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SWJED
05-27-2006, 11:06 PM
Heartsick - but confident - describes my demeanor right now.

I have started to post threads on the Haditha incident several times over the past week, but refrained – it was too damned hard and emotionally disturbing.

Denial? MSM hype and sensationalism? Political posturing? Waiting for the true story to play out? Enemy IO campaign? Heat of battle? Justified reaction to an IED attack? Murderous rampage by those who just lost a brother-in-arms? My Lai II?

I do not have an answer. Nor does anyone else – especially those of the “if it bleeds it leads” mainstream media community. (http://hughhewitt.com/archives/2006/05/21-week/index.php#a002287) Same, same for those who seek to benefit from this incident for political (http://www.house.gov/murtha/) or bash-America gain (http://www.internationalanswer.org/). There is a process for uncovering the truth and to bring those suspected of guilt to justice. It is called the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj.htm).

We are one of the few countries willing to conduct an unbiased investigation when alleged crimes committed by a military member are surfaced and pursue that investigation publicly. Moreover, our history in these matters speaks for itself – justice is served when justice is deserved. These investigations take time, as they should. Trying and convicting in the court of public opinion is ludicrous at best, treasonous at worst.

As a former Marine and advocate of all the good the Marine Corps (http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/homepage?readform) does in the training, education and planning for Small Wars this is tough, real tough.

Q: If the parties in question be found guilty should their actions be interpreted as a reflection of the values, fortitude and professionalism of the US Marine Corps as an institution?

A: HELL NO…

Q: If the parties in question be found guilty should their actions be interpreted as a reflection of our country’s policy in prosecuting the war in Iraq – or elsewhere?

A. HELL NO…

Q: If the parties in question be found innocent should a public retraction by those who have prematurely convicted those parties be issued?

A. HELL YES…

Had to get that off my chest… This thread will contain “news”, editorials, commentary and blog coverage of the Haditha incident.

I encourage our board members to chime in… We have to work this through and your opinions would be appreciated – even if they do not agree with mine.

I leave you with some words by the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps (http://www.marines.mil/cmc/33cmc.nsf/cmcmain) and best wishes as we reflect on the important issues this Memorial Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day) weekend and what those that came before us fought and sacrificed for…

Recent serious allegations concerning actions of Marines in combat have caused me concern. They should cause you to be concerned as well. To ensure we continue to live up to General Lejeune’s description of a Marine as someone who demonstrates “all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue,” I would like to review the importance of our core values.

As Marines, you are taught from your earliest days in the Corps about our core values of honor, courage and commitment. These values are part of and belong to all Marines, regardless of MOS, grade, or gender. They guide us in all that we do; whether in combat, in garrison, or on leave or liberty.

To a Marine, honor is more than just honesty; it means having uncompromising personal integrity and being accountable for all actions. To most Marines, the most difficult part of courage is not the raw physical courage that we have seen so often on today’s battlefield. It is rather the moral courage to do the “right thing” in the face of danger or pressure from other Marines. Finally, commitment is that focus on caring for one another and upholding the great ideals of our Corps and Country.

The nature of this war with its ruthless enemies, and its complex and dangerous battlefield will continue to challenge us in the commitment to our core values. We must be strong and help one another to measure up. The war will also test our commitment to our belief in the rule of law.

We have all been educated in the Law of Armed Conflict. We continue to reinforce that training, even when deployed to combat zones. We do not employ force just for the sake of employing force. We use lethal force only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful. We follow the laws and regulations, Geneva Convention and Rules of Engagement. This is the American way of war. We must regulate force and violence, we only damage property that must be damaged, and we protect the non-combatants we find on the battlefield.

When engaged in combat, particularly in the kind of counterinsurgency operations we’re involved in now, we have to be doubly on guard. Many of our Marines have been involved in life or death combat or have witnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and the effects of these events can be numbing. There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves. Leaders of all grades need to reinforce continually that Marines care for one another and do what is right.

The large majority of Marines today perform magnificently on and off the battlefield. I am very proud of the bravery, dedication, honor, courage and commitment you clearly display every day. And America is proud as well. Americans, indeed most people around the world, recognize that Marines are men and women of the highest caliber – physically, mentally, and morally.

Each one of you contributes in your own unique way to our important mission; I am proud of your dedication and accomplishments. Even after 38 years, I still stand with pride every time I hear the Marines Hymn. The words of that Hymn mean something special to me. Especially, “Keep our Honor Clean”. I know that means something to all of you as well. As Marines we have an obligation to past Marines, fellow Marines, future Marines and ourselves to do our very best to live up to these words.

As your Commandant, I charge all Marines to carry on our proud legacy by demonstrating our values in everything you do – on duty and off; in combat or in garrison.

Semper Fidelis.

http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/images/memorialday2006.gif

SWJED
05-28-2006, 02:52 PM
On the Hugh Hewitt Blog - What Happened in Haditha? (http://hughhewitt.com/archives/2006/05/21-week/index.php#a002287) by Mary Katharine Ham.

Something very bad happened in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005. One Marine and 24 Iraqis died in the wake of a roadside bombing, which hit a Marine convoy. Fifteen of the 24 casualties were civilians, some women and children. Was it the fog of war? Were the civilians "collateral damage?" Or was it a deliberate massacre?

We don't know. The investigation is ongoing and no Marine has yet been charged.

But you'd have trouble discerning that from reading press coverage of the incident....

The Haditha story picked up pace this week as Pentagon sources close to the investigation started leaking word (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/26/AR2006052601207.html)that there may be murder charges in the case. The Marine Commandant's trip to Iraq has also piqued interest (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501732.html).

The Post has been unable to get anyone from the Pentagon on the record on the investigation, using mostly anonymous sources. The one man they did get on the record on Friday was retired Brig. Gen. David H. Brahms, a long-time lawyer with the Marine Corps who has experience with these types of cases. His quote is in the third paragraph. See if you can guess why the prominent first-quote placement:

"When these investigations come out, there's going to be a firestorm," said retired Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms, formerly a top lawyer for the Marine Corps. "It will be worse than Abu Ghraib -- nobody was killed at Abu Ghraib."

I have a feeling someone was lying in wait for an Abu Ghraib reference. I read the quote and was taken aback because I spoke to the same Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms about the case this week, and his sentiments were very different from those presented in the Post. Which explains why he sent me this statement yesterday:

"Recent reporting on the events in Haditha, Iraq have included significant factual errors and/or misleading statements. This includes a quote attributed to me in the Washington Post this morning that was taken completely out of context and its meaning distorted. Many facts that are favorable to the Marines involved have not yet been disclosed."

When Brahms and I spoke, he made it clear that his concern is that the Marine Corps do a thorough investigation and punish severely those who did wrong, if in fact it is found that they did. He feels confident that will happen. His other concern is that the Marines involved get a fair trial in a highly politicized environment:

"The worst thing that can happen in a case of this kind is to have it politicized...that's exactly what has happened here. They're leaking a story which is yet unwritten."

"It's not normal to have a Member of Congress to decide to have hearings, at least while this whole business is in flux."

"I think there has been (a rush to judgement)...This has got to impact the fairness of the procedure."

"We'll get more precise information. Let's kind of step back, let's try to realize that there's another side of this story...People accused may be guys like my son and your brothers."

"The problem is, of course, that everybody's got a political agenda...in the middle are a group of American Marines."

Those quotes are all taken from a phone interview I did with Brahms this week...

It is Memorial Day Weekend. Our men in uniform certainly deserve the presumption of innocence and a little patience from us, no matter our positions on the war.

SWJED
05-28-2006, 02:56 PM
Incident at Haditha (http://michellemalkin.com/archives/005274.htm) - Michelle Malkin Blog

Abu Ghraib Squared (http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=20766&only&rss) - Little Green Footballs Blog

Military Officials: Haditha Might be Another My Lai (http://hotair.com/archives/the-blog/2006/05/26/military-officials-haditha-might-be-another-my-lai/) - Hot Air Blog

Indefensible Acts (http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/178698.php) - Confederate Yankee Blog

Merv Benson
05-28-2006, 05:15 PM
This is not writen to excuse what is alleged to have happened at Haditha, but to explain in part how the enemy bears some responsiblity. It is not because they exploded a booby trap and killed a Marine that they bear some of the responsibility. That is part of war and it is never an excuse for killing non combatants. However, the enemy in Iraq has consistently camoflaged himself as a civilian and this has endangered all civilians in Iraq, when our forces are trying to respond to his attacks. The media has consistently avoided this violation of the rules of war and of the Geneva Convention. It appears that some Marines are going to be charged with using this enemy violation of the rules of war to engage in their own violations of the rules of war.

I will be shocked if anyone in the chain of command above the squad level approved of such actions, but if they did the military justice system will deal with them. It looks like the action was that of one fire team of four men according to the LA Times reporting I have seen. It is hard to imagine that the other members of the squad did not know what, if anything, was happening, though.

We will never excuse this type of violation, nor should we continue to excuse the enemy's blatant violations that had a part in precipitating the action.

jcustis
05-28-2006, 07:33 PM
I too have held off on commenting on this situation, but among the folks here, I feel it is important to add something. I've spoken with two Marines who have provided a considerable amount of insight. One is a close friend of one of the relieved company commanders and has talked with him directly, and the other is an officer who was in the AO at the time and has some hands-on with the situation.

It is an extremely complex one, compounded by things said and done by people pretty far removed from that day's events. We are going to have to wait this one out and see what the final results of the investigation are. From what I am hearing, speculation can't come close to what actually transpired.

BTW, I also think the Honorable Mr. Murtha was out of his lane. Just my $.02.

SWJED
05-28-2006, 09:12 PM
28 May Voice of America - US Lawmaker: Killing of Iraqi Civilians a Cover (http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-05-28-voa26.cfm)

A prominent U.S. Congressman says the reported killings of innocent Iraqi civilians by American Marines in Haditha last November was covered up.

Speaking on ABC television This Week, John Murtha - a Democrat from Pennsylvania - said the incident could undermine U.S. war efforts in Iraq.

Earlier this month, Murtha said military sources told him a Pentagon probe of the incident in Haditha indicates the Marines barged into homes near where they were responding to a roadside bombing and killed the Iraqis.

The Marine Corps had originally claimed the bomb and an ensuring firefight had killed one Marine and the Iraqis.

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republican John Warner, said he would hold hearings on the incident, but he said it is important not to reach conclusions until the U.S. military completes its investigation.

Jedburgh
05-28-2006, 10:57 PM
Murtha is definitely out of line, and has compounded his inexcusable behavior by continuing to repeat his accusations in public - which are then broadcast and printed around the world. Sen Warner was absolutely correct in his statement regarding withholding conclusions until the investigation is complete.

Unfortunately, given his position, Murtha's statements lend credence to the accusations in the eyes of much of the international audience. At this point, if the accusations as stated are found to be true and the individuals are punished, we will be seen as taking action only in the face of public pressure - but guilty of the crime nonetheless, with any future accusations of committing atrocities given greater legitimacy by this whole affair. And if they are found to be untrue, much of the audience already has their minds made up and they will view it as further evidence of a cover-up.

The bad guys have been reaping the rewards of Abu Ghraib for a while now - this adds exponentially to their ammunition for propaganda and recruitment, with one of our own Congressmen complicit in this outcome. No matter how the investigation eventually turns out, this is an IO disaster of strategic proportions.

Jedburgh
05-31-2006, 03:42 AM
CNN, 30 May: A Reporter's Shock at the Haditha Allegations (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/05/30/damon.iraq.btsc/index.html)
It actually took me a while to put all the pieces together -- that I know these guys, the U.S. Marines at the heart of the alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians in Haditha.

I don't know why it didn't register with me until now. It was only after scrolling through the tapes that we shot in Haditha last fall, and I found footage of some of the officers that had been relieved of their command, that it hit me.

I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking incoming fire, and I've seen them not fire a shot back because they did not have positive identification on a target.

I saw their horror when they thought that they finally had identified their target, fired a tank round that went through a wall and into a house filled with civilians. They then rushed to help the wounded -- remarkably no one was killed.

I was with them in Husayba as they went house to house in an area where insurgents would booby-trap doors, or lie in wait behind closed doors with an AK-47, basically on suicide missions, just waiting for the Marines to come through and open fire. There were civilians in the city as well, and the Marines were always keenly aware of that fact. How they didn't fire at shadows, not knowing what was waiting in each house, I don't know. But they didn't.

And I was with them in Haditha, a month before the alleged killings last November of some 24 Iraqi civilians....

Xenophon
05-31-2006, 04:17 AM
I was in the field all last week so I spent the Memorial Day break catching up with the events. First I heard about it was news on the Commandant's trip to Iraq.

Thus far I've been mostly angry at the media for their lynching of the Marines without the least bit of evidence and Sen. Murtha's blatant whoring out of the Corps for personal political gain. The title of this thread is very appropriate as I feel the need to find solace over this thing, and came here to talk about it. I've been down though since seeing this article on CNN with alleged information from the Pentagon: http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/05/29/marines.haditha/index.html?eref=yahoo
Although the blog article posted by SWJED gives me some hope.

Also I completely agree with your post, Jedburgh. I've been one of the Iraq War faithful for the entirety of the conflict and I'm afraid for the first time that we may have lost it beyond repair. It's troubling for any soldier or Marine to think that all the training and effort we put into warfighting can be for naught because of an enemy victory in an arena that we can't fight in (meaning the media/PR aspect).

If I can self-promote for a second, I wrote about it on my blog as well: http://xenophonblog.blogspot.com

Jugurtha
05-31-2006, 05:31 AM
This was posted today from NPR.org.

http://http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5440486

U.S. Paid $2,500 for Each Death in Haditha

by Tom Bowman*
*

Manuel Balce Ceneta
File photograph shows Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. AP
*
*
All Things Considered, May 30, 2006 · The U.S. Marines paid at least $38,000 to the families of Iraqi civilians killed in a November clash in Haditha. The payments were made in December, according to a report in The Denver Post that was confirmed by NPR.
In another development in the case, investigators have been told that a sergeant coaxed other Marines to come up with a cover story about the incident. The squad leader allegedly sought to prove his group was not at fault for the deaths. Of particular concern to the sergeant, investigators say, was the deaths of five Iraqis in a taxi. They were unarmed and killed by Marines shortly after the roadside bomb went off, investigators have found.
It is standard procedure for the military to make payments when it is at fault. The payments, which included $2,500 for each person killed, were authorized by the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Chessani, and his superiors. But it's uncertain how far up the chain of command the approval had to go.

SWJED
05-31-2006, 07:35 AM
31 May Washington Times editorial Not Again, Congressman (http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20060530-095110-7454r.htm).

Rep. John Murtha continues to make irresponsible accusations about an incident involving a Marine company in Haditha, Iraq, last year in which as many as two dozen Iraqi civilians were killed. Moving recklessly onward from his recent comments about how the Marines murdered the Iraqis in "cold blood," the Pennsylvania Democrat now alleges conspiracy. "Who covered it up, why did they cover it up, why did they wait so long?" Mr. Murtha asked Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

These are the wrong questions. Reasonable Americans without a partisan fixation on the Bush administration would probably ask: Why can't John Murtha wait until the Pentagon completes its two-part investigation into the Nov. 19 incident he condemns the Marines and floats conspiracy theories? Are his sources inside the Pentagon so solid that he can allege that the cover-up "goes right up the chain of command," as he did on Sunday? How could these sources speak authoritatively about an investigation that isn't completed? We await Mr. Murtha's answers...

SSG Rock
05-31-2006, 10:44 PM
I am stunned right down to my toes at the demeanor of Mr. Murtha! A Marine, a retired officer, has already tried and convicted these Marines for political gain in the court of public opinion and is obviously embarked on a campaign to push responsibility for the alleged crime (s) and alleged cover up as far up the chain of command that he can. To be quite frank, it makes me feel like knocking out his teeth! Mr. Murtha, should be protecting the constitutional rights of his brother Marines, of course that does not prevent him from discussing the incident with the caveat that nobody has been charged with anything yet. And yet, there he was, on national TV, almost screaming that the Marines are murderers and there was a cover up! It was a disgusting display of a total lack of loyalty to the institution he gave the best years of his life serving. I'm at a loss, did his espirit de corps really run so shallow all those years he served? Mr. Murtha should simply keep his big pie hole shut untill the investigation reaches a conclusion. If this allegation is substantiated, I have complete faith that the corps will ensure justice is done. Still, I can't help but feel sympathy for the Marines in question some perhaps, on their second deployment or more. The frustration of seeing their squad leader blown to pieces. According to a lance corporal in the same unit, the Marines went "blind with hate" and went on a killing spree. I don't know if the lance corporal was on the scene or was simply in the same unit. It doesn't look good for these poor grunts, but that does not change the fact, that one of their brothers, a former leader has thrown them under the bus before all the facts are in and I'm absolutely sick about it. I'm sick with sadness about the whole mess.

Jugurtha
06-01-2006, 04:27 AM
From National Review (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGFjZGFhZGJjYWM0NTJlM2IzMjAxM2I4NDEwYWM5NWI=) by Mackubin Thomas Owens

In the quest for its own My Lai, the anti-Iraq war faction in this country has had to settle for Abu Ghraib, by far the most hyped stories of the war. But now, allegations of multiple murders in the town of Haditha, an insurgent stronghold in al Anbar Province, may provide them with the incident they need. According to published reports, a number of Marines from the storied 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division are accused killing more than 20 Iraqi civilians in retaliation for the death of one of their comrades by a roadside bomb in November, 2005.

The Marine Corps originally claimed that the Iraqis were killed by an insurgent bomb or during a firefight. But in response to allegations by Time magazine, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) began an investigation of the Haditha incident. A separate administrative investigation by Army Maj. Gen. A. Eldon Bargewell should be delivered soon to Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the operational commander of the multi-national force in Iraq, to determine whether there was an attempt to cover up the incident.

It is important to note that the investigation is still incomplete but that hasn’t stopped opponents of the war from using the incident in Haditha to advance their agenda. Last Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha, (D., Pa.), a vociferous critic of the war, broke the story, claiming that Marines in Haditha had “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” This incident, said Murtha, “shows the tremendous pressure that these guys are under every day when they’re out in combat.” Appearing Sunday on This Week on ABC, Murtha went farther, claiming that the shootings in Haditha had been covered up. “Who covered it up, why did they cover it up, why did they wait so long? We don’t know how far it goes. It goes right up the chain of command.”

Murtha’s attempt to use the Haditha incident for his own political purposes should be obvious to everyone. But if his description of the event—a cold-blooded killing of innocent civilians—is true, then those Marines committed a bona fide war crime. What, if anything, can be said in mitigation?

WESTERN PRECAUTIONS
Atrocities and war crimes are acts of violence in wartime the brutality and cruelty of which exceed military necessity. They include, but are not limited to, looting, torture, rape, massacre, mutilation of the enemy dead, and the killing of captured soldiers or noncombatants.

The West has placed three constraints on its conduct warfare: proportion, discrimination, and the positive law of war. Proportion means that particular actions must be proportionate to legitimate military necessity and not involve needless suffering or destruction. Discrimination means that direct intentional attacks on noncombatants and non-military targets are prohibited. The incident at Haditha appears to be an example of this last category...

SWJED
06-01-2006, 06:08 AM
1 June Washington Post - Probe Into Iraq Deaths Finds False Reports (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/31/AR2006053101058.html) by Tom Ricks.

The U.S. military investigation of how Marine commanders handled the reporting of events last November in the Iraqi town of Haditha, where troops allegedly killed 24 Iraqi civilians, will conclude that some officers gave false information to their superiors, who then failed to adequately scrutinize reports that should have caught their attention, an Army official said yesterday.

The three-month probe, led by Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell, is also expected to call for changes in how U.S. troops are trained for duty in Iraq, the official said...

The Bargewell investigation is likely to be explosive on Capitol Hill, because it focuses on questions that have haunted the Bush administration and the U.S. military since the scandal over abuse at Abu Ghraib prison emerged two years ago: How do U.S. military leaders in Iraq react to allegations of wrongdoing by their troops? And is the military prepared to carry out the long and arduous process of putting down an insurgency as part of the first U.S. occupation of an Arab nation?

One of Bargewell's conclusions is that the training of troops for Iraq has been flawed, the official said, with too much emphasis on traditional war-fighting skills and insufficient focus on how to wage a counterinsurgency campaign...

SWJED
06-01-2006, 09:23 AM
Men at War (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGFjZGFhZGJjYWM0NTJlM2IzMjAxM2I4NDEwYWM5NWI=)

...Well, that was then, this is now. The war in Iraq demonstrates that those who believed that information technology would transform the nature of war were deluding themselves. War is shaped by human nature, the complexities of human behavior, and the limitations of human mental and physical capabilities. Any view of war that ignores what the Prussian “philosopher of war” Carl von Clausewitz called the “moral factors,” e.g. fear, the impact of danger, and physical exhaustion, is fraught with peril: “Military activity is never directed against material forces alone; it is always aimed simultaneously at the moral forces which give it life, and the two cannot be separated.”

In Iraq, our opponents have chosen to deny us the ability to fight the sort of conventional war we would prefer and forced us to fight the one they want—an insurgency. Insurgents blend with the people making it hard to distinguish between combatant and noncombatant. A counterinsurgency always has to negotiate a fine line between too much and too little force. Indeed, it suits the insurgents’ goal when too much force is applied indiscriminately...

SWJED
06-01-2006, 09:36 AM
31 May Dallas Morning News commentary Ghosts of Haditha (http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/columnists/all/stories/DN-davis_31edi.ART.State.Edition1.187427e5.html) by Mark Davis.

...Anyone with a shred of human decency approaches this with the utmost gravity. Those of us who support the troops and the war they are fighting have a special responsibility not to sugarcoat, minimize or marginalize any wrongdoing by those troops.

But, conversely, those who are exercising their right to speak ill of the war and the Americans fighting it have a responsibility not to allow their anti-war venom to inflame their assessments of bad moments in the war's history.

That track record is forever blemished by the absurd overreaction to Abu Ghraib, a prison scandal that was bad enough if treated objectively. The wheels of justice turned, and prices are being paid for humiliating detainees outside the protocols of interrogation.

But the day Sen. Ted Kennedy equated American misdeeds at that prison with the unspeakable torture that had happened there under Saddam, the reputation of war criticism was deservedly damaged beyond easy repair.

And now we have Mr. Murtha, barely able to contain the spring in his step as he basks in the grisly particulars.

"This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people," he said this weekend. "And we're set back every time something like this happens."

He should know a thing or two about setbacks, having inflicted so many with his own derisive tongue...

Bill Moore
06-02-2006, 03:11 AM
This is a sensitive subject, and I really didn't want to touch it, but feel a need to put this in perspective. We're all embarassed by what may have happened, and if criminal acts did happen, then the criminals will be prosecuted. That is what separates us from the terrorists. The terrorists would reward an act like this, while we're appalled by it. Does it reflect poorly on our proud Marine Corp? Only if you let it. It actually reflects poorly on only those who may have conducted these acts. Both the Army and Marines have high standards and principles, but throughout our history there have been many "individuals" who not measured up to them. That does not make this a systemic problem, but a human one, we don't have perfect human organizations.

While certain comments coming from Congress may not helpful, it would be a mistake to assume those comments are coming from the uninformed. Our Congressional leaders are privy to classified reports as the investigation continues, and there may be a method to the madness of slapping ourselves in public before the potentially bad news is released.

Again while we don't think certain comments from some of our leaders are helpful, though we could be wrong, we are equally wrong to presume nothing happened and to wish the problem away. Most of us are, or have been in the military, so let's focus on letting this issue evolve naturally as the investigation continues and not fan the flames.

I would appreciate it if anyone could shed some light on this event is playing out in the Arab Street, or even in Europe. I haven't seen much from the foreign press, and I wonder if the rest of the world accepts the fact that every Armed Force has bad individuals, and in war terrible things happen? The terrorists do worse to their own people everyday so there is a possibility, perhaps remote, that most of the folks are keeping this in perspective?

Jedburgh
06-02-2006, 04:00 AM
I would appreciate it if anyone could shed some light on this event is playing out in the Arab Street, or even in Europe. I haven't seen much from the foreign press, and I wonder if the rest of the world accepts the fact that every Armed Force has bad individuals, and in war terrible things happen? The terrorists do worse to their own people everyday so there is a possibility, perhaps remote, that most of the folks are keeping this in perspective?
Current Poll on Al-Jazeera:
Will the US military investigation into the killings of Iraqi civilians in Haditha reveal the truth?

Yes: 33%

No: 57%

Unsure: 10%

Number polled: 5,203
Now that was on the English version of their site. On the Arabic site, this was the poll:
Will the Haditha scandal change American policy in Iraq?

Yes: 13.3%

No: 86.7%

Number polled: 16,605
Most Arab news outlets are reprinting over and over the condemnations of the incident and other statements of the Iraq PM, Al-Maliki, such as that his patience was wearing thin with excuses that US troops kill civilians "by mistake." Congressman Murtha's accusations of a massacre and cover-up have also been repeated, with emphasis.

I really haven't had the time to scan op-ed pieces for more detailed opinion...

SWJED
06-02-2006, 07:32 AM
2 June Washington Times commentary - Haditha Haste (http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20060601-085033-6063r.htm) by Michelle Malkin.

...I do not know the truth about Haditha. Neither do Mr. Murtha and the media outlets calling the alleged massacre a massacre before all the facts are in. It would be helpful if they could handle these grave charges without serving as al Jazeera satellite offices.

Sen. John Warner, Virginia Republican, who, like Mr. Murtha, served in the Marines, struck the right tone over the weekend -- refusing, unlike Mr. Murtha, to render a verdict against the Marines before trial and avoiding Bush Derangement Syndrome, but also taking the allegations very seriously.

I do know this. Children are dead. Other children have been orphaned. There are pictures of bullet holes and bloodied homes. There are evolving stories about what happened last Nov. 19 and serious allegations of a possible cover-up.

I also know Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, the Marine killed by a roadside IED (improvised explosive device) that day, followed a proud family tradition of military service. He had received a commendation for bravery on his first tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. One of his fellow Marines said Terrazas' body was split in two by the bomb explosion that rocked his Hummer while on patrol that morning.

And there's this: Haditha is crawling with terrorists. The Associated Press points out that "in just three days last August, six Marine snipers were killed in Haditha and 14 Marines died in nearby Parwana in the deadliest roadside bombing of the war." Most-wanted al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi is said to have lived in Haditha. The Washington Post quoted a military lawyer noting Nov. 19 was the Marine 3rd Battalion's "hottest day" in Iraq.

"In addition to drone surveillance that day, AV-8 Harriers were dropping bombs, helicopters were evacuating wounded, and a large firefight occurred about one-third of a mile from the site of the civilian shootings, said several people familiar with the investigation," the paper reported. Audio of radio traffic reportedly contradicts Mr. Murtha's claim the Marines did not come under small-arms fire after the roadside explosion, a military source told The Post.

We know this, too: Naval Criminal Investigative Service officials have not turned their backs. Time magazine, which initially broke the story of survivors' accounts that prompted the military probe, reports Haditha residents -- yet to be visited by any of Iraq's own officials -- "were gratified by [the investigation's] thoroughness" and "were especially impressed by the NCIS investigators" conducting three separate enquiries.

Finally, this is incontrovertible: There are countless antiwar zealots on the American left rooting for failure. They believe the worst about the troops. They've blindly embraced frauds who have lied about their military service and lied about wartime atrocities. They've allied with socialist kooks and coddled murderous dictators. They look for any excuse to pull out, abandon military operations and reconstruction, and impeach the president...

SWJED
06-02-2006, 09:06 AM
2 June Wall Street Journal commentary - Haditha (http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110008458) by Daniel Henninger.

...Haditha is indeed the new Abu Ghraib. What this most importantly means is that any U.S. military action overseas now, no matter its level of justification, can be taken down by the significance assigned to events by the modern machinery of publicity. This explains why the U.S. commanders in Iraq announced yesterday that all soldiers in the next 30 days would take what the headlines are calling "ethics training." Of the some 150,000 U.S.-led troops there, Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the U.S. combat commander in Iraq, said "99.9% of them perform their jobs magnificently." Yes, and 99.9% of them, after all they've been through, will deeply resent the clear inference they lack "core values." Is that different than standard "Corps values"?

Stories of apparently malfeasant U.S. troop behavior are arriving daily now. A military truck whose brakes failed from overheating crashed and killed Afghan civilians. Press reports are now fly-specking whether the troops shot over or at the rock-throwing mob of more than 300 that surrounded them. Every one of these troops surely knows the story of Mogadishu. Been there, never again. But there will be investigations of their behavior.

Finally came the even more lurid pregnant-woman shooting. As transmitted around the world by the BBC: "A pregnant Iraqi woman in labor and her cousin were shot dead by U.S. forces as they rushed to a hospital along a closed road, police and relatives say." The BBC's next four sentences neatly sum up the common story line now in play around U.S. troops: The soldiers said the car failed to heed a stop warning in a prohibited area; the driver said he heard no warning; U.S. troops will be "trained in moral and ethical conduct" and this "comes in the wake" of the Haditha allegations...

And there begins the Iraq Syndrome.

Some elements of the newly ascendant Democratic left may welcome it, but no serious person in American politics should.

The Vietnam Syndrome, a loss of confidence in the efficacy of American military engagement, was mainly a failure of U.S. elites. But it's different this time. This presidency has been steadfast in war. No matter. In a piece this week on the White House's efforts to rally the nation to the idea of defeating terrorism abroad to thwart another attack on the U.S., the AP's Nedra Pickler wrote: "But that hasn't kept the violence and unrest out of the headlines every day." This time the despondency looks to be penetrating the general population. And the issue isn't just body counts; it's more than that.

The missions in Iraq and Afghanistan grew from the moral outrage of September 11. U.S. troops, the best this country has yet produced, went overseas to defend us against repeating that day. Now it isn't just that the war on terror has proven hard; the men and women fighting for us, the magnificent 99%, are being soiled in a repetitive, public way that is unbearable...

SSG Rock
06-02-2006, 03:36 PM
Now it seems that stories of atrocities are coming out of the woodwork. Is there a systemic problem among our troops? Perhaps the frustration of being struck without being able to strike back? I am becoming increasingly concerned about the things I'm reading. I watched the program about Lima Company, a Marine Reserve Company with the dubious record of having had the highest number of KIA in OIF. I was alarmed that during interviews with some of the Marines, a number of them mentioned (admitted) that they grew very close to taking out their anger on Iraqi civilians. Thankfully, they did not, but it does seem to indicate to me that there are Americans over there, armed to the teeth, under alot of stress, who might give in to the temptation.

I also heard, that the preliminary report on the Hadithah incident is being circulated at the Pentagon now, and it is going to be bad, very bad. Batton down the hatches, this will be Abu Graihb x 10.

Merv Benson
06-02-2006, 05:15 PM
What ever happened in Haditha came as a result of a continuing war crime by the enemy in Iraq. When the enemy refuses to wear identifying uniforms and camoflages himself as a civilian in violation of the Geneva Convention he puts all civilians at risk. I am sure that one of the issues in any trial that may result from the investigation of events in Haditha will be at what point should the Marines involved have recognized that they were dealing with civilians and not the enemy camoflaged as civilians.

This cases should give the world an opportunity to focus on this continuing war crime by the enemy and the results that flows from it.

It should also be noted that the enemy in Iraq deliberately targets non combatants, not as a result of reacting to attacks, but as deliberate policy. This is also a war crime and is much worse than what is alleged to have happened at Haditha.

We should also remember that whatever happened there will likely be ajudicated in the military justices system. Does the enemy have a military justice system beyond head chopping?

My point is that while some may try to make polical points at the expense of the Marines who were operating in Haditha, those points lack perspective and validity. To use these Marines as props for their anti war agenda is despicable.

SWJED
06-02-2006, 06:33 PM
I also heard, that the preliminary report on the Hadithah incident is being circulated at the Pentagon now, and it is going to be bad, very bad. Batton down the hatches, this will be Abu Graihb x 10.

... and maybe me more than you as a retired Marine and now in my day job as a consultant to the Corps. The RUMINT covers all spectrums - AG X 10 all the way to much less than AG.

This is a difficult issue - one that needs to play out through official channels.

I debated long and hard on how to handle this on the SWC.

To completely ignore the issue and post away on Small Wars related news, concepts, tactics, etal - would be akin to living in denial and not do justice to those of us who are striving to do our damnest to support our warfighters and, of course, the warfighters.

Speculation only compounds the problem. Commenting on press reports does not as the words are "out there"...

My desire here is to have a healthy discussion on how we continue our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; while this cloud looms overhead. We should strive to contribute in our own small way to our boots on the ground guys and gals in their efforts to deliver a functional government and society to all the countries involved. If that is too much to ask for – then what are we doing there?

Someone, somewhere has to be the proponent of moving on and past whatever highs and lows we have in this “Long War”. And yes, we are in this for the long haul...

Tough job, but we have some smart people here on the SWC - much smarter than me…

slapout9
06-02-2006, 06:44 PM
These poor guys are going to get attacked on all sides. Can we do something to help in their defense? Can any former Marine here contact F.Lee Bailey so they can have some kind of a chance at a fair trial?

SSG Rock
06-02-2006, 09:45 PM
... and maybe me more than you as a retired Marine and now in my day job as a consultant to the Corps. The RUMINT covers all spectrums - AG X 10 all the way to much less than AG. Understood.

This is a difficult issue - one that needs to play out through official channels. Yes, I should not have speculated. Thats the advice I've been giving my associates. The investigation must be completed before we can accurately comment, I suppose that I'm afraid the news is going to be bad and I dread the reaction in the MSM and I only want to be prepared for the broadsides.

I debated long and hard on how to handle this on the SWC.

To completely ignore the issue and post away on Small Wars related news, concepts, tactics, etal - would be akin to living in denial and not do justice to those of us who are striving to do our damnest to support our warfighters and, of course, the warfighters.

Speculation only compounds the problem. Commenting on press reports does not as the words are "out there"...

My desire here is to have a healthy discussion on how we continue our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; while this cloud looms overhead. We should strive to contribute in our own small way to our boots on the ground guys and gals in their efforts to deliver a functional government and society to all the countries involved. If that is too much to ask for – then what are we doing there? Are we willing to risk continuity in order to offer adequate R&R for the troops? I think we should, obviously OPTEMPO takes a toll on our warriors in many ways. The ability to make appropriate on the spot decisions being one of them. Some of our troops are on their third tour in OIF/OEF. I think we are reaching the WWII threshold with regard to deployment lengths. Add the fact that our troops are fighting an unconventional war, the stress must be enormous.

Someone, somewhere has to be the proponent of moving on and past whatever highs and lows we have in this “Long War”. And yes, we are in this for the long haul...All we can do is try to be the voice of reason and remind folks that 99% of our troops are peforming magnificently in tough conditions and that they deserve the nation's support. Also, it would serve the American public well to keep this in perspective. While not condoning criminal activity, we must remind the American people this is war, that the terrorists have committed worse atrocities. That from the Civil War to Vietnam, atrocities against noncombatants and POWs have occured, this is not unusual although regretable. The American people need to understand that if criminal activity is substantiated the UCMJ will deal with it appropriately and, that the 99% of our troops fighting this war will continue to need our support and that is where our focus should be concentrated.

Tough job, but we have some smart people here on the SWC - much smarter than me… Well, I'm not one of them. But this one is hitting me hard. I can't help but hope our Marines were somehow set up.

Is this what some terror groups refer to as a harvest?

SWJED
06-03-2006, 01:33 AM
From SWJ friends Allen and John at Cox and Forkum (http://www.coxandforkum.com/)...

Second Coat?

http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/images/secondcoat.gif

From CNN today: U.S. military mourns 'tragic' Haditha deaths (http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/06/01/military.training/index.html).

The U.S. military offered condolences on Thursday to relatives of 24 Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha last November in events that are now being investigated as possible murder by Marines. ...

The Washington Post on Thursday reported that the U.S. investigation into the aftermath of the killings is expected to say that some officers gave false information to superiors, who then did not check details.

A military source said it was evidence, including death certificates, indicating that many of the 24 civilians had been shot at close range that led to a full-scale criminal probe into the alleged massacre in March.

This cartoon was inspired by a comment from Hugh Hewitt (http://hughhewitt.com/archives/2006/05/28-week/index.php#a002321) seen on InstaPundit (http://www.instapundit.com/):

The media frenzy around the actions of a handful of Marines is now building and, as happened with the illegal acts at Abu Graib, will be used to advance agendas unrelated to the allegations, agendas which trade on the slander of the American military, and which use the very rare exceptions to paint broadly, even as the enemy will.

From CNN: A reporter's shock at the Haditha allegations (http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/05/30/damon.iraq.btsc/).

It actually took me a while to put all the pieces together -- that I know these guys, the U.S. Marines at the heart of the alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians in Haditha.

I don't know why it didn't register with me until now. It was only after scrolling through the tapes that we shot in Haditha last fall, and I found footage of some of the officers that had been relieved of their command, that it hit me.

I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking incoming fire, and I've seen them not fire a shot back because they did not have positive identification on a target.

I saw their horror when they thought that they finally had identified their target, fired a tank round that went through a wall and into a house filled with civilians. They then rushed to help the wounded -- remarkably no one was killed.

UPDATE I: A soldier's perspective at Frontline Forum: The Haditha Killings (http://www.michaelyon-online.com/flf/article.php?ID=29) by Jeffrey Barnett.

While I cannot speak intelligently on the Haditha incident, I do think I can comment on possible causes of these types of tragic events: a frustration most can’t understand. I don’t condone any use of force outside our directed rules of engagement and escalation of force procedures. However, I can understand why violations of the ROE happen, however unjustified they may be.

UPDATE II -- June 2: Here we go ... from The New York Times: Iraqi Assails U.S. for Strikes on Civilians. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/02/world/middleeast/02iraq.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin)

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lashed out at the American military on Thursday, denouncing what he characterized as habitual attacks by troops against Iraqi civilians.

As outrage over reports that American marines killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha last year continued to shake the new government, the country's senior leaders said that they would demand that American officials turn over their investigative files on the killings and that the Iraqi government would conduct its own inquiry.

In his comments, Mr. Maliki said violence against civilians had become a "daily phenomenon" by many troops in the American-led coalition who "do not respect the Iraqi people."

"They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion," he said. "This is completely unacceptable." Attacks on civilians will play a role in future decisions on how long to ask American forces to remain in Iraq, the prime minister added.

This article is accompanied by a photo of two Iraqis mourning over coffins. You have to read the caption to know that the deaths has nothing to do with the headline about American soldiers killing civilians.

SWJED
06-06-2006, 09:08 AM
6 June Los Angeles Times commentary Marines in Iraq: The Warriors' Way by David Danelo.

... As the furor grows over allegations that Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians last November — including women and children — the origins of Howell's discipline are worth examining.

The Corps is the smallest of the United States' military services, and it also has the highest enlisted-to-officer ratio (about 10 to 1). Because of this, a much higher level of responsibility is placed on corporals and sergeants, or noncommissioned officers. In each Marine infantry battalion, which is the primary combat element, an average of 60 noncommissioned officers lead squads or a unit of similar size. As squad leaders, they assume responsibility for the lives — and split-second decisions — of about a dozen men.

Marines are legendary for their monastic devotion to the warrior ideal. The mottos inked on their bodies — Death Before Dishonor, Make Peace or Die, Always Faithful — function as physical scriptures for their choice of religion, like scapulars, phylacteries or "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets. The ancient Spartans, who sacrificed at the battle of Thermopylae to defend the Greeks from the Persian onslaught, are venerated as saints within the Corps. The Spartan Way is a stoic faith.

Since the fall of 2001, 26 active duty and nine Marine Reserve infantry battalions have rotated into and out of Afghanistan and Iraq as units for seven-month tours of duty. As new recruits join a battalion, seasoned noncommissioned officers either gain rank toward senior billets or leave the Corps for civilian life. Although the exact numbers remain classified information, unit casualty reports suggest that about 50 separate rotations of Marine infantry battalions have been tested in combat over the last four years.

Using those statistics as a bare minimum, at least 3,000 corporals and sergeants have served combat tours as infantry squad leaders. Not to mention hundreds more who cut their teeth as combat replacements, convoy security escorts, translators, intelligence collectors or instructors for the new Iraqi army. When the histories are written, we will learn that the exact number of young Marines thrust into positions of leadership — amid an international media spotlight — is actually much higher.

Several Marines have already been convicted in the court of public opinion in the Haditha case. As military investigators evaluate these allegations, those on the sidelines should avoid castigation of an entire system because of the errors of a few. Consider the rush to judgment of 2nd Lt. Ilario G. Pantano, who was charged with murder at an April 2004 checkpoint shooting, or the nameless Marine in a Fallouja mosque who was seen on video killing an insurgent thought to have been booby-trapped. Both were eventually exonerated of all charges...

Steve Blair
06-09-2006, 04:10 PM
Sadly, I think a great deal of this plays into the mainstream media's almost total ignorance of both the military and the realities of war, especially "unconventional" war like that we face in Iraq. The same pundits who have rushed to judgement regarding these Marines (who, it goes without saying, should be punished if found guilty) remain oddly silent when insurgents set off bombs in market squares and mosques.

One of the oddities of the United States, at least when compared to other nations, is our almost obsession with beating ourselves up in our own media. There seems to be a fixation with tarring ourselves with the worst possible motives while somehow finding good in our most twisted opponents. This of course makes us very susceptible to propaganda campaigns and misinformation (No Gun Ri and Tailwind ring any bells?).

If this incident happened in the way that it is currently being reported, then the individuals who are guilty should be punished, as should any superiors who might have covered up the incident. But to echo another comment, if this incident proves to be another No Gun Ri-style event, then those who have been beating the drums and getting the ropes ready should be punished for their rush to judgement. Even Saddam is getting his day in court. Why should we allow our Marines anything less?

(steps down from the soapbox and returns to lurking)

SSG Rock
06-09-2006, 04:35 PM
The MSM seems almost giddy at the prospect of this alleged incident being substantiated. Hell, they've already substantiated it.

US troops commit "atrocities" "war crimes" and "massacres"
while the terrorists commit "executions" and "killings"

Its disgraceful.

Strickland
06-09-2006, 10:47 PM
I have read and re-read the numerous postings on this thread, and can honestly say that I am shocked. I am shocked that the majority of comments either read: 1) we should wait and see what the official investigation produces, but the reality is there would be no investigation if not for Rep. Murtha, 2) the Marines are getting bad press from an overly liberal and unsympathetic press corps, or 3) that the press doesnt hold insurgents or terrorists to the same moral standard as US forces.

After 7 months, I am confident that the USMC has a general idea if any criminal act took place, by whom, and when.

Second, I hope that no one truly believes that US forces and insurgents are congruent entities, and thus their actions to be viewed in a similar fashion. Obviously, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. I would compare this with the situation in New Orleans post-Katrina. While I was not shocked that criminal or fringe elements of society looted stores or acted in criminal ways, I was confident that the police would not join them. Evidence that this happened was big news, and spirit crushing.

Next, Haditha has been the site of several large offensive operations over the past two years, thus for anyone to argue that these killings were the result of mentally exhausted troops who were continually restrained by overly restrictive ROE in the face of insurgent activity is counter-factual.

Perception + Truth = Reality; thus, the perception right now is that we are hiding something, and regardless of whether that is true or not, it is the prevailing perception, and thus - reality.

Merv Benson
06-09-2006, 11:53 PM
but the reality is there would be no investigation if not for Rep. Murtha,

The investigation was well underway before Murtha used information he got in a briefing from the Marine Corps to wrongly accuse Marines of "killing in cold blood." He had nothing to do with prompting any of the investigations.

I don't understand why anyone would object to the principle of innocent until proven guilty. If these Marines are charged, they deserve an opportunity to make their case.

Strickland
06-10-2006, 11:50 AM
I have no objections to innocent until proven guilty; however I repeat my original formula of perception + truth = reality. Based on this formula, O.J. and Robert Blake are guilty in the eyes of the public.

Trust I am VERY familiar with what happened at Haditha, and can only say that I am both ashamed and saddened by it. The Marines of 3/1 that committed these acts do not deserve the blind loyalty of the Marines that have gone before them or that are currently in uniform.

And for all those on the justice band-wagon, does this mean that all those "fighters" that were picked up in Afghanistan deserve to have their day in court rather than rotting at Gitmo? Are they innocent until proven guilty?

slapout9
06-11-2006, 01:44 AM
Major Strickland, if you have ever seen the statue of the lady of justice you will remember that she is a lady "blind folded" and holding a set of scales to balance the evidence. The idea is to be blind to anything but the truth, the whole and nothing but the truth.

I was as embarassed as you about the police in New Orleans, more so I am aware of some of their actions that you are not, and it was bad!! And it was a disgrace, and the LE community will have to live with it. But live with it we will and try to learn and go on.

As for OJ maybe you remember another expression that came out of that trial, You cain't convict 5 million dollars, which turned out to be true. As for Robert Blake I couldn't stand to watch the trial. I watched Barretta in high school and I saw his movie "Electra Glide in Blue" ( about a motorcycle cop) while I was in the 82ND Airborne had alot to do with me becoming a cop.

I was at Ft. Benning while Lt. Calley was under house arrest as part of his sentence. I was a 17 year old private (kid) and I wondered what I would have done. That is why I remembered F.Lee Baily he defended Capt. Medina the other officer charged from Mei Li.

As for the justice bandwagon yes sir I am on that one. I have spent a good portion of my life on it and it gets bumpy!!! and you are right about the perception + truth = reality. But I believe and know sometimes the system does work and that is an idea I have sworn to protect.

Major that is an idea you swore to protect also. And you have risked your life to protect it. From your writings at this site I can tell you are a fine person, American, and Marine officer and I bet you go far as you should.

In closing sir let me be so bold as to suggest that you do everything you can to make sure this incident is not about blind loyalty or misguided perceptions, but blind justice.
All the Way, Sir (salute is encluded)

SWJED
06-11-2006, 05:13 AM
11 June Washington Post - Marine Says Rules Were Followed (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/10/AR2006061001129.html) by Josh White.

A sergeant who led a squad of Marines during the incident in Haditha, Iraq, that left as many as 24 civilians dead said his unit did not intentionally target any civilians, followed military rules of engagement and never tried to cover up the shootings, his attorney said.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, 26, told his attorney that several civilians were killed Nov. 19 when his squad went after insurgents who were firing at them from inside a house. The Marine said there was no vengeful massacre, but he described a house-to-house hunt that went tragically awry in the middle of a chaotic battlefield.

"It will forever be his position that everything they did that day was following their rules of engagement and to protect the lives of Marines," said Neal A. Puckett, who represents Wuterich in the ongoing investigations into the incident. "He's really upset that people believe that he and his Marines are even capable of intentionally killing innocent civilians."...

Wuterich told his attorney in initial interviews over nearly 12 hours last week that the shootings were the unfortunate result of a methodical sweep for enemies in a firefight. Two attorneys for other Marines involved in the incident said Wuterich's account is consistent with those they had heard from their clients.

Kevin B. McDermott, who is representing Capt. Lucas M. McConnell, the Kilo Company commander, said Wuterich and other Marines informed McConnell on the day of the incident that at least 15 civilians were killed by "a mixture of small-arms fire and shrapnel as a result of grenades" after the Marines responded to an attack from a house...


On Edit: I served with Wuterich's attorney in 1980-81. Puckett is a former Marine Corps Intelligence / Counterintelligence Officer who subsequently went into the USMC law program and now has a civilian practice. He is very smart and, from what I have gathered, a very good attorney.

Strickland
06-11-2006, 11:55 AM
Major Strickland, if you have ever seen the statue of the lady of justice you will remember that she is a lady "blind folded" and holding a set of scales to balance the evidence. The idea is to be blind to anything but the truth, the whole and nothing but the truth.

I was as embarassed as you about the police in New Orleans, more so I am aware of some of their actions that you are not, and it was bad!! And it was a disgrace, and the LE community will have to live with it. But live with it we will and try to learn and go on.

As for OJ maybe you remember another expression that came out of that trial, You cain't convict 5 million dollars, which turned out to be true. As for Robert Blake I couldn't stand to watch the trial. I watched Barretta in high school and I saw his movie "Electra Glide in Blue" ( about a motorcycle cop) while I was in the 82ND Airborne had alot to do with me becoming a cop.

I was at Ft. Benning while Lt. Calley was under house arrest as part of his sentence. I was a 17 year old private (kid) and I wondered what I would have done. That is why I remembered F.Lee Baily he defended Capt. Medina the other officer charged from Mei Li.

As for the justice bandwagon yes sir I am on that one. I have spent a good portion of my life on it and it gets bumpy!!! and you are right about the perception + truth = reality. But I believe and know sometimes the system does work and that is an idea I have sworn to protect.

Major that is an idea you swore to protect also. And you have risked your life to protect it. From your writings at this site I can tell you are a fine person, American, and Marine officer and I bet you go far as you should.

In closing sir let me be so bold as to suggest that you do everything you can to make sure this incident is not about blind loyalty or misguided perceptions, but blind justice.
All the Way, Sir (salute is encluded)

Trust that I appreciate and respect all your comments. My comment about perception as it relates to justice was not included to suggest that it is a component of the judicial process, but rather, certainly important in the eyes of the public.

I will echo one of your statements. I know much more about this situation than has been released in the press, and am disgusted by the whole thing. I have listened to fellow Marines that I served with in Iraq and other places make excuses or try to produce sufficient justification for these actions, yet none are appropriate. Hopefully Athena will use her hand not holding the scales to push the process along.

The first Nurmeberg trial, or major war criminals trial, took 214 days. The Hadithah killings happened in November 2005 - or roughly 210 days ago.

SWJED
06-11-2006, 12:14 PM
11 June Washington Post commentary - Morals in A Combat Zone (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/09/AR2006060901503.html) by Major Peter Kilner, US Army.

The differing reactions to the alleged killing of noncombatants by American soldiers in the Iraqi town of Haditha reveal a troubling ignorance about the moral reality of war. Much of the national dialogue about the incident is being dominated by people whose approaches to making moral judgments on wartime actions are fundamentally flawed.

In one corner are those who are so convinced this war is wrong that they see only the bad things soldiers do in it. Such people are blind to all the good our soldiers and the war are accomplishing, and they revel in exploiting any incident of misbehavior by soldiers to smear all members of the armed forces and the entire war effort. By their logic, abuse of detainees by one platoon in one prison in 2003, or the alleged killing of civilians by one squad in one town in 2005, is conclusive evidence that the entire war effort is evil. These people are unable to reconcile the fact that unjust actions can and do occur within a war that nonetheless is morally justified.

In the other corner are those so convinced of the rightness of our cause that they refuse to acknowledge that our soldiers sometimes make choices that are clearly wrong and for which they should be held accountable. These people equate supporting the laws of war with being unpatriotic and disdainful of the troops. What they fail to recognize is that their implicit argument is both insulting to soldiers and corrosive to the foundation of the military profession. My fellow soldiers and I recognize fully that we are responsible for our individual actions, and that our permission to do violence to other human beings is constrained by our obligation to do so only when it is morally justified...

The circumstances of this war's battlefields are terribly complex. Soldiers find themselves conducting a wide range of operations, from war-fighting to policing, often during a single patrol, and those different operations require different principles for the use of force. It is often difficult for soldiers to discern which approach is appropriate and when. Not infrequently, a well-intentioned soldier ends up killing a noncombatant because of mistaken identity or some other factor caused by the fog of war. In such circumstances, we can say that the action is neither justified nor unjustified but that it is excusable. Not every wrongful death in combat is a war crime.

The good news is that well-trained, well-led soldiers can and do overcome the moral challenges of war and conduct themselves with great honor, and the great majority of American soldiers are well trained and well led. Although we fight an enemy who intentionally violates all norms of human decency and goads us to follow him into the abyss of wanton killing, America's soldiers continue to exhibit remarkable restraint.

What explains the difference between units that commit war crimes and units that don't? Leadership. This is the critical factor in ensuring moral conduct in war. When junior officers and senior noncoms train their soldiers to do what is right and when they maintain their composure and lead by example, their soldiers are able to retain their moral bearings despite the temptations and frustrations of battle...

Merv Benson
06-11-2006, 03:32 PM
Is it possible for someone to post the actual Rules of Engagement for the Marines in Haditha so that we can compare them to the sergeant's description of his and the other Marines' actions? I continue to believe that the real question of fact for any ajudication of this matter is at what point should the troops have recognized that they were not dealing with an enemy camouflaged as a civilian?

BTW, comparing the length of a trial to the length of time it takes to investigate an event to see if a crime was committed seems a non sequitor. I think any comparisons of Marines to Nazis is just over the top anyway.

If these troops violated the rules of engagement and committed a crime, I think the military justice system will see that justice is done. Many of the "witnesses" to this event have told conflicting stories which will put their credibility at issue. I think the outcome of the case will turn on whether the events as described by Marines like the sergeant in the Washington Post story constitute a crime.

Steve Blair
06-11-2006, 05:11 PM
I would also take issue with a comparison between this and Nuremberg. There are too many contentious issues still swirling around those trials regarding the conduct of the prosecution. I do hope, however, that we do not come out with anything that smacks of a "whitewash" such as was seen at Me Lai or with many of the NOPD stories (this is a police department that has had a horrible reputation over the years, so their behavior in the aftermath of Katrina really shouldn't have surprised anyone).

In reference to Major Strickland's earlier comment about the detainees at Gitmo, I do feel that the military and political leadership has been doing themselves major damage by simply sitting on these people without some sort of visable process to assess their guilt or innocence. As was pointed out, perception does play a major role in how the public views the justice (or lack thereof) of many actions. While the British may have been able to get away with detaining IRA suspects for years (and it's odd how this never comes up in discussions of how to handle insurgencies), our system (both the legal and press sides) really don't allow this to be done.

Speaking for myself, I would not say that I am rallying blindly to support the Marines who may have committed atrocities, but rather rallying to the system that is intended to give them a fair and open trial, and then punish them if they are convicted (and any who may have helped cover up this incident) to the fullest extent the UCMJ allows. In this I include senior officers, since one of the weaknesses of the whole Me Lai procedure was that almost every senior officer in the Americal knew what happened (this was clearly demonstrated in the original Peers report), but only the most junior lieutenant was seriously punished. If we are indeed to claim the higher moral ground, then punishment should fall heavily on those who had the responsibility to either prevent this kind of atrocity or to take swift and decisive action if such an atrocity does occur. Perhaps I'm something of an idealist here.:(

SSG Rock
06-12-2006, 03:07 PM
I have read and re-read the numerous postings on this thread, and can honestly say that I am shocked. I am shocked that the majority of comments either read: 1) we should wait and see what the official investigation produces, but the reality is there would be no investigation if not for Rep. Murtha, 2) the Marines are getting bad press from an overly liberal and unsympathetic press corps, or 3) that the press doesnt hold insurgents or terrorists to the same moral standard as US forces.

After 7 months, I am confident that the USMC has a general idea if any criminal act took place, by whom, and when.

Second, I hope that no one truly believes that US forces and insurgents are congruent entities, and thus their actions to be viewed in a similar fashion. Obviously, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. I would compare this with the situation in New Orleans post-Katrina. While I was not shocked that criminal or fringe elements of society looted stores or acted in criminal ways, I was confident that the police would not join them. Evidence that this happened was big news, and spirit crushing.

Next, Haditha has been the site of several large offensive operations over the past two years, thus for anyone to argue that these killings were the result of mentally exhausted troops who were continually restrained by overly restrictive ROE in the face of insurgent activity is counter-factual.

Perception + Truth = Reality; thus, the perception right now is that we are hiding something, and regardless of whether that is true or not, it is the prevailing perception, and thus - reality.

Murtha's reaction to the Hadithah incident is self serving and disgraceful! Murtha's grandstanding on a Sunday Talk Show was political and opportunistic. The investigation was spurred by Time Magazine, not Murtha. Murtha commented on a TV interview that the investigation (already underway) would reveal that Marines overreacted and killed civilians in "cold blood" he then went on to use the incident as yet another reason we should withdraw from Iraq.

I agree, whole heartedly that US Forces and the terrorists/insurgents are not congruent entities. And that we hold ourselves to a higher standard, unlike our enemy. I say that part of holding ourselves to a higher standard is waiting for the formal, official results of the investigation before we convict these Marines, before we admit that an atrocity occurred. Admittedly, it is looking grim but still, we must wait for the results, because Murtha could be wrong. If the investigation reveals that the Marines murdered non-combatants, then we prosecute them accordingly, that higher standard again.

Perception and truth equal reality? I disagree, truth and facts equal reality, perception is malleable, Murtha knows this and he is trying to take advantage of it to mold the public perception for political reasons, and I find it repugnant. Murtha is well enough connected that he could have expressed his concerns behind closed doors to high level Marine leaders and held his comments until after the investigation, but then he wouldn't be able to strike while the iron is hot, facts be damned. Bottem line, we need to know what happend.

Steve Blair
06-12-2006, 03:18 PM
I'd say it's pretty clear that Murtha is trying to get political mileage out of this in the same way that some in Congress did My Lai and other events during Vietnam. I've been trying as much as possible to avoid watching his bit in the dog and pony show and keep focused on the real issue (at least to me): did something horrible happen at Haditha and (if so) who will be punished for it. It's a given that the enlisted Marines will go down if proven guilty, but I'm waiting to see if the higher chain of command will be held accountable if it is proven that (as with My Lai) there was a cover-up.

But that's just my slant on things. Dry rot and ticket-punching were just two of the things that damaged the Army's efforts in Vietnam. I'd really hate to see those kinds of things crop up again on the same scale. We've already seen command micro-managing (using the video conference instead of orbiting command helicopters), and it would be tragic to see those mistakes happen all over again.

Jedburgh
06-12-2006, 03:18 PM
The Economist 1 June op-ed (http://www.economist.com.hk/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_SDDGNRG):
...To regimes such as Iran's and Syria's, to say nothing of al-Qaeda, the torture at Abu Ghraib—like the travesty of Guantánamo—was a propaganda victory of the first order. Just possibly, America could have redeemed itself by bringing those responsible to account. But so far only the low-ranking have been punished. Donald Rumsfeld remains defence secretary despite his part in shaping a culture of contempt for the rules. George Bush's failure to hold his cronies to account for trashing his country's reputation will haunt American foreign policy for years to come. Now Haditha will be added to the melancholy litany of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. Marines kicking down doors and murdering men, women and children in their pyjamas: nothing could better reinforce the caricature of trigger-happy superpowerdom on the rampage.

It is, however, in America itself that Haditha may have its biggest and arguably most baneful impact. America did not quit Vietnam only because too many of its young men were dying. What counted more was the ebbing of the idea that America was at war for a purpose of which it could feel proud. As with My Lai, the events in Haditha are likely to shine a cruel light on the gap between the stated point of staying in Iraq—the bestowal and consolidation of freedom—and the grim reality, in which American soldiers are often feared and hated, and come in turn to see all Iraqis as enemies. Abu Ghraib could be written off as an aberration of the sort to be expected from low-level troops. The marines are another matter. America's finest, it will be said, were sent into the heart of darkness and exposed to horrors that made them murder. It will strengthen the arguments of those who want America to leave now.

Succumbing to those arguments would be a tragic mistake. Whatever your views on the Iraq war, America has both a moral obligation to the Iraqis and a powerful interest of its own in making sure that it hands over to a government and army that have at least half a chance of holding the place together and preventing a complete collapse into anarchy and sectarian bloodletting. Iraq's own elected leaders say that for the present American troops should stay.

In many wars, just or unjust, men commit crimes for which they should be tried and punished. The answer to Haditha is for Mr Bush at last to insist on transparency, justice and accountability. Giving up and shipping out would simply condemn many more Iraqis to a violent death.

SWJED
06-14-2006, 12:36 AM
From our friend Bill Roggio (currently embedded with the Canadians in AF) at the Counterterrorism Blog - Reflections on Haditha (http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/06/reflections_on_haditha.php). Bill was an embed with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, just after they liberated the Haditha Triad region from al-Qaeda's grip during Operation Rivergate last December.

... The Marines based in the Triad, as elsewhere along the Euphrates River Valley, were fighting a tough counterinsurgency against a ruthless and often unseen enemy. al-Qaeda and the insurgency routinely used women as human shields, attacked from the middle of crowded locations, homes, schools and mosques, and showed a reckless disregard for civilian casualties. Assassinations of local tribal leaders cooperating with the Iraqi government was the norm, as were mortar, grenade, RPG and roadside bombing attacks. al-Qaeda formed military hit squads designed to provoke the Marines into violent reactions and cause civilian casualties. The al-Qaeda teams were well armed, possessed new weapons, wore body armor and were well financed.

The strict rules of engagement (ROE) the Marines had to adhere to was of great of interest to me. The rules of engagement defined the operating procedures for the Marines when patrolling, setting up checkpoints, searching homes, taking hostile fire, and reacting to ambushes or roadside bombs. When coming under fire, the Marines had to follow a predefined set of rules on the escalation of force, to ensure an inordinate amount of force was used, which can potentially alienate the population.

I was curious about how the Marines felt about operating in a difficult combat environment. And I didn't ask the officers about the Rules of Engagement, I asked the privates and lance corporals and sergeants - the Marines who walked the streets each and every day and put their our lives on the line. To a man, the Marines I spoke to in the 3/1 stated that while the strict rules of engagement often put them at greater risk of death or injury, they understood the need follow these rules. They understood the war had switched from kinetic war fighting to standard counterinsurgency operations, where the support of the civilian population is paramount to the success of the mission. I watched these young men in operation, and am proud of their professionalism.

The media will not tell you how the Marines of the 3/1 retook the Haditha Triad region during Operation Rivergate in the fall of 2005 with minimal civilian casualties. The operation was planned in such a meticulous manner and with the intention to safeguard the residents of the city of Haditha that no civilian, Marine or Iraqi casualties were taken. The media won't tell you how the Marines worked for days on end to ensure a safe environment for the Iraqi people to exercise their right to vote in the December 15 Parliamentary elections. You won't hear about how a young Marine, upon positively identifying a vehicle that was used to attack Marines and Iraqi civilians alike, chased the car, on foot, through the streets of Haqlaniyah, and held his fire while the car escaped as he feared injuring civilians. You won't hear about how,after Election Day, insurgents mortared the polling center in Barwana, and killed five children and wounded several others. The Marines of the 3/1 rushed the children to Al Asad Airbase for medical treatment, and saved the life of one Iraqi child.

You won't hear the story about Ayman, an Iraqi policeman from the city of Haditha, who fought al-Qaeda during the summer of 2005. Ayman was captured by insurgents, beaten, tortured and then had his left hand and foot cut off as punishment for his opposition to the jihadis. He was subsequently dumped in front of his home and left to die. Fearing for his family's safety, Ayman hobbled to Haditha Dam, about 4 miles away, and sought the help of the Marines of the 3/1. Ayman was taken in, and a Marine staff sergeant was able to get a doctor from the United States to send a prosthetic foot, which allowed Ayman to walk again.

These stories don't fit the preconceived story line of a military victimized, worn down and driven to depths of depravity due to a failed enterprise in Iraq, and so therefore they are not told.

The charges leveled against the Marines of Kilo Company are serious and deserve to be investigated. The Marines deserve to have judgment withheld until the investigation is completed and the results released. Prejudging these Marines, as has been done in numerous media outlets and by a sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is irresponsible. No matter what the results of the investigation, anything but a charge of murder will now be viewed as whitewash. Our Marines deserve far better than this.

SWJED
06-15-2006, 12:58 AM
14 June Real Clear Politics commentary - In Marines We Trust (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/06/in_marines_we_trust.html) by Kathleen Parker.

... Instead of launching an aggressive PR campaign to debunk the growing impression that such incidents, if true, are par for American forces, we get a presumption of guilt and an ethics course to fix a problem that isn't a problem. The failure to communicate responsibly and strategically in this case, coupled with the rush to judgment in the international court of public opinion, has hurt not only the Marines under investigation, but also all our military men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The drill is too familiar by now. The action begins with someone (apparently anyone will do) making an accusation; next come the cameras and the media saturation; and, Voila: we have a conviction before we have a formal charge. Whether the alleged perpetrators are prison guards at Abu Ghraib, lacrosse players at Duke University or Marines in Haditha, we are predisposed to assume guilt.

In Iraq, we might add to our failure to communicate a failure of confidence in ourselves and of faith in our own. Given that Haditha is dense with insurgents whose tactics do not come from the Marine Corps playbook, is it possible that they, not we, killed the civilians, or that they used them as human shields? Killing civilians, after all, is the rule among those who seek to drive the U.S. from Iraq...

SWJED
07-08-2006, 10:34 PM
8 July Washington Post - Military Confirms Pre-deployment Training Failures (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/08/AR2006070800566.html) by Tom Ricks.

The U.S. military officer overseeing the investigation into 24 civilian killings in Haditha, Iraq, has concluded that Marine leadership failed multiple times, including their pre-deployment training, the tone set by commanders, and how information was reported up the chain of command, a Defense official said.

Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the No. 2 officer in Iraq, found that commanders and staff at the regimental and division level were negligent in how they conveyed orders about how to deal with Iraqi civilians and also in how they responded to conflicting reports they received from units about the Haditha incident, the official said.

Most of Chiarelli's "Findings and Recommendations" endorse the conclusions of an investigation led by Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell, the official said. But Chiarelli long has been concerned that the U.S. military was inadequately prepared to conduct an effective counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq. He also included thoughts about how to better prepare troops and commanders, the official added.

"You've got to prepare for the fight you're in today," said a second Defense official, summarizing Chiarelli's findings on the military's inadequate training for counterinsurgency operations. "It's totally different" than fighting in Iraq two or three years ago, he noted.

The Army, for example, tends in its training to emphasize using heavy firepower against the enemy, while classic counterinsurgency doctrine teaches that soldiers should use the minimal amount of force necessary to accomplish the mission.

Also, the Army early in Iraq tended to focus on killing or capturing insurgents, while counterinsurgency doctrine teaches that the best way to deal with an insurgent is to persuade him to change sides or to desert. Also, in contrast to a spate of cases of the abuse of detainees, counterinsurgency theorists recommend treating captured fighters well, to encourage them to desert and to persuade others to give themselves up. Above all, the people are seen as the prize in the war, not as its playing field.

When stacked up, Bargewell's exhaustive investigation stands more than four feet high. His report won't be released, but later this week, Chiarelli is expected to release a redacted version of his 30-page report. On Friday, Chiarelli gave his report to Army Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, but Casey isn't expected to ask for major changes, the official said...

SWJED
01-07-2007, 06:59 AM
Death in Haditha (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/05/AR2007010502248.html) - Washington Post.

U.S. Marines gunned down five unarmed Iraqis who stumbled onto the scene of a 2005 roadside bombing in Haditha, Iraq, according to eyewitness accounts that are part of a lengthy investigative report obtained by The Washington Post. Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, the squad's leader, shot the men one by one after Marines ordered them out of a white taxi in the moments following the explosion, which killed one Marine and injured two others, witnesses told investigators. Another Marine fired rounds into their bodies as they lay on the ground.

U.S. Investigation Reveals New Details of Civilian Deaths in Haditha (http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-01-06-voa16.cfm) - VOA.

A published report on the killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha in 2005 says witnesses saw the troops pull five unarmed Iraqis from a passing taxi and shoot them dead at point-blank range. The report obtained by The Washington Post newspaper reveals previously undisclosed details about the incident in Haditha. That incident occurred shortly after a roadside bomb killed one Marine and wounded two others.

Marines' Photos Provide Graphic Evidence in Haditha Probe (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/06/AR2007010601359.html) - Washington Post.

Capturing images of war on their digital cameras, as many troops in Iraq have done, Marines took dozens of gruesome photographs of the 24 civilians who were killed in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005. The images -- which investigators tracked down on several laptop computers and digital media drives, some in the United States -- provide visual evidence of a series of shootings outside a taxi and inside three homes that military criminal investigators have alleged were murders.

U.S. Inquiry Backs Charges of Killing by Marines in Iraq (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/world/middleeast/07haditha.html?ref=world) - NY Times.

An American government report on the killing of 24 Iraqis, including several women and children, by marines in the village of Haditha in 2005 provides new details of how the shootings unfolded and supports allegations by prosecutors that a few marines illegally killed civilians, government officials said yesterday. The report, by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, contains thousands of pages of interviews with marines, Iraqi Army soldiers who had accompanied them and Iraqi villagers who had seen the attack. The shootings followed a roadside bombing that killed a young lance corporal and wounded two other marines, said a senior Defense Department official and another official who had read the report.

tequila
01-08-2007, 10:47 AM
William Langewiesche writing in Vanity Fair on Haditha (http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2006/11/haditha200611?printable=true&currentPage=all). Don't necessarily agree with everything he concludes, but it's a well-written article with lots of additional details.

goesh
01-08-2007, 12:56 PM
As a US tax payer, a civilian and as a human being, I really don't care if in fact the Marines in question blew away some civilians. I could care less if they did and I could care less what anyone thinks of me over it. It seems apparent to me that the ROE are causing US deaths. Our troops are being killed for the sake of PR -that's the bottom line and subsequently intelligent people are wringing their hands over why Iraq is becoming a quagmire. The ROE serve no purpose except to increase the visceral loathing jihadis have for us and our way of life. Our enemy has no reason to fear us, none what so ever and their assets, the civilian population, has no reason to respect us or to regard us as liberators in any way. Why would they? We invade and don't even attempt to stop looters. We won't go all out to kill our enemies and in fact appear afraid of them. What else would civilians believe for cryin' out loud? We pick up our fallen enemies and give them state of the art medical care. What would you think if you had a sick kid and couldn't get any real help for the kid, then along comes the all powerful Americans, they wound one of the men trying to kill them then they turn around and take care of that person all the while your kid remains sick and in need of treatment. And they're supposed to regard us as saviors and great, wonderful people? DUHH! Would you trust such people? I sure the heck wouldn't. Would you tip them off to a potential ambush when they won't even shoot back half the time and try to stay alive? Love your enemy, enable them to live and oppress the people you're supposed to be saving. We used to call that a cluster fu** but I guess the rules of interpretation (ROI) have changed, huh? There is only one way to play Taps regardless of what lifers and politicians say.

jcustis
01-08-2007, 01:43 PM
It seems apparent to me that the ROE are causing US deaths. Our troops are being killed for the sake of PR -that's the bottom line and subsequently intelligent people are wringing their hands over why Iraq is becoming a quagmire. The ROE serve no purpose except to increase the visceral loathing jihadis have for us and our way of life.

I think you will find that the great majority of members here hold a completely different view, and that your observations on the rules of engagement are in fact incorrect.

Are you speaking from the experience of having actually served under the CENTCOM Standing ROE, in Iraq?

JKM4767
01-08-2007, 02:14 PM
JC is right. I have never felt the ROE hindered any operation or mission. If you are shot at, shoot back, just hit what you aim at. During two tours, I have never seen a chain of command question the decision of a leader during any type of engagement. Never.
Also, ground troops are pretty much given the OK to fire in many non-standard cases, i.e., someone is laying in an IED. More often than not, units sometimes use too much force that wasn't necessary.

taillat
01-08-2007, 07:02 PM
As a french, i have little information about this event, except what i read on this forum. I recommand you this article:
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20061101faessay85608/colin-h-kahl/how-we-fight.html
This reminds me a (quite) similar case for French Army in Ivory Coast on may 2005: one rebel was arrested by a mountain's troop platoon in the demilitarized zone held by Force Licorne. The rebel, having been convinced for rape, murder and racket, was injured by our soldiers. He died during the travel to hospital. Six months later, unofficial voices (jealous officers maybe) said to the press that the Ivorian was murdered (suffocation in a plastic bag) by the platoon sergeant. But the case was occulted by general Poncet, commander of Force Licorne (a former special force leader). This triggered a violent press campaign against French Army in Ivory Coast, by both ivorian and french journalists. Poncet was convinced for his silence, as were the platoon leader, the platoon sergent, and the regiment leader. In my regiment, there was no doubt the rebel would have been released and, even if we condemned the murder, we could understand why it happened. Furthermore, many of us thought our soldiers weren't sufficiently backed by political leaders and intellectual elites. This was difficult in my regiment because it suffered 8 casualties on november 2004 following a bombing by Pdt Gbagbo's ukranian-piloted su-25.
I will pray for your fellow Marines that face trial. Your soldiers, nothwithstanding their defaults (and everyone has one), fight for each other, like any soldier in any war.
Best
Sous-Lieutenant (2/Lt) (reserve) Stéphane TAILLAT
PS: many apologizes for my syntax and grammar.

goesh
01-08-2007, 07:03 PM
Jcustis, my time was in Nam, not Iraq. JKM: "..pretty much given the OK to fire in many non-standard cases" "..just hit what you aim at". That's a large gray administrative discretionary gap there if you ask me and it's what I thought it pretty much was over there - social workers directing the grunts. ROE are at the fire team, squad, platoon level, not with D.C. suits who step on bona fide career men and make them toe the political line. I'm not questioning or doubting the balls and adrenalin and committment of the grunts and career officers but it seems it's time to pull the plug and bring you all home. I don't see where that hot-shot Pretareus (sp) is going to make much difference either being the CO of it all. He is tethered to D.C. and you can't tell me any different.You're supposed to fight but not hate, kill but be nice and politically correct about it. I bet there are rules against taking souvenirs off dead jihadis too, aren't there? It isn't working with jihadis this war and we all know it. Either fight to win or come home, you bear no shame.

Steve Blair
01-08-2007, 07:34 PM
JC is right. I have never felt the ROE hindered any operation or mission. If you are shot at, shoot back, just hit what you aim at. During two tours, I have never seen a chain of command question the decision of a leader during any type of engagement. Never.
Also, ground troops are pretty much given the OK to fire in many non-standard cases, i.e., someone is laying in an IED. More often than not, units sometimes use too much force that wasn't necessary.

ROEs change and mature over time, and this is most likely what we're seeing now. I think you get to the heart of it, JKM, when you talk about using too much force. Or using that force in the wrong location or against the wrong target. This has been a constant throughout historical COIN efforts. The wise commanders figured it out, the less gifted stuck with "more of the same." But it's also become clear (and did historically as well) that ROE are necessary in this sort of conflict. Even if they are not formally spelled out (as was the case during the Indian Wars), they are needed and have existed.

jcustis
01-08-2007, 07:41 PM
But it's also become clear (and did historically as well) that ROE are necessary in this sort of conflict. Even if they are not formally spelled out (as was the case during the Indian Wars), they are needed and have existed.

And that's a perfect point to support the issue that Rules Of Interaction (on the non-kinetic side) may be more important at times.

Steve Blair
01-08-2007, 08:25 PM
And that's a perfect point to support the issue that Rules Of Interaction (on the non-kinetic side) may be more important at times.

Exactly. This sort of thing did exist within the Frontier Army, although in a very rough and undocumented form. The majority of the Army's interactions with Indians were of a peaceful nature, as opposed to combat operations. Some commanders (typically at the company level but sometimes at regimental level) did come out with more or less official guidance, but that was rare.

It should be mentioned, though, that the Frontier Army had a huge experience and knowledge pool to draw from. We're only now starting to create that.

SWCAdmin
01-08-2007, 09:08 PM
PS: many apologizes for my syntax and grammar.

Your English is much better than my French. No problemo (I think that's either Spanish or Austrian).

In my regiment, there was no doubt the rebel would have been released and, even if we condemned the murder, we could understand why it happened.
<snip>
I will pray for your fellow Marines that face trial. Your soldiers, nothwithstanding their defaults (and everyone has one), fight for each other, like any soldier in any war.

We certainly must not view war through the lens of armchair civilian peacetime law. Horrible things happen. But they happen more and more if we tolerate those that are on the fringe, understandable or not. Your example of vigiliante-ism is closer to the fringe, but most versions of the Haditha story are well down the slippery slope. (I do not pretend to know the truth of what happened). Not that either is OK, but I see a large difference between the two.

JKM4767
01-08-2007, 09:59 PM
ROEs change and mature over time, and this is most likely what we're seeing now. I think you get to the heart of it, JKM, when you talk about using too much force. Or using that force in the wrong location or against the wrong target. This has been a constant throughout historical COIN efforts. The wise commanders figured it out, the less gifted stuck with "more of the same." But it's also become clear (and did historically as well) that ROE are necessary in this sort of conflict. Even if they are not formally spelled out (as was the case during the Indian Wars), they are needed and have existed.
You wouldn't believe what I have seen units do. One support unit running a logistics patrol at night shot up a vehicle with a .50 CAL for "driving at them". The irony is that the Patrol was driving on the wrong side of the road.
Maturity and situational awareness are paramount to effectively operating in COIN and unfortunately, so many leaders lack that. Then again, in many cases, we are asking very junior guys to take an extrordinary amount of responsibility. I've also seen units use a rediculous amount of force during operations. Simple searches and guys are breaking people #### in their house, etc. Just unecessary actions that are so detrimental to building relations. Once again, that is leaders lacking maturity and control, thus undoing any progress they've made. What many people don't understand the about ROE is that it only takes one person, one leader, one situation to cause a ton of irreversible damage. Not to mention Arabs are extremely sensitive people and are easily offended, especially by the big, bad Coalition.

tequila
01-09-2007, 12:12 AM
This article written awhile back from Samarra (http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/13880387.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp)has stuck with me regarding ROE in Iraq:


Five days after the grenade attack, Lt. Call and his men from the 2nd platoon were planning an afternoon "hearts and minds" foot patrol to hand out soccer balls to local kids.

As Call sat in the schoolhouse, preparing to go out, he heard two loud bursts from the .50-caliber machine gun on the roof.

Specialist Michael Pena, a beefy 21-year-old from Port Isabel, Texas, had opened fire. Boom-boom-boom. Boom-boom-boom.

Call and his men dashed out the front door. Pena had shot an unarmed Iraqi man on the street. The man had walked past the signs that mark the 200-yard "disable zone" that surrounds the Alamo and into the 100-yard "kill zone" around the base. The Army had forced the residents of the block to leave the houses last year to create the security perimeter.

American units in Iraq usually fire warning shots. The Rakkasans don't.

A few days later, Call said his brigade command had told him, "The Rakkasans don't do warning shots." A warning shot in the vernacular of the Rakkasans, Call said, was a bullet that hit one Iraqi man while others could see.

"That's how you warn his buddy, is to pop him in the face with a kill shot?" Call said incredulously. "But what about when his buddy comes back with another guy ... that and the other 15 guys in his family who you've made terrorists?"

Looking at the man splayed on the ground, Call turned to his medic, Specialist Patrick McCreery, and asked, "What the f--- was he doing?"

McCreery didn't answer. The man's internal organs were hanging out of his side, and his blood was pouring across the ground. He was conscious and groaning. His eyelids hung halfway closed.

"What ... did they shoot him with?" McCreery asked, sweat beginning to show on his brow. "Did someone call a ... ambulance?"

The call to prayer was starting at a mosque down the street. The words "Allahu Akbar" - God is great - wafted down from a minaret's speakers.

The man looked up at the sky as he heard the words. He repeated the phrase "Ya Allah. Ya Allah. Ya Allah." Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.

He looked at McCreery and raised his finger toward the house in front of him.

"This my house," he said in broken English.

McCreery reached down. With his hands cupped, he shoved the man's organs back into his body and held them in place as Call unwrapped a bandage to put around the hole.

"He's fading, he's fading," McCreery shouted.

Looking into the dying man's eyes, the medic said, "Haji, haji, look at me," using the honorific title reserved for older Muslim men who presumably have gone on Hajj - pilgrimage - to Mecca.

"Why? Why?" asked the man, his eyes beginning to close.

"Haji, I don't know," said McCreery, sweat pouring down his face.

An Iraqi ambulance pulled up and the Humvees followed. They followed the man to the hospital they'd raided a few days earlier. The soldiers filed in and watched as the man died.

Call said nothing. McCreery, a 35-year-old former foundry worker from Levering, Mich., walked toward a wall, alone. He looked at the dead man for a moment and wiped tears from his eyes.

A few days later, Call's commander asked him to take pictures of the entrails left by the man Pena had shot, identified as Wissam Abbas, age 31, to document that Abbas was inside the sign warning of deadly force.

RTK
01-09-2007, 12:09 PM
This article written awhile back from Samarra (http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/13880387.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp)has stuck with me regarding ROE in Iraq:

The unit highlighted in this story was perhaps the more ruthless and uncontrollable unit in theater during OIF III. Aside from numerous OPSEC issues I see with that story, I see a unit somewhat out of control with a cavalier attitude towards what they were doing. The ROE doesn't cover a lot of what the Rakkasans did last rotation, to include many of the ugly things. Common sense, decency, and professional warfighting doesn't allow you to pull some of the things the Rakkasans pulled this last time. Keeping track of unit and individual kills is like keeping track of RBIs or stolen bases in baseball. Once emphasis is placed on the importance of shooting people in the face, that becomes some soldiers' primary focus. All else becomes ancillary.

So how does this relate to Haditha and dealing with the aftermath? The problems go directly back to leadership. How can a unit fromt he 101st allow 3 privates and 2 NCOs to dress in civilian clothes, get drunk, go out into the South Baghdad area, rape and kill a young girl, and then come back to the FOB undetected? Further, how can a company of Marines go through Haditha immediately after an IED and start looking for any reason to tear the place up?

We have some outstanding wheat in terms of leadership in the Army and Marine Corps. We also have our fair share of chaff that need to be seperated from the wheat.

SWJED
08-11-2007, 03:25 PM
Haditha Dismissal of Charge (http://smallwarsjournal.com/documents/hadithaletter.pdf) - LCpl Justin Sharratt, USMC. Signed by LtGen James Mattis, USMC.

GreenBird
09-06-2007, 03:46 AM
Dont you just love lack of accountability. And watch, America will forget it even happened in a couple of weeks as a hot new scandal from hollywood pops up.

MattC86
09-06-2007, 03:58 AM
Dont you just love lack of accountability. And watch, America will forget it even happened in a couple of weeks as a hot new scandal from hollywood pops up.

I don't think this qualifies as a lack of accountability. Several issues have thrown the case in doubt, although I think it is still very likely that Sgt. Frank Wuterich and some of the squad in question will not see their charges dismissed. There was the UAV video (just declassified) of insurgents leaving the scene right at the time the shooting started, and continued questioning of witness statement discrepencies.

My response to those who want to hang these guys from the nearest tree and those who don't want them tried for anything is the same. Wait and see; have faith in the military justice system. A general is not just going to dismiss charges if the charge is legitimate, especially not in a case as major as this with a general like Mattis.

Matt

SWJED
09-06-2007, 04:27 AM
Dont you just love lack of accountability. And watch, America will forget it even happened in a couple of weeks as a hot new scandal from hollywood pops up.

... my post here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=24848#post24848) before you continue at SWC.

I am not sure if your e-mail to The Partisan (aka Syrian Sister) will get through as she was banned.

selil
09-06-2007, 04:32 AM
You gotta admit that letter is a work of art.

Semper Fi

Sarajevo071
09-06-2007, 07:04 AM
Dont you just love lack of accountability. And watch, America will forget it even happened in a couple of weeks as a hot new scandal from hollywood pops up.

This is not un-biased forum and opinions like yours, and true and honest criticism (even when supported with news or official reports) have no merit when US military is on line... Sooner you get that longer you will stay. But, judging by some reactions on your first post, you are in cross lines already.

Good luck.

Sarajevo071
09-06-2007, 07:15 AM
I don't think this qualifies as a lack of accountability. Several issues have thrown the case in doubt, although I think it is still very likely that Sgt. Frank Wuterich and some of the squad in question will not see their charges dismissed. There was the UAV video (just declassified) of insurgents leaving the scene right at the time the shooting started, and continued questioning of witness statement discrepencies.

My response to those who want to hang these guys from the nearest tree and those who don't want them tried for anything is the same. Wait and see; have faith in the military justice system. A general is not just going to dismiss charges if the charge is legitimate, especially not in a case as major as this with a general like Mattis.

Matt

Hi,

First, just to be clear, I am not one of those "who want to hang these guys from the nearest tree" but one who would like to see UNIVERSAL rules on crimes, war crimes, murder on every single individual... Being treated same, equal, it's basic human right and pillar of democracy. Right? Or I miss that class in school!?

Anyways, "wait and see" policy is great also when you apply that on everyone and not when one side do something wrong you go and accuse and punish them right away but when other side do that (one close to your heart) rules are completely different. Or some time there is not even "wait and see". Crimes are ignored and push under the carpet. They are bunch of jihadi towel heads anyways, right?

I know, I will get the heat soon I post this but for me murder is murder. Simple.

Like ACLU said, there are many crimes committed by U.S. Soldiers against civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan that "detail a troubling pattern of troops failing to understand and follow the rules that govern interrogations and deadly actions." Troops and their officers being let go, not punished for murders or rapes putting bad stain on all US military and what they trying to do and for what they stand for. And that is bad and wrong message to everyone else.

But, that's just my humble (non-american) opinion.

tequila
09-06-2007, 08:49 AM
MattC86, I think the defense argument regarding the UAV footage (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/08/31/haditha.video/index.html)is not that insurgents were "leaving the scene" but rather that the Marines were engaged in several firefights that day and CAS was used to destroy several houses without positive ID of all people within the house --- and thus Marines clearing houses without positively ID'ing their targets was within the ROE.


The video appears to show that, throughout that day, Marines engaged in fierce firefights and called in air strikes to level buildings -- often with no definitive idea of who was inside.

That could buttress defense arguments that Marines clearing buildings on the ground with guns and grenades were just following rules of engagement.

"The defense can say, 'Hey, look, you had to do this later in the day, what's the difference between what happened later in the day and what our guys did earlier in the day?' " asked retired Marine Lt. Col. Gary Solis, a former prosecutor and military judge who teaches law at Georgetown University and West Point.


The UAV footage has always been there and is in fact detailed in the Harpers writeup (http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2006/11/haditha200611)of the incident by William Langiewiesche, where he makes much the same point.


... The men in the car on the palm-grove trail were in no particular hurry. They stopped beside other cars on the trail, presumably to coordinate future attacks. Eventually they came to River Road, not far south of Route Chestnut, where they parked the car and entered two houses. McConnell called the houses "safe houses," perhaps because the men calmly entered them. There was little doubt that all seven men were insurgents, but it was impossible to tell who else was in the houses, and specifically whether families were sheltering inside. Force-protection standards precluded the possibility of checking, and since the rules of engagement sanctioned collateral casualties with the enemy so near, a flight of Cobra helicopters arrived and fired two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, one into each house, to soften things up. Kilo Company Marines then rushed forward to clear the rooms as required. The first house was empty, but as they approached the second one they were greeted by small-arms fire and grenades. The Marines pulled back—way back—and called in an AV-8B Harrier jet to drop a guided 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway bomb. The bomb crashed into the house with impressive precision, but did not explode.

At this point the drone saw two MAMs leave through the back door and run into a little palm-grove patch to hide. The Marines brought the Harrier around to pink-mist these guys with a second 500-pound bomb—this one guided into the patch—but it, too, turned out to be a dud. Undaunted, the troops switched weapons and hit the patch with a $180,000 air-launched AGM-65 Maverick missile. The strike resulted in one E.K.I.A. The surviving MAM egressed the patch and ingressed the house again. It was ridiculous. The Harrier came back around and dropped a third 500-pound bomb directly through the roof, blowing the whole house and everyone in it to bloody shreds.

This was McConnell's reality as Haditha settled down for the night. He gave a talk at Sparta Base, in which for once he did not overstretch. He said: Men, we've had a tough day, it's sad about Terrazas, but everyone functioned pretty well, so good job and keep at it. He did not mention—and apparently did not much think about—all the noncombatants who had died. Look, this was Iraq. The clearing operations on Route Chestnut did not stand out as being significantly different from the other main act of the day, the use of missiles and bombs against a house that may well have contained a family. God knows there were enough body parts now scattered through the ruins. Killing face-to-face with an M16 allows you at least some chance to desist from slaughtering women and children, which is not true once a bomb is called down on a house ...

SWCAdmin
09-06-2007, 12:15 PM
This is not un-biased forum and opinions like yours, and true and honest criticism (even when supported with news or official reports) have no merit when US military is on line... Sooner you get that longer you will stay. But, judging by some reactions on your first post, you are in cross lines already.

Good luck.
Un-biased -- unfortunately not, though we try. I know Sarajevo071 has the scars from bearing with us. Thanks.

We are a bit better at accepting opinions and true and honest criticism when they are supported with news, references, or at least a little thoughtful individual analysis. We aren't much good at critical drive-bys with no substance, even less so when they're a first post.

There's no reason why we shouldn't be equally intolerant of pro-US drive-bys of the same ilk. I guess that's the bias coming through. We do tend to ignore those rather than pounce on them, but they are no more valued or desired. Oh well. Like I said, we're not perfect.

Feel free to dissent wildly, in thoughtful and substantive posts. We need to accept that. And if/when you do, I hope you will find me, SWJED, and all the moderators fully on your side. We must get there.

Jedburgh
09-06-2007, 12:48 PM
There is an extensive discussion of Haditha, ROE, and related matters in this thread: Dealing With Haditha (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=819)

Newer members please read through this before jumping in, unaware, into the current discussion.

Ken White
09-06-2007, 05:16 PM
This is not un-biased forum and opinions like yours, and true and honest criticism (even when supported with news or official reports) have no merit when US military is on line... Sooner you get that longer you will stay. But, judging by some reactions on your first post, you are in cross lines already.

Good luck.

is unbiased, none, my observation in a month or so here is that you can criticize the military to your hearts content as long as you don't do it in a way that is designed to annoy people and as long as you're reasonable and factual.

Only when the 'in your face' and confrontational style is used do some object. They also object when statements are made with no references or backup to support the comment. As they should. People who want to make political comments can go to political blogs, there are hundreds of them out there, most filled with foolishness.

Sarajevo071
09-06-2007, 05:47 PM
Un-biased -- unfortunately not, though we try. I know Sarajevo071 has the scars from bearing with us. Thanks.
Understand and agree with you... This place, and I will always admit that, thanks to the brain power, experience and professionalism it's better then 99% places out there. Period.

Only when the 'in your face' and confrontational style is used do some object. They also object when statements are made with no references or backup to support the comment. As they should.
Just to be fair, there was times when I posted references and sources/links for reasons for my opinions and comments but they was ignored and pushed aside due to the blind defending of one sides... Saying that, one need also to admit that in the war there is two sides to the truth and passions run deep and very high on both of them.

War is bloody, messy thing.

RTK
09-06-2007, 08:02 PM
Understand and agree with you... This place, and I will always admit that, thanks to the brain power, experience and professionalism it's better then 99% places out there. Period.

What's the other 1% :confused::D

Ken White
09-06-2007, 08:10 PM
...
. . .
War is bloody, messy thing.

Totally true in fact -- but, like the Marines say, somebody better know how.

I think that know how is terribly important and that to those who go, the politics are not terribly relevant. The time for all that is BEFORE commitment, a fact a great many seem to lose sight of...

Sarajevo071
09-06-2007, 08:18 PM
What's the other 1% :confused::D

This place. And couple others too.
;)

RTK
09-06-2007, 08:19 PM
Saying that, one need also to admit that in the war there is two sides to the truth and passions run deep and very high on both of them.

War is bloody, messy thing.

An excellent segway into the old Changing of Perception (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2486&highlight=reality) thread that, unknowingly, Sarajevo071 actually made me think of in the first place about 9 months ago...

Sarajevo071
09-06-2007, 08:27 PM
Thank you. :o

I saw that tread, and I was reading it. But decided not to comment since I felt I was not welcomed (even that I felt strongly about some things and find some other things being wrong).

I was always with opinion that one need to understand and respect "other side" to understand why's and how's, to know the truth no matter how hard is it for "his side". Only then we can more forward and solve things.

Wars are not run forever and on the end, we do need each other.

Sarajevo071
09-06-2007, 08:28 PM
Totally true in fact -- but, like the Marines say, somebody better know how.

I think that know how is terribly important and that to those who go, the politics are not terribly relevant. The time for all that is BEFORE commitment, a fact a great many seem to lose sight of...

Many know "how to", that's not an issue. To pull the trigger is easy. But, to pull at right person/target and at right time and place seams to be problem to many out there.

RTK
09-06-2007, 08:33 PM
Thank you. :o

I saw that tread, and I was reading it. But decided not to comment since I felt I was not welcomed (even that I felt strongly about some things and find some other things being wrong).

I was always with opinion that one need to understand and respect "other side" to understand why's and how's, to know the truth no matter how hard is it for "his side". Only then we can more forward and solve things.

Wars are not run forever and on the end, we do need each other.

The way I see it, threads like that are made for those like you. No disrespect intended in any way, but I'm at the point where I think that if I can convince you of something, I can convince the indigenous populace too.

Ken White
09-06-2007, 09:10 PM
Many know "how to", that's not an issue. To pull the trigger is easy. But, to pull at right person/target and at right time and place seams to be problem to many out there.


Been a problem ever since there have been triggers. Before that, it was swords, before that spears...

Good leaders and good training don't let that happen and never have. Unfortunately, the human genome does not produce invariably good leaders and democraices don't do well at training in peacetime; to do it right causes casualties and the Mothers get upset.

It is, thankfully, far less a problem now than it was even 30 years ago. I suspect it will continue to be a problem and we just have to note when it occurs, fix that specific problem as best we can and keep working on the generic problem. Which most people are doing...

Rank amateur
09-06-2007, 10:32 PM
I'm at the point where I think that if I can convince you of something, I can convince the indigenous populace too.

Have you convinced him of anything?

RTK
09-07-2007, 12:26 AM
Have you convinced him of anything?

We occasionally engage in mutual understanding...:D

Sarajevo071
09-07-2007, 12:30 AM
Have you convinced him of anything?

And what is that you would like to convince me?! :confused:

Sarajevo071
09-07-2007, 12:38 AM
We occasionally engage in mutual understanding...:D

No matter what others think, I am fair and open to hear and accept truth and honest opinions... Same moment someone goes blank and start with propaganda, insults or plain justifications, I retaliate same way.

I don't have nothing to prove to anyone nor to apologize for. Others spilled first blood and attacked me back in days. I paid big price being open minded, tree-loving, no-religious and no-biased naive kid. I am no kid anymore.

So, if you are open toward me, honest and respectful, be sure I am there to talk and exchange same attitude. Simple. Now... Are you ready for kick-off!?? :D

Sarajevo071
09-07-2007, 12:40 AM
Been a problem ever since there have been triggers. Before that, it was swords, before that spears...

Good leaders and good training don't let that happen and never have. Unfortunately, the human genome does not produce invariably good leaders and democraices don't do well at training in peacetime; to do it right causes casualties and the Mothers get upset.

It is, thankfully, far less a problem now than it was even 30 years ago. I suspect it will continue to be a problem and we just have to note when it occurs, fix that specific problem as best we can and keep working on the generic problem. Which most people are doing...

I agree and I can accept that (not that I think human race is evolving much, btw).

Rank amateur
09-07-2007, 01:01 AM
We occasionally engage in mutual understanding...:D

That's why I'm a Powell doctrine advocate. Why spend 10 years coming to a mutual understanding when a couple of days of B52s will help people see how much we have in common?

(The few who will never be reasonable, i.e. Hitler and Bin Laden, need to be eliminated, but - while I don't want to speak for anyone else - I don't think Sarajevo would have a major problem with that.)

That doesn't solve all the world's problems, but it does provide effective, cost efficient defense.

Sarajevo071
09-07-2007, 01:19 AM
That's why I'm a Powell doctrine advocate. Why spend 10 years coming to a mutual understanding when a couple of days of B52s will help people see how much we have in common?

So, how is that working for you by now? Solved anything? Got more friends and allies then enemies, then before?!

You are amusing.

RTK
09-07-2007, 02:16 AM
That's why I'm a Powell doctrine advocate. Why spend 10 years coming to a mutual understanding when a couple of days of B52s will help people see how much we have in common?


I'm not sure if that quite sums up the Powell Doctrine the way it was sold.

Sounds more like the Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson Doctrine.

Ken White
09-07-2007, 02:55 AM
Weinberger doctrine (LINK) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weinberger_Doctrine), modified. Both were expressly designed to deter use of the Armed forces in anything short of a war of national survival and to avoid any commitment to peacekeeping, nation building or counterinsurgency work.

The Weinberger doctrine, when announced made a little sense. it was argaubly a laudable goal if a bit unrealistic. However its effect was to insure that the Army ignored seriously doing anything to, by, for or with counterinsurgency -- when it was fairly obvious at the time that would be a future problem.

After 1991, it wasn't fairly obvious, it was right in our face and we still tried to hide behind the flawed doctrine. It was flawed because it didn't recognize the reality on the ground, catered to the purchase of large expensive hardware instead of investing in costly individual training and lulled too many into ignoring future problems.

It also effectively precluded, if followed, virtually any use of military force due to the ever decreasing size of the Armed forces. In the event, it was not followed by any President after it was announced; all of them violated its precepts with military action.

Rank amateur
09-07-2007, 10:40 PM
It was argaubly a laudable goal if a bit unrealistic.

We're upgrading our fighters even though we already have the best aircraft. It increases the odds that no one will ever challenge us for air supremacy.

The stronger we are at COIN, the less likely our enemies will be to draw us into an asymmetrical conflict. So I'd argue that the doctrine was solid, just poorly implemented.

To use an analogy. Desiring to avoid nuclear war: good. Trying to achieve it by getting rid of nuclear weapons: bad implementation.

Rank amateur
09-07-2007, 11:26 PM
I was suggesting that if a "mutual understanding" is the best you can achieve with Sarajavo071

The way I see it, threads like that are made for those like you. No disrespect intended in any way, but I'm at the point where I think that if I can convince you of something, I can convince the indigenous populace too.

than a "mutual understanding" might be the best you can achieve from the local populace. I consider the "Sunni awakening" a "mutual understanding." The Powell doctrine, as implemented in 1991, lead very quickly to a "mutual understanding" of who should run Kuwait.


Sounds more like the Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson Doctrine.

Excellent reference. I'm impressed: very impressed if you remembered Buck's last name without using Google.

JJackson
09-07-2007, 11:45 PM
Re: Haditha Dismissal of Charge

As I am new here I apologise if this is covered somewhere else and I just haven’t found it yet (if so please link).

I found this forum from a link to Kilcullen’s SWJ article ‘Anatomy of a tribal revolt’ on Col. Pat Lang’s Sic Semper Tyrannis blog - which I have been reading for some time. He also posted a copy of a rather damning letter by Sam Provance of Army Intelligence ‘Why the Pentagon Doesn’t Want Me to Testify About Abu Ghraib’ the full text of which can be found here http://www.alternet.org/story/61241/ . The gist is he had tried to give evidence to the investigation but his superiors just did not want to know what he had to say. I have read the posts in this thread and the longer thread referenced by Jedburgh in post #10. In which most seem to argue ‘let the process take its course and wait for the verdict’ – an admirable sentiment with which I fully agree.
As I am not military I have know way of knowing how credible his testimony is. So my question for those who have operated in this theatre is a) does this ring true? b) If it does how isolated do you think it is? And c) How should this colour our view of these proceedings in general and the letter dismissing charges in post #1 in particular?

Ken White
09-07-2007, 11:49 PM
We're upgrading our fighters even though we already have the best aircraft. It increases the odds that no one will ever challenge us for air supremacy.

Agree and I'm all for it; we need both the F22 and the F35 (all variants) for the reason you state. As I pointed out to someone here a few days ago; US troops on the ground haven't been attacked from the air and there's a reason for that.

The stronger we are at COIN, the less likely our enemies will be to draw us into an asymmetrical conflict...

Couldn't agree more; that's why I constantly gripe about the fact that the senior leadership of the Army (including Powell among others) ignored it for 30 years even though a number of us were screaming that was not a good idea. Being able to say "I told you so" isn't really very satisfying.

... So I'd argue that the doctrine was solid, just poorly implemented.

I don't think the doctrines say what you think they say and I know that the implementation of them was specifically designed to say the "Army fights the Nation's BIG wars..." and to totally avoid nation building and counterinsurgency. Google is ready when you are, You should be able to find several quotes from Powell and others saying just that.

To use an analogy. Desiring to avoid nuclear war: good. Trying to achieve it by getting rid of nuclear weapons: bad implementation.

I'm sorry but your analogy isn't tracking with me, what, precisely, do you mean?

I thought by pointing out that every President from Reagan forward essentially ignored that doctrine and sent penny packets of troops, ships and aircraft to do either inane things as well as some important things that needed doing would make the point that the doctrines, aside from the size of forces that I also mentioned, were not politically supportable. Militarily they're eminently sensible and very valid -- but as the North Vietnamese Colonel told Harry Summers, "That may be true but it is also irrelevant."

The doctrines sound good but the realities of force structure size and capabilities, a world removed from the phoniness and artificiality of the 40 year Cold War and the hard cold light of international and domestic politics made them moot the day they were released. Great idea, shame it was unworkable.

They were an effort to constrain the US from military efforts bar a major threat. Any student of American history could've told Weinberger and Powell their ideas were good but not likely to be heeded -- and they were not, from 1984 onwards and by four Presidents from two Parties. I think there's a message in that.

SWCAdmin
09-08-2007, 12:13 AM
I agree and I can accept that (not that I think human race is evolving much, btw).
Concur! :) We have removed too many Darwinian drivers. Problem is they were so confounded with just plain mean-ness, it is hard to throw out the chaff and keep the wheat. But we have issues as a species.

Re Ken White statement on Powell doctrine being a spin on Weinberger -- concur there too. And that was how it was being taught in formal schools (USMC CSC) a couple of years ago, as an unambiguous bullet point in the curriculum plus all the trappings.

JJackson
09-08-2007, 12:32 AM
Again I start with an apology this time for not being familiar with doctrines being discussed. If I get the general idea it is the military should be used for national defence, if that is so then I am confused by the sheer scale of US military expenditure over the last half century. US conventional forces are way beyond anything needed to defend the USA from conventional attack by any other country. Even if every other country on the planet combined their navies would they be a match? Would not any war involving the US be asymmetrical? I would have thought any group trying to oppose US wishes in any matter would have to do it by means other than conventional military engagement. This lesson does not seem to have been lost on those you are fighting around the world who have gathered that wasting money on large expensive lumps of military hardware or infrastructure is just a means of providing target practice. Small clandestine mosquitoes that keep biting you until you decide it is better to go somewhere else seems to be the new MO.

Have I missed the point?

Sarajevo071
09-08-2007, 12:45 AM
If you check how many military bases U.S. have and where they all are (all over the world), you will get your answer of keeping the military in that number... To control and influence others, like any other empire before, U.S. need strong military and strong military/political/cultural presence in those countries. Plus, military-industrial complex in U.S. invested so much money in Congress and President/s that they get "paid" back by new contracts and new (or keeping old) jobs for weapon systems. And to get new "toys" you need to spend old ones.

Rank amateur
09-08-2007, 12:45 AM
Let me refine my thinking, because you can't away with sloppy thinking here.

When there is broad political consensus, your unique skills are effective in convincing the minority that maybe the majority isn't so unreasonable after all. Be that in a traditional large scale operation or as a COIN mission. (You can take out the unreasonable minority all at once or one a time. You've convinced me that you can and will get better at doing it one at a time.) My premise holds up in WW1 and WW11. The Germans eventually agreed that with the consensus that Germany didn't need to occupy large sections of France and genocide was a crime against humanity.

When there is no political consensus - about how to govern Vietnam or Iraq - you make an enormous sacrifice and achieve little political progress.

So, I'll agree the "no COIN" bullet point was wrong. I'll agree that the no nation building bullet point was incomplete. I think it should've read "No nation building on our own, but we can participate in a coalition of nation builders who are being hampered by a small group of insurgents."

Afghanistan doesn't really fit, but that wasn't a war of choice. Every military should always be prepared in case they are drawn into a war they don't want to fight. In that case, they should always try to shape the battle so that they can utilize their strengths and hide their weaknesses. The Art of War always applies.

Finally, I'm only talking about modern Westerns forces. When the Romans were willing to crucifying whoever disagreed with them, the political landscape wasn't terribly relevant. (Though it would be fair to say that the Romans also subscribed to a no COIN, no nation building doctrine.)

Sarajevo071
09-08-2007, 12:52 AM
Concur! :) We have removed too many Darwinian drivers. Problem is they were so confounded with just plain mean-ness, it is hard to throw out the chaff and keep the wheat. But we have issues as a species.

Re Ken White statement on Powell doctrine being a spin on Weinberger -- concur there too. And that was how it was being taught in formal schools (USMC CSC) a couple of years ago, as an unambiguous bullet point in the curriculum plus all the trappings.

I started saying long time ago that we should be all nuked to oblivion, and let the Evolution start all over again... How much I can see around, our try failed. Maybe those behind us will have better luck. At least a chance for the new start. :wry:

Rank amateur
09-08-2007, 12:54 AM
If I get the general idea it is the military should be used for national defence, if that is so then I am confused by the sheer scale of US military expenditure over the last half century.
Have I missed the point?

Yes, you have missed the point. Besides national defense, the military can do things like close down concentration camps and stop genocide.

Also, the best form of defense is to be so big, and so effective, that no one takes a shot at you. The failure to modernize the British army during the 20s and 30s lead to the kind of thing that the pros here work hard to prevent.

Sarajevo071
09-08-2007, 01:01 AM
Yes, you have missed the point. Besides national defense, the military can do things like close down concentration camps and stop genocide.

Like U.S. military stooped genocide in Bosnia?! Closed serbian concentration and death camps?! Running for 4 years... :confused: :mad: BS!

But, then again, in Bosnia christians kill, rape and "cleaned" Muslims and Bosnia don't have oil... And Jews was on serbian side so no need to "protect" them either.

RTK
09-08-2007, 01:04 AM
Again I start with an apology this time for not being familiar with doctrines being discussed. If I get the general idea it is the military should be used for national defence, if that is so then I am confused by the sheer scale of US military expenditure over the last half century.

Have I missed the point?

I don't think I agree with the premise of your question.


US Army Mission Statement:

The Army's primary mission is to provide necessary forces and capabilities to the Combatant Commanders in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies. http://www.army.mil/APS/05/index.html

US Air Force Mission Statement

To deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.
http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123013440

US Navy Mission Statement

The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. http://www.navy.mil/navydata/organization/org-top.asp

Commandant of the US Marine Corps Planning Guidance

 Achieve victory in the Long War.
 Right-size our Corps to achieve a 1:2 deployment-to-dwell ratio.
 Provide our Nation a naval force that is fully prepared for employment as a MAGTF across the spectrum of conflict.
 Reset and modernize to "be most ready when the Nation is least ready."
 Improve the quality of life for our Marines and our families.
 Rededicate ourselves to our Core Values and warrior ethos.
 Posture the Marine Corps for the future.
http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/34CMCGuidance.pdf

US Coast Guard Mission Statement

The United States Coast Guard is a multi-missioned maritime service and one of the Nation's five Armed Services. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests - in the Nation's ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security. http://www.uscg.mil/NEWS/alaskaair/alaskaair.html

Ken White
09-08-2007, 01:14 AM
US wanted Europe to fix its own problems, Sarajevo.

They didn't seem inclined to do that. If you've noticed, we were late to the party in World Wars I and II as well -- waiting for Europe to solve their own problems.
Seems to be a pattern there...

As to the world wide Empire, not really that we want to do it all that much; we'd a lot rather worry about Lindsay Lohan and Larry Craig's bathroom habits but all these other folks just seem to cause problems that no one is willing to fix.

Nasty job as they say but somebody has to do it.

Be happy, another 50 years or so and we''ll be downgraded -- then you can complain about the Chinese or the Indians. :D

Ken White
09-08-2007, 01:26 AM
...

Have I missed the point?

It's a long story, a lot more than defense as RTK pointed out, worldwide presence for another thing and the sheer cost of things today.

The Peaceniks will eventually win because no one will be able to afford to fight... :D

There's also, as W.S. Churchill said, the fact that:

"You can always rely on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried every conceivable alternative."

He was being polite. We bumble a lot. :o

Ken White
09-08-2007, 02:19 AM
...
...The Powell doctrine, as implemented in 1991, lead very quickly to a "mutual understanding" of who should run Kuwait.
. . .

You may or may not be aware that Powell tried to use the doctrine to avoid going to Kuwait at all.

"...He contrasted Pershing’s subservience with the overreaching behavior of General Colin Powell, who was “encouraged by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986” to trespass on the civilian prerogative of policy-making in a variety of disturbing ways. Powell too vociferously opposed going to war in the Gulf, insisted on withdrawing from the war before Saddam’s Republican Guard had been destroyed, and inappropriately dominated the peace-making process at the end of the Gulf War."
LINK (http://www.nrotc.web.arizona.edu/data/202/On%20the%20Gulf%20War.pdf)

Here's more detail; LINK (http://www.lawandterrorism.com/media_watch/). There's a lot more out there.

I'm sure you're aware that the only reason it looks as though the doctrine was applied is that VII Corps was in Germany, about to be inactivated and could be -- was -- shipped to the Gulf to go to war on their way home. That Corps and the number of Divisions it had were later inactivated. Had Saddam's attempted takeover of Kuwait occurred two years later than it did, the "overwhelming force" we applied in Desert Storm would just not have been available. Can't apply what you don't have. However, I suspect that most President's would not have allowed that lack of overwhelming force to deter them from acting...

Not to mention, as Weigley pointed out, that Powell -- and Cheney -- used the 'doctrine' as a crutch to convince Scowcroft and Bush to end the war prematurely because going to Baghdad would be messy. True, and the Coalition would have not gone with us (but they would have cheered on us on behind the scenes while publicly expressing dismay) but the reason he didn't want to go was to protect the Army from another insurgency; the reason Bush didn't want to go was partly that, partly fear of public discontent both domestically and interantionally due to the havoc the 24th ID and the USAF were wreaking on withdrawing Iraqis.

It would've been a whole lot easier then with 500K troops than it was 12 years later. We quit Gulf War I too soon. If we quit Gulf War II too soon then we can count on Gulf War III.

JJackson
09-08-2007, 02:40 AM
Thank you all for taking the time to reply. My original impression was defiantly that the role of the US forces job was to shape the global environment in a way that was best for the US’s economic and political interests and to the detriment of any nation or group that went contrary to those goals. This seemed to fit well with the size and global power projection evidenced by overseas bases and carrier groups. My confusion arose from statements like Ken Whites on the Powell and Weinburger Doctrine

Both were expressly designed to deter use of the Armed forces in anything short of a war of national survival and to avoid any commitment to peacekeeping, nation building or counterinsurgency work.

If this was what was being taught as the role of the military it seemed difficult to square with either the size & disposition of those forces or the way they seemed to be being employed by their political masters.
The listing kindly posted by RTK seems to imply a much wider role than the doctrine.

Ken White
09-08-2007, 04:06 AM
... My confusion arose from statements like Ken Whites on the Powell and Weinburger Doctrine

If this was what was being taught as the role of the military it seemed difficult to square with either the size & disposition of those forces or the way they seemed to be being employed by their political masters.
The listing kindly posted by RTK seems to imply a much wider role than the doctrine.

I was trying to point out that it was a flawed doctrine and was never really used; four Presidents ignored it totally. To go to Grenada, Panama, The 1991 Gulf War, to Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and to Iraq.

The doctrine was however misused by the Army as a reason to avoid any work on counterinsurgency doctrine or training because such work is messy anf hard on the institution (and we don't do it very well). Other than lip service it was not effectively taught as doctrine -- nor was it ever really applied simply because it was too practically and politically limiting.

As A German Officer complained in WW II, "The Americans develop good plans, -- but they never follow them."

Still true... :D

Sarajevo071
09-08-2007, 04:12 AM
US wanted Europe to fix its own problems, Sarajevo.

They didn't seem inclined to do that. If you've noticed, we were late to the party in World Wars I and II as well -- waiting for Europe to solve their own problems. Seems to be a pattern there...

As to the world wide Empire, not really that we want to do it all that much; we'd a lot rather worry about Lindsay Lohan and Larry Craig's bathroom habits but all these other folks just seem to cause problems that no one is willing to fix.

Nasty job as they say but somebody has to do it.

Be happy, another 50 years or so and we''ll be downgraded -- then you can complain about the Chinese or the Indians. :D

If you let me...

I do not agree with you about U.S. imperial ambitions... Read the statement of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf in his book "It Doesn't Take a Hero" when he is saying that if U.S. want to have upper hand and basically control over the Europe and Asia (who also heavily depending on ME oil) U.S. absolutely NEED to control ME and oil. Sadly, I can not quote him completely since I gave my copy to the my american friend before I moved. Then, you move on neocon ideas of control and reasons for war in Iraq, finishing for the REAL reasons for so many military bases all over the world. If you wish, we can talk about that to.

Second. About Bosnia and stupid Bosnian people who believed in lies of democracy, being equal and universal human rights... Bosnia was sacrificial lamb for both American and European interests. U.S. wanted to prove to Europe that they are limp d%$^# and that can't do a crap without them, while Europeans was trying to prove opposite. In same time, Europe being divided, racists, xenophobic and nationalistic, they was unable to do a thing since some of them supported serbs, some of them supported croats...

U.S. came on the end not for being "good old guys" but because old farts from E.U. failed and since finally someone got smart in Washington and said" "Wait a minute... Bosnian Muslims are Europeans, white, and if they got radicalized and start hate us (like they hate some in Europe) we will be in deep sh%^&$". So, they wake up and "help". Bosnia was let to die since it was Muslims who was getting killed en mass and serbs got time if they can do job fast and localized only to Bosnia... They failed and Bosnians refused to die and give up.

So world reacted ONLY because we start hating them to much realizing why they don't care for our kids being killed, because mujahideen came to help us and because Bosnians start coming back to Islam. Why else did "civilized" world wait to send solders for 4 YEARS when Muslims was killed in Bosnia and only 4 MONTHS for East Timor when christians was killed by Muslims?! Answer is simple and you (all of you) know this! But, let not listen my biased opinions and read the truth from your own fellow americans:

"If the situation was reversed in Bosnia, and a fanatical Muslim regime in Belgrade was slaughtering thousands of innocent Christians in Sarajevo, then America would have reacted by now. We would not watch Christians get killed by Muslims in Europe. Period. But we can watch Muslims get killed by Christians." The problem for Bosnia was larger than the fact that George Bush was getting clobbered by Bill Clinton in the polls. Bosnia was Islam.

George Kenney
(he resigned in 1991 over U.S. policy towards the Bosnia)

“Mr. President, I cannot not tell you something,” Wiesel said. “I have been in the former Yugoslavia last fall. I cannot sleep since for what I have seen. As a Jew I am saying that we must do something to stop the bloodshed in that country. People fight each other and children die. Why? Something, anything must be done!”

Elie Wiesel
opening of Holocaust museum in Washington April 22, 1993.
(A few months earlier, Wiesel had visited a Serb prison camp in Bosnia, and the haunted faces of the Muslim inmates reminded him of the doomed souls jailed with him at Auschwitz fifty years before. He saw many parallels, too many.)

All references and quotes taken from the book: "Love Thy Neighbor - A Story of War" by Peter Maass.

P.S.
Just to note for all... Bosnians NEVER ask nor they wish for ANY soldier to came and fight for them! All they ask is stop blocking us from the weapons!

Uboat509
09-08-2007, 09:53 AM
I don't get the whole, the US needs to control the ME and oil argument. When has the US EVER controled the ME or oil? This is the same old strawman that gets thrown out along with the US as Empire screed. OPEC controls the ME and oil and is perfectly happy to tell us to go fly a kite when it suits them. For crying out loud, the majority of our oil doesn't even come from the ME. The last I checked we were getting more oil from Canada than the ME.

On another note what do Jews have to do with Serbia?

SFC W

JJackson
09-08-2007, 02:19 PM
Regarding controlling the oil. I would read this as controlling the stability of the price of oil. This is very much in US – and all industrialised nations – interests. This is achieved by global naval presence to secure safety of shipping lanes (working fairly well, bar Malacca straits and Somalia) and by befriending states with oil reserves. The latter has lead to some strange bed fellows for the US, propping up and arming some extremely unpleasant, decidedly undemocratic regimes. While even those countries – like Venezuela – which the US have lost influence over sell their oil, mainly, directly into the global market there are not enough of them to be able to use oil price as a political tool, ‘friends’ can adjust production to preserve stability. There are two exceptions to this that immediately spring to mind firstly – and this is not really an exception as it involves price level rather than stability – Sheik Yammani’s 1973 galvanisation of the OPEC members to use their combined control of production to get themselves a better price. The second, more interesting, is the use of oil by the Soviets who rather than sell at market prices and use the proceeds to currie favour supplied subsidised oil to achieve the same ends. Soviet oil production at the time was small and it would be interesting to see how they would have used their position now, as a major energy player, had the USSR survived.

Ken White
09-08-2007, 04:27 PM
Schwarzkopf was a fair General in some respects but no great geopolitical intellect -- and he did not and does not speak for the US, he speaks for Schwarzkopf.

As for the oil issue, I think JJAckson and UBoat509 adequately and correctly answer that. We really do want China, Europe and India to have all the oil they need. The only empire we're interested in is commercial -- that's been true for over 200 years.

The Neocons are idiots, or at least they have idiotic ideas. Did we go to Iraq due to the great Neocon plot or did Bush use some of their mumblings to further his own agenda with their concurrence and support?

I basically agree with you on Bosnia. Nations do tend to act in their own interests at some cost to others. I'm not at all sure that the Muslim content had all that much to do with our delay on entering and I doubt we can know for sure so in my opinion there's no sense in arguing about that.

Just to note for all... Bosnians NEVER ask nor they wish for ANY soldier to came and fight for them! All they ask is stop blocking us from the weapons!

I agree with that. As I recall we (the US) effectively supported that and made some end-runs around the EU who disagreed.

Steve Blair
09-08-2007, 04:52 PM
but we are straying a bit off-topic here...at least as it relates to the original topic of the post.

Let's see if we can't do a course correction....

Ken White
09-08-2007, 05:40 PM
post which contained a link to a letter from Marine Corps forces, CentCom said it all on the topic.

As Jedburgh pointed out two days ago, there was extensive discussion on another thread. Thus, in effect, this became a thread of idle chatter and point / counterpoint for two days. That happens in forums like this. Eventually they die from lack of interest and, I suspect, very little harm is done.

Sarajevo071
09-08-2007, 09:39 PM
First - thank you for letting me talk and post without insults or low blows, and for being open for other opinions... Who knows, maybe you will learn something new and/or get on your own to look for the Truth.


I don't get the whole, the US needs to control the ME and oil argument. When has the US EVER controled the ME or oil? This is the same old strawman that gets thrown out along with the US as Empire screed. OPEC controls the ME and oil and is perfectly happy to tell us to go fly a kite when it suits them. For crying out loud, the majority of our oil doesn't even come from the ME. The last I checked we were getting more oil from Canada than the ME.

On another note what do Jews have to do with Serbia?

SFC W

You did it before in Iran (that's reason why did U.S. support dictator and help him to bring down democracy in Iran) and american oil companies (with ties to the US government and interests) presence in ME it's matter of public knowledge.

If ME oil don't mean that much to you, why U.S. sons and daughters fighting and dieing there!? Democracy?! Freedom of others!? Please... U.S. put and support those stupid, evil, moronic regimes all over the ME. Controlling them you control ME and oil, therefore have control over other countries.

Controlling other countries you get them to do what is in your agenda (either asking them, paying them off, twisting they arms or threatening them). That's how U.S. got UN support for this invasion of Iraq and (another example) how U.S. get countries to sign out treaty that no matter what U.S. military does and who and why they kill they can be brought to the International Justice Court... All other countries and people can be tried there but not US or Israel. Interesting.

Link with oil, money, ME and powerful circles in White House and Congress it's all known and established truth and one who wish to know can find all the answers out there.

Jews have to do allot with serbs (another big killers of jews in WWII), this war in Bosnia, word leaders opinion and actions when Muslims was killed there... Example: 155mm shells with hebrew signs that rain down on Sarajevo streets, playgrounds, homes or how they behave in Sarajevo/Bosnia and how they made treaties with serbs.

If you wish, we can talk more about history of jews in Bosnia some other time.


We really do want China, Europe and India to have all the oil they need. The only empire we're interested in is commercial -- that's been true for over 200 years.
I am sorry to disagree but there is no way that U.S. government will be OK with China or India or anyone else for that matter to become economical stronger! That's danger to the U.S. monopole and imperialistic tendencies. Look at latest Chinese actions... Attacks on computers and ideas of "war satellites"!? They are all over ME and Africa, they getting stronger and better and that worry many in Washington.

I agree with that. As I recall we (the US) effectively supported that and made some end-runs around the EU who disagreed.

Openly, you did nothing. U.S. politician bitch and moan, talked how is un-just and ask Europeans to stop that but in same time they agree with them... NATO needs to be unified and strong always! But, on the other hand you did try to deliver something to us... Sadly, not enough and not without big price. I personally know about one case involving U.S. awacs, turkish C-130s and U.N. controlled airport in Tuzla. But, I believe it was couple more.


but we are straying a bit off-topic here...at least as it relates to the original topic of the post.

I agree with you (when we are talking about name of the topic) but if we are talking about REASONS for that and WHY's and HOW's that is possible and how other people see and read those events (killings of civilians and U.S. soldiers getting off with little or no punishments) it is all well connected.

Having control over resources, being Empire, controlling new and old "allies" and "friends" lets U.S. get they soldiers free from a fear of International prosecution and responsibilities (something that ALL other countries are subject of) and then U.S. justice don't applying they own standards when other people are killed, it is a strong and wrong message to everyone.

Soldiers gets to kill and rape knowing that no big deal will happened to them. Pilots kill allied soldiers and then destroy tape in cockpit, lie and corrupt evidence and what happening? Nothing. Pilot kills brit and U.S. military don't want to send evidence or representatives and what happening? Nothing. U.S. soldiers kill and rape and destroy property and what will happened? Again, nothing much. No evidence, can't be proven, lies, cover ups...

I know no one of you will agree or accept this, but all this it's connected.

Ken White
09-08-2007, 10:15 PM
China and India to get too economically strong. Of course we don't. However, in the short term, it's to our advantage that they get all the oil they need -- which is what I did say. Sure their increased play around the world worries many in Washington but while that town isn't filled with the best and the brightest-- never was -- they aren't totally stupid and they can do the math. Both China and India will be "superpowers" whatever that means and we know it. We'd just like it to be on our terms. :)

We don't do a lot of things openly. Nor are we as stupid as we allow many to think we are. :D

Sarajevo071
09-09-2007, 03:55 AM
but we are straying a bit off-topic here...at least as it relates to the original topic of the post.

Let's see if we can't do a course correction....

Ok. Let's go back on the course then... What do you say/think about this:


US Marine: I Was Ordered to Execute Women and Children

Lance Corporal Humberto Mendoza testified this week that Marine Sargeant Frank Wuterich, who faces 17 counts of murder over the Haditha killings, ordered him to execute Iraqi women and children.

The marines had been responding to a roadside bomb on November 19, 2005 when a roadside bomb killed one in their midst. Mendoza says Wuterich ordered him and his fellow marines o begin clearing housses in search of insurgents, what followed was one of the most horrific episodes reported out of Iraq:

At one house Wuterich gave an order to shoot on sight as Marines waited for a response after knocking on the door, said Mendoza.

"He said 'Just wait till they open the door, then shoot,'" Mendoza said.

Mendoza then said he shot and killed an adult male who appeared in a doorway.

During a subsequent search of the house, Mendoza said he received an order from another Marine, Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, to shoot seven women and children he had found in a rear bedroom.

"When I opened the door there was just women and kids, two adults were lying down on the bed and there were three children on the bed ... two more were behind the bed," Mendoza said.

"I looked at them for a few seconds. Just enough to know they were not presenting a threat ... they looked scared."

After leaving the room Mendoza told Tatum what he had found.

"I told him there were women and kids inside there. He said 'Well, shoot them,'" Mendoza told prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Sean Sullivan.

"And what did you say to him?" Sullivan asked.

"I said 'But they're just women and children.' He didn't say nothing."

Mendoza said he returned to a position at the front of the house and heard a door open behind him followed by a loud noise. Returning later that afternoon to conduct body retrieval, Mendoza said he found a room full of corpses.
...

http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/howard/61363/

Google search (just to double check all this for you) came up with this:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=I+Was+Ordered+to+Execute+Women+and+Children&btnG=Google+Search

SWJED
02-19-2008, 03:18 PM
Frontline’s Haditha: “Rules of Engagement” (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/02/frontlines-haditha-rules-of-en/)

Jules Crittenden (Forward Movement) has the advance scoop on PBS Frontline’s Haditha: “Rules of Engagement”

Airing on PBS Tuesday, Feb. 19. Check your local listings and make a note. Preview trailers here.

I just finished watching a review copy. If you want to know the basics on this political football, see principal participants and witnesses interviewed — Marines, Haditha survivors, reporters and lawyers — and see extensive private and military video footage and stills of 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3/1 Marines in Haditha before, during and after the Nov. 19, 2005 incident, you’ll want to watch this.

Like most Frontline treatments, it is well-documented and painstakingly fair. To the extent it can be in the space of an hour, it is the story of the unit and the military, media and political history of the incident. The high points of the investigation, prosecution and defense are woven through...

bismark17
02-20-2008, 06:38 PM
I thought it made Murtha and the Prosecution look like total jackasses. I really feel for those kids being placed in that position. Regardless of how much training you do sometimes when you go "full tilt boogie" stuff happens. Mistakes were made and I'm sure they will have to deal with them for the rest of their lives. There is a big difference from intentional acts to things that occur in the heat of the moment. Major kudos to that forensics investigator who appears to have done a great job at investigating the objective facts and not just creating more ammunition for their respective paymaster.

That show should be required viewing for L.E. and ground pounders after they have some realistic training and can appreciate the feelings of tunnel vision, auditory exclusion and all the rest of that reptilian mind stuff. The problem in our polite, zero defect, society is that too many people not only don't have an understanding of history or the military but have never even been in a fight and thus can't even appreciate what happens in a fight for your life event.

Ken White
02-20-2008, 07:05 PM
... The problem in our polite, zero defect, society is that too many people not only don't have an understanding of history or the military but have never even been in a fight and thus can't even appreciate what happens in a fight for your life event.Or even one not for ones life but just where someone might get rough... :(

Rank amateur
02-20-2008, 08:03 PM
It seems to me that we insist its safe to eat soup with a knife, until innocent people get cut by the knife.

If we were all honest enough to say, "we're going to blow up a lot stuff, a lot of people will be killed, some of them will be innocent, but here's why we think it's worth it..." civilians, politicians and soldiers would be on the same page and know what to expect.

Having said that, I only saw Wuterich's 60 Minutes interview - and don't know many of the details that must've been in the frontline piece - but it appeared to me that Wuterich was using conventional ROE in a COIN environment. He wasn't properly prepared. I felt sorry for him and don't see how anyone could hold him criminally responsible.

tequila
02-22-2008, 12:48 PM
CBS seeks to quash subpoena for Hadithah interview (http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2008/02/ap_cbs_hadithah_080222/)- MarineCorps Times, 22 Feb.

Military prosecutors say unaired footage of a CBS “60 Minutes” interview given by a Marine squad leader contain admissions of crimes in an attack that killed 24 Iraqi men, women and children in 2005.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich “apparently admits in an unaired segment that he did, in fact, order his men to ‘shoot first and ask questions later,’” Capt. Nicholas Gannon said in response to a motion filed by CBS seeking to quash a subpoena seeking the footage.

CBS is set to ask a judge Friday to throw out the subpoena during a pre-trial hearing for Wuterich, who faces voluntary manslaughter and other charges in the Nov. 19, 2005, deaths in Hadithah, Iraq ...

Boondoggle
06-03-2009, 03:36 PM
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2009/06/01/military/z719795a66e667c08882575c50074c7e7.txt

If he drops the charges against LtCol Chessani, that leaves only the case against SSgt Wuterich to be tried, if that.

Personally, I doubt there will ever be a trial on the merits at this point and the USMC would probably like this whole thing to fade away.

IntelTrooper
06-03-2009, 06:13 PM
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2009/06/01/military/z719795a66e667c08882575c50074c7e7.txt

If he drops the charges against LtCol Chessani, that leaves only the case against SSgt Wuterich to be tried, if that.

Personally, I doubt there will ever be a trial on the merits at this point and the USMC would probably like this whole thing to fade away.
I haven't been following this story very much... but if Chessani says that he kept his superiors informed wouldn't the logical thing to do be to investigate them? Or is that part of the "unlawful command influence"? And if it was unlawful, why aren't they facing charges?

jmm99
06-03-2009, 07:15 PM
between this thread and the thread on the autistic Marine (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=7455) is COL John Ewers.

COL Ewers, as the investigater of the Haditha cases and also as adviser to GEN Mattis, is mentioned in the NY Times article (http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2009/06/01/military/z719795a66e667c08882575c50074c7e7.txt) as a key figure:

The unlawful command influence ruling determined that a legal adviser for the prosecution should not have had any role in the case. The adviser, Col. John Ewers, had investigated each of the accused Marines and was listed as a prosecution witness.

His presence at meetings with a general overseeing the Haditha cases and prosecutors created an unacceptable perception of unlawful command influence, the military judge concluded.

I'd probably use the term "undue command influence", since "unlawful" gives something of a criminal flavor - especially where there was no finding of actual command influence, but rather "an unacceptable perception" of it.

COL Ewers then went on to become a military judge and ruled against the autistic Marine - see San Diego article (http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/jun/01/1n1fryz024316/):

Fry's attorney, Michael Studenka of Newport Beach, had urged Judge Col. John Ewers not to put Fry on trial.
....
Ewers did not see it that way.

“The defense motion to dismiss for lack of ... jurisdiction was denied,” Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, a Marine spokesman at Camp Pendleton, wrote in a statement to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

What is ironic is lawyer Fidell's statement in the autistic Marine case:

“This strikes me as a stupid case to prosecute,” said Fidell, a senior partner in the law firm Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell. “I think the chief of military justice should intervene to have the case dropped.

Might I suggest that, in the Haditha cases, it would have been better if everyone had simply allowed the process to run its course without interference - and the same in the San Siego case.

IntelTrooper
06-03-2009, 11:35 PM
Might I suggest that, in the Haditha cases, it would have been better if everyone had simply allowed the process to run its course without interference - and the same in the San Siego case.
Sounds like Colonel Ewers is out of control.

jmm99
06-04-2009, 02:34 AM
from IT
Sounds like Colonel Ewers is out of control.

What is your evidence ?

jmm99
01-11-2012, 02:34 AM
that is, the "Haditha Event"; and the merits trial of the United States v Wuterich, commencing on 9 Jan with opening statements.

Not quite 6 years ago, Jon Custis wrote, ... things not often what they seem (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=2538&postcount=5)

I too have held off on commenting on this situation, but among the folks here, I feel it is important to add something. I've spoken with two Marines who have provided a considerable amount of insight. One is a close friend of one of the relieved company commanders and has talked with him directly, and the other is an officer who was in the AO at the time and has some hands-on with the situation.

It is an extremely complex one, compounded by things said and done by people pretty far removed from that day's events. We are going to have to wait this one out and see what the final results of the investigation are. From what I am hearing, speculation can't come close to what actually transpired.

BTW, I also think the Honorable Mr. Murtha was out of his lane. Just my $.02.

Jon's reasonable advice has proved out over the last 5-1/2 years. Briefly, from Defend Our Marines (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/DefendOurMarines.htm):

THE HADITHA CASE IN BRIEF...

Eight Marines were originally charged (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/DefendOurMarines-HadithaMarines.htm). Evidence of a massacre never materialized, and the original reports by the news media, and Congressman John Murtha, have been thoroughly discredited. To date, seven Marines have been cleared.

Charges were dismissed against five Marines. The sixth was found not guilty on all counts in courts martial. A Board of Inquiry found no misconduct in the LtCol Chessani case. Only SSgt Wuterich remains of the accused.

I don't predict jury outcomes. Clearly, the defense presented is one of justification - if the evidence breaks as MAJ (ret.) Faraj outlined it:

by Nathaniel R. Helms | Monday, January 9, 2012 | Day Three: Opening statements

Camp Pendleton, Calif. – Haytham Faraj, retired Marine major and now civilian defense attorney for SSgt Frank Wuterich, revealed startling new evidence in his opening statements this morning.

According to Faraj, “30 percent” of the expended cartridges found in what is now called House Number Two were Kalashnikov 7.62mm AK-47 cartridges and a number 9mm pistol rounds that weren’t fired by attacking Marines where eight people died.

The government ignored it, “ Faraj added incredulously. “Where did this come from, where did the 7.62 come from? Who was in the back bedroom, who shot the 9mm rounds?”

What Helms reports of the prosecutor Gannon's opening is far from overwhelming evidence to convict - but that is to me, who is not a totally objective reviewer:

Much of Gannon’s short summation was a rehash of the government’s frequently disabused argument in which rules on a yellow card trump bullets in the conduct of war. According to Gannon, Wuterich failed to follow the Rules of Engagement, he failed to make a positive identification (PID) of the targets he took out, and he disregarded his training when he took a knee and began shooting seconds after one of his Marines was blown in half.

To me, MAJ Gannon is mixing the "status" metaphor (PID of a member of a force declared hostile) with the "conduct" metaphor (AK bullets flying in a house clearing scenario):

http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Graphics/House2.jpg

Please note that L.Cpl. Stephan Tatum (#4 in diagram; initially charged with 2 murders) had all charges dismissed against him.

As Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr. (an MOH awardee as a Civil War grunt) noted (in a "conduct" situation): "... the law does not require detached reflection in the presence of an upraised knife."

See, the brief article by our Bob Wiemann, Undermining Warfighting Doctrine (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Weimann/SinsOfGenerals_Undermining_Warfighting_Doctrine.ht m) (January 5, 2011), again looking at this case from the standpoint of the leader in the trenches.

Regards

Mike

jcustis
01-11-2012, 08:23 AM
I cannot recall, but were charges dropped outright, or in turn for plea agreements and testimony against Wuterich?

jmm99
01-11-2012, 03:06 PM
for Tatum. He was granted use immunity (RCM 704) so he could not refuse to testify - as well as his charges being dismissed. Tatum was a res gestae witness (esp. as to House 2); so, the prosecution would look bad if he were not called upfront.

Tatum was called yesterday (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich_Tatum_Testimony_Day_Four_12 2.htm), but Neal Puckett seems to have gotten more from him than the prosecution. You judge:

Sullivan began his interrogation by asking Tatum to recount the events of November 19, 2005 when an IED hidden in the road destroyed a Humvee in the squad’s four vehicle convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others. After detailing just how the convoy found itself on Route Chestnut, Sullivan got down to cases. His intention was to prove that Wuterich failed to follow the Rules of Engagement when he ordered Tatum and two other Marines to “clear” two houses suspected of harboring insurgents who were shooting at the decimated squad with small arms. The Chicago reservist was trying to pluck from Tatum evidence that Wuterich had acted in a manner contrary to his training and responsibilities when his Marines stormed two houses that resulted in the deaths of civilians.

Yesterday Wuterich’s co-counsel Haytham Faraj revealed that 30 percent of the expended cartridges found in the second of two houses cleared in the Marines initial attack were apparently fired by insurgents (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich_Day_Three_120.htm). His revelation is the first evidence that insurgents had used the houses as strong points, as the Marines believed.

When asked to explain why he had voluntarily joined Wuterich’s team ordered to “clear South” by platoon leader Lt William Kallop, Tatum told the court “I had served with them for a long time. I proceeded to join the group going toward House 1. The house had been declared hostile. Any individual there was hostile.”

Much of his testimony was familiar; following closely the statements he voluntarily gave to Army investigator Col. Gregory Watt in February 2006 and pried from him during a 12 to 16 hour interrogation by a Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agent in the bowels of Haditha Dam the following March.

During cross-examination by Puckett, Tatum repeated several times that he felt neither he nor Wuterich had done anything wrong when they swept through two darkened houses shooting and throwing grenades as they cleared the structures one room at a time. At one point Tatum told Puckett he heard an AK-47 being “racked,” a sound he recognized instantly.

“Once I heard that AK-47 racking, I wasn’t going in that room to endanger myself or my Marines. At Fallujah we learned we never went into a room without throwing in a grenade.

“You can barely see anything because of dust and plaster, dust fills the air. You could see targets. Our job was to take out every target,” Tatum testified.

Earlier Tatum had told Sullivan that he was unable to tell age, gender or sex of the people the counter-attacking Marines encountered inside the almost dark houses.

During Puckett’s cross examination Tatum told the court the NCIS special agent had forced him to urinate on the floor of the room where he was questioned during his marathon interrogation rather than allow him to use a latrine. The investigation went on so long he could not remember what he had said or whether or not he had actually signed the statement obtained by the NCIS special agent.

“You spent 12 to 16 hours trying to answer the NCIS the best you could,” Puckett asked toward the end of his examination? Sitting here today you know you did the right thing – don’t you?"

“Yes sir,” Tatum answered emphatically.

After telling Puckett about his encounter with the NCIS special agent, the former military judge moved on to what Tatum and the other Marines knew before they left Firm Base Sparta to resupply the isolated outpost. That drew an immediate objection from lead prosecutor Major Nicholas Gannon. The court recessed for about 20 minutes while the attorneys argued whether any classified information was going to be revealed.

“There is nothing classified that was discussed and if it was it was declassified,” Faraj said with evident anger.

After overcoming the prosecution’s strenuous objections Puckett was allowed to proceed.

The “secrets” Gannon was trying to withhold were revealed in 2007 during the long months of pre-trial Article 32 investigations. Tatum acknowledged the night before the convoy his squad had been briefed to expect trouble,. They were warned to watch out for snipers active everywhere in Haditha and the infamous white cars that insurgents were using as Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices.

“You were told about that because of certain types of complex attacks involved white cars. You were aware of a number of these incidents, is that right?” Puckett asked. "You had been told Iraqis hid weapons and then pulled them out and fired at you after you though things were clear.”

“Yes sir,” Tatum responded.

The prosecution may or may not follow through with the rest of Wuterich's unit.

Regards

Mike

jcustis
01-12-2012, 05:30 AM
I see.

It's interesting to see Maj Gannon working this one. I've worked with him on a number of other matters of Marines and misconduct here at Camp Pendleton. Small Corps.

jmm99
01-13-2012, 12:53 AM
L.Cpl. Tatum's testimony on Tuesday ended with admission of evidence concerning the Marines having been warned by MI of white cars, VBIEDs, etc. The prosecution turned away (temporarily) from House #2 and began at the start, the IED and the White Sedan (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/DefendOurMarines/AllegedCrimeScenes/AmbushSite.htm) that showed up just before the boom took out Vehicle #4 in the Marine convey:

http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/DefendOurMarines/AllegedCrimeScenes/Overview.jpg

The Marines took rifle fires from both the North and the South. Wuterich was in Vehicle #3. Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz (then L.Cpl.) was in Vehicle #1.

Dela Cruz's testimony (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich_Dela_Cruz_Day_Five_124.htm) would have been damning against Wuterich, except that Dela Cruz presented three different versions in pre-trial proceedings (NCIS #1 (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Documents/DelaCruzMarch06NCIS.pdf), NCIS #2 (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Documents/DelaCruzApril06NCIS.pdf) and at the Article 32 hearing (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/SSgtWuterich/Article32-Testimony.htm)); and appears not to have improved on that performance at trial. The Article 32 officer, Lt.Col. Paul Ware, found that Dela Cruz was totally without credibility. The Article 32 Report (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/SSgtWuterich/Art_32_Report_ICO_Wuterich.pdf) is not totally favorable to Wuterich, as its conclusion leaves open an avenue to a "lesser included offense" conviction:

Conclusion

I am recommending that the Government pursue the lesser offense of negligent homicide and not murder because I believe after reviewing all the evidence, no trier of fact can conclude SSgt Wuterich formed the criminal intent to kill. The evidence is contradictory, the forensic analysis is limited and almost all witnesses have an obvious bias or prejudice. The case against SSgt Wuterich that he committed murder is simply not strong enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. What the evidence does point to is that SSgt Wuterich failed to exercise due care in his own actions or in supervising his Marines. When a Marine fails to exercise due care in a combat environment resulting in the death of innocents, the charge of negligent homicide, not murder is the appropriate offense. Accordingly I believe the elements and theory of negligent homicide best fits the evidence of what occurred inside House 2.

Finally, although I believe the Government will fail to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that SSgt Wuterich committed any offenses other than dereliction of duty, due to the serious nature of the charges, I recommend referral to a general court-martial.

Two other witnesses (besides Tatum and Dela Cruz) with expected material testimony are Cpl. Hector Salinas (Watts Report (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Documents/CplSalinasStatements/ColWattInvestigation.pdf), NCIS (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Documents/CplSalinasStatements/NCIS.pdf)) and L.Cpl. Humberto Mendoza (NCIS (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Documents/MendozaMarch06NCIS.pdf)) (whose cred is disparaged in the Article 32 Report). The focus will undoubtedly return to House #2 (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/DefendOurMarines/AllegedCrimeScenes/House2.htm), where Lt.Col. Ware found a probable dereliction of duty by Wuterich.

Regards

Mike

jmm99
01-14-2012, 06:58 PM
Thursday was highlighted by Hector Salinas (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/SSgt_Wuterich_CM_Day_Six/Maybe_War_Should_Be_on_Trial_287.htm), called by the prosecution. His testimony was somewhat blunt:

“Rounds were impacting on the fourth vehicle. I went back to render aid to my Marines that were wounded. There was destruction everywhere. There was a fog, a haze. When the smoke was clearing out I could see an object. It was LCpl Crossan. He was missing a couple of fingers. His body armor was obstructing his airway....

“I got as low as I could because I heard rounds coming. It was the impact of the rounds hitting the high back. I got low on the deck,” he said.
...
“On the outside of the house, on the east side of the house, I saw a small silhouette. Things look small that far away. It was a tall man. There was rounds impacting around me, so I engaged him. I used my M-16. I shot more than twice but not the entire magazine,” he told prosecutor LtCol Sean Sullivan.

“Then I took my 203 (M-203 40mm grenade launcher attached underneath his rifle) and fired rounds on the house – fired two or three."
...
Salinas was the 1st Fire Team leader, a sergeant-in-waiting, champing at the bit to take over the squad as soon as SSgt Frank D. Wuterich took over 3rd Platoon Sergeant. That’s a big deal in the Marine Corps. Salinas proudly told the court he was the patrol leader and convoy commander when the 12-man squad was ambushed by hidden insurgents that triggered and IED that has just reduced its numbers by three. He said he didn’t remember Wuterich giving an order the entire day.

While tending the wounded until the Quick Reaction Force arrived Salinas noticed that Wuterich and two other Marines were heading south, where Salinas had seen a silhouette at the same time bullets splattered into the armor of the wrecked Humvee that he pulled his friends from. He chased after them by a different route, he said. He was the first Marine in the door, he said, the first guy to throw a grenade, the first guy to see the product of his handiwork.

“There were women and children in the house,” Sullivan exclaimed. Six people died in House One.

“But I didn’t know that,” Salinas responded, “and I wasn’t going inside that room without throwing in a grenade.“

Afterwards he stayed behind inside the back door while the others cleared House Two where eight more innocents died.

“I had my back to the house providing security inside the hallway,” Salinas testified.

“What did you see when you exited the house?” Sullivan inquired.

“The back of the house,” Salinas replied. It went that way all day.

Several dozen fruitless questions later Sullivan asked Salinas what he would do different if he could.

“I would have called in an airstrike,” Salinas replied.

And, if he (or Wuterich) had called in airstrikes on Houses One and Two, would they have been charged ? Do we have a different standard (de facto, not de jure) for airstrikes on "hostile houses" versus riflemen clearing "hostile houses" ?

William Kallop (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/SSgt_Wuterich_CM_Day_Seven/My_Marines_Followed_the_Rules_of_Engagement_28963. htm), then Wuterich's Platoon Commander, testified on Friday. He was on scene when Houses One and Two were cleared, but was not an eyewitness to what did or did not occur inside the houses. His testimony on direct by the prosecution was straight-forward:

As usual, testimony began with a reiteration of what happened on November 19, 2005 after a remotely detonated IED broke the calm the Marines had enjoyed for a brief period at the end of Operation Rivergate, a regimental sized operation to wrest control of Haditha from the burgeoning insurgency. Kallop was at Firm Base Sparta about two kilometers away when he heard the roadside bomb erupt and the radio come to life with calls for a medivac and reinforcements.

He told the eight member panel that intelligence reports rolling in prior to the ambush indicated that the al Qaeda-led insurgency was regrouping around Haditha to try and reestablish control of the embattled region.

“There was fire around the city at this time. One time Iraqi soldiers fired and told us they saw insurgents running. One of our Marines had shot an individual running,” Kallop told prosecutor Maj. Nicholas Gannon.

Kallop said he believed the ambush was the beginning of the long anticipated counterattack by insurgents who had infiltrated into the city since being driven out during Operation Rivergate the previous October.

When he arrived at the ambush site on Route Chestnut on the southern edge of the city, Wuterich gave him a brief report. After making sure the squad leader of the Quick Reaction Force began evacuating the two wounded Marines still lying on the road, he gave Wuterich the order to “clear South” to suppress incoming fire the ambushed Marines had observed coming from what later became known as House 1 and 2--where 14 Iraqis would die.

On cross by the defense, he added some personal observations:

“Did you have any reason to doubt the veracity of the report Sgt. Wuterich was giving you?” Faraj asked.

“No, sir,” Kallop responded.

“If you are taking fire from a structure in your opinion would you try and suppress it,” Faraj continued during his cross examination. “Would you try and identify combatants and non-combatants by risking your life?

“No.“
...
Kallop thought the inquiry was over after US Army Col. Gregory A. Watt conducted his AR-15-7 “Informal Investigation” that concluded in late February. An Army JAG lawyer who accompanied Watt told the Marines to relax, so neither Kallop nor any of the other men involved sought legal counsel, he said.

In March, while Kallop was helping 3/3 Marines move into the battalion’s area of operations to relieve 3/1, Kallop learned his men were being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, he said.

“I was quite angry when I returned to Haditha Dam and found out my Marines were being investigated. I went back to Haditha Dam to discover the NCIS had treated my Marines terribly. I found out they had been interrogated, treated like criminals, questioned in the holding cell where we held suspected insurgents. “

“I believe then and I believe now my Marines followed the Rules of Engagement. I believe it was a tough situation and my Marines handled themselves the best they could.”

The trial will resume next Tuesday.

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
01-14-2012, 10:58 PM
I found several other threads clearly concerned with this case and have merged them into this main thread.

jmm99
01-15-2012, 02:21 AM
David: your extra work induced me to re-read the thread, where I came upon this 2006 post, Rules of engagement (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=2822&postcount=37):

Is it possible for someone to post the actual Rules of Engagement for the Marines in Haditha so that we can compare them to the sergeant's description of his and the other Marines' actions? I continue to believe that the real question of fact for any ajudication of this matter is at what point should the troops have recognized that they were not dealing with an enemy camouflaged as a civilian?

Yes, it is possible. Leaving aside commentary, the ROE is laconic :

fn 333. Enclosure (130): 2nd Marine Division ROE Card.

Positive Identification (PID) is a [B]reasonable certainty that the target you are engaging is exhibiting hostile intent or committing a hostile act. Once you have PID, you may use escalated force, up to and including deadly force, to eliminate the threat.

Now, I know what "certainty" is - 100%. I also know what a "probability" is - more likely than not (aka 50 yards + a nose; aka "probable cause").

But a "reasonable certainty" ? Does that require more or less "certainty" than a plain-old certainty ? Is a "reasonable certainty" more certain or less certain than an "unreasonable certainty" ?

I'm not asking these questions from the standpoint of some arcane legalism or philosophical construct. I'm asking whether the phrase "reasonable certainty" makes any sense in the English language.

Now, my objection here is not that the ROE is too "restrictive" or too "lenient"; but that in our language it has no meaning. For example, if one were concerned about maximum protection for civilians, one would say PID is the certainty that the target you are engaging is exhibiting hostile intent or committing a hostile act.

Or, if one wished more discretion in the shooter, one would say PID is the probability (more likely than not) that the target you are engaging is exhibiting hostile intent or committing a hostile act. Each of these formulations passes English 101 - and then one can argue about the policy it expresses.

I'm well aware of the background of the CENTCOM PID and its "reasonable certainty" test (not in the JCS SROEs, BTW). Attached is the pdf snip from the CLAMO Lessons Learned on the Astan and Iraq ROEs, which were developed by CENTCOM's operations and JA staffs.

Pertinent to this discussion is what was said in the Article 32 investigation (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/SSgtWuterich/DefendOurMarines-IOReport.htm) - comments by Lt.Col. Paul Ware:

The Government counsel argued that positive identification of occupants of the room was required under the rules of engagement. Such a theory, requiring positive identification before engaging targets inside House 1 is clearly contrary to the training and experiences of the Marines in Third Battalion, First Marines.

I am reminded of what I learned from the very first day at The Basic School. “We train as we fight.” It is more than a simple motto to encourage full effort in field and classroom instructions. It is indoctrinating our Marines into a way of thinking, acting and most importantly, responding under the stress and crisis of combat. It is believed that through practice, mental and physical memory can work through the chaos of the event and allow Marines to respond quickly and appropriately to an otherwise overwhelming event.

Capt Capers, a trainer of SASO tactics in MCAGCC, 29 Palms, CA, testified that training Marines for SASO consists of many practical application scenarios. There are no correct answers to the problems posed, but the intent of the training is to demonstrate and provide Marines situations to develop that mental and physical memory of how to respond. An enemy combatant firing from a crowded market place, or a person aggressively approaching a checkpoint are examples of the type of situations that are presented. When a Marine makes a decision to use deadly force causing collateral damage, the scenario is stopped and discussion about the choice, why it was made and how to employ a better approach reducing collateral damage is explained. This training is important, relevant and ongoing. However, while the Government argues that the conduct of SSgt Wuterich violated the ROE, SSgt Wuterich, and through sworn statements and depositions, his fellow Marines, were trained in preparation of MOUT operations, the ROE are not applied in the same manner.

Numerous witnesses to include Capt McConnell (Company Commander), Capt Dinsmore (Intel officer), 1stLt Kallop (Platoon Commander), SSgt Fields (Platoon Sergeant), fellow squad members LCpl Tatum, LCpl Sharratt, LCpl Mendoza, Sgt Salinas, LCpl Rodriguez and Mr. Graviss provided sworn statements that in a MOUT assault, you throw a grenade into a room and assault into the room with gunfire. Almost to a Marine, the understanding is that once a house is declared hostile no further positive identification is necessary to lead an assault with grenade and gunfire. Each of these Marines state in various ways that once a house is declared hostile you can “blow it up”, “lead with grenades and gunfire” or call in indirect fire to destroy the structure. Capt Capers and Capt Navin testified that in applying the ROE, you can never declare a house as hostile and indiscriminately use deadly force against the occupants.

Capt Capers and Capt Navin are not in SSgt Wuterich’s chain of command and do not know the training SSgt Wuterich received in regard to tactics for clearing a house in a MOUT assault. The Government presented no evidence of any practical exercise, discussion, lecture, power point slide, field operation or tactical war game where the accused was placed in a simulated combat environment and was required to distinguish legitimate targets from innocents within a room. The SASO training described by Capt Capers was not a troops in contact situation. The Government does have training for close quarters with the focus on using limited force to preserve innocent lives but that training was not provided to SSgt Wuterich or Marines from his Battalion.

Time and again I read statements of Marines saying they didn’t or wouldn’t use additional positive identification in a troops in contact, MOUT assault or declared hostile house situation. The term “hostile house” does not exist in Capt Navin’s presentation, however clearly it exists in the minds of the Marines who are expected to be facing the enemy at the tip of the spear.

Capt McConnell, 1stLt Kallop and SSgt Fields were all in SSgt Wuterich’s direct chain of command. All the other statements are from Marines in the same Battalion. Clearly this unit’s training and leadership either received different training, or came up with its own form of MOUT tactics for clearing a house. The almost universal statements of these witnesses that a house can be declared hostile and you can lead with grenades and gunfire without further positive identification demonstrates this was widely believed throughout all levels of the Company, and most likely the Battalion. It is within the context that SSgt Wuterich and his Marines received training that conflicted with the ROE that the actions he and his Marines made on 19 November 2005 must be analyzed.

Regards

Mike

For "Relationships Between New and Standing ROE Terms: Positive Identification (PID), Hostile Act and Hostile Intent, Declared Hostile Forces, and Likely and Identifiable Threat (LIT)", see pp.17-23 attached pdf.

For "Relationship of Self-Defense and Tactical-Level Fires to Rules of Engagement and Fire Support Control Measures", see pp.23-27 attached pdf.

jmm99
01-15-2012, 03:39 AM
by a couple of Marine lawyers (re: "LIT"; but generally applicable to non-JCS terms added to the JCS SROEs by serials - and thereafter considered "SROEs") [p.21 of attached pdf in prior post]:

The following is a representative example of concerns shared by Army and Marine Corps tactical level OEF JAs.

The single largest concern of the initial OEF ROE was the language concerning Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. Instead of declaring these personnel hostile in simple terms that Marines have trained to . . . , the terms “likely or [sic] identifiable” were added. . . . All the subordinate commands in [Navy Central Command] immediately pressed for clarification from CentCom since the terms likely and identifiable are not used together in the CJCS SROE. . . . The SROE terms and concepts that we trained [to] were relatively well received and more importantly universally understood. I do not know why the CJCS was not followed on this critical aspect of the ROE.
. . . .
When lawyers can easily argue about what [LIT] means or doesn’t mean as far as engaging targets, we have failed because the 21-year-old Corporal doesn’t have the luxury of such an academic exercise. [77]

77 15th MEU(SOC) OEF AAR, supra note 38, at 2-3.
and:

Another Marine after action report made similar comments.

Upon 26th MEU( SOC)’s arrival in the 5th Fleet AOR, I immediately began requesting guidance and clarification on the intent and meaning of this new concept, “likely and identifiable threat.”

My concerns were primarily that “likely and identifiable threat” was introducing an unfamiliar concept to our Marines immediately before the commencement of combat operations. I had trained our Marines on the concepts of hostile act, hostile intent and declared hostile, as well as
other U.S. Standing ROE concepts, and was certain as to their ability to implement them in any context; however, on its face, “likely and identifiable threat” appeared to beg further elaboration and clarification.
...
... If judge advocates and commanders have relative difficulty in defining ROE terms, it goes without saying that the Marines charged with implementing the ROE will likely have similar difficulties.

26th MEU(SOC) OEF AAR, supra note 65, at 2-3.

By this point in this presentation, you should be able to conclude where my NOT unbiased "guns" are pointing.




This is my weapon;
This is my gun;
This is for ....ing;
This is for fun

Hmm... screwed that one up again (or did I ?). The difference between weapons and guns (as in naval gun fire at Hungnam); but, that wasn't "fun", was it ? So, there is a difference between "weapons" and "guns"; and between "....ing" and "fun". Thus, change to: "... my NOT unbiased "weapons" are pointing ..."

Oh well, "Hearts and Minds !"

And, becoming even more serious, in MG Bargewell's words:

4. (U) Question Four: Did the command climate within 3d Battalion, 1st Marines encourage disciplined application of the ROE and LOAC?

a. (U) Findings. I determined that the comments made by the leadership to the investigating officers, from the Commanding General MNF-W down the chain of command, through the 3d Platoon Commander, reflect a mindset and philosophy that are incompatible with a counter-insurgency (COIN) environment...

So, yup, "Hearts and Minds" - and if that didn't get to you - the courts-martial will. :(

Regards

Mike

jmm99
01-17-2012, 08:58 AM
Here are two weekend updates on the Court-Martial (both pro-defense):

DEFEND OUR MARINES
THE TRIAL OF SSGT. WUTERICH:
WEEK ONE REPORT
OF NUMBERS AND ROE (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Week_One_Report_Of_Numbers_and_ROE.htm)
by Nathaniel R. Helms, Sunday, January 15, 2012.

which, among quite a bit else, presents us with an ROE Card - side 1:

1556

and side 2:

1557

and the other commentary, Week one ‘Haditha’ Marine trial analysis Part I: An ambush on Route Chestnut and the white car (http://www.911familiesforamerica.org/?p=5574), which repeats the same ROE Card:

The ambiguous Rules of Engagement card carried by our Marines that day included these requirements: “Do not fire into civilian populated areas or buildings unless the enemy is using them for military purposes or if necessary for your self-defense. Minimize collateral damage.” Near its end, it correctly defined the mission: “Attack enemy forces and military targets. Spare civilians and civilian property, if possible.”

Now, the key and material wording in THIS Card (with respect to Haditha) is:

PID is a reasonable certainty that the proposed target is a legitimate military target.

THIS ROE Card is a CFLCC product (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_Forces_Land_Component_Command) - The Coalition Forces Land Component Command, which was composed of these "coalition" forces:

I Marine Expeditionary Force
2nd MEB
1st Marine Division
RCT-1
RCT-5
RCT-7
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
1st Marine Logistics Group

U.S. V Corps
British 1st Armoured Division
3rd Infantry Division
1st Brigade, 3rd ID
2nd Brigade, 3rd ID
3rd Brigade, 3rd ID
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) – later became Multinational Division North
1st Brigade, 101st Airborne
2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne
3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne
173rd Airborne Brigade
2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division

From March until June 2003, CFLCC was joined by 1st Armored Division, 4th Infantry Division, and 2nd and 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiments. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment formed Task Force Rifles to control the Al-Anbar area during its tour in Iraq which ended in September 2003.

CFLCC was replaced by Combined Joint Task Force 7 on 14 June 2003.

Now I know this was basically a "Coalition of the Willing" piece of bullcrap (though I'll always accept the Brits upfront with the USMC; perhaps as "foreign fighters", David :D).

However, is a "Coalition ROE Card" that says this:

PID is a reasonable certainty that the proposed target is a legitimate military target.

actually "reasonable" for the infantrymen engaging "immediate" shooters; and then "imminent" shooters, becoming less "imminent" as they retreat and merge within the "civilian population" ?

Marc Lagrange and I could have a conversation for hours about WTF is meant by "reasonable certainty" and by "a legitimate military target" (esp. in light of "direct participation" in the ICRC and non-ICRC senses). Unless I am unaware, the French Marines and Legion (or any other armed force of lesser priority) have not come up with any better a solution than our Marines and SOF. That is, a solution that can be accepted as being "beyond a reasonable doubt "; and, if applied "beyond a reasonable doubt " placing SSgt. Wuterich in Portsmouth for X years.

-------------

BUT WAIT - That AIN'T the ROE Card that applies (yup, CFLCC died in 2003 - though CENTCOM continued - sans a CENTCOM replacement card, apparently !).

When I read the references above (OF NUMBERS AND ROE (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Week_One_Report_Of_Numbers_and_ROE.htm)) and Week one ‘Haditha’ Marine trial analysis Part I: An ambush on Route Chestnut and the white car (http://www.911familiesforamerica.org/?p=5574)), I said "whoa JMM; art Thou an idiot of some degree ?" Simply "cuz", the ROE Card I cited (in my prior posts) is different from what "Defend Our Marines" is citing as being the testimony in the case.

NO, JMM, Thou ain't no idiot.

From above (prior posts), the APPLICABLE ROE Card (which I cited and with which I'll stick) gets down to more specifics (e.g., "hostile fire") - according to MG Bargewell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eldon_Bargewell) from Bargewell Report (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Documents/BargewellReport/000_MG_Bargewell_15-6_(Haditha_Report).BATES.pdf), 15 June 2006 (Final), p.77 pdf - Unclassified:

fn 333. Enclosure (130): 2nd Marine Division ROE Card.

Positive Identification (PID) is a reasonable certainty that the target you are engaging is exhibiting hostile intent or committing a hostile act. Once you have PID, you may use escalated force, up to and including deadly force, to eliminate the threat.

The key is Enclosure 130, which is the 2nd Mar. Div. ROE (not the CFLCC ROE). I don't like it that well (see my prior posts); but it's better than CFLCC.

MG Bargewell and I will disagree as to how far we should "slant" our ROEs from a conventional to a non-conventional situation. Though, in short, both of us have a right to our own policies.

THAT BEING SAID, I'll surely accept his facts (not necessarily his opinions) as found.

Two .pdf snips are attached (at end). See in 2nd snip, the Mendoza testimony (close to word for word from the 2nd Mar. Div. Card):

Can define PID/understood ROE: "The rules of engagement is positive identification is required prior to engagement. PID is a reasonable certainty th at the target you are engaging is exhibiting hostile intent or committing a hostile act. Once you have PID you may use escalated force up to and including deadly force to eliminate the threat."

The BLUF (here in back ;)) is that we seem to have three ROE rules for S.Sgt. Wuterich to have followed:

1. CFLCC;

2. 2nd Mar.Div. ROE

3. MUOT (Polarbear1605, if around; you have a much superior grasp of MUOT applicable here - as also Jon Custis)

I see a "reasonable doubt" as to criminal conduct - not a surprise.

Regards

Mike

JWing
01-17-2012, 03:34 PM
Here are two reports from Al Jazeera on the case

AL JAZEERA VIDEO: US Troops Told To "Shoot First" In Iraq (http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.com/2012/01/al-jazeera-video-us-troops-told-to.html)

AL JAZEERA VIDEO: US Marine's Trial Begins In Haditha Case (http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.com/2012/01/al-jazeera-video-us-marines-trial.html)

jmm99
01-18-2012, 05:06 AM
The testimony of Edward T. Sax (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/If_I'm_Receiving_Fire,_I've_Got_to_Assume_the_Hous e_is_Hostile_3281.htm) (ret. 3/1 Sgt.Maj.) emphasized MOUT tactics over either of the two possible ROE cards:

Sax, considered by both the officers and man of the Thundering Third to be a Marine’s Marine, told the panel of officers and senior non-commissioned officers that Wuterich’s decimated squad did it right when they blasted through two civilian houses where 14 Iraqi civilians died after being ambushed at Haditha more than six years ago.

Initially, chief prosecutor Maj. Nicholas Gannon compelled Sax to explain the vast differences between the vicious, no-holds barred month long battle at Fallujah in 2004 and the situation in Haditha almost a year later.

“What we did at Fallujah was something we never did again. There they are… go kill them,” he said. “Haditha was not Fallujah. Those conversations got emphasized before we got sent to regain control of Haditha. This was not going to be Fallujah. We are not pounding them down with artillery.”

“If I haven’t received fire I am not going to use hand grenades. We’d clear in a little different way. Taking fire from a structure in part dictates how you are going to clear that structure.”

“If I thought I received fire I am now going to use hand grenades,” Sax told Maj. Gannon, who then asked him what was the correct procedure for clearing a house where civilians might be hiding after receiving fire.

“I’m going to frag the room before I go in it. It was taught right at MOUT training. If I’m receiving fire, I’ve got to assume the house is hostile… if I send Marines in there they are going to get shot.”

Later in his testimony, Sax got down to cases when talking about what happened on November 19, 2005 when one Kilo, 3/1 Marine was killed and two more seriously wounded by a remotely detonated roadside bomb that signaled the attack on a stunned squad of riflemen trying to take cover on a hard surfaced road that didn’t offer any.

“On November 19, Haditha was more like Fallujah?” Faraj asked during his cross-examination.

“Yes, I think it was,” Sax replied.

Sax said Haditha was considered hostile when 3/1 was sent there to wrest control of the region from the Al Qaeda-led insurgency following the thrashing the insurgents had given to a reserve battalion of Marines during its deployment. The difference was the insurgents were smaller in number and far less aggressive – being non-kinetic in Marine Corps jargon.

Regards

Mike

jmm99
01-19-2012, 05:50 AM
Humberto Mendoza's testimony (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Unexpected_Recess.htm) was not completed:

The General Court Martial of SSgt Frank D. Wuterich was recessed unexpectedly without explanation in the middle of the cross-examination of squad member Humberto Mendoza.

Mendoza was expected to testify he heard Wuterich order his ad hoc fire team to mount an unlawful assault on two houses that held civilians.

During his examination by government prosecutor Lt Col Sean Sullivan, however, Mendoza testified he never heard Wuterich give any orders to assault the houses where 14 civilians were killed.

And so, a possible deal (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Possible_Deal_in_Works.htm):

Camp Pendleton, Calif. – Defend Our Marines has learned there is a possible deal in the works to end arguably the most divisive court-martial in Marine Corps history. Sources have confirmed that defense counsel Neal Puckett and and lead prosecutor Maj. Nicholas Gannon have entered into "conversations" to have the case resolved. The military judge, Lt Col David Jones, told the lawyers Wednesday afternoon after unexpectedly recessing the trial that he would be available for "consultation" until 0800 tomorrow morning when court is scheduled to resume.

A source close to the trial said a lack of money on the defense side, a lack of evidence on the prosecution side, and the likelihood that the eight-member panel will find SSgt Frank Wuterich not guilty of voluntary manslaughter and related charges have all combined to bring the case to a possible conclusion.

Wouldn't doubt it; but what kind of deal (some form of "dereliction of duty") ?

Regards

Mike

jmm99
01-20-2012, 04:38 AM
Frank Wuterich has to make a decision by tomorrow morning - take a deal (the gist of which we don't know) or roll the dice.

SSgt Wuterich's Choice (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/SSgt_Wuterich's_Choice.htm) (Defend Our Marines; Helms, 19 Jan 2012):

Camp Pendleton, Calif. -- Defend Our Marines has learned there is a deal on the table inside a Camp Pendleton courtroom where SSgt Frank D Wuterich now balances choices that will determine the rest of life. The 31-year-old father of three can bite the proverbial bullet and ask for administrative separation, or he can dig in his heels and fight for the principles he has already proved he is willing to die for.
...
Within his own defense team, lead attorney Neal Puckett, a retired military judge, and co-counsel Haytham Faraj, a retired Marine lawyer, reportedly seem to be at odds over exactly what to do. Puckett is prepared to cash in his client’s chips, cut his losses so to speak, so Wuterich can go home to his three little girls. Proponents of “what is best for the client must always prevail” say that is hard to dispute. There is much to be gained from this approach.

Faraj, a tactically brilliant attorney who has shredded the government’s case thus far, reportedly wants Wuterich to stick it out to the end. Faraj is a go-for-the-throat fighting Marine who has literally captured the government’s witnesses and turned them into his own. The benefits of this approach are far less tangible although no less important. Faraj knows Wuterich is innocent. Implicit is his position however is the honor of the Corps. Even the crustiest Marine knows absolute absolution is the only way the institution they proudly serve can remove the virulent stain of the debacle at Haditha.
...
(and more speculation in the article)

Marine in Haditha killings trial has to decide: Fight or take a deal (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/01/this-could-be-the-longest-night-of-staff-sgt-frank-wuterichs-life-since-he-became-a-defendant-in-arguably-the-largest-war.html) (LA Times, 19 Jan 2012):

...
Three other Marines, given immunity to testify against Wuterich, underwent withering cross-examination about their changing accounts of what happened in Haditha. “Are you telling the truth today?” defense attorney Haytham Faraj demanded of a Marine sergeant.

After hearing Faraj's cross-examination Wednesday of one such witness, the judge, Lt. Col. David Jones, abruptly recessed the trial and told the opposing attorneys to "look for options." Negotiations continued Thursday.

It’s not unusual when a trial ends in an agreement for the defendant to admit to a solo charge, a kind of face-saving for prosecutors who, having spent years and considerable resources, suddenly decide to call it quits.

In the Wuterich case, that could include an admission of responsibility for not having been more careful in what he told Marines as they prepared to “clear” houses -- for having told them to “shoot first, ask questions later.”
...

About a century ago, I had a manslaughter trial. When it was going not quite the way the prosecutor wanted, my client was offered a misdemeanor with no time. He rejected the offer. The jury took a couple of hours to come back with a Not Guilty. A lawyer can't guarantee that result; or, as far as I'm concerned, push his client one way or the other.

Regards

Mike

jmm99
01-20-2012, 04:42 PM
From Helms (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/SSgt_Wuterich's_Choice_Trial_Will_Go_On.htm) (Defend Our Marines):

Camp Pendleton, Calif. -- The decision is in. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Frank D. Wuterich is back on trial this morning to face charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and dereliction of duty for his role in the deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians who died at Haditha, Iraq in late 2005. If convicted he could face the rest of his life in prison.

The 31-year-old father of three young girls was on the verge of submitting a request for administrative separation from the Marine Corps when he suddenly changed his mind. Compelled by the certainty of his own innocence and a deeply ingrained sense of duty he asked his defense team to end negotiations that have been going on for most of two days......

Regards

Mike

Boondoggle
01-23-2012, 07:15 PM
http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/military/exclusive-plea-reached-in-wuterich-case-ending-haditha-war-crimes/article_19698181-85a1-528d-b3eb-804bd9fd2778.html

IMO, while he made mistakes, they were stuck under a ROE and other factors that were designed for the wrong war they were fighting. If it wasn't them it would have been someone else.

jmm99
01-24-2012, 03:58 AM
Under Article 92 (comments at MCM IV-24):

(c) Derelict. A person is derelict in the performance of duties when that person willfully or negligently fails to perform that person’s duties or
when that person performs them in a culpably inefficient manner. “Willfully” means intentionally. It refers to the doing of an act knowingly and purposely,
specifically intending the natural and probable consequences of the act. “Negligently” means an act or omission of a person who is under a duty to use due care which exhibits a lack of that degree of care which a reasonably prudent person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances. “Culpable inefficiency” is inefficiency for which there is no reasonable or just excuse.

From Defend Our Marines (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/It_Was_War_Not_Murder_and_Cover_Up.htm):

Camp Pendleton, Calif. – The General Court Martial of US Marine Corps SSgt Frank D. Wuterich ended Monday morning after a plea deal was reached over the weekend. In return for a guilty plea to one count of Negligent Dereliction of Duty, the six-year ordeal of the 31-year old father of three is finally over.

Negligent dereliction is a lesser included offense detailed in Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Dereliction of Duty. Before the agreement, SSgt Wuterich was charged with “Willful Dereliction of Duty,” a much more severe offense. In return for his plea, 13 charges, including nine counts of Voluntary Manslaughter, two counts of Aggravated Assault, and two other charges of willful dereliction were dropped.
..
The maximum sentence military judge LtCol David Jones can now impose on SSgt Wuterich is three months confinement and loss of two -thirds of his pay while he is confined. The staff sergeant told the judge he earns $3,486 a month. At risk if he is incarcerated are his three little girls, who are otherwise without a resident parent.

SSgt Wuterich admitted he failed to maintain "adequate tactical control" of three Marines he was leading and made a "negligent verbal order." While answering the military judge’s questions before the deal was done, SSgt Wuterich said comments he made to troops he was leading were negligent and may have led to the "tragic" deaths of the women and children.

"I took a team of Marines to clear houses to the south of the site [where House 1 and House 2 are situated] and did use the words 'shoot first, ask questions later,' or something to that affect prior to clearing or entering there," he said. ...

This result was predicted by Lt.Col. Paul Ware in his Article 32 Report (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/SSgtWuterich/Art_32_Report_ICO_Wuterich.pdf):

Conclusion

I am recommending that the Government pursue the lesser offense of negligent homicide and not murder because I believe after reviewing all the evidence, no trier of fact can conclude SSgt Wuterich formed the criminal intent to kill. The evidence is contradictory, the forensic analysis is limited and almost all witnesses have an obvious bias or prejudice. The case against SSgt Wuterich that he committed murder is simply not strong enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. What the evidence does point to is that SSgt Wuterich failed to exercise due care in his own actions or in supervising his Marines. When a Marine fails to exercise due care in a combat environment resulting in the death of innocents, the charge of negligent homicide, not murder is the appropriate offense. Accordingly I believe the elements and theory of negligent homicide best fits the evidence of what occurred inside House 2.

Finally, although I believe the Government will fail to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that SSgt Wuterich committed any offenses other than dereliction of duty, due to the serious nature of the charges, I recommend referral to a general court-martial.

But, we still have an ROE legalism expressed in terms of requiring combatants to make decisions based on a "certainty". Who is going to fix that ?

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
01-24-2012, 08:30 PM
Mike,

Thanks for all your posts on this difficult subject.

You and others might enjoy a short BBC radio interview:http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9685000/9685106.stm

Utah University law professor Amos Guiora reflects on the outcome of the trial and the Nick Broomfield, who made the documentary Battle for Haditha, outlines his views.

Prof. Guiora is an ex-IDF prosecutor, his bio:http://www.law.utah.edu/faculty/faculty-profile/?id=amos-guiora

jmm99
01-25-2012, 02:20 AM
David: Your kind words are welcome. :)

From Reuters, U.S. Marine spared jail time in Iraq killings (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/24/us-marine-haditha-idUSTRE80M1U620120124):

(Reuters) - A U.S. Marine sergeant accused of leading a 2005 massacre of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, was spared jail time on Tuesday for his role in the killings that brought international condemnation of American troops.

Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, 31, was sentenced instead to a demotion to the rank of private, the lowest rank in the service, a day after he pleaded guilty to a single count of dereliction of duty.

I won't discuss reportorial bias here. As the Indian kid asked, "Why is it that when we Indians won, it's called a massacre; but, when you white people won, it's called a great victory ?"

The reduction in grade is outside the guidelines for maximum punishment for negligent dereliction of duty (MCM, IV-25):

(3) Dereliction in the performance of duties.

(A) Through neglect or culpable inefficiency. Forfeiture of two-thirds pay per month for 3 months and confinement for 3 months.

(B) Willful. Bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months.

Whether that is now of any materiality, I'll leave to the attorneys who are handling the case.

Regards

Mike

JWing
01-25-2012, 03:53 PM
AL JAZEERA VIDEO: Plea Deal For Haditha Killings Sparks Outrage In Iraq (http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.com/2012/01/al-jazeera-video-plea-deal-for-haditha.html)

PBS NEWSHOUR VIDEO: Was Justice Served After Haditha Killings? (http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.com/2012/01/pbs-newshour-video-was-justice-served.html)

PBS NEWSHOURS: Plea Deal In Haditha Killings Opens New Wounds In Iraq (http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.com/2012/01/pbs-newshours-plea-deal-in-haditha.html)

jmm99
01-27-2012, 05:08 PM
As the Pendleton court-martial was concluding on Tuesday, I happened to run into this tidbit from Reuters, U.N. rights chief shocked at numerous Iraq executions (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/24/us-un-iraq-rights-idUSTRE80N17820120124):

GENEVA | Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:55am EST

GENEVA (Reuters) - The top United Nations human rights official criticized Iraq on Tuesday for carrying out a large number of executions, including 34 on a single day last week, and voiced concern about due process and the fairness of trials.

"Even if the most scrupulous fair trial standards were observed, this would be a terrifying number of executions to take place in a single day," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, in a statement referring to executions carried out on January 19.

"Given the lack of transparency in court proceedings, major concerns about due process and fairness of trials, and the very wide range of offences for which the death penalty can be imposed in Iraq, it is a truly shocking figure," she added.

At least 63 people are believed to have been executed since mid-November in Iraq, where the death penalty can be imposed for some 48 crimes including a number related to non-fatal crimes such as damage to public property, Pillay said.

"Most disturbingly, we do not have a single report of anyone on death row being pardoned, despite the fact there are well documented cases of confessions being extracted under duress," she said. ...

I didn't report the above item then because I expected something like this (making a nice couplet), Iraq says to take legal action for Haditha victims (http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120126/wl_nm/us_iraq_massacre):

Aseel Kami – Thu Jan 26, 12:07 pm ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq plans legal action on behalf of families of victims killed by U.S. troops in a 2005 massacre after the last soldier involved was spared jail time by a guilty plea with military authorities, a government spokesman said Thursday.

The Haditha massacre that killed 24 Iraqis, alongside the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and shootings by U.S. contractors in 2007, stoked global outrage against the nearly nine-year U.S. military presence after the 2003 invasion.

The last U.S. soldier accused in leading the massacre, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, was spared jail-time Tuesday when he was sentenced after pleading guilty to dereliction of duty. Original charges of involuntary manslaughter were dismissed.

"We will seek legal means to maintain the rights of the innocent citizens who were killed in the incident," said Ali al-Moussawi, media adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

"We will follow whatever course we can follow legally," Moussawi said without giving details on actions. ...

Are these a "Hearts and Minds" couplet, a "Rule of Law" couplet, an "Adventures in State Building" couplet, or something including all of the above ?

Regards

Mike

Polarbear1605
01-30-2012, 06:33 PM
http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/strategic-legalism
and now its over.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2839523/posts reply #34

jmm99
01-30-2012, 07:56 PM
Yup, that old retired duffer Bob Weimann (at post #34 (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2839523/posts)) does write well - no purple tongue him :D:

As Marines, SSgt Frank Wuterich's Haditha Court Martial tears at our souls. If asked; "is SSgt Frank Wuterich any less of a Marine in your eyes?" I suspect most Marines would answer with a strong; "No!"

I personally think SSgt Wuterich is a hero. Other Marines can say that he did not fight to the end, not only for his own honor but also for the honor of the other accused Marines. Like those Marines, I also would have preferred that SSgt Wuterich continue to fight for a not guilty declaration. Those two feelings are the basic elements that cause conflict in our Marine psyche and ethos.

The Marine Corps senior leadership threw everything they had at this Marine and with those actions they compromised the loyalty and responsibility that they owe to all who serve and call themselves Marines. SSgt Wuterich held his post under tremendous pressure for over six years. For the last two years, he was basically alone in his legal foxhole without his leaders and fellow comrades. Folks like the defendourmarines crew and readers provided what support we could but it is not the same as fighting shoulder to shoulder in the same crucible. Our legal system is based on the rights of the individual and therefore, it forces the accused to stand alone. Six years is an amazing amount of time when you realize that the Haditha incident lasted longer then World War II.

In my opinion, the Marine Corps leadership, at its highest levels, bears the most responsibility for this mess. Instead of using their often touted leadership skills, the generals deferred to their political cronies and lawyers. It pains me tremendously to make that statement because, besides being a retired Marine, Dad is a retired Marine Sgt Major. I was born on Quantico making the "Cross roads of the Marine Corps" my home town. My brother was a Marine and we both served together in Desert Storm. I was married in the Quantico Chapel and Dad is buried at the Quantico National Cemetery next to the Marine Corps Museum. Marine Corps pride and honor is part of me.

I believe LtCol Chessani, Major McConnell, 1stLt Grayson, LCpl Sharratt, LCpl Tatum, and Capt Stone have demonstrated the leadership and courage that exceeds any definition of valor. I would also include Major Jeffery Dinsmore in that group. He is also a hero and as a Marine he humbles me. I can comfortable saying I know how the Major feels. I have been wrestling with those same feelings since the announcement of the court martial deal. The SSgt's decision and Major Dinsmore's feelings that the SSgt should have continued to fight represents that inner conflict in our Marine soul that, no matter which way we turn, it leaves no peace. The smart folks would call it cognitive dissonance. The conflict between the loyalty and honor, taught and instill in us by the Marine Corps, and a piece bad generalship is its basic essence that tears and eats at our hearts.

With Dinsmore's speech (http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarinesExclusive/Trial_of_SSgt_Wuterich/Final_Words_from_a_Haditha_Marine.htm), I have no bitch in general. I didn't like the tone of these two paragraphs:

For six years, the officers and men of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines firmly believed that no unlawful action took place on November 19th. We believed this based on the available intelligence before, during, and after November 19th, based on the enemy's stated objective of a propaganda victory that would erode our combat effectiveness, and based on our detailed knowledge of the context of November 19th's day-long, high-intensity combat. We accepted challenges to our integrity, accusations of a unit cover-up, and institutional condemnation by our Corps. Men like LtCol Chessani and 1stLt Grayson refused numerous plea offers from the government, including letters of reprimand with no punishment whatsoever. With SSgt Wuterich's admission of guilt, however, we must accept that a cover-up took place, even if unwittingly. With his admission of guilt, we must accept that some unlawful action was committed by a member of SSgt Wuterich's squad.

Today the judge handed down the maximum possible sentence. While a portion of that sentence was restricted by the terms of the plea agreement, it is right and just that Frank Wuterich no longer be a Staff Non-commissioned Officer in the Marine Corps. I wish Frank the best in his future endeavors, and empathize with his difficult personal decision to accept responsibility for the unlawful actions committed by one or more members of his squad. But any Marine who is guilty of negligence and dereliction with results on the scale of November 19th, 2005 cannot lead Marines. Ever again.

To me, Frank Wuterich was WIA on the battlefield of legalisms - and I will stop right there.

As to "and now it's over" - only in that venue. The struggle continues. For example, this and preceding Gotovina posts (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=131709&postcount=121).

Regards

Mike

Nice to see you have some things in common with that Bob character. Though I understand you were taken from an Arctic ice floe by a Marine and brought back to Quantico, etc. :)

KingJaja
01-30-2012, 10:12 PM
I am not an American and I don't usually post on topics like this.

However, I really believe that the USG should explain why nobody was seriously punished for the apparent murder of twenty four Iraqis. To the rest of the World it appears as if different standards of justice apply to the US Military, that the US does not practice what it preaches.

And this is coming on the heels of Abu Ghraib.

Many of you Americans don't really grasp how far the perception of the US and its Military has fallen this past decade. You might brush it off and say it doesn't matter - it actually does.

This is a PR problem that needs to be handled extremely carefully. To remain silent or to conceal information will do more damage in the long run.

jcustis
01-30-2012, 10:12 PM
The Marine Corps senior leadership threw everything they had at this Marine and with those actions they compromised the loyalty and responsibility that they owe to all who serve and call themselves Marines.

Funny, this comment. To do anything less would have compromised our integrity, and frankly, damaged a bit of our credibility when we "say what we mean and mean what we say" to others outside our tiny bubbles.

Kind of like a nasty Catch-22.

jmm99
01-31-2012, 05:42 AM
BTW: I've no problem with a Nigerian or any other non-USAian posting to this topic.

I spent a lot of time in preparation and posting why Haditha wasn't murder (a term you use). Obviously, you've read what I've posted and concluded it was utter bull$hit. So be it; but that also adds up in my perception to a mind that is incompetent (not likely from your posts re: your own area of expertise) or closed (which seems much more likely; with a bit of agitprop spin added, which is fine :)).

You should know (if you've read my posts in other threads), my own views of what and where the US should be doing "things". That view does not include military force projection within the Eurasian and African continental land masses as a general rule. It also does not include nation or state building in those regions for either hegemonic or humanitarian reasons.

1562

The US has a need to manipulate opinions in Eurasia and Africa by PR, etc., only if it seeks to continue as a hegemonic power in those regions. That is not my worldview; and frankly I am not interested in trying to win "Hearts and Minds" throughout the World. I doubt that that "win" is even possible.

As you have correctly pointed out in your various Nigeria and Africa posts, there are a lot of perceptions concerning the US floating around Africa. You could have added that even more perceptions concerning the US are floating around Eurasia. I read those perceptions with interest. So far as correcting them, I feel no personal responsibility; nor do I feel that the US should launch PR campaigns to dispel what it (or I) considers "incorrect" perceptions.

My rules for US foreign relations are simple:

Golden Rule 1 (initial): Do unto others as you would have them do onto you. The "do" is simply respect. If you've been disrespected by us, say so. If we disagree on whether there has been disrespect, then it would be best for us to disengage and contemplate our navels for awhile. Essentially, we would be at a neutral impasse. My vocabulary does not include "If you are not for us, you are against us." Neutral (non-aligned) states do and should exist.

Golden Rule 2 (secondary): Do unto others as they do onto you. If you are positive toward us, we will be positive toward you. If you are negative toward us, we will be negative toward you. If you are neutral toward us, we will be neutral toward you.

I'd like to see the US get back to doing business (on a private basis) with the World, without trying to run the World. We suck as neo-colonialists, neo-imperialists, or any description of the "New World Order" you want to put up.

If someone else wants to appease non-USAian "perceptions", so be it. I'll pass - I've had enough of the "perceptions" of this case.

Regards

Mike

KingJaja
01-31-2012, 09:48 AM
If you recall, I used the term "apparent murder".

As you rightly pointed out, the US has no business in Eurasia, but you went there, uninvited (Iraq). Given that background (whether the US likes it or not), it has to play the PR game.

Even if I read what you posted, the rest of the World hasn't. The rest of the World needs to be informed as what exactly happened in Haditha.

The USG publishes "annual human rights reports". Isn't it fair for the nation that publishes "religious freedom reports" to explain in detail the rationale for the light sentence?

You cannot castigate China and Syria in one breath and create an impression that you don't really care about the human rights of Iraqis in another.

Finally, the US is not omnipotent, it cannot simply impose its rules on the rest of the World and expect us to meekly follow. You started this "hearts and minds", "human rights centered foreign policy" stuff. You cannot simply say you are not playing ball and expect us to just accept it.

Strickland
01-31-2012, 11:31 AM
I am not aware of any active-duty service member familiar with the facts of this case that thinks Wutterich is/was a victim.

jmm99
01-31-2012, 07:02 PM
and, in the English I know, "apparent murder" means "it appears to me to be murder". Is it murder to you or not ? If it's murder, our "perceptions" differ - and. so be it, we have reached a neutral impasse.

As to the rest of your post, those points I've already covered as being immaterial to me. Lest we misunderstand each other - I speak for JMM, not for the USA. I certainly do have my personal opinions about what the US should or should not have done in the World, should or should not be doing in the World and should or should not do in the future in the World. Apologetics addressing perceptions are not among my selected courses of action.

Regards

Mike

KingJaja
02-01-2012, 01:51 PM
English isn't actually my first language. You speak it much better than I do.

I was trying to convey a thought.

jmm99
02-01-2012, 04:23 PM
English, that is. I've no problem understanding your thoughts, perceptions, etc., here, or in your Nigeria-Africa posts.

Regards

Mike

Polarbear1605
02-03-2012, 03:51 PM
Funny, this comment. To do anything less would have compromised our integrity, and frankly, damaged a bit of our credibility when we "say what we mean and mean what we say" to others outside our tiny bubbles.

Kind of like a nasty Catch-22.

But what if, the leadership is abusing the fairness of the system with Strategic Legalism? The Strategic legalism of the Haditha case led to senior leadership abusing the fairness of the system...the battalion commmander's court martial was dismissed on the grounds of undue command influence...its on the record...the prosecution did nothing to argue against undue command influence in the court martial. The battalion legal officer stated that there was no violations of the Laws of War and he was relieve and charged http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/01/lessons_from_hadithas_quiet_denouement.html#ixzz1k y7spSte
The problem is that the senior leadership damaged their integrity and credibility by unethically pushing a political court martial.

Polarbear1605
02-03-2012, 03:58 PM
I am not aware of any active-duty service member familiar with the facts of this case that thinks Wutterich is/was a victim.

Then you are not ware of any active-duty sevice members who know the facts. Anyone who takes the time to look at this case will immediately see the victimization. SSgt Wuterich followed his training and is a victim of Strategic Legalism. He has spent hundreds of thousands and owes hundreds of thousands more for a politically motivated court martial.

Strickland
02-03-2012, 10:44 PM
I am very familiar with the case and the relevant facts. The facts are clear - there was no positive identification of a threat, and a disproportionate use of force was applied. Both of these facts the defense conceded. The defendants claim "a shot" was fired. If one shot caused 24 deaths, then I think someone should ask a few questions.

Strickland
02-03-2012, 10:54 PM
Wikipedia claims that the US military executed 160 service members for capital offenses between 1942-1948. How many contractors or military personnel are currently serving prison sentences for crimes committed in Iraq or Afghanistan? A handful? Now, one can either conclude that WWII era service personnel were not as disciplined, professional, and well trained as today's personnel, OR - one can conclude that we simply close our eyes to these happenings, and/or have grown much more tolerant of extra-judicial killings. Each can reach their own conclusion.

Polarbear1605
02-04-2012, 01:29 AM
I am very familiar with the case and the relevant facts. The facts are clear - there was no positive identification of a threat, and a disproportionate use of force was applied. Both of these facts the defense conceded. The defendants claim "a shot" was fired. If one shot caused 24 deaths, then I think someone should ask a few questions.

If the "facts" are so clear please explain which facts and where your getting them. In the Watt investigation, the investigating officer determined that the Marines followed their ROE and their Training (TTPs). He also states the PID was established in houses 3 and 4. Establishing PID in Houses 1 and 2 due to hostile action made "it difficult for PID". In the second investigation (Bargewell Investigation) there were no finding of facts. In the Watt investigation under the para asking if any LOW violations occurred the investigating officer states the insurgents were not distinguish themselves from non-combatants and does not mention the Marines. Under the LOW the field commander determines military necessity...the battalion commander and, again, the battalion legal officer determine that there was no murder and the Marines were acting within the current ROE and training. So you think this entire six year court martial is all due to PID?

Polarbear1605
02-04-2012, 01:56 AM
Wikipedia claims that the US military executed 160 service members for capital offenses between 1942-1948. How many contractors or military personnel are currently serving prison sentences for crimes committed in Iraq or Afghanistan? A handful? Now, one can either conclude that WWII era service personnel were not as disciplined, professional, and well trained as today's personnel, OR - one can conclude that we simply close our eyes to these happenings, and/or have grown much more tolerant of extra-judicial killings. Each can reach their own conclusion.

Not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China. WWII we court martialed 1 in 8 of the 16 million that served. After the war the appeal courts were so jammed Congress initiated and executed a massive reform...what we now call the UCMJ and its appeal process. The beauty of the current system is they kept it a command system that places the authority and trust in the fairness of the commander.
My opinion and conclusion is Haditha is a classic case of Strategic Legalism and to attribute a six year court martial to bad PID is short sighted and naive.

jmm99
02-04-2012, 08:45 PM
The caped warrior of the InterWebs has struck again.

Anonymous hacks lawyers for Marine accused of Iraq massacre (http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-57371309-245/anonymous-hacks-lawyers-for-marine-accused-of-iraq-massacre/) (by Elinor Mills, February 3, 2012):

In a string of attacks today, members of the digital activist group Anonymous apparently hacked into the Web site of defense lawyers for a U.S. Marine accused of leading a civilian massacre in Iraq, and have reportedly acquired e-mails exchanged by attorneys in the case.
...
The Web site of the law firm Puckett & Faraj, which represented Marine Sgt. Frank Wuterich in his recent court martial, was inaccessible this morning. Wuterich allegedly led a group of Marines in shooting 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2005. The original murder charges were reduced and ultimately dropped entirely as part of an agreement last week in which Wuterich pled guilty to one count of negligent dereliction of duty. He was demoted in rank to private and will have to forfeit some of his pay, but will serve no time.

I give credit to Ms Mills for reporting the legal details correctly: initial charges were murder; they were reduced to manslaughter; and then dropped entirely. The one count of negligent dereliction of duty is not remotely akin to a charge of negligent homicide; negligent dereliction of duty does not carry within it an element (or admission) that the dereliction was a cause of death.

The Anonymous folks do not have Ms Mills' more refined legal knowledge - and don't give a damme because to them it was "murder" - to them, "murder" regardless of what the charges and specifications actually said (and regardless of all the investigative reports, etc.). Those folks want a bigger piece of Frank Wuterich; and will probably get it, at least virtually (from Ms Mills' article):

"As part of our ongoing efforts to expose the corruption of the court systems and the brutality of US imperialism, we want to bring attention to USMC SSgt Frank Wuterich who along with his squad murdered dozens of unarmed civilians during the Iraqi Occupation," Russian news site RT.com reported, quoting from a message that appeared on the law firm's defaced Web site. "Can you believe this scumbag had his charges reduced to involuntary manslaughter and got away with only a pay cut?"

"Meanwhile, Bradley Manning who was brave enough to risk his life and freedom to expose the truth about government corruption is threatened with life imprisonment," the message said."When justice cannot be found within the confines of their crooked court systems, we must seek revenge on the streets and on the internet - and dealing out swift retaliation is something we are particularly good at. Worry not comrades, it's time to deliver some epic ownage."

The hackers also said they had nearly three gigabytes of e-mails from the law firm that they planned to leak to the public.

"How do you think the world will react when they find out Neal Puckett and his marine buddies have been making crude jokes about the incident where marines have been caught on video pissing on dead bodies in Afghanistan?" the message says. "We believe it is time to release all of their private information and court evidence to the world and conduct a People's trial of our own."

A couple of lessons learned from this. One for you all is don't email things you don't want published - and emails ain't secure attorney-client communications.

As to this case, I didn't favor it's even having been brought - for the reasons stated by Paul Ware. I didn't accept Lt.Col. Ware's recommendation to refer to a general court-martial. A firestorm would have erupted for not prosecuting, but such is life.

If, however, such a case had to have been brought (to assuage PR and political factors, for instance), then the charges should have been murder seeking the maximum possible punishment; and the prosecution should not, under any circumstances, have agreed to any reduction of charges or plea bargain. In short, the case should have been forced to merits decisions by the judge and jury. Another firestorm would have erupted, but again such is life.

Once upon a time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Littleton_Waller#Philippine-American_War_and_war_crimes_acquittal), we were a bit more straight-forward - at least in making the legalisms clear-cut:

CHARGE: Murder, in violation of the 58th Article of War.

SPECIFICATION: In that Major Littleton W.T. Waller, United States Marine Corps, being then and there detached for service with the United States Army by authority of the President of the United States, did, in time of war, willfully and feloniously and with malice aforethought, murder and kill eleven men, names unknown, natives of the Philippine Islands, by ordering and causing his subordinate officer under his command, John Horace Arthur Day, 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, and a firing detail of enlisted men under his said command, to take out said eleven men and shoot them to death, which said order was then and there carried into execution and said eleven natives, and each of them, were shot with rifles, from the effects of which they then and there died.

This at Basey, Island of Samar, Philippine Islands, on or about the 20th day of January, 1902.
...
PLEA:

To the specification - Guilty, except to the words “willfully and feloniously and with malice aforethought, murder and” - to those words, not guilty. To the charge - Not Guilty

Now, we'll have to wait and see what meat Anonymous will be tossing out - and who the lions will be, jumping out of the Colosseum's cellers to join in the eating with Anonymous.

Frank Wuterich and Bradley Manning - a juxtaposition to think long and hard about.

Regards

Mike

jcustis
02-05-2012, 05:46 AM
This Anonymous stuff is frankly pretty terrifying, and wholly annoying. I am also incredibly frustrated by the fact that they seem to be able to hack at will, and legitimate law enforcement can do nothing to prevent it at the moment.

They may consider themselves technical Robin Hoods, but they strike me as no better than spineless thieves and a threat to national security.

jmm99
02-05-2012, 07:52 AM
than Robin Hood. See, V for Vendetta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta) (comic book format novel) and V for Vendetta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta_(film)) (film). The film is worth watching because it definitely has a message; and includes both strategy and TTP, fetched and far-fetched.

V for Vendetta's Guy Fawkes Mask has become a political sign of the times (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/10/v-for-vendetta-mask) (Guardian UK, Euclides Montes; 10 Sep 2011):

Not only does wearing a Guy Fawkes mask at demonstrations give protesters anonymity, it's an instant symbol of rebellion.
....
Anonymous, the hacking collective, is perhaps our best example. While the organisation supports anti-establishment and civil disobedience as its set of principles, it also welcomes a large number of people for whom such goals are perhaps not as important as Anonymous would like us to believe. However, the mask offers it at once a political symbol that provides anonymity. And therein lies the symbol's increasing popularity, imbued with a political aura while simultaneously offering the comfort (and depending on your activities, the safety) of secrecy.

Or perhaps I'm just barking up the wrong tree; the Guy Fawkes mask phenomenon might be nothing more than a fad . But if we have learned anything from the longevity of Korda's Che image, it is that when a symbol takes hold of our imagination, it is worth considering its relevance.

On the other hand, V's creator (David Lloyd) sees it (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/comic-riffs/post/occupy-guy-fawkes-what-does-the-man-behind-the-mask-think-of-the-movement/2011/11/08/gIQA0Nvo3M_blog.html) as symbolic of a real-life Network, global in scope:

”As far as that mask is concerned, well, I'm happy it's being used as a multi-purpose banner of protest,” Lloyd tells Comic Riffs. “It's like [Alberto Korda’s] Che Guevara image on T-shirts and such that was used so often in the past as a symbol of revolutionary spirit — the difference being that while Che represented a specific political movement, the mask of V does not: It's neutral.

“It just represents opposition to any perceived tyranny,” continues Lloyd, “which is why it fits easily into being Everyman's tool of protest against oppression rather than being a calling card for a particular group.”

As for the Occupy Movement, the man behind the mask tells Comic Riffs: “I must say, the mass protests against the titanic unfairness of the way things are these days reminds me very much of [Paddy Chayevsky’s 1976 satire] ‘Network,’ that movie where the disillusioned newsman cries out: ‘I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!’ — and causes a ripple that spreads out into the whole city.

“This time it's across the globe.”

Slate has a couple of recent pieces on V for Vendetta and Anonymous (interestingly enough, descended from a 4Chan discussion group).

Recognizably Anonymous - How did a hacker group that rejects definition develop such a strong visual brand? (http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/design/2011/12/guy_fawkes_mask_how_anonymous_hacker_group_created _a_powerful_visual_brand.html) (by Rob Walker; Dec. 8, 2011):

The loosely affiliated and ever-changing band of individuals who call themselves Anonymous have been variously described as hackers, hacktivists, free-expression zealots, Internet troublemakers, and assorted combinations thereof. By all accounts the group has no clear hierarchy or leadership, or even any internal agreement about what exactly it is. And yet, as you’ve encountered news and speculation about Anonymous—maybe from reports about coordinated denial-of-service attacks on financial institutions that stopped doing business with WikiLeaks last year, or the group’s more recent association with Occupy Wall Street—you may also have noticed its memorable logo: a suited figure with a question mark where his head should be, set against a U.N.-style globe. You’ve also likely seen the visual symbol that’s made its way onto the streets: a Guy Fawkes mask borrowed by Anonymous from the V for Vendetta graphic novel and movie for use in real-world protests. So how did this chaotic, volunteer-driven, non-organization manage to create a visual identity stronger than many commercial brands?

Is the Guy Fawkes Mask a Metaphor for the Closet? (http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2011/12/09/the_guy_fawkes_mask_in_v_for_vendetta_a_metaphor_f or_the_closet_.html) (by Forrest Wickman; Dec. 9, 2011). While the film presents the enemy as a homophobic, Islamophobic fascist dictatorship, this piece seems to me to over-emphasize the "gay metaphor".

Closer to the mark is this (from AP/Huffington), Occupy Wall Street: Vendetta Masks Become Symbol Of The Movement (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/occupy-wall-street-vendetta-mask_n_1076038.html):

By TAMARA LUSH AND VERENA DOBNIK, The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Look at a photo or news clip from around the world of Occupy protesters and you'll likely spot a handful of people wearing masks of a cartoon-like man with a pointy beard, closed-mouth smile and mysterious eyes.

The mask is a stylized version of Guy Fawkes, an Englishman who tried to bomb the British Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605.
...
Yet whether the inspiration is the comic, the movie or the historical figure, the imagery – co-opted today by everyone from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the hacker group Anonymous – carries stronger connotations than some of the Occupy protesters seem to understand.

While Fawkes' image has been romanticized over the past 400 years, he was a criminal who tried to blow up a government building. It would be hard to imagine Americans one day wearing Timothy McVeigh masks to protest the government or corporate greed. ... (more in article).

Are these folks dangerous ? Some certainly are. If "V" in the film becomes their model in real life, they could be as deadly as Tim McVeigh.

Regards

Mike