10 percent of US soldiers in Iraq mistreating civilians

By Xinhua

Support TwoCircles

Washington : About 10 percent of US soldiers serving in Iraq have reported mistreating civilians or damaging their property when it was not necessary, according to a Pentagon survey.

The latest Mental Health Advisory Team survey, the fourth since 2003 to assess the mental health and well-being of the forces serving in Iraq, found that US troops deployed longer than six months in Iraq or deployed multiple times were more likely to screen positive for a mental health issue.

Less than half of US troops in Iraq would report a team member for unethical behaviour and more than one-third of them said torture should be allowed to save the life of a fellow soldier, the survey released Friday said.

The study, conducted in August and October 2006, assessed more than 1,300 soldiers and nearly 450 Marines.

According to the survey, the 2006 adjusted rate of suicides per 100,000 soldiers in Iraq was 17.3 soldiers, lower than the 19.9 as reported in 2005 but higher than the army average of 11.6.

The survey says that deployment length is directly linked to morale problems in the army and that leadership was key to maintaining soldier and Marine mental health.