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Soldiers decry video showing taunting of Iraqi children

Posted May 21, 2010

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— Soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg expressed concern Friday about a video that appeared on Facebook showing two young Iraqi boys apparently being taunted by a U.S. soldier.

The 30-second clip shows the two boys standing side by side on a dusty road, and the photographer asks them if they're gay and engage in homosexual acts. The boys smile and nod, but it's unclear whether they understand English.

"Are you going to grow up to be a terrorist? Yeah! All right! Cool! Yeah, terrorists! Woo!" the photographer says.

Video of Iraqi children being taunted Soldiers decry video showing taunting of Iraqi children

The boys smile and give a thumbs-up signal.

"Are you going to plant IEDs?" the photographer asks. "Yeah, awesome!"

The older boy apparently realizes at this point that they are being mocked, and he holds down the younger boy's arm.

The video was posted May 14 on the Facebook page of Robert Rodriguez and titled "future gay terrorists."

Rodriguez describes himself on Facebook as a soldier living in Fairbanks, Alaska. An Army spokesman said a Spc. Robert Rodriguez is stationed at Fort Wainwright, outside of Fairbanks.

It's unclear whose voice is heard on the video, but in posting the video to Facebook, Rodriguez wrote, "I was bored in Iraq. So I kept myself entertained."

A North Carolina soldier who also is based in Alaska subsequently shared the video with friends on his Facebook page, and a concerned area resident alerted WRAL News.

"The conduct portrayed in video is disgraceful and clearly inconsistent with the high standards we expect of every Soldier. The incident is currently under investigation. The Army will take appropriate action based on the findings of the investigation," Maj. Bill Coppernoll, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army in Alaska, said in a statement Friday.

Army Staff Sgt. Veronica Jones, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, called the video a case of "stupidity and boredom" that shouldn't reflect on most military members.

"Somebody took advantage of those kids because they don’t speak English. That’s sad," Jones said.

"(This is) not a representation of soldiers," she said. "Not at all. I know plenty of soldiers who would not do anything like that."

Pfc. Steve Dvorak said soldiers in Iraq have a lot of down time, which sometimes can lead to problems.

"(It's) a bored soldier filming a video trying to pass the time because he’s probably not doing the job he’s enlisted to be doing,” Dvorak said. "I don't think most soldiers are like that, but I mean, you have to understand the frustration, what everybody's going through right now."

WRAL News sent a link to the video to Army officials at Fort Bragg, but they hadn't commented on it by Friday afternoon.

Efforts to contact Rodriguez and the North Carolina soldier who shared the video have been unsuccessful.

Rodriguez changed the settings on his Facebook page late Thursday or early Friday, so the video is no longer accessible to the public.

26 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • debmorrissey May 27, 4:56 p.m.

    People keep saying the soldiers are bored. This doesn't justify his getting his jollies by picking on children. A man, especially a soldier, should act with honor. He shouldn't be a MORON.

  • Justin T. May 27, 4:13 p.m.

    Though hilarious, I don't think this is the kind of message the good guys want to put out there.

  • carolinaguy918 May 26, 4:05 p.m.

    what do you people care if he had psted a video of him shooting terrorists it would be an uproar also. why dont yall get up and go fight for your country. do something.

  • srdolphin8 May 26, 8:13 a.m.

    had the jerk soilder not posted on facebook....than it wouldn't be news. gee...i wonder why people hate americans. this is the mentality that we send to fight wars?

  • charlesboyer May 25, 11:56 a.m.

    I don't know what's worse, the soldier doing this or people defending him for doing it.

    No it is not a video of a terrorist beheading someone, but that doesn't make it right, either.

    Nor is it "hating America" to say so.

  • ugottabkiddinme May 25, 11:51 a.m.

    this is not news!! looks like wral is the one whose bored now...how easy it for them to judge from the comfort of a air conditioned news desk...where the only danger posed to them is a paper cut..move on!!

  • zoesd May 21, 7:55 p.m.

    Would this be acceptable from a soldier if he were to do this in Fayetville or any where else. There are standards of conduct in the military to be followed. This in every way was stupid.

  • oldrebel May 21, 7:49 p.m.

    Doesn't quite rise to the level of watching beheadings of American soldiers now does it?

  • darkhorse94 May 21, 7:33 p.m.

    This will be blown out of proportion. News Flash! There are jerks in all walks of life. This guy is a solider not a Sunday school teacher! He knew they didn't understand him, but the dumbest part of this is posting it on facebook. When will people learn. Hey WRAL! THis is not News!

  • Worland May 21, 7:30 p.m.

    It was in bad taste, but the soldier didn't do anything illegal. What would I punish him for? Being a jerk? Last time I checked, that wasn't illegal.

    What he said sure was mild compared to what my own countrymen have said to me while deploying/redeploying to/from the Middle East. If you honestly think this is horrendous, you should watch the History Channel and see what our troops did to amuse themselves during WWII.

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