Friday, December 22, 2006

The latest on Haditha

It's been in the news(over and over and over) about the murder charges being filed on four Marines, and four officers being charged for "failing to investigate and report the deaths properly". Earlier I went over to BlackFive to see what he had to say. Along with the current, he's got links to two earlier pieces on the mess.

Here's the part of his post that really, truly pisses me off:Back to those officers, none of whom was a shooter. They are ultimately responsible for the actions of the enlisted men they lead. That responsibility sometimes leads to accountability, and charging four of them leaves plenty of sacrificial lambs and scapegoats. I would bet the case against Wuterich and the other three is too weak for comfort and the officers are charged to make sure somebody fries. We shall see what a trial brings.

What pisses me off about it is that I have the sick feeling he's right.

The problems for the accused are two, I think: lots of political heat pushing for some kind of punishment for somebody no matter what, and lots of politicians in uniform willing to do that. I realize that's a fairly drastic thing to say, but I think it's true. Combine that with the services being infested with lawyers who too often don't seem to know their ass from a hole in the ground, and it means big problems for the people at the sharp end. Remember the idiot who decided the match ammo being used by the sniper teams violated the Geneva Convention and ordered use of it stopped? Even though various people pointed out that it had already been cleared? And going quite a ways further back, during the invasion of Panama a group not in uniform attacked a position a squad from the Army held. The sergeant put them down, and wound up charged with murder. He was cleared, but the point is he never should have had to go through that bullshit.

So I- unhappily- think BlackFive is right: the lawyers and politicians in uniform who care more for process and making various brass hats happy than about what they're doing to the troops, are trying to set this up so they can convict SOMEBODY of SOMETHING. Especially considering the reports of how these men were being treated for months after they were pulled from their units. Remember that? Isolated, in chains when allowed out of their cells, etc., all before there were even any charges. After that I think a bunch of clowns are desperate as Nifong to find somebody guilty to deflect from what they did, and to appease various politicians.

Please understand, I very much wish to be proven wrong on this. But considering the past, I'm not hopeful.

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