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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
GI'S TAKE THE RAP
It's time to start "telling it like it is ahout war crimes in the Nam". Torturing POWs and killing peasants is OK with he Brass -just so they don't hove to dirty their hands or take the rap when the shit hits the fan. But when it does, the Brass always cleans their hands at the expense of EMs, who end up paying the bill! A good example is the trial last year of five AirCav soldiers from C Co., 1/8 Inf.
Capt. Paul Ogg. C Co. CO, was charged with ordering one of his platoon leaders, Lt. John Patrick, to get rid of a Vietnamese suspect taken during the day's sweep near Canhau. ln court Lt. Patrick admitted carryin out the order. Sgt. Walter Griffin, Sp/5 Paul Garcia. and Plc. David Woods admitted actually taking the "detainee" out to the boonies and shooting him. The result?
All four admitted taking part in the killing, but only Lt. Patrick was found "innocent." Griffin got 25 years, Garcia got 4 years and a BCD, and Woods got "one and one."
The kicker is that Sgt. Griffin, a lifer, is never going to serve his 25 year sentence-that was just for public relations stateside. Some JAG layers are predicting that he'll be back on duty as soon as the case is forgotten about.
Capt. Ogg, of course. was found "innocent." even though six men in his company testified they heard him give the fatal order. It's the enlisted men who paid!
Other war crime, trials have worked out the same way. Two Marines. a lieutenant and a sergeant, were also tried for killing a POW. The result? The lieutenant was found 'innocent'' and the sergeant drew life imprisonment.
In one of the best known cases, Plc. Charles Keenan of the 1st Mar. Div. got 25 years for killing an old man and woman (the other EMs on his patrol drew ten and life respectively).
Keenan claimed that he didn't have a clear view of the fleeing suspects, and when he hesitated, his sergeant yelled "Shoot, dammit, shoot!" But since Keenan was tried in the States, his civilian lawyer was unable to interview othermembers of his platoon, see the area where the incident occurred. or otherwise build a defense.
Whether any of these guys are guilty or not, it's clear that they as well as other EMs are being railroaded. As one JAG officer told a reporter: "Army court martials have a funny habit of absolving officers at the expense of enlisted men." (N.Y. Times 6 Aug. 67). Because the officers who give the orders are "gentlemen," the Gis who carry out the orders become "war criminals." This is called 'military justice."
Vietnam GI, March 1968