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Tuesday, June 4, 2002

A soldier's story

Recently your paper quoted me as saying that my unit was ordered to kill women and children.

I would like to clarify this quote and provide more context.

Prior to the operation, we were made aware of the fact that the hostile forces of the Whaleback might include women and children. In that event, if those women and children showed hostile intent, we were ordered to kill them as hostile forces, just like any other hostile force we encountered. However, this does not mean that we were ordered to slaughter noncombatants such as babies.

We were further informed that some of these children are trained starting at a very young age to be soldiers. Knowing this, we could not afford to just dismiss them as noncombatants.

However, I do not want anyone to get the idea that we were ever sent out to kill anyone and anything that moves. We are better than that, both as a military unit and as a society.

Matt Guckenheimer

Cayuga Heights, May 31

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