Below is electronic newsletter Crikey’s editorial for today. What can one say?
A short list to illustrate the US government's priorities when it comes to military justice:
- Twenty-four unarmed Iraqi men, women and children were killed by US marines in Haditha, Iraq, in 2005. Result: staff Sgt Frank Wuterich convicted of a single count of negligent dereliction of duty, sentenced to three months' jail, suspended, and a pay-and-rank reduction;
- Blackwater military contractors killed 17 civilians and injured 20 more in Baghdad in 2007. Result: a US judge dismissed charges against four "contractors" in 2009. The charges were reinstated in 2011; proceedings are ongoing;
- In 2007, airstrikes from US helicopters killed two Reuters journalists and a number of civilians and injured others, including two children in a van that stopped to help one of the injured men. Result: no charges;
- In a 2004 US assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, 800 civilians were killed, unarmed and bound prisoners were executed, and white phosphorous was used. Since then, there has been a massive increase in childhood cancers and infant mortality there. Result: no action;
- In 2002, in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, 30 people were killed when US forces bombed a wedding party. Result: no action;
- In 2008 in Deh Bala, Afghanistan, 47 people (mostly women and children) were killed when US aircraft bombed a wedding party. Result: no action;
- Between 2004 and 2013, at least 168 children, and likely many more, have been killed by US drone attacks. Result: Pentagon recently agreed drone operators will be awarded a special "distinguishing device," after a backlash against earlier decision to award medals;
- In 2011, Denver teenager Abdulrahamn al-Awlaki was killed with six other civilians in a US drone strike while eating dinner at a Yemeni village. Result: the man who ordered the strike, John Brennan, was promoted to head the CIA.
Result: Manning sentenced to 35 years' jail.