Saturday, May 07, 2005

How to not treat your fighting men

The Netherlands has been firmly on the side of the US in the Iraq war. Large detachments of Airmobile and Marines have been patrolling and securing the Iraqi countryside, mostly along with their UK counterparts (we train side by side in NATO exercises).

In an incident where a truck with supplies was being looted, a sergeant-major of the Royal Netherlands Marines fired two warning shots, trying to disperse the looters. After this, things become muddled. Other Iraqi's claimed a man was killed by the shots, but a body was never produced or found.

Nevertheless, the Dutch public prosecutor decided to press manslaughter charges against Erik O. (despite the absence of evidence, such as a body!). In the process, information was 'accidently' leaked that Erik O. had been (and perhaps still was) a member of the BBE, the prime Dutch anti-terror unit, a highly secret unit within the Marines (The Dutch Marines are more comparable to the US Army Rangers than the USMC, except they also extensively train amphibiously). The prosecutor tried to paint an image of O. as a trigger-happy state-sanctioned assassin.

O. was aquitted, and again after the prosecutor appealed. The moron is even considering a last, more administrative appeal, must be a very sore looser.

So now
Marine may sue Dutch State

Marine Erik O. is considering lodging a claim for damages against the Dutch State after being acquitted on appeal for the shooting death
[never shown! - Ed] of an Iraqi looter. O. claims he has suffered because his name is now linked to the December 2003 shooting. He accuses the public prosecutor of using him as a test case in a politically-tainted process. Meanwhile, politicians in The Hague have in general welcomed the acquittal of the 44-year-old by the appeals court in Arnhem. The court ruled that O. did not breach military rules of engagement.
Dutch Marines and Commando's are currently fighting side-by-side with US Special Forces in Afghanistan. This time there is no doubt about their mandate: They are operating in a war setting, under strict Rules Of Engagement. As long as they stick to the RoE, they can kill Jihadists to their heart's content.


Post a Comment

<< Home