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Thursday, September 06, 2007

When it's an officer, he's disciplined...

More soldiers received their punishments related to the killing of 2 Iraqi civilians and this really got my back up.

My husband was enlisted when he was in the Air Force, as was my father and both my older sons; I only know one current officer and one former officer. It seems to me, the military is in the business of breastfeeding their officers while throwing their enlisted personnel to the wolves.

Over the last few years, there have been a number of courts martial and criminal proceedings related to civilian deaths related to the Iraq War. One thing has been certain in all of the sentencing hearings, before they even took place; the enlisted personnel will go to prison while the officers get next to nothing, enforcing the belief amongst them that they are untouchable.

As I read this article, I could feel the bile rise in my throat, so sickened by this newest display of elitism in the military.

Here's what happened:

Two years ago, an IED alongside the road was detonated and a Marine was killed. In retaliation, some Marines went on a rampage and killed 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and children. Though the Marine officers were notified of the deaths (maybe not ALL of them, but at least one of them) and did nothing. Apparently, they considered this act to be the spoils of war. For three months, the Marine Corps. did nothing, that is until the media found out about it and started making noise. THEN the Marines did something, conducting their own investigation, and even then, it was perfunctory. So, basically, they did nothing...

There was a line in the article that really jumped out at me, "Accountability and responsibility are the foundation of all we do as Marines," said Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps.

All I have to say to that is, "WHEN?!?!?!?!?!" If no one is being punished for the unlawful acts committed by these officers, then where is the accountability and responsibility?

Gen. Conway goes on to say this, "While these three officers have served their country and corps exceedingly well for decades, their actions, inactions and decisions in the aftermath of the Haditha incident did not meet the high standards we expect of Marine senior officer leadership," Conway said.

Um, what high standards? The standards that say an officer should do all they can to cover up the illegal actions of their subordinates? Is the standard they didn't meet one which involves subterfuge? Are they receiving their letters of censure because they didn't do ENOUGH to cover this up?

I have to say, the military of today isn't the same military I was in, nor is it the same as when my father and husband were members. We started seeing the decline towards the end of Mark's career in the Air Force and it's a disease that is infecting all branches.

I live near Fort Huachuca, an Army post in Southern Arizona, and I see the lack of discipline here.

This past February, a soldier stationed at Ft. Huachuca, Cpl. Victor M. Langarica, 29, of Decatur, Ga., who was assigned to the 86th Signal Battalion, Fort Huachuca, Ariz, was killed and his household goods were stored at a storage facility just outside one of the gates to the fort. Cpl. Langarica was a single dad with two kids. His wife had kind of left him and the kids and he was deployed. His children were living with his mother in Georgia. Now comes the fun part...

Within hours of his unit being notified of his death, the person he left his information with in relation to his household goods was in the storage unit emptying it out. He told the fort he was taking photos so the storage facility wouldn't steal anything. However, the storage facility has cameras and it showed him loading up his truck with all the expensive electronics equipment, such as a television and stereo system. Cpl. Langarica's mother hadn't even been notified but his "buddies" were cleaning him out, planning to leave little or nothing for his children. I don't know why this wasn't reported to the police but I can guess...

The military works very hard to keep their members out of trouble. It's not that they have a particular affinity for any one soldier because their members are just anonymous possible deaths to them, but they need warm bodies to fill their enlistment slots. They need them badly enough they now allow people with felony convictions to enlist in the military. We now have people in the military who have committed some pretty serious crimes and there is now a huge crime problem in the military, up to and including gangs being formed around the world (due to deployments) marking their turf just as they do in the US. (See this article...) This disturbs me to no end. Though all branches have identified gang members in their ranks, the Army has the most... The Army is the worst branch to have your kid in, and they forgive some pretty serious offenses as well.

One of my sons was stationed at Fort Bragg from 2002 till 2005. There was one evening he was engaging in the military's favorite past time, drinking. He was underage and shouldn't have been doing it but he was being given the alcohol by his squad leader, an NCO, who shouldn't have been doing anything like that, but that was tame when you know what happened later... My son was drinking heavily and eventually passed out. His NCO took this opportunity to awaken my son's fiancee and rape her. My son, in order to submit testimony to the Army related to the rape, had to admit his drinking. I still feel he did the right thing... The Army, in response to the report, gave my son an Article 15 , which is a pretty serious thing in the military. The man who raped my son's girlfriend got NOTHING! Yes, that's right folks, you can rape someone while a member of the military and nothing happens.

In conclusion, the point I'm trying to make is this: the military doesn't teach discipline, accountability and responsibility. They encourage lawlessness and reinforce it to the extent I think we're going to start seeing more and more veteran's in our prisons. Only now, they are highly trained killers (because unless you're in the Air Force, that's all you're taught, how to kill.) who will commit more serious crimes and given their training, will probably commit more of them before they are caught. Nice to know we now have formal training for the criminal element in our country. Only now, some of them have college degrees as well.

I wonder when the military will start giving them guns upon release from their time in service?