He's in -- on a sentence far longer than any of his now-free co-defendants -- he's out; he's free, gets his life and family back together. Now, as of this week, Sgt. Hutchins is going back to military prison.
Once again, we are long past the point where an American Marine's supposed debt to (Iraqi terrorist) society has become cruel and unusual punishment.
Meanwhile, also this week, CENTCOM gushingly announced the scheduled release of 11 "empowered detainees" on top of the more than 350 Afghan war prisoners released since January 2010.
And what makes these detainees (never "prisoners") "empowered"? CENTCOM says it's due to the educational courses offered at Parwan Detention Facility. Officials call it "civics," and maybe it is. But something else is being taught at this US prison.
From the Tuscon Sentinel, July 21, 2010:
"Afghanistan: US steps up prisoner release"
...The Parwan Facility is clean, well-lighted, and detainees are, by all accounts, treated humanely, although reporters are not allowed to speak to them because of Geneva Convention restrictions.
They are given training in trades such as carpentry, sewing, agriculture; one of the speakers at the shura, General Moheeb, told the onlookers that Parwan was more a school than a prison.
"It's a madrassa, really," said the heavily bearded military man. "Many of these men could not even read the Holy Koran when they came to us. Now they can recite it from memory."
Uncle Sucker strikes again.
But it's back to prison for Sgt. Hutchins, along with the rest of the "Leavenworth Ten."
From the LA Times:
A Marine at Camp Pendleton has been ordered back to prison -- possibly as early as Wednesday -- for the killing of an unarmed Iraqi man in 2006.
Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins was freed in April from the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, while appeals courts considered whether he was denied a fair trial at Camp Pendleton.
Hutchins had served four years of an 11-year sentence after being convicted as the ringleader of a plot to kidnap and murder a retired Iraqi police officer in Hamandiya, west of Baghdad.
But those appeals proved unsuccessful. Hutchins' attorneys have filed another appeal, but Hutchins was ordered back to prison while that appeal is considered.
A last-minute request for clemency was rejected Tuesday, without comment, by Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.
Hutchins is set to surrender to authorities at Camp Pendleton and be sent to the brig before being transferred to Fort Leavenworth.
Since April, Hutchins has been assigned as a rifle-range instructor at Camp Pendleton. He has reconciled with his wife, and the couple is expecting their second child, according to Hutchins' attorney Babu Kaza.
But Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser has no comment -- and no clemency.
Meanwhile, we've released more than 350 Afghan war prisoners since January 2010.
At issue in the appeals is whether Hutchins' right to a fair trial was damaged when one of his trial attorneys was allowed to leave the case on the eve of the court martial.
That may be what is legally at issue. But what is morally at issue is the COIN strategy, the ROEs, and the foundationally cracked policy American soldiers were ordered to carry out.
Seven enlisted Marines and one Navy corpsman were convicted in the Hamandiya killing. As the squad leader, Hutchins received the longest sentence. All of the others are now freed; none served more than 18 months.
The plan to kill an Iraqi was developed as a warning to other Iraqis not to attack Marines with sniper shots or buried roadside bombs. In the months after the killing, attacks on Marines in the region dropped.