I Wish I Were In Paris

From war to peace and politics to gossip, if we have an opinion on something we'll share it here.

Friday, January 12, 2007

When Are Military Members Going To Really Be Held Accountable For Their Crimes?

As a "civilian," if I were to kill three people and lie to investigators about what happened, my ass would be locked up for life or I'd be facing the death penalty. So, I ask the following questions. When are military members going to really be held accountable for their crimes? Why do they get to cut deals, and essentially get a slap on the wrist? Take this story for example.

This soldier was charged with killing three Iraqi detainees, and accused of lying to cover up the crime. Here's what happened:

Spc. Juston R. Graber, 21, is accused with three others from the division's 187th Infantry Regiment of killing detainees during a raid of a suspected al-Qaida stronghold near Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

They also were accused of trying to deceive investigators by saying the detainees were fleeing when they were shot.

He entered a plea of guilty to aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon which is a lesser charge. He had been charged with murder, attempted premeditated murder, and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. He was sentenced to only 9 months in a military jail because he made the guilty plea to the lesser charge.

Under Tuesday's plea agreement, Graber's rank was reduced from specialist to private. The judge ruled that Graber's sentence could be reduced to six months if he cooperates with prosecutors. He also was ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances for six months.

Ooh, big deal. He gets his rank reduced rather than getting thrown out of the military. He could have his sentence shortened if he cooperates. And he has to give up all his pay and benefits for six months. Meanwhile, there are at least three people who are dead that didn't have to be. I ask again, when are military members going to really be held accountable for their crimes? The answer is simple, never!! We'll continue to make excuses for them. We'll continue to say that war is hell and things like this happen.

If this happened in "civilian" life, there would be no plea agreements. There would be no bullshit sentences of 9 months or less. "Civilians" would be going to jail for the rest of their lives, or they would be spending the next 20+ years on death row. We need to stop giving the military preferential treatment, and start holding them accountable. We need to stop entering into plea agreements that result in little or no punishment. They need to be treated just like any other criminal would be treated. When you commit murder, you should be spending a minimum of 25 years to life in jail, not 9 months.

And to his mother I say this, wipe that smirk off your damn face. He may have saved his own ass by pleading guilty to a lesser charge. But that still doesn't change the fact that your son murdered someone. While your son can come home to you, the people he murdered can't go home to their families if they're even still alive. Your son isn't a hero. He's a killer!!


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