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January 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE....Marc Cooper comments on the court martial of Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr.:

Lets make sure we get this story right. You take the captured, uniformed general of an enemy army and in blatant violation of all notions of human decency and of the Geneva Conventions you beat him with rubber hoses, pour water down his nose, then stuff him into a sleeping bag, tie him with electrical cord, and then sit your ass down on his chest until he suffocates and you are convicted of what? Negligent homicide?

....Remember that the victim in this case, Iraqi General Abed Hamel Mowhoush was a top, uniformed officer of a recognized state-sponsored enemy army and not some illegal combatant. Worse, when Mowhoush was suffocated in November 2003, it was after he had voluntarily turned himself in to U.S. military authorities. At least, sort of voluntarily. Fact is, the General surrendered to American troops because they were holding his sons hostage yet another stark violation of international law.

And we also learn this from the LA Times account of the trial:

The day after the generals death, prosecutors said, Welshofer asked for another sleeping bag so he could continue using the technique on others.

Read the whole thing if you have a strong stomach. And then ask yourself: if the jury bought Welshofer's argument that he was just following orders, whose orders was he following?

Kevin Drum 3:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (193)

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Comments

... if the jury bought Welshofer's argument that he was just following orders, whose orders was he following?

Satan's?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Don't mind repeating myself,

Articles of impeachment can submitted from individual state legislatures,

http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah/2006/01/impeachment_let.html

Who's got the guts?

Posted by: cld on January 25, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Though no-one ever agrees with me, the fact is that this is all the fault of the American people, as an aggregate.

If you give a monkey a gun, and the monkey shoots somebody, you don't blame the monkey, after all.

The American people lessen themselves with each occurrence of this, combined with each vote they take enabling it.

Posted by: cdj on January 25, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I really expected better from our military, and I am genuinely shocked by this outcome. It appears the fish is rotting from its head down.

Eishenhower would never have tolerated this kind of crap. It's bad for morale, and it's bad for America.

Posted by: theorajones on January 25, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Sickening. The callous SOB should be court-martialed.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

butbutbut 9/11!... Hitlery!... Article II!!

wah.

Posted by: cleek on January 25, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK!!!

Kevin FALSELY states that the jury bought Welshofer's argument that he was just following orders.

But the link says that "Welshofer had believed he was following orders..."

So, as Kevin ,says, ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK.

Posted by: Al on January 25, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, I hit post too soon. I see he was court-martialed. The callous SOB should be hanged.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Negligent homicide ? If Mr. Welshofer's actions were as described, and all he got was a reprimand, then all the members of the court should be cashiered on the spot and Mr. Welshofer should be shot.

No, wait. Shooting wouldn't be painful enough.

Posted by: Harry Flashman on January 25, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

if the jury bought Welshofer's argument that he was just following orders, whose orders was he following?

And why aren't they in the dock?

The Nuremberg defence doesn't absolve people of guilt; it just tells prosecutors who else to charge.

Posted by: Idiot/Savant on January 25, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Support our troops? Anyone know what the Code of Military Justice says about disobeying an unlawful order? It did not work at Nuremburg, but I guess that was when we were still committed to the rule of law rather than the current group of incompetents who believe the constitution only applies when convenient. Wasn't it Goebbels or some other higher up Nazi who made the observation that it was not hard to get the people to go along with anything as long as you controlled the press?

Posted by: terry on January 25, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

Kevin actually wrote, "if the jury bought Welshofer's argument..."

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: ww on January 25, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Further to my prior post. What's clear is that the order was lawful and correct. What he was convicted of was following the order in an incorrect, negligent manner.

Posted by: Al on January 25, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

OTOH, the unwillingness to hang this all on the head of a Warrant Officer would be a good thing if we had any reason to believe accountability would be demanded higher up in the command chain.

I am torn between being glad that a relatively low ranking officer is not being scapegoated for this since it's clear his actions were sanctioned up the chain of command, and being full of fear that this will somehow be seen as a vindication of his actions.

His actions were appalling, and in violation of everything the American Military stands for. The demand its officers ALL UP THE CHAIN OF COMMAND be held accountable.

I'm saying it again, Eisenhower would not have tolerated this crap.

Posted by: theorajones on January 25, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Q Scott, yesterday an Army interrogator was slapped on the wrist after being convicted for killing an Iraqi general by stuffing him into a sleeping bag, wrapping him up in cord and straddling him. Are you concerned that this slap on the wrist sends a message to the Iraqi people that we're okay with techniques like that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Because there are chain of command issues involved here, I can't get into commenting on specific cases, and I won't do that. There are rules regarding that, and so I can't do that. But what I can emphasize is that when there is wrongdoing or abuse, people are held to account, and we have seen that time and time again. This country holds people to account if they don't follow the law, if they don't follow the rules that are in place. And that stands in stark contrast to a number of countries that I think we've talked about in this room.

Q Do you think a $6,000 fine and restriction to his place of work and barracks is sufficient?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I can't get into talking about specific cases. But it's important to hold people to account when they engage in behavior that is outside of the law, and that's what this administration has been doing.

Posted by: W House on January 25, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm saying it again, Eisenhower would not have tolerated this crap.

But then, Eisenhower wasn't up against anything like as formidable an enemy....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 25, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin actually wrote, "if the jury bought Welshofer's argument..."

EXACTLY.

But that WASN'T what the Jury bought. The jury bought the argument that he BELIEVED he was following an order.

It's as if there was an order to you (an artillery man) to blow up the building in the west, and you negligently blow up the building in the east instead (killing somebody). The order is correct and lawful. And you haven't DELIBERATELY blown up the building in the east - so it's not murder. You just negligently mixed up west and east. So you are convicted of negligent homicide.

Posted by: Al on January 25, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Outrage.

Posted by: Jimm on January 25, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

I would suggest that its a bad idea to second-guess the court without seeing the trial transcript.

Just off the LA Times story its clear that Welshofer was not responsible for any beatings and it doesn't appear that he intended to suffocate him in the sleeping bag....he wanted him to talk from being claustrophobic, not kill him... thus, it appears that "negligent homicide" may have been exactly the right verdict.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, Cooper's going to hear about this sympathy for the "terrorists" from his buddies at PajamasMedia.

Posted by: Chris on January 25, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you're wrong.

"It's as if there was an order to you (an artillery man) to blow up the building in the west, and you negligently blow up the building in the east instead (killing somebody). The order is correct and lawful. And you haven't DELIBERATELY blown up the building in the east - so it's not murder. You just negligently mixed up west and east. So you are convicted of negligent homicide."

um, no, you wouldn't be guilty of anything most likely.

it appears that Welshofer got off cause stuffing the guy in the sleeping bag was a negligent act that resulted in death -- textbook negligent homicide. I don't see where following orders had anything to do with it.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, are these the same military courts that will hear the habeas corpus appeals of inmates at GITMO? Assuming there is no reference frame bias, I predict GITMO will be empty in 18 months. Those fools are push overs.

Posted by: B on January 25, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, he just wanted to see how close he could get to killing him without actually killing him and made a mistake. Great defense argument for the negligent homicide verdict.

To the guy who is reading a tremendous amount of significance into the guy's defense being that he BELIEVED he had followed orders, well, if the jury bought the argument they had to believe he was following orders from someone, stop being an idiot.

Posted by: matt on January 25, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

let me rephrase, he didn't "get off" -- he didn't have the mens rea for murder but he did commit a homicide and he was found liable for that.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

You're a very strange person Al.

Its a lot like if your order was to scare the person to the west and you decide to do it by shooting the person to the east. Not really an accident.

Let's try the other bit slowly. If the jury gave any credence to the defendant's argument that he believed he was "just following orders" (see Nuremburg), what order did he believe he was following and who did he believe had given the alleged order? Was that a reasonable belief on his part?

It's a question, not a quote (no real need to follow a link).

Posted by: sleepy on January 25, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the penalty for extreemly negligant homicide is just very very low, or at least was in this case.

There probably ought to be a lot of lattitude on it (depending mainly on how negligent the person was), but this guy was as negligent as possible (I only meant to make him think he was going to die, not really kill him... oops) should have been given the maximum penalty.

Anybody know what the range of penalty is?

Posted by: jefff on January 25, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan, you have no idea how happy your comments are making me.

Posted by: gcochran on January 25, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what the penalty is for assault, torture, rape, etc.

Posted by: B on January 25, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Just following orders..." Where have we heard that line before? Seems like it's a common refrain at war crimes trials, but I suppose I sound shrill by making that connection.

Posted by: Doug Bostrom on January 25, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

jefff:

I do wonder about the sentence...I'm just pointing out the verdict seems justified and it appears to have nothing to do with any "following orders" defense (which isn't a defense -- at most it may go to the mens rea).

my best guess as to the sentence is that this guy may have had a sterling career (which is considered in sentencing) and that the "following orders" bit may have played a role there as well.

look, in my experience, juries generally get it right....and military juries are considered to be the best. I don't agree with the rhetoric of some conservatives about a runaway court system.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

it appears that Welshofer got off cause stuffing the guy in the sleeping bag was a negligent act that resulted in death -- textbook negligent homicide.

"Sorry your honor, I accidently kicked that box out from under the guy whose neck I tied in a noose. My bad, I was negligent."

"Sorry your honor, I didn't think that these bullets had enough caliber to actually kill the guy I shot in the head. My bad, I was negligent."

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 25, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

I will point out that Marc Cooper's description in his post isn't even born out by his own links.

so, for those of you making assumptions based on the post that Kevin excises, you're making incorrect ones.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce, he was trying to get the guy to talk. no intent to kill (or possibly wanton indifference or the like), no murder.

the courts deal with these questions every day...they know what they're doing. if you don't like it, change the law.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

For jefff, above. Maximum penalties are:

For negligent homicide: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 3 years.

For involuntary manslaughter: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 10 years.

Looking through the articles, for the act to be involuntary manslaughter the accused would have to have knowledge or understanding that the act could result in death. That was probably not the case - he was just a stupid torturer. I think he should have got the max, 3 years, hard time.

That fact that his boss was given immunity in order to testify pisses me off - his boss should get the same punishment - he's responsible for everything that happened.

Posted by: Wapiti on January 25, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

description in his post isn't even born out by his own links

Help us then. Are talking about the distinction between supervising the beating with rubber hoses and actually beating with rubber hoses?

My biggest problem with the verdict is the effect upon the Sunnis. Welshofer should take one for the team until the insurgency and political situation are a little less precarious. W would be smarter to win the PR war now and pardon him later.

Posted by: B on January 25, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Is "negligent homicide" in military law akin to "manslaughter" in civilian law? If that's the case, to charge someone with a higher crime, doesn't the prosecution needs to prove intent to kill (is that what "mens rea" means, by the way?) And how do the allegation from the prosecution that the accused wanted new sleeping bags to do the thing again fall into the case? Should the jury consider it even if this happend after the fact, i.e., the general's death, and didn't lead to other crimes?

No expert on this, so I gotta ask it to form an opinion.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 25, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I will point out that Marc Cooper's description in his post isn't even born out by his own links.
Can you be more specific? I re-read the links and I don't see what you're getting at.

he was trying to get the guy to talk. no intent to kill

He was torturing the guy, and at the very least endangering his life by the tortures he was using. I'm thinking there was a lot more than "negligence" going on here. I can't imagine the same verdict and sentence happening in a civilian court, can you? Do you think a jury is going to let me off this lightly if while torturing someone, I "accidentally" kill him?

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 25, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

B: there's nothing there that indicates that Welshofer "supervised" the beating...but if he did, then he's liable for torture, etc....but it still is irrelevant to a homicide charge.

as for "taking one for the team"...what are you suggesting, that the White House "fix" the jury?

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Typical negligent homicide would be letting someone starve to death in a cell, something involving actual negligence, not an accidental application of excessive force in the course of a coercive beating. Your characterization is absurdly stupid, Nathan.

Posted by: matt on January 25, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I do wonder about the sentence...I'm just pointing out the verdict seems justified and it appears to have nothing to do with any "following orders" defense (which isn't a defense -- at most it may go to the mens rea).

Huh?

Following a lawful order in a non-negligent manner most certainly IS a defense, both all homicide related crimes. (If there is a lawful order to a member of the military to kill someone, there is no crime committed when the person follows that order. It has nothing to do with mens rea.)

Following a lawful order in a negligent manner is a defense to murder, but not to negligent homicide.

Posted by: Al on January 25, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oh brother, the guy was beating the guy to try to convince him he was going to kill him, but had no idea that he could actually kill him that way. Jesus, these are some dumb arguments.

Posted by: matt on January 25, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil: mens rea is the state of mind or intent. and yeah, it makes all the difference in the world for this kind of charge. the following orders thing appears to be a figment of the reporter's imagination (there is no such admissible defense)...pretty typical for media coverage of legal matters. now, the following orders bit may have been asserted in the sentencing arguments...where it would matter.

Another Bruce, it's not clear that he was involved in anything other than the sleeping bag bit -- which appears to have been used in other cases without any loss of life...and yeah, you could have the same result in a civilian court (so long as the jury stayed close to the jury instructions). if you initiate a one-sided fistfight with someone and don't realize they just had mono and rupture their spleen so they die...its not clear that you thought it likely they might die...now if you hit them with a baseball bat...sure, you'll be convicted of a higher order homicide.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

matt, he didn't beat him. he tried to make him feel claustrophic...that's not an intent to kill someone. either read the fricking facts or shut up.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Al:

there doesn't appear to have been any "following a lawful order" defense asserted here....that's not what we're discussing...people seemed to think that a Nuremberg style defense was being purported.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

matt says "not an accidental application of excessive force in the course of a coercive beating"

um, that didn't happen here. the rubber hoses (used by others not under Welshofer's direction) were not the cause of death.

read the fricking facts before you call anyone stupid.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Nathan, that dog won't hunt. He was suffocating him "just a little bit to scare him" and wound up suffocating him to death. In other words, he killed him directly through his actions. He may have not intended to kill him but that gets you manslaughter, not negligent homicide.

And you're splitting hairs with the "didn't beat him" line. He stood there as the man was beaten, and had the ability to stop it.

Posted by: S Ra on January 25, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

But then, Eisenhower wasn't up against anything like as formidable an enemy.... Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 25, 2006 at 3:28 PM

Yeah, the Soviet Union only had tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, over a million men and women in their army, a hugh fleet of aircraft and navy vessels. But that threat was nothing compared to a couple hundred men with rifles on horses.

What a WATB.

Stop wetting your pants over Osama and grow the fuck up.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 25, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

matt: oh, and letting someone starve to death in a cell probably gets you a murder conviction. wanton disregard for human life can be the necessary intent for murder.

now, if you forgot that the guy existed and never walked past the cell...then you might have some sort of involuntary manslaughter.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

This administration believes in holding wrongdoers to account

Posted by: cq on January 25, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Welshofer was obviously a lone nut, as all these sadists in all our prisons have been; no responsible-thinking person could believe that there were higher-ups involved, because that would mean...A CONSPIRACY! And all correct-thinking Americans know that such things do not occur.

Posted by: King in Yellow on January 25, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

S Ra, the beating appears to have been CIA directed, not by Welshofer. but regardless, its irrelevant to the charges at issue.

as well, you state "killed him directly through his actions"...well yeah, that's a necessary fact for any homicide conviction..including involuntary homicide.

are you a lawyer? do you understand the distinctions between the charges? or are you just talking through your hat?

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

it's not clear that he was involved in anything other than the sleeping bag bit --

From the LA Times article: Witnesses testified that Welshofer stood by while Iraqi nationals, reportedly in the employ of the CIA, beat the general for about 30 minutes with rubber hoses. The next day, Welshofer took the general to the roof of the prison and, while other soldiers held him down, poured water on his face.

You have a strange definition of "involvment", it's pretty clear that he was involved in both tortures.

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 25, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Way to dodge the argument without actually addressing it, Nathan. You are doing a marvelous job as a dishonest advocate for torture here.

The killer was sitting on the general's chest; the general had been tied up with electrical cords and stuffed into a sleeping bag by the killer.
The purpose of that treatment was to convince the prisoner that he was going to be suffocated to death unless he talked. I don't see any reason to dismiss offhand the possibility of death resulting from this treatment. Can you cite any studies or statistics indicating that this was accepted as a safe means for extracting confessions from prisoners?

Posted by: matt on January 25, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Fix the jury? No actually, I meant it would be better for our troops if he had plead guilty.

But come to think of it W could probably push new statutes that kept the military from reducing people's sentences for an outstanding record of making their bed perfectly.

BTW, when you put someone in a bag and sit on their chest for 20 minutes you might kill them.

Posted by: B on January 25, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm. I see. I think we might be talking about two different things here. One is the trial itself and the application of the relevant legal code in the course of it, about which I know absolutely nothing about, so I can't opine on that.

But even so, Nathan, the other thing is the moral implications of the act itself, an act which was, undoubtely, despicable. Mens rea, negligent homicide, burden of proof - this is important, but it's also technicality. I believe you are arguing that the man was probably judged within the applicable law, and I think that's how it should be. But, in my humble - and layman - opinion, if the applicable law allows for this, I think someone should consider changing it.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 25, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

"The callous SOB should be hanged."

How is it that liberals want to free a cold blooded racist murderer like Tookie, but want to hang a soldier for following Bushitler's orders? Are you lefties against capital punishment?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 25, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

On Negligent Homicide, yeah, the typical case is actually drunk driving accidents according to what I'm seeing. I erred by being too close to your definition, Nathan. I appreciate that your correction made me look it up and see just how much more insane your characterization of the situation was than I initially thought.

Posted by: matt on January 25, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

The charges did not postulate a violation of international law, did they? Let's look at that law and see what the people involved are guilty of. According to Treaties the US, our country, has signed these actions (not the self-administered justice that is currently the vogue in the Pentagon) are gross violations of human rights and the rules of war--they are also likely violations of various military codes in the US Armed Services...the published codes anyways. The fact that a military tribunal from the power doing the torturing and murder is incapable of having fair hearings and ridding itself of the cancer is not the same as unculpable, nor is it the same as justice. It is more like a self-inflicted wound to our Democracy and a threat to the stability of the rule by law. The Constitution does not condone such behaviour and neither should the Command-and-chief...so, what is the truth?

Posted by: parrot on January 25, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Murder means an intent to kill, it applies to folks like Tookie, one of your darlings. But as far as I can tell in this case, Welshofer wasn't intent on killing the enemy officer (another one of the liberals' darlings).

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 25, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

We all know to liberals, killing one of our enemies, even if by accident, is murder. But shoot up whites and Asians in cold blood warrants a Nobel Peace prize.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 25, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan writes: there doesn't appear to have been any "following a lawful order" defense asserted here

Really? The LA Times wrote (in the linked article) that "The jury apparently agreed with defense arguments that Welshofer had believed he was following orders to use creative interrogation techniques..." (emphasis added)

As I said above, he BELIEVED that he was following lawful orders to "creatively interrogate". He was negligent in doing so.

Posted by: Al on January 25, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

if you initiate a one-sided fistfight with someone and don't realize they just had mono and rupture their spleen so they die...its not clear that you thought it likely they might die...now if you hit them with a baseball bat...sure, you'll be convicted of a higher order homicide.

So I can beat someone with mono to death and get off with a detention and a $6000.00 fine? Nathan, you need to get off of your legal theories and listen to how ridiculous you sound. And the victim here was beaten with the equivalent of a baseball bat. How much more can you do to suffocate a guy than wrap him in electrical tape, stuff him in a sleeping bag and sit on his chest? God, I'm done with this, but it's amazing to me how far people will go to defend the indefensible.

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 25, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

As I said above, he BELIEVED that he was following lawful orders to "creatively interrogate". He was negligent in doing so.

Posted by: Al on January 25, 2006 at 4:34 PM

Well, I believe he was more than negligent. I believe he was cruel and inhumane. This should be unlawful in some way.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 25, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

if the applicable law allows for this, I think someone should consider changing it.

He was tried for his actions that resulted in the death of the Iraqi general, and avoided a harsher punishment because he was able to plead ignorance of possible consequences. Noone pulling the same trick can plead ignorance now.

He was not charged with torture, and to my knowledge there are no articles in UCMJ specifically prohibiting torture, or taking of hostages, or other violations of the Geneva Conventions which appear to have occurred here.

Posted by: Wapiti on January 25, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Well, he pled ignorance of what could happen, but the day after the death of the general he asked for another sleeping bag to use in the interrogation of another prisoner.

Posted by: matt on January 25, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize everyone, I really tried.

Posted by: nathan's criminal law professor on January 25, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus:

Whoa, man. Put your poison pen back in its well. Davis X. Machina was being sarcastic.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

He was not charged with torture, and to my knowledge there are no articles in UCMJ specifically prohibiting torture, or taking of hostages, or other violations of the Geneva Conventions which appear to have occurred here. Posted by: Wapiti on January 25, 2006 at 4:37 PM

Correct Wapiti, this is in every sense, a show trial. It has as much to do with Justice as does any show trial in the Soviet Union did.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 25, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize everyone, I really tried.

Posted by: nathan's criminal law professor on January 25, 2006 at 4:39 PM

HAH! :)

That was funny, but it was also ad hominem. I think we should let the man make his arguments.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 25, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

it applies to folks like Tookie, one of your darlings

beat that strawman! beat him good! show him who's the smartest little Freedom Fighter evah!

Posted by: cleek on January 25, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

And cleek, my opinion is that straw men, in a forum like this, are a little like those comic book characters who absorb the attacks they suffer and get stronger: if you try to knock down a straw man argument, you'll just enable it. I'd suggest you to leave him alone and he will stop.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 25, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

But that was also funny though. :)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 25, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'd also like to mention that they were holding the general's son hostage.

Care to explain how that's kosher?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 25, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

there are some real imbeciles here:

let's see, this guy was rightfully convicted of a felony crime. it seems that your problem isn't with the conviction but with the sentence...is that right? well, go yell at the court about that. not me. all I did was point out that he committed the crime he was convicted of. and the rubber hoses had nothing to do with it. how, my pointing out that he was rightfully convicted of a crime makes me a defender of torture .... I have no fucking clue. hint to all non-attorneys here (which appears to be the whole lot of you)...guess what, most of the time when someone is charged with various crimes, they're not convicted of all of them. the fact that the prosecution used lesser included offenses (bring the involuntary charge along with the murder charge) indicates that they weren't sure of a murder conviction on the facts.

either learn to read or shut the fuck up. I'm done with you all on this one. you're so busy being outraged at the sentence that you're too blind with spittle to read. seriously.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Geez there's mens rea for murder 15 ways to Sunday with this case. Mens rea means "mental state", not intent. If you shoot a gun into a crowd, you may have no intention to kill anyone (heck maybe you're aiming for th legs), but shooting into a crowd is such a reckless act, the law considers this recklessness sufficient mens rea for murder. Beating a guy, pouring water down his nose, stuffing him into a sleeping bag face down and sitting on him, that's pretty damn reckless.

Furthermore, the general was tortured, no if ands or buts. Even if the general had "merely" slipped in to a coma but had been revived, the Warrant Officer should have faced at least 10 years just on the torture charge. I don't know if the military has a felony murder rule (when a death occurs as a result of an underling "serious felony"), or if the Military Code even contemplates the prospect of "torturing POWs" as an applicable serious felony.

There is also the war crimes of taking hostages (the general's 15 year old son) but I guess that one truly is above the warrant officer's pay grade.

Posted by: beowulf on January 25, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus, it's not kosher.

there were crimes committed and one person was convicted. hopefully more will be.

people here seem to think the guy "got off"...he didn't.

al: the LA Times description appears to be full of crap.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

If this isn't "negligent homicide" nothing is.

Seems to me it ought to be manslaughter as well. Doesn't take a genius to figure out that a maneuver intended to make a prisoner fear for thier life might possibly kill them.

Even if by some whisker it fails to reach manslaughter it has to be a maximum penalty negligent homicide. He killed a guy while torturing him! The only way he could make it worse would be to kill more than one person.

I suppose the reality is that he only killed one of "them", so who cares.

Posted by: jefff on January 25, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'd also like to mention that they were holding the general's son hostage.

Care to explain how that's kosher?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 25, 2006 at 4:48 PM

It's not, but does this Welshofer guy who tortured the general had anything to do with that? If not, he can't possibly answer for it.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 25, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hi, I'm a very knowledgable and successful lawyer who has lots of time to post in the comments of a political weblog, making sure that everyone knows what a knowledgable and successful lawyer I am.

Does my tedious and not-always-correct spamming on every legal topic not impress you?
Are you a lawyer? No? Because I am. Did I mention that? That's why you should listen to me. I'm a lawyer.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

recklessness does not meet the mens rea for murder. wanton indifference to human life does (which would apply to your shooting the guy into the crowd example).

my crim law was sometime ago, but I remember that.

Posted by: beowulf on January 25, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I think the more important question is: how can we use this to impeach Bush?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 25, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

whoops, I was trying to respond to beowulf, not post as him.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and not only am I a lawyer, but I'm experienced in every field of the law too. You probably didn't know that about lawyers, we're experts on everything. Just like a doctor who passes his medical boards and automatically becomes a specialist in everything.

Did I mention that I'm a lawyer? Are you? I am.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Wapiti,

I dont quite understand your comment?

He was not charged with torture, and to my knowledge there are no articles in UCMJ specifically prohibiting torture, or taking of hostages, or other violations of the Geneva Conventions which appear to have occurred here.

I seem to remember that the USA signed the Geneva Conventions? At least thats what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was saying in regard to Iraq.

Iraq's a nation. The United States is a nation. The Geneva Conventions applied. They have applied every single day from the outset, Rumsfeld has said.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5024068/

I seem to remember that hostage taking and - uh - "creative interrogation techniques" were forbidden by the Geneva Conventions?

Posted by: Detlef on January 25, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus, when you call it a show trial, I agree to a point...

But the jury is 6 Army officers, who know that only this guy is being charged. IIRC, his supervisor was given immunity in order to gain his testimony. Miller, Rumsfeld, and Bush are not touched at all.

I can see a jury of 6 officers saying, "There's no way this court can touch the people who started all of this. Fuck this... We're not going to hang this guy while the instigators walk free."

Then again, given the punishment, they seem to have said to the rest of the world, "Fuck it, it's not like he killed an American. There's no way his life should be ruined for killing a haji."

Posted by: Wapiti on January 25, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

"How is it that liberals want to free a cold blooded racist murderer like Tookie, but want to hang a soldier for following Bushitler's orders? Are you lefties against capital punishment?"

Well, FF, since you're quoting me there, I guess I should point out that 1) I am not a liberal and 2) I am not against capital punishment and 3) if you go back to the Tookie thread you will find me saying the SOB got what was coming to him. Sadly, the SOB in this case did not.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

I notice that a minute or so has passed, and I feel that I should remind everyone that I'm a lawyer.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Detlef,

I'm just saying that, in my recreational readings of the UCMJ (I'm a retired officer, not a lawyer), I cannot find punitive articles prohibiting the specific violations of the Geneva Conventions.

Likewise, when an officer shot an Iraqi 50 times last year and got off with a slap on the wrist, I read through the UCMJ... Nope, no provision against mutilation of corpses, or wearing your enemies' ears.

And if my reading is correct, eating human remains is not against UCMJ, so if Donald Rumsfeld does it only when he is in Iraq, he can't be charged.

Posted by: Wapiti on January 25, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Wapiti,
Careful, you might give Halliburton a new idea on cutting costs for supplying military rations!

Iraqi... it's what's for dinner.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Hit the books Nathan. Reckless behavior towards human life is the very definition of the mens rea requirement for depraved heart murder.

Posted by: nathan's criminal law professor on January 25, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: "either learn to read or shut the fuck up. I'm done with you all on this one. you're so busy being outraged at the sentence that you're too blind with spittle to read. seriously."

Nathan is right. Spittle-flecked outrage over the accidental killing of a general officer (one who had pusillanimously surrendered to coalition forces and assumed that pansy-ass, terrorist-loving Geneva Conventions applied to him and his verminous terrorist-to-be children being held in protective custody) of an opposing army during a state of war is misplaced. Where was the outrage when this so-called "General" Mowhoush and his friends perfidiously attacked us on 9/11?

We're at war, you know. Your 9/10 mindset and omelet-making aversion don't pass muster here.

Posted by: TLaemmle on January 25, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Whoa, man. Put your poison pen back in its well. Davis X. Machina was being sarcastic. Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 4:40 PM

Woops, I apologise. I thought that post was uncharacteristic of Davis X. Machina.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 25, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Though no-one ever agrees with me, the fact is that this is all the fault of the American people, as an aggregate.

I agree with you. In a democracy the people are to blame, and Americans are fucking war pigs.

Posted by: Hostile on January 25, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

And then ask yourself: if the jury bought Welshofer's argument that he was just following orders, whose orders was he following?

Asking questions like that is why the lefty moonbat Democrat moonbat lefties will never win elections.

Also, Dan Rather!! Al Bore!!! Michael Moore!!!

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

besides the immature fake Nathan above, I'll make my follow comment.

does it occur to anyone that just maybe it's not a good idea to second-guess a jury when we haven't even seen a trial transcript or know about more than 2 paragraphs of trial testimony? We know they convicted him of a felony, we don't know what factors were involved in the sentencing...so everyone is arguing from a position of absolute ignorance. juries usually get it right...I'm prepared to believe that they did so hereto.

Posted by: Nathan on January 25, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

This could be many things, but it ain't negligent homicide. If you shoot at somebody intending to scare them (assault)but accidentally hit them and kill them, it is considered an intentional act. The concept is known as "transferred intent." Negligent homicide is when you do not intend the act but it happens because of your negligence (DWI or deliberately ignoring safety laws and causing an accident, for example).

Posted by: Jose Padilla on January 25, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

TLaemmle: "Where was the outrage when this so-called "General" Mowhoush and his friends perfidiously attacked us on 9/11?"

"General" Mowhoush and his Iraqi "friends" didn't attack us on 9/11

Posted by: RACHEL on January 25, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative Creed

We are morally superior, by birthright, ethnicity, religious values, and political philosophy.

All who do not accept our superiority and share our birthright are our inferiors.

We are morally superior; therefore, we may impose our views and our will in any manner we find convenient and necessary, regardless whether such methods would be immoral, unethical, illegal, or an abomination when used by others.

We are morally superior; therefore, we must prevail and anyone who stands in our way may be destroyed by any means we find convenient and necessary, regardless whether such means would be immoral, unethical, illegal, or an abomination when used by others.

We are morally superior; therefore, we may lie, defame, misrepresent, deceive, or commit acts of
violence in order to prevail against those who oppose us, regardless whether such actions would
be immoral, unethical, illegal, or an bomination when done by others.

We are morally superior; we may not be questioned or criticized by those who are our moral inferiors; therefore, any who oppose us are prohibited from questioning or criticizing our actions or our intentions.

We are nazis, but you may not call us that.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 25, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

He was not charged with torture, and to my knowledge there are no articles in UCMJ specifically prohibiting torture

IIRC the UCMJ does have an article about conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. And torturing helpless prisoners is most certainly NOT a gentleman's pastime.

Posted by: MartinE on January 25, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

"General" Mowhoush and his Iraqi "friends" didn't attack us on 9/11

We know, Rachel. TLaemmle was being sarcastic.

(Seems to be my day to say this.)

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, if global warming kills hundreds of millions of people in decades to come, is the Bush administration which has (1) denied that global warming is occurring and (2) fought any and all efforts to do anything about it, guilty of "negligent genocide" ?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 25, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Tookie, one of your darlings

Oh, for Chrissakes. The man is DEAD. Give it a rest.

Posted by: SED on January 25, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well it is just a damned good thing that a war protester was sent to prison for six months.

Far worse crime than murder.

Posted by: Vinnie on January 25, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

You notice everytime Kevin Drum talks about interogating enemy terrorists, he allways warns you have to have a strong stomach. Yet he never warns you need a strong stomach to read what terrorists did to civilians, our troops, or what Saddam did to everybody.

Someone interrogating a terrorist killer to save lives is BAD, but Saddams' terrorists being forced to be on the receiving end of a little rough housing is just beyond the pale.

ONCE AGAIN I ASK WHY DOES KEVIN DRUM HAVE THIS LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE TERRORIST, KILLER, SUNNIS OF IRAQ?

And the Iraqi Goverment was NEVER legitimate, it came to power through force, it held power through force and never had anything close to a fair or open election. It was a terrorist thugocracy, yet Kevin seems to pine for them daily.

Maybe Kevin needs to read up on just what this so called General had done in the name of Saddam and in the name of Islamic terrorism.

And yes, Kevin, the military would be ABSOLUTELY NEGLEGENT IF THEY FAILED TO TAKE INTO CUSTODY FAMILY MEMBERS WHO MAY LEAD THEM TO THE TERRORIST GENERAL.

I guess Kevin is saying if American troops picked up Eva Braun they should just let her go free.

LIKE KARL ROVE HAS SAID, THE LEFT HAS A PRE-SEPT 11TH, LAW ENFORCEMENT VIEW AND NOT A WARTIME VIEW OF THIS WAR ON ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.

Posted by: Patton on January 25, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

I was about to get my rant on about fake posters-- I do appreciate you fessing up, Nathan.

In fact, I did take criminal law and have passed a couple of bar exams. Shooting into a crowd and killing someone is the textbook example of a murder charge predicated on the mens reas of recklessness. In common law this was known as "abandoned and malignant heart" murder.

It won't get a first degree conviction alone, though in some states, torturing the victim prior to the homicide shows a "depraved mind" and is evidence of first degree murder (your mileage may vary depending the state)

I'm not a military lawyer and I concede the UCMJ may have a different mens rea standard for murder.

So the problem may, in fact, be the UCMJ and not this particular jury. My darker suspicion is that the JAG prosecutors pulled their punches for fear of dragging more senior officers into the mess.

Posted by: beowulf on January 25, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Patton:

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank God the foul terrorist-supporting regime of Saddam Hussein is gone. And to think that the architect of our decisive victory in the desert, our Secretary of Defense, was forced to shake the monster's hand. If we hadn't had a mollycoddler in the White House then, Mr. Rumsfeld, armed only with a sleeping bag, might have been able to prevent all the suffering that followed.

Posted by: TLaemmle on January 25, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Hey we caught Eva Braun guys..Hitlers going to be pissed..maybe we'll get him out of hiding, yeah!!

Kevin Drum: LET HER GO OR I'LL TELL!!

Posted by: Patton on January 25, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

November 2003, General killed. One month prior David Kay's interim report states the team has yet to find any WMDs.

Posted by: Ti Molo on January 25, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

MartinE -

"He was not charged with torture, and to my knowledge there are no articles in UCMJ specifically prohibiting torture

IIRC the UCMJ does have an article about conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. And torturing helpless prisoners is most certainly NOT a gentleman's pastime."

It is if the prisoners are brown. Duh.

It's funny watching everyone contort around this.

Posted by: cdj on January 25, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Do we really have to dredge up the pictures of Hilliary shaking the hand of drug dealer Jorge Cabrerra, or Clinton shaking the hand or John Huang, Johhny Chung, James Riady, etc. etc.

Notice, TLaemmle, still has a pre-9/11 view of Middle Eastern terrorist supporters. Sure, 20 years ago we didn't care so much about what Islamic Leaders were doing to their populations, BUT, that was back when they weren't fucking with us. Then they decided to fuck with us.
We were dealing with the Cold War and South America and the Soviet expansionism and Islamic wackos were low on the priority list , THAT'S JUST SIMPLE REALITY - DEAL WITH IT!!. They decided to raise terrorist armies to attack westerners, they decided to invade their neighbors and interupt the free flow of trade and the freedom to work and travel of the 385,000 American citizens who live in the Middle East.

SO, YEAH, JUST LIKE OTHER COUNTRIES THAT DECIDED TO F---- WITH US, LIBYA, SOVIET UNION, ETC. WE HAD TO DEAL WITH THEM...NOW WE ARE HAVING TO DEAL WITH THESE BOZOS.

Have you not been following foriegn policy since Sept 11th??

Posted by: Patton on January 25, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Today the biggest threat is islamic radicals and terrorists, not Soviet Expansion, A BIG DUH.

The lefts answer to the Soviets was we have to learn to live and deal with Communism, its not soo bad. Reagan said it was evil and needed to end up on the ash heap of history. REAGAN AND THE CONSERVATIVES WERE RIGHT, THE LEFT WAS DEAD WRONG.

Now its the terrorists, Bush says they way to end their terror is transform the Middle East to more reprsentative democracies or at least change thir cultures. THE LEFT AHS HAD NO ANSWER, NO POLICY, NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. KEVIN DRUM HAS YET TO BLOG A SINGLE IDEA TO COUNTER AND END THE ISLAMIC TERRORIST THREAT.

Come on lefties, what is you policy? learn to live with the terrorist? understand their feelings? or destroy them?

Cowards, can even take a stand against your own destruction.

Posted by: Patton on January 25, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, par for the course...Lt. Calley did a whole three years of house arrest and now works in a jewelry store in Georgia.

Wanna commit an egregious crime against humanity and all standards of decency? Make sure you do it wearing a pickle suit.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 25, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'VE HEARD THAT "PATTON" IS HOW STEVE SCHMIDT, THE CALIFORNIA GOP STRATEGIST WHO'S WORKING ON SCHWARZENEGGER'S 2006 RE-ELECTION, LIKES TO REFER TO HIMSELF.

IS THAT YOU, STEVE?

AM I YELLING LOUD ENOUGH?

Posted by: SED on January 25, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

"""Wanna commit an egregious crime against humanity and all standards of decency? """"

Sure, killing a terrorist who operated a terror state that killed millions of innocent civilians is considered by liberals to be an egregious crime against humanity.

Killing Hitler, according to Global Citizen, would have been an egregious crime against humanity.

PROVING MY POINT ONCE AGAIN....HEAVEN FORBID WE KILL A SINGLE TERRORIST THUG WHO SPENT 30 YEARS TERRORISING AND KILLING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF INNOCENTS...OHH THE HORROR.

Posted by: Patton on January 25, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

What must liberals think of FDR carpet bombing entire cities?

Using flame throwers on innocent Japanese soldiers......

and Truman dropping atomic bombs on people who never hurt an American.

Posted by: Patton on January 25, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Patton, does involuntary celibacy really bother you that much?

Posted by: Pat on January 25, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Remember the words of Colin Powell when the Abu Graib story broke in 2004. Powell told the world:

"Watch America. Watch how we deal with this. Watch how America will do the right thing. Watch what a nation of values and character, a nation that believes in justice, does to right this kind of wrong. Watch how a nation such as ours will not tolerate such actions. I told them that they will see a free press and an independent Congress at work. They will see a Defense Department, led by Secretary Rumsfeld, that will launch multiple investigations to get to the facts. Above all, they will see a president -- our president, President Bush -- determined to find out where responsibility and accountability lie. And justice will be done. The world will see that we are still a nation with a moral code that defines our national character."

Posted by: pj on January 25, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Patton, you fucking moron. I NEVER said any such thing. What I said was that when we embarked on your imaginary mission, the very first thing we did was, Pale Rider, Osame Been Forgotten, and Myself, decided that for the good of the mission we had to frag your worthless sniveling ass.

You certainly live down to my lowest expectations of you.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 25, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

This is a further demonstration of how the Republicans have turned the American Army of freedom and liberation into the German Wehrmacht of oppression and occupation.

As has been said too many times before, "military justice is to justice as military music is to music."

Posted by: TCinLA on January 25, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I am taking a stand against my own destruction, you simpering whelp...I am working against the Republicans standing for election and doing whatever I can (legally - this puts me at a disadvantage) to bring a stop to the legal falacy of the "Unitary Presidency."

Ask your Public Defender when you appear on that indecent exposure charge, Patty-Cake...He will tell you he never heard of the concept until this administration made it up. Kinda like "enemy Combatant."

I want the bastards caught and prosecuted too. But I don't want America to be lost in the process, to turn into some craven, hypocritical beheamoth that none of us recognize.

Remember the story about turning up the heat slowly under a pot of water with a live frog. The frog will cook, even though he could easily hop out. We are the frog, and the boiling water is our eroding civil liberties.

(By the way, PsychoPatton, you look especially stooopid, even for you, every time you accuse a Jew of being a Hitler appologist.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 25, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Patton,

You have to make a distinction between people still fighting you and people who are in your captivity.

It is no war crime to kill an enemy soldier who's fighting back (or as John Kerry did, kill him as he flees so he can't fight you another day). However, it is a war crime to kill an enemy soldier who is your prisoner.

Posted by: beowulf on January 25, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Patton claims to have been in the Air Force, but couldn't tell us what his or her AFSC was, or even define it. Patton is a poser and a liar and a loser, sitting in mothers basement, typing with one hand....

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 25, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Patton: Notice, TLaemmle, still has a pre-9/11 view of Middle Eastern terrorist supporters. Sure, 20 years ago we didn't care so much about what Islamic Leaders were doing to their populations, BUT, that was back when they weren't fucking with us.

Patton, you are right again. Yesterday's mollycoddlers with their 9/10 mindset can be forgiven for not anticipating the nature of the threat that we now face.

I salute your superior grasp of world-historical realities.

Posted by: TLaemmle on January 25, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Almost as good as George and Condi's grasp. Let's look at their 9/11 mindset...

1. Ignore the Presidential Daily Briefing from 8/6/01 that was titled bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

2. Ignore Kathleen Rowley, the FBI agent who figured out that these guys were up to no good, but kept hitting brick walls thrown up by superiors.

3. Ignored the reports of flight schools that were concerned about middle-eastern students who were taking flight lessons but weren't interested in learning to land...

Need I go on? Because I can. At length.

No, their mindset pre-9/11? "Watch this drive!"

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 25, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

As much as I enjoy stringing PsychoPatton up by it's own entrails, I have to go...Maybe I'll get back later, but no guarantees, I just got called to cover a shift at the VA this evening. Hell, I didn't even get out of my scrubs from my regular job!

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 25, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

(that means "Veteran's Administration" Peppermint Patton.)

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 25, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

juries usually get it right...

yeah

Posted by: O.J. on January 25, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry gang. Didn't close an irony tag...

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 25, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just glad this discussion centers on someone being killed. Imagine the outrage if the general was actually HUMILATED, too!

My take on this is that I have just seen the L A Times account of this, which makes me uneasy because the L A Times is the last place I'd look to get an unbiased and balanced description and portrayal of anything involving the global war on terror.

(And by the way, nothing in there about the hostage angle.)

Maybe the outcome was too soft. Maybe it was too harsh. I'm still trying to figure out how a bunch of Democratic operatives got off pretty much scot-free for slashing tires of Republican-rented get-out-the vote vehicles on election day 2004. But I digress - not without pointing out an inherent flaw in our system of trial-by-jury - a flaw that is recognized by many as the price we need to pay for a system where over-punishing is less likely.

Any desire for a "message" verdict, I believe, is misplaced. The military's justice system is not intended to be used as a PR tool. They have other ways of enforcing compliance.

Posted by: 512thirteen10 on January 25, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Gore Vidal puts it all on one page,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gore-vidal/president-jonah_b_14439.html

Posted by: cld on January 25, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen,

Just got back from an afternoon at the local VA. First visit with my new primary care Doctor.
Blood tests and all went smooth. Kudos to all in the VA system.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 25, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Any desire for a "message" verdict, I believe, is misplaced. The military's justice system is not intended to be used as a PR tool. They have other ways of enforcing compliance.
Posted by: 512thirteen10

what are they going to do to this pissant torturer? assasinate him?

Posted by: Nads on January 25, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still trying to figure out how a bunch of Democratic operatives got off pretty much scot-free for slashing tires of Republican-rented get-out-the vote vehicles on election day 2004.

hey, after you figure that out, maybe you can figure out how a partisan Republican secretary of state got off scot-free after having hundreds, if not thousands, of legal voters removed from the registration rolls in Florida before the 2000 election.
but I digress..

Posted by: haha on January 25, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if we had a few more "Esquires" on this thread, we would be able to get to the crux of the matter. Any REAL military lawyers out there?

Posted by: stupid git on January 25, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

SEE, WHEN I TYPE IN CAPS PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION TO ME!

Posted by: patton on January 25, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Oh I see - kill 18 innocent Pakistan women and children - it's no big deal - worth every dead innocent darky if it saved Kevin's ass from a terrorist attack - but kill one of Saddam's Generals, a person who most likely killed a lot of innocent Iraqis and it's MORE then negligent homicide. Is it murder now Kevin?

Frankly, I think Kevin has lost the right to argue about humanity issues or any lack there of. In fact Kevin wouldn't know what a humanitarian issue was if it bit him in the ass.

It's a centrist Dem thing. Kevin has to ask Al From if that is how everybody feels and Kevin has to decide what humanitarian issues exist via the wit of a mob, no enlightment ever need apply.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 25, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK
The American people lessen themselves with each occurrence of this, combined with each vote they take enabling it.

OK. Let's impeach the American people.

I guess that sounds kinda stupid, doesn't it?

Posted by: ljr on January 25, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

If I remember there was a question of whether the suffocation caused the death or a heart attack from the suffocation.

Posted by: McA on January 25, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'll just say that I have no problem with the disgust with which Marc Cooper writes about this incident.

I also agree the the commenters above who think it's ridiculous to blame all this on a warrant officer. When it comes to law-breaking in Iraq, the military chain of command seems to be discarded. And that chain goes all the way to POTUS.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 25, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

I love my country.

George W Bush, his neofascist buddies, and his supporters make it harder and harder every day. But I still love my country.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 25, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Winning hearts and minds......

Why turn yourself in-when they kill you anyway? Might as well fight to the finish. What's to be gained by becoming a prisoner-they kill the prisoners? So how are we better than Sadam was again?

Posted by: MRB on January 25, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

What's the point to the whole fucking war if it makes us as bad or worse than what were fighting against? Are we trying to make things better or just kill a bunch of people? If it's kill a bunch of people then killing prisoners during torture makes sense-if we're trying to develop a democracy then we're going about it all wrong. We're just making more enemies.

Posted by: MRB on January 25, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

It must have been the Democrats's fault.

For Mr. Cooper (the right's favorite aging leftist troll) everything is the Democrats's fault.

Posted by: The Blue Nomad on January 25, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

What's the point to the whole fucking war if it makes us as bad or worse than what were fighting against?

We're white, we're Christian. Nothing else matters to these people when measuring who is "better".

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 25, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

One of the first things that becomes apparent when you serve in the military is that there's a set of rules and a set of standards that they claim apply to everyone.

Well, there's a set of standards that applies to enlisted people.

Then, senior enlisted have their exceptions to the standards that they apply to what they derisively term the 'lower enlisted.'

Then you have officers.

If you can believe it, there actually is a way to apply to UCMJ separately to three different demographics in the military.

If you've ever been in a unit where they relieve the Commander, the 1SG, the Battalion S3, and about a half dozen others because of adultery, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Chief Welshofer got away with murder. Period. End of story. And he got away with it because of his rank.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 25, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

And torture is brought to you by the same people that are so alarmed about abortion.... Does this mean a fetus is vastly important but that if the fetus is born Islamic Iraqi then it's all right to torture him until he dies?

Posted by: MRB on January 25, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Welshofer had contended that he was following vague instructions from U.S. commanders in Iraq to "take the gloves off" and break detainees to obtain more information about the insurgency that was killing increasing numbers of U.S. troops.

how much information does a dead man give?

Posted by: ding7777 on January 25, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

"If you've ever been in a unit where they relieve the Commander, the 1SG, the Battalion S3, and about a half dozen others because of adultery, you'll know what I'm talking about."

Damn, PR, that sounds like an interesting unit.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

There sure are a lot of bozos on this bus.

Posted by: secularhuman on January 25, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

MJ Memphis,

Sorta an extended "From Here to Eternity".

Posted by: stupid git on January 25, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

MJ and sir Git,

Yep. And they shuffled them off to other units, covered it up, nobody got punished.

God help the kid who shows up late to PT, though. Take a stripe, take a few hundred bucks, treat him like a pariah.

True story: A warrant officer gets drunk off his ass, gets on another guys motorcycle, drives fifty yards, crashes the bike into a utility pole, ruins the bike and cripples himself.

They covered it up, and he got sent home early so he could rehab himself and get back on jump status because he needed the money.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 25, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Negligent homicide?

Sounds like someone tried to kill the guy but was was too stupid to get the job done. Maybe the guy is now a vegetable in some Iraqi hospital, you know, almost dead, but the the soldier was a little negligent.

Posted by: Matt on January 25, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Reading this whole thread through really quickly has the effect of watching a Fellini film while taking a brisk five-mile run.

Posted by: shortstop on January 25, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

American sleeping bag entrepreneurs, material suppliers, manufacturers, warehousemen, and retailers are responsible for the tortured death of an Iraqi while in the custody of the US Armed Forces. Americans are diabolically vicious ritual cannibals, unconscious followers of Moloch, who delight to see their products filled with the blood, sweat, and tears of beaten dead men.
OH MOLOCH! we dedicate this liver to you and thank you for providing such willing victims for our devotions, one nation under God.

Posted by: Hostile on January 25, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

theorajones:I'm saying it again, Eisenhower would not have tolerated this crap

You really need to study what Eisenhower did to the Nazi prisoners after WWII. The Geneva Conventions had no meaning to him and he made no bones about it. Similarly General Marshall, considered to be one of the most sincere and kind American Generals of all times issued take no prisoner orders for German snipers. War is Hell and bad things happen and lower ranks pay the prices on the winning side and higher ranks pay on the losing side. You want Bush to pay.....Lose the war is the only way....otherwise it's evry Private to Lieutenant for him/herself.

Posted by: murmeister on January 25, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop!

How are you doing?

Nah, this thread is more whacked than that. Remember the Easter Egg roll thread? This thread crushes that thread like an evil grape...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 25, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

PR: Grieving. But one day at a time. Thanks for asking.

Posted by: shortstop on January 25, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

I hear you.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 25, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

What's the point to the whole fucking war if it makes us as bad or worse than what were fighting against? Are we trying to make things better or just kill a bunch of people? If it's kill a bunch of people then killing prisoners during torture makes sense-if we're trying to develop a democracy then we're going about it all wrong.

They are trying to make a perfect society. A society of continuous terror. It is deliberate and they want to bring it home. It is ideological.

Posted by: Hostile on January 25, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

This was the famed ticking time bomb scenario in action.

This was it, right here.

Every moment this guy didn't share his information Iraqis were literally being shot and blown up in the streets. We kidnapped his sons just like in 24, we bound him, beat him cruelly, stuffed him in a bag --

-- and now he's dead and we still know nothing.

So much for the value and necessity of torture.

Next on Myths of the Right Put to Bed::

"Gay Marriage: Will it Really Bring About the End of the World?"

Posted by: trex on January 25, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

"You notice everytime Kevin Drum talks about interogating enemy terrorists, he allways warns you have to have a strong stomach. Yet he never warns you need a strong stomach to read what terrorists did to civilians, our troops, or what Saddam did to everybody."

Let's put it simply, so a child can understand it: We are not responsible for the bad actions of Saddam, Osama, Pyongyang, etc. We are responsible for the actions of Americans, especially those in uniform, whom you conveniently pretend to care about.

We hold ourselves to high standards, and it is the furthest thing from treason for us to insist upon that, right out loud, even without capotal letters. You, sir, hate America, the constitution, and all it stands for, and you should be deeply, deeply ashamed to say the hateful, self-loathing, and dehumanizing things you seem so proud to ejaculate into these pages. If Patton were alive today, he would never stop throwing up.

Posted by: Kenji on January 26, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

"The commisars are the bearers of an ideology directly opposed to National Socialism. Therefore the commisars will be liquidated. German soldiers guilty of breaking international law . . . will be excused."

--Adolf Hitler

Posted by: J on January 26, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

You would prefer a charge of manslaughter? Maybe you need to read a lot more American crime stories.

What will the punishment for negligent homicide be?

Posted by: contentious on January 26, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

But Kenji Patton comments here all the time, he's not a very nice fellow though.

Posted by: morg on January 26, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK


We treated Germans POWs decently: theri total death rate as US prisoners was about 1%, mostly due to food shortages in 1945 The accusations against Eisenhower are false. We let lots of Volkssturm go and some lying pinhead tried to turn that into a death camp experience. Never happened. I knew one of those Volkssturm soldiets slightly - he taught me plasma physics. I once freaked him out by standing out of sight and whistling "Lili Marlene'.

Posted by: gcochran on January 26, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

I know, Morg, I see his screaming all the time, and I've just had it with that level of anti-American hatemongering -- and I think we should start calling like it is. These guys think masturbating with a flag makes them patriots.

Posted by: Kenji on January 26, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, what a thread ...

I can understand the usual suspects making excuses for this guy. But
Nathan really *does* seem to exemplify why it is that this society is
so contemptful of lawyers.

Causitry is not justice. We, as non-laywers, aren't really interested
in the legal niceties that allow a verdict like that to pass. As
American citizens, we're watching something different. We're watching
our country and its standards being held up to the world in this
trial.

And that experience is fucking *wretched*.

I agree that in all probability the JAG prosecutors didn't push this
to the hilt because the real problem extends up the chain of command,
so why burn a warrant officer for it.

The so-called mens rea seems pretty inferentially clear. The warrant
officer was told to "take the gloves off" and was clearly torturing
the guy. And he went too far -- whoops.

But if they admitted a bad mens rea, they'd probably have to admit
things about the interrogation process that would call it into
question. They can't do this. So they look at the guy as a
cold-blooded technician making a mistake of mental judgement rather
than a man caught up in bloodlust.

And that's what we observers have such a hard time accepting.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 26, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

"""You have to make a distinction between people still fighting you and people who are in your captivity.""""

Hey idiot, they are still fighting EVEN in captivity. WAKE UP.

Sheikh Abdel Rahkman planned terrorist attacks from his jail cell in New York.

We have caught many terrorists who IN CAPTIVITY under interogation revealed several future terror attacks they knew about and revealed their contacts in their terror cells.

I SEE ONCE AGAIN, THE LIBERALS POINT HAS TO DO WITH LOCATION, JUST LIKE ABORTION.

IF THE BABY IS IN THE MOTHER - SHE CAN KILL IT, HARM IT ANYWAY SHE PLEASES.

IF THE TERRORIST IN IN THE CAPTIVITY, YOU MUST NOT TOUCH HIM

Posted by: Patton on January 26, 2006 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

KENJI STEPS IN IT:
"""Let's put it simply, so a child can understand it: We are not responsible for the bad actions of Saddam, Osama, Pyongyang, etc. We are responsible for the actions of Americans, especially those in uniform, whom you conveniently pretend to care about. """"

Gee, Kenji, have you not heard of International Law?? Geneva Convetions? The UN security council?

ARE YOU UNAWARE THAT DAILY WE ARE TOLD THE US NEEDS TO CONFORM WITH INTL LAWS AND STANDARDS?

SO WHY ARE YOU UNWILLING TO HOLD SADDAM, OSAMA, ETC. TO THOSE SAME STANDARDS???

And what does that have to do with whether killing a terrorist, or killing an innocent women by cutting her head off would make your stomach turn???

If the General had been convicted in a military tribunal, sentenced to death, and then executed, would you need a 'STRONG STOMACH" to read about it?????

Posted by: Patton on January 26, 2006 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK

The General could have saved his own life:

First, he could have not joined Saddams military, he could have defected, he could have got out of service after an enlistment, he could have done a thousand others things then be a terrorist thug torturing the population of Iraq for 30 years.

He could have not participated in the illegal wars of Saddam against Iran, Saudi Arabia, Isreal and Kuwait.

He could have not engaged in the killing of Americans.

BUT HE CHOSE HIS FATE, HE CHOSE TO BE THE BAD GUY SCUM THUG AND HE DIED A BETTER DEATH THEN HE REALLY DESERVED.
YOU HAVE MORE FEELINGS FOR THIS DEAD SCUMBAG THEN THE LIBERALS HAD FOR THE AMERICAN CONTRACTORS WHO WERE PURPOSEFULLY DISEMBOWELLED AND HUNG FROM A BRIDGE.

IF I REMEMBER, THE LEFTS RESPONSE TO THAT 'STRONG STOMACH' ISSUE WAS "SCREW THEM!!!"

WELL MY ANSWER TO THE AMERICAN KILLING IRAQI THUG IS SCREW HIM, HE GOT BETER THEN HE DESERVED.

Posted by: Patton on January 26, 2006 at 6:37 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen:
""""Remember the story about turning up the heat slowly under a pot of water with a live frog. The frog will cook, even though he could easily hop out. We are the frog, and the boiling water is our eroding civil liberties.""""

GC, the story isn't true...I know you like to go through life believing in fairy tales. Go read snopes.com for a lesson in frogs. Blooming idiot.


Posted by: Patton on January 26, 2006 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

And do these liberities include:

Negotiating my own salary..because Kevin opposes that.

Contracting with the doctor of my choice...because Kevin opposes that.

Posted by: Patton on January 26, 2006 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

I have to admit though. I disagree with the outcome. I'd say that man would be a war criminal subject to arrest if he ever leaves the United States.


Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

Six Pattons in a row. I love the smell of rank insanity in the morning.

Posted by: shortstop on January 26, 2006 at 7:01 AM | PERMALINK

shortstop: But is it the smell of victory?

Posted by: S Ra on January 26, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

S Ra,

It's the smell of burning hair and WD-40...and you don't win anything for knowing what that smells like.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 26, 2006 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

PR, as I scrolled through the Patton posts I was picking up more the odor of rotting mushrooms and cow manure in a dank basement. Earthy and complex, yet disgusting, like wine made from moldy asparagus instead of grapes.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 26, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, someone open the cellar door and get out the firehoses and Lysol, please. Something wicked this way grows.

Posted by: Kenji on January 26, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

MJ,

Patton/Alice has been incarcerated several times for harassing the employees at the Kinko's where she uses the computer to post her rants on the blog.

She is best known for being a bag lady who pushes a Safeway shopping cart around, howling conspiracy theories and misbegotten statistics at people. She has a fondness for Oreo cookies (her moustache is usually full of crumbs) and the poor dear is caked with Crisco from giving hobos handjobs to get the money to buy the ingredients to make her homemade wine.

She is a horrible, vile wretch and we must be kind to her only when she takes her medication and behaves. She is not poor--she has several hundred thousand dollars shoved into a suitcase that she has stashed in a bus terminal.

Some believe that it was Bill Clinton's refusal to take her to the prom that caused all of her insanity.

As to the smell, it could also be flopsweat and flea shampoo...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 26, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

there is a comparison at "Democracy Now!" of a NY peace activist's 6-month sentence with this guy's sentence for 'negligent homicide.' A revealing comparison, no?

Posted by: shoebeacon on January 26, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

I bought her the flea shampoo out of my very own walkin' around money, PR, and she refuses to use it. You just can't help some people. Like the GOP is always saying, some people choose to be losers.

Posted by: shortstop on January 26, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

The pawn shop gave her fifty cents for the flea shampoo and she bought yeast with it to make hooch!

It's just so sad. She had a promising career as an opera singer before she went batshit crazy...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 26, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

CDJ--You are *so* right.

We get the government we deserve.

Posted by: ELR on January 26, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

This is the real me as was the previous post.
I'm against this. That man committed a crime under the rules of war.

Now if he left the room and had the domestic police do it, that's OK.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it fun to see Al, McA, Frequent Farter, and PATTON squirm and dissemble?

Now where's tbrosz with the tax cut angle?

Posted by: Ace Franze on January 26, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it fun to see Al, McA, Frequent Farter, and PATTON squirm and dissemble?

Posted by: Ace Franze on January 26, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

No. I'm really against this. You surrender in uniform, it should be name rank and serial number.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

People like Al screamed about the inhumane treatment american POW recieved when Iraqies allowed photos in the news. Remember the fear in the faces of the young soldiers.They were not mistreated.

In future people like Al should not whine when american soldiers are treated like the General. It is all in the scheme of things, s**t happens.

Posted by: Renate on January 26, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

This whole discussion is going to seem so quaint when we start nuking entire cities full of Muslims here soon.

Posted by: Jim J on January 26, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"As I said above, he BELIEVED that he was following lawful orders to "creatively interrogate". He was negligent in doing so."
Posted by: Al on January 25, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK


In what way was he 'negligent' in his 'creative interrogation'? Was putting a man in a sleeping bag and sitting on him not creative enough?

Was he ordered to kill the man? No? Then what he did was at minimum negligent homicide.

Posted by: MarkH on January 26, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, you could have a weekly magazine based on US military war crimes. Incredible.

Posted by: Bob M on January 26, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK
Wow, you could have a weekly magazine based on US military war crimes.

Yeah, if you wanted your offices bombed, you could have such a magazine, for a little while.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Peppermint Patton: Lemme teach you a new word: metaphore. That is spelled M-E-T-A-P-H-O-R-E.

To be called a "blooming idiot" by a worthless, inarticulate, socially retarded and mentally defective cretin like you is certainly no insult.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 26, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

star, actor, super star, singer

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Posted by: dfd on January 27, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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