Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Warrant Officer Wins!

The Army interrogator originally charged with murder over the death of an Iraqi general and found guilty of negligent homicide and dereliction of duty will face no jail time. A military jury deemed that he be reprimanded and pay a $6,000 fine.

According to AP, the jury sentence drew applause from soldiers.

David Danzig of Human Rights First, however, thought the sentence was too light.

"My concern is that it suggests the United States doesn't take these kinds of
issues seriously. There's no indication anything more will be done to account
for the death of this detainee who was in U.S. custody."

Danzig doesn't get it. The interogator, an Warrant Officer, was just another pawn in the torture game. The real culprits, including Donald Rumsfeld and Major General Geoffrey Miller, have yet to be charged with anything.


  1. I thought freedom cost a "buck o' five."

    I'm trying to wrap my head around this (halfway through my morning coffee) to think what would be the international response if this interrogator was punished to the full extent of the law--life in prison.

    Would it demonstrate that we give a shit about these Iraqis we're supposedly bringing democracy to?

    Actually, I think the dealings in Iraq are so far corrupted that there's little we can do to redeem ourselves.

    Nice recruiting for al-Q, Rummy and Wolfowitz!

  2. The reason the troops applauded the sentence is that they realized the Warrant Officer was being set up as a scapegoat.

  3. Did the Warrant Officer do what he was charged with or didn't he? And if he did, is "I was just following orders" now a defense?

    Scapegoat or not, if he actually did the crime the sentence is too light. Just because there are higher ups who also need to be nailed doesn't take away this guy's responsibility.

  4. R. Scott is right -- did the Warrant do the crime or not? Who else may have been involved is another issue and goes to mitigation of sentence after the guilt or innocence determination is made.

    "Negligent homicide"? Maybe, but it sounds way too much like a behind the scenes deal to wind up where it's wound up.

    At some point in some dark room, the Warrant had a decision to make -- should he obey lawful orders, or should he shove some poor SOB head first into a sleeping bag and then sit on his chest? He chose the latter. The fact that he was following orders that were not lawful is of no moment, other than to chase up the Chain of Command after the moral cripples who were issuing such orders via winking and nodding while this was going on.

  5. It was murder, I don't give a shit how you slice it.

    The inherent problem arises from who prosecuted the matter at hand.

    The WO had the upper hand... he wasn't some enlisted scumbag piece of shit they could hang out to dry as 'a few bad apples'.

    I read some little news blerb yesterday - stating the Army is broken?

    Yer shitting me, right?

  6. "Danzig doesn't get it. The interogator, an Warrant Officer, was just another pawn in the torture game. The real culprits, including Donald Rumsfeld and Major General Geoffrey Miller, have yet to be charged with anything."

    Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head Jeff.

  7. JadeGold7:43 PM

    Barndog has it right. The Warrant should have known better.

    In fact, during the trial, it was brought out that after the prisoner had died--the Warrant requested another sleeping bag to continue using his technique on others.

    This is bad news all around; it diminishes our military, it cedes the moral and ethical high ground, it damages national credibility.

  8. William Bollinger11:04 AM

    You're bloody right it diminishes our military, cedes the moral and ethical high ground, and damages national credibility.

    The problem is that if this guy does get a heavy punishment, the higher-ups can wash their hands of it, and say the case is closed. Justice happens when he "gets off" on "just following orders", and someone can officially ask, "whose orders?", and prosecute him.

    The military turned this guy into a tool, and used him in a bad way. Following "unlawful orders" is not an excuse, but as much as he should pay for his actions, I'd rather see them chase this upwards.

    The big question now is will they?

  9. They ought to do both - give this guy an appropriate sentence AND pursue it up the chain to see who else is responsible. I don't know why nailing this guy would preclude moving further up the chain of command as well, unless they try to say this guy was acting without orders or authorization.

  10. William Bollinger12:53 PM

    If they nail him, they got a body. This satisfies too many people. Especially when the higher-ups push that sense of satisfaction.

    It ain't right, it ain't fair, but it's the world we live in.

  11. Yes, William, you're probably right about that. Much as I hate to look at things that way.

  12. Jadegold7:59 PM

    WB: Right now, it's a win-win siutation for the criminals. The Warrant gets off with about the same punishment as if he'd dinged the fender on a Government van and the flag officers completely skate.

    What this looks like is a wink-and-a-nod from the Pentagon: stand fast and we'll keep you outta the brig.

  13. William Bollinger8:56 AM

    Then we need to push our reps to ask the question I mentioned above. If this Warrent Officer was just following illegal orders, then who gave those illegal orders, and what is going to be done to prevent it in the future?

    Time to make some noise! Wipe that silly wink off the pentagon's face, and demand real accountability!

  14. Since when do the American people demand accountability from their leaders? We demand mediocrity. We're so caught up in petty partisan squabbles that no one sees or cares what the truth is. That goes for the left and the right. Do you think people who support Bush care what the truth is about this? Do you think people who support Dean (to pick a prominent Democrat whose as big an idiot as Bush) care about truth? Of course not. Give them a convenient target to vent against, given them an excuse not to think, and make sure their cable TV doesn't go away, and they're cool. For practical purposes, no one cares about this. And that's perhaps the saddest thing of all.

  15. William Bollinger6:34 PM

    Back at you, Scott. Much as I hate to look at things that way.

    I will however admit to supporting Dean all the way though. Had very little to do with his politics, or his "anger". I liked his ideas about small donors, and getting special interests out of politics. I'd vote for a Republican that swore off special interest groups over a Democrat owned by K Street any day. And I'll back that up if someone runs against Hoyer.

  16. The only Republican I'd even remotely consider is McCain, and I'm not even sure about him.

    I liked Dean when he first came out, but at some point, particularly since he became head of the DNC, he seemed to start telling lies to suit his ends. I dislike that. Most recent example I can think of is when he came out point blank and said not a single Democrat ever got money from Abramoff. The CNN reporter was so puzzled that he repreated the question and Dean said the same thing, even though a few Democrats were already pledging to give back money they got. And Dean never set the record straight. I liked Dean at one time, but I don't trust him any farther than I can throw him at this point. I think he'll literally say anything (like Bush and Cheney will).

    But you are right about his idea about small donors. I think that's a great idea. And we need serious regulations restraining lobbyists.

  17. William Bollinger2:34 PM

    McCain for president, I assume you mean. I supported him fully in 2000, but won't again. He even sold himself out, sucking up to bush. Hoyer is my local US House member. I'd call him a Representative, but he recently announced his undieing loyalty to the K Street crowd. I'd rather have a Republican, especially if he's a real Republican instead of these neo-con pseudo-republicans.

    On the Abramoff thing, (d)'s will believe (D) comfortable lies, and (r)'s will believe (R) comfortable lies. I'm more likely to vote "throw the bums out" next year myself. Real accountability begins with voting against your own party no matter how much you like their lies. Hopefully there will be a Libertarian or Green to vote for.

  18. WB,

    I'm with you on McCain. He's got too many screwy ideas about Iraq--he subscribes to Krepinevich's oil spot theory, which I think is a strategic pyramid scheme.