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Friday, August 03, 2007
Well thank goodness that "Rod Majors On The Ground" has proved, more or less, that no soldier in Iraq was so dehumanized by the war that they would.... sorry, wait a minute...
After more than a year of trying, the prosecution won its first and only murder conviction yesterday against a Camp Pendleton squad that killed an Iraqi man in the name of vigilante justice....anyway, that any soldier would openly mock a disfigured...what? oh...
The verdict came in the court-martial for Marine Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III, who instigated and led the plot to abduct and execute the man April 26, 2006, in Hamdaniya, Iraq.
Hutchins stood at attention and showed no emotion as the all-Marine jury rendered its verdict. The panel found him guilty of unpremeditated murder, larceny, conspiracy and making a false official statement.
Hutchins, 23, is the first Marine to be convicted of a war-zone murder since the Vietnam War.
The jury acquitted him of kidnapping, obstruction of justice, assault and housebreaking.
He did not apologize for masterminding the Hamdaniya crime. Instead, Hutchins said his squad was going after a suspected insurgent who always got released by Iraqi authorities after the Marines arrested him.
As it turned out, the unit couldn't locate that man and decided to snatch one of his neighbors, whose identity remains in question. The squad's seven Marines and one Navy corpsman took the neighbor from his bed, brought him to a roadside hole, bound him and riddled his body with bullets.
“I participated in the events of April 26 out of a sense that it was part of our mission,” Hutchins told the jurors. “Every day, there were (bombs) going off in our area of operation, and we knew who was doing it.”
Two weeks ago, Hutchins told a newspaper near his hometown of Plymouth, Mass., that he expected to be acquitted of all charges.
Now his hopes might largely rest on convincing jurors that forces beyond his control prompted the Hamdaniya incident. Hutchins and his attorneys have pointed to factors such as post-traumatic stress disorder, the maddening chaos of warfare in Iraq and the insistence of Marine commanders that Hutchins' squad crack down more on insurgents.
Two sergeants are among five American soldiers charged in the alleged rape-murder of a young Iraqi woman and the killing of three of her relatives, the U.S. military said Monday in releasing the identities of the suspects....a disfigured woman. Or for that matter run over a ...now what? really?
It had announced Sunday that charges were filed against five soldiers after an investigation into allegations that men from the 101st Airborne Division raped and killed the woman, then fatally shot her father, mother and sister at their home in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad.
Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, Spc. James P. Barker, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard are accused of rape and murder and several other charges as alleged participants. They could face the death penalty if convicted.
They are charged with conspiring with former soldier Steven D. Green, who was arrested in the case last month in North Carolina. Green has pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and four counts of murder. He is being held without bond in Kentucky.
The U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, declined to comment further on details about the attack, saying the investigation is continuing.
"But they obviously had enough information in the initial investigation to go ahead and charge those four soldiers all with alleged rape, rape, obstruction of justice, housebreaking, arson and the other offenses," he told reporters in Baghdad.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in Green's case, he and at least two others targeted the young woman and her family for a week before the attack, which was not revealed until witnesses came forward in late June.
The soldiers drank alcohol, abandoned their checkpoint, changed clothes to avoid detection and headed to the victims' house, about 200 yards from a U.S. checkpoint in the "Triangle of Death," a Sunni Arab area south of Baghdad known for its violence, the affidavit said.
The affidavit estimated the rape victim was about 25. But a doctor at the Mahmoudiya hospital gave her age as 14. He refused to be identified for fear of reprisals.
Green is accused of raping the woman and killing her and the three other family members, including a girl estimated to be 5 years old. An official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that Green set fire to the rape victim's body in an apparent cover-up attempt.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) - A Marine charged with murdering two girls and killing several other Iraqis gave orders to shoot into a roomful of women and children, a squad member recently testified. ...a dog in a Bradley.
Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum then went into the room himself, followed by noise that sounded like M-16 gunfire, said Lance Cpl. Humberto Manuel Mendoza.
“I told him there’s just women and kids in the room,” Mr. Mendoza said. “He replied, ‘Well, shoot them.’”
The testimony came on the second day of a recent hearing to determine whether Mr. Tatum will face court-martial for the Nov. 19, 2005, killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha. The killings, which authorities say were sparked by an earlier roadside bombing that left one Marine dead, resulted in the biggest U.S. criminal case involving civilian deaths to come out of the Iraq war.
Mr. Mendoza was with Mr. Tatum and two other Marines when they went to clear a house in the town about 149 miles northwest of Baghdad.
Mr. Mendoza, asked by a military prosecutor if Mr. Tatum was joking, replied: “He was very serious, sir.”
And any assertion of such wrongdoings is simply unfair.