Plea Deals Suddenly Appear For Marines Facing Possible Death Penalty in Kidnap and Killing of Iraqi Man

What's unusual here (sadly, kidnapping and murder is not unusual in Iraq, not even for the Americans bringing "freedom") is that the military courts are arranging plea deals. I can't help but wonder why unless it's because the Bush-Rumsfeld Pentagon might be afraid of how far up the food chain some questions might go.

From AP via New York Daily News:

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) -- In the beginning, there were eight. A squad of seven Marines and a Navy corpsman charged with kidnapping and murdering an Iraqi man, a crime described by a prosecutor as especially brutal.

They faced military trials; the death penalty was possible.

And now there are four. In the six months the men have been held at the Camp Pendleton brig, the profile of the Hamdania cases has changed dramatically. The death penalty is off the table and four of the defendants have struck plea bargains.

Some observers of the military justice system find the developments mystifying.

Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge who teaches law of war at Georgetown University Law Center, said he was surprised by the number of plea agreements in this case.
We shouldn't let this drop without FAR more questions being asked and suitably answered.