Thursday, May 26, 2005

The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs didn't have to do a thing

Last month I asked, "what is the Chairman going to do about the Lt. Pantano situation?" Turns out he didn't need to do a thing; the military justice system actually worked, or so I say: Murder Charges Dropped Against Marine.
A former Wall Street trader who rejoined the Marines after the Sept. 11 attacks will not be tried on murder charges for killing two suspected Iraqi insurgents, a Marine general decided Thursday.

The decision by Maj. Gen. Richard Huck, commander of the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, ends the prosecution of 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano, whom prosecutors accused of killing the men without justification.

"Down at the unit level, there was never a question about Ilario's conduct and whether or not he did the right thing," Charles Gittins, Pantano's civilian lawyer, said. "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."
Good for Pantano. The hearing officer did find "some problems with Pantano's behavior" -- and rightly so -- but murder was a bit much. A learning experience for Lieutenant Pantano; a lesson for us all.

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