18 June 2008

A brief comment on Colonels and Scumbags

On Colonels, we have the dismissal of charges against Lt. Col. Jeffery Chessani, USMC. Colonel Chessani, for those playing the Home Game, was the commanding officer of the battalion involved in the (so-called) Haditha shootings. After seven other Marines were charged with various murder charges, he was charged with failing to investigate the incident vigorously enough. However, now that the Government has dropped charges against five of the Marines for lack of evidence, tried to bring one to trial but was acquitted on charges, and has downgraded the charges for the remaining Marine to manslaughter, they realized this was not going to fly either. So his charges have been dropped.

Neener, neener, neener.

Bet that unless you read it on a blog, you haven't heard of this happening. Compare with the number of Old Media stories on the (fictional) incident when it allegedly happened.

Scumbags: IVAW shows its true colors again, as a member of that illustrious terrorist support network decided to not only deliberately miss movement, but do so in a publicly obnoxious manner designed to attract attention and boost the morale of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

SGT (and does THAT fact disgust me or what) Matthis Chiroux somehow managed to duck deployment while on active duty, serving a grand total of six days in Afghanistan (??? How did he do that?). However, he cheerfully collected a government paycheck while pogueing it out on bases in the United States, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines--how he did all that in a mere five years, I'd love to know. But as is common knowledge these days, all enlistments are for 8 years, which means he owed the remaining three years as IRR time, and the Army decided they needed someone with his particular skills in Theater. Boo-frickin-hoo. I weep. Seriously. Lots.

Six days in five years? I'm still baffled as to how he managed that, although I guess if he were Public Affairs support (Stars and Stripes describes him as a journalist) to an Important Person visiting theater, I could see how it happens.

Now, I'm on my third damn deployment, my wife's had one herself. I signed up for this job. I volunteered, as did dumb-ass Buck Sergeant Chiroux. I continued to volunteer, Buck decided he didn't want to play Army any more. I can respect that. But the IRR commitment is in the contract, and it occasionally bites folks in the butt. He could have stayed on Active Duty past the eight year mark to ensure it didn't--but that most likely would have meant a deployment. He chose to gamble, and he crapped out. It sucks--but this sort of whiny, self-serving aggrandizement to make a political point and directly support our enemies is bullshit.

He certainly isn't any use to the Army as a journalist. The informational side of this war is too important to have an outright terrorist sympathizer doing that job. He's already made it perfectly clear that he will not be professional in any sense of the word, but will grandstand and cause trouble and the Public Affairs shop is too damn sensitive a location to have a jackass who is a deliberate troublemaker.

But having said that, I sincerely hope that he gets dragged in front of a military judge who sentences him to a 455 day stay at Ft Leavenworth with a large cellmate on a life sentence.

Buck Sergeant Chiroux is NOT making the position of IVAW Spokesperson "ArmySergeant" any more plausible. She tried to argue in this blog that IVAW does NOT support al-Qaeda in Iraq, does NOT support mutiny, does NOT support desertion or missing movement, etc, etc, etc. Just honest, professional Soldiers who happen to disagree with the Government's policy. Setting aside the fundamental question of whether Soldiers who disagree with the Government's policy need to demonstrating in the streets and generally acting the fool in what I always was taught was an unprofessional manner, this sort of cowardly and unbefitting behavior is precisely what I keep bringing up in this little quasi-debate. I breathlessly await the explanation. Or not--I need to keep breathing to fulfill my professional duties as a noncommissioned officer--something armysergeant needs to start considering.

Discussion Question:

Article 94 of the UCMJ defines mutiny as:
"Any person subject to this chapter who-- with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuse, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny."

The elements of this charge are:

(2) Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duty.

    (a) That the accused refused to obey orders or otherwise do the accused's duty;

    (b) That the accused in refusing to obey orders or perform duty acted in concert with another person or persons; and

    (c) That the accused did so with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority.

The explanation is:

(b) Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duties. Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duties requires collective insubordination and necessarily includes some combination of two or more persons in resisting lawful military authority. This concert of insubordination need not be preconceived, nor is it necessary that the insubordination be active or violent. It may consist simply of a persistent and concerted refusal or omission to obey orders, or to do duty, with an insubordinate intent, that is, with an intent to usurp or override lawful military authority. The intent may be declared in words or inferred from acts, omissions, or surrounding circumstances.

IVAW encourages its members to refuse duty in Iraq. Should then an IVAW member who refuses duty in Iraq be considered to have done so "in concert" with other IVAW members, some of whom are on active duty and hence subject to the UCMJ?

18 Comments:

Blogger cmad said...

On Colonels, we have the dismissal of charges against Lt. Col. Jeffery Chessani, USMC.
[...]
Neener, neener, neener.

Bet that unless you read it on a blog, you haven't heard of this happening. Compare with the number of Old Media stories on the (fictional) incident when it allegedly happened.


Nothing to see here. Move on.

Or maybe the Old Media, as you choose to call them, also write that the dismissal of charges was due to a technicality, without prejudice, and Lt. Col. Chessani may be charged again.

cMAD ← Then again, none of the accused Marines threw any puppies of a cliff.

11:04 AM  
Blogger cmad said...

Article 94 of the UCMJ defines mutiny as:
"Any person subject to this chapter who-- with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuse, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny."

The elements of this charge are:

(2) Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duty.

(a) That the accused refused to obey orders or otherwise do the accused's duty;


Check.

(b) That the accused in refusing to obey orders or perform duty acted in concert with another person or persons; and

Check.

(c) That the accused did so with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority.

Doesn't seem to be the case. Explain.

cMAD

11:33 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

"intent to usurp or override lawful military authority."

Doesn't seem to be the case. Explain.


Not entirely sure what the lawyers define this way, but it seemed to me that setting oneself up as an arbiter of whether the United States is justly at war or not in this fashion is an attempt to usurp authority over the military Constitutionally exercised by Congress and the President.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

And yes, the Old Media gets in a day later than the internet. Interestingly, the source I linked to mentioned the 'without prejudice' bit as well, but I would argue that undue Command Influence is hardly a technicality when it comes to military justice. When you look at the highly irregular way the Government has been going at this case and the amount of influence from certain Congresscritters (Jack Murtha, for one) to try to push this thing forward regardless of the actual facts of the case, this is pretty much another slam-dunk.

2:14 PM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/18/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

7:52 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

Not entirely sure what the lawyers define this way, but it seemed to me that setting oneself up as an arbiter of whether the United States is justly at war or not in this fashion is an attempt to usurp authority over the military Constitutionally exercised by Congress and the President.

Hmmm.

Now if the Commander-in-Chief tries to usurp the authority of the senate and the people's representatives, leaving the Republic an empty shell, and someone resists, that would make him not a mutineer, but a Brute - at least I think so.

Et tu? ...

cMAD

12:00 AM  
Blogger cmad said...

When you look at the highly irregular way the Government has been going at this case and the amount of influence from certain Congresscritters (Jack Murtha, for one) to try to push this thing forward regardless of the actual facts of the case, this is pretty much another slam-dunk.

Not quite unprecedented.

Let me know if you find Weapons of Mass Destruction somewhere you're going.

cMAD

12:04 AM  
Blogger Army Sergeant said...

I've said IVAW does not encourage people to desert, miss movement, etc.

Some IVAW members have chosen to do so.

A large majority of us haven't. It's not policy in any way. I'm still cheerfully trucking on over here, as are most of our active duty members. SSG Cantu's also just got back from his third deployment-and he was IVAW before he went. We have a platoon size element of an IVAW chapter in Iraq right now.

If you want to point to one member as the "Example of all", then you need to point to the other members as well. Every member has their own idea of what consitutes patriotism and service.

Also, the issue of IRR call-ups raises the question of whether there truly is a "national emergency". What's the national emergency for journalists?

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Nuremberg Principles, which are part of US law, provide that all military personnel have the obligation not to obey illegal orders. The Army Field Manual 27-10, sec. 609 and UCMJ, art. 92, incorporate this principle. Article 92 says: "A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the law of the United States …"


Thus, under the Nuremberg Principles, "defense of superior orders" is not a defense for war crimes, although it might influence a sentencing authority to lessen the penalty.

"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

5:20 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Now if the Commander-in-Chief tries to usurp the authority of the senate and the people's representatives, leaving the Republic an empty shell, and someone resists, that would make him not a mutineer, but a Brute - at least I think so.

He (and not She, at least for this election cycle) would be doing exactly what the President, Congresscritters and SCOTUS have been doing to each other for the 200+ years that this Republic has existed: poaching on each others turf. The 'Checks and Balances' thing really does work: even if (and I'll grant that it does occasionally) get ugly in the process. Even the people themselves, acting as an electorate, have checks and balances on their own power. Thats one of the beautiful things about the US Constitution: it is a remarkably short document that assumes a corrupt, fallen nature among all humans; whether Judge, President, Congresscritter, or the Assistant Manager at your neighborhood Taco Bell.

US history is replete with examples of semi-tyranny...sometimes by the President (Nixon, FDR), Congress (post Civil-War), SCOTUS (Roe v Wade) and even the electorate itself (Gore v Bush, 2000). But the Constitution corrected each of these. It is a remarkable document. The US is still the last, best hope for mankind....the shining city on the hill, as Reagan described it. For all its faults, it virtues are still intact.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

ArmySergeant:

Has the IVAW taken down their rah-rah "Go Deserters" page? If so, you might, maybe MIGHT have a point. Otherwise, what you are saying and what the IVAW is doing and saying are not congruent. Or is this another case of Marxist organizations talking out of both sides of their mouths in order to confuse the weak-minded? You are taking lessons from the VVAW and their North Korean paymasters wonderfully, no?

As for your last bit, please quote the text in your enlistment contract or US Code that limits when the President may activate reservists.

anonymous:
Not sure what case you are trying to make. If you are trying to make the actual case that I'm a war criminal for fighting in a war that you believe is illegal, please be advised that your personal opinion is worth the paper its printed on, devalued for the gibberish.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Army Sergeant said...

Why don't you look for yourself?

If IVAW is your enemy, you should always be informed.

If IVAW is simply a vet's organization, it's good and useful knowledge.

The page won't destroy you simply by your checking it every now and then.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Here's the official IVAW position, taken from http://ivaw.org

"IVAW members Matthis Chiroux and Kris Goldsmith have been pounding the pavement in Washington DC, with the help of IVAW's DC chapter, to get members of Congress to support Matthis in his refusal to deploy to Iraq. Matthis was honorably discharged from the Army in 2007 after five years of service, but he received orders in February 2008 to return to active duty from the IRR for deployment to Iraq."

"On Sunday, June 15th, the day he was due to report for active duty, Matthis stood with his father and supporters in DC and reaffirmed that he is refusing his orders on the grounds that the Iraq war is illegal and unconstitutional."

Is this, or is this not the IVAW's position? If this is the IVAW's position, how do you claim the opposite? If not, what the fuck is it doing on the IVAW's front page?

Sarge, you're a damn liar, and I keep catching you at it. It's not even amusing any more.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Army Sergeant said...

Supporting a person in their decision after they have made it is different (morally and legally) from encouraging them to do it.

Also, IVAW routinely takes Members Speaks and throws them up on the front page. It doesn't mean it's an Official Position.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

A smart JAG could make the case--but I doubt it would ever happen.

Regrettably.

The IVAW takes the position that the war in Iraq is illegal and supports those who do desert or miss movement--as per the IVAW website. I can hardly see where you see only support after the fact. But even if I were to concede that argument, that puts those of you who are subject to UCMJ in an interesting position.

As for professionalism, that's always been a higher standard than merely the letter of the law. You wouldn't understand that, though.

I'd hate to be one of your Soldiers.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Meh. Late to the convo, but I just wanted to go on record with at least one liberal's position on these matters:

First: Col. Chessani.

Good to see the government being consistent there. Yes, I mean that, and wish him well. And for the record, this is a big part of why, when there is an incident under investigation, people need to STFU and let the investigators do their job, and not grandstand.

Politicians, especially.

Second: Sgt. Chiroux, IVAW, and mutiny.

Military personnel have an obligation to refuse an order they feel is immoral and/or illegal. That doesn't mean doing so is without consequence. He signed up, and apparently had no problems following orders that, even if they didn't mean his direct deployment to a combat unit, certainly supported the efforts he is now decrying as illegal. That, to me, smells fishy, right there.

If you feel the war is illegal, oppose it consistently. Do not stand up and oppose it when it's you getting sent over. That's not morality, and it's not courage. It's self-serving opportunism at best.

Even if the invasion itself was illegal (as it may well have been), that does not make the current occupation immoral or illegal, only factual. Moreover, refusing at this point only weakens any moral claim from his position: He's just been ordered to show up. He hasn't been ordered to rape children, run over dogs with a Bradley, or even make naked Iraqi men demonstrate they really don't belong on the cheerleading squad with their flat 'human pyramid' attempts.

In short: He's failed to oppose participation the war on moral grounds as 'illegal orders', so he has no standing now on the broad strokes interpretation he's trying to push. He hasn't been put into a position where he can point to a specific, heinous act he's been ordered to do that he's refused as illegal.

What's more, he made a commitment. He received the benefits of that commitment. He should damned well honor his commitment. I don't care if that means to him that he honors the specific terms of his agreement, or honors the implications of that agreement by sitting his ass in a federal prison until such time as he gets himself dishonorably discharged at the Army's discretion, but you don't make a promise and then just say 'I don't like what I agreed to do, so I get to walk away with no consequences'.

As for IVAW... again, I fail to see how there is a morally justifiable position from which to claim that violating an agreement should engender no consequences. You sign up, you do what you said you'd do. If you feel you can't, then you say so and you take the hit.

It's no different than any other aspect of life: If you can't meet your commitments, you don't get to say 'oh well' and walk away without repercussion. You. Take. The Fucking. Hit.

8:23 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Bill, thank you.

Seriously, remind me to buy you a beer if I'm ever in your neck of the woods.

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Bah. I can't imagine my position surprises you or your intrepid husband.

I'll definitely take the beer, though. ;)

6:44 AM  

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