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Thread: Dealing with Haditha

  1. #141
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    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...00/9685106.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/facu...id=amos-guiora
    davidbfpo

  2. #142
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    Default Sentence

    David: Your kind words are welcome.

    From Reuters, U.S. Marine spared jail time in Iraq killings:

    (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

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  4. #144
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    Default I've been waiting to report this couplet

    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:

    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:

    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
    Last edited by jmm99; 01-27-2012 at 05:16 PM.

  5. #145
    Council Member Polarbear1605's Avatar
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    "If you want a new idea, look in an old book"

  6. #146
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    Default Hey Bear,

    Yup, that old retired duffer Bob Weimann (at post #34) does write well - no purple tongue him :

    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, 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.

    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.

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    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.

  8. #148
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    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.

  9. #149
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    Default Hearts & Minds, Kingjaja ?

    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.

    World Map US Limits.jpg

    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

  10. #150
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    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.

  11. #151
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    Default inside baseball

    I am not aware of any active-duty service member familiar with the facts of this case that thinks Wutterich is/was a victim.

  12. #152
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    Default Yup,

    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

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    English isn't actually my first language. You speak it much better than I do.

    I was trying to convey a thought.

  14. #154
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    Default Not a problem;

    English, that is. I've no problem understanding your thoughts, perceptions, etc., here, or in your Nigeria-Africa posts.

    Regards

    Mike

  15. #155
    Council Member Polarbear1605's Avatar
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    Default Missing the point

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    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/...#ixzz1ky7spSte
    The problem is that the senior leadership damaged their integrity and credibility by unethically pushing a political court martial.
    "If you want a new idea, look in an old book"

  16. #156
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    Default You are not aware

    Quote Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
    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.
    "If you want a new idea, look in an old book"

  17. #157
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    Default without passion or prejudice

    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.

  18. #158
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    Default WWII v GWOT

    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.

  19. #159
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    Default Facts, facts, we don't need no stinking facts

    Quote Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
    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?
    "If you want a new idea, look in an old book"

  20. #160
    Council Member Polarbear1605's Avatar
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    Default Wwii?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
    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.
    "If you want a new idea, look in an old book"

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