The Marine Corps has suddenly dropped criminal charges against an officer in the infamous Taliban urination video case, heading off what promised to be an embarrassing pre-trial hearing for the commandant on Wednesday.
The Washington Times has the whole sad, maddening story. Images of Marines urinating on Taliban corpses in January 2012 elicited an angry response from the White House, which prompted Marine Commandant General James Amos to allegedly jump with both Corfam shoes into ensuring that everybody involved was tried and punished.
[Waldhauser] told of a one-on-one meeting in 2012 with Gen. Amos in which the commandant said he wanted Marine defendants “crushed” via courts-martial.
Problem is, when the most senior Marine demands such a thing, any opportunity for a fair trial for the accused is out the window. For his part, Amos has denied any wrongdoing, known as “Undue Command Influence”, in the cases of the Marines already found guilty, and in the case of Captain James Clement, the Marine Officer whose unit the Marines captured in images belonged. Captain Clement had been charged with dereliction in the incident.
On the heels of a decision by the Judge in the case to allow testimony of two staff JAGs as to the machinations of the Commandant and other senior Officers to ensure punishment of the accused, Captain Clement’s Defense Attorney has requested General Amos’ e-mail records as a part of the discovery process.
Without warning yesterday, Lt Gen Glueck, CG of MCCDC at Quantico and the Convening Authority in the Clement court martial, dropped the charges against the Captain.
I have been in the Marines for nearly 30 years, and can honestly say I have only been ashamed of the actions of a Marine Commandant one other time, and that was General Charles Krulak during the Clinton “peace dividend” draw-down. (Krulak publicly denied insisting on retaining drug offenders even though many had heard him demand just that, and spoke pure BS regarding adequate manning levels of “victor” units readying for deployment.)
General Amos’ actions are yet another example of senior officers who are beholden to their political bosses, without the courage to be true to their oaths of office and the Constitution they are sworn to support and defend. That Constitution provides for due process, even in courts martial, and the Commandant’s duty is to ensure that such due process and fair trial is provided for, irrespective of the charges and political pressure. That he immediately acted directly contrary to his duty and his oath to please his political masters (see how TOUGH we are on people who displease you, Mr. President?) speaks ill of his character and honesty.
Overstepping legal and Constitutional lines has become positively epidemic at the senior ranks of our Military. The willingness, which is to say eagerness, with which the Dempseys and Mullens and Cartwrights and Amoses and Chiarellis dispense with their oaths for the approval of political masters is a danger to our Republic and to the men and women of the Armed Forces.
Special Trust and Confidence is a precious, fragile thing. Once broken, it can never be restored. General Amos should have remembered that before breaching his oath of office to please his superiors in the courts-martial of Captain Clement and his Marines. Because, were I a young buck once again, this morning I would be far more inclined to follow Captain Clement into the shooting than I would General Amos. The Captain, I believe I can trust. The General? Not so much.
H/T to DAVEO at Op-For