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Misbehaviour before the enemy

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by Albert (May 7, 2004)

Christopher Hitchens writes:

"Either these goons were acting on someone's authority, in which case there is a layer of mid- to high-level people who think that they are not bound by the laws and codes and standing orders. Or they were acting on their own authority, in which case they are the equivalent of mutineers, deserters, or traitors in the field. This is why one asks wistfully if there is no provision in the procedures of military justice for them to be taken out and shot."

read full Hitchens article

As Hak Mao points out, there is such a provision:

U.S. Code as of: 01/22/02

Section 899. Art. 99. Misbehavior before the enemy

Any member of the armed forces who before or in the presence of the enemy


(3) through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property


shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.


It seems likely that the goons were acting on orders from higher authorities in Military Intelligence.

Those who gave such orders are clearly guilty of intentional misconduct which "endangers the safety" of combat troops in Iraq.

Perhaps they have a technical defence to this specific charge, concerning the precise meaning of "before or in the presence of the enemy".

But as Military Intelligence officers drawing combat pay in a war zone, there seems at least a prima facie case for article 99 proceedings as well as the more obvious lesser charges under article 93:

Section 893. Art. 93. Cruelty and maltreatment

"Any person subject to this chapter who is guilty of cruelty toward, or oppression or maltreatment of, any person subject to his orders shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."


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Created by keza
Last modified 2004-05-07 11:25 PM

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