This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Actually, This is Why the Terrorists Everyone Hate Us
Two things went down yesterday that will probably make us look horrible in the eyes of the world. Not just in the way our enemies hate us, but in the ways our allies and those who are on the fence look at us.
The first is the video above, of soldiers teasing young Iraqi kids -- who are clearly desperate for fresh water -- by making them chase after their vehicle for blocks before they toss them a small bottle.
The other was a plea bargain engineered down in Camp Pendleton. Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. was accused, among other things, of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy in relation to the murder of an Iraqi civilian, Hashim Ibrahim Awad, in April.
Awad, a retired policeman and father of 11, was dragged from his home, bound and gagged, and placed in a roadside hole and killed by Shumate and three of his squadmates under the orders of Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins.
According to the NC Times, the men then "placed a stolen AK-47 rifle and shovel next to Awad's body to support the false report that he was an insurgent."
Shumate was originally sentenced to eight years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge, until yesterday, when he admitted that he knew at the time that their actions were illegal. His sentence was reduced to just 21 months, due, in part, to the fact that the incident happened during the 21-year-old's first tour of duty.
The prosecution had recommended that the judge give Shumate 10 years because even though the young man was not in charge, if he or any of the others had stopped the illegal behavior, Awad's life would have been spared.
LAist has great respect for our men and women of the military, but if the tables had been turned and the victim had been an American civilian ruthlessly and knowingly murdered by a squadron of Iraqis, there would be outrage if one of the soldiers who pulled the trigger got less than two years for his death.
Showing mercy on those who didn't show mercy on others is not, in our opinion, the right signal to send to our troops or the rest of the world.