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Photos with dead Afghans stirred pride, soldier testifies

Adam Ashton | Tacoma News Tribune
Some of the first images in a set of notorious photographs showing soldiers posing with dead Afghans were taken with a sense pride that the Army was fighting and killing its enemy, a Stryker officer testified Thursday. Capt. Roman Ligsay told an Army investigator at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that he posed for one of the pictures in November 2009 even though he knew soldiers were ordered not to take photos of casualties for personal use. He said he felt a “sense of accomplishment” when he saw an Afghan who was killed by an American helicopter. To him, the image showed “we were fighting the enemy. We weren’t just out there on patrols every day and not seeing the success of those patrols.”

Ligsay wasn’t prosecuted for taking the photo, yet he was in court testifying at a pretrial hearing for the sergeant who appears in the image with him: Staff Sgt. David Bram. Ligsay was promoted from lieutenant after he came home last summer with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Bram, 27, came home an alleged criminal for, among other things, possessing photos of casualties. He faces more than 20 years in prison on charges that he failed to report crimes, participated in discussions about how to murder civilians, beat up a private, assaulted Afghans and planted evidence to cover up a suspicious killing.
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Cassara, Bram’s attorney, said prosecutors failed to show that the Bram did anything illegal on his deployment. “This is what happens when lawyers micromanage a war,” Cassara said. “You can nit-pick a billion things.”

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