Kuwait grenade attack - combat stress misconduct Bernard Hibbitts at 10:00 AM ET
[JURIST] Numerous press reports Sunday describe a grenade attack at a US military camp in Kuwait which killed one US soldier and wounded 13 others. This attack appears to fall under the category of "combat misconduct stress behaviors" described in a US Army Field Manual which also considers their legal repercussions:
Misconduct stress behaviors are most likely to occur in units with poor morale or in units where problems exist.... Often, these misconduct stress behaviors may be the result of stressors and increased stress in a unit. These indicators could be a warning that the potential exists for heavy battle fatigue casualties if this unit is sent to combat.
Reacting to some misconduct stress behaviors is primarily the responsibility of the commanders and the legal system. While all misconduct stress behaviors are disciplinary problems, the extreme examples are violations of the Law of Land Warfare. Violations of the Law of Land Warfare must be reported and the offender(s) brought to justice. While medical, psychological, or psychiatric consultation may, in specific cases, be requested to document mental or organic illness that might support a defense of insanity, combat stress alone is no defense for criminal misconduct. Severe combat stress could be considered as an extenuating factor in determining the soldier's sentence. Examples of such misconduct stress behaviors [include]...
4-14. The Misconduct Stress Behavior of Threatening to Kill or Killing Unit Leaders or Other Soldiers a. Threatening to kill or killing unpopular leaders or soldiers (called "fragging" and so named from the technique of rolling a fragmentation grenade into the victim's bunker) is also a criminal act and subjects the offender to disciplinary action.
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