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View Diary: CNN Losing Bradley Manning Story: Manning Was Reporting a War Crime, "The Van Thing" (286 comments)

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  •  They didn't convict West, dang it! (16+ / 0-)

    They did an Article 32 investigation and then offered him an Article 15, which he accepted, paid a $5000 fine and retired..... a semi-graceful exit for a truly despicable person.

    As you know, ksuwildcat, but others may not, an Article 15 (known as non-judicial punishment) may only be offered by a commander, not forced on a soldier. Punishment is limited and the maximum depends on the rank of the commander, and is usually some amount of confinement, extra duty, loss of pay and/or rank.

    It's an 'out' for all parties in a situation like this, but the soldier can refuse the offer, leaving the commander to decide to either drop the charge or move it up to a real court-martial.

    I've never heard of a soldier refusing an Article 15, but I'm sure it happens.... hell of a gamble, though.

    Geez, I guess I'm REALLY bored at work today - I've never written this many comments before. :-)

    Cheers.

    Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

    by databob on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 02:24:21 PM PST

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    •  more to it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raincrow

      The decision to charge him with NJP was based on the circumstances surrounding the incident.  LTC West actually had a good case and probably a better than 50/50 chance of making it though a General Courts Martial.  The command held the threat of convening a Summary Court where a single officer would decide vice a jury.  Had it gone to Summary trial, he probably would have lost as they generally hold a stricter view where as a jury is a crap shoot every time.

      LTC West reported his actions immediately and his command took no action.  Much later when a CENTCOM IG investigator was looking into a different matter the incident surfaced.  Basically someone who was about to go down said "well Im not as bad as LTC West."  Only then did the Brigade Commander involved bring charges against LTC West.  Any jury is going to hold a dim view of charges brought late in an obvious attempt to get the IG to look another direction.

      I happen to know LTC West and I corresponded with him during the time before he was sentenced.  I thought what he did was wrong but I also understood why he did it.  He was faced with a very personal threat and acted as one might expect in the situation.  I think, but do not know, I would have acted differently.  Had I been on the jury, I would likely have voted to convict but I would understand why others would not.  I have no doubt that those who were involved in the plea negotiations did the same mental math.  The final outcome was both good and bad for both sides.  Some would say that is the definition of justice.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 03:15:49 PM PST

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      •  He went over the line... (0+ / 0-)

        and I believe he knows it. From his Wikipedia page:

        During a hearing held as part of an Article 32 investigation in November 2003, West stated, "I know the method I used was not right, but I wanted to take care of my soldiers."[
        I admit that my opinion of West comes mainly from his outrageous behavior as a member of Congress - like most people, I'd never heard of him before he was elected.

        I've spent most of my life associated with the Army - my dad was a West Point grad (1950), and I enlisted when I was 19 and served 4 years, then spent 18 years as a tech rep working on electronic warfare and comm systems. So I have a framework for evaluating this stuff.

        Allen West doesn't measure up in my book.

        Cheers.

        Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

        by databob on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 09:02:29 PM PST

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        •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

          He knew it was wrong, did it anyway and then self reported.  In many ways he did the right thing.  Many others have done similar things and then tried to cover it up.  It was the lack of cover up that cast him in a positive light and made the command think twice about rolling the dice with a jury.  

          And Ill be honest - when I heard about this I was not surprised at all.  it was very much "in character" for him.  He generally placed himself above the rules while expecting everyone else to follow them.  

          Personally I wish the command had tried him.  He would have either been guilty or innocent instead of this half way state.  Its better to stand for justice and lose than stand by and allow wrong.

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:23:55 PM PST

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          •  "it is better to stand for justice and lose than (0+ / 0-)

            stand by and allow wrong."

            That, in essence is the core of the Manning case.

            Let the chips fly.  In the court of public opinion there is a determined effort to have a selected, sliver of formality while building a case in the popular media against him personally.

            Where is the war crimes trial of an incident of three years ago now?  More important to silence the messenger than have the basis of the Iraq fiasco revealed and dealt with. There will be more in the future, fiascos that is. America runs on wars like this, ever since WW 2. Won't change.

    •  Band of Brothers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ksuwildkat
      I've never heard of a soldier refusing an Article 15, but I'm sure it happens.... hell of a gamble, though.
      In the video and the book (and in real life) Dick Winters turned down administrative punishment( what was later called an article 15) for a court martial and beat the charge. Its the thing to do when a soldier thinks he has been accused unfairly by his commander (as Winters did)

      Arrticle 15s put WAY too much power in the hands of your commander. They can really fuck with your life solely because they don't like you.  In what other theater of life can your boss fine you, restrict you to your barracks, restrict who you associate with? This is why liberals keep their mouths shut in the army---the bosses tend to be conservative, very conservative
      I got one articlle 15 in 3 years, for something others did regularly (sleeping on radio guard)  I thought it was real unfair but that was the Army all over

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 04:31:48 PM PST

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      •  Not just conservatives (0+ / 0-)

        Im about as liberal as they come but sleeping on guard.....would have to be some serious mitigation for me not to give an AR 15.  Of course I would also want to know what the heck the SOG was doing and how he managed to let that happen.

        If you think the Army is bad, the Air Force doesnt even have Summarized Article 15s and in the Navy everything goes to the O6.  AR 15 is a great tool if it is used right and if there is followup.  It is an evil tool if used for evil.

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:28:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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