Thursday, March 31, 2005
Possibly one of the worst scenes I've seen in a documentary about OIF is when a car did not heed warning shots and was fired on by a convoy. The civilians were hit. One dead and one dying. The camera focused on the man dying. The Soldiers called for help but it was obvious that it was too late - the man was passing away and they were helpless. Probably the worst thing to see.
I've gotten a few questions about this story about Captain Maynulet's conviction. One of my good Army friends, Captain Durkins, went to high school with Captain Maynulet and thinks the world of him.
U.S. soldier found guilty in shooting of wounded Iraqi urges jury to consider his ''love for the Army''
By Melissa Eddy, Associated Press, 3/31/2005 15:28
WIESBADEN, Germany (AP) A U.S. Army captain, convicted Thursday in the shooting of a wounded Iraqi, asked for leniency in sentencing from the military jury and said he would continue serving if given the chance.
Capt. Rogelio ''Roger'' Maynulet, a Chicago native and the son of Cuban immigrants, stood at attention as the head of the jury, Lt. Col. Laurence Mixon, read the verdict of guilty of assault with the intent to commit voluntary manslaughter in the man's death.
Fighting to maintain his composure as he took the stand in the sentencing hearing after the verdict, Maynulet thanked the six-member jury, which could sentence him to up to 10 years in prison and kick him out of the Army.
The decorated former tank company commander's voice remained strong as he recounted his thoughts before he aimed his gun at a wounded, unarmed Iraqi and shot him in the head on May 21, 2004.
''We're trained, conditioned, to keep a distance,'' said Maynulet, 30, looking down. ''Maybe my mistake was that I projected myself into that Iraqi. I didn't want to be in his state if I were, I would hope that someone would put me out of my misery.''
Maynulet was leading his 1st Armored Division company on a mission near Kufa, south of Baghdad, when it was alerted that a car thought to be carrying what the Army called a ''high-level target'' was headed toward them.
No details of the mission have been released, but it has been widely reported the company was told radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who led uprisings against U.S.-led forces in Iraq last year, was believed to be in the car with a driver.
The company chased the vehicle and fired at it. A passenger who was slightly wounded fled and was later apprehended. The driver was dragged from the car with serious head injuries and pronounced untreatable by Maynulet's medic.
Maynulet, who has been lauded by his peers as a promising officer, outstanding leader and dedicated soldier, then shot the driver. The killing was filmed by a U.S. drone surveillance aircraft.
In closing arguments Thursday, prosecutor Maj. John Rothwell said Maynulet ''played God'' when he shot the driver, whom the U.S. military has referred to only as an ''unidentified paramilitary member.'' But relatives named him as Karim Hassan, 36, and said he worked for al-Sadr.
Rothwell argued that Maynulet, who was trained in first aid, should not have relied solely on the judgment of a medic who told Maynulet, ''there's nothing I can do.''
''Those five words were enough to make a life and death decision, and (Maynulet) chose to end a life,'' Rothwell said. ''This combat-trained lifesaver prescribed two bullets.''...
What do you think?
Personally, I don't understand the combat lifesaver line of argument. If Maynulet had chosen to evaluate the Iraqi, would it then be more okay to kill him? I don't think the prosecution intended that...maybe that last quoted line was just for dramatic effect.
Clarification: The above question about lifesaver skills is about the prosecution's argument. I don't get it and don't understand how it would have any bearing on a conviction (the Captain admitted shooting the Iraqi so perhaps that's why it's included - to reduce his qualification to do so). It's not a reflection of what I think about the charge or conviction.
Update 04-01-05: Captain Maynulet's sentence is that he is to be discharged from the Army (don't know which discharge at this point).