February 12, 2005

A Combat Marine Charged With Murder—LTC (R) Allen B West Responds

By Tim | February 12, 2005 | Tags: , , Allen West, Guest Columnists, Northern America |

I’ve asked LTC (R) Allen B West for his thoughts on the Marine charged with killing two Iraqis while searching a terrorist hideout. LTC (R) Allen B West is a man who has been there and knows. His article is powerful and thought provoking:

***

Well, Tim, with what I know right now, it seems very ironic to me to charge someone with premeditated murder during war. I thought that when you sit and plan a military operation and carry out that plan…well that is premeditated.

Perhaps we should go back and charge Sam Houston and his Texans with premeditated murder since they planned to attack Santa Anna and his Mexican army at San Jacinto during their siesta. What would 60 minutes or CNN say about that if they had a war correspondent at the scene? Let us not forget that any raid carried out should be considered such as well. Perhaps we should go back and arrest the Soldiers from the famed Battle of Mogadishu, after all it was a planned attack. No, I have a better one, go dig up King Leonidas and the Spartans at Thermopylae who carried out a night raid against the Persians while they slept, attempting to kill Xerxes himself. I am pretty sure that our media would label that a planned assassination attempt against a Head of State.

Stop, does anyone hear what I hear, well I hear laughter, laughter coming from the radical Islamic terrorists who have us so confused and turning upon our own Warriors in an unsatiable lust for perceived justice. Question, who was the last Islamic terrorist, I refuse to use the PC word “insurgent” to be charged in Islamic court for firing an RPG at a convoy of fuel trucks? Or how about setting up a IED attack that ends up killing civilians as well? What about the guys that planned a suicide bomb attack on an American dining hall? Excuse me but I had to turn down the laughter sounds. Nah, they feel that killing us in anyway required is pretty ok.

As always, I do not submit to wanton violence but as I told my Men in Taji, unleash controlled response and purposeful resolve in the face of the enemy. Never back down from a fight and assert yourself as being in charge, even if he ambushes you. We have locked horns with an enemy that defines warfare in a totally different manner. First of all you must understand Islam to realize that it is politic-religious in its nature. How do you fight an enemy that believes that in a “Jihad” his death will bring forth a great reward in paradise? Well, simply, you must have the commitment to enable that reward for him. Instead, we are looking for everyway to negate toughness because we are afraid of others not liking us, or even worse, promotions.

Now, I do not have the full story but when did we become so self-righteous, or afraid, that we are now so willing to imprison our own Soldiers and Marines? Young men and women that are daily placing lives on the line around the world. Remember in WWII when German Paratroopers jumped in behind American lines donning US uniforms they were summarily executed on site when captured!

This may be a blinding flash of the obvious, if this continues who will answer the call to defend this Nation, Michael Moore? Howard Dean? Dennis Kucinich? Al Sharpton? Or those that follow their lead?

Ok, for those that are confused, war is premeditated killing and has been so since the first caveman picked up a rock and pounded in the head of another. What we are displaying is a weakness that will eventually destroy the very framework of this American society. There was a pretty good quote from the film, “Troy” when Brad Pitt’s character Achilles stated, “War is about old Men talking and young Men dying”. However true, but now this war seems to be about old Men talking, posturing and young Men dying and being sacrificed, while sacrificing for the greater Nation. Honestly, it makes me ill and I wish I could be back there with them, if even as a slick sleeve Private.

America, no we are not barbaric, cruel, and insane killers (no matter what those that sit on the sidelines and heckle say) but we are committed men and women that serve this Country to the best of our abilities. If we continue on this glide path, out of fear…I hate when everyone says My Lai, Vietnam, and everything else as a media scare tactic…we are going to inevitably lose. And if we lose this fight, then my daughters and many other American children will grow up in a world of fear, terror.

I do not know the specifics about 2LT Ilario Pantano but he is an American and a combat Marine. Unless his offense was so heinous and unnecessary to his prescribed orders, I stand with him. Let’s stop the laughter, either get serious or get out but stop sacrificing and killing the young men if you do not want to WIN!

Regards to America and all Americans, LTC (R) Allen B West

 

14 Comments

  • Ken Cook says:

    God Bless the United States Marine Corps, and God Bless Lt. Pantano. Shame on the one that brought charges against this outstanding warrior.

  • Styles Van Buren says:

    Rick,

    Perhaps you should take it easy on Jane. She raises a very good point. Was Pantano a trigger happy Marine who executed two Iraqis? The fact is you do not know Lt. Pantano because you’ve never served with Lt. Pantano. And all your “facts” you’ve gathered are coming from his side, mainly from his attorney and his mom. Do you think maybe they are biased?

    Let’s talk about the real world here and answer some of the questions that have been raised.

    Initially, Mr. Gittens stated that his client had the Iraqi’s in handcuffs, then uncuffed them and made them search through the vehicle for boobytraps. Now I don’t know how much you know about the Geneva Convention, but when they are in flexicuffs, they are assumed to be Prisoners of War. Article 52 prohibits making EPW’s perform dangerous labour:

    Article 52

    Unless he be a volunteer, no prisoner of war may be employed on labour which is of an unhealthy or dangerous nature.

    No prisoner of war shall be assigned to labour which would be looked upon as humiliating for a member of the Detaining Power’s own forces.

    The removal of mines or similar devices shall be considered as dangerous labour.

    If you cannot use an EPW to clear a landmine, then what makes you think that you can use an EPW to clear a vehicle? That is illegal.

    Of course, Gittens and the Mom go to every media outlet they can and spew out their version of the story and say that Pantano is being court-martialed because he shot two Iraqi’s that were coming at him after Pantano ordered them to stop in Arabic. That would not be illegal. So, basically you have two people who are telling Marines and Soldiers that if they shoot somebody who is coming at them after they order them to stop, then they could be court-martialed. Those two knuckleheads and every other news organization that is reporting this story this way are the ones who are causing good Marines and Soldiers to second guess themselves.

    What Gittens leaves out is the fact that there is an eyewitness who stated he saw Pantano shoot these two Iraqi’s in the back when they finished searching the vehicle. Then he hung a sign on the vehicle with the dead bodies saying, “No better friend, no worse enemy” to “send a message.” Why not cut their heads off and stick them on a spear to send a message?

    Now, when Gittens is asked about this statement from the eyewitness which he conveniently never mentions, Gittens states that this report came from a disgruntled sergeant who was mad about not being placed in a leadership position, but rather was placed in a position where he could do the least harm as a radio operator.

    Now, you hold yourself out as a Marine, Rick. Who does the platoon leader choose as his RTO, the dud or the stud? Sounds to me like somebody could be taking the offensive by sullying the character of a good Marine. Reeks of “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” or “This is the single most evil thing I have ever experienced.”

    You talk about his service in the Gulf War and the Balkans. I got it, he performed admirably and was discharged honorably. But, Jane told a story that seems to fit the character of somebody who has the attitude of, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” Also, I’ve read reports that says he shaved his head on 9/11 and got into “warrior mode.” I’ve read his officer fitness reports. One of them describes his performance in Fallujah as “noteworthy.” If you know anything about OER’s and NCOER’s, the term “noteworthy” is one of those squishy verbs from which you can’t glean a whole lot. However, they use the term “aggressive” about three or four times and how he leads from the front. Could that be “militarese” for “Cowboy” or “Renegade?” You were a Marine, you should know the answer to that one.

    Now let’s talk about him “facing the death penalty.” I guarantee you that if the Article 32 officer recommends that this go to a General Court-Martial, the Convening Authority will not refer it as a capital case. So, another sensationalism to tug at the heartstrings of the public, and further make good Soldiers and Marines hesitate on the lawful use of deadly force. Now they could be put to death if they shoot somebody coming at them? Nonesense!!!!!! Heck, I even saw a website on Google entitled “Free Lt. Pantano.” Harkens back to the riots in LA during the Rodney King policemen acquittals where the looters were running around saying, “Free Rodney King.” Rodney King was not in jail! And, neither is Pantano. Last time I checked he was not a flight risk, nor was he apt to commit further acts of misconduct. Even then, lesser forms of restraint would be adequate to ensure the aforementioned did not occur.

    Finally, Lt. Pantano is a Marine officer. He should know why he is being investigated. If I were him, then I would tell my mother and my lawyer to shut their mouths and concentrate on impeaching the eyewitness at the Article 32 hearing who by their accounts is lying and attempting to ruin Pantano’s life and career because he wasn’t made a squad leader. If I were Lt. Pantano, I would be concerned that thousands of deployed Marines and Soldiers who read blogs like these or watch Fox News think that if they shoot two insurgents who are coming at them after being warned to stop in Arabic, then they will be court-martialed. His mother and attorney’s actions show that he only cares about himself.

    Unfortunately, Maj. Morgan can’t say this because it would be undue command influence and would be unfair to Lt. Pantano. The Marines are conducting this investigation by the book, it seems to me. They aren’t being PC or CYA’ing. Under Rules of Court Martial 303, a crime has been reported to them, and the command is conducting an inquiry.

    And on more thing, you might wonder why it has taken so long to court martial him? Well, the RTO, or “the disgruntled sergeant” according to Gittens, might have come forward after the unit returned to Garrison well after the investigation, so there would be additional evidence that the battlefield investigation IO did not consider. Now before you go pointing fingers at the RTO who you do not know, do you think that it was a popular decision he made to report what he says he saw? You should know the phrase, “Take the hard right over the easy wrong.” Do you think maybe he was concerned with his safety and decided to report the incident when he got back to Garrison where everybody wasn’t walking around locked and loaded?

    I hope that Pantano is telling the truth. But, I think he is doing a disservice to other Marines and Soldiers by trying this case in the media and stating that he is being court-martialed because he shot two Iraqi’s coming at him after being warned to stop in Arabic. That is no reason to court martial somebody. He is being court-martialed because somebody stated they saw him execute in cold blood two Iraqi’s who should have been kept in handcuffs and taken to the nearest internment facility.

    By the way, I invaded Iraq during Desert Storm, and I carried an M-203 in combat. While I never fired that weapon, there were a few times where I was locked and loaded and had my finger on the trigger with the weapon off safe pointed at my intended target. So, I’ve made life and death decisions before, and I know that if two people were coming at me after I yelled “Stop” in Arabic, then I would have shot them dead. But, I would never shoot two individuals in the back and hang a sign on the vehicle to make an example of them.

    This will be interesting.

  • Rick Biesada says:

    Dear Mrs. Howard, thanks for sharing but OCS and TBS and a school for guerrilla warfare are by no means “combat,” where a split decision or reflex action may preserve your life. Lt. Pantano was no boot Marine. He had served in the Gulf War and went on to serve in the Marine Scouts during the Balkin war in 91. He is an experienced Marine, he was honorably discharged as a sergeant when he got out in 1992. If he talked down to some of his instructors maybe it was because he knew more than they did. It is nothing knew for a salty Marine to straighten a neophyte out, so I disagree with your perception and stand by my original remarks about our leadership not being about protecting American’s. Therefore, I feel that none of our troops should fight this bogus war on behalf of neutered globalists. Where is your son stationed Mrs. Howard?
    If you haven’t served in combat, I don’t think you had better offer any advice. Just be a good mom, stay quiet and bake a briskett to sooth your soul.
    Rick Biesada
    1981229 USMC

  • Jane Howard says:

    My son was in OCS and TBS with Lt. Pantano. He invoked the ire of some of his platoon sergeants by talking down to them and blaming them for his own mistakes. In TBS there was an excercise where groups of TBS Marines were placed among other Marines dressed in Arab garb for anti-terrorist training. According to the rules of engagement, Marines could only fire at the “insurgents” if a weapon was stolen or a Marine was kidnaped. During the course of the exercise, one of the actors bumped up against Lt. Pantano and discharged a magazine. As he picked it up and ran with it, Lt. Pantano raised his weapon shot the guy in the back.

    Trigger finger? Can’t take the pressure? Who knows…but where there’s smoke there’s fire, so all the facts need to come out before judgment is passed.

  • Rick Biesada says:

    I concur with Lt.Col.West and I am happy to see that he appears to be in good spirits after having his world hanked out from under him by the no nothing political elite who are bound to get us all killed.
    My world is shattered after reading about Lt. Pantano.As a former Marine Viet Nam Veteran, I would never imagine that my beloved Corps. would ever kow toe to the insanity of political correctness in the field. Blame it on our leadership, an effeminate band of snobbish globalists, who display no respect for our courages military. I urge every U.S. Marine to flood the office of the U.S. Marines Corps Commandant, and ask him to turn in his resignation for not backing up his troops.
    Related articles on Lt. Col. West, by Rick Biesada, in the Federal Observer Archives at http://www.federalobserver.com : An Army Of One – Code Orange- Not Because of Lt. Col. West – Amnesty International Needs To Be Put On Notice – Disgusting.
    Semper Fi,
    Rick Biesada

  • As a USMC Vietnam veteran and former federal law enforcement officer, I have special insight on the legalities of armed conflict, both criminal justice and war zone varieties. If the LT believed the Iraqis were terrorists and DID NOT smoke them as they attempted to escape and later attack again, then he should have been court martialed. This makes no sense, and will, I assure you, affect morale.

  • JoeS says:

    Folks, it is blogstorm time!

    It is a screaming shame to see the (R) next to Col West. These warriors should not be leaving their careers because of this nonsens. He should not have been treated like that after he saved his men’s lives. God bless this hero and his beautiful family. He went through bureaucratic crap until the Pentagon semi-backed down. God bless you, Col

    Same crap for the young Marine who double tapped the insurgent in Fallujah. Media think they will get their 15 seconds of fame by screwing our military.

    msm sucks.

    Now, let’s send an avalanche of support for Lt. Pantano. Let’s get email addresses posted of people who are in positions to make sure this is straightened out. Do we have his Defense Fund address?

    Lieutenant, I will do my best, and I’m sure I’m not alone. God bless you, friend.

    $hit will be hitting the fan, shortly.

  • GaijinBiker says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I have a new post on the Lieutenant Ilario Pantano murder charges here:

    http://ridingsun.blogspot.com/2005/02/marine-deserves-medal-gets-murder.html

    I’m pretty strongly supporting his side of the story, simply because I have not read a single word anywhere — beyond the fact of the allegations and charges themselves — that indicates he acted inappropriately.

    My prediction is that unless some critical bit of evidence against Pantano is still undisclosed and comes out in the court-martial (if there is one), these charges will be dismissed.

  • R.L.Kausen says:

    It seems some folks are a bit out of touch these
    days, Its war not a sunday afternoon social….The
    P. C. B/ S has to stop!!! What kind of message does
    this send the troops??? Who is the real enemy, the
    terrorist or the LAWYERS back home… No doubt General
    Patton is spinning in his grave… Lets win this
    thing and bring the good soldiers home.. SEMPER-FI

  • Line in the Sand
    Rowan Scarborough, in The Washington Times: 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…

  • Update on Lt. Pantano
    Yesterday I posted on the story of 2ndLt Pantano. I also e-mailed several other bloggers that I read and asked them to post as well. The first to honor my request has responded.

    Lex at Neptunus Lex has a well written essay that takes neither side …

  • Marine Lt. Ilario Pantano charged with murder
    I note here, in the WashTimes, that Marine 2d Lt. Ilario Pantano has been charged with two counts of murder in the killing of two Iraqis.

    My interest in this case arises for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that I am a prosecutor by d…

  • Graham Tebbe says:

    I request that Marine Corps publish the particulars of this incident so that public can assure itself that these charges against 2LT Ilario Pantano are justified. It stinks to high heaven without a public airing of the alleged facts.

  • DEFEND THE DEFENDERS
    Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough had a troubling story in today’s paper about a Marine who may face the death penalty for killing two Iraqi insurgents in the heat of battle in a terrorist-infested town near Baghdad. The young Marine…

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