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Dec 3

Written by: Diana West
Thursday, December 03, 2009 3:38 AM 

Marine Mom writes in late last night:

Just when I thought I had seen it all, I read of this weakness by Gen. McChrystal.

Headline: "Let the enemy in Afghanistan give up  with dignity."

The full McChrystal quotation, via MSNBC, is this:

"I think they [the jihadis] should be faced with the option to come back if they are willing to come back under the constitution of Afghanistan — that they can come back with dignity," he said. [Note: Afghan constitution enshrines sharia so this represents no concession.] "If you look at the end of most civil wars and insurgencies, I think that everybody needs a chance to come back with dignity and respect and rejoin society. I think that will be important for us to look forward to."

"Dignity" -- for the filth that sets the IEDs that cripple our troops; for the vermin that send suicide-bombers into markets and hotels; that subjugate and terrorize women and the weak. "Dignity"?

While the general -- is he still here? I thought he was fired months ago -- goes PC-beatific on us (kind of reminds me of yesterday's not exactly militaristic comment from Gen. Conway: "Where we have gone, goodness follows..."), how about a little dignity for an American soldier who actually deserves it? 

I refer to LTC Jeffrey Chessani, the battalion commander of the eight so-called Haditha marines. As recapped by the North County Times, an inquiry board has convened

at Camp Pendleton to decide if a Marine Corps officer should be demoted for his actions after the shooting deaths of 24 Iraqi men, women and children four years ago.

At issue is whether Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, who commanded the Camp Pendleton unit that carried out the slayings, engaged in misconduct in handling the incident.

The inquiry board is the final step in Chessani's case; prosecutors earlier this year dropped two counts of criminal dereliction of duty.

If the board finds there was no misconduct, the case will be closed. If it decides there was misconduct, it can recommend that the Secretary of the Navy order Chessani retired at a lesser rank.

Again, if the Taliban, with American blood on their hands, are supposed to resume postwar life with "dignity," how about LTC Chessani? All this good fellowship among terrorists, but no slack, no clemency for our own loyal, brave men is a national disgrace.

From Bob Weimann, writing at Defend Our Marines (which has copious files on this and similar cases):


To date, of the eight Marines charged in this case, charges have been dropped for five of those Marines; one has been found not guilty; the Battalion Commander’s case was dropped because of undue command influence but he is awaiting a Board of Inquiry; and the squad leader, SSgt Wuterich, is still pending court martial (four years later) because the prosecutor cannot find enough evidence to bring him to trial. To top all that injustice and wasted effort, numerous other Marine officers in the chain of command associated with the Haditha incident have been relieved and censured. 

The question this raises is, how on earth could General Chiarelli (then Commander of Multi-National Corps – Iraq) believe that his reporting system and chain of command were providing him with less information on the Haditha incident, compared to a Time reporter listening to two former Iraqi prisoners who were not ever eyewitnesses? A true combat commander, a true leader would have told his public affairs officer to contact the reporter, verify which incident he was talking about and offer a brief based on the facts of the incident. The facts could be easily established with a few short discussions within the chain of command, if General Chiarelli talked to his commanders.

General Chiarelli’s story to tell in the Haditha incident is that the enemy is using civilians as shields and not that Marines are murdering civilians. The story to tell is that Haditha is no longer ruled by a murderous and intimidating enemy who is conducting daily public beheadings. The story to tell is that when 3/1, the Marine Battalion’s deployment ended, the Haditha population turned out to throw flowers at the Marines as a show of gratitude.

There is a long list of generals and admirals commanding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that all share in the strategic failures of both wars (Franks, Sanchez, Abazaid, Fallon, Casey, Chiarelli, Kensinger, Kearney, and McKiernan). In Iraq, it took the US strategic leadership four years (2003 to 2007) to implement the “Surge” and in Afghanistan it took eight years to propose (yet to be implemented) a decent detainee program. The unfortunate costs of bad strategic calls are paid for by the Marines and Soldiers fighting the battle. In other words, the generals are no longer watching the backs of our combat warriors.

LtCol Jeff Chessani’s Board of Inquiry will begin tomorrow, breaking the four year mark since the Haditha incident. SSgt Frank Wuterich's case is still mired in military legal limbo and I am sure the Commandant is waiting on the Chessani case before he moves on SSgt Wuterich.

Folks, please do not forget about these Marines. I know the same insufferable feeling you are experiencing as we watch the generals eat their young. These two Marines and their families still need your help and support in this unfair and continuing endurance test.

Semper Fi,

Bob Weimann LtCol, USMC Ret.
Former Commanding Officer Kilo Company 3/1




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