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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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  •  Yes, exactly (0+ / 0-)

    and it is CONGRESS who writes the UCMJ.  It is CONGRESS who defines military law and justice.

    Imposing that justice in accordance with the law is left to military EXPERTS - judges, lawyers and commanders.

    While I am sure theft and murder are easy to judge by both military and civilian juries what about crimes like failure to repair or missing movement?  What do you know about conduct unbecoming?  Civil courts cant convict you for being a jerk but military courts can.  What you call valid political speech we call contempt toward officials.  How are you going to sit in judgement when you know nothing of the law?

    While I lived in Saudi Arabia I drank beer.  Should I be subject to Saudi law and potentially death for having a beer?  I looked at porn too.  Should I be subject to stoning?

    My job title includes killing people.  Were I subject to civilian laws I would be guilty of murder.  Would you give me blanket exemption?  Case by case?  Easy to do when we are fighting small wars but think about D-Day or Gettysburg.  

    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 03:27:10 PM PST

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    •  No, unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      killing people is Murder when it's not in immediate self defense.

      And insubordination will get you fired at any job, including McDonalds.  That's what a dishonorable discharge should be for.  (Though speech, obviously, shouldn't be criminalized, even in the military).

      If you are in a foreign country, of course you should b subject to the laws of that country.  You need to not get caught, or stay the fuck out of other people's countries if you don't wanna be subject to their rules.  It doesn't make their laws "right," it makes them their laws.  Just like ours.

      None of this is rocket science.  

      It simply runs counter to years of military "tradition."

      Having two sets of legal standards for American citizens is anachronistic, and constitutionally and ethically unjustifiable.   Having two sets of legal standards for HUMAN BEINGS is ethically unjustifiable.  

      I understand the "logic" to justify a separate "military justice" system.  My father was an Air Force Captain.  But that doesn't make it appropriate for a 21st century democracy.

      We will have to disagree that joining the US military should take away one's rights as an American citizen, or as a human being, or gives one legal or ethical cover to take away the rights of other people.  

      If laws aren't universally applied, they are morally bankrupt.

      •  Ah so now we get to the core (0+ / 0-)

        "killing people is Murder when it's not in immediate self defense"

        This is a great idea but pretty much rules out effective military operations and in fact would prolong any conflict.  The trench warfare of WWI is a great example of two inherently defensive forces locked into a bloody struggle without end.  Extending a conflict by not using the means to end it is is fact a key failure point in just war theory.  Choosing to continue a conflict when the means to end it (attack) are available is immoral.  Yet your theory would deny any non-defensive action and lead to endless absorption of losses.

        Please remember that everyone who joins the military is made well aware of the freedoms they are giving up including absolute freedom of speech.  You demonstrate a lack of understanding of military justice - I cannot think of a single dishonorable discharge for insubordination.  In fact, as a military specific crime it is one of the few charges that can lead to a later upgrade of a discharge like a General or Other than Honorable.  We recognize the unique requirements we place on people and the unique nature of the offense.

        In 27 years in the military the only country I was in uninvited was Iraq.  I not only was asked to come to Saudi Arabia the government reimbursed the Department of Defense for every dime of my "cost" for almost two years.  We establish Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) that say which foreign laws we will follow and which we will be exempt from.  It was the failure of the US and Iraq to reach a SOFA that lead to our withdrawal of Title 10 personnel (the remaining are Title 22).  Contrary to popular belief, the US military is rarely in countries uninvited but before we show up we make sure the legal status of those soldiers is well defined.  It is not "tradition" any more than the status of diplomats is "tradition."  Without such agreements our ability to work with allies would be severely restricted and we would all suffer.

        How is it any less appropriate for "21st century democracy" to impose different but complimentary legal standards on soldiers and civilians?  No rights are ever taken from a citizen when he/she joins the military.  They are voluntarily forfeited.  I choose to serve and I serve understanding the requirements of service.  No rights have been taken from me.

        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 02:05:30 PM PST

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