Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Battle of the books

"No Time for Truth: The Marines, Justice, and the Haditha Incident," by Nathaniel R. Helms and Haytham Faraj, is due to be released on January 15, 2015, according to Amazon. Mr. Helms is "a Vietnam combat veteran, former Galveston, TX police officer, and investigative news reporter with extensive experience covering police and courts before reporting on the Yugoslavian civil war for seven months during early 1993." Mr. Faraj, a criminal defense lawyer who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, was one of the civilian defense counsel in United States v. Wuterich.

In a post on Jurist  -- e.g., "Anonymity, invisibility and quiet, immediate implementation of predetermined sentence is the real goal" -- Mr. Helms, responding to an earlier Haditha Jurist essay by Kenneth F. Englade (noted here by Phil Cave), observes:
The Marine Corps rewards esprit and holds commanders who create grief for the institution ultimately responsible for their actions. The Marine Corps wanted [Lt Col Jeffrey Chessani's] head and worked diligently to obtain it. It didn't, however, anticipate he would be represented by a powerful civilian advocacy law firm with deep pockets and crackerjack lawyers. The mistakes that led to his complete exoneration began immediately after he was charged and didn't conclude until he was allowed to retire from the Marine Corps with his rank and integrity intact. It was not an accident. When the tenants [sic] of the UCMJ was [sic] challenged by competent authority, it could not withstand the scrutiny of precedent and withered on the vine.
It is easy now to look back on the painful seven years it took to bring the case to a close and point out the glaring legal errors, the evidentiary inconsistencies and lies, deceit and obfuscation practiced by all the players involved in the longest, most expensive and fruitless criminal prosecution in the history of the US. It however was not a conspiracy, or an attempt to cover-up criminal behavior; it was the validation of a unique, unfair and malleable UCMJ that has as much to do with justice as military music has to do with beautiful serenades.
Mr. Englade's Haditha book: Meltdown in Haditha: The Killing of 24 Iraqi Civilians by US Marines and the Failure of Military Justice will also be released in January, by McFarland & Co.

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