Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Sad Iraq Tale

As a liberal and a vet who has opposed the Iraq war from the very beginning, the case of Sgt. Evan Vela is one of the sadder events in a long litany of unnecessary death and destruction from Mr. Bush's bloody decision to invade Iraq. His conviction today, of unpremeditated murder, causes me more than a little mixed emotion. As noted in the following AP article, the events leading up to Sgt. Vela's killing of an unarmed Iraqi does not, in my opinion , present "a simple case of murder", as described by military prosecutors. I know my fellow liberals will not agree with my assessment {and that's putting it mildly} . It seems to me however, that this case should not have been brought to trial and has more to do with Vela cast as a scapegoat to show the public {Iraqi and American} the US military is serious about holding troops accountable for war crimes.

This case is not like Haditha or the gang rape and murder of a 14 year old Iraqi girl by several soldiers who set out to do just that. This is a case of exausted, overworked GI's put in an impossible life and death situation that caused Vela to use poor judgment. But to convict him of murder reminds me of the line in Apocalypse Now where Martin Sheen's character, Captain Willard questions the military's label of murderer to Colonel Kurtz.
Willard: How many people had I already killed? There was those six that I know about for sure. Close enough to blow their last breath in my face. But this time it was an American and an officer. That wasn't supposed to make any difference to me, but it did. Shit... charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500. I took the mission. What the hell else was I gonna do?

Anyways, here is the AP article and you can decide for yourself if this young man is really guilty of murder in a ultra confused war zone. I say the people who put them there and overworked them to the point of utter exhaustion are to blame and it is they who should be brought to account.

By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press Writer Sun Feb 10, 9:05 AM ET

BAGHDAD - A U.S. Army sniper accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian and planting evidence on his body was found guilty on all charges Sunday.

Jurors deliberated for three hours before finding Sgt. Evan Vela guilty of murder without premeditation. He had previously been charged with premeditated murder, but that charge was changed during his court-martial in Baghdad

Here is the link for the rest of the article

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