Because the 80s were that cool…

I have nothing further to say.

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Because Hyperbole Hurts A Cause

So, with the recent hubbub about government leaks, justice, fairness, and civil rights, the internet is rife with varying opinions from a few honest people,  oodles of pundits, and, of course, a cornucopia of nut jobs.

Here’s a quick note for all of you, hyperbole doesn’t help you, the object of your sympathy, or your cause.

A good example:

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He’s been naked for years? We’re left imagining an emaciated, naked Manning curled-up on the wet concrete floor of a sub-basement cell with no windows, lights, or stimuli.

Based on what I’ve read, this seems like a huge stretch. Based on my various visits to military prisons, it is a colossal stretch. While I agree that his treatment at the Marine Brig was improper and illegal (this is why the judge granted him more than 100 days of confinement credit on any possible future sentence), it hardly amounts to years or the image conjured by inaccurate and sensational journalism. I suspect his attorney (the man who knows most about what Manning thinks, knows, and has experienced) would agree. You see, hyperbole hurts his case, too.

Such exaggeration hurts your cause, regardless of what it might be. Why? It makes you look dishonest. It makes you look desperate. Not because you are desperately seeking fairness, but because it gives the appearance that you know the facts don’t effectively support your slant. Too often, it makes you look crazy. Is that what you want for something that is important to you?

We should be able to trust the journalism industry to give us the facts and empower us to understand important news stories in one, rapid read. Sadly, that is hardly the case in this modern era.

But, what do I know? I’ve only been practicing law for a few centuries.

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AN ASIDE: The first response to the initial tweet speaks of Manning’s case not going to a judge for a long time. Of course, the fact that it didn’t is consistent with the laws that govern the UCMJ. Instead, various commanders in Manning’s chain of command hold quasi-judicial authority in the initial stages of a military judicial proceeding. Those who are particularly slanted against military authority would scoff at this and talk about the unfairness embodied by military commanders. Of course, the same would also find a way to minimize the fairness of a judge, if one were involved from the beginning. So, I acknowledge the fact that I can’t win this argument, and I’ll stop typing.

What does an Aussie have to say about military sexual assaults?

This is the closest I’ve seen a modern-era general come to one of the Patton-esque monologues of a bygone military era.

Why will our generals never do something like this? Two reasons.

1. Defense counsel will use such posturing, if it comes from a high-ranking military official, to substantiate allegations of unlawful command influence in judicial proceedings for the foreseeable future. After all, anything that high-ranking Generals, service secretaries, and POTUS say about current and future judicial proceedings can be used by innovative defense attorneys to gain traction on behalf of their clients. Courts already firmly believe that unlawful command influence is the “mortal enemy of military justice.” Our generals are mindful of this and will take steps to ensure that they never approach it.

2. Our federal bureaucracy does not and will not tolerate high-ranking individuals acting like gunslingers. We promote and reward those who are safe and sanitary. Risk-takers (in word and/or deed) need not apply.

Don’t get me wrong. I like what he says. I love how he says it. While many may support what he says in this instance, our recent history shows that we are generally intolerant in the long-term of individuals who behave as he has in this video.

Our military is no longer what you see in movies. It evolved, by necessity (I suppose, and maybe a bit by atrophy), since Vietnam into something closer to other elements of our bloated federal bureaucracy rather than the military traditions established up to our war in Southeast Asia. This isn’t a hit on our individual service members, but rather the institutions that employ them. In fact, much of the inherent power of military commanders to maintain order and discipline has disappeared in the last 20-30 years, both directly and impliedly. They know that being second-guessed is usually a sign of a soon-to-be-dead career rather than a chance to roar out of the gates–having learned a very powerful and important lesson.

And it hurts their ability to deal with the sexual assault problems directly and decisively.

H/T RB Carter

True Clairvoyance

Whilst sorting odds and ends from my childhood, I made a shocking discovery.

In the 1970s, I foresaw Bruce’s coming involvement with the Kardashians and reacted appropriately by defacing his picture.

My skills of second sight have, sadly, diminished since that glorious decade.

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If you look close enough, you will see that I was a fan of Bert from Sesame Street. Not sure what that has to do with Bruce.

 

I leave for a few days and…

So, I leave for a few days away from the world and this hits:

The Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage will represent himself at his upcoming murder trial, meaning he will question the more than two dozen soldiers he’s accused of wounding, a military judge ruled Monday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan’s attorneys will remain on the case but only if he asks for their help, the judge said. Hasan, 42, faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

After questioning Hasan for about an hour, the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, ruled that Hasan was mentally competent to represent himself and understands “the disadvantage of self-representation.” She repeatedly urged him to reconsider his request, noting that the lead prosecutor has more than 20 years of experience and that Hasan will be held to the same standards as all attorneys regarding courtroom rules and military law.

Wow. Just wow. I was expecting a very boring (but technically interesting) case. I was wrong. Very wrong. This may be both painful and unbelievably entertaining to any observer. Brace yourself.