GCN GUEST OPINION
The Flower Of American Youth
Have Not Shirked Their Duty To Defend America.
Sadly, America Seems Unwilling To Defend Them.
By Perry Hicks
The U.N. Resolution 1487 shielding U.S. troops from prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC) ended back in June 2004. Unable to garner sufficient support, the Bush Administration terminated further efforts to extend the measure. Fortunately, in reaction to the growing ICC threat, the U.S. had passed The American Service Members Protection Act in 2002. This act threatens nations that cooperate with the ICC with sanctions and directs the government to use any appropriate means necessary (read direct military action) to extract Americans held for international crimes under the auspices of the ICC.
Before you think this action was a noble attempt to protect our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, think about this: The same ICC could indict, arrest, and try any U.S. citizen for anything that the ICC deems a crime; say a subdivision developer for crimes against the environment, or a pulpit minister who opines some kind of “hate speech.” (Doubt this, go to Canada where the clergy can be prosecuted for stating scripture condemns homosexuality.) This threat of prosecution could extend to governors, members of congress, and the president him or her self.
However protected service men and women may feel from the depredations of the ICC, the fact remains that the U.S. increasingly wants to put troops on trial for even purely defensive actions. The recent shooting incident of the Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, of the communist newspaper, Il Manifesto, is but the latest example.
Kidnapped back in February outside Baghdad University by terrorists wanting too put pressure on allied members, Sgrena was released Friday, March 4th, without explanation. The car carrying her to freedom at a military checkpoint was fired on by U.S. troops resulting in shrapnel killing an accompanying Italian intelligence officer and the wounding of Sgrena.
According to the troops, the car was approaching the checkpoint at high speed and did not slow when troops waved their arms, flashed lights, and fired warning shots in the air. Troops shot the engine block to stop the car and the resulting shrapnel apparently wounded Sgrena and killed the officer.
Sgrena claims that the car was traveling at a “normal speed” (a laugh coming from an Italian) and her captors warned her about approaching the Americans because they “do not want to see her return.”
Sgrena has also said that her captors never treated her badly despite the fact she was seen on video last month crying and begging for her life.
Naturally, the troops involved in the gate shooting will be thoroughly investigated and could be prosecuted for following the proscribed anti car-bomb procedures should enough pressure come to bear. It is just a matter of who the administration will want to believe.
Not since World War II have U.S. troops been simply expected to close with and defeat the enemy. The Korean War had the World War II hero, General Douglas MacArthur, fired for insisting that he actually win the war and Vietnam was a virtual interlocking puzzle of what are called “rules of engagement.” In neither case did the U.S. appear to want to win those conflicts. Korea was even referred to as a “police action” instead of the hot war that it actually was.
This mincing of words and intent killed over 54 thousand American servicemen in Korea and another 58 thousand in Vietnam. In my view, all died apparently for nothing. In the case of Vietnam, then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara admitted so much in his memoirs, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, saying that the Johnson administration knew it could not win the Vietnam war but escalated it anyway. They apparently did so because their (the administration’s) reputation was at stake.
Iraq has seen official support for our troops fall to new lows. Apparently more concerned with international opinion than that of their own constituency, the Bush administration does not hesitate to initiate a criminal investigation much less convene a court martial even for troops fighting under extreme duress.
A prime example is the marine was caught on video tape back in November killing a wounded insurgent he believed was pretending to be dead. The marine evidently thought the insurgent could have been laying wait for an attack. Media reports that the marine’s unit had recently suffered a suicide attack under similar circumstances.
The Marines eventually backed off of the court martial after new media journalists such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity put a spot light on this travesty and angry letters poured into congressional mailboxes.
Opponents of the undeclared War On Terror ignore terrorist atrocities and focus exclusively on American “crimes” such as humiliating captives that may have knowledge of the next car-bomb or rocket attack. They argue that pressuring captives will only lead to insurgent terror tactics. They give no credence to the idea that U.S. military pressure attempts to counter bombings, kidnappings, shootings and beheadings.
Nor do war opponents seem to want to hold Saddam and the Bathists accountable for their reign of terror at all. Like white supremacists defending the Third Reich, they deny the video footage of hundreds of thousands of murdered men, women, and even children being unearthed in the Iraq desert. There is no proof, they say, that Saddam was murderous tyrant.
This leads us directly back to Italian communist Giuliana Sgrena. Why have the terrorists released Sgrena as well as mainland Chinese captives relatively unharmed? Do the terrorists see the enemy of their enemy as their friend? What deal was cut to secure her release? Other Italians had been executed as has been women.
Of course, it won’t be Sgrena who will be investigated. It will be those stationed at the checkpoint that in an attempt to defend themselves and innocent bystanders from a possible car-bomb attack, will undergo the stain of a criminal investigation.
It gives new meaning to the term “serving your country.”
Perry Hicks is a former Mississippi Coast resident and was a correspondent for the old Gulfport Star Journal. He has appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” Perry has also hosted his own radio talk show on the auto industry with a mix of politics.
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