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Published: 11/16/2009
Raymond Girouard released
Last month, Raymond Girouard, a former staff sergeant in the Army who was convicted of negligent homicide, among other crimes, for his actions in Iraq, was released on parole from the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. He returned to his home in Sweetwater, Tennessee. As I wrote in The New Yorker earlier this year, members of Girouard's unit murdered three detainees in 2006 during a vast air-assault mission called Operation Iron Triangle; five soldiers belonging to his squad later testified that Girouard had helped orchestrate the killings. Despite the convictions, Girouard maintains his innocence, and his community has stood by him. According to the Advocate & Democrat, a paper based in Sweetwater, Girouard was given a "homecoming" welcome by an enthusiastic crowd. The town mayor, Doyle Lowe, and Congressman John Duncan, Jr. spoke in a park on Girouard's behalf. "As a young man he served our country, and made decisions most of us have never thought about making, and will never have to make," the mayor said. Duncan, who had lobbied for Girouard's early release, told the people in attendance, "God's path has led him back here to us and, I, along with everyone else, want to welcome him home."