Wuterich guilty plea to negligent dereliction of duty here.


14 Responses to “Marine Corps Times: Wuterich Pleads Guilty”

  1. SomeDC says:

    Wow, either 3 or 6 months and maybe a BCD (depending upon which dereliction).  I wonder how much money the years of litigation cost the Marine Corps.  Was it worth it? 

  2. A. Hernandez says:

    Not that we’ll ever know, but I can understand the decision to accept this plea from the defense side, but I can’t from the Government’s.  You either believe that what he did was criminal, go forward and take it to a verdict, or deal with it at a lower level than a GCM.  Can’t think the prosecutors must have been happy when told that this deal would be accepted.  On the other hand, depending to what specifically he pleads to, this should be the strongest dereliction of duty sentencing argument ever made by a trial counsel!

  3. Dew_Process says:

    Scroll down to the other Wuterich thread – more links there.

  4. Charlie Gittins says:

    The Haditha prosecutions were always driven by the public affairs reaction to bad publicity and some very un-Marine-like comments from a bozo Congressman who claimed to be a Marine.  War is bad business . . .  when you ask young men to possibly die or make a decision, sometimes the decisions are wrong, but that does not make them criminal.  If you don’t want innocents to die in war, don’t drop 500 lb bombs on houses; don’t ask Marines to clear suspected hostile homes by fire.  And for Chrissake, don’t think you’ll successfully prosecute them if mistakes are made.  I lost track of who the CA is in this case, but long ago a smart man would have figured out that after 6 dismissals or acquittals there was not much there to be had.  Unfortunately, we do not really have smart generals; just the guys who stayed in and outlasted the others.    

  5. Charlie Gittins says:

    And, by the way, for all those who forgot, the CG 2d Mar Div and his lawyer Chief of Staff received Secretarial Letters of Censure because they — supposedly the smart guys in the room — didn’t cause a proper investigation.  Like I said . . .  the leaders were not very intelligent and the guys pulling triggers were doing the best they could with a war that no one really took the time to figure out how to win.

  6. Who's your daddy says:

    My experience was much different.  Duing my 12-plus years on active duty (another 8-plus in reserves) I was fortunate enough to have worked for some truly impressive and exceptionally dedicated and talented Marine Officers who rose to become GOs.  If i’m not mistaken the promotion rate is from 0-6 to BG is under 10%.  There were some exceptions, but to cast the entire GO corps under a cloud of incompetance takes hyperbole to illogical extreme. 

    These are tough cases and involve tough decisions.  They require balancing on one hand, our requirement for good order and discipline, as well as promoting an environment of character and custom on the one hand; and supporting junior Marines carrying out warfare in excrutiating circumstances.

    I continue to have great faith in our Marine Generals and in the process that has, from what i can tell, been plenty fair to the accused. 

  7. JWS says:

    Speaking as a former SNCO & someone who has actually been in combat in similar conditions (the RVN), I’d say Col. Gittins is spot on.  That MY Marine Corps would persecute this troop is beyond comprehension.  I do not fault the CA/GO’s, but I do fault the people advising them.
    So this fine troop is now to have his career ruined & his children in penury?  This will do wonders for unit cohesion, I am sure.
    From what I read, the Gov’t hadn’t put on much of a case.  What impelled Wuterich to accept?  He is very well-advised (unlike the CA), so I assume there are very good reasons.

  8. Charlie Gittins says:

    I hate to be a stick in the mud, but it was not all that long ago that one of the “warrior generals” thought to be the top warfighter in the USMC was found to have engaged in unlawful command influence WRT the Haditha prosecution.  I get it that “good order and discipline” is important in the military, but “justice” and due process must be the guiding principles in a criminal case, not making a point for “good order and discipline.”  The Haditha cases long ago became all about making a point for PA reasons.  And to the extent that you want to talk about the brilliant GOs and advisors who led the USMC in this matter, please don’t forget that General Mattis was found to have engaged in unlawful command influence; Major General Huck received a Secretarial Letter of Censure for dereliction; and his USMC JAG Chief of Staff and the Regimental Commander both received Secretarial Letters of Censure.  Haditha was a leadership failure from the top down; not a crime at the street level, yet the only people actually prosecuted were the snuffies.  A GO court-martial would likely get the attention of the careerists willing to prosecute the most junior guys at the tip of the spear at the drop of a piss cutter.

  9. JWS says:

    Brings me back to Patton’s famous aphorism.  Thank you kindly for reminding me of facts I had put out of my mind. A very bad day for my Marine Corps.

  10. Cheap Seats says:

    “From what I read, the Gov’t hadn’t put on much of a case.  What impelled Wuterich to accept?  He is very well-advised (unlike the CA), so I assume there are very good reasons.”

    JWS – While I don’t speak for now-Private Wuterich, I imagine his “good reasons” may be that he is a single father of three who had the opportunity to make this all go away and not spend a day away from his children.  Makes sense to me.  What I can’t get is why the CA went with a deal.  At that point, in for a penny, in for a pound.  If he was acquitted, so be it.  That is justice!  I wish Private Wuterich well.  Perhaps the CA will see this for what it is worth and disapprove the findings as an act of clemency. 

  11. Just Sayin' says:

    persecuting the low man on the totem pole while ignoring the failures of the higher leadership seems to be par for the course these days and isn’t limited to the Marine Corps.  Must be learning these tactics from Big Daddy DoN.

    As for this case, I do think the troops acted inappropriately, and should have been held accountable, but I’ve always adopted the tiered approach.  Find the senior man responsible and issue the most severe consequences there.  Then graduated steps down as the offenders grow more junior.  Unfortunately the opposite seems to happen all too often. Hang the troop, ignore the general (or Admiral) that created the bad situation.

  12. JWS says:

    … careerists willing to prosecute the most junior guys at the tip of the spear at the drop of a piss cutter.

    Pretty good turn of phrase.  Patton updated for an age of over-lawyering.

    … I do think the troops acted inappropriately, and should have been held accountable, …

    You are entitled to your opinion, but it is difficult to credit.  This was a very difficult tactical situation created by the bad guys with vile intent. 
    It will be very difficult for squad leaders to do their jobs if your view prevails.

  13. Capt "Harm" Rabb, USMC says:

    Unfortunately, I have to echo the negative GO miljus reputation as well.  Exceptions will always exist — true combat leaders who divorce themselves of PC in favor of the truth and justice.  However, I am convinced by observation that the majority of GOs wear their stars because they very successfully negotiated their careers by unquestioningly buying the party line, singing the party tune, and never rocking the party boat.

    This is not rhetorical; I ask the question because I don’t know.  Have there been flag officers (in the PC era) who were designated as Earth-bound deities even after making a name for themselves as someone who thinks critically, independently, and for him/herself?  I cannot say that there have been none, so I ask.  Specific names not requested in the positive or in the negative, of course.  

    Speaking quite frankly, too often our senior leadership’s authority and power intoxicate them to the point of substantial incapacity — i.e., freedom to destroy others while legally unaccountable for themselves.  And we enable their behavior.  We bark when they say, “Speak.”  We ask, “How high?” when they say, “Jump.”  We laugh at their opening jokes.  The law gives us no choice.  

    But we also fail to realize something obvious.  We go to CLS and TLS, where they tell us to question things, to think outside the box, because we are the brightest minds in the service.  Yet we fail to identify the fact that we are only allowed to speak freely within the vacuum of the roundtable.  We fail to identify the fact that, once we rejoin the real world — just garrison, not even combat — speaking freely equates to blasphemy and insubordination.  How dare we question the efficacy of force multipliers like the Motorcycle Club and the Social Media Handbook?!  Not combat examples, of course, but you get the point.

    The point bluntly being that officers of such prestige often — not always — begin to believe that the law truly does fall from their lips.  They forget that their power has limits and that they are not the foremost objects of our oaths.  They forget that the people they so casually hang to dry do not serve them.  They forget that those needlessly hanging serve the Constitution.  

    Too often, honorable men and women go to the gallows because of the political expedients of GOs.  The truth is that those most deserving of GO power are those who wield it with great caution and hesitation, and my hope is that someday we will figure out how to promote those who are most deserving of that power.  The rarity is the reason we are refreshed when we come across a GO who discharges the duties of his/her office with aplomb.   

  14. JWS says:

    There’s a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates.

    Patton hit the nail on the head.