Saturday, September 29, 2007

Important update 
Looking at the newspaper on my lap right now, the acquittal of the sniper I referenced in my last post seems to be referring to a different incident than the one the Purple Avenger excoriated me over last week.

The acquitted sniper, SPC Jorge G. Sandoval, was originally accused murder, but was convicted instead of planting a coil of copper wire on one of his kills, near Iskandaria. The jury found him guilty of this offense, which is different than murder.

The Iraqi who was shot was cutting grass in a field using a scythe when he was killed, and was thought to be an insurgent who had disguised himself as a farmer after battling Iraqi soldiers just minutes earlier, according to the New York Times.

In another incident, some Iraqi walked into the sniper hide position. Another sniper, SGT Evan Vela, shot and killed him. Sandoval was charged with murder because he did nothing to stop Vela from shooting him. Vela is charged with murder.

Again, I have no opinion about the facts in these particular cases; I leave the fact finding up to the commanders and members of the military jury, where it properly belongs.

It's wrong to use 'throwaway evidence' by planting weapons or contraband on corpses of people killed while unarmed. But why are our soldiers going into battle with a coil of copper wire in their pockets to use as a throwaway?

I'll tell you why: Because they no longer trust their commands and JAGS to use any prosecutorial discretion and common sense.

Splash, out


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Bingo! You hit the nail on the head, Jason. When I first read about the "evidence planting" I immediately thought, "These guys don't trust their chain of command to back them up."

When you can get a lawful order to kill the enemy and then be brought up on charges for following that order, something is SERIOUSLY wrong with our military leaders.
The Iraqi shot in the field was apparantly a farmer cutting his grass with a sickle. If it was a legitimate kill then they wouldn't have needed to plant the wire spool on his body.

As for the other one, he did accidentally stumble into the snipers' hide, but as came out in the court martial of Sandoval (and reported in the Washington Post on 28 September), the man "was not armed and had his hands in the air when he approached the soldiers. Hensley "asked me if I was ready [said Vela]". I had the pistol out. I heard the word 'shoot'. I don't remember pulling the trigger"... Vela said that as the Iraqi man lay convulsing "Hensley kind of laughed about it and hit the guy on the throat and said 'Shoot again'. After he [the Iraqi man] was shot, Hensley pulled an AK-47 out of his rucksack and said "This is what we are going to say happened" Vela said."

So that's cold-blooded murder of an unarmed man who had his hands in the air and who by dumb luck happened to stumble on the snipers' hide. Nothing to be proud of, and (as if any further proof was needed) vividly illustrates why the military is not at all capable of investigating itself any more than O.J. Simpson would be of investigating himself for the murder of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. Anybody still wonder why the U.S. military has no credibility whatsoever?
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