however there has been no confirmation from the U.S. military of the report at this time. In today’s briefing, Maj. Gen. Caldwell stated intelligence indicates that two soldiers are still believed to be alive.

The New York Times’ Damien Cave is embedded with U.S. and Iraqi forces in the Triangle of Death region, and reports that insurgents are now mining the fields and footpaths in an attempt to counter dismounted patrols that are avoiding mined roads in the search for the missing soldiers. U.S. and Iraq troops are taking casualties moving through the farms south of Baghdad. The Triangle of Death region in northern Babil is one of three regions in the Baghdad belts that are the focus of the Baghdad Security Plan, and the search for the U.S. soldiers has focused efforts in the region sooner than expected.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has yet to release a videotape or images of the captured soldiers, which, eleven days after the capture of the soldiers, is unusual. In the past, al Qaeda and allied Salafist groups quickly released video or other media to maximize the propaganda value of its operations. After Ansar al Sunnah killed 6 Marine snipers from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment operating in the Haditha region in the summer of 2005, the terror group issued a video purporting to display the assault, along with captured weapons, dogtags, gear and what is believed to be the body of one of the Marines.

Previous reports:

May 12, 2007

Five soldiers killed, 3 kidnapped near Mahmudiyah

Al Qaeda attackers said to be moving towards Fallujah

May 15, 2007

Report: Closing in on Al Qaeda in the Triangle

Coalition forces may have narrowed the search for the missing soldiers missing since last Saturday’s attack

May 16, 2007

Iraq Report: More on the Search

Two high value targets detained

May 17, 2007

The search in the Triangle of Death continues

U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to scour the farming regions around Yusifiyah and Mahmudiyah in an effort to recover its 3 missing soldiers

May 19, 2007

Seven days of searching in the Triangle of Death and beyond

Nine detained in involvement of kidnapped soldiers, General Petraeus says information exists that two of the soldiers are alive

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • Rubin says:

    RIP my Brothers, You are Heros to all of us. Lord please help their families and hold their spirits close.

  • DubiousD says:

    If these aren’t the three soldiers, then that means three other poor bastards were gruesomely murdered. That’s the sunny-side up scenario.
    It does seem strange that the terrorists haven’t issued a video yet or even a statement. Perhaps that is yet to come.

  • john knowlton says:

    Yet all we hear from the mainstream media, Teddy K, and all of his cohorts, Amnesty International, the army of lawyers representing the Gitmo prisoners, is how awful we treat our prisoners. Bunch of hypocrites. Take off the gloves, dang it!

  • Tefon Don says:

    If this proves to be the body of one of the captured soldiers (and I pray it is not), there are a number of questions raised:
    Why was the body in the river? In the past, captured and executed troops have been left booby-trapped for us to find.
    Why gunshot wounds? Did the capture go haywire? Did he get a chance to escape?
    Why no video?

  • serurier says:

    Rest In Peace

  • serurier says:

    I think terrorists still in the area .

  • Neo-andertal says:

    “it may put a wee bit of strain on ROE compliance”

  • RTLM says:

    When the 7 soldiers were ambushed and the three taken I felt sick. My prayers are for them and their families. There should be payback.

  • Luke Willen says:

    The answer to this kind of behaviour by these so called “insurgents” (for this you should read Terrorist Thugs” is reakky quite simple. For every US, British or Iraqi soldier or civillian kidnapped and murdered a senior captured terrorist will be executed in retaliation having been tried and found guilty for whatever crimes those individuals committed.
    Alternatively US and British forces could quite simply be ordered not to take prisoners.If these people are shooting then they are the enemy. If they want to be treated as hoourable combatents then they should start behaving as such. If not, then they cannot expect to be treated according to the usual laws and customs of war.
    If the mainstream media or Amnesty International don’t like it then that is their problem. strangely enough they make lots of noise about Gitmo or Abu ghraib but there is barely a whimper (at most) about the behaviour of the terrorists towards any prisoners they might take.

  • Tony says:

    I don’t think it’s just Amnesty International that would object.
    John McCain was tortured as a POW for 14 years in VietNam. He also objects.
    His position is that following the path you recommend is counterproductive. Remember, there are two US soldiers who are still not accounted for. How sure are you that implementing such a policy now would have no effect on their treatment?
    As someone who was tortured as a POW for 14 years, does John McCain have any credibility to speak on the subject?
    It seems to me that if we spare no effort in finding the two remaining soldiers, we also should rationally try to reduce the risk of their maltreatment. That seems consistent and I know that is McCain’s view also.

  • Luke Willen says:

    Obvioulsly I have the greatest respectfor John McCain and evem some fr Amnesty International. However, so far as the media are concerned large sections haveclearly double standards.
    Policy regarding whether or not prisoners should be taken should not be changed right away. If the two remaining US soldiers are still alive then they should be treated as POWs. In this cass there is no problem. If on the other hand they have been murdered and this practice is continued in the future then I see no reason for our forces to accept the surrender of hostile forces short of a widespread and general capitulation by the terrorists unless intelligence information is required.


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