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US sniper gets 5-month sentence in Iraq
AP ^ | September 29, 2007 | By KATARINA KRATOVAC, Associated Press Writer

Posted on 09/29/2007 5:30:50 AM PDT by bigheadfred

BAGHDAD - A military panel on Saturday sentenced an Army sniper to five months in prison, a reduction in rank and forfeiture of pay for planting evidence in connection with the deaths of two Iraqi civilians.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: courtmartial; iraq; sandoval; snipers
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1 posted on 09/29/2007 5:30:52 AM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: xzins; RedRover; Girlene

Ping


2 posted on 09/29/2007 5:32:39 AM PDT by bigheadfred (And there I see the Line of My Forefathers)
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To: bigheadfred

Seems appropriate.


3 posted on 09/29/2007 5:43:01 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: bigheadfred

Someone needs to tell the army that we’re fighting a war. I’m not sure they’re aware of it.


4 posted on 09/29/2007 5:46:03 AM PDT by BodyByBeer
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To: bigheadfred

Meanwhile, Murtha still goes free.


5 posted on 09/29/2007 5:46:43 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: bigheadfred; xzins; Girlene; Old Sarge; All
Here's the whole article, US sniper gets 5-month sentence in Iraq, Associated Press...

A military panel on Saturday sentenced an Army sniper to five months in prison, a reduction in rank and forfeiture of pay for planting evidence in connection with the deaths of two Iraqi civilians.

Spc. Jorge G. Sandoval, 22, was acquitted of murder charges in the April and May deaths of two unidentified men. The panel decided he was guilty of a lesser charges of placing detonation wire on one of the bodies to make it look as if the man was an insurgent.

"I feel fortunate that I have been served this sentence," Sandoval said. "I'm grateful that I'm able to continue to be in the Army."

Because he will receive credit for time served and good behavior, Sandoval must now spend 44 more days behind bars before he can return to his unit, his lawyer said. His rank will be reduced to private and he will forfeit his pay for the period of confinement.

The prosecution had argued Sandoval should be sentenced to five years in prison.

Sandoval, of Laredo, Texas, had faced five charges in the deaths of the two unidentified Iraqi men. In dramatic testimony during the two-day court-martial, Sandoval's colleagues testified they were following orders when they shot the men during two separate incidents near Iskandariyah, a volatile Sunni-dominated area 30 miles south of Baghdad, on April 27 and May 11.

Sgt. Evan Vela and Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley are both charged in the case and will be tried separately. All three soldiers are part of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Gary Myers, one of Vela's lawyers, claimed this week that Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to "bait" their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, then kill those who picked up the items. He said his client was acting on orders.

Asked about the existence of the "baiting program," Capt. Craig Drummond, Sandoval's military defense attorney, said it was unclear "what programs were going on out there and when," especially "if there were things that were done that made the rules of engagement not clear."

Hensley's court-martial is set to begin Oct. 22, while Vela's pretrial hearing likely will start next week.

6 posted on 09/29/2007 5:53:05 AM PDT by RedRover (DefendOurMarines.com)
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To: bigheadfred; xzins; Girlene; Old Sarge; All
Here's the whole article, US sniper gets 5-month sentence in Iraq, Associated Press...

A military panel on Saturday sentenced an Army sniper to five months in prison, a reduction in rank and forfeiture of pay for planting evidence in connection with the deaths of two Iraqi civilians.

Spc. Jorge G. Sandoval, 22, was acquitted of murder charges in the April and May deaths of two unidentified men. The panel decided he was guilty of a lesser charges of placing detonation wire on one of the bodies to make it look as if the man was an insurgent.

"I feel fortunate that I have been served this sentence," Sandoval said. "I'm grateful that I'm able to continue to be in the Army."

Because he will receive credit for time served and good behavior, Sandoval must now spend 44 more days behind bars before he can return to his unit, his lawyer said. His rank will be reduced to private and he will forfeit his pay for the period of confinement.

The prosecution had argued Sandoval should be sentenced to five years in prison.

Sandoval, of Laredo, Texas, had faced five charges in the deaths of the two unidentified Iraqi men. In dramatic testimony during the two-day court-martial, Sandoval's colleagues testified they were following orders when they shot the men during two separate incidents near Iskandariyah, a volatile Sunni-dominated area 30 miles south of Baghdad, on April 27 and May 11.

Sgt. Evan Vela and Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley are both charged in the case and will be tried separately. All three soldiers are part of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Gary Myers, one of Vela's lawyers, claimed this week that Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to "bait" their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, then kill those who picked up the items. He said his client was acting on orders.

Asked about the existence of the "baiting program," Capt. Craig Drummond, Sandoval's military defense attorney, said it was unclear "what programs were going on out there and when," especially "if there were things that were done that made the rules of engagement not clear."

Hensley's court-martial is set to begin Oct. 22, while Vela's pretrial hearing likely will start next week.

7 posted on 09/29/2007 5:53:05 AM PDT by RedRover (DefendOurMarines.com)
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To: bigheadfred

Where’s the barf alert?

“for planting evidence in connection with the deaths of two Iraqi civilians.”

should have read:

“for planting evidence in connection with the deaths of two Iraqi insurgents.”

or perhaps better yet:

“for planting evidence in connection with the deaths of two Iraqi terrorists.”

I thought the deceased had been observed fighting, then slipped into the fields to mimic a farmer...

It’d sure read much differently, IMO...but would be less likely to promote defeatism.


8 posted on 09/29/2007 5:54:42 AM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: PreciousLiberty

But isn’t that what the RATS do, do the wrong thing to get the “right” result? Wrong is wrong, whether it is one of our troops or a RAT operative.

He planted evidence, was caught and convicted, and duly punished. We have to hold the good guys to the same standards or we become just as bad as the left.


9 posted on 09/29/2007 6:08:11 AM PDT by JimRed ("Hey, hey, Teddy K., how many girls did you drown today?" TERM LIMITS, NOW!)
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To: bigheadfred
Every time I read one of these stories, I ask myself why we have to fight this way.

Then I remember we are The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and then it hits me. We can’t win by being the sort of murderous hordes of undisciplined fanatics are enemies are, and we cannot allow any one of our soldier to have even the appearance of such ruthless barbarianism.

It’s a tough road, it’s a hard road, it’s like sliding barefoot on the cutting edge of a sword across a pit of lava. It is leadership defined, it is what all in our armed forces know they have to do to win. There are no short cuts or detours, there is only the one path we must take or loose our national identity and become everything we hate about all those other countries in the world that don’t embrace our ideas and morality.

Taking this road to victory is the price we must pay no matter what the cost to achieve victory and save our souls.

He’ll pay the price and come out a better man, more demanding of himself, more demanding of others, steeled by the fires of his failure to take the righteous path, and we will respect him more for it.

Or he’ll quit and someone else will take his place, vowing that they won’t make his mistake.

and we will continue towards Victory anyway.

10 posted on 09/29/2007 6:09:18 AM PDT by usmcobra (I sing Karaoke the way it was meant to be sung, drunk, badly and in Japanese)
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To: xzins; Girlene
These two snippets from the article above illustrates the difference between a civilian and military lawyer...

Gary Myers, one of Vela's lawyers, claimed this week that Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to "bait" their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, then kill those who picked up the items. He said his client was acting on orders.

Asked about the existence of the "baiting program," Capt. Craig Drummond, Sandoval's military defense attorney, said it was unclear "what programs were going on out there and when," especially "if there were things that were done that made the rules of engagement not clear."

Myers is fighting hard for his client. Capt. Drummond is tentatively suggesting that perhaps the situation may have been unclear. Who would you want on your side?

11 posted on 09/29/2007 6:34:18 AM PDT by RedRover (DefendOurMarines.com)
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To: usmcobra

Would this young man have “planted evidence” if he hadn’t seen someone else runover by second guessing in a war zone ?


12 posted on 09/29/2007 6:34:43 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Go Hawks !)
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To: RedRover; bigheadfred

Thanks for the info. Well, it could have been a lot worse. I still don’t get the 5 months for putting the detonation wire on the Iraqi. Sandoval was cleared of murder. But in trying to ensure his “kill” was deemed legitimate to higher-ups, he gets punished for the wire? I wonder if the military still believes the Iraqi was an insurgent, or if they paid a solatia payment to his family.


13 posted on 09/29/2007 6:41:31 AM PDT by Girlene
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To: RedRover

Good illustration, Red. I’d want both to be safe!


14 posted on 09/29/2007 6:42:56 AM PDT by Girlene
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To: RedRover
Gary Myers, one of Vela's lawyers, claimed this week that Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to "bait" their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, then kill those who picked up the items. He said his client was acting on orders.

Asked about the existence of the "baiting program," Capt. Craig Drummond, Sandoval's military defense attorney, said it was unclear "what programs were going on out there and when," especially "if there were things that were done that made the rules of engagement not clear."


Here in the u.S. this is known as a "police sting" operation.


15 posted on 09/29/2007 6:50:38 AM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: BodyByBeer

Bttt


16 posted on 09/29/2007 6:52:16 AM PDT by Plains Drifter (If guns kill people, wouldn't there be a lot of dead people at gun shows?)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

EGGZACKLY!!!


17 posted on 09/29/2007 6:53:19 AM PDT by Roccus (Fighting politicians IS the war on terror!)
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To: bigheadfred

Threatened by terrorists all around, and military lawyers and the press behind me, I would be tempted to plant evidence too.


18 posted on 09/29/2007 6:53:21 AM PDT by ChessExpert (Reagan dismantled the Russian empire of 21 conquered nations)
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To: Girlene

“But prosecutors cited an interview with Sandoval immediately after his arrest in which he said he planted the wire. Outside court, Flores stood by his testimony.”

I’m a little confused.

What should get more credence?

The “Interview” or the “Testimony”


19 posted on 09/29/2007 6:57:19 AM PDT by bigheadfred (And there I see the Line of My Forefathers)
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To: PreciousLiberty

or at least change to the ‘headline’ in the body of the article: “two unidentified Iraqi men”

WTF...if they were unidentified, who gave evidence that they were civilians!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


20 posted on 09/29/2007 6:58:07 AM PDT by CRBDeuce (an armed society is a polite society)
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To: usmcobra

You Sir, deserve “post of the day” recognition. Well written.

Regards,


21 posted on 09/29/2007 7:00:53 AM PDT by Thunder 6
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To: bigheadfred
Sweet Effin Deity!

If one of my extended family's children came to me today and said, "Uncle LibKill, should I join the Army/Navy/Marine Corps/Air Force?" I would have to say, "No. This country hates those who serve it."

22 posted on 09/29/2007 7:01:31 AM PDT by LibKill (Remember the Government MURDERED CHILDREN at Waco.)
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To: Girlene

Are solatia payments made to a “unidentified Iraqi” slush fund...or perhaps to Sadamm Hussein’s spawn?


23 posted on 09/29/2007 7:02:48 AM PDT by CRBDeuce (an armed society is a polite society)
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To: CRBDeuce
Are solatia payments made to a “unidentified Iraqi” slush fund..

LOL. I don't know if any payments were made. That's why I was asking. Thanks for pointing out the "unidentified" part. I guess the Army couldn't do that without an identification. I'll have to start reading more carefully.
24 posted on 09/29/2007 7:10:37 AM PDT by Girlene
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To: bigheadfred
Good point, BHfred. From Newsday, Soldier's murder acquittal spurs lesser conviction,

..."Spc. Alexander Flores, who was in the same squad as Sandoval on the day of the April killing, testified their platoon leader said one man was "our guy" and ordered them to "move in," which they interpreted as "take the target out."

The suspect, who wore dark clothing and used a sickle to cut grass in a field, matched the general description Iraqi soldiers had given the Americans of one of two insurgents they had faced earlier in the day, according to testimony.

After the killing, Flores said Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley told him to place the detonation wire on the body and in the man's pocket, which he said he did. But prosecutors cited an interview with Sandoval immediately after his arrest in which he said he planted the wire. Outside court, Flores stood by his testimony. ...
"

Sandoval admitted he planted the wire during an interview after his arrest, but Flores testified in court that he planted the wire. Sandoval gets the time. I see why you're confused, BHFred.
25 posted on 09/29/2007 7:28:12 AM PDT by Girlene
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To: Girlene

I have a problem with the whole thing. Why any punishment? It had already been determined that the “innocent civilian” was leaving the scene of an attack against American forces. The fact that there was no murder should end the case right there. It’s reaching the point of “well we gotta convict him of something” when he is jailed for planting the detention cord on a dead insurgent. This is not justice - it’s a travesty and we can thank Murtha, the weak spined brass, the media and the entire anti-war, anti-American crowd for this crap.

It’s bad enough our military has to fight insurgents. Now they’re having to fight the justice system and public opinion. What a crock!


26 posted on 09/29/2007 7:55:36 AM PDT by Chickenhawk Warmonger (The Media Lied & Soldiers Died)
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To: Chickenhawk Warmonger; 1stbn27; 2111USMC; 2nd Bn, 11th Mar; 68 grunt; A.A. Cunningham; ASOC; ...

Ping


27 posted on 09/29/2007 8:27:17 AM PDT by freema
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To: Girlene

It’s clear that the captain defending Sgt Vela was handling his case to the Army’s benefit (pressing his client to waive an Article 32 because Vela has already “confessed”).

I’d rather have the Army focussed on winning the war. But if they’re going to try and lock up soldiers, our servicemen deserve a better defense than a junior JAG is capable of giving.


28 posted on 09/29/2007 8:52:40 AM PDT by RedRover (DefendOurMarines.com)
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To: RedRover

Thank You, SOD Gates...when Rummy was SOD we’d not have seen this kinda crap during a war. Shame on You, Gates. When you were Director of the CIA...your name was ‘Little Prick’ it appears it’s still the right name.


29 posted on 09/29/2007 8:57:52 AM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: shield

Didn’t the Haditha investigation start under Rummy?


30 posted on 09/29/2007 9:07:40 AM PDT by miliantnutcase
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To: usmcobra
"why we have to fight this way."

The Romans would disagree with you, and so would the Greeks, Turks, Russians and the old English. In fact not too long ago the Americans would have disagreed too. War is hell, winning ends the war and the hell, PCism only prolongs both, for everyone.

31 posted on 09/29/2007 9:18:12 AM PDT by jpsb
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To: Chickenhawk Warmonger
The fact that there was no murder should end the case right there. It’s reaching the point of “well we gotta convict him of something” when he is jailed for planting the detention cord on a dead insurgent.

It is confusing. A piece by the LA Times Charges dropped in Iraq against sniper

..."Sandoval faced two counts of murder, two counts of poor conduct and one count of dereliction of duty in two killings, on April 27 and May 11. All but one charge was dismissed. He was convicted of poor conduct in the planting of a detonation wire on a body in the April incident, and is to be sentenced today." (5 months - only 44 days left to serve)....

...."Spc. Joshua Meachum said, "Snipers have no other job but to kill. We don't shake hands with sheiks. We don't give candy to kids. We don't set up a checkpoint. We have one sole job and that is to kill."...
32 posted on 09/29/2007 9:19:05 AM PDT by Girlene
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To: miliantnutcase

Yes....however, the Army is now in the cross hairs and Gates is pushing it. Troops are now scared to kill the bad guys. It’s causing a lot more problems than most realize. Bush needs to be made aware of it by what the boots on the ground types are saying/fearing. It’s ridiculous that our troops are scared to do what they’ve been trained to do, today. In both theaters....Rummy would not have allowed this to the degree it’s NOW taking place. Every kill of a bad guy, from what I understand, are all being looked at by JAG.


33 posted on 09/29/2007 9:40:57 AM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Would this young man have “planted evidence” if he hadn’t seen someone else runover by second guessing in a war zone ?

It wasn't his job to plant evidence.

Marine Snipers, and I have known one of the best, know who they are targeting and only kill those that are targeted.

when you are trained to kill that way, you are expected to only shoot those that need killing.

34 posted on 09/29/2007 9:49:54 AM PDT by usmcobra (I sing Karaoke the way it was meant to be sung, drunk, badly and in Japanese)
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To: usmcobra

No question that it “wasn’t his job.” A review of what has happened to other men in similar circumstances might provide understanding why he did it after “doing his job.”


35 posted on 09/29/2007 9:58:09 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Go Hawks !)
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To: bigheadfred
How the evil terrorist leaders must laugh. I would make an analogy here.

It is like a decent amateur boxer, who has been taught to "fight fair". Let the other fellow get up if knocked down. He is followed on a dark street by a thug. He resists the thug's demand for his wallet. The thug attacks. He knocks down the thug. The thug fumbles for a knife- what then? Let him get up and ask him to fight fair.

Or drive him in the teeth with his foot?. The troops are being hamstrung.

36 posted on 09/29/2007 10:07:17 AM PDT by Peter Libra
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To: jpsb
The Romans would disagree with you, and so would the Greeks, Turks, Russians and the old English. In fact not too long ago the Americans would have disagreed too. War is hell, winning ends the war and the hell, PCism only prolongs both, for everyone.

Rome empire is dead and buried, so to is Ancient greece, and the Turkish, the British and Russian empires as well. And once upon a time Our forefathers were given the choice between an American Empire and an empire of Ideas, chose to be what you would call PC and I would call a new morality.

We don't need to slaughter all that are against us, even though we have that ability.

We don't need to kill innocents by the millions to kill hundreds of our enemies.

Our strength is not measured in our ability to kill but in our ability not to. Any brute can kill and brutal empires run by the sword and the gun have always shown that they cannot withstand the humblest of men.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

You would do well to remember that it is those ideas that made this country great and strong that are the only thing that are really worth fighting for and worth protecting.

37 posted on 09/29/2007 10:22:44 AM PDT by usmcobra (I sing Karaoke the way it was meant to be sung, drunk, badly and in Japanese)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
A review of what has happened to other men in similar circumstances might provide understanding why he did it after “doing his job.”

The UCMJ doesn't judge his actions by what has happened to other men in similar circumstances, it judges him by the rules and regulations that all are expected to obey.

And for the record book I don't like the constraints they are under, but at least I recognize why those restraints are there.

38 posted on 09/29/2007 10:38:12 AM PDT by usmcobra (I sing Karaoke the way it was meant to be sung, drunk, badly and in Japanese)
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To: usmcobra
We don't need to slaughter all that are against us, even though we have that ability. We don't need to kill innocents by the millions to kill hundreds of our enemies. Our strength is not measured in our ability to kill but in our ability not to. Any brute can kill and brutal empires run by the sword and the gun have always shown that they cannot withstand the humblest of men.

Pretty eloquent "preamble". Almost worthy of the sentiments that followed it.

39 posted on 09/29/2007 11:02:01 AM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: bigheadfred

Great recruiting methods......


40 posted on 09/29/2007 11:07:16 AM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: shield

I really feel terrible for these guys. Can you imagine this crap happening during WW2?


41 posted on 09/29/2007 11:16:12 AM PDT by miliantnutcase
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To: freema

Sounds like the United States Army has not embraced those things required to win wars labled insurgencies.


42 posted on 09/29/2007 2:03:11 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Duncan Hunter for POTUS)
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To: RedRover

Gary Myers, one of Vela’s lawyers, claimed this week that Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to “bait” their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, then kill those who picked up the items. He said his client was acting on orders.
***Sounds like they were trying to flip his client to get him to start testifying against his superior officers and move up the chain of command.


43 posted on 09/29/2007 4:10:42 PM PDT by Kevmo (We should withdraw from Iraq via Tehran. And Duncan Hunter is just the man to get that job done.)
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To: JimRed

“He planted evidence, was caught and convicted, and duly punished. We have to hold the good guys to the same standards or we become just as bad as the left.”

I’m not disagreeing with the sentence the sniper got. I’m just pointing out that the dead Iraqi was according to the story a combatant, not an innocent. Too bad our soldier felt he had to plant evidence.

The good news is he should be back on the job here soon... :-)


44 posted on 09/30/2007 6:02:25 AM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: usmcobra

The UCMJ doesn’t but he obviously did.


45 posted on 09/30/2007 6:55:59 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Go Hawks !)
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To: shield

Troops are not scared to kill bad guys. They ARE expected to take reasonable precautions to prevent killing innocent civilians, but regularly kill innocent civilians without punishment because the military legal system understands that mistakes are made in war, and that we cannot expect perfection during split second decisions.

We can and do expect reasonable care be taken to avoid civilian casualties. That has always been true.


46 posted on 09/30/2007 7:03:15 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I'm agnostic on evolution, but sit ups are from Hell!)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
The UCMJ doesn’t but he obviously did.

Does that make it right for him to break the law?

47 posted on 09/30/2007 12:23:05 PM PDT by usmcobra (I sing Karaoke the way it was meant to be sung, drunk, badly and in Japanese)
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To: usmcobra

No but its worth considering at sentencing.


48 posted on 09/30/2007 5:56:39 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Go Hawks !)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Oh I see! So in other words if others are breaking the law then that should get him a reduced sentence or even no conviction at all, because he was only doing what he did because he had seen what had happened to other people.

That’s like saying if I get busted for speeding I should get off because other people were speeding as well.

He’s a sniper! He is supposed to be good enough to pick and chose his targets carefully so that he only shoots those that were actually worthy of being killed not shoot anyone that came along and then try to justify it by placing on their person evidence that would make them a legitimate target.

In doing so he makes it even more difficult for other snipers to meet the standards he was supposed to be working under, his actions are going to call for even more scrutiny into how snipers choose their targets and who their kills really were.

In conclusion he has made things even worse for other snipers because he tried to hide what he did because he had seen what happened to others.

The snow ball effect.


49 posted on 09/30/2007 6:56:38 PM PDT by usmcobra (I sing Karaoke the way it was meant to be sung, drunk, badly and in Japanese)
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To: usmcobra

Speeding and a war zone don’t compare.


50 posted on 10/01/2007 6:44:49 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Go Hawks !)
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