Greetings! You are reading an article from The Mudville Gazette. To reach the front page, with all the latest news and views, click the logo above or "main" below. Thanks for stopping by!
February 15, 2005
Line in the SandBy Mrs Greyhawk
Rowan Scarborough, in The Washington Times, reports on a Marine officer accused of murder:
To Lt. Pantano, the two Iraqis who came toward him despite his order in Arabic to stop were mortal enemies. Booby-trapped suicide bombers are killing Iraqis by the score and some have even feigned surrender in order to get close to U.S. soldiers. But the Corps views it as murder and filed charges against him Feb. 1.
Of course it turns out that they were unarmed and there were no weapons in the car. Lt. Pantano states he did not know that at the time. Pantano reported this event to his superiors and continued to serve in combat in the area for an additional 3 months.
Prince Pundit posts excerpts from Pantano's performace report. These will read differently to military insiders than to those that are unfamiliar with the key words and phrases used.
?Lieutenant?s Pantano progression as a young platoon commander and leader has been impressive.? he has dedicated himself to subordinate development resulting in the weakest platoon becoming one that is often the Company?s main effort. With a calm demeanor that speaks of confidence, Lieutenant Pantano has led his platoon into urban combat in Latafiyah, and he has also conducted convention operations in Falluja and Zaidon Province, Iraq. He is a proficient communicator, who should be promoted with peers. A proven warrior, Lieutenant Pantano is a Marine that I would proudly serve in combat with at any time.
Pantano's lawyer says that the investigation was prompted by a complaint from an enlisted man that he refers to as "disgruntled".
There are several unanswered questions. Is a Marine officer being second guessed for a split second decision that he made to protect his life and the lives of his men? Why is General Richard Huck pressing charges when, at the time of the incident, it was investigated and cleared? Why did he let Lt Pantano stay in the field and only bring charges upon his return to the US? This happened in April 2004. Why did General Richard Huck wait until February 1, 2005? And who is this "disgruntled? enlisted man? Is he disgruntled or an eyewitness?
We have one side of this story and I hope for the sake of our military and for this Marine that this becomes a clear cut case with no grey areas. If not, one thing is certain, the line drawn in the sand will become less visible to our troops. These sort of charges could set a new precedent for our troops that could leave them confused and less productive and possibly get them killed.
Pantano?s mother has established a web site Defend the Defenders.org with all the details. There is a great deal of information posted as well as supporting comments from fellow Marines and their families. Unfortunately getting to it has been very difficult since the site has exceeded its allotted bandwidth. I suppose in a way that is a good sign. Here is a cache page of Defend the Defenders.org and here's their latest news.
Don't miss (retired) Lt. Col. Allen B West, comments on this at Opinion Bug. He's a highly-decorated U.S. Army officer who coerced an Iraqi into providing information that foiled a planned attack on U.S. soldiers and also faced court martial for his actions.
For an opinion close to mine, read Lex.
Other bloggers covering the story:
Posted by Mrs Greyhawk / February 15, 2005 3:14 PM | Permalink
The blogosphere is buzzing this morning with talk of the Marine who was charged with murder in the killing of two Iraqis. Before we get to the blogosphere, I wanted to point out this column by Joseph Farah in WorldNetDaily, in which Farah demands that... Read More
I see that Bill O’Reilly has picked up the story and aired a segment tonight with Lt. Pantano’s Attorney, Charles Gittins. Bill is not happy and he is “troubled” by it and plans to “keep an eye on it.” Bill’s... Read More
The Mudville Gazette now has the story, as do PowerLine and Michelle Malkin. Tammy Bruce evidently interviewed 2nd Lt. Pantano's mother and has a link to Defend the Defenders, but since Tammy's page is not dated, I can't tell when this happened. Read More
Blackfive weighs in. His concern is the effect it will have on the soldiers and Marines who are fighting in the field: Read More
I've been waiting for more news to come out on this case before commenting on it, because it just seems too ridiculous. But according to all the information available so far, the Marine Corps has lost its freaking mind. Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com