Here is AP coverage via WaPo of a recent AP interview of former PFC Steven Green.  He discusses the tragedy of his experience in Iraq and leadership issues he felt played a part in his offense.  The article also notes that his appeal challenging MEJA is set for oral argument on January 21, 2011.  See our prior coverage here (with links to some briefs) and other briefs here (Gov’t Response) and here (Green’s Reply).  Green’s MEJA argument is summed up in his Reply brief:

Granting the Executive Branch unrestricted discretion to determine which of the two disparate jurisdictional systems [the UCMJ or MEJA] to apply violates the separation of powers doctrine and constitutes an unconstitutional delegation by the Congress to the Executive Branch of the exclusive power and responsibility of Congress to determine what conduct is subject to criminal sanction, fix the sentence for crimes, and set forth the procedures for the adjudication of criminal cases.

Green’s brief also argues that he was not subject to MEJA because he had not been properly discharged, and thus remained subject to the UCMJ only.  He argues that he had not correctly passed through the clearing process for discharge at the time of his indictment.

6 Responses to “Soldier Convicted in Mahmoudiya Killings Talks”

  1. anonymous says:

    “the tragedy of his experience in Iraq”? Maybe. “Tragedy” used to be saved for descriptions of the experiences of heroic figures undone by a fatal flaw. These days it can be used to describe cold blooded rapists and murderers, apparently. I’m not sure that’s progress.

  2. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    While I don;t usually justify single words in a post, I thought this would be helpful in this instance.
    Definition of TRAGEDY
    1a : a medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great man b : a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity or terror c : the literary genre of tragic dramas
    2a : a disastrous event : calamity b : misfortune

    Other than 1a, which clearly seems inapplicable, what is wrong with that word?

  3. Christopher Mathews says:

    I get where Anon 1022 is coming from — usually we think of “the tragedy of JFK’s visit to Dallas,” rather than “the tragedy of Lee Harvey Oswald’s lunch break at the School Book Depository.” Nonetheless, No Man’s use is correct.

    I was struck by how facile and — for me at least — unconvincing Green’s explanation for his crime was. Saying the Iraqis didn’t seem human to him anymore doesn’t begin to account for the degree of premeditation and planning involved. I suspect that the only thing that keeps Green, and others like him, from behaving in the same manner here is the fact that there’s a functioning system of rewards and punishments to constrain him. I doubt he sees anyone else as “human.”

  4. sg says:

    But Green said people should know his actions were a consequence of his circumstances in a war zone.

    “If I hadn’t ever been in Iraq, I wouldn’t be in the kind of trouble I’m in now,” Green said. “I’m not happy about that.”

    Umm, about that–hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women have been to Iraq and Afghanistan and didn’t massacre whole families so that they could rape and murder the daughters.
    I gotta agree with Judge Mathews–I don’t think Green sees anyone else in the world as anything more than a plaything to be used and discarded.

  5. Anon says:

    In response to Judge Mathews comments, there are a couple of “things” that keep the Greens of this world “from behaving in the same manner”. The first is leadership. And while it is very likely that someone visiting this blog knew or knows someone in Green’s chain of command and will reflexively come to their defense, take a breath and recall some of the hard earned leasons of past atrocities. It’s all about leadership.

  6. Christopher Mathews says:

    Anon 1530:

    No question, leadership — military in a war zone, civilian elsewhere — is essential to the functioning of a system of rewards and punishments that keeps people like Green from devolving to the level of behavior displayed in Mahmoudiya.

    That said, most people aren’t like Green and don’t really need the watchful eye of the police or their chain of command to keep them from plotting the rape and murder of children. It’s not a “reflexive defense” of leadership to recognize that fact.