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February 01, 2006

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gelu

I don't really want to drive you crazy but I can't stop myself asking you a question. What if this guy was a German military and everything else was going to be and to happen the same way?... Now, please do not answer my question! I really don't want and I don't expect a fair answer! Do it for yourself, in front of a mirror...with loud voice.

Doug M.

What a remarkably stupid comment. She'd respond exactly the same way.

Now go away and do something in front of a mirror.

Geez.


Doug M.

claudia

Oh, husband coming to my defense. Nice feeling, that.

Anyhoo. I would be outraged, as I am outraged at the BND's apparent knowledge of the workings of the CIA in Europe. I'm working on a post on that one but it's a convoluted subject and I want to get my facts right. So it's not anti-Americanism, if you think that. (It does make me crazy if you assume that, btw. Some of my American relatives presume this and it drives me bonkers. I AM NOT ANTI-AMERICAN. I couldn't care less about what the States does if I were anti-American. But I care, and I'm not.)

The only consolation I have for the Romanians in this case is that they are not being treated in a special way. The killing of a Japanese woman in January 2006, the rape of a woman in the Philipines last year, the killing of a woman in Germany some time ago... the worst that ever happend to any of the perpetrators is dishonorable discharge. For murder???!

I can understand that you want to run away when you have an accident with bodily injuries in a foreign country. I TOTALLY understand that. But the covering up of the authorities, the not-holding-accountable, the provable streak of letting army personel off the hook -- that is unforgivable.

Working on that post. However, I'm also a single parent with a sick baby who doesn't ever sleep more than ten minutes at a time, and a toddler who thinks it's perfectly decent to get up at 5 am. So bear with me, please.

Natalie

There is yet another reason that you can't be anti-American -- ME! After all, you couldn't be my twin, if you were anti-American. I might have said "evil twin", but I think *I* am the evil twin. You're not. Or at least I'm the more evil one when PMS. And I fully expect you to be a mother-in-law to an American someday (aka, the pink-obsessed child that moved in three years ago and hasn't moved out).

As for this news story, I don't have the facts (other than what I've read on the Net), so I can't make any intelligent comments. At least I can be amusing. Pat, pat, pat on the sleepless nights.

Natalie

Oliver

The primary purpose of a military justice system is not justice. It exists to uphold discipline and morale of the armed forces.

Stefan

military justice is an oxymoron. Same as military intelligence.

carbonel

military justice is an oxymoron. Same as military intelligence

I won't speak to the "justice," but since I know at least one military officer who is a nuclear engineer and earned his master's degree in machine language, I suspect that the oxymoronic coupling is not, in fact, with the "military" but, ah...

I'll leave that as an excercise for the student.

Myself, I suspect that the duty to do justice comes into conflict with the need to guard one another's backs. In civilian life, that's not a particularly noble motivation. In the world of armed conflicts, it's an entirely necessary one.

Not sure how to reconcile the problem, though.

claudia

I've known plenty of very intelligent military, as well. (Back in the days when there were still Americans stationed close to my home town.) In fact, one of the smartest guys I've ever known is a general in the army.

But. Guarding each other's backs... hm. I see your point, I'm not sure I can concede it. You guard your backs in danger, without questions. In peace times, there should be a different incentive. I want to believe that the murder of someone (or accidental homicide) weighs more than adultery. The military is quite harsh on adultery and on fraternizing. It should be equally harsh on rape, robbery, DIY, and murder, no?

See, what I'm concerned about is a break-down of morals. What kind of message do these cases send to the rest of the military?

Let me tell you an innocent example: Back in those days (see above), many military personel in Germany would park their cars illegally and/or speed. If they were caught in act, good - the police pulled them over and they had to pay their fine on the spot.

However, if they were just photographed, or issued a written ticket, nothing much ever happened. The military are out of Germany's jurisdiction and somehow, most cases handed over to the Americans never got resolved. So, in the end, the American soldiers were just not that concerned about parking in handicapped spaces, or speeding in residential areas, because they would hardly ever be punished.

This is what worries me. Every army has bullies, liars, rapists (prospective or not) and killers amongst their men (and women). They might be kept in check by rigid discipline. But if the message is - do whatever you want and your buddies will cover your ass? Your superiors will gently slap you on your wrists but that is it? You will have a court martial if the public outrage is big enough but be sure to be acquitted?

I'm sure I'm not liking that.

Oliver

If you have a peace time system, you'll have a peace time army. In other words, a not entirely serious force. Within limits, that is, but the core is true.
The army can be very harsh on a lot of things. However the nature of an army dictates that all lifes are not equal. Assaulting a superior officer is by necessity a most serious crime. Assaulting a foreigner isn't. Especially when stationed abroad. There must be solidarity against all foreigners.
An army's purpose is not to be particularly likeable. It exists to kill. Now, after the cold war, not even to threaten but to actually carry out the mission.

roxana

i see this discussion forgot about the main subject a human was killed and no matter the age rase or country he has right equal to the rights of the soldier that killed him ... i understand now why they say justice is blind ... ahh and just a retorical question : if an american was killed and a romanian was guilty in the same accident ...would the results be the same ?
we are equals we should always remember this

Colin

ahh and just a retorical question : if an american was killed and a romanian was guilty in the same accident ...would the results be the same ?Actually, there is a similar case we can compare to: In January 1997 the charge d'affaires of the Georgian Embassy in Washington DC (later revealed to have previous drunk driving incidents in his homeland and abroad) crashed into pedestrians at 85 MPH in Dupont Circle, killing a teenage woman and seriously injuring four others. The case was notable in that the public outcry was so great it caused Shevardnadze to waive diplomatic immunity so the diplomat (Gueorgui Makharadze) could stand trial. In late December '97 he was sentenced to 7 to 21 years. So far so good, but then......after less than two and a half years in a minimum security federal prison he was sent home to Georgia in June 2000, at which point he went on a sort of 'house arrest', basically a loose probation. In June 2002 he was officially paroled even of THAT.So I think there's a case to be made that leniency is just what you have to expect to happen when "protected" expats (diplomatic or military) end up killing people in their host nation. Whether they are Americans or not seems not to alter that.

Bennett

What is ludicrous and shameful is some Romanian thinking they know anything about the U.S. or the government system here . . . I'll have to assume your jealousy of not having American freedoms, choices and income make you that way. Unless you know the parties involved, you have nothing worthy to say . . . your gossip could be hurtful to people, but I guess that's how you get off. As far as not being Vangothems first affair, how in the world would you know that? Another gossip blog that doesn't have any accurate information like yours?! Sorry for your loss of a beloved artist . . . but that happens everywhere, especially in a screwed up intersection that ANYONE would have trouble navigating. Oh, and by the way, do you have any breathalyzer or blood test results or are you relying on the partial Romanian press? And as far as Ilse Wentworth goes [...]. [portion removed by editor]

Editor's note: We have been contacted by the real life Bennett. He is a friend of Ilse Wentworth and was horrified to see himself impersonated by an immoral and cowardly person who aimed to insult and offend her but obviously knew nothing about her character.

We have no way of verifying commenters on this blog. This is what we can do: The IP used in this case is 68.48.158.99, a Comcast address. We have notified Comcast of this abuse. We have also contacted Starpower.net. We are very sorry.

Carlos

What'r'you talking about, Bennett? I know reading comprehension is not high on the list of abilities random drive-by trolls are expected to have, but identifying Claudia as "some Romanian" jealous of "American freedoms, choices, and income" [!] is pretty goddam dumb, even for the general run-of-the-mill Internet goober.

Maybe I should use short words and type v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y for you.

Jackass.

claudia

Bennett:

- Are you or have you been posted in Bucharest?

- Do you have first hand testimony from people involved or are you quoting the impartial Stars and Stripes (the only primary news source in this case)?

- Do you have any idea of this case or are you just throwing dreck?

- Are you accusing Ms. Wentworth of lying under oath?

- Is your spouse an American lawyer who has been explaining the workings of the American judicial system to you for many years?

- The breathalyzer test showed an alcohol level of 0.09.

- The blood test performed by the Embassy (sic!) showed a blood alcohol of 0.02.

- The law in Romania deems anything over .00 as DYI.

Romanian traffic law provides for retention of licenses and possible imprisonment for driving under the influence of alcohol or for causing an accident resulting in injury or death. From the website of the US State Department

If you can answer these questions in a civil manner, you may further participate in this discussion. This is your first and last warning to behave on my blog. If you continue to insult Romanians or Romania, I will have to strip your vowels.

Andy H

"So, before you go speaking out of turn about people you don't know and things you weren't involved with, you should think how someone's careless, unknowing words could affect YOU."

You should possibly think about how someone's careless unthinking drink-driving could affect YOU.

Honestly this is the best comments section ever. Who are Gelu and Benett? Amazing people. I wonder, I really do.

You have to "know the parties involved" in order to have something worthwhile to say? Politics as we know it is over, then. We'll all have to go and live in small anarcho-syndicalist communes.

I imagine there are people all over the world who have kiled people while driving drunk sitting in their prison cells jealous that they don't have American freedoms. Or at least American military freedoms, since American civilians don't get these light tickings off for similar crimes.

For the nation that invented PR, the US is sometimes incredibly bad at presenting itself to the world. Well, good work, military court in Quantico, and apologists for the process like Benett - there's yet another country that was previously very well-disposed towards the US that you can start striking off the list.

carbonel

Claudia,

I agree with your concerns: I was speaking to the reason why military justice, even in the best of times, may often conflict with civilian justice, particularly in foreign countries.

Not, as you point (and, I hope, I pointed) out; a good thing, but if true, a useful data-point towards countering it.

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