Friday, January 13, 2012

Honor of U.S. Military Plummets to New Low

When the four Marines urinated on the corpses of Taliban insurgents they might as well have been emptying their bladders on the honor of the U.S. military.
As occurred in the Roman Empire, and was predicted here, replacing the draft with all-volunteers, mercenaries in my view, has been followed with one case after another of America’s proud tradition being stained.
Now, at virtually the same time the Marines were caught on YouTube a military judge decided Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning should be court-martialed for leaking information about apparent misconduct in Iraq.
Only now, 18 months after he was arrested, flouting his right to a speedy trial, was he brought to court. In general, defendants are entitled to a trial within six months unless they seek delays.
His denial by the judge of habeaus corpus, his right to face a court, alone is more than enough to dismiss the charges. Word is, no definitive answer is available, that because Manning wanted to meet with his lawyer before going to trial he was deemed to have given up his right to a speedy trial.
At his kangaroo court, definition "a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted.”

“The outcome of a trial by kangaroo court is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of ensuring conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all.”
The vast majority of his defense witnesses were blocked from appearing: only two were allowed.
What purpose does this serve. Primarily it obfuscates accountability.
The only thing proved in the Article 32 was that Manning gave more than enough warning that he should never have been near classified documents or in a war zone because of his unstable mental condition.
Just like the officers who escaped punishment for a crime spree outside Fort Carson in 2009 when at one point officers returning from the wars were charged in at least 11 murders, the guilty are allowed to fade into obscurity.
Many were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If ever the Army suffered a split personality this was it. While generals asked reporters to help them deal with it, lower-ranking officers whispered in their ears that the PTSD victims were just cowards trying to get out of fighting.
Even an Army psychiatrist was able to kill 11 and wound 31 at Fort Hood.
Does it take a Sherlock Holmes to identify these tsunamis as they approached?
Witnessing the Army not holding officers responsible at Fort Carson for the crime outbreak there, I asked the army surgeon general why officers were not being punished. He said something like this is not the time. “If not now, when,” I said in reply, quoting Holocaust writer Primo Levi.
As an Air Force brat I grew up in the lower middle class. My late mother was stunned to see bonuses of $10,000 and more enabling soldiers to drive BMVs. She also wondered if the civilian guards at Ft. Leavenworth would take a bullet for their country. We both knew they would deliver one.
Most of the so-called war crimes trials have ended with slaps on the wrist, with the exception of a handful that were just to big to hide.
But Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t dare call for a draft for a phony war meant to assuage the President’s ego and enrich Cheney’s business partners. Obama inherited it and didn’t have the spine to end it or the torture that accompanied it.
The story of Rome’s fall is attributed by some historians to the decision to use their wealth to employ mercenaries. Their draft had been much harder than America’s, which often relied on lower income troops. In Rome, only landowners could be in the Army. And they had to come when called, bring their own weapons, and stay until victory.
If the mercenary Army was such a good job why are there so many suicides? Why so much PTSD? Most never expected to be doing revolving tours deploying against guerrillas who followed no rules.
Manning reported things, by leaking them, that in some cases he had an obligation to report because they were violations of the rules of engagement, even war crimes.
What we must remember, to quote from the film “The Debt,” is who we are and who we are not.
Remember MASH, the TV show or the movie, the conscript surgeons put right ahead of military rules. They were not interested in rising up the chain. We don’t have lawyers like that now in our Armed Forces.
Army Times reports Friday that 15 soldiers involved in supervising Manning were being disciplined. This raises questions about the decision to prosecute him. His lawyer will argue he acted with the permission of his superiors.

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