Kit Jarrell: A JAG officer I consulted about the case, who requested anonymity for obvious reasons, had this to say about Pantano’s decision to waive his Article 32 hearing: “In the present case, Pantano’s attorneys have savvily–in my estimation–realized that a 32 is going to do nothing but delay the case…The defense has arrived at an unusual but I think perhaps effective strategy–taking the initiative. They seem to believe the government does not have the evidence it needs for a conviction, so [they’ll] waive the 32 and demand a trial.” Is an offensive approach effectively what you’re trying to achieve by moving directly to the trial phase?Read the rest
Charles Gittins: I’d rather not comment publicly about our strategy. Your former JAG seems to be knowledgeable and has identified a good reason to waive the Article 32. I don’t disagree with him/her.
KJ: There’s been a tremendous amount of blogging done on the case, from both sides of the issue. What effect, if any, do you think this has had on how the American people view this case, and how do you respond to accusations that the amount of “internet press” being given to Pantano’s situation is simply a by-product of his defense team and his mother “trying the case in the media”?
CG: I think people are interested in the issue and honestly concerned, as they should be, that military personnel are being prosecuted for decisions they are required to make in the heat and stress of a dangerous situation. How many of the young men coming back from Iraq in flag-draped coffins are in those boxes because they waited too long to take decisive action and prevent detonation of a car bomb or an IED? There is no way to know because the military does not investigate those deaths in the same way they do allegations of murder by a Marine or a soldier. What we know is that Ilario believed he was in danger and he needed to act when the Iraqis failed to comply with his order to stop. What if they were intent on taking Ilario’s weapon and killing him and as many other Marines as they could before they martyred themselves? How do we know that was not their intent? Iraq is full of Iraqis willing to kill themselves in order to kill as many Americans as possible — and that is a FACT. Just ask the guys who were at Abu Ghraib last week when a car bomb was detonated there.
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