In a powerful article published in this month’s New Yorker, Dexter Filkins examines that question through the tale of Lu Lobello, an Iraq war veteran who was part of a unit that mistakenly killed three civilians in a family of nine.
The Kachadoorian family, all nine of them, traveling in three separate cars, attempted to flee a chaotic battle in the streets of Baghdad in 2003 when they unwittingly drove toward U.S. Marines engaged in combat. Amidst the confusion, Lobello and a group of soldiers, following protocol, opened fire on the vehicles.
By the time the family’s mother, Margaret, screamed at the soldiers “We are the peace people!” it was too late: The family’s three men, all driving cars, had been killed, and two more wounded. (An entire account of the incident, also written by Dexter Filkins, is available via the New York Times)
Fast forward to present day. The Kachadoorians have immigrated to the United States as refugees, and Lobello, still haunted by the incident, contacted Filkins to see if he could put them in touch.