New York Post
April 17, 2005
Killer Marine Speaks
By Stefan C. Friedman
Manhattan Marine accused of executing two unarmed Iraqis admits he was "sending a message" by unloading two clips into the
captured men — but says he fired only after the detainees made him feel his life was in danger, New York magazine will
Lt. Ilario Pantano, a 32-year-old Marine facing the death penalty for allegedly murdering Hamaady
Kareem and Tahah Ahmead Hanjil after pulling their vehicle over on April 15, 2004, says he released what
one witness described as "45 rounds" as a warning to guerrillas.
"I believed that by firing the number of rounds that I did, I was sending a message . . . The only thing
that will defeat aggression is more aggression," Pantano added.
The case stems from an April 15, 2004, incident
in which Pantano’s unit was ordered to search a house in Mahmudiyah, Iraq. Marines stopped Hamaady Kareem and Tahah
Ahmead Hanjil as they tried to drive away.
According to charges, Pantano ordered
other troops to remove the suspects’ handcuffs and look away, then shot the pair in the back, vandalized their vehicle
and hung a sign over their
corpses bearing a Marine slogan:
“No better friend, no worse