Not sure if you all caught it last night or not, but AC360 is running a series on the murder of detainees by several NCO’s that resulted in long convictions for the men (as it should). Unmentioned is that the First Sergeant who was convicted, John Hatley, was Scott Beauchamp’s NCO. CNN has never made the connection, apparently.
Those are the men who would never run over a dog.
I haven’t seen Spencer Ackerman make it either, which is surprising to me given his coverage of the Beauchamp events. Just seems odd.
I’m sure I should know who Scott Beauchamp is, but I don’t, ot at least if I ever did know I’ve forgotten. Yes, I’ll go Google his name now.
CNN is also running a series (in the morning) by Jim Acosta on the new militia movement (yeah, I know, imagine that, suddenly we have a Democratic President and suddenly the militia movement is back, hrmmm) and in particular the “Oath Keepers” in a series on AMFix titled “Patriots or Extremists”.
This time the militias’ talking point has been about how they only have to swear allegiance to the Constitution thus they don’t have to obey laws they think
Obamaa President enforces.
It’s the same bullshit word game it always is. ‘We’re just standing up against the martial law we think is coming’, and ‘pretty damn soon he’s gon’ come & take yer guns away’, and it’s the same shit as ‘you ain’t got to pay income tax ’cause here’s some crazy talk about how that amendment was passed’ and ‘the only law enforcement allowed in our country is the county Sheriff’ and ‘the medical establishment is keeping idiots like you from believing our stupid pseudo science about health and buying lots of colloidal silver and turning blue.’
If somebody from any of these groups or in their orbits goes out and does something, SHUT UP, it was totally a rogue criminal lunatic. However the Fort Hood shooting proves that Obama’s mother married Al Qa’ida and had their babies.
If you think that the right wing only accidentally forms such close friendship with any right wing coup monger and fascist group throughout Latin America, and hence looooove the Honduran coup government, you’re incorrect. These types love each other.
CNN link is broken.
Also, somewhere Scott Beauchamp is laughing his ass off at the 101st Chairborne. Also.
Looked him up. Now I remember, although I confess the diaries were not a story I followed closely. And I doubt I’ve watched Anderson Cooper since Katrina.
Yeah I am sure he is feeling a little smug, and rightly so, right about now.
The Grand Panjandrum
Link to AC360 coverage. I’m just glad they didn’t run over any dogs. That would have made them really bad guys.
DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)
I am looking forward to the apologies from the wingnuts that went after Beauchamp…lol! Not really. I am actually hoping for some more sandbox play.
The only thing funnier than wingnuts playing in a sandbox would be a cat that comes along and buries them.
CNN has a fluff piece with the wifes saying they’re good men, they’re heroes, they had no choice but to
murdermumble mumble those detainees. The wifes and other supporters throw up the same old analogies & gotcha questions – if someone kept breaking into your house what would you do? Well, I wouldn’t line them up on the edge of a canal and shoot them in the back of the head. Seems to me it is murder in either circumstance so I give that rational a fail.
There’s something wrong with us as a people if a significant amount of us think that those sergeants did nothing wrong by executing prisoners.
While I know there are many excellent men and women serving us in the Armed Forces, how many of these type of incidents are going unreported? Defintely the killing of unarmed prisoners is a horrendous crime, but there is also the well documented mistreatment and killings of animals. I worry about what some of these people will do when they come back stateside.
There was absolutely no excuse or valid reason for them to do what they did. They murdered prisoners. No ifs, ands, or buts. The didn’t go a little too far in combat. They didn’t rough up somebody they just captured.
The murdered detainees, whom they had been trained over and over again that they were responsible for their safety and humane treatment while in custody.
Worse, they led their own Soldiers to do the same.
@soonergrunt: but as John says, at least they never ran over any dogs or made fun of any burn victims.
Also, too, FYWP! I can haz edit funksun?
Killbots rely on the internal military culture of coverup to get their jollies.
personally, I wouldn’t want a torturer living next to me and figure that they’re ticking bombs waiting to go off.
They need to be on a registry.
Leelee for Obama
I didn’t watch the program, but I have caught some of the video they’ve been showing. It makes me nauseous to hear anyone defend what happened there. This is the darkness that can envelope us when we commence war. There is no excuse, as soonergrunt says. The problem is that darkness exists in some people in all parts of a society, and a war zone is not a place to put the darkness, just as the power of the Law Enforcement Community is no place for the darkness. This episode is a prime example of what happens when we send dangerous people, with power, into situations that give rise to their worst instincts. Not the first time, not the last. If we would avoid war and demand control of law enforcement power, we would see less.
As to the “Patriots or extremists?” pieces, the first two episodes were upsetting, but not that frightening. Today, however, is a whole different kettle. Those people are dangerous, and how do we marginalize them is a question this Country needs to answer. Especially since there are Talibangelicals praying for Obama’s demise. And there are t-shirts and bumper stickers supporting this attitude. How fucked is that?
@The Grand Panjandrum: Thanks for the link.
I don’t know how many of us think this way, but I would agree with this sentiment. I think there’s something wrong with us as a people just because it seems that almost 1/3rd of this country is 100% pure wingnut. I strongly suspect significant overlap between that group and the group that thinks these guys are heroes. I can’t imagine what makes me think that.
Yes, there is no valid, sustainable excuse for what was done by these Sargeants. What they did was murder and even in war, murder is unjustifiable.
However, there needs to be a context for which all of this is viewed. In the bogus war in which I participated in S.E. Asia, William Calley was ‘convicted’ of the premeditated murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians. As many as 500 villagers were murdered that day and Calley was the only person convicted. He ended up spending 3 1/2 years in ‘house arrest’.
From my perspective, I would add the context of Abu Ghraib prison torture of prisoners. These were actual prisoners and not just captured.
War is fucked! I cannot speak for those in Iraq, but in Viet Nam most soldiers took on a mindset that everyone was the enemy and that the ‘only good gook was a dead gook’. Yes, I realized some time later that that is a really screwed up perspective, but that was the ‘reality’ at the time.
In both of these contextual examples, higher ups escaped accountability.
I do not justify what they did in Iraq, but keep in mind when you ‘judge’ them that your attitude and actions may not have been different if you were in their place.
War is fucked! Bogus, bullshit wars are especially fucked.
If you want to make a personal judgement of these soldiers, think about the following:
– Did you support the Iraq invasion? There was plenty of evidence available to know that the Bush Criminal Enterprise was full of crap. What is your moral culpability if you were one of the “Let’s go to war” crowd.
If you want to express moral outrage, make sure that you have/will express greater outrage for the assholes who put these soldiers in harm’s way! Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld & a whole lot of others deserve a special place in hell for what they did.
I watched the CNN segment last night and amid all the justifications (they were heroes, you can’t understand unless you were there, etc.), there was no mention of the critical point, this was a war crime. But it wasn’t by any means the most significant war crime. The fundamental war crime, that enabled all the rest, is starting an illegal war of aggression, which is what the Iraq war was. A few germane quotes from Justice Robert Jackson, the chief prosecutor at the Nuremburg tribunals:
“If we can cultivate in the world the idea that aggressive war-making is the way to the prisoner’s dock rather than the way to honors, we will have accomplished something toward making the peace more secure. ”
“if certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”
“We must make it clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it… Our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.”
It’s pretty clear now that a substantial fraction of Americans are perfectly fine with war crimes as long as they’re committed by Americans. Or more probably, by definition, it’s not a war crime (or torture) if an American does it. I used to think Noam Chomsky was an asshole but I now see that he was pretty much right about everything.
Excuse me, I have to go see a man about a dog.
Leelee for Obama
@SadOldVet:You are right, of course, and that’s why I said above that we need to avoid wars at almost all costs. The “good war” can empower the dark side just as easily as the “bad war.” War should be the very last resort, and, as was discussed weeks ago, everybody is in, or we don’t do it.
@ramster: Thank you for the Jackson quotes. Justice Jackson has been a hero of mine since I was a teenager. We need to demand that war crimes, by anyone, are prosecuted, or we are lost as a civilization.
Why do you hate the troops, John?
You probably want to replace them all with ACORN and hookers, right?
CNN has a fluff piece with the wifes saying they’re good men, they’re heroes, they had no choice but to murder mumble mumble those detainees. The wifes and other supporters throw up the same old analogies & gotcha questions – if someone kept breaking into your house what would you do?
This is actually a good analogy, but not quite in the way the wife intended. Because I suppose the question that never occurred to her is, if someone invaded your country what would you do?
Respectfully, sir, I disagree.
With two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, I am certainly qualified to pass judgement on these guys and I say fuck’em.
The job of the NCO is to ensure that his Soldiers do not become that which they behold, not as these men have done, to lead them into hell.
Having said all of that, I can’t possibly be the only one here who thinks that the very idea of ‘rules or laws of war’ is nothing more than a trope to make warfare an acceptable means of international relations. When you start making rules for war, you start saying in essence that this barbarism is acceptable while that barbarism is not. Is there anything more morally repugnant than that?
He was a guy who played in sandboxes, I think.
Leelee for Obama
@soonergrunt: As always, soonergrunt, your post provides a clarity that is inarguable.
@soonergrunt: Orwell once reminded us that the worst thing about war wasn’t that people got killed; the worst thing was that it made young men kill.
After all these years, if I start typing the letters “ba” into my web browser at home, the name completion thing still offers to send me to the “no one would ever run over a dog” post. What a classic.
Gotta agree with the Old Vet. We can all judge their actions. It was murder, and I’m glad they’re doing their time. Almost all of you do not have the right to judge them as people.
Paul in KY
Speaking as a former military member, they all should have been executed. Military discipline in occupied territory is paramount & the best lesson for the other troops would have been to muster out & see those men executed.
I think it also would have been good PR with the Iraqis.
I’ve just let him know about this. He’s working on some other stories right now, but I think he can make time for this one.
Thanks, John, for making the connection that CNN won’t.
Why not? You don’t need to have served in order to judge them as people by their actions.
For instance, recall a story of a squad in Iraq while on patrol noticing children in an orphanage’s yard were emaciated, ill clothed, and most covered in their own waste. They could have kept walking. They didn’t. Instead, after a little checking in the orphanage found its operators were living fairly well by pocketing gov money allocated for the childrens’ welfare.
Those soldiers changed that. If those who’ve never worn a uniform said those actions strongly indicated they’re good men, I wouldn’t question their judgment.
Last week heard some judge Major Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter, as an asshole completely deserving execution. Gotta say, found it hard to find fault in their assessment. Of course, though, he should have as fair a courts martial proceeding as possible receiving the full benefit of any doubt. Before his execution.
It isn’t about having “served”. It’s about being placed in a situation so emotionally stressful and traumatic, that a good people can make bad decisions. Although, in regards to having served, there aren’t very many situations that would come close to being in combat. There are of course a lot of cultural nuances that are pretty particular to the military that definately helped cause this. In the end though, if the hardest decision you have to make each day is which shirt to wear and how early to leave for work to avoid traffic, then you have no right to judge these men. Their crimes have been judged and rightfully so, but you simply don’t know what it’s like.
I disagree. I’ve been in many of the same kinds of situations and levels of tension for months on end, just like they were.
Fuck them. The Army didn’t teach them to murder unarmed prisoners. They chose to do it, and they knew it was wrong when they did it.
Every year stateside Soldiers have briefings on the laws of land warfare. Every year. When a unit is mobilized, more LLW briefings are given at home station. When the unit reports to the training base, more LLW briefings are given. When the unit goes overseas, more LLW briefings are given.
Not once is it intimated, indicated, said, written, or in any way made to appear to be the case that breaking the law will get you anything other than a long time in jail or a date with a needle.
These guys were senior NCOs. The backbone of the Army. The guys who make sure that standards are known and followed at all times. Our specific responsibilities begin and end with making sure that our Soldiers know the law, the regulations, and right from wrong, and making sure that they do their jobs in accordance with those laws, regulations, and customs. It’s not enough to bring all of your Soldiers home. You have to bring them home with honor.
You don’t have to be a veteran combat leader to know that these men are singular failures at their most solemn responsibility. But in case you still aren’t convinced, I’m a veteran combat leader and I say they failed at their most solemn responsibility.
I understood that as your situation/meaning in your earlier comment. Fully agree. And fully believe in those situations where decisions must be made immediately cannot reasonably expect them to be the best every time. Mistakes will be made. Those decisions questioned later by others should fully take that into account giving the full benefit of any doubt.
But that’s not an excuse card to pull. While it isn’t a black and white world, there are some actions that can be assessed as more black and more white than others. Apparently, like me, you believe Hatley’s summary execution of prisoners was more toward the black side. While he may be nice to dogs and an otherwise swell guy to hang with, that action makes him an asshole.
More informed judgment? Not currently, but in my previous employment wore a uniform. Most of the time. It even got dirty on occasion. Was even the recipient of the tender mercies and compassion of a combat medic who after jamming a scalpel handle up a nostril popping my broken nose back into place, then proceeded to superglue my face back together while I was soaking in my own blood, finished by asking me if I then wanted a fucking Tylenol.
Based on that I could say all combat medics are sadistic assholes, but believe his actions fall more into the gray area where you shouldn’t judge. He meant well, plus he did a good job.
@soonergrunt: Yeah, gotta agree. I can give them a measure of sympathy and understanding, BUT….There’s a wide, bright line here (other places are dim, gray lines, but this is kinda obvious, isn’t it?).
DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)
Every day our courts deal with good people who have been put in a situation where they made a bad decision, every single person who goes in front of a judge and jury is not evil. A crime is a crime, murder is murder and nothing will change that.
These men murdered people and they must pay the price for doing so, no excuses. Yes, they wouldn’t have been in Iraq if not for the lies of our so-called ‘leaders’ but that does not excuse their actions in any way.
They murdered in cold blood, they killed unarmed prisoners and dumped their bodies to try and cover it up. I don’t need to know what it was like over there to understand what they did, they murdered defenseless people and tried to cover it up.
That’s all you need to know to convict them.
@Tsulagi: That comment had a little undeserved snark about that medic. Actually he is a good guy; not that sadistic. Later went on to become a surgeon on the Army’s dime and last I heard had done two tours in Iraq.
@Stefan: Ever see the movie Three Kings? It wasn’t perfect, but there was one scene that just kills me every time — I’ve never seen anything like it in an American movie. There’s an Iraqi soldier who has captured Mark Wahlberg and is abusing him, and he yells at him something along the lines of “What would you do if someone was bombing your home!” And then for just like a few seconds, there’s kind of a dream scene where we see what that would mean for Wahlberg: there’s a suburban American kitchen on a sunny quiet day, his wife is by the window, and then a bomb hits outside and the wall breaks up and she’s being blown back by flames. If they’d shown the Iraqi guy’s family being blown up in a foreign-looking scene, it would’ve been shocking and sad, but it would’ve been easier to digest because you know you’re watching a war movie… but this way, it takes full advantage of all your feelings about how those things aren’t supposed to happen to us, and it just feels so WRONG – shocking in a way that, unfortunately, it wouldn’t be if our own empathic imagination were better. And then we’re back in a grotty cell with these miserable guys, and that’s the end of that conversation, but now Wahlberg getting tortured no longer seems like the worst thing that ever happened, just sad icing on this huge horror cake.
to be in the military with complete freedom and a family to take care of and then to loose it is a aweful shame to take unarmed humans to a location and kill them other than bringing them to justice and let the higher authoritys decide their fate i say is a no no by all means, now they are prisoners themselves freedom taken away once free men,my god have mercy upon them im quite sure they will think about this for a while 20 yrs is a long time behind bars if they will do the whole twenty yrs,im a vietnam vet i did serve in the army stationed in alaska, my prayers be with these men and their families always.
You people are stupid. If I was in combat I would shoot anyone who wasn’t American. It’s about time we just take over or get the fuck out of the middle east. The killings in the canal was just.
As depicted in the Good Soldier, our combat soldiers are trained to kill, but there are rules of engagement that must be followed.
A combat soldier or combat team is trained to cause havoc and kill, pure and simple, and nothing more than that.