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Thread: Nine children among 16 dead after US serviceman attacks villagers

  1. #41
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    From the perspective of controlling the negative impact of the incident on the war effort, the only way out its a quick determination of guilt in the simplest sense - did he do it - and if guilty, turn over to the Afghans for disposal. "Diminished capacity" or American ideas about the rights of the accused are going to carry no weight at all with Afghans.

    We won't do that of course, because the rules don't allow it. People who care about the war effort and the lives that will likely be lost if we follow the rules will wish we could avoid the rules, but wishing won't make that happen.

    Not much left but to do what we do by our rules, and prepare to eat the consequences. It might not be the worst time to start thinking about an accelerated timetable for withdrawal.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  2. #42
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Mike:

    In the Foust opinion piece Tequila referenced, it is reported that the villagers didn't resist the thing because they thought it was a night raid. Foust finds that a little dark and so do I. I am still mulling this over in my head but it seems that in a way we are training Afghans to be passive in the face of aggression, almost the way it seems sometimes American police expect Americans to be passive in the face of no-knock raids.

    I remember in the past giving traffic tickets to people from the L.A. area. I would walk up to the car and often they would be staring straight ahead with their hands held stiffly on the wheel or in some odd position where they were visible. Their apprehension was clearly evident. They were afraid of me and were doing what they thought it took not to set me off. I only remember people from L.A. doing this and it really bothered me. I wondered what was going over there in Southern California that had turned average motorists into fearful sheep. It disturbed me because I had signed up to do a police job amongst free people, not to be a jailer in a vast open air facility. If that phenomena is carrying over into our conduct of affairs overseas, it is a very bad thing.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  3. #43
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    I'm aware of all viewpoints on the death penalty. I also see Stan as saying or almost saying: based on the facts Stan now knows, the man is guilty and should be executed. If I am wrong, Stan, correct me. Stan does not say he would perform the execution; and I don't want to put those words in Stan's mouth. But, if he said that explicitly and spelled it out in bold caps - fine, that's OK, because that's his black & white decision, and Stan is being honest.

    Regards

    Mike
    Mike,
    Here's the deal:
    As an NCO and soldier, there is not enough evidence. What he did is clear and I doubt much more will come from it. But, why was he let out of his cage with a weapon at that hour alone. More heads to fry than just his IMO.

    As a father, there is little stopping me from building the gallows myself.

    This from Ken is word-for-word what I would see happening:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    I wouldn't turn him over to Afghan justice at at all. I wouldn't turn him over to anyone unless it was well and duly proven that he in fact did what is alleged -- that would take a US Court Martial (which could be convened and completed at KAF in less than a month or so) and then IF he were guilty, give him to the villagers, no Afghan justice involved in the formal sense and no intent to serve as an example to deter others (anyone that apparently nutty wouldn't be deterred...), nor any intent to calm the Afghans -- merely an eye for an eye...
    PS. Don't waste a perfectly good .45 round on that Delta Hotel

    Regards, Stan
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  4. #44
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Questions answered...

    US Courts Martial can have Non Commissioned Officers, enlisted folks, on the panel -- or military jury as it now seems to be called -- at the choice of the accused. They very rarely have any on the advice of Counsel. When they do appear, many are usually challenged off peremptorily or for cause. It should now be obvious to all why this is so...

    Unbending? Beady eyed? Lacking in good old human compassion? Implacably vicious? Who, us?

  5. #45
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Unbending? Beady eyed? Lacking in good old human compassion? Implacably vicious? Who, us?
    How about bald with a shi...ty attitude
    He'd better hope I'm not selected !
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  6. #46
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default You need my Cap Patch...

    It works...
    Last edited by Ken White; 05-16-2012 at 03:04 AM.

  7. #47
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    Default Stan:

    I get you - no bad on your part in my eyes. The flavor I got was that to you this guy committed a form of treason - just as to me, Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols were guilty of treason against their country, even though they were not charged with that crime. They collaberated in an act of war against the US in which people died. Both should now be dead.

    That being said, I don't get emotional about these cases. I suppose Yale Kamisar (like Ken, a Korean Police Action participant), my Criminal Law & Procedure + Con Law prof, would say: JMM, you suffer from "trained indifference" - or, it just may be my personality. In any event, to me, death penalty situations are best viewed non-emotionally. E.g., The Green Mile.

    Carl: Can't help you on that. I've been advised (by "senior LEOs" ) that, on a traffic stop, I'd best open the driver's window, keep both hands on the wheel high, and let the officer give the instructions.

    Of course, Astan is not a law enforcement situation (no matter how much some folks would like to make it that). The people had 30 years of being subjugated by armed conflicts before we got there. The "Armed Citizen" cannot exist in that environment because a neutral "Armed Citizen" will be viewed as a threat by one or all sides to the conflict. The people become passive because their "Armed Citizens" have either been killed or disarmed. What I've said is a sweeping generality not true in all areas.

    There is now a Wiki on this, Panjwai shooting spree.

    Two news items:

    AP: Afghan official says surveillance video shows US soldier surrendering after civilians killed (14 Mar 2012; MIRWAIS KHAN and SEBASTIAN ABBOT):

    The U.S. soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan villagers on a rampage was caught on surveillance video that showed him walking up to his base, laying down his weapon and raising his arms in surrender, according to an Afghan official who viewed the footage.

    The official said Wednesday there were also two to three hours of video footage covering the time of the attack that Afghan investigators are trying to get from the U.S. military. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. .... (more)
    "S.Sgt X" surrendered, we know that. If there are two to three hours of video footage (and/or other sensors), evidence is coming on board - depends on its quality. We have already seen the forensics team picking up casings.

    AP: American soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians flown out of country (14 Mar 2012; by HEIDI VOGT):

    A U.S. military official says the American soldier accused of killings 16 Afghan civilians on a shooting spree has been flown out of the country.

    The official said Wednesday that the soldier has been flown to a "pretrial confinement facility" in another country but did not provide further details. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not yet been publicly announced.

    The official did not provide a reason for the move, saying only that the decision had been made to continue legal proceedings outside of Afghanistan.
    Thus, Holman didn't come down and isn't going to.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default Censor at work?

    Who removed Backwards Observer's post?

  9. #49
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Default nothing to see here

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Who removed Backwards Observer's post?
    I removed it. I thought it might upset the natives. Henceforth, I should prefer to focus solely on the positive...it's time to laugh again.

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    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    "S.Sgt X" surrendered, we know that. If there are two to three hours of video footage (and/or other sensors), evidence is coming on board - depends on its quality. We have already seen the forensics team picking up casings.
    What supprises me and also, I must say, piss me off a little, it the fact there are like 2 to 3 hours of video surveillance.
    And nobody saw it happening?, No body reacted?
    What are the video surveillance made for then?

    I know this is kind of naive reaction but I would think that if you have video surveillance it is to actually have early warning mechanisms and immediat response team ready.

    The man went mad for sure but it also feels like the whole system has failed somehow.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
    I removed it. I thought it might upset the natives. Henceforth, I should prefer to focus solely on the positive...it's time to laugh again.
    To borrow from Kipling's poem Gunga Din: "You're a better man than I am"

  12. #52
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    To borrow from Kipling's poem Gunga Din: "You're a better man than I am"
    Ah, ha h..(choke), hahar, (cough) hargh, harrr (spit)...the hell with it.

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    The UCMJ was written as an adhoc justice system which-nominally-should be fairly swift--or at least swifter than most civilian systems.

    What seems evident is that for whatever reason the UCMJ has turned glacial when it comes to high profile cases. Wuterich took 7-SEVEN! years to go to trial. Hasan is supposed to go to trial on June 12, 2012--almost three years. Better, but certainly not swift

    By contrast, in the federal system the government is required to bring a case to trial within 70 days of indictment. The defense must consent if the government wishes to delay beyond that (in most circumstances).

    There is no doubt that Sgt. X's court martial will take years to get to as well. My bet is 5 yrs minimum.

  14. #54
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default I’m not party to the details

    Quote Originally Posted by stanleywinthrop View Post
    What seems evident is that for whatever reason the UCMJ has turned glacial when it comes to high profile cases. Wuterich took 7-SEVEN! years to go to trial.
    but I am assuming it is no coincidence that Wuterich’s court martial took place the month after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  15. #55
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    Default Marc-:

    Bonjour,

    What I've read is that the video was taken from a blimp. If so, command & control over the blimp and its video feeds was probably not at the OutPost where the shooter was stationed. Or, were there multiple video feeds (and/or sound feeds) from other sensors - some under the OP's C&C ? "Prophet" might be all over the place, but he doesn't necessarily add 2+2=4. I don't know at this time.

    For the sake of discussion, I've taken (from the Wiki) what could be the existing facts re: the geography and timeline (not known to me):

    According to official reports, a heavily-armed American soldier left his base at 3:00 a.m. local time wearing night vision goggles. He was wearing a traditional Afgan clothing over his ISAF fatigues. The soldier proceeded to attack three civilian homes in the villages of Alkozai and Najeeban ... Eleven members of the same family were killed in Najeeban, then their bodies were partially burned. Four members of another family were killed in Alkozai. ...
    ...
    Following the events at Alkozai and Najeeban a U.S. soldier handed himself over into ISAF custody. Afghan forces spotted him leaving his outpost before the massacre and U.S. commanders on base assembled their troops for a head count when it was discovered that the soldier was missing. A patrol was dispatched to find the missing soldier; it did not find him until the soldier turned himself in at the base after the massacre. He was reportedly taken into custody without incident. There were no other military operations being conducted in the area at the time.

    The surveillance video from the base [JMM: "from the base" may not be accurate] reportedly shows "the soldier walking up to his base covered in a traditional Afghan shawl. The soldier removes the shawl and lays his weapon on the ground, then raises his arms in surrender." The video was not disclosed to the public.
    Footnotes omitted (see the Wiki).

    So, before anyone gets pi$$ed off at higher-ups for not stopping the events that occured in the time between the shooter leaving and coming back, we have to know who knew what and when - and what the shooter was doing when and where. I don't have that data.

    What is spooky here is the similarity with 1970 Son Thang (about 1500-2000 metres from the Marine Coy OP), where 16 people were killed at two separate locations (two houses in one; one house in another). The Marine patrol took less than an hour out and back. By a fluke, another Marine patrol (including an S-2 Lt. and a corpsman) were told by villagers of the killings shortly after. That patrol was able to make a good forensic investigation of the three scenes.

    Once the facts are in, Lagrange would be a better judge of small unit reaction time than McCarthy. You've been in what, say, a half-dozen or more $hit-holes over the last decade.

    If you end up judging, look at it not only from the standpoint of the villagers, but also from the standpoint of the person in charge at the OP.

    colonialement,

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    but I am assuming it is no coincidence that Wuterich’s court martial took place the month after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
    Exactly. My belief is that the convening authority is responsible for most of the delay and the delay is for political, not legal reasons.

    Is that justice?

    I'll bet Sgt. X's trial is years away as well.

  17. #57
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default Fiat justitia ruat caelum

    Quote Originally Posted by stanleywinthrop View Post
    Exactly. My belief is that the convening authority is responsible for most of the delay and the delay is for political, not legal reasons.

    Is that justice?
    isn’t the only option. In the real world sometimes the only choice one has is between bad and less bad and at times justice is not the less bad. I don’t know enough about the Haditha situation to know whether that is what Wuterich’s ultimate conviction amounted to but I could see how that might have been the case and I am not unsympathetic if so. Others will differ, but I personally would argue that allowing some degree of discretion is a good thing. Of course, that does open up the possibility that said discretion might be abused. There’s always a dialectic.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  18. #58
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    Default Haditha

    Do a search here at SWC on Haditha to return posts - just now, 175 posts. See Defend Our Marines for huge documentation. Polarbear1605 and I have written enough on Haditha, so one short comment.

    BLUF (only my own): the principal recent reason for delay (and when the Wuterich C-M was set for trial) were pi$$ing matches (hissy fits) among trial counsel and defense counsel, joined and added to by the military judge, joined and added to by the appellate judges - the latter won, as they always do. The hearings and trials involving other Marines were wrapped up in 2007-2008.

    BTW: I'm not arguing anybody's position here, except my own conclusion (above), based on having looked at all of Wuterich's appellate decisions (and related materials) as they were going down. I didn't see any huge geopolitics or CA manipulation as to the final trial date. Clearly, the case was a political football (including military politics), especially at the beginning. At present, anybody can state whatever they want - informed or not. I don't give a f**k; what's over, is over.

    Regards

    Mike

    Latin ? My, my.

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    It works...
    I have one just like it. Got it at an air museum near the Grand Canyon.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


  20. #60
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Here is a NYT article trying to explain why things, so far, haven't boiled over in Afghanistan in the wake of the killings.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/wo...ed=2&ref=world

    The article says it is a combination of religion trumping all, a quick and well spoken apology, fast payment of blood money, the fact that it wasn't part of a military operation and related to that, what seems to be the realization by the Afghans that this was a criminal act by an individual for which there is at least a chance of the death penalty being imposed. Very astute analysis.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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