The taliban urination case from 2011 that inexplicably made international headlines and cast another shadow over the Marines was "suddenly dropped," as reported by Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times on Saturday.
The move comes after allegations that top Marine Gen. James F. Amos "manipulated the legal process," as reported by Andrew deGrandpré of the Marine Corps Times in July. deGrandpré wrote,
"Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos stripped a three-star general [Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser] of his authority to prosecute Marines implicated in a war-zone scandal after the general refused to boot them from the service as Amos demanded..."
With the case dropped, Scarborough writes that Amos can avoid an "embarrassing pretrial hearing." In a statement, Waldhauser previously said that Amos wanted the Marines “crushed,” and removed Waldhauser from the case after he "pushed back."
The case was dropped after defense attorneys
"won a judge’s order, over objections from Marine prosecutors, for two staff attorneys to testify in open court about how senior commanders interfered in the case to get a guilty verdict."
When the scandal first came to light, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai all expressed outrage, as documented by the Daily Mail. Panetta said that the Marines would "be held accountable to the fullest extent," and unbelievably, a Taliban spokesperson chimed in, saying
"We strongly condemn this inhumane action by the wild American soldiers."
The story reeked of politics from the beginning.
One of the accused, Sgt. Joseph Chamblin, regretted the bad press for the sake of the Marines, as reported in July by Lee Ferran of ABC News. Chamblin also said that "one of his fellow Marines, Sgt. Mark Bradley, was killed in an IED explosion days before the incident" and the urination incident "occurred after a gun battle between his men and the Taliban..." He said,
"These were the same guys that were killing our family, killing our brothers..."
The witch hunt against the Marines in the video is reminiscent of sexual assault allegations, yet another politicized issue almost seemed designed to degrade the Marine Corps, before cases are even tried.
Not surprisingly, Marine Commandant James Amos has been vocal on that scandal, as well.
Michael Doyle of mcclatchydc wrote last year that Amos'
"well-meaning but overly blunt talk...complicated Marine sexual-assault cases worldwide and raised troubling questions about whether accused Marines will get a fair shake."
While criminal behavior obviously needs to be addressed in the military where it exists, the outrage over isolated incidents are seemingly trumped up for the sake of politics. Gen. James F. Amos seems to be dutifully falling in line by loudly denouncing potentially criminal acts that have yet been tried, flying in the face of the presumption of innocence and surely demoralizing the vast majority of the heroes who deserve better.