A soldier may soon face court-martial in the deaths of two US officers in Iraq, whom army prosecutors say he killed in a rare instance of “fragging”—the murder of a fellow soldier. The New York Times examines the case of Sgt. Alberto Martinez, who prosecutors say detonated a mine in Captain Phillip Esposito’s quarters in 2005, killing him and another officer. “I’m convinced this was 100% preventable,” said Esposito’s widow.
Fragging was much more common during Vietnam, when the army wasn't 100% volunteer, but the Martinez case is only the second in the Iraq war. Martinez came from a hard-scrabble background, and was rejected various times by the military before the National Guard took him on a waiver. “With fragging, you’re likely to find someone who never really fit into the military, who probably felt like an outsider,” says a military psychiatrist.