(click picture to go to Defend the Defenders website)
This is a follow up to previous posts:
"A Marine Accused" and
"Pantano Trial Begins"
The commanding officer with the authority to decide the fate of 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano – the U.S. Marine accused of murdering two Iraqi insurgents – has dismissed all charges.
Pantano had faced the possibility of a court-martial and a death sentence.
But his lawyer, Charles Gittins, announced today that after review of an investigating officer's official report and examination of autopsy results, Maj. Gen. Richard Huck "determined that all charges and specifications should be dismissed."
"Down at the unit level, there was never a question about Ilario's conduct and whether or not he did the right thing," Gittins told the Associated Press. "It was up in the higher echelons. The people removed from combat situations needed to put more trust in their officers rather than assuming they're guilty."
Amen to that!
This case was so critical to the future of our soldiers that it is a tremendous victory for each and every person who currently volunteers to risk life and limb to serve in the defense of the United States.
Had he been convicted it would be safe to say that punishment would be likely for those who perform their duties of killing the enemy when in combat situations or punished by the enemy's bullet for hesitating a split second as the soldier wonders if he will be brought up on charges for doing his job.
What a horrible situation to put those fighting on the front lines in! It would most likely have resulted in a dramatic decrease in recruitment for the entire military increasing the possibility of a re-instatement of the Draft.