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Allah Steps On His Johnson

Let me start out by saying I'm a big fan of Allahpundit. I have been since the days of Allah Is In The House, when he actually wrote in Allah's voice and Michelle Malkin wasn't :"the boss," but a "Satan who makes Allah feel a little funny in his pants." The guy's a genius.

I'm still a fan of his, but I gotta call him out: the guy's just plain wrong on this story.

I'll admit, as I read his story and analysis, I found myself nodding along with his reasoning. It all makes a great deal of sense -- give the accused SEALS a slap on the wrist, tell 'em to be a smidgen more discreet, and quietly bury the whole story. Everything works out just fine.

But unfortunately, it appears that Allah and I are as ignorant of the details of the military judicial system as, apparently, the Obama administration is. Because that just can't happen.

The military has a system for such quiet, non-career-killing proceedings. In the Navy, they're called "Captain's Masts." The captain (or commanding officer) holds a private hearing, decides guilt or innocence, and imposes a range of penalties -- that do NOT go on the offender's disciplinary record like a criminal conviction.

That's how the military handles minor matters. For more serious ones, they bring in the big guns -- the court martial. That's the one that administers discharges, imprisonment, and -- in the worst cases -- executions.

The problem with Allah's scenario is that the accused SEALS were offered Captain's Mast (or, in the non-Navy, bureaucratic lingo, "nonjudicial punishment) and refused. Instead, they insisted on a full court martial.

Why would they do this? I have my own theory -- one that Allah would probably agree with, once he educated himself on the particulars and thought it through.

Our Special Forces are inculcated with values and beliefs that represent the very best of America. And chief among them is a fierce integrity. These SEALS honestly, sincerely, and deeply believe that they did absolutely nothing wrong when they captured that terrorist. They refused the Mast because that would have been an admission of wrongdoing, and they will not lie about it.

Rather, they'll take their chances with their brethren in a full Court Martial, with all the facts in evidence. They believe that they are innocent, and will be found innocent. And that is the gamble they are facing.

Because a court martial conviction is an automatic "felony" conviction. It's a career-killer -- at the very least. They could also be stripped of rank, dishonorably discharged, or even imprisoned.

They're willing to take that chance, because they believe in their innocence and their system. There will be no "slap on the wrist" for them, simply because the stakes have gotten too high. That option is off the table.

There's an old saying, Allah, that says "when you're getting the most flak, you know you're over the target." It's used a lot by people under fire (usually metaphorically) to bolster their courage and convictions.

Well, I've discovered the Charles Johnson Exception to that rule: "when you start getting a hell of a lot of flak from what you thought were friendly units, you might be bombing the wrong target."

Back away from this one, Allah. You were spot-on in your analysis, but a little late -- it would have been nice and tidy and easy if the military had given the SEALS a wrist-slap. The whole thing could have been swept under the rug.

But they have too much pride and integrity and devotion to play their role in the charade. Instead, they are standing their ground and insisting that they did nothing wrong, and won't play along with the political games.

Good for them. It's time for a bit of downward loyalty -- by dropping the charges.


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Comments (29)

I'm a big fan o... (Below threshold)
devildog666:

I'm a big fan of Allahpundit

Allahpundit might as well be a Muslim terrorist when he essentially is supporting the mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Americans in Fallujah in 2004.

So he got a fat lip and the heroes who put their lives on the line get court marshaled. That's justice?

Allahpundit deserves a big fat lip and a kick in the ass. He's a traitor. The military can't be playing kindergarten when their lives are constantly in danger.

There is another possibilit... (Below threshold)
Sabba Hillel:

There is another possibility. It is possible that eh pressure to accuse the Seals came from the political wing of the command chain. If that were the case, then they might have been afraid that the Captains Mast punishment was designed to really punish them and sweep the political actions under the rug. In that case, the only hope would have been to go for the public court martial.

Even if they are found innocent, what do you think that it will do to their careers?

You don't link to AP (why y... (Below threshold)
FeFe:

You don't link to AP (why you bother for the abandoned thought of lgf is odd) but off the top of my head, this reminds me of the moment in the epic WWII miniseries "Band of Brothers" when Winters asks for court martial over taking a disciplinary action on some trumped up charge by the lowly commander designed to show everyone who's boss. I'm not sure exactly how it played out in real life, but the show made it appear the higher ups recognized the charges as b.s. and made it disappear. I bet it helped that the NCOs voiced on paper their inability to follow the weasel leader.

However, in this p.c. day and age I am reminded of the attorney Yoo having code pinkos camped out on his driveway over distilled water in terrorist faces. Legally, they have to stay away from the entrance but fear not the 300 people falling or jumping from the flaming 9/11 Twin Towers falling on them or the World Wildlife Foundation falling from the sky polar bears due to airline carbon footprints landing on them either.

With all the conflict of interest Gitmo lawyers Attorney General Eric "Nation of Cowards" Holder has brought into the Justice Dept., I begin to wonder if those involved in bringing these SEAL charges are not similarly aligned. Were they practicing CIA in their natural habitat photography?

Jay,Captains Mast ... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Jay,

Captains Mast falls under what the military calls non-judicial punishment, Article 15 of the UCMJ. Punishment isn't a felony conviction, but it can be just as much of a career stopper. An Article 15 for a Non-Commissioned Officer would likely be a career stopper, for a Warrant Officer or Commissioned Officer it is almost guarenteed to kill any forward momentum they had. It isn't neccessarily the easy way out.

It is not unusual for a command to go with for Article 15 when they know the charges might meet the letter of the law but not the spirit or intent. Occaisionally a Commanding Officer files charges based on technical violations with little or no real merit. Basically they prosecute because they can. It isn't always something they should do. In such a case a seasoned NCO, or well counseled enlisted can accept the Article 15 and try to appeal later, or they can request a court martial.

It is not unusual for the covening authority to ultimately throw out the charges, or recommend to the original accusers to dismiss the charges once some impartial investigation and the discovery process takes over.

It is a matter of values. NCO's, Warrant Officers and Commissioned Officers often have to do the right thing even though they know it violates regulations. The best of them will accept the responsibility of their actions and follow through with the consequences. When they believe they did the right thing don't expect them to lay down and take it.

These SEALs might or might ... (Below threshold)

These SEALs might or might not have been able to receive a "slap on the wrist" in NJP...but I believe they decided America needed to know what was going on, and realized a Courts Martial was the only way to achieve that.

The lights will be turned on in the kitchen, and the cockroaches in JAG and throughout the Obama Regime will start scampering to crawl back into the woodwork. Hopefully, a few will get stomped on first.

FeFe, I didn't link to Alla... (Below threshold)

FeFe, I didn't link to Allah because I'm occasionally a bonehead on the technical side. I'm gonna go fix that right now, thanks.

J.

The Armed Forces would be a... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

The Armed Forces would be a lot better off if they would reduce the sizes of their JAG corp. The lawyers are the ones that are the problem. As with civilian justice, the lawyers have made up new laws to give them something to do. Hell, there is even a damn lawyer embedded in combat units. That is a tad ridiculous, imho. I guess when things get weeded out, I hope that the lawyers will be court-martialed for bringing false charges.

The SEALS more than likely ... (Below threshold)
recovering liberal democrat:

The SEALS more than likely don't trust this C. in C. and his administration. The Captain's Mast findings and decision would have been leaked. Especially if the decision was not what the administration wanted. These SEALS would have been convicted in the liberal press before they had a chance to defend themselves. I don't blame them. Jay is right, if we had a C.in C. that could be trusted to do the right thing. We don't.

Re #4:Matt has it ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Re #4:

Matt has it right. Seen it happen too many times.

I think the only to handle ... (Below threshold)
Matt:

I think the only to handle situations like this in the future will be to Kill them All. I don't care if God sorts them out.

As a civilian, who... (Below threshold)
Sabba Hillel:

As a civilian, whose only knowledge of law enforcement is "Law and Order" on TV, and whose knowledge of "black operations" is on the level of a Tom Clancy novel, I think that both sides are correct. Allahpundit was speaking about the political ramifications of a situation from a civilian viewpoint. From that viewpoint, one would think that the military would try to set things up to pretend to "punish" the Seals so that they could then disappear from the radar and go back to work. He might also have been pointing out that once the politicians got involved, the military would have to be "shocked, shocked" that such a thing could happen in "our military". In fact, I would have thought that the "classified records" would have contained an "attaboy" for managing to restrain themselves (assuming they were the ones who gave him a fat lip) or a comment saying they should have made sure to have the pictures that he did not have one when they turned him over to the Iraquis.

Again, this is because I have not been in the situation were I would see an incident like this as a career ender. Once it is pointed out by those who know, the situation changes.

sabbahillel on November 25, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Exceptionally off-topic,... (Below threshold)
Angellight:

Exceptionally off-topic, spamming bullshit deleted, poster banned

Does anyone remember what t... (Below threshold)
ac:

Does anyone remember what that SOB terrorist did to the Blackwater guys? I do. In my opinion that scum should have gotten a lot more than a split lip

Is this like a precedent? Are military men not supposed to be able to subdue their captives? Next up..court martials for getting a terrorist's pants dirty.

Angellight, read your post ... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Angellight, read your post twice. "Agents of Change", you mean like ACORN and Obama (who has indebited children born today to the tune of $38K)?

Do yourself a favor. It's a long holiday weekend this week. Check yourself in for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation. Bring a copy of your #12 posting with you.

Already tidied up, old guy.... (Below threshold)

Already tidied up, old guy...

J.

You da' man, Jay!... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

You da' man, Jay!

I wonder if those SEALS are... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I wonder if those SEALS are just as vicious as those who didn't kill goat herders who discovered them while on patrol. And all but one ended up paying with his life.

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=49428

Assuming the terrorist didn... (Below threshold)
914:

Assuming the terrorist didnt smack Himself in the face? What is the penalty for bitch slapping a bitch?

I've been out of the milita... (Below threshold)

I've been out of the military for a couple of years, but it USED to be that if they offered you NJP under Article 15, they had enough for the court martial conviction and were throwing you a bone because they thought you were basically a good person who messed up.

I have no idea what happened in this case and we probably won't know it all until the case is available under FOIA.

My guess is that they're being accused of injuring the scumbag AFTER he was already in custody. That would change things dramatically no matter who the rat bastard is.

re #19.NJP means Non-judici... (Below threshold)
HChambers:

re #19.NJP means Non-judicial procedure. No lawyers, charges are based on the Manual for Courts-Martial used by the military. Someone prefers charges, then a military member, more senior than the accused is appointed to investigate the circumstances. That report is passed up the chain of command to the person who is authorized to conduct an Article 15, or Captain's Mast (Navy dept. term). Usually the commanding officer. It can be a closed mast if the accused requests it, only witnesses and chain of command present. The accused also is allowed, if one is freely available, to talk to an attorney to clarify his rights to request a courts-martial. Rules are different underway on a ship (no right) or on shore (has rights generally). He may choose that courts-martial (Special/General) up until the time the Commanding officer says whether the accused did or did not commit the offense he or she is accused of. The NJP info is held within the Navy. It does not go on a record that leaves the Navy. Courts-martials. There are 3 levels. One I've only seen once, the lowest level. It's a pain in the neck and affords little more benefit/punishment than NJPs do. The two used more often are the special courts-martial and the general courts-martial. The special limits punishments and type of discharge. It can also be convened by lower ranking officers than those who can convene general courts-martials. Courts-martials are fully judicial. They become public record, rights are given, there is a judge, prosecuting attorney and defense attorney. The jury part is a bit different than civilians. They are called members vs a jury and 2/3 majority is usually the found guilty criteria vs unanimous. So, NJP is "private". The info is protected on results although within a command it's pretty easy to tell what name went with what punishment given. Courts-martials are fully public and do count as federal convictions which can have life changing consequences. I hope this clarifies the importance of the decision these Seals made. Their decisions were not made lightly and are high risk in terms of potential guilty verdicts. I was not a lawyer in the Navy before I retired, but I did investigate offenses and make recommendations earlier in my career, and later I had the authority to hold NJP and had Special Courts-martial authority over enlisted who worked for me.

Jay Tea said: "The m... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jay Tea said:
"The military has a system for such quiet, non-career-killing proceedings. In the Navy, they're called "Captain's Masts." The captain (or commanding officer) holds a private hearing, decides guilt or innocence, and imposes a range of penalties -- that do NOT go on the offender's disciplinary record like a criminal conviction."

FYI: A Captain's Mast may include COMMENDATORY hearings and presentations of certificates or awards. I got a parchment myself. Basically for volunteering for a squad-size radio testing exercise on top of a big-ass hill off Whale Bay in Iceland. No medal, though. :-)

Ah, another day BryanD demo... (Below threshold)

Ah, another day BryanD demonstrates his utter cluelessness and worthlessness by...

Whoops, rein in that boilerplate. Broken clock time!

Bryan, thanks for clarifying "Captain's Mast" for us civvies. As I read your comment (for the second time; the first time was looking for the cheap shot and flagrant wrongness, the second for the actual content -- force of habit there), it sounded vaguely familiar, and I think I'd read somewhere about Masts also being for positive reinforcement, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you where.

Thanks also for your service, and congratulations on your certificate. I've gotten similar ones from my own employer, and I couldn't begin to tell you the contempt I have for them. Yours, though -- that actually means something.

J.

If only a few republican co... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

If only a few republican congressmen/senators displayed the honor, courage and patriotism of these men.

Jay Tea said, "...an... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jay Tea said,
"...and I think I'd read somewhere about Masts also being for positive reinforcement, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you where."

Oh, shit the bed! POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT???

*slaps forehead, pours scotch, drinks*

Ahhh! Well, anyway. Don't let the wildly uneven Wikipedia lead you astray. It's written by various memebers of the cast of Dilbert.

marc!!!?! React!

Jay Tea,You miss a... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

Jay Tea,

You miss a salient points which I covered in my updates:

An Admiral's Mast is already rather far removed from wrist slap territory, and indicates that the chain of command below that point was unwilling to pursue the matter (clearly by dint of being concerned with operational effectiveness and morale).

I think the Admiral who attempted to hold the Article 15 hearing should be relieved for cause.

Why is it that people who h... (Below threshold)
wtfo:

Why is it that people who have no military experience nonetheless seem to think they can offer insightful commentary on military matters?

Service members demand a full court martial when they are INNOCENT, but are worried that their superiors (or the civilian government) are trying to make them into scapegoats.

Just about anyone who served beyond private/seaman/airman could have told you this; if you don't know it, you should stick to writing about things you're more familiar with.

Everyone in the military ge... (Below threshold)
VanceB:

Everyone in the military gets numerous lectures on the UCMJ - starting in recruit training. One of the first things they tell you is that you have the right to refuse an NJP and request a court martial. You do this if you think the command is trying to railroad you with some bogus charges. The theory is - you demand a court martial and force their hand. If they don't have a good case they will drop the whole thing.

It's a risky move but I think that's what the Seals have in mind.

CPO USCG (retired)

To me it appears that someo... (Below threshold)
jdgjtr:

To me it appears that someone in the chain of command was trying to pin the blame on someone lower ranking and/or trying to make a name for themselves by taking down a SEAL. Rear Echelon non hackers always hate those on the sharp edge of the sword. Captain's mast is the equivalent of pleading guilty and throwing yourself on the mercy of the court. Requesting a court-martial is making the command put up or shut. It is usually a career killer either way. If you do beat the court-martial, you have made somebody look bad and those kind always have friends. BTW, a Captain's Mast does stay on your record. Too many of them can make you eligible for an Other Than Honorable discharge. Meritorious Mast was usually a way for the Command to recognize up and comers and for the rest of us to say "Golly Gee, why can't I be more like Petty Officer Smith?". Well, that isn't what we really said but close enough.

My brother brought up a goo... (Below threshold)
Chad:

My brother brought up a good point about this today. He thinks the administration is trying to slap the seals around for offing the pirates (Maersk Alabama incident) without waiting for the president to hold their hands. Sure, he "oversaw" the situation, but I've heard they took the shot and it forced The President to say that he'd authorized it or he'd look like a fool. It's all conjecture, but with the transparency of this administration, does it not sound feasible? One of the reasons to go with the court martial rather than administrative punishment is to show the idiocy of those pushing for the punishment. I'd like to see the chain of command that's pushing this deal with what these guys do everyday.




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