Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to “bait” their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, and then kill whoever picked up the items, according to the defense attorney for a soldier accused of planting evidence on an Iraqi he killed. Gary Myers, an attorney for Sgt. Evan Vela, said Monday his client had acted “pursuant to orders.”
“We believe that our client has done nothing more than he was instructed to do by superiors,” Myers said in a telephone interview.
Which is no defense if it was a manifestly illegal order.
“To prevent the enemy from learning about our tactics, techniques and training procedures, we don’t discuss specific methods targeting enemy combatants,” said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman.
Boyce also said there are no classified programs that authorize the murder of Iraqi civilians or the use of “drop weapons” to make killings appeared to be legally justified, which is what Vela and the two other snipers are accused of doing.
That sounds manifestly illegal.