Strange Justice

Today’s Washington Post has a report on how the U.S. military is punishing war crimes in Iraq. Prosecutors initially charged a Marine with murder. Later, prosecutors dropped that charge when the Marine agreed to plead guilty to engaging in a cover-up of the crime.

In return for Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr.’s guilty pleas to charges of aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice, the government dropped other charges, including murder, kidnapping, assault and conspiracy.

Shumate is one of seven Marines and a sailor charged with kidnapping Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, in the rural town of Hamdaniyah, dragging him to a roadside hole and shooting him, and then trying to cover it up.

The Marine will serve less than 2 years in jail. That’s a strange notion of justice. But the state has strange notions of how to apply the law–sometimes it is incredibly harsh and sometimes it is incredibly lenient. The less we pay attention, the worse it gets.