Right now, military "prosecutions only happen when a commander decides to have them," writes Defense Tech pal Eric Umansky in today's Slate. "If an officer believes somebody under his command might have done wrong, then the commander can go after him and bring charges. Or not. It's all up to his discretion."In light of the Haditha, Abu Ghraib, and other investigations, Umansky argues, "What we need is an independent prosecutor's office, a place where a Patrick Fitzgerald-type can hang his hat and go after wrongdoing wherever it may be in the chain of command."What do you guys think? Is Eric on to something, or not?UPDATE 06/13/06 07:32 AM: "Umanksy isn't necessarily wrong, but he isn't exactly right either," says John over at Op For.
It is true that commanders have exceptional power when it comes to the prosecution and punishment of their troops, but the way Umansky spins the story makes it sound like individual commanders are the end all/be all for military justice. In reality, the military legal system -from investigation to prosecution- is an incredibly complex, multi-layered entity, in which the unit commander is a single stone in the technicolored mosiac