Voices from Russia

Monday, 9 April 2012

US Marine Faces Dismissal Over Anti-Obama Comments

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Veteran US Marine Sergeant Gary Stein, 26, is facing dismissal after posting critical remarks on Facebook about President Barack Obama. A Marine Corps board held a hearing last week and recommended that Stein be discharged. Now, a final decision is due from a commanding general. If he doesn’t accept the board’s decision, the case will go to the Department of the Navy. Meanwhile, some politicians said that the scandal has proved once again, that we should revise the rules restricting freedom of speech among the military.

Prosecutors stated that Stein repeatedly criticised President Obama on Facebook and other websites. Stein, a Marine sergeant on active duty, ignored warnings made by his superiors, and he even founded a website called “Armed Forces Tea Party”, in support of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement. During an online discussion in March about NATO allowing the court-martial of US troops for Koran burnings in Afghanistan, Stein said that he wouldn’t follow any order from the president that involved detaining US citizens or anything else he thought would violate their constitutional rights. After that, Stein’s commanding officer notified him that he was up for administrative disciplinary measures because of alleged misconduct.

On the one hand, there’s nothing unusual about a Marine Corps Board recommending a “less than honourable” discharge for Stein, for President Obama’s the commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, and, thus, one can’t view a sergeant’s refusal to follow orders in any other way but as a violation of military discipline. On the other hand, there’s a tradition in the USA, rooted in the times of the American Civil War, when freedom of speech in the military was severely restricted. A Pentagon regulation prohibits service members from certain political activities. From this point of view, Stein’s attempt to explain that he’d advocated not the disobedience of all of Obama’s orders, but only those violating the constitutional rights of Americans, will hardly be taken into consideration by the board. However, Stein’s lawyers said that such regulations, as well as the allegations faced by the sergeant, violate his right to freedom of speech.

Stein has many supporters, including Republican Duncan Hunter, who urged the Pentagon not to discharge Stein, adding that the military should update its policies to reflect “the changing dynamics of social communication”. The fact that a Republican politician commented on the issue didn’t surprise anybody. Nevertheless, obviously, the Stein case raised some very important issues about the correlation between military regulations and contemporary realities. Meanwhile, Stein, a hero for some, a criminal to others, awaits the final decision in his case.

9 April 2012

Vladimir Gladkov

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_04_09/71168699/

Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep this simple. Stein stated, in public, without equivocation, that he’d disobey orders coming from POTUS. Nothing else matters in the least. Stein’s CO tried to get him to see reason and withdraw his statement. Stein, being a dumb-ass hard-ass, refused to do so. No one, from general or admiral to lowest recruit, can make a public statement beforehand that they’d disobey an order that they judge “unfit” or “unlawful”… especially not orders coming from the highest level. It’s against all principles of good military discipline. Its one thing to disobey an unlawful order in the field… one still faces a court-martial to “stand and deliver” (there ARE illegal orders, but there’s a “chain of command” to consider, and the effect on discipline and cohesion in general). It’s quite another to state, coldly, without provocation, beforehand, that one would disobey orders from POTUS. That’s insubordination of the grossest sort, and Stein will be lucky to end up with a DD.

I know… I served. We should hang this jabronie from the tallest tree for his endangerment of his fellow grunts. Reflect well that the foremost GOP slimer of them all, Darrell Issa, defends this self-centred and disobedient POS. Duncan Hunter is a former USMC officer… he should know better. He shit on his honour and on that of the Corps for defending this insubordinate SOB. I believe that if a soldier had openly said that he’d disobey George W Bush‘s orders, I believe that he should’ve gotten the drop, too. Even if the orders were clearly criminal, even if they led to acts of aggressive war, as many of GWB‘s orders did, a soldier has NO right to publicly state that they’ll disobey orders. Insubordination is insubordination… and it tells you volumes about Duncan Hunter’s character to see him defend such disgraceful anti-military dishonour, merely because the loud-mouthed creep was a Hard Right Republican.

‘Nuff said!

BMD

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Humanitarianism “American Style”

THIS was the true intent of the Bush aggression against Iraq… any questions?

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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

Ilya Kharlamov

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2012/01/25/64579647.html

Editor’s Note:

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?

BMD

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