Michael Z. Williamson
  • War Crimes

    The below was posted on a web forum during a discussion about PV2 Lynndie England and the charges against her.

    Okay, some basic information:

    I did Basic 19 years ago. I was tested on the laws of war and Geneva Conventions. Every year of Air Force, Army and Guard service I had, I was given another class.

    My wife leaves for Basic in January. Her manual has laws of war and Geneva Conventions covered. It is testable material. Still.

    Military Police are tasked with handling prisoners. This is REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE for them above and beyond the requirements for the rest of us.

    There is no "order" to abuse a prisoner, humiliate a prisoner, degrade a prisoner. The only response to such an order is, "I'm sorry, Sir, that is not a lawful order." You then report the illegal order higher up the chain. If necessary, you restrain the officer. If necessary, you KILL the officer. Yes, I said kill. Yes, that is a specific requirement to prevent abuse, rape, torture--if you cannot use any peaceful, logical or reasonable means, you use physical action to avoid injuring prisoners maliciously.

    WHENEVER in doubt about orders, you get them in writing, signed and dated, so you can refer it to the chain of command.

    Anyone who takes an order (which there's no evidence was ever given) to leash a prisoner, strip him, stand on his neck and make him bark like a dog or whatever, is a FELON. Anyone who does so without orders is a FELON.

    "I was just following orders" didn't work for the Nazis, and hasn't worked since, and never will work.

    As to, [quote]don't ask any questions about why this private first class is doing stuff to the prisoners without being given orders? [/quote]

    no, no reason to. Privates do stupid and illegal things as often as anyone else does. And they took photos that got on the net.

    Bored soldiers do stupid things. They don't have to be "ordered," they're not robots. They're people, which a lot of civilians seem to forget. Modern military jobs, all of them, are highly technical, and the average soldier is possessed of a considerably higher intellect than the average civilian. They're capable of telling a lawful order from an unlawful one, or questioning it. They are REQUIRED to.

    _IF_ she did what evidence appears to show, she is a criminal and deserves decades in jail and a dishonorable discharge. If not, she doesn't. Whatever anyone else did is the subject of a separate trial. _IF_ she did what she is accused of, no matter how or why, she's a criminal.

    "Oh, the captain ordered us to abuse/kill/rape/molest/steal," is NOT a defense. Even if such orders exist--giving the order is a war crime, and FOLLOWING the order is a war crime.

    All soldiers know this. All MPs know this.

    Add to the fact that she was fooling around with someone in her chain of command and got pregnant in a war zone, _IF_ she is guilty (innocent until proven, even in the military), I want her the hell out of my military. She is a DISGRACE.

    As to why a witness would be refused--you have to show, in any court, how the witness is relevant. If BG Karpinski wasn't present at the prison during that time (she wasn't), there's no useful testimony she can offer. That's simply an excuse to try to spread blame.

    She's trying to play the "poor little innocent mommy" card, and it won't work. Though she'll probably not see jail because of her child.

    Personally, I'd put the child with adoptive parents and jail her #@$ for 50 years. If she can't handle a prisoner, she can't handle a child who is MUCH more complicated. But that is not for me to decide. Nor any of you.

    A court martial is a trial. Evidence will be presented and ruled upon, witnesses will be called, and she is innocent unless and until proven guilty. She can appeal up the chain of command, to the military court of appeals, and ultimately to the Supreme Court if she wishes, just like a civilian can. You don't lose your rights by joining the military.

    But you do gain responsibilities.

    Including that to protect persons in your custody.

    Which evidence appears she was in gross dereliction of.

    We shall see.

    The classic advice here is, "Would I want my mother to show her bridge club photos of what I'm doing?"

    "Oh, yes, and here's Lynndie standing on the neck of a naked, leashed Iraqi. I'm soooo proud of her!"

    Right. Sure.

    Her trial will be finished about the time Gail goes to Basic. It will be a lesson either way, for several thousand recruits, on how to treat prisoners so you're not questioned, much less charged.

    Mike