Specific incident, US soldier mutilating enemy dead, 1990-91 Gulf War?
February 18, 2007 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Somewhat gruesome question: Are there accounts of a specific incident (details inside) of a US soldier mutilating enemy dead in the 1990-91 Gulf War?

Some background (and unfortunately gruesome details): more than a year ago, a friend of mine told me about an incident from the 1990-91 Gulf War. My recollection isn’t perfect, and I can’t remember what his information source was. He said that a US soldier mutilated an enemy corpse, little by little, for a duration of about a week. His description was that the soldier essentially took the corpse on as a sort of project. The soldier may have kept the corpse in or behind a shed or tent. The corpse was eventually taken away by either the soldier’s superiors or his fellow soldiers.

I can’t find anything about this on Google, despite several hours of trying (if I missed some obvious set of search words, please don’t pounce too hard). I’m looking for factual evidence, and ideally a synopsis or results of an investigation into the incident (if it happened), including testimony from those involved. Links to lists of related or similar incidents, resulting courts-martial, etc., will be appreciated. However, I’m interested primarily in the 1990-91 Gulf War.

I realize this topic is emotionally/politically charged, but what I’m looking for is actually pretty specific, so I offer thanks in advance for specific answers.
posted by sleevener to Human Relations (6 answers total)
I know that the book Jarhead contains descriptions of the desecration of corpses during the first Gulf War, but I don't know if the accusations match what you describe or if his accounts are confirmed by any independent source. I just remember reading about them.
posted by Lame_username at 11:14 AM on February 18, 2007

One quick amazon search later: The particulars are pretty similar, so it looks like Jarhead might have been my friend's source. Thanks, Lame_username.

I'd still appreciate anyone's further or related info.
posted by sleevener at 11:50 AM on February 18, 2007

I read that in Harper's Magazine, I don't know if it was taken from Jarhead or not. I remember the part about the mutilation of the Iraqi corpse very well though.
posted by Melsky at 1:16 PM on February 18, 2007

[with all due respect, please take derails to meta or email]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:36 PM on February 18, 2007

What you describe is almost a direct lift from the book Jarhead, mentioned above. Whether or not the story is fact or fiction depends on how closely you think the book is a true memoir or not.
posted by frogan at 9:11 PM on February 18, 2007

Further info still appreciated of course, but it looks like I got my answer. Melsky, do you have an issue number or a link to that Harper's article? Is it possible it was an exerpt from Jarhead?

Confidential to future googlers, in this transcript of a lecture at Rochester Institute of Technology, Swofford seems to indicate that the story is factual and not exaggerated or sensationalized.
posted by sleevener at 12:54 PM on February 19, 2007

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