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In 2003 a young soldier died in Iraq, but there was a mystery. Alyssa Peterson was a local Flagstaff girl who was one of our first war fatalities. Alyssa was also best friend to the daughter of one of my friends. We talked about what could have happened. She was shot with a service rifle. Was it murder or suicide? What happened? Well finally someone  searched for an answer.

Army specialist Alyssa Peterson was an Arabic speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at the Tal-afar airbase in far northwestern Iraq near the Syrian border....Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed.

God, I hate these people. So what happened to her?

Instead she was assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards. She was sent to suicide prevention training. But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle.

A sweet girl, who should be a hero, found no other way out and took her life. I don't believe in Hell, but when I think of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, and all those who love torture I want them to burn for eternity.

I want to thank our local NPR station (KNAU) for following up on this, Whether Kevin Elston (who I know) or another reporter, I'm glad someone decided to find out what happened to Alyssa.

Originally posted to Erin in Flagstaff on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 06:26 AM PST.

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