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A Lonely Mission to Pardon U.S. Soldiers Who Killed Civilians

JANFU

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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/u...column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Few military colleagues have backed Mr. Donahue and some have openly called him a traitor. The public response to donation requests had been so cool that at one point Mr. Donahue mortgaged his house to keep the operation going.

But in 2015 the lawyer of one of the soldiers contacted the University of Chicago, and sparked the interest of students in the legal aid clinic, who then reached out to Mr. Donahue. “I didn’t think much of it when they first called me, because they are just a bunch of damn liberals,” he said. “But I have to commend the students, they have gone above and beyond.”

Now the two groups are working together to push President Obama to reduce sentences and grant pardons for seven convicted war criminals.

Combat Clemency Project | University of Chicago Law School


We have therefore submitted clemency petitions on their behalf to President Obama, requesting him to use his power under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution to grant clemency to these seven veterans, and to provide its prisoners in Leavenworth with PTSD treatment. Details about our seven clients can be found here:

Robert Bales

Corey Clagett

Franklin Dunn

Calvin Gibbs

Clint Lorance

Derrick Miller

Michael Williams
Individual links to 6 of the 7 Soldiers and what they were convicted of.
Robert Bales | University of Chicago Law School

Corey Clagett | University of Chicago Law School

Franklin Dunn | University of Chicago Law School

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/mandel/mental/combat/lorance

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/mandel/mental/combat/miller

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/mandel/mental/combat/williams


Your opinion is?
Presidential pardon for? All, none, specific Soldiers?
 

Thoreau72

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I am inclined towards mercy and forgiveness for the men, but as I have been since the beginning, I am inclined toward prosecution and execution for those men in government who took the country to war under fraud. As they were convicted in Malaysia a few years back, Bush & Co should all be prosecuted. And Bradley Manning's petition for commutation should also be granted, as long as we're wishing.

Those troops were abused by their civilian leaders by being placed into an immoral and fraudulent war.
 

PIPEWRENCH

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I think you need to look at each case. If indeed PTSD and/or any form of mental illness from the effects of war were the cause of such actions I think prison is the wrong answer. I think they should get the mental help they need or needed.
 

PIPEWRENCH

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I am inclined towards mercy and forgiveness for the men, but as I have been since the beginning, I am inclined toward prosecution and execution for those men in government who took the country to war under fraud. As they were convicted in Malaysia a few years back, Bush & Co should all be prosecuted. And Bradley Manning's petition for commutation should also be granted, as long as we're wishing.

Those troops were abused by their civilian leaders by being placed into an immoral and fraudulent war.

Shall we execute the members of congress that also voted for the war? I might go for it just to get rid of Hillary. Anyone so stupid as to be duped by Bush clearly should never be president.
 

Captain Adverse

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My opinion is that they are getting exactly what they deserve. Let's look at the cases:

Extensive mental health evidence shows that Robert’s actions in Kandahar were the result of years of severe untreated PTSD, TBI, and self-medication with alcohol, steroids, and stimulants, which Robert had turned to as the only available way to treat his PTSD symptoms. ...In a confused and berserk state, Robert killed sixteen civilians.
Robert Bales | University of Chicago Law School

Self-medicated? Extensive metal health evidence? He killed 16 people!

He grew up in poverty and an unstable home. In 2007...his squad took several insurgents prisoner. When their command operations center radioed displeasure with the fact that the insurgents had been captured, and not killed, Corey's Sergeant ordered him and another soldier to free the insurgents and then shoot them as they ran away. Corey followed this order.
http://www.debatepolitics.com/milit...ion-pardon-u-s-soldiers-killed-civilians.html

All soldiers are taught the laws of land warfare. His "poverty and unstable home" argument does not excuse culpability in a war crime.

Franklin shot and killed an Afghani National Police security guard during his own shift working as a security guard. Franklin has no history of violence other than the offense for which he is currently serving time, which he committed as a result of mental illness caused by traumatic experiences at war.
http://www.debatepolitics.com/milit...ion-pardon-u-s-soldiers-killed-civilians.html

There is no evidence of mental illness other than the anecdotal claims of the defendant. "The individual who evaluated him dismissed his concerns."

Checking each of the remaining citations any service member would realize it's mostly appeal to emotion b/s. Clint Lorence was a 1st Lieutenant platoon leader who "should be excused for ordering his men to shoot 3 Afghani men on a motorcycle" without bothering to look a the (non) threat himself due to "his inexperience in leading troops in combat." Derrick Miller undertook an interrogation of a suspected infiltrator ending up shooting him in the head when he should have simply taken the individual into custody and turned him over to higher authority. Michael Williams "shot a disarmed Iraqi insurgent during a cordon and search mission. About an hour later, he authorized his squad member to shoot another suspected insurgent." The pleading does not even give a "PTSD" excuse for his actions, simply requests a pardon due to his "prior good service."

Look, I agree that PTSD is a problem, and that in War many awful things can and do happen. That circumstances should allow some leeway to mitigate what would otherwise be considered crimes in normal society. But each of these cases seems to have been dealt with appropriately and I don't see any reason to grant special dispensations.
 

Thoreau72

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Shall we execute the members of congress that also voted for the war? I might go for it just to get rid of Hillary. Anyone so stupid as to be duped by Bush clearly should never be president.

Suits me fine. After a proper trial, if any are convicted I volunteer to be the hangman. ;)
 

Thoreau72

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My opinion is that they are getting exactly what they deserve. Let's look at the cases:

Robert Bales | University of Chicago Law School

Self-medicated? Extensive metal health evidence? He killed 16 people!

http://www.debatepolitics.com/milit...ion-pardon-u-s-soldiers-killed-civilians.html

All soldiers are taught the laws of land warfare. His "poverty and unstable home" argument does not excuse culpability in a war crime.

http://www.debatepolitics.com/milit...ion-pardon-u-s-soldiers-killed-civilians.html

There is no evidence of mental illness other than the anecdotal claims of the defendant. "The individual who evaluated him dismissed his concerns."

Checking each of the remaining citations any service member would realize it's mostly appeal to emotion b/s. Clint Lorence was a 1st Lieutenant platoon leader who "should be excused for ordering his men to shoot 3 Afghani men on a motorcycle" without bothering to look a the (non) threat himself due to "his inexperience in leading troops in combat." Derrick Miller undertook an interrogation of a suspected infiltrator ending up shooting him in the head when he should have simply taken the individual into custody and turned him over to higher authority. Michael Williams "shot a disarmed Iraqi insurgent during a cordon and search mission. About an hour later, he authorized his squad member to shoot another suspected insurgent." The pleading does not even give a "PTSD" excuse for his actions, simply requests a pardon due to his "prior good service."

Look, I agree that PTSD is a problem, and that in War many awful things can and do happen. That circumstances should allow some leeway to mitigate what would otherwise be considered crimes in normal society. But each of these cases seems to have been dealt with appropriately and I don't see any reason to grant special dispensations.

You raise many excellent points. While the Nuremberg Defense is not sound, is not an excuse for killing innocents, it is rather the foundation of extenuating circumstances. All these men have served many years in prison, and that's very much in context.

That supervising officers would order their men to kill innocents must be some sort of extenuating circumstance in the fog of war. Were Calley's crimes any worse than these? Probably, but that is a hard thing to put a number on.
 

PIPEWRENCH

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Suits me fine. After a proper trial, if any are convicted I volunteer to be the hangman. ;)

I can see the headline in the paper. The president and most of congress on trial for removing Saddam insane from power. We should have left him to continue his reign of terror. The Butcher of Baghdad has only killed a million people. His dragging of 100's of thousands from their homes and torturing them to death is acceptable behavior. His use of chemical weapons on the people of Iran is OK because we don't like Iran. Plus the use of chemical weapons on his own people is OK because he rules over them. We were supposed to be going after terrorist not nice guys like Saddam who never terrorized anyone.
And the Unicorns will once again dance on the White House lawn.
 

Thoreau72

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I can see the headline in the paper. The president and most of congress on trial for removing Saddam insane from power. We should have left him to continue his reign of terror. The Butcher of Baghdad has only killed a million people. His dragging of 100's of thousands from their homes and torturing them to death is acceptable behavior. His use of chemical weapons on the people of Iran is OK because we don't like Iran. Plus the use of chemical weapons on his own people is OK because he rules over them. We were supposed to be going after terrorist not nice guys like Saddam who never terrorized anyone.
And the Unicorns will once again dance on the White House lawn.


Yes, things are so much better in Iraq and the world since Saddam was removed. Yeah, same in Libya and all the other places where we have installed our stooges. :roll:
 

PIPEWRENCH

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Yes, things are so much better in Iraq and the world since Saddam was removed. Yeah, same in Libya and all the other places where we have installed our stooges. :roll:

Is the current government of Iraq dragging 100's of thousands of people from their home and beating them to death? Is the current government of Iraq using chemical weapons on it's people and other countries? Is the current government of Iraq is attacking and trying to take over other countries in the Middle East?

Yes they still have a lot of problems mostly stemming from religious beliefs. What a surprise! Hopefully they will evolve over a few thousand years and realize killing people is not the message from God but the most likely the Devil. The Middle East is without question the Devils playground.
 

Thoreau72

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Is the current government of Iraq dragging 100's of thousands of people from their home and beating them to death? Is the current government of Iraq using chemical weapons on it's people and other countries? Is the current government of Iraq is attacking and trying to take over other countries in the Middle East?

Yes they still have a lot of problems mostly stemming from religious beliefs. What a surprise! Hopefully they will evolve over a few thousand years and realize killing people is not the message from God but the most likely the Devil. The Middle East is without question the Devils playground.

I'm old enough to remember when we were rather isolated from all the Devil's Craziness. :mrgreen:

But along came 911, and the rest is history. The craziness seems here to stay.
 

Grand Mal

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JANFU

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After he said this, "I didn’t think much of it when they first called me, because they are just a bunch of damn liberals,", those students should have walked away.

Yes I read that. It may speak to frustration. Not sure.
 

PIPEWRENCH

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I'm old enough to remember when we were rather isolated from all the Devil's Craziness. :mrgreen:

But along came 911, and the rest is history. The craziness seems here to stay.

We have been active in the Middle East since WW2.
 

Thoreau72

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We have been active in the Middle East since WW2.

Perhaps even before then, all things considered, including the Marine Corps song.

But until 9/11 things were fairly honest and a bit at an arm's length. Since 9/11 we are totally involved, like a fire. Thanks George Bush.
 

RetiredUSN

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PTSD can take anyone at any given moment.

Some of these kids did 3-4-5 tours in Afghanistan/Iraq.
 

Thoreau72

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PTSD can take anyone at any given moment.

Some of these kids did 3-4-5 tours in Afghanistan/Iraq.

That's a very important point, the number of tours. Back in RVN only one tour was required. Some wanted multiple tours, but only one was required.

Today's troops have been abused by the policy you mention. "Supporting the troops" does not include multiple tours in a war brought under fraud. "Supporting the troops" does not mean putting them into noxious chemical stews created by our own policies.

Thanks George Bush, for letting loose the dogs of war and bringing all that to us.
 

PirateMk1

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My opinion is that they are getting exactly what they deserve. Let's look at the cases:

Robert Bales | University of Chicago Law School

Self-medicated? Extensive metal health evidence? He killed 16 people!

http://www.debatepolitics.com/milit...ion-pardon-u-s-soldiers-killed-civilians.html

All soldiers are taught the laws of land warfare. His "poverty and unstable home" argument does not excuse culpability in a war crime.

http://www.debatepolitics.com/milit...ion-pardon-u-s-soldiers-killed-civilians.html

There is no evidence of mental illness other than the anecdotal claims of the defendant. "The individual who evaluated him dismissed his concerns."

Checking each of the remaining citations any service member would realize it's mostly appeal to emotion b/s. Clint Lorence was a 1st Lieutenant platoon leader who "should be excused for ordering his men to shoot 3 Afghani men on a motorcycle" without bothering to look a the (non) threat himself due to "his inexperience in leading troops in combat." Derrick Miller undertook an interrogation of a suspected infiltrator ending up shooting him in the head when he should have simply taken the individual into custody and turned him over to higher authority. Michael Williams "shot a disarmed Iraqi insurgent during a cordon and search mission. About an hour later, he authorized his squad member to shoot another suspected insurgent." The pleading does not even give a "PTSD" excuse for his actions, simply requests a pardon due to his "prior good service."

Look, I agree that PTSD is a problem, and that in War many awful things can and do happen. That circumstances should allow some leeway to mitigate what would otherwise be considered crimes in normal society. But each of these cases seems to have been dealt with appropriately and I don't see any reason to grant special dispensations.

Have you been in combat?

I have been in combat as a civilian. I didn't have a gun to shoot back with. Believe me if I did there would be a **** load of very dead Iraqi's that would make the My Lai massacre look like a minor misunderstanding. I had that urge every single time we got wacked on our convoys, and every time someone from another convoys crew didn't make it home Expats and TCN's alike. If I could have figured out how to be successful with a 9000 gallon jp8 tanker, I would be in these boys shoes. Believe me it wasn't for lack of trying to figure out how to make it work.

Its taken me a very long time to not have as extreme of reaction as I used to have. I served essentially three years straight. I became a douche bag asshole mother****er in the process. That kind of constant lingering presence and pressure of wondering if your number is gona be up today, or is it one of your friends ****s with your mind like you would not believe. I am a different person than when I went over. A lot sharper and more calloused. I am still an asshole too.

Laws in war? Where the **** are the lawyers, when someone's is in the middle of those hell holes? Oh yea they aint around till after the **** storm dies.
 

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My opinion is that they are getting exactly what they deserve. Let's look at the cases:

Robert Bales | University of Chicago Law School

Self-medicated? Extensive metal health evidence? He killed 16 people!

http://www.debatepolitics.com/milit...ion-pardon-u-s-soldiers-killed-civilians.html

All soldiers are taught the laws of land warfare. His "poverty and unstable home" argument does not excuse culpability in a war crime.

http://www.debatepolitics.com/milit...ion-pardon-u-s-soldiers-killed-civilians.html

There is no evidence of mental illness other than the anecdotal claims of the defendant. "The individual who evaluated him dismissed his concerns."

Checking each of the remaining citations any service member would realize it's mostly appeal to emotion b/s. Clint Lorence was a 1st Lieutenant platoon leader who "should be excused for ordering his men to shoot 3 Afghani men on a motorcycle" without bothering to look a the (non) threat himself due to "his inexperience in leading troops in combat." Derrick Miller undertook an interrogation of a suspected infiltrator ending up shooting him in the head when he should have simply taken the individual into custody and turned him over to higher authority. Michael Williams "shot a disarmed Iraqi insurgent during a cordon and search mission. About an hour later, he authorized his squad member to shoot another suspected insurgent." The pleading does not even give a "PTSD" excuse for his actions, simply requests a pardon due to his "prior good service."

Look, I agree that PTSD is a problem, and that in War many awful things can and do happen. That circumstances should allow some leeway to mitigate what would otherwise be considered crimes in normal society. But each of these cases seems to have been dealt with appropriately and I don't see any reason to grant special dispensations.

A good young friend of mine (US ARMY) came home from Afghanistan a few years ago after his 3rd tour. He was one the most funny and upbeat golfers that I ever played with and we became very close as friends. He would walk into the 19th hole and light the place up every weekend. He was a great father and had two young kids that adored him. I was teaching him how to use ole time woodworking hand tools before his last deployment, and I had set up a little workshop during his absence for a coming home present in his garage with the help of his wife.

His sweet old Lab died on the day before his last deployment, and I help with the cremation as my wife is a volunteer with the SPCA.

A week before he came home, I helped his wife pick out a 10 week old Lab to surprise him with when he got back because he had mentioned it in a couple phone calls.

The day he got back he was with the kids and raising a ruckus with all day with them. But he had a strange look that I wasn't comfortable with....like he was acting. A couple days later he gave me a strange call asking about things that I never heard him talking about. I blew it off and forgot about it.

The next morning I got a call from a mutual EMS friend that played golf with us............. saying that he chopped up the baby Lab in his living room, and shot himself in the laundry room.

Thankfully, his wife was at work, and the kids were in school at the time.
 

PirateMk1

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A good young friend of mine (US ARMY) came home from Afghanistan a few years ago after his 3rd tour. He was one the most funny and upbeat golfers that I ever played with and we became very close as friends. He would walk into the 19th hole and light the place up every weekend. He was a great father and had two young kids that adored him. I was teaching him how to use ole time woodworking hand tools before his last deployment, and I had set up a little workshop during his absence for a coming home present in his garage with the help of his wife.

His sweet old Lab died on the day before his last deployment, and I help with the cremation as my wife is a volunteer with the SPCA.

A week before he came home, I helped his wife pick out a 10 week old Lab to surprise him with when he got back because he had mentioned it in a couple phone calls.

The day he got back he was with the kids and raising a ruckus with all day with them. But he had a strange look that I wasn't comfortable with....like he was acting. A couple days later he gave me a strange call asking about things that I never heard him talking about. I blew it off and forgot about it.

The next morning I got a call from a mutual EMS friend that played golf with us............. saying that he chopped up the baby Lab in his living room, and shot himself in the laundry room.

Thankfully, his wife was at work, and the kids were in school at the time.

People don't know how much sacrifice a soldier really gives when they go into those **** holes. It aint the physical damage, its the mental toll, the damage to your mind. The longer you are in those **** holes the more ****ed up you become. Some more so than others. I aint surprised, we had an Iraq veteran that was going to school here with my brother who was also an Iraq vet just put a gun to his head and ended himself. Never really gave a sign by all accounts, not that anybody was looking to begin with. If there is a god, may he watch over their poor tortured souls.
 

RetiredUSN

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People don't know how much sacrifice a soldier really gives when they go into those **** holes. It aint the physical damage, its the mental toll, the damage to your mind. The longer you are in those **** holes the more ****ed up you become. Some more so than others. I aint surprised, we had an Iraq veteran that was going to school here with my brother who was also an Iraq vet just put a gun to his head and ended himself. Never really gave a sign by all accounts, not that anybody was looking to begin with. If there is a god, may he watch over their poor tortured souls.

I have had military 3 friends commit suicide. Two were a direct result of the Hampton Virginia VA doctors and administrative corruption. (AKA drug dealers)
 

Thoreau72

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A good young friend of mine (US ARMY) came home from Afghanistan a few years ago after his 3rd tour. He was one the most funny and upbeat golfers that I ever played with and we became very close as friends. He would walk into the 19th hole and light the place up every weekend. He was a great father and had two young kids that adored him. I was teaching him how to use ole time woodworking hand tools before his last deployment, and I had set up a little workshop during his absence for a coming home present in his garage with the help of his wife.

His sweet old Lab died on the day before his last deployment, and I help with the cremation as my wife is a volunteer with the SPCA.

A week before he came home, I helped his wife pick out a 10 week old Lab to surprise him with when he got back because he had mentioned it in a couple phone calls.

The day he got back he was with the kids and raising a ruckus with all day with them. But he had a strange look that I wasn't comfortable with....like he was acting. A couple days later he gave me a strange call asking about things that I never heard him talking about. I blew it off and forgot about it.

The next morning I got a call from a mutual EMS friend that played golf with us............. saying that he chopped up the baby Lab in his living room, and shot himself in the laundry room.

Thankfully, his wife was at work, and the kids were in school at the time.

It would be interesting to know how many other similar stories there are, interesting in a perverse sense.

Like the "suicidal Vietnam Vet" in the song, the "suicidal Iraqi/Afghani Vet" is a very real part of our culture today. So sad.
 
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