A National Guard soldier is due in a Fort Bragg courtroom tomorrow as officials continue to weigh charges that he murdered two superior officers.
Outside the military court, there's an academic debate over
whether Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez is involved in perhaps the
first case of "fragging" since the Vietnam War.
Martinez could be sentenced to death if convicted of killing his
superiors in Iraq. At least one witness has testified that Martinez
said he planned to "frag" one of the officers.
The informal term dates to Vietnam, when the Army reported
hundreds of incidents in which soldiers killed or injured their
superiors to avoid going into combat. "Fragging" refers to
fragmentation grenades, which were frequently used in such attacks.
Military scholars told The Associated Press that Martinez' case
is fragging only if he was trying to avoid going into battle, not
if he was angry about being suspected of other misconduct, or
simply disliked the officers.
Only one other soldier has been charged with murdering a
superior since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army
Sgt. Hasan Akbar was sentenced to death for killing officers in
2003 in Kuwait, but prosecutors said his motive was concern about
U.S. troops killing Muslims, not a direct issue with the victims.
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