It's this kind of thing that makes you consider burning the country to the ground.
AN NASIRIYAH, March 28 Ă˘â‚¬â€ť U.S. Marines who secured a hospital that had been used by Iraqi forces later found several bloodied U.S. uniforms worn by female soldiers, NBCĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s Kerry Sanders reported Friday from the hospital. The find suggested that Iraq had held several POWs at the hospital, which is in An Nasiriyah, a town where at least five Americans were taken prisoner and eight went missing after their convoy came under fire.
SANDERS WAS shown where the uniforms were found Ă˘â‚¬â€ť inside the bathroom of a larger room that had been padlocked. It was the same room where 3,000 nuclear, biological and chemical suits were found when the Marines moved in.
The uniforms, which had had their American flag patches and names ripped off, were found inside a bag.
In another room, Marines found a large battery next to a bed Ă˘â‚¬â€ť leading them to suspect it was used as a torture device, Sanders reported.
The hospital was taken by the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, after a fierce battle with Iraqi forces there. Sanders, who has been traveling with the battalion, was shown the room by a Marine who identified the uniforms as those worn by servicewomen. It was not clear what distinguished them from those worn by men.
One female U.S. soldier is listed as a prisoner of war and two as missing in action. They were part of an Army maintenance convoy attacked by Iraqis after making a wrong turn in An Nasiriyah on Sunday. In that incident, two U.S. soldiers were killed, five are known to have been taken prisoner and eight are listed as missing in action.
The known female POW is Spc. Shoshawna Johnson, 30, of Fort Bliss, Texas. The female soldiers listed as missing are: Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 19, of Palestine, W.Va.; and Pfc. Lori Piestewa, 22, of Tuba City, Ariz.
On Wednesday, the PentagonĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s No. 2 general accused Iraq of executing some prisoners of war. Iraq later denied the allegation.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apparently was referring to some of the maintenance troops taken prisoner. Iraqi state television showed video footage of five POWs who were alive and the bodies of at least five U.S. soldiers.
Defense officials who have viewed the tape have said privately that several of the bodies had execution-style gunshot wounds to their heads.
On Thursday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that other Iraqi TV footage appeared to show two British soldiers who had been executed. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“It is an act of cruelty beyond all human comprehension,Ă˘â‚¬Âť the prime minister said at a news conference with President Bush after their summit at Camp David.
U.S. intelligence officials have received one uncorroborated report indicating that at least some of the dead soldiers had been captured alive and executed in public, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. The information was of undetermined reliability, the official said.
Pace, interviewed on CNNĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Larry King Live,Ă˘â‚¬Âť said Iraqis had engaged in many atrocities since the war began.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“They have executed prisoners of war. ... They have used women and children as human shields, and they have pretended to surrender and then opened fire,Ă˘â‚¬Âť Pace said. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“IĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve never seen anything like this. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s disgusting.Ă˘â‚¬Âť
Geneva Convention on P.O.W.s
About the conventionsArticle 13 -- Humane treatmentArticle 14 -- Respect and honor
The current Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war was adopted on August 12, 1949, at a conference in Geneva on the protection of war victims and entered into force on October 21, 1950.
A series of international treaties concluded in Geneva on ameliorating the effects of war on soldiers and civilians date back to 1864 and have been closely associated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Click the dropdown menu above to read relevant sections of the convention.
"Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely
treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power
causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or tomedical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoners concerned and carried out in his interest.
Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.
Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited."
"Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for the persons and their honour. Women shall be treated with all the regard due to their sex and shall
in all cases benefit by treatment as favourable as that granted to men. Prisoners of war shall retain the full civil capacity which they enjoyed at the time of their capture, The Detaining Power may not restrict the exercise, either within or without its own territory, of the rights such capacity confers except in so far as the captivity requires."
Source: The Geneva Convention via Reuters
RED CROSS SEEKS ACCESS
The International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday said it was still trying to obtain access to all POWs held by Iraq. Apart from the five Army soldiers, two Army helicopter pilots are known to have been captured.
All seven were questioned in front of Iraqi video cameras, and the tapes were later played on Iraqi television Ă˘â‚¬â€ť which U.S. officials say violated Geneva Convention prohibitions on subjecting POWs to public humiliation.
The captured airmen are Chief Warrant Officer 2 David S. Williams, 30, from Orlando, Fla., and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ronald D. Young, Jr., 26, from Lithia Springs, Ga. Both are based at Fort Hood, Texas.
The other maintenance soldiers listed as POWs are: Spc. Joseph Hudson, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M.; Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, of Park City, Kan.; Edgar Hernandez, 21, supply truck driver, of Mission, Texas, rank unknown; and Sgt. James Riley, 31, of Pennsauken, N.J. The soldiers are part of the 507th Maintenance Company at Fort Bliss, Texas.
NBC NewsĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ Tammy Kupperman, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.