My Newz 'n Ideas

It is my intent to express my opinion and to discuss current events. Feel free to make suggestions to fields you would like to see covered, and I will consider them. Please leave your name with comments. Thank you. Arabic: عربي.

Monday, February 14, 2005

More on 2nd Lt. Pantano

Rowan Scarborough has written an article about Second Lt. ILario Pantano for the Washington Times. I have excerpted some relevant paragraphs for you.

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.

The case, announced at Camp Lejeune last week, is already driving passions among Marines who know that a split-second delay in defending oneself can result in death.

"Let's stand together and tell our government that it cannot send our boys to the depths of hell and not expect them to see fire and brimstone," said an e-mailer to Mrs. Pantano's site, "It's called war. Sad, dark, horrible, tragic and, in death, permanent."

Lt. Pantano...already served his country as an enlisted Marine when al Qaeda struck the World Trade Center.

The married father of two sons took a hefty pay cut, going from the $100,000 salary of a New York stock broker and TV producer, to the pay of a Marine second lieutenant.

On April 15, [2004] commanders dispatched Lt. Pantano's men to a house believed to hold insurgents and weapons. The Marines found bomb-making equipment and were removing it when two Iraqis tried to speed away in a [SUV], according to Lt. Pantano's account.

The Marines stopped the SUV by shooting out the tires, apprehended the two and placed them in flexible handcuffs. After setting up a security perimeter, Lt. Pantano took off the cuffs and had the two search the vehicle as he supervised. If it was booby-trapped, the Iraqis, not Marines, would pay the price.

It was at this point that the Iraqis stopped searching and moved quickly toward Lt. Pantano.

"They start talking in Arabic and turn toward him as if they are going to rush him," Mr. Gittins said. "He says, 'stop.' They don't stop and he kills them. He didn't know what they were doing but they weren't listening to him. He was in fear of his life and he killed them."

The lawyer said it turned out that the men were unarmed and there were no weapons in the SUV.

"They were from a town that was really bad in terms of the insurgency," he said.

Marine Corps prosecutors added two other charges...he was charged with desecration for posting a sign in English on the SUV that said, "No better friend. No worse enemy" -- the slogan for the Iraq war of the 1st Marine Division's commander, Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis. [read more]
Now if you want to help, visit Defend the Defenders, write about this in your blog, let your readers and friends know to call the Pentagon at (703) 428-0711 (I think), your Congresspeople and Senators at toll free (877) 762-8762 and voice your opinion. Your voice does matter and it does count. Let us build a firestorm that says, "We will not send our men and women into harms way if you are going to charge them for a crime YOU have trained them to commit. (BTW, I do not consider it a crime to defend our country and onesself.) It is called war. Whether it is "declared" as a war or not, those people are trying to kill our men and women. Our police officers have better protection than they do. SET HIM FREE." Thank you.

Update: I have made a list of links of my articles for those who would like more information on 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano.