And some are in the darkness
And the others in the light
But you only see those in the light
Those in the darkness you don't see
--Mack the Knife, Kurt Weill
Isn't the right thing to do ...
You can go your own way
Go your own way
--Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac
Bush asked critics of Iraq's political progress
to consider the enormity of the task
--AP wire report, "Bush Defends Pace of Progress in Iraq,"
as reported by FOX news
- FOX news and Ranger are rarely on the same page. How could the above statement have gotten past the vigilant FOX editors?
- Enormity means "1. the quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness. 2. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage. An indecency" (freeonlinedictionary.) Surely they meant to impart a sense of the "largeness" of the undertaking, its "enormousness." But who knows? God works in mysterious ways.
- To today's topic: how, why and when did the U.S. military get into the civilian justice business?
- "The lawyer for a civilian contractor charged with assault said ... that he planned to challenge the American military's jurisdiction over the case.
- "The military has accused Alaa Mohammad Ali, an interpreter who holds Canadian and Iraqi citizenship, of stabbing a fellow interpreter with a knife.
- "It is the first time that the military has used the expanded legal authority it was given by Congress in 2006 to charge contractors who accompany the armed forces into the field. Experts say the case may emerge as an important test of the military's authority to try civilians (Stabbing in Iraq Tests Military's Authority Over Contractors.)"
If a guy shivs a guy in Iraq, that should be an Iraqi jurisdictional issue, unless the person wielding the knife is a U.S. military member. In that case, the Uniform Code of Military Justice may apply, unless the Iraqi government declares an intention to try the alleged perpetrator.
Iraq is a sovereign nation -- or so we are told -- and to date Ranger is unaware of any Status of Forces Agreements addressing the issue.
"Capt. Clay Compton, a military lawyer assigned to defend Ali, said the decision to charge Ali was not what Congress intended when it sought to crack down on serious abuses by security contractors. He described the case as stemming from nothing more than an altercation among interpreters.
"They want to test out a new American law on somebody who is not even an American," he said."
"Compton argued that there were other jurisdictions where the case might be heard, like Canada or Iraq, where Ali holds citizenship, and that there was no reason for a military trial."
Ranger disagrees with the last statement. The crime was committed in Iraq and was versus an Iraqi citizen by another Iraqi citizen. Why would the U.S. or Canada claim jurisdiction? There is no legal basis for such a change of venue.
This case is another tempest in a teapot aimed to take our eyes off the ball. Thousands of U.S. citizens are killed in senseless combat and untold Iraqis die weekly. . . and the U.S. focuses on a crummy knife fight?
The only crime that Ranger sees is that of bringing a knife to what could have been a good gun fight.
Labels: ucmj against contractors