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Why we should be furious the Haditha massacre Marines got no jail time

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Corpses from the 2005 Haditha massacre

Orwellian-style agitprop; this best describes the latest article written by James Joyner for The Atlantic on the Haditha massacre, which refers to the event in which 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women and children were killed by a group of United States Marines in 2005 in the city of Haditha, in the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar.

Roster of Deaths and injuries of Iraqi’s in Haditha, as provided by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ): 

House #1: 7 killed, 2 injured (but survived), 2 escaped:
1. Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76—grandfather, father and husband. Died with nine rounds in the chest and abdomen.
2. Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66—wife of Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali
3. Rashid Abdul Hamid, 30.
4. Walid Abdul Hamid Hassan, 35.
5. Jahid Abdul Hamid Hassan, middle-aged man.
6. Asma Salman Rasif, 32.
7. Abdullah Walid, 4.
Injured: Iman, 8, and Abdul Rahman, 5.

Escaped: Daughter-in-law, Hiba, escaped with 2-month-old Asia

House #2: 8 killed, 1 survivor: Shot at close range and attacked with grenades
8. Younis Salim Khafif, 43—husband of Aida Yasin Ahmed, father.
9. Aida Yasin Ahmed, 41—wife of Younis Salim Khafif, killed trying to shield her youngest daughter Aisha.
10. Muhammad Younis Salim, 8—son.
11. Noor Younis Salim, 14—daughter.
12. Sabaa Younis Salim, 10—daughter.
13. Zainab Younis Salim, 5—daughter.
14. Aisha Younis Salim, 3—daughter.
15. A 1-year-old girl staying with the family.

Survived: Safa Younis Salim, 13.

House #3: 4 brothers killed
16. Jamal Ahmed, 41.
17. Marwan Ahmed, 28.
18. Qahtan Ahmed, 24.
19. Chasib Ahmed, 27.

Taxi— 5 killed: Passengers were students at the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah
20. Ahmed Khidher, taxi driver.
21. Akram Hamid Flayeh.
22. Khalid Ayada al-Zawi.
23. Wajdi Ayada al-Zawi.
24. Mohammed Battal Mahmoud.

The Marine Corps dropped all charges against Sgt. Sanick P. De la Cruz, Captain Lucas McConnell, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, LCpl. Stephen Tatum and Capt. Randy Stone; all charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani were dismissed by the military judge “citing unlawful command influence” and he was allowed to retire without loss of rank. 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson was acquitted of all charges stemming from the massacre after being charged with deleting photos of the deceased Iraqis in order to obstruct the investigation.

And in a final blow to the victims of the Haditha massacre, The United States military court determined, as of last week, that the last US Marine to be tried for his involvement in the Haditha massacre would serve not a single day in prison, instead Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich will receive only a demotion to the rank of private for his role in the killing of 24 innocent Iraqi’s.

During the trial Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz admitted that he urinated on the skull of one of the dead Iraqis and went on to testify that Marine Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich shot the passengers of the car himself from close range: “Sergeant Wuterich approached me and told me if anyone asks, the Iraqis were running away from the car and the Iraqi army shot them.”

In a prepared statement, Wuterich insisted, “in a resonant, calm voice after witness testimony, that he was only doing his duty”:

“The truth is, I don’t believe anyone in my squad behaved in any way that was dishonorable or contrary to the highest ideals that we all live by as marines.”

Despite all of this, Joyner’s piece for The Atlantic was callously entitled “Why We Should Be Glad the Haditha Massacre Marine Got No Jail Time” though, according to a tweet posted on Joyner’s twitter account, the title was the work of the editor and his proposed header was “Haditha Massacre Sentence Outrageous But Correct“:

“The staff sergeant’s light sentence for his role in a terrible 2005 incident may be disappointing, especially to the victims’ families, but the integrity of our justice system won out.”

Joyner argues in the case of Wuterich that “…ultimately, preserving the fairness and impartiality of the American legal system is more important, and we should be glad that it won out…” Joyner seemingly lauds the outcome of the Wuterich trial as America’s justice system triumphing, or “winning out” as he puts it, in respect to keeping sacred the rights of the accused.

Where then are the rights of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning? Where were the rights of Anwar Al-Awlaki and his son Abdul-Rahman Al-Awlaki? Why is there no appeal for the rights of Omar Khadr and all those still indefinitely detained in Guantánamo Bay detention facility?

Joyner ends his obdurate entry with the following:

“From O.J. Simpson to Casey Anthony to the hundreds of cases that don’t garner national attention, the America court system routinely exonerates people that “everyone knows” are guilty of murder. Even more frequently, people accused of major crimes are allowed to plea down to lesser ones when prosecutors fear they won’t be able to convict or otherwise don’t want to risk going to trial.

That’s not satisfying. It’s probably not even justice. But it beats the alternative.”

The alternative in the case of Wuterich and the other US Marines, who brutally slaughtered unarmed Iraqi civilians, would be that they would be found guilty and held accountable for their crimes against humanity; that the victims of US imperialism would not be branded collateral damage and tossed into the dust-bins of America’s seemingly unending historical relationship with invasion, occupation and war. 

The “integrity” of the United States justice system is a façade; there exists only an illusion of justice and order. And for this, we should be furious.

(Cross posted at

Roqayah Chamseddine

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American writer based in Sydney. She writes the Sharp Edges column at Shadowproof and politics at Paste Magazine. She tweets at @roqchams.

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48 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka on January 31, 2012, 2:12 pm

    “The ‘integrity’ of the United States justice system is a façade; there exists only an illusion of justice and order. And for this, we should be furious.”

    Absolutely. Everyone of those pieces of shit should have been turned over to the Iraqis and hung like Saddam, every last one of them. Damned baby killers. True in the 60s, true today.

    • Real Jew on January 31, 2012, 7:18 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. Outrageous! Not just because of the slap on the wrist but because only one marine was subject to punishment. As if one guy killed 24 people single handedly

  2. Dan Crowther on January 31, 2012, 2:17 pm

    What is most shocking is that here we are looking at a mountain of evidence, confessions from individual Marines and parts of their command, as well as testimony from Iraqi’s were there that day – Everybody gets off.

    But where there is ZERO evidence brought forth, we find not only guilty verdicts but death sentences. Fairness and impartiality indeed. If the emperor says you have to go, you gotta go – if the emperor grants you immunity, you have immunity.

    • Woody Tanaka on January 31, 2012, 2:23 pm

      “Everybody gets off.”

      Because the same gang that sent them there to do the killing — the US military — is the same group putting them on “trial.” If there was any justice in the world, they would have been packed up and sent to stand trial in the Haditha criminal courts before a jury of Iraqis.

      • Dan Crowther on January 31, 2012, 2:50 pm

        Yea, I definitely don’t disagree. The military brass is trying to protect themselves and their civilian bosses, per the Greenwald parameters for American Justice:

        The Rules of American Justice are quite clear:
        (1) If you are a high-ranking government official who commits war crimes, you will receive full-scale immunity, both civil and criminal, and will have the American President demand that all citizens Look Forward, Not Backward.

        (2) If you are a low-ranking member of the military, you will receive relatively trivial punishments in order to protect higher-ranking officials and cast the appearance of accountability.

        (3) If you are a victim of American war crimes, you are a non-person with no legal rights or even any entitlement to see the inside of a courtroom.

        (4) If you talk publicly about any of these war crimes, you have committed the Gravest Crime — you are guilty of espionage – and will have the full weight of the American criminal justice system come crashing down upon you.

  3. Walid on January 31, 2012, 2:43 pm

    Today, the Iraqi government announced that it has had enough of American security companies’ guards roughing up and killing people in Iraq. Also that many of the rogue guards are ex-IDF soldiers and Mossad agents hired to protect foreign embassies and that the Iraqi armed forces were capable of doing that job. Looks like the American/ Israeli party is about to end. Yesterday’s news was about Iraq being pissed off with American drones still flying over Baghdad.

    … The drones are the latest example of the State Department’s efforts to take over functions in Iraq that the military used to perform. Some 5,000 private security contractors now protect the embassy’s 11,000-person staff, for example, and typically drive around in heavily armored military vehicles.

    When embassy personnel move throughout the country, small helicopters buzz over the convoys to provide support in case of an attack. Often, two contractors armed with machine guns are tethered to the outside of the helicopters. The State Department began operating some drones in Iraq last year on a trial basis, and stepped up their use after the last American troops left Iraq in December, taking the military drones with them.

    From NYT:

    BAGHDAD — A month after the last American troops left Iraq, the State Department is operating a small fleet of surveillance drones here to help protect the United States Embassy and consulates, as well as American personnel. Some senior Iraqi officials expressed outrage at the program, saying the unarmed aircraft are an affront to Iraqi sovereignty.

    • Walid on January 31, 2012, 3:02 pm

      And to get back to Roqaya’s subject also from the same NYT article:

      “… The American plans to use drones in the air over Iraq have also created yet another tricky issue for the two countries, as Iraq continues to assert its sovereignty after the nearly nine-year occupation. Many Iraqis remain deeply skeptical of the United States, feelings that were reinforced last week when the Marine who was the so-called ringleader of the 2005 massacre of 24 Iraqis in the village of Haditha avoided prison time and was sentenced to a reduction in rank. “

    • dimadok on January 31, 2012, 3:10 pm

      Any evidence (links etc.) that there are Israelis in those private security companies operating in Iraq?
      I am eager to see one.

      • Walid on January 31, 2012, 3:43 pm

        Dimadok, there are over 50 Israeli companies operating in Iraq. Most of the reconstruction that was done in the Kurdish north after Iraq I was with Israelis, so why wouldn’t Israelis be working elsewhere in the country now?

      • dimadok on January 31, 2012, 4:06 pm

        You are assuming that without any evidence.
        Your quote :”Also that many of the rogue guards are ex-IDF soldiers and Mossad agents hired to protect foreign embassies and that the Iraqi armed forces were capable of doing that job”-where is the proof for that?

      • annie on January 31, 2012, 4:53 pm

        You are assuming that without any evidence.

        yeah, how outlandish to posit that ex idf or mossad would even be associated with security work in a foreign country. the chance any of those private security companies would even consider hiring israelis is slim to none. everybody knows they’re only good are arresting 8 year olds at 3 am. in teams for their own security no doubt.

      • dimadok on January 31, 2012, 7:20 pm

        Once again you are responding too quickly, without proper groundwork. Israelis provide security advise in numerous countries and international events. However I have asked about the Iraq and did not get any factual response. Maybe Walid pulled this out of his imagination or wishful thinking?

      • proudzionist777 on January 31, 2012, 8:25 pm

        “where is the proof for that?”

        A fair question. But when asked to answer a fair question, Walid heads for the high grass.

        Walid? Come out, come out wherever you are!

      • Woody Tanaka on January 31, 2012, 9:25 pm

        “A fair question”

        A stupid question, pudracist. You want proof of a covert operation??? The Mossad suck, but they don’t suck THAT much. But it is a fair conclusion to say that if there’s an Israeli company involved, there’s ex-I”D”F, since all of the Israeli (well, the Israeli Jews) are co-conspirators in that mafia. And if Israeli companies are in Kurdistan, any reasonable person will tell you that the Israeli spooks are going to snake their way into that.

      • Walid on February 1, 2012, 3:46 am

        proudzionist and dimadok, you wanted details about Israelis operating in Iraq; looks like you’ve already forgotten all about Mossad’s escapade in Dubai and Israel’s bragging about having killed the Iranian scientists. A recent article from about 3 weeks back containing several links to its sources:


        Israeli Mossad training Iranian exiles in Kurdistan: French newspaper
        January 11, 2012

        A leading French newspaper has claimed that Israeli intelligence agents are recruiting and training Iranian dissidents in clandestine bases located in Iraq’s Kurdish region. Paris-based daily Le Figaro, France’s second-largest national newspaper, cited a “security source in Baghdad”, who alleged that members of Israeli intelligence are currently operating in Iraq’s autonomous northern Kurdish region. According to the anonymous source, the Israelis, who are members of the Mossad, Israel’s foremost external intelligence agency, are actively recruiting Iranian exiles in Kurdistan. Many of these Iranian assets, who are members of Iran’s Kurdish minority and opposed to the Iranian regime, are allegedly being trained by the Mossad in spy-craft and sabotage. The article in Le Figaro claims that the Iranian assets are being prepared for conducting operations inside the energy-rich country, as part of Israel’s undercover intelligence war against Iran’s nuclear energy program. The Baghdad source told the French daily that part of Israel’s sabotage program against sensitive Iranian nuclear facilities, which includes targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear experts, is directed out of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, “where [Mossad] agents have stepped up their penetration”. For this, “the Israelis are using Kurdish oppositionists to the regime in Iran, who are living are refugees in the Kurdish regions of Iraq”, the source told Le Figaro. Although the article makes no mention of official or unofficial sanction of the Israeli operations by the Iraqi Kurdish authorities, it implies that the alleged Mossad activities are an open secret in Iraqi Kurdistan. This is not the first time that allegations have surfaced in the international press about Israeli intelligence activities in Kurdistan. In 2006, the BBC flagship investigative television program Newsnight obtained strong evidence of Israeli operatives providing military training to Kurdish militia members. The program aired video footage showing Israeli expects drilling members of Kurdish armed groups in shooting techniques and guerrilla tactics. The Israeli government denied having authorized any such training, while Iraqi Kurdish officials refused to comment on the report. But Israeli security experts told the BBC that it would be virtually impossible for Israeli trainers to operate inside Iraqi Kurdistan “without the knowledge of the Kurdish authorities”. More recently, in September of 2010, the government of Lebanon arrested three Kurds in Jounieh, a coastal town 15 kilometers north of Beirut, which it accused of working for Israeli intelligence. All three were members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a secessionist armed group fighting for an independent Kurdish homeland in Turkey’s far-eastern Anatolia region.

        From Al Arabiya

        Israeli Mossad recruiting Iranian exiles in Iraq’s Kurdish region: report

        Tuesday, 10 January 2012
        By Al Arabiya

        The Israeli spy agency Mossad is using Iranian exiles living in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan to target Iranian nuclear experts and sabotage the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, says an Iraqi security official quoted by the French daily Le Figaro.

        “The Mossad agents have increased their infiltration in the Kurdish regions of Iraq,” the unnamed security official was quoted as saying.


        From a discussion with Seymour Hersh a few years back:

        The Israelis have had long standing ties to the Talibani and Marzani clans Kurdistan and there are many Kurdish Jews that emigrated to Israel and there are still a lot of connection. But at some time before the end of the year, and I’m not clear exactly when, certainly I would say a good six, eight months ago, Israel began to work with some trained Kurdish command does, obstensively the idea was the Israelis — some of the Israeli elite commander units, counter-terror or terror units, depending on your point of view, began training — getting the Kurds up to speed. I think the initial goal was to help the United States fight the insurgency


        From the BBC in 2006:

        20 September 2006, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK

        Israelis ‘train Kurdish forces’
        By Magdi Abdelhadi
        Arab affairs analyst, BBC News

        Arabs have long accused Kurds of co-operating with Israelis

        The BBC has obtained evidence that Israelis have been giving military training to Kurds in northern Iraq.

        A report on the BBC TV programme Newsnight showed Israeli experts in northern Iraq, drilling Kurdish militias in shooting techniques.


      • dimadok on February 1, 2012, 7:13 am

        All righty then- I am repeating my question: is there any proof that Israelis are employed by the security companies in Iraq? I more than willingly acknowledge the Kurdistan connection since there is at least a lot of talk around it. Please provide the direct fact of single former IDF soldier who is employed there.

      • proudzionist777 on February 1, 2012, 7:40 am

        No Walid. You said, “Also that many of the rogue guards are ex-IDF soldiers and Mossad agents hired to protect foreign embassies and that the Iraqi armed forces were capable of doing that job”.

        That is not the same thing as giving military training to the Kurds in Northern Iraq.

      • Chaos4700 on February 1, 2012, 8:49 am

        I suppose with all the shoah denial you guys engage in, pretending like Israeli agents didn’t teach waterboarding techniques and such isn’t too much of a stretch either.

      • Walid on February 1, 2012, 9:08 am

        “That is not the same thing as giving military training to the Kurds in Northern Iraq.”

        Be patient, P-Z; the pissed-off government guy I saw in the TV interview talking about these Israeli goons said they were about to be flushed out and he wasn’t as polite as the NYT when he was talking about it. Would there be a better cover for these Israeli muscle men than working as security agents and how thin is the line that separates Americans and American-Israelis working in Iraq or Beirut? Israeli commandos have been hired for security jobs in the US so why not in Iraq?

      • Woody Tanaka on February 1, 2012, 9:37 am

        “shoah denial”

        Nakba denial?

      • Woody Tanaka on February 1, 2012, 9:48 am

        “I am repeating my question: is there any proof that Israelis are employed by the security companies in Iraq?”

        The Israelis have means, motive, and opportunity. That shifts the burden to you to prove that they aren’t, given the fact that the party with the knowledge — the Israelis themselves — aren’t willing to open their files for us to determine ourselves what covert operations they are undertaking.

      • dimadok on February 1, 2012, 10:30 am

        ROTFL. Thank you very much-no facts, no proof, but I have to prove that there are no Israelis employed in Iraq?!
        Awesome stuff.

      • annie on February 1, 2012, 10:51 am

        i thought it was common knowledge israelis merged with the peshmerga and pkk. via hersh and others. there’s a support the kurds group in israel. and there’s a separatist movement up north, that isn’t really controversial. and the US would like to set up a permanent base in kurdistan (when it becomes it’s own state), that’s not really controversial, is it? so why wouldn’t israel have agents swarming all over the place. and those 11,000 american personel, or 15 thou or whatever it is..i’m so sure not a one of them are undercover or infiltrate or recruit ‘democracy’ helpers etc etc/not. didn’t we do this all over south america? weren’t the israelis there too?

        this is not exactly in the realm of wild conspiracy theorizing dim, it’s just the way things are done. isn’t it?

      • Woody Tanaka on February 1, 2012, 11:00 am

        ” I have to prove that there are no Israelis employed in Iraq?!”

        Yup. Just get your boss in the Israeli Ministry of Propaganda, Hasbara and Public Enlightenment to call up the Chief of Mossad and have him open the files and we’ll all know for sure. Otherwise, then the burden is yours.

      • dimadok on February 1, 2012, 12:48 pm

        It is the perfect example of the conspiracy theories.
        Get this for example:”Belief in Conspiracies Can Lead to Contradictions”

      • annie on February 1, 2012, 1:19 pm

        no worries dim, i don’t believe “Diana faked her own death to retreat into isolation.”

        anyway, i think i get your point. you think i’m into wild conspiracy theories about assumptions i make which i consider a common sense approach. anyway. i’m sort of done with this conversation so go ahead and take the last word. since i won’t be responding to it you can go hog wild, as long as it passes moderation. your link references attraction to conspiracy theories can lead some to endorse entirely contradictory beliefs, so it should be easy for you to point out all my many contradictions.


      • dimadok on February 1, 2012, 1:35 pm

        My comment was direct towards Walid’s remarks. For some reason you’ve chosen to take them as they were direct to you. Too bad.

      • Woody Tanaka on February 1, 2012, 2:22 pm

        “My comment was direct towards Walid’s remarks. For some reason you’ve chosen to take them as they were direct to you. Too bad.”

        For some reason??? You started your post, “@Annie:” for pete’s sake. And we’re supposed to believe that that was a typo?? “I meant to type “Walid” but typed “Annie” completely by accident…

      • Chaos4700 on February 2, 2012, 12:08 am

        Finding any nukes in Iraqn yet, dimadok?

      • Chaos4700 on February 4, 2012, 10:20 am

        Woody, you’re dealing with someone who is an indoctrinated Israeli. Telling bald-faced lies is second nature to dimadok. “For some reason, the Palestinians just fled in 1948. Schade.”

    • annie on January 31, 2012, 3:14 pm

      what a dreadful link walid.

      Mr. Asadi said that he opposed the drone program: “Our sky is our sky, not the U.S.A.’s sky.”

      • irena on January 31, 2012, 3:28 pm

        Annie, the Iraqi people are much more well-informed about the drone operations than Americans will ever be even though the only thing that will end them is American citizenry protesting against them

        “If they are afraid about their diplomats being attacked in Iraq, then they can take them out of the country,” said Mohammed Ghaleb Nasser, 57, an engineer from the northern city of Mosul.
        Hisham Mohammed Salah, 37, an Internet cafe owner in Mosul, said he did not differentiate between surveillance drones and the ones that fire missiles. “We hear from time to time that drone aircraft have killed half a village in Pakistan and Afghanistan under the pretext of pursuing terrorists,” Mr. Salah said. “Our fear is that will happen in Iraq under a different pretext.”

      • annie on January 31, 2012, 4:58 pm

        i bet they are irena. from the nyt:

        A senior American official said that negotiations were under way to obtain authorization for the current drone operations, but Ali al-Mosawi, a top adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki; Iraq’s national security adviser, Falih al-Fayadh; and the acting minister of interior, Adnan al-Asadi, all said in interviews that they had not been consulted by the Americans.

        pisses me off so much

    • Woody Tanaka on January 31, 2012, 3:26 pm

      “Some 5,000 private security contractors…”

      They’re mercenaries. A.k.a.: murderers for hire. Scum. The euphamism nonsense has got to stop sometimes.

  4. riyadh on January 31, 2012, 6:32 pm

    If you haven’t yet, please watch Frontline’s excellent episode on the Haditha massacre

  5. W.Jones on January 31, 2012, 7:59 pm

    It’s sad that the Atlantic has apparently gone to the level of approving U.S. imperialist massacres. What was the U.S. invasion about? WMDs? Where were they, and if they didn’t exist, why didn’t such good intelligence services the U.S. know that? The invasion resulted in spreading economic and military control over the Middle East, and in that sense it appears imperialist either by design or accident.

    My impression was that back in the 1960’s the Atlantic was in fact a leftist publication. I think one of the editors was Harry Braverman, a strong democratic Socialist. How far it appears to have fallen! :(

    And how to explain this shift? Was it like some of the supposedly leftist neocons of today, whose background was radical because they belonged to a minority that had previously been discriminated against?

    Simple assimilation and acceptance in the dominant society isn’t enough of an explanation though. After all, there exists a large swath of leftist, liberal, or antiwar opinion in American society, especially among minorities. And to their credit, a higher portion of American Jews opposed the mistake of the Iraq war than other Americans.

    Or does the Atlantic in fact have a wide range of backgrounds, and the conclusion is that some publications randomly change views over time, or choose to include more and more a range of opinions?

  6. gingershot on January 31, 2012, 11:46 pm

    The Israelis and Lobby lied America into Iraq to teach American society that it is normal to kill Arabs, just as Israel kills Arabs

    Now the Arab/Muslim is the enemy in Hollywood, the Media, and amongst Israeli Lobby-financed Politicians

    The whole thing is so sick and so huge it just makes me cringe

    Israel and the US – going after the Muslims all over the world – with Bibi Netanyahu calling the shots – forever (esp after what is going to happen in Iran)

  7. justsayin on February 1, 2012, 2:13 am


  8. Justice Please on February 1, 2012, 3:17 am

    “the integrity of our justice system won out.”

    See, that’s where you went wrong. A justice system where even in important cases like an alleged massacre, the accused party (military) gets to judge itself, you have bias incorporated into the system.

    These cases should be handled in an open court, The People of the United States vs. the accused.

  9. Walid on February 1, 2012, 4:25 am

    US military is acting more and more like that other most moral military in the world since in Iraq, it was trained in house-to-house searches by the experienced IDF that had mastered the art of using human shields. It’s therefore normal to see the US military not punishing its military for Haditha, just Israel doesn’t punish its military for anything committed against Arabs.

    The Blackwater massacre at the Nissour Square in Baghdad was also dismissed and relatively light sentences given to those 6 US soldiers that were involved in the gang rape of 14-year old Abir Qassim and her consequent murder and that of her family at Mahmoudieh.

    It’s understandable that the US chose to leave Iraq because Iraq wouldn’t give the US military immunity from prosecution. Maybe if the US allowed other countries to prosecute US military criminals or if it joined the ICC, its soldiers would start behaving differently. Until that happens, there will be other incidents like at Haditha.

  10. proudzionist777 on February 1, 2012, 8:17 am

    Walid’s failed effort to graft Israel to America’s involvent in Iraq does an injustice to all concerned.

    • Chaos4700 on February 1, 2012, 8:48 am

      Your attempts to blame US forces for the actions of Israeli mercenaries is disgusting. Our vets paid the price for YOUR moral deficiency.

    • Walid on February 1, 2012, 10:04 am

      “… graft Israel to America’s involvent in Iraq…” ???

      What’s to graft? I thought America was in Iraq because of Israel.

  11. Hostage on February 1, 2012, 9:27 am

    The Blackwater massacre at the Nissour Square in Baghdad was also dismissed and relatively light sentences given to those 6 US soldiers that were involved in the gang rape of 14-year old Abir Qassim and her consequent murder and that of her family at Mahmoudieh.

    Yes the investigations and trials of service members always becomes politicized. Hopefully, the government of Iraq will join the ICC and file an Article 12(3) declaration accepting the Court’s jurisdiction for crimes committed after July of 2002 on its territory.

    The US Military Justice System (US Code Title 10, Chapter 47, the UCMJ and the related Executive Order, the Manual for Courts Martial or MCM) comprises the most lenient and easily politicized system in the world. There are much better safeguards for military defendants than those provided under the civilian judicial system and overt interference by the political branches of government is pretty commonplace. The notorious leniency of the system is the main reason that Bush wrote a different Executive Order which established “Star Chamber”-like procedures, when he opted to use the pre-existing Title 10 UCMJ authorization for military tribunals to prosecute enemy combatants. That violated Article 3 of the Geneva Convention because they weren’t actually “regularly constituted courts” after the normal MCM rules of evidence and procedures were abandoned.

    Oliver North first gained national attention as a young 2nd Lieutenant when he testified as a character witness in the Son Thang massacre case. The Marine squad in question had participated in the premeditated murder of 16 women and children. The majority were acquitted, and the heaviest punishment imposed upon those found guilty was a life sentence – which was reduced on review by the convening authority to only one year. See Did Military Justice Fail or Prevail?

    Maybe if the US allowed other countries to prosecute US military criminals or if it joined the ICC, its soldiers would start behaving differently.

    The ICC can prosecute US soldiers for crimes committed in other territories without our government’s consent. That’s why the US scrambled around coercing other countries to enter into so-called Article 98 agreements and the Congress authorized the use of “any force necessary” to free US citizens or allies held for trial by the ICC.

    • Walid on February 1, 2012, 9:58 am

      Hostage, the part that left the biggest impression on me from your link was”

      “The United States will not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over United States nationals.”

      Elsewhere, I read:

      “A senior U.S. military official confirmed the departure, (from Iraq)” Lara Jakes and Rebecca Santana said. — The refusal of Iraqis to negotiate a SOFA (status of forces agreement) protecting U.S. troops from legal prosecution was behind the decision, Jakes and Santana said. — But the AP report prompted quick denials from the White House and the Pentagon, Reuters and Politico reported.”

      I read from your link to the State Dept explanation that US refuses to be part of the ICC because it may be called upon to help with humanitarian missions and so on. What’s that all about?

      • Hostage on February 1, 2012, 11:22 am

        US refuses to be part of the ICC because it may be called upon to help with humanitarian missions and so on. What’s that all about?

        It’s nonsense. Every state already has the right to grant their courts universal jurisdiction over US war crimes, crimes against humanity, and so on. So, merely joining a Court established by those same state players would not subject the US to any additional liability.

        There can be no guarantee that some of the US forces might commit war crimes during a “just war”, humanitarian intervention (ala Libya), or peacekeeping mission. Prior to the revelations of torture and prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, the US had routinely demanded, and received, UN mandates and guarantees of immunity. It has subsequently used weasel wording to refer some, but not all, of the crimes committed in a given situation to the ICC.

        For example the Security Council resolution 1970 on Libya carefully carved-out an exception for the US, NATO, and mercenaries recruited by the Israeli firm, Global CST. The Security Council even refused to pick-up the bill for any expenses related to the investigations and prosecutions it had just requested:

        Recalling article 16 of the Rome Statute under which no investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with by the International Criminal Court for a period of 12 months after a Security Council request to that effect, . . .

        ICC referral
        4. Decides to refer the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court;
        5. Decides that the Libyan authorities shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor;
        6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State;
        7. Invites the Prosecutor to address the Security Council within two months of the adoption of this resolution and every six months thereafter on actions taken pursuant to this resolution;
        8. Recognizes that none of the expenses incurred in connection with the referral, including expenses related to investigations or prosecutions in connection with that referral, shall be borne by the United Nations and that such costs shall be borne by the parties to the Rome Statute and those States that wish to contribute voluntarily;

        The ICC Assembly of State Parties recently adopted a definition for the crime of aggression together with procedures that will allow members to opt-in to protection by 2017 and permit the Prosecutor to act in cases where the Security Council is deadlocked for any reason. The US attended the diplomatic conference as an observer and lobbied heavily against adoption of any definition for the crime of aggression. Due to the mood of the international community regarding the on-going US wars, that alone almost guaranteed the measure’s passage.

  12. Chu on February 1, 2012, 9:59 am

    When cases like this go unchecked in the nation, it’s a reminder that we are sliding into an immoral mass that is hard to escape from once we’ve went over the edge.

    To demote Wuterich is completely sickening for the Iraqi families. For a war that was going to be a ‘cakewalk’, the United States (from the neocons to the military planners and troops) has caused so much damage in Iraq and and only reinforced a sour image of a rotten military. It’s no wonder that there are so many suicides in the military. Guilt is not easy to wash away.

    This case of turning away from Justice, while Marines kill without punishment serves as an example to all the other service men in Iraq and Afganistan and wherever the next operation is. This is appalling.

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