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US marine pleads guilty over Haditha killings

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posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:04 PM
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For those not familar with this case here's some older ATS threads about it,
www.abovetopsecret.com...
www.abovetopsecret.com...
www.abovetopsecret.com...





www.aljazeera.com...

A US Marine sergeant accused of leading a massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians in the Iraqi city of Haditha pleaded guilty on Monday to negligence, ending the final prosecution stemming from a 2005 incident.

Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, 31, the commander of a marine unit whose other members have been exonerated, entered his plea as part of a deal with military prosecutors in which more serious charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault were dismissed.

Wuterich was initially charged with murder.

A sentencing hearing will be held on Tuesday, said a spokesman for Camp Pendleton, south of Los Angeles.

"Staff Sergeant Wuterich accepted responsibility ... and agreed and admits that he gave a verbal order to shoot first, ask questions later, or don't hesitate to shoot, and words to that effect," said spokesman Joe Koppel.

The victims included 10 women and children killed at point-blank range. Six people were killed in one house, most shot in the head, including women and children huddled in a bedroom.

The other seven soldiers charged in the case had been exonerated through various legal rulings, fuelling anger in Iraq, where authorities had pushed for US troops to be subject to Iraqi justice before the US pullout in December.

Wuterich now faces a maximum sentence of three months of confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds of his pay for three months and a reduction in rank when he is sentenced, a base spokesman said.


I could post pictures of the dead children and women but I won't, you get the idea.



No justice was served here. And the war drums continue to beat. I can go on and say these men don't represent all of the Marines, but I think we all get that, so all I can say is we gotta stop making war and send all of these troops home. And the USA better start owning up to its mistakes and actually serve itself it's own justice if it ever expects the world to take it seriously. We'll see how much coverage this gets in the MSM, the US military can't afford to take another image hit, it's about to go to war with Iran, dum dum dum

The cold hard numbers show the US and her western allies have killed/murdered more civilains than their enemies, the terrorist. The War on Terrorism is terrorism, terrorizing the Middle East, and it's deadlier than any terrorist act committed to date.

owni.eu...

The 9/11 attacks resulted in 2,996 casualties, which included 343 firefighters and 59 police officers who were in trying to save victims inside the World Trade Center. The War on Terror launched by George W. Bush Jr. has led to at least 227,000 people (more than 300,000 according to other estimates). This includes 116,657 civilians (51%) between 76 - 108,000 insurgents or Taliban Islamists (34% to 36%), 25,297 Iraqi and Afghan soldiers (11%), and 8,975 American, British, and other coalition forces (3.9%).


Fox just uploaded an article a few minutes ago, and it provides more details, like how the investigation was a failure because of the lengthy timeline and errors made, that and the testimonies from the other marines are most likely not credible because they've been caught lying.

Marine denies firing at Iraqi women and children


www.foxnews.com...


"The truth is: I never fired any weapon at any women or children that day," Wuterich said in a statement during his sentencing hearing.


Someone did and all of those men should be on trial.


Legal experts said the case was fraught with errors made by investigators and the prosecution that let it drag on for years. The prosecution was also hampered by squad mates who acknowledged they had lied to investigators initially and later testified in exchange for having their cases dropped, bringing into question their credibility. Read more: www.foxnews.com...



Brian Rooney, an attorney for another former defendant, said cases like Haditha are difficult to prosecute because a military jury is unlikely to question decisions made in combat unless wrongdoing is clear-cut and egregious, like rape.

"If it's a gray area, fog-of-war, you can't put yourself in a Marine's situation where he's legitimately trying to do the best he can," said Rooney, who represented Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, the highest-ranking Marine charged in the case. "When you're in a town like Haditha or Fallujah, you've got bad guys trying to kill you and trying to do it in very surreptitious ways."




I disagree with this, it appears to be a clear cut case, like rape.



edit on 24-1-2012 by Swills because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:30 PM
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I feel as though what they did was horrible, and at first I was appalled at the fact that the one guy only got 3 months in prison, but you have to understand that war is a horrible thing. The stresses they were under were most likely immense, and on top of that we weren't there, so we don't know exactly what happened.

People are making a big deal about innocent civilians being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but innocent people have been killed in every war. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. You can't ask a guy to go over and fight for your country, with all the stresses they are under in combat, and then punish him for every stray bullet he fires. The rules of engagement are bad enough as it is. Eventually they will become scared to fire their guns for fear of the consequences, and a soldier that is afraid to fire his gun will not be as effective as one that isn't, and probably considerably deader as well.

Keep in mind, the only reason we haven't won this war yet is because we are being humane with our rules of engagement. If you took them away entirely, or at the very least lessened them somewhat, and we were allowed to use the full might of the US military, this war would have been over in under a week, with little to no US casualties.

So years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of dead US military personnel later, and we are still fighting because we care about the civilians. I'm not saying that was the wrong thing to do, I'm just saying that maybe we're being a little too nice for our own good.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:31 PM
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reply to post by Swills
 



Wuterich now faces a maximum sentence of three months of confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds of his pay for three months and a reduction in rank when he is sentenced, a base spokesman said.


This is just sickening.

Many on this site that have served say that those who have not seen war don't understand the pressure that soldiers are under. I recognize this statement to be mostly true.

But the burden of command does not give license to make bad decisions that lead to the death's of 24 innocent men women and children.

The military really needs to get their s*@! together and provide justice to the families of the victims. This man and some of the others who were acquitted do not deserve the responsibility of wearing the uniform.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:37 PM
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Originally posted by JohnnySasaki
. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Keep in mind, the only reason we haven't won this war yet is because we are being humane

So years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of dead US military personnel later, and we are still fighting because we care about the civilians. I'm not saying that was the wrong thing to do, I'm just saying that maybe we're being a little too nice for our own good.

Not gonna say exactly how I feel about your response, I enjoy my time on ATS.

So, hows, Unfreaking Believeable.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:39 PM
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reply to post by JohnnySasaki
 



You can't ask a guy to go over and fight for your country, with all the stresses they are under in combat, and then punish him for every stray bullet he fires.


Were not talking collateral damage here. These soldiers were eye to eye with most of the people they killed.

And when did it become a strategy to blindly fire into a building without knowing that fire is coming from it?


Eman Waleed, a nine-year-old child who witnessed the incident, described the U.S. Marines entering their house. She said: "I couldn't see their faces very well - only their guns sticking in to the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny."


They were close enough to the house to stick their weapons through the door so obviously they would have heard AK fire.

They didn't hear anything because there wasn't any. All there was was confusion and an incompetent unit commander who does not deserve to command or wear the uniform.
edit on 24-1-2012 by Openeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:40 PM
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First off OP

Thanks for posting the story and keeping us informed


Originally posted by JohnnySasaki
Keep in mind, the only reason we haven't won this war yet is because


The war is over.
It's been over in Iraq. The last of our combat units were pulled out last month. There is still a fair bit of sectarian violence between Iraq Shiites and Sunni. I'm not going to turn this thread into a debate on who is supplying either side.

Suffice it to say THAT blood is on THEIR hands..


So years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of dead US military personnel later, and we are still fighting


Read Above ^^

I've never supported the war in Iraq. Only the troops. [My son was deployed and has made it back safely] We are still fighting in Afghanistan though.

That's a whole other beast.

PEACE

edit on 24-1-2012 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:43 PM
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reply to post by JohnnySasaki
 


I won't succumb to that school of thought. I won't brush aside human life because it was lost in war, even if I think it's a terrible thing. These deaths could have been avoided if America was never mislead and invaded Iraq. You're right though, America has killed many innocent civilians in wars they participateed in, like Vietnam, and the death toll increases.

edit on 24-1-2012 by Swills because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:44 PM
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reply to post by JohnnySasaki
 


I think you have it wrong, it was an illegal war fought for profit and not meant to be won fast or easily. It was meant to sustain the industry of death and destruction and those soldiers represent their leaders values I guess.

No civillians should have been killed because there should never have been a war in Iraq or Afghanistan in the first place imo.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 03:24 PM
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reply to post by Swills
 


Very well written OP!!

We may never know the actual events that took place that day but based on what’s being reported there should have been more serious charges brought against these Marines. I understand the anger and outrage here, and I’m shocked that anyone who did something like this would get off that lightly IF things happened the way it’s being reported.

I understand that feelings run hot after your unit suffers a loss of life, and though I don’t condone the Marines who pee’d on the dead Taliban the other day, I don’t think THAT was a big deal in the grand scheme of things (though it most certainly was unprofessional and they were dumb for doing it). However, being angry and traumatized is no justification for killing children or innocent civilians. Period.

Based on the charges alone (very light), I suspect there is more to this story that we’re not being told. The military is not known for going easy on people…..trust me….I’ve had my own experiences with the UCMJ and military punishments; it wasn’t pleasant.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:27 PM
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It was a long and bloody war. I remember hearing about this incident when it happened some years ago. It was appalling then as it is now. I have a brother who served a lot of his time in the Navy as a Corpsmen in Al-Anbar Province where the crime took place, and he said that the fighting was fierce with enemy contact almost daily outside the wire. He lost a lot of friends over there.

I do believe the sentence is rather modest given the nature of the crime, and Sergeant Frank Wuterich's responsibility as an NCO (Non Commissioned Officer) to insure things are under control at all times. Perhaps he made a deal with the military prosecutor, and that is why his sentence was so light? He admitted to the crime, will face confinement in the brig, receive a pay deduction, and will get kicked out with an other-than-honorable-discharge.

When receiving an other-than-honorable-discharge? The stigma of this atrocity will hang over his head for the rest of his life. His kids are going to learn of their father's actions in the war, because it will be in the public record. There is no way he can make up a story now when talking about his experiences in the war. He just sacrificed his honor and respect. Not an easy thing for any man to give up. It is very important to any service member. Potential employers are going to be able to access this information as well.

Allow to me say again, I do believe that the punishment is rather modest given the seriousness of the crime and his leadership position. Still, he confessed his involvement and it appears he cooperated with the court martial levied against him. Others who may have allegedly been involved with crime have got off, and that is rather troubling.

Haditha killings


On April 17, 2007, the Marine Corps dropped all charges against Sgt. Sanick P. De la Cruz in exchange for his testimony. Seven other Marines involved in the incident have also been granted immunity.[51]

On August 9, 2007, all charges against Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt and Capt. Randy Stone were dropped.[38] On October 19, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt's commanding officer decided the charges should be lowered to involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault.[10]

On September 18, 2007, all charges against Captain Lucas McConnell were dropped in exchange for immunity and his cooperation with the investigation.[52]

On March 28, 2008, all charges against LCpl. Stephen Tatum were dropped.[53]

On June 17, 2008, all charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani were dismissed by the military judge citing unlawful command influence.[54] The Marine Corps appealed that ruling in 2008.[55] On March 17, 2009, a military appeals court upheld the dismissal of the war crimes charges against Chessani.[56] Facing an administrative Board of Inquiry, it also found no misconduct and recommended that Chessani be allowed to retire without loss of rank.[57]

On June 5, 2008, 1stLt Andrew Grayson was acquitted of all charges stemming from the Haditha incident. He had been charged with deleting photos of the deceased Iraqis in order to obstruct the investigation. He had also been charged with failing to notify the Marine Corps administrative chain of command of his legal status when his term of service was expired and he was discharged from the Marine Corps. [58]


As far as I see it, the military justice system failed the victims. Rest in peace to the men, women, and children who lost their lives in such a cold and callous manner and to the Marine, Miguel Terraza, who was killed by an IED. By my estimation, the story is not as cut and dry as some may make it out to be? One guy assumed full responsibility while others who served with him were allowed to scurry away and essentially shirk their involvement or responsibility for the crime? At least this incident was brought to trial and will remain in the public record. It could have been very easy for investigators to sit on their hands and cover this up. The US was receiving a lot of flack at the time over other incidents of misconduct, and most notably the Abu Ghraib incident. War is hell!
edit on 24-1-2012 by Jakes51 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:36 PM
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Originally posted by SLAYER69
Suffice it to say THAT blood is on THEIR hands..


Care to comment further? Are you saying that these 24 individuals lost their lives because of well... What exactly?
Their blood is their own fault? I don't get it.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:40 PM
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Misleading headline!!!!

The marine pleaded guilty to negligence. He did not plead guilty to murder.


As of Jan 24, 2012 six defendants have had their cases dropped, and one was found not guilty. The plea copped on Jan 23'rd was for dereliction of duty and charges of assault and manslaughter were dropped.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:41 PM
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What i don't get is this:

we were never told what part or aspect of the evidence was dismissed -- because it looks like ALL of it was dismissed.

How come it's OK to shoot a couple of dozen civilians for sport and receive a pat on the back?

Those of you who are saying that soldiers are under a lot of pressure -- fine, they are, but let's just shut up then about the Nazis who did terrible things because you know, they were under a lot of pressure to deliver, too. Fighting the Russians was not a piece of cake, so it looks like the Germans cracked under pressure and torched a bunch of villages in Belarus along with their entire populations. Can you blame them, really? War it tough!



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:42 PM
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Originally posted by buddhasystem
I don't get it.



I was referring to the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq between Shiites and Sunni.
THAT blood is on THEIR hands.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:46 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


So what is your opinion of these guys getting 3 months for murdering 24 people ?

Do you not consider it a war crime ? and don't even think about blowing hot air up my butt about the stresses of warfare.

These people were unarmed and defenseless.

Those soldiers should be lined up and shot...or at the very least hung like the Nazi's at Nuremberg, an atrocity is an atrocity, regardless of which nation committed the act, you never know, it may inspire the discipline which is so clearly lacking.

Cosmic..
edit on 24-1-2012 by Cosmic4life because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:47 PM
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Originally posted by SLAYER69

Originally posted by buddhasystem
I don't get it.



I was referring to the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq between Shiites and Sunni.
THAT blood is on THEIR hands.


Thank you Slayer. But I take the whole sentence was a kind of non sequitur? Because here we have Mr.Wueterich who vented some Iraqi craniums and was let go.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:47 PM
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Originally posted by Swills

I disagree with this, it appears to be a clear cut case, like rape.




So murder and rape are now ,one and the same?


War is Hell,and attrocitys happen in EVERY war. That being said,this man,and his Maker will have to live with the Orders he gave.

There is more to this story,but we will never know everything,because NONE of us were there.

Prayers for every family involved.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:49 PM
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Originally posted by buddhasystem
What i don't get is this:


Well apparently there is a lot you "Don't Get"
Yet will speak as if you actually know something about the contents of this thread.

For example:



Those of you who are saying that soldiers are under a lot of pressure -- fine, they are, but let's just shut up then about the Nazis who did terrible things because you know....



Know?

Know what?

That you and Cosmic4life are the only ones talking about NAZI's and Germany so far in this thread.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:55 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Well there's the thing Slayer.

In 1945 the US actually had a moral code and stood by it.

Today the US is morally bankrupt and behaves as if people of other nations are of a lesser value than Americans.

Are you actually defending these slimebags ?

I would add that the reference to Nazi's and Germany is because those trials set the precedent for military conduct, don't start whining as if i'm calling you all nazi's all of a sudden.


Cosmic..
edit on 24-1-2012 by Cosmic4life because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 06:05 PM
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Originally posted by Cosmic4life
reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Well there's the thing Slayer.

In 1945 the US actually had a moral code and stood by it.

Today the US is morally bankrupt and behaves as if people of other nations are of a lesser value than Americans.

Are you actually defending these slimebags ?

I would add that the reference to Nazi's and Germany is because those trials set the precedent for military conduct, don't start whining as if i'm calling you all nazi's all of a sudden.


Cosmic..
edit on 24-1-2012 by Cosmic4life because: (no reason given)


Even Nazis were given their day in court.............


Did you know,some were actually acquitted ?



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