As Americans, we are instilled with a sense that it’s unpatriotic to question the troops who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms. It’s accurate to say that unless you’ve served, you really can’t relate to the transformation that one goes through to be able perform their duty, or to rationalize the sum of their actions. On March 12, 2006, after nearly 18 hours on-guard in the extreme dangers of Iraq’s “Triangle of Death," with minuscule amounts of sleep, the members of the U.S. Army unit known as the “Black Hearts” were about to succumb to those pressures. While drinking Iraqi whiskey mixed with energy drinks and playing cards, the men planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her and her family. In a drunken, hate-fueled rage, the men committed one of the most heinous war crimes in recent history. Patt talks with author Jim Frederick about the disturbing picture of life “outside the wire” in one of the most dangerous areas of Iraq.
Jim Frederick, contributing editor at Time magazine; he is also the coauthor, with former Army Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins, of The Reluctant Communist. His latest book is Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death.