Members of a United States Marine Corps squad who were fighting terrorists in the Iraqi town of Haditha last year have been charged with 24 counts of "unpremeditated" murder of civilians caught in the crossfire and are facing courts martial.
"Unpremeditated?" They were in a war where you are supposed to kill people and one of the most unfortunate offshoots of all the unfortunate offshoots of war is that innocent people get killed. That is why it is called a war, instead of a 'shootout' or a 'home invasion,' or a 'tea party.'
Premeditated killing in society is murder. Actions that cause death unintentionally in society are relegated to the category of manslaughter or lesser degrees of murder whereby injury but not death may have been intended.
But in a war? Unpremeditated murder? I'm sorry, if it was in a war and it was unpremeditated then it was war, not murder. Case closed, end of story, let my people go.
The Marines have been confined in the brig at Camp Pendleton, California, at times shackled in solitary confinement, since being returned 'home' from the fighting, in conditions that make the terrorist containment facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba look like a country club. (OK, Guantanamo IS a country club, but you get my drift.) The treatment of these Marines should have the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and every human rights group on the face of the earth raising hell.
These Marines aren't vicious, lying, murdering terrorists who want to kill, torture or enslave every living person who doesn't agree with their version of 'religion,' starting with every woman on earth. These Marines voluntarily enlisted to defend our country and our way of life, they were in a war zone doing just that, and now they are going to trial for doing what they were trained to do. This is an outrage!
Nonetheless, there has been no outcry over this travesty. After all, they are just Marines, sworn to uphold and defend the United States of America, the bastion of democracy and freedom. Why on earth would you want to give them the benefit of the doubt?
No, according to the World Terrorist Media (WTM) and its local affiliate, the American Terrorist Media, (ATM) these Marines don't deserve due process, or high priced legal representation for free. They're just Marines. What do they know?
The internet is rife with allegations that this squad was chasing a bunch of terrorists who had just set off a roadside bomb, killing a member of the squad. Then like all the cowardly scum who fall into that category, the terrorists were running from house to house with the Marines chasing them, and the terrorists were using the occupants of the homes as human shields.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, the Marine Corps, while it does work miracles on a regular basis, has not yet developed recruit training that teaches fighters how to see through solid walls. So the Marines have two choices when they approach a building that they believe is shielding the enemy.
They can call out "Knock, knock" and wait for someone to answer, "Who's there?" before entering to a hail of bullets and grenades. Or, they can use the preferred method which is to open the door a crack, toss in a fragmentation grenade, and then burst in with weapons firing.
The preferred method plays hell on the terrorists hiding inside, and unfortunately on the 'civilians' they are using as human shields, but it keeps our guys alive. I vote for our guys.
Don't like the realities of war? Find a way to take out terrorists before having to resort to the brutal conditions of inner city street combat.
Besides my belief that these Marines are being made scapegoats for a bunch of hand-wringers who have never, ever, in their entire lives, had to fight on the wrong side of a broken bottle, there are ramifications of this case that our esteemed Commander in Chief, George W. Bush should look at very closely.
For starters, according to widely circulating internet reports, which I find to be generally far more credible than the WTM or the ATM, two of the people originally charged, who pled out to substantially lesser charges in return for their testimony, were under extreme pressure from the military. This included restriction of benefits to their families.
Do you know what 'benefits' means to military families? It means your home, your allowance for food and utilities, medical care, you know, the things that non-military types take for granted.
If there is an indicator of just how much B.S. is connected with this case, it is in the offers these two accepted. Bad Conduct Discharges and 18 months of confinement, most of which has already been served!
A Bad Conduct Discharge, by the way, can be upgraded to a general or even honorable, at the discretion of a number of people, one of whom is Mr. Bush.
This is the penalty the military imposed for pleading out to murder charges?? Anyone else smell a rat here?
Another factor that has come into play here is that four officers who were not on the scene, and probably had no reason whatsoever to suspect any kind of wrongdoing on the part of the infantry squad, also have been charged with dereliction of duty. Do you have any idea what a conviction in this case would do to our officer corps and the military in general?
Marine officer candidates are taught that they can delegate authority, but not responsibility. That means you can send your men out to do the job they were trained to do, and expect them to do it right. But if something goes wrong you also can be held accountable.
For many things this is appropriate. It encourages close cooperation and supervision between officers and enlisted, requiring intense and effective training methods. But if the military prosecutors' charges are upheld, it means four men who weren't on the scene and had no reason to believe anything other than what they were told in the initial After-Action Report not only will have their careers destroyed (actually they already are) but also could face lengthy confinement.
Want to see the world's most aggressive, effective fighting force turned into ineffective purveyors of trepidation? Charge, try, and convict them for doing their job! That will send one hell of a message to the troops and to the world of terrorism.
If those guys are guilty of murder, then every pilot who ever dropped a bomb that hit a civilian instead of an enemy troop is guilty. Every artilleryman who put a fuse into a shell, fired the shell, or gave orders to fire a shell that hit even one civilian is guilty. So is every member of every Navy gun crew that shelled a beach or inland target where civilians were unintended victims.
How about President Clinton's order to fire cruise missiles at terrorist training camps and a pharmacy? He should be held accountable as well as everyone involved in firing those missiles.
Think about D-Day in Normandy! How many French, who were held against their will by the Nazis, were killed in the initial shellings, and the ensuing combat?
What about firebombing Tokyo, or Dresden, or Hamburg, or Berlin? This line of thought says that everyone who was even remotely involved in any killing of any civilian is guilty of a war crime and if still alive should be brought back onto active duty to be charged and tried in a military court.
I guess that means we should give France back to Germany and the entirety of the South Pacific back to Japan.
If these Marines and their officers are guilty of crimes in a war zone, instead of just doing the jobs they were trained for and ordered to do, then by that line of thought, so is George W. Bush.
Our president would do well to think this through. If you can court martial a Lt. Colonel for the actions of a Sergeant, then you can impeach the Commander in Chief for the actions of a Lt. Colonel.
I don't know who is pushing this case. But I do know it smacks of the same kind of tactics the American communists used in Vietnam to try to discourage American troops from fighting. The Communist Broadcasting System even did a news report on a miniscule number of soldiers who refused to take to the field based on communist efforts to convince them that the war was illegal.
Whoever is pushing this case is NOT proving to the world that America is a land of laws. Whoever is pushing this case is pushing the end of the volunteer military and the end of the American way of life, because they are making it impossible for our troops to do their jobs which will make it impossible for military recruiters to do their jobs.
Whoever is pushing this case either thought about that, or didn't. The end result is the same.
Did these Marines knowingly drag innocent civilians out of their houses and knowingly execute them? Not even the prosecution is alleging that. Then they should never have been arrested, charged and confined in the first place and they should be released immediately.
Think about it Mr. President. You really don't want to do this.
Kerry Really Has It Together!
The once and possibly future presidential candidate John Kerry made a trip to Syria to meet with the leaders of that country, who by the way, are backing, funding and supplying the terrorists we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Aside from the comparisons to his illegal meetings with members of the communist delegation in France back in the 1970s when we were fighting in Vietnam, there are many questions circulating about the appropriateness of unofficial visits to the leaders of the enemy camps.
The troop morale issues on both sides alone are worthy of debate. The terrorists see this as a good sign, our guys don't like it. What possibly could be wrong with that picture?
One result of the Senator's trip however, is his declaration that we shouldn't send more troops to Iraq because that would just mean more targets for the terrorists to shoot at. Wow! I never thought of that. That is some kind of original thinking and you obviously have to be a hardened combat veteran to come up with that kind of reasoning.
Otherwise you might take the position that more troops means more guns on our side, and if our troops are using their guns, instead of standing around debating the Rules of Engagement and whether they are fighting for freedom or training for civilian jobs as mob hit men, then the terrorists are going to endure one hell of a smackdown.
Boy, the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts sure put the world straight on that one! And such original thinking too. This is just the kind of ahead-of-the curve thinking that is pushing Mr. Kerry toward making a second run for the gold, excuse me, I mean the presidency.
No one else has come up with that line of thought.
What? Wait a minute, I'm getting an instant message here from a regular reader. Oh, really? Kerry isn't the first to come up with this line of reasoning?
Gee, I didn't know that. Oh, well. Never mind. Erase the preceding paragraphs from your memory banks.
Friday, December 22, 2006