Friday, October 05, 2007

Murder, Negligent Homicide, or Taking Care of Business?

Interesting debate at Blackfive in the comments regarding the incident involving US Marines at Haditha.

The official, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, said in a recommendation obtained by the North County Times that rather than face murder charges, squad leader Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich should be tried for the lesser offense of negligent homicide in the deaths of five children and two women.

Ware recommended 10 other murder charges against Wuterich be dismissed.

"I believe after reviewing all the evidence that no trier of fact can conclude Staff Sgt. Wuterich formed the criminal intent to kill," Ware wrote in reference to the women and children. "When a Marine fails to exercise due care and civilians die, the charge of negligent homicide, and not murder, is appropriate."
Blackfive blogger Uncle Jimbo made what I thought to be a reasonable analysis:
While I know that many would have preferred that no charges at all be filed, I believe that LTC Ware's judgment is proper. The actions taken by SSgt Wuterich were not designed to kill innocent Iraqis, but they certainly did, and his choices should be scrutinized. It took a generous reading of the ROE to justify the shootings and he may not even face the negligent homicide charges. But in my mind it shows that accountability matters to the Marine Corps and even if he is convicted on those charges, he and the other Marines involved are owed a huge apology from the lummox Murtha.
But most of Uncle Jimbo's readers don't see it that way. And that is troublesome.