THIS was the true intent of the Bush aggression against Iraq… any questions?
US Marine Sergeant Frank Wuterich, who stood trial in a court martial at MCB Camp Pendleton on charges of killing 24 Iraqi civilians in 2005, received a demotion to the rank of private and had his pay reduced, but he’ll serve no prison sentence. The remarkably lenient verdict was due to the fact that the 31-year-old marine had pleaded guilty to dereliction of duties, repented for his wrongdoing, and expressed remorse for the victims. The American Themis has once again demonstrated that the principle of a just punishment for severe crimes doesn’t apply to everyone in the United States. The ruling came less than two weeks after a YouTube-posted video of US marines urinating on the bodies of slain Taliban militants in Afghanistan sparked an international outcry. The scandal on that hadn’t died down before the announcement of this new verdict.
However, let’s update you on the scandalous “exploits” of the US military in Iraq. Note well that they get away with such with impunity. Seven years ago, militants attacked a squad commanded by Wuterich in El Haditha, killing one marine and wounding two others. The sergeant ordered his men to search the nearby houses, to destroy the resistance, instructing his subordinates to “shoot first and then think”. As a result, the marines killed 24 civilians, including women and children. For his part, Wuterich shot and killed a mother and a child in one of the houses. Mark it down that none of the civilians had put up armed resistance.
Lawyer Sergei Maksimov of the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences thought, “The prospect of an objective investigation of this crime is bleak. Unfortunately, this is universal practise. Any state that has an army strives to protect its servicemen from criminal prosecution and to imbue its soldiers with the belief that they must fulfil their military duty at any cost. The only true ‘guardian’ here isn’t criminal law, but conscience and faith. True, under existing international conventions, crimes against peace and humanity carry a severe punishment. However, one should hardly expect any fair investigation in this particular case unless it goes before an international tribunal, which is unlikely”.
One should observe that crimes against civilians during US military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are almost routine occurrences. No military expediency can justify shooting at a wedding procession, which happened in 2008, or the regular abuse and bullying of civilians without military necessity. That’s not to mention the torture used by the Americans against detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at the Guantánamo detention camp in Cuba. Most of the story remains hidden, out of sight of American civil justice. Hakim al-Zamili, a member Commission on Defence and Security of the Council of Representatives of Iraq, reacted to what was virtually an acquittal of Wuterich, “One can hardly call it a punishment. The open contempt for the Iraqi people and their spilt blood is simply downright inhumane. The victims’ relatives will petition the United Nations and other organisations demanding harsher punishment for the perpetrators [of this atrocity]”.
Konstantin Sivkov of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, pointed up, “It wasn’t just this specific crime committed against civilians, but it was also a Western military intervention itself against a sovereign state, which itself was illegal. That soldier committed a war crime, and he must pay the penalty for them. However, that’s only the lowest level [of responsibility]. International law qualifies the unleashing of war against a sovereign state as a war crime”. Wuterich shall go free, albeit with a demotion, but he didn’t even receive a monetary fine. Yet, this isn’t surprising, as few of American soldiers who brought “democracy” to Afghanistan and Iraq at the tip of their bayonets paid any “price”.
25 January 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
The original Russian and the VOR English translation included a small section with a misattribution of a quote to the late US Congressman John Murtha (D-PA). Accordingly, I removed it. Journalists make mistakes… it’s the duty of editors to correct them. Mr Kharlamov was obviously working under a deadline… cut him some slack; none of US are perfect, are we?