Archive | Iraq

“Debating the Invasion of Iraq — Three Questions for the Pro-War Blogosphere” — Six Years Later

Back in September 2004, about 18 months into the war in Iraq, I posed three questions for the pro-war blogosphere:

First, assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Why/why not?

Second, what reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq these days, such as the stories I link to above?

Third, what specific criteria do you recommend that we should use over the coming months and years to measure whether the Iraq invasion has been a success?

I then agreed to post links to the blogs that responded, which you can see here and here, with links to about 70 blogs altogether. I asked the question again three years later to see if opinions had changed. By and large, they had not.

The latest news from Iraq, of course, is that the formal combat mission of U.S. troops has come to an end. Some 50,000 or so troops will stay in the country, at least for another year, but there will be no more combat missions. It seems like an opportune time to ask folks who were in favor of the war in 2003-04 once again: Have your views of the war changed? That is, do you still think the war was a good idea? And do you believe that the invasion was a success? [...]

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All Charges Dismissed Against Blackwater Contractors

D.C. Federal District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina has just dismissed all charges against several Blackwater guards, who were accused of voluntary manslaughter and various serious firearms offenses in connection with a September 16, 2007, shooting in Baghdad.  A copy of the opinion, which can be found here,  chastises the government for improper conduct:

In their zeal to bring charges against the defendant in this case, the prosecutors and investigators aggressively sought out statements the defendants had been compelled to make to government investigators in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and in the subsequent investigation. In so doing, the government’s trial team repeatedly disregarded the warnings of experienced, senior prosecutors, assigned to the case specifically to advise the trial team on Garrity and Kastigar issues, that this course of action threatened the viability of  the prosecution. The government used the defendants’ compelled statements to guide its charging decisions, to formulate its theory of the case, to develop investigatory leads and, ultimately, to obtain the indictment in this case. The government’s key witnesses immersed themselves in the defendants’ compelled statements, and the evidence adduced at the Kastigar hearing plainly demonstrated that these compelled statements shaped portions of the witnesses’ testimony to the indicting grand jury.2 The explanations offered by the prosecutors and investigators in an attempt to justify their actions and persuade the court that they did not use the defendants’ compelled testimony were all too often contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility.

I worked on the case briefly, helping represent the defendants when they were arrested in Salt Lake City.  In my view, the charges should never have been filed.  The prosecutors made novel use of federal criminal statutes, including charging the contractors with heavy mandatory minimum sentences for use of firearms (i.e., machineguns) in the commission of a  crime [...]

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