Hasan wanted patients to face war crimes charges

Fort Hood massacre suspect Nidal Malik Hasan sought to have some of his patients prosecuted for war crimes based on statements they made during psychiatric sessions with him, a captain who served on the base said Monday. . . .

It wasn’t clear Monday what information Hasan received from patients and what became of his requests for prosecution. ABC News, citing anonymous sources, reported that his superiors rejected the requests, and that investigators suspect this triggered the shootings.

Hasan may have been legally justified in reporting what patients disclosed, said Patrick McLain, a Dallas lawyer who specializes in military defense work and is not involved in the Hasan case. But it’s impossible to be sure without knowing exactly what they said, he added.

"He was right on his authority to report it," said the ex-Marine, who formerly served as a court-martial judge. The Army teaches all service members that they have a duty to report evidence of war crimes.

War crimes? Our heroes commit war crimes? Start here: War criminality, in U.S. soldiers’ words. A bit of the soldier testimony from that diary:

Afghanistan:

"Anyone carrying a shovel or any sort of implement that could be used to bury an IED could be considered a target. After dark, you can shoot anyone who is outside."

Iraq:

"There were massive amounts of artillery strikes before we even invaded. We saw the results of that. Streets full of bodies – women and children – body parts, extremely indiscriminate. I’m talking about rolling through villages here, not military encampments."

". . . at one point, anyone who was described as a suspicious observer would be a legitimate target, anyone holding a cell phone, binoculars, or at one point, anyone out after curfew, and this led to an incident where Marines were firing at firefighters and cops silhouetted against a fire that our indirect fire had caused who were trying to help out the civilians that were being affected by that fire."

Below is additional testimony by three U.S. Iraq veterans, but I don’t think it’s different in Afghanistan:

Vincent Emanuele: An act that took place quite often in Iraq was that of taking pop shots at cars that drove by. Our rules of engagement stated that we should first fire warning shots into the ground in front of the car, then the engine block, and then the driver and passengers.

Most of the time, however, the shots made their way straight to those very individuals in the car.

Jon Michael Turner:

On April 18, 2006, I had my first confirmed killed. This man was innocent. I don’t know his name. I called him “the fat man.” He was walking back to his house, and I shot him in front of his friend and his father. The first round didn’t kill him, after I had hit him up here in his neck area. And afterwards he started screaming and looked right into my eyes. So I looked at my friend, who I was on post with, and I said, “Well, I can’t let that happen.” So I took another shot and took him out. He was then carried away by the rest of his family. It took seven people to carry his body away.

There was one incident, where we got into a firefight just south of the government center about 2,000 meters. We had no idea where the fire was coming from. And the way our rules of engagement were, pinpoint where the fire is coming from and throw a rocket at it. So, at that being said, we still didn’t know where the fire was coming from, and an eighty-four-millimeter rocket was shot into a house. I do not know if there was anyone in it. We do not know if that’s where the fire was coming from. But that’s what was done.

I just want to say that I am sorry for the hate and destruction that I have inflicted on innocent people, and I’m sorry for the hate and destruction that others have inflicted on innocent people. At one point, it was OK. But reality has shown that it’s not and that this is happening and that until people hear about what is going on with this war, it will continue to happen and people will continue to die. I am sorry for the things that I did. I am no longer the monster that I once was.

Jason Hurd:
And there was one of those buildings that was sort of dilapidated; however, we knew that squatters had taken this building over, and we actually used to make jokes that this place looked like a crack house and that they were running drugs out of there. We had no evidence of that; it was just joking.

One day, Iraqi police got into an exchange of gunfire with some unknown individuals around that building. Some of the stray rounds came across the Tigris River and hit the shield of one of our Hummers. The gunner atop that Hummer decided to open fire with his fifty-caliber machinegun into that building. He expended about a case and a half of ammunition. And I’m no weapons expert—I’m a medic—but I talked to some of my colleagues just the other night, and to put this into perspective for you all, each case of fifty-cal ammunition holds about 150 rounds. A case and a half is well over 200 rounds. Over 200 rounds of fifty-caliber ammunition could take out just about every single person in this room. We fired indiscriminately and unnecessarily at this building. We never got a body count, we never got a casualty count afterwards. Another unit came through and swept up that mess.

Ladies and gentleman, things like that happen every day in Iraq. We react out of fear, fear for our lives, and we cause complete and utter destruction.

Individuals from my unit indiscriminately and unnecessarily opened fire on innocent civilians as they’re driving down the road on their own streets. My unit—individuals from my platoon would fire into the grills of these cars and then come back in the evenings after missions were done and brag about it. They would say, “Hey, did you guys see that car I shot at? It spewed radiator fluid all over the ground. Wasn’t that cool?” I remember thinking back on that and how appalled I was that we were bragging about these things, that we were laughing, but that’s what you do in a combat zone.

P.S. — From "War Crimes Committed by the United States in Iraq and Mechanisms for Accountability"

"[T]he choices made at more senior levels than the ranks of individual soldiers have created the context in which regular abuses of civilians in occupied Iraq are occurring. It is argued that: the failure to adequately rebuild the civilian and social infrastructure; the failure to provide civilians with appropriate security; and the choices of weapons and tactics often used in military operations all constitute war crimes. Regardless of the rationale for invading and occupying Iraq, the U.S. and British governments, their commanders and all their soldiers in the field are accountable for these grave breaches."

"One reason for the huge numbers of civilian casualties under the U.S. occupation is that U.S. soldiers have often behaved as if they have been told to shoot anything that moves. As noted in the Christian Science Monitor: “The rules of engagement instruct U.S. soldiers to bring withering force to bear on positions they’re attacked from, even when an insurgent ducks into a private house for cover” (22). However, many NGOs have attested that private homes and persons who are clearly civilians are attacked without any possible excuse that a particular attack was directed at insurgents."

"Each citizen of the United States is challenged to be willing to recognize first that fellow citizens in the executive branch of the Federal government and in the military have repeatedly violated international law in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The next step is to open our minds to not only the possibility but the absolute necessity to hold our fellow citizens to account. As noted above, we have a law to do so—the War Crimes Act."

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