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Friday, August 2, 2013

The Military's Double Standard in Prosecuting Soldiers

Since near the start of our tragic war in Iraq, the organization that has done the most extensive, and most respected, counting of the bodies is aptly named Iraq Body Count.  I've relied on their work in my many, many articles and book for over a decade now.  (Current count:  nearly 4500 U.S. troops and at least 125,000 Iraqi civilians).  Now they've posted an important piece by Josh Dougherty on the verdict in the Bradley Manning case at their site that 1) compares how U.S. soldiers who committed war crimes in Iraq have gotten off easy and 2) thanks Manning for releasing material that documented thousands of civilian casualties there that we wouldn't know about otherwise.  In others words:  those who killed civilians got off, the man who exposed the shocking numbers gets severely punished.

Two excerpts, but read it all:
For example, the US Marines involved in one of the most notorious massacres of civilians in Iraq by US forces, in Haditha in November 2005, faced virtually no legal consequences. One Marine was convicted of a minor offense for which he served no jail time, and the rest have all been acquitted or had all charges dropped and will live the rest of their lives in freedom. The helicopter pilots who gunned down at least ten civilians, including two Reuters journalists and a father of two children who stopped to try to help the wounded, as documented in the "Collateral Murder" video exposed by Bradley Manning, face no punishment of any kind...
IBC has produced a list of thousands of incidents in the Iraq war between 2004-09, killing several thousand Iraqi civilians that have now been sourced exclusively from the documents released by Bradley Manning, and who would otherwise have remained hidden to the world at large.  These and thousands of others like them are known to the world today only because Bradley Manning could no longer in good conscience collude with an official policy of the Bush and Obama administrations to abuse secrecy and "national security" to erase them from history. If Manning deserves any punishment at all for this, certainly his three years already served, and the disgraceful abuse he was made to suffer during it, is more than enough.

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