"Accidents" or hostile fire in Iraq?

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 15 09:12:23 MDT 2003

A few weeks ago I raised the subject of the surprising large ratio between
"accidental" deaths and deaths by hostile fire in Iraq. This subject has now
reached the press:


Some quotes from the article (about the death of a particular soldier from
Maine, which was reported as a traffic accident but appears to have been not
so "accidental"):

"The case raises a very troubling question, which is, are combat deaths
being disguised as accidents . . . so it would appear less harm is being
caused by the Iraqi resistance than is the case?" asked Rep. Tom Allen,

A spokeswoman for Sen. Olympia Snowe said Snowe, too, is disturbed by the
inconsistencies in the Army's reporting of the Coffin case.

"The family's grief has been compounded by conflicting information, and they
deserve to know the truth of the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Coffin's
death," Snowe, R-Maine, said in a written statement.

Both Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, have worked with the family and
announced earlier that the U.S. Army Adjutant General's office had convened
an official board of inquiry to investigate the case.

A board of inquiry is a higher level of investigation than the routine
inquiry conducted in any fatality.

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