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Iraqi Orphanage Nightmare

(CBS)It was a scene that shocked battle-hardened soldiers, captured in photographs obtained exclusively by CBS News.

On a daytime patrol in central Baghdad just over than a week ago, a U.S. military advisory team and Iraqi soldiers happened to look over a wall and found something horrific.

“They saw multiple bodies laying on the floor of the facility,” Staff Sgt. Mitchell Gibson of the 82nd Airborne Division told CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan. “They thought they were all dead, so they threw a basketball (to) try and get some attention, and actually one of the kids lifted up their head, tilted it over and just looked and then went back down. And they said, ‘oh, they’re alive’ and so they went into the building.”

Inside the building, a government-run orphanage for special needs children, the soldiers found more emaciated little bodies tied to the cribs. They had been kept this way for more than a month, according to the soldiers called in to rescue the 24 boys.

“I saw children that you could see literally every bone in their body that were so skinny, they had no energy to move whatsoever, no expression on their face,” Staff Sgt. Michael Beale said.

“The kids were tied up, naked, covered in their own waste — feces — and there were three people that were cooking themselves food, but nothing for the kids,” Lt. Stephen Duperre said.

Logan asked: So there were three people cooking their own food?

“They were in the kitchen, yes ma’am,” Duperre said.

With all these kids starving around them?

“Yes ma’am,” Duperre said.

It didn’t stop there. The soldiers found kitchen shelves packed with food and in the stockroom, rows of brand-new clothing still in their plastic wrapping.

Instead of giving it to the boys, the soldiers believe it was being sold to local markets.

The man in charge, the orphanage caretaker, had a well-kept office — a stark contrast to the terrible conditions just outside that room.

“I got extremely angry with the caretaker when I got there,” Capt. Benjamin Morales said. “It took every muscle in my body to restrain myself from not going after that guy.”

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June 19, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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