Thursday, October 01, 2009

It’s like I slapped my own family in the face

The government has finished its prosecution of a third Marine for an incident in which four unarmed, surrendered Iraqi prisoners were murdered in Fallujah in 2004. After two others were acquitted, Sgt Jermaine Nelson, who had confessed six different times to executing one of the prisoners, was convicted – of dereliction of duty, in a plea agreement in which the government dropped the murder charge. He will be reduced in rank to lance corporal, serve no time and not be dishonorably discharged. His lawyer said he got such a good deal because he was so cooperative with investigators, although he had refused to give evidence against his sergeant last year (the gov did not go after any of the three for contempt of court in their pact not to testify against each other). (My posts on that trial here and here.)

Said Nelson, “I gave in to the peer pressure and now I have to live with it for the rest of my life... I let down the Marine Corps, which is my family. It’s like I slapped my own family in the face.” Adding, “Oh, and it’s also like I shot that one Iraqi guy in the face.” I may have made up that last part.

He went on, “If the Marine Corps will allow me to stay in, I’d love to stay in.”

(Sources: BBC, AP, North County Times, ditto, San Diego Union-Tribune.)

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