June 17, 2006




Tell the Commandant [Michael Ledeen]
I've just sent this letter to General Michael Hagee, the Commandant of the Marine Corps ( comrel@hqmc.usmc.mil ). You might want to pile on:

Dear General Hagee,

I'm dismayed by your recent behavior.

It seems to me an outrage, and quite possibly illegal to boot, to put Marines in the brig and to shackle them, when no charges have been filed against them.

It seems to me an outrage for you to brief the likes of Congressman Murtha before the investigation was complete, and even then you should have told him to wait, to let justice take its course.

It seems to me an outrage for you to reinforce the utterly false notion that your Marines are out of control by zooming off to Iraq to deliver sermons on proper ethics. Every Marine officer with whom I am familiar has received extensive ethical training, and they daily remind their Marines of their ethical obligations. You know this well. Why, then, do you act as if they have a moral deficit?

And it seems to me an outrage for you to fail to say, in response to all questions about these allegations, that Americans are innocent until proven guilty, and nobody has even been charged in this matter.

I think it was your duty to say these things to the American people, instead of giving the impression you believed the worst.

It also seems to me an outrage for the Corps to act as if the "Hadji Girl" song praised the killing Muslims, when the lyrics told a story—a fictional story, mind you—about terrorists trying to lure a Marine to a place they could kill HIM. Have you actually read the lyrics?

This sort of preemptive surrender inevitably has a bad effect on the morale of the Corps, and does nothing to deter future political attacks. You have gained nothing except the contempt of the Corps' enemies, who know that if they can destroy the unique image of U.S. Marines, they will have taken a giant step toward defeating us in the current war.

I do hope that in your remaining weeks as Commandant you will find many opportunities to stand by your Marines. They sure deserve a lot better than they've received.Posted at

9:48 AM


Shackles removed from confined Marines, sailor

By Gidget FuentesTimes staff writer

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Military officials on Friday said they have decided to remove shackles put on seven confined Marines and one sailor whenever they’re outside their individual cells at the Camp Pendleton brig, a Marine Corps spokesman said.

The eight men, confined at the brig since May 24, were being held with “maximum” restraints based on their battalion commander’s decision following an initial investigation into the shooting. As of Friday, they were shifted into what’s called “medium-in” restraint in pre-trial custody, which does not require shackles to be worn, although they remain escorted anytime they are outside their cell, according to 2nd Lt. Lawton King, a base spokesman.

Under “medium-in,” they won’t have any personal restraint while inside the brig, but once outside – such as to go to a court hearing – each “is restrained with handcuffs attached to a leather belt … and their respective escorts carry along leg cuffs in the event they are needed,” King said.

The decision to lower the restraint level came after a June 15 review by the brig commander, he said.

The seven Marines and Navy corpsman, all members of the Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines currently deployed in Iraq, were first confined to quarters in Iraq on May 12 after allegations rose over the April 26 death of an Iraqi man in the village of Hamdaniya.

Families and defense attorneys representing three of the men had been complaining publicly and to base officials about the confinement measures that were imposed. The brig houses Marines and sailors who are awaiting court hearings or courts-martial as well as those convicted and serving a sentence.

Each of the men are in an 8-foot by 9-foot cells, alone, in a section called “special quarters,” where they receive their meals. Each gets one hour a day to spend at an enclosed outdoor courtyard, where they could exercise if they want, and they can meet with their attorneys in a small private room and with family members in a visitors’ room during weekend and holiday visiting hours.

Jeremiah Sullivan III, a San Diego attorney representing the sailor, a 20-year-old third-class hospital corpsman, has likened the conditions to worst than what convicted felons at the federal “Supermax” prison must endure.

David M. Brahms, a retired brigadier general and attorney in Carlsbad, Calif., who’s met with many of the families, is representing a 21-year-old lance corporal.

The men are “shafted and shackled in the worst conditions being imposed,” Brahms said June 14. “Saddam [Hussein] has a better circumstance than these guys.”
The eight men will remain in special quarters in individual cells, said Maj. Jeffrey Nyhart another base spokesman. Base officials say the brig, which is a Level II confinement facility, does not have “solitary confinement,” unlike prisons including Fort Leavenworth.

A side of the Marine Corp one rarely gets to see,....... the Brig ! Trust me the Marine Corp has always started punitive measures prior to courts martial.

It's the way it is. I know in the 1960's when I was in they still had Marines confined (when on board ship anyway) to bread and water. During waking hours the Marine had to stand all day in his cell with his toes against the bars, etes front, and was allowed out of his cell once every 3 days (for a meal,... and then he was brought to the mess hallunder guard, and NO ONE was allowed to even say hi to him). I guess theywere still going by 18th Century rules at sea. Then back to bread and water, etc.

They also shaved your head,... made you wear your shirt buttoned all the way to the neck,... and your boots "unbloused." (The same way as anew recruit at Parris Island).They were probably saddened when "Flogging" went out of the rule book. Like the people say,.... The Marines ? Thats a tough branch to be in. Trust me,... it is.

Viet Vet


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