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Navy Seal Acquitted in Beating Death of Iraqi

After deliberating three hours, a military jury found Lt. Andrew K. Ledford not guilty of charges related to the beating death of an Iraqi "ghost detainee." Ledford will now be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

This sounds to me like it would have been the correct result had Leford been charged with murder. He wasn't. He was charged with poor leadership and lying to officials. It's a little surprising he wasn't convicted on any of those charges. Perhaps because the jury was persuaded that the real culprits were the CIA agents who allegedly suspended al-Jamadi from his wrists, handcuffed behind his back in a "Palestinean hanging" mode. As we've pointed out a few times,

A government report obtained by the Associated Press said that [Manadel]Jamadi died an hour after his arrival at Abu Ghraib in early November 2003. The report said he had been beaten while in CIA custody and then hung by his wrists, with his arms crossed across his back -- treatment described as "torture" by international organizations. The prisoner reportedly died before CIA interrogators extracted information from him. U.S. Army guards at the prison then packed his body in ice and posed with the corpse in mocking photographs.

So far, no CIA personnel have been charged. The AP reports today that the Justice Department has the CIA's file on the death and is evaluating it to determine whether criminal prosecution is warranted. How could it not be?

So what did they have on Ledford?

Prosecutors said that Ledford failed as a leader on a November 2003 mission after he and his men captured Manadel al-Jamadi, a suspect in the bombing of Red Cross offices in Baghdad that killed 12. During a brief stop at an Army base, members of Ledford's SEAL platoon testified that they punched, kicked and struck al-Jamadi with muzzles of their rifles. Instead of ordering his men to halt the beating, Ledford accepted a subordinate's offer to "give this turd a knock" and punched the bound prisoner in the arm, Navy prosecutor Lt. Chad Olcott said.

Ledford acknowledged, then retracted, a statement that he had hit the prisoner, and no witnesses testified to seeing Ledrock hit him.

Just as curious to me as his acquittal on all charges is his promotion. Why does he deserve a promotion when its not disuputed that his unit got out of hand and abused the prisoner while he was in charge?

More of our prior case coverage is here and here.

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  • Re: Navy Seal Acquitted in Beating Death of Iraqi (none / 0) (#1)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:25 PM EST
    As I read this I must honestly ask myself: Do I really have the right to criticize the Indonesian court for their action? Not any more. But my boycott actions will continue nevertheless.

    Re: Navy Seal Acquitted in Beating Death of Iraqi (none / 0) (#2)
    by Aaron on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:25 PM EST
    The great thing about war is that you can kill anybody you like, and nothing happens to you. In fact if you kill enough people, usually you get promoted. Soldiers and Seals are trained to kill, you can't prosecute people for doing their job.

    Aaron these men are not trained to strike and kill people when they are tied up and bound. This refelcts poorly on other men and women who are going about their job properly.

    Enlist, Aaron. You might benefit from the experience. There is also the chance that you would end up in the International Criminal Court for war crimes, but that's a long shot. There is a better chance that you would be sickened by the actual experience of war and no longer post or think in such an immature manner.

    You can't kill 'anyone you like' in war, Aaron, and soldiers in free nations are not trained or (formally) encouraged to do so. Furthermore, it is not a 'great thing' when a society falls prey to such disrespect for life; rather it has been the source of many historical genocides, massacres, and tragedies. A soldier's job is to defend his country by using force against enemy combatants, not civilians or captives. A soldier's role is a noble and admirable one - one who partakes in abuse of captives or any other helpless victim is unworthy of that calling. As a point of interest to other readers, I believe Aaron's misunderstanding is a common one - it results from the frequent rhetoric of the passivist left denouncing all combat and portraying soldiers as bloodthirsty brutes. It's not helped by the lack of positive images of soldiers in the mainstream media. The most interesting question, from my persepctive, is why that perception was originally (and aggressively) foisted on our society in the mid 20th century. But that's a question for another day.

    Re: Navy Seal Acquitted in Beating Death of Iraqi (none / 0) (#6)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:26 PM EST
    et al - I think Araon has trapped you in a bit of sarcasm.

    Why did Tenet, Bremer and Franks get the Medal of Freedom? Why did Gonzales get promoted? It sends out a message that everything's A-OK. Nothing to see here, move along.

    Re: Navy Seal Acquitted in Beating Death of Iraqi (none / 0) (#8)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:26 PM EST
    Can we say war crimes? can we say arrested bush? but no our boy bush and business will just find some new scapegoat and hit us with more propaganda and tell us all is ok. Or as Adolf Hitler said..How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think. Bush knows that real well, but its not only bush its the way our government is, and its not working for you or anyone but the powerful one world Rats. Remember you maybe the next guy hunging from some pole being tortured to death, its has happened here and not to the bad guy. by the way we "Our", now becoming the world and acting like the others in our world, how funny to see this happen, and remember this is normal in all parts of the world.

    Re: Navy Seal Acquitted in Beating Death of Iraqi (none / 0) (#9)
    by wishful on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:26 PM EST
    This is yet another data point that we are now our own worst enemy. The "librulz are moral relativists, and that's a bad, bad thing" crowd have shown themselves to have been projecting yet again. They practice moral relativism to a degree that would truly sicken even themselves if they would open their eyes to their own behavior and actual practiced values. There isn't any real threat of their own self-awareness rearing its head, though, so they will all continue to sleep well until they are taken totally by surprise by the violent reaction that they and theirs will someday suffer at the hands of those they have so brutally dehumanized. Unfortunately, we librulz will be experiencing the ugly response right along with them, as the fellow Americans that we are. That is the price we will pay for not having the political strength to diffuse the tragic pageant of events that the U.S. is visiting on so many innocents.

    et al - I think Araon has trapped you in a bit of sarcasm. Yeah, Jim, I thought about that possibility. The sentiments appear to be a little over the top with the promotion comment, but I am not sure. There are people who actually believe the kind of thing that Aaron posted. Aaron may or may not be one of them. As his silence continues, it seems more likely that he was serious and just a parody of himself rather than being sarcastic. Hard to know in this electronic environment at times. I don't personally like the emoticons. Seem too clever, but a winkie is helpful at times I guess.

    Re: Navy Seal Acquitted in Beating Death of Iraqi (none / 0) (#11)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:26 PM EST
    CA - Could be, although the sentence construction indicates an education level inconsistent with a lack of knowledge that there are rules of engagement. BTW - Does anyone know what the guerilla suspect was arrested for?

    Took a look at Aaron's website and I am now of the opinion he may have been engaging in sarcasm. I think he treads that fine line of irony, sarcasm, and social criticism where it is easy to be misunderstood. Sometimes we need to be clear instead of clever. But clever is fun, there's no denying that.

    Re: Navy Seal Acquitted in Beating Death of Iraqi (none / 0) (#14)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:27 PM EST
    DA - If we was arrested on the say so of a neighbor, that would be a reason. "Next door neighbor says he was making bombs." And where did the IRC get its 90%number? Did they do a survey? Just simple, straight forward questions, DA. If you `can't answer them, why not just say, "I don't know."