Thursday, January 26, 2012
Iraqis angry at plea bargain of Marine charged in massacre of 24 Iraqis in 2005
The massacre happened back in 2005 in the city of Haditha. 24 Iraqi civilians were killed. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich was the only remaining marine charged after charges were dropped against several other marines. Dropping charges against them brought anger from the Iraqis as well.'
Khalid Salman whose cousin was killed in Haditha said:"This is not new, and it's not new for the American courts that already did little about Abu Ghraib and other crimes in Iraq," Since U.S. troops are not subject to Iraqi law Iraqis must look to the U.S. legal system for any punishment of wrongs done by U.S. troops. In many cases the results have led to an increase in anti-Americanism.
The Obama administration far from wishing a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq tried its best to have a substantial number stay after the end of last year. However the Obama administration would not agree to let U.S. troops be subject to Iraqi law and that was not acceptable to the Iraqis. No agreement was reached.
Sgt. Wuterich pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty. He said he regretted telling his men to shoot first and ask questions later. The reduced charge has a maximum sentence of three months in jail. However as part of the plea bargain it was agreed he would not serve any jail time.'
The original charges of manslaughter and assault carried a maximum sentence of 152 years. Wuterich ends up with no jail term although his rank was reduced to that of private. Iraqis have been angered as well by events at the Abu Ghraib prison and the killing of Iraqis by Blackwater contractors. So far no one has been punished in the Blackwater incident and the person convicted in the Abu Ghraib case was let out of jail long before finishing his ten year sentence. For more detail see this article.