Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher
at Dobson High School in Mesa.
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Good letter Mike. What do you should the punishment be?
Yet another "bleeding heart" who never once mentioned any of the atrocities that are committed against our American Military Men and Women. Who never once mentioned the torture, the beheading, the starvation, the rape, the setting on fire of these American Warriors. No.......he talks about a ...."higher moral standard".
In World War II, most American combat units didn't have the time, the manpower or the "WILL" to take prisoners of the Japanese or the German soldiers that were captured. These prisoners were given what was called "swift justice" or as my Uncle called it..."Patton's Pardon". Does anyone remember anybody in World War II being court-martialed for "offing a Nazi"..........NO WAY.
Like I have said before...these new "urban warfare" that these Marines fight mostly ever hour of every day...seeing their buddies maimed or killed by Taliban snipers or riding in a convoy and seeing their buddies being blown to bits and pieces by a Taliban road-side bomb and then beening ordered to.....line up and walk the explosion area and pick up body pieces to send home in a casket to their friends loved ones..........does that do a job on your ...."STANDARD OF CIVILIZED BEHAVIOR"......you bet your sweet patootie it does.
The letter writer not only has never been in battle..he was never even in Military Service...........how can he as a man....feel justified in criticizing these young Marines who are 5000 miles from home, sleeping in tents in -10 to 120 degree tempuratures, eating cold, pre-packaged meals, not taking a shower for a week or longer, not having clean clothes to wear for weeks....month in and month out for 8months to year ???
WHAT GIVES HIM THE RIGHT TO SAY THAT..."WE MUST DEMAND PUNISHMENT FOR THOSE THAT EXHIBIT DEPLORABLE BEHAVIOR"....IF ANYONE HAS EXHIBITTED "DEPLORABLE BEHAVIOR"....IT'S THE PERSON WHO WROTE THIS LETTER TO THE EDITOR.
Demotion and a fine, slabside.
Leon, go home. Because it certainly isn't on this planet.
Thank you for your candor Mike. One of these Marines could have easily been my son.
War is not civilized behavior. It is the worst of us, our politicians, killing our children, and someone else's for power. It is turning the basest instincts of human beings into a machine to kill and destroy. In war there is no "...standard of civilized behavior" because to attribute any standard to it is to condone it. It isn't the enlisted man you need to punish, it is their commander-in-chief, it is the Senators and Representatives who allow it, the warlords of Afghanistan that foster it. The disease is war, and you don't do anything at all treating a symptom like the photo, except to appear foolish.
Here we go again with the "ex-Hippie, ex-Flowerchild Generation" worried more about America's Enemies than..........America's Warriors.
"Dead Body Desecration"...........how about the "Live Body Desecration" that a Taliban road-side bomb does to a young American Marine or GI ??? Families who are unable to have an open-casket viewing for friends and loved ones because there is no "body"....only .."body parts". These Taliban are dead, Folks, they can't feel anything anymore. Was the Marines actions dumb and stupid yes. I asked my friends who "served" their Country during the Vietnam War (not on a 3 year "mission" to Paris, France)...what their reaction was....they said that if they would have been fighting the Taliban like these young Marines and seen what had happened to their buddies and came across these Marines whizzing on the dead Taliban....their only comment would have been........"where does the whiz line form....from the right or the left".
Mike: You mentioned it in your article. The enemy isn't in uniform. Since that's the case, they are no better than spies IMHO. Therefore, dead or alive, they shouldn't expect to receive rights granted to soldiers by the geneva convention.
All I know is what they did. I don't know what those enemy "combatants" did. Maybe they used children to shield themselves. Maybe they beheaded a fellow Marine.
I could live with your idea of a demotion and fine, depending on circumstances, but I doubt I'd agree to anything more than that.
I can understand your display of sympathy. You could have taught these kids. And kids they are. But they are volunteer soldiers, supposedly well trained ones.
What should their punishment be? Look at the circumstances. Demotion and a fine, even if one includes that public repromand and appology which Alan West calls for, neither adequately addresses the crime [yes, folks, since at least 1949 desecration has been a Geneva Convention war crime] or acts as an appropriate deterance for others. Too low a punishment will look like an invitation for others to do more.
That these native Afghans were not in uniform is the "uniform of the day." It's Afghanistan, for heaven's sake. And these Marines knew their enemy. Both the Marines and these Afghan warriors were snipers! They were shooting at each other! No folks, do the crime, do the time!
Where others who probably are more versed with punishments for war crimes mention inprisonment, jail time seems to be the appropriate measure, that coupled with dishonorable discharges. Harsh? You bet it's harsh. But that's life!
And, yes, Slabside, given your attitude and its likely influence upon your son, he easily could have been one of these Marines. So wise up or you and I both could loose his valuable services!
The more interesting question is "What will be the appropriate punishment for the superiors of these Marines?" An answer to this question is behind why NCIS was called in to investigate!
As the teacher here, there is a lesson to be taught. Clearly we are not equipped with the sort of personnel needed to do Nation Building in Afghanistan. Neither was the former Soviet Union, nor for that matter was Ghengis Khan!
Yes IED's violate the Geneva Conventions, too. But since Vietnam, IED's are the method of choice for native warriors who believe their poor third world country has been envaded by the US, the first world super power. You and I may not agree, but we must deal with their perception that we invaded them. And where some of us do the crime, they must do the time!
And how do we deal with the perceiption? Get the heck out!
And the gun-toting, tax evading, no-flower children who always seem to favor the most crude expressions of valor. (Slabside admits that one of the boys could have been his son.) There are several obvious reasons why the U.S. should contemn this behavior. One being that we pay these soldiers to represent the “higher standard” of which Mike so rightfully speaks.
Dale wrote: "And these Marines knew their enemy." -- Are you stating that Afghanistan's soldiers don't have any uniforms? WRONG! Heck, sometimes the enemy IS wearing an Afhanistan's soldier's uniform.
Their enemy could be ANYONE over there since they don't wear uniforms, or worse, pretend to be an ally. One guy (sorry, don't recall the name) said that at best, the population over there tolerates them. At worse, wants to kill them. It's not as cut and dry as you'd like to think. You mentioned the Geneva Conventions (as did I). They are no better than spies, and therefore not covered by the Geneva Conventions. Like you said: Let the punishment fit the crime.....
Dale: As for NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service ). Here is there mission statement: The NCIS mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, foreign, and terrorist intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps, wherever they operate: ashore, afloat, or in cyberspace. The Marines are considered under Navy command.
Cerulean wrote: "One being that we pay these soldiers to represent the “higher standard” of which Mike so rightfully speaks." -- I've never heard that Marines, et al, receive TRAINING on how to represent America's "higher standards". I checked the poll. THE MAJORITY of Americans that voted really don't have a problem with what occurred. So, their actions were within America's standards.
As for pay, tell me, how much is your life worth? How about one, or several of your limbs? How about being away from your child while he/she grows from infant to a child that rarely sees their father/mother? We pay them because they are willing to FIGHT for us. Even though there are those, like yourself, that don't appreciate their SACRIFICE! IMHO, we DON'T pay them enough!
Judging by your statement, I'm fairly sure you've never served in any of the Armed forces. Until you've experienced what they have experienced, perhaps you should get off your high horse, until you get into the trenches like them.
Masterrogue, out of curiosity, just what poll are you referring to when you write that "I checked the poll. The MAJORITY of Americans that voted really don't have a problem with what ocurred"?
Is this an opinion poll conducted by a polling organization or an internet poll a media outlet put up? There's a world of difference between the two. If it's the former, your claim about the majority of Americans has more credibility, since its sampling would be a more valid cross section of our country; if it's the latter, those polls have little credibility, since they are user-based rather than pollster-based.
Could you clear that up? Thanks.
And while you'r at it, face reality and explain to us why you challenge my assertion that NCIS has been assigned to the case of these four marines?
From the NCIS web site we read:
“The NCIS mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, foreign, and terrorist intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps, wherever they operate: ashore, afloat, or in cyberspace.”
The NCIS mission is to investigate and defeat activities which threaten the operation of the United State Navy and the Marine Corps wherever these threats may operate in the following listed areas:
1) Criminal activity [war crimes are criminal activity and NCIS is investigating the four Marines for criminal activity2) Foreign threats3) Terrorist intelligence threats
From Wikipedia we read:
“The United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is the primary security, counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, and law enforcement agency of the United States Department of the Navy.”
“Current missions for NCIS include criminal investigations, force protection, cross-border drug enforcement, anti-terrorism, counter-terrorism, major procurement fraud, computer crime and counter-intelligence.”
The author(s) of this Wikipedia article repeat the following:
NCIS “is the primary . . . law enforcement agency of the United States Department of the Navy.” “Current missions include criminal investigations . . . “
Why do some on this site refuse to believe news reports that NCIS is now investigation those four Marines preliminary tobringing charges for committing war crimes which appear to be founded in the Geneva and Hague Conventions?
And understand I referred to uniforms only because another commenter hinted that these Taliban were not wearing uniforms, uniforms of any type. If, as we are given to believe, these three dead Taliban snipers were firing at the four Marine Snipers, and the Marines shot and killed them, then the Marines had undisputable facts to know that these three men were enemy combatants and that the law of war applied. NCIS probably is investigation not only these four Marines, but also other Marines in the command structure.
When we bandy back and forth about human beings under great duress who made a poor choice, and try them in the court of public opinion, we can natter all we want. The USMC will definitely make examples of these young men because they have to uphold our standards [great standards] of not lowering ourselves to the level of the enemy. That said, WAR IS HELL, and, while these young men are not making the best of choices, we can't put ourselves there to figure out why they did this, nor why one of their friends recorded it and put it out there for the world to see on You Tube.
What they did was boyish and dumb, but I don't think they should be drummed out of the corps nor made out to be the worst of our best. Not while the rest of us are worried about burning our tongue on our morning latte. Not while there are more pressing issues. Not when we know that the Taliban tries to take our soldiers' bodies to desecrate and drag through mud villages as war trophies.
Please. Put it in perspective. It wasn't a good choice. But don't crucify our fighters over a dumb boy prank. They didn't drag these bodies behind humvees, pulling them apart, like the Taliban does to our kids. Maybe my kids? I hope not.
What right did our soldiers have to give that scum bag Terrorist a burial bath ?
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