Thursday, August 28, 2008

You don’t know what goes on in combat until you are in combat

Follow-up: In the civilian trial of former Marine Sgt. Jose Nazario for executing two unarmed Iraqi captives and ordering his men to kill two more, the jury evidently bought his defense that “The killings did not occur, but if they did occur, they were justified during the violent, fast-moving battle in Fallujah.” The jury’s forewoman said, “I think you don’t know what goes on in combat until you are in combat.” Maybe if she considered herself incompetent to render a verdict, she shouldn’t have been serving on a jury in the first place.

(Update: she added that the verdict was intended to send a message to the troops: “I hope they realize that they shouldn’t be second-guessed, that we support them and know that they’re doing the right thing.” A trial, any trial, is an exercise in “second-guessing.” Again, if you don’t believe in the legitimacy of the criminal justice process, you shouldn’t be participating. Also: “doing the right thing” – sheesh.)

(Updatier: another juror agreed that a civilian jury shouldn’t have tried this case, saying, “I don’t think we had any business doing that. I thought it was unfair to us and to him.” Which I guess is why she decided not to do it, despite taking the oath and all.)

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