The Real Command Influence

In dismissing the very dubious war crimes charges against Marine LTC Jeffrey Chessani, his trial judge, COL Steven Folsom, said this:

"Unlawful command influence is the mortal enemy of military justice,"

COL Folsom was referring to influence within the Marine Corps command structure, specifically involving two officers of general rank. We should all applaud the colonel's decision as it would make no sense whatsoever for the Marines to try an officer for failing to investigate crimes that to this point several military courts have failed to establish ever occurred. With one exception, all of the Haditha Marines now have been exonerated. The exception is SSGT Frank Wuterich and if the Marines insist on pursuing his prosecution, they will find themselves in the position of trying to prove homicidal behavior on the part of a non-commissioned officer whose troops apparently killed no one in an unlawful manner according to Marine courts. The only conclusion is that he acted alone, in the midst of battle, while commanding his troops, he somehow single-handedly slaughtered more than twenty innocent Iraqi civilians.


Sounds preposterous, right? Well, that's apparently what the Navy would have us believe. And make no mistake about it, it is the Navy that controls military prosecutions in the Marine Corps, and the Navy appears willing to pursue this prosecution even though SSGT Wuterich's subordinates and his two superiors who were charged have all been cleared by military courts. That leads us to speculate that either SSGT Wuterich killed those Iraqi civilians all by himself or Navy JAG is desperately in need of at least one face-saving conviction in this Haditha mess.

Or is there another reason? Perhaps command influence from a higher level? Most civilians are unaware of the tremendous pressure members of Congress are able to bring to bear on military commanders. If a particular senator or congressman doesn't happen to be on a committee or subcommittee with direct oversight over military budgets or affairs, you can bet one of his cronies does. This is particularly true with flag rank Navy officers and generals in the other services because their promotions into these lofty ranks require congressional approval.

By now you must have guessed where this is going. Consider...who is the most powerful person in this situation who stands to not only look like the grandstanding, blowhard fool that he is but could perhaps be threatened with defamation lawsuits by the young Marines whose lives he turned into hell by publicly proclaiming them "cold blooded killers." Ah yes, that would be the reigning Prince of Pork, John Murtha. Think about it, with a single conviction of any one of the Marines charged, Murtha can claim vindication and use that conviction as an effective defense against any defamation suits from any of the other defendants.

So the question begging to be asked is whether or not this congressman, who was videotaped by the FBI as indicating he is bribable, is pulling strings behind the Navy/Marine Corps command structure to pursue this phony war crimes prosecution to the bitter end. Murtha claims to be an ex-Marine to which I say, you may have worn the uniform, John, but you are sure as hell no Marine. As I have said before, the Marine Corps motto is Semper Fi, always faithful; John Murtha's motto is Semper I, always him.
In dismissing the very dubious war crimes charges against Marine LTC Jeffrey Chessani, his trial judge, COL Steven Folsom, said this:

"Unlawful command influence is the mortal enemy of military justice,"

COL Folsom was referring to influence within the Marine Corps command structure, specifically involving two officers of general rank. We should all applaud the colonel's decision as it would make no sense whatsoever for the Marines to try an officer for failing to investigate crimes that to this point several military courts have failed to establish ever occurred. With one exception, all of the Haditha Marines now have been exonerated. The exception is SSGT Frank Wuterich and if the Marines insist on pursuing his prosecution, they will find themselves in the position of trying to prove homicidal behavior on the part of a non-commissioned officer whose troops apparently killed no one in an unlawful manner according to Marine courts. The only conclusion is that he acted alone, in the midst of battle, while commanding his troops, he somehow single-handedly slaughtered more than twenty innocent Iraqi civilians.


Sounds preposterous, right? Well, that's apparently what the Navy would have us believe. And make no mistake about it, it is the Navy that controls military prosecutions in the Marine Corps, and the Navy appears willing to pursue this prosecution even though SSGT Wuterich's subordinates and his two superiors who were charged have all been cleared by military courts. That leads us to speculate that either SSGT Wuterich killed those Iraqi civilians all by himself or Navy JAG is desperately in need of at least one face-saving conviction in this Haditha mess.

Or is there another reason? Perhaps command influence from a higher level? Most civilians are unaware of the tremendous pressure members of Congress are able to bring to bear on military commanders. If a particular senator or congressman doesn't happen to be on a committee or subcommittee with direct oversight over military budgets or affairs, you can bet one of his cronies does. This is particularly true with flag rank Navy officers and generals in the other services because their promotions into these lofty ranks require congressional approval.

By now you must have guessed where this is going. Consider...who is the most powerful person in this situation who stands to not only look like the grandstanding, blowhard fool that he is but could perhaps be threatened with defamation lawsuits by the young Marines whose lives he turned into hell by publicly proclaiming them "cold blooded killers." Ah yes, that would be the reigning Prince of Pork, John Murtha. Think about it, with a single conviction of any one of the Marines charged, Murtha can claim vindication and use that conviction as an effective defense against any defamation suits from any of the other defendants.

So the question begging to be asked is whether or not this congressman, who was videotaped by the FBI as indicating he is bribable, is pulling strings behind the Navy/Marine Corps command structure to pursue this phony war crimes prosecution to the bitter end. Murtha claims to be an ex-Marine to which I say, you may have worn the uniform, John, but you are sure as hell no Marine. As I have said before, the Marine Corps motto is Semper Fi, always faithful; John Murtha's motto is Semper I, always him.