I received the announcement of The Warrior Fund via John Wintersteen who has done more for the Marines in combat than anyone will ever know. I was going to compose a statement about my position about The Warrior Fund, but a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant has done that more eloquently than I would. Here's a message from retired Master Gunnery Sergeant of Marines Larry McCartney:
...As a veteran of the Vietnam War I know what the young men and women now serving our country are facing, also much like what U. S. police officers face--only under far worse conditions--they have to make split-second life and death decisions. They face a cruel and devious enemy who exploits our laws yet seeks to deny them access to those very same laws.
Please understand, this is NOT a request for prejudgment of innocence, a judgment is something only our court system, as weak as it is, can determine. This is merely a request to assist in providing our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines with the same quality legal representation as is afforded to the enemy. You don't have to believe in the war to believe in the American men and women who have gone where their country--that's all of us--sent them and do what we asks.
Semper Fidelis!!! ~~ Larry
Lawrence E. McCartney
Master Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (Retired): 1967 - 1997
Here's the announcement:
Announcing the formation of the Warrior Fund; A 501 (c) 3 legal defense fund for service members accused of crimes due to service in combat:
The Warrior Fund - http://www.warrior-fund.org
With the recent news regarding the incident in Haditha and Hamdania Iraq, a group of former and retired Marines have decided to take action to ensure that our military men are treated like American citizens and considered innocent until proven guilty. As a result, we have formed The Warrior Fund as a mission of United American Patriots, an IRS 501 (c) 3 organization, run by Major Bill onahue USMC (RET). Our goal is to raise funds to defray legal fees incurred by members of our armed forces as a direct result of their service in combat. The treasurer is William H. Porterfield, a Certified Public Accountant who will handle the accounting issues of The Warrior Fund.
They fought for us, now we shall fight for them.
Please take the time to visit our website and review our bylaws, biographies of the Board members and the petition for assistance which must be completed prior to any funds being disbursed.
Even though charges were formally filed, in the Hamdania case, an Article 32 investigation will now begin. It is imperative that the public is made aware that the filing of charges in no way indicates that these men are guilty, rather there remains the belief that all men are innocent until proven guilty, which is a pillar of the American system of justice and a core principle of the Warrior Fund.
The fact that any service member can be accused of a "war crime" by a questionable source; we do not intend to disrespect the Iraqis that brought charges, only to illustrate that we have no idea who they are, or their level of integrity; and these allegations are taken seriously speaks volumes about our American system of justice and our belief in the rule of law.
However attempts by the media and a certain irresponsible member of congress to proclaim the guilt of these Marines without having seen a final report from the investigators is sickening.
In closing, if you believe that these men deserve to be treated the same as an average American citizen, please take the time to make a charitable contribution which you may deduct from your income taxes. Any amount you can spare will directly benefit these fine American warriors. In addition to financial support we also need assistance in spreading the word about the fund. Donations may be made online through paypal, or mailed to the address on http://warrior-fund.org
Rick Van Luvender
The Warrior Fund
P.S. We would also like to invite all American's who claim to "hate the war but support the troops" to donate to the Warrior Fund.
Here's the address if you want to mail a donation:
Address: Warrior Fund
c/o 5817 Starboard Drive
Greensboro, N.C. 27410