Sunday, July 15, 2007


From the AP via Huffington Post:

Marine: Beating of Iraqis Became Routine

A Marine corporal testifying in a court-martial said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to "crank up the violence level."

Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo testified Saturday at the murder trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas.

"We were told to crank up the violence level," said Lopezromo, testifying for the defense.

When a juror asked for further explanation, Lopezromo said: "We beat people, sir."

Lovely. Way to win over those hearts and minds.

Seriously...let's all give the surge some more time to work. If you figure each full-bodied American soldier can personally pummel 6 Iraqi adults senseless per day, imagine adding 20,000 new soldiers! That's 120,000 Iraqis who will get their asses kicked, thereby allowing freedom to spread...somehow.

Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamandiya near the Abu Ghraib prison. The Marines and corpsman were from 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment.

Lopezromo said the suspected insurgent was known to his neighbors as the "prince of jihad," and had been arrested several times and later released by the Iraqi legal system.

Unable to find him, the Marines and corpsman dragged another man from his house, fatally shot him, and then planted an AK-47 assault rifle near the body to make it appear he had been killed in a shootout, according to court testimony.

Four Marines and the corpsman, initially charged with murder in the April 2006 killing, have pleaded guilty to reduced charges and been given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to eight years. Thomas, 25, from St. Louis, pleaded guilty but withdrew his plea and is the first defendant to go to court-martial.

Okay, now, let's stop for a moment even considering the impact of having roving bands of American soldiers wandering around Hamandiya looking for individuals to torment. Let's ignore the ramifications of having our military seize men that have been released by the Iraqi judicial system because, like, they totally heard that this guy was Disney's Prince of Jihad or something...

Let's just consider these soldiers. These were probably pretty normal people when they went away to war. Oh, sure, one of them may have been a psycho all along, like Penn in Casualties of War or whatever, but it's doubtful that all of them simply had a criminal mindset when they first landed in country. This is what happens when you send people into these kinds of chaotic warzones for months and then give them crazy, insipid orders like "crank up the violence level."

And now the rest of us will have to live with and amongst this madness forever. Now, I'm not trying to insult the men and women of the American military; this is totally not their fault. They signed on to do a job and had no idea of the rank incompetence and bloodthirsty amorality of their elected representatives and appointed superiors. But the fact is that this war has created a generation of Americans who are now cold-blooded, vicious murderers:

Lopezromo, who was not part of the squad on its late-night mission, said he saw nothing wrong with what Thomas did.

"I don't see it as an execution, sir," he told the judge. "I see it as killing the enemy."

He said Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency.

I gotta spell it out for you?

Thomas' attorneys have said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury from his combat duty in Fallouja in 2004. They have argued that Thomas believed he was following a lawful order to get tougher with suspected insurgents.

Honestly...this is a really tough call. I mean, we clearly expect soldiers to be able to turn their impulse to kill on and off. If you're in some kinds of wars, it's not that difficult. When in battle, kill. When hanging out later, don't kill.

But in Iraq, where you're constantly being shot at without warning? After an officer has just told you to generally be a lot more violent with Iraqis? We're asking a lot of these soldiers...Too much. Way way too much. To the point of ridiculousness. It's one of the 100,000,000,000 good reasons to end this war, ASAP, which of course George Bush would never do because it might make him look stupid. And, folks, he can't have that.

Lopezromo said a procedure called "dead-checking" was routine. If Marines entered a house where a man was wounded, instead of checking to see whether he needed medical aid, they shot him to make sure he was dead, he testified.

"If somebody is worth shooting once, they're worth shooting twice," he said.

He was totally VC al-Qaida, I swear!

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