Thursday, September 02, 2004

Three Trials

(On the title: with apologies to John Edwards, whose book Four Trials is now #5,523 on Amazon (and # 7 overall here in Raleigh, NC)). (To be fair, though, I bought the book, and I would say that the good Johnnie Reed owes me an apology, or perhaps a refund).

Trial #1: Todd Parrish, of Cary, NC, thought he was done. He had served the four years active duty, and the four years reserve duty, required by his ROTC contract.

But it turns out he forgot to say "Simon says I quit", and so the Army still owns him. An excerpt from the Army Times story:
The Defense Department has been using numerous devices to keep enlistment up during the Iraq conflict, included a “stop loss” order that prevents soldiers from leaving the military when their obligations end and multiple deployments of guard and reserve units.
Don't the authorities realize that this is a "stop recruiting" order? Who is going to sign up for the reserves now, when Dean Wormer-Rumsfeld can simply declare you subject to "double secret probation" and send your big butt back to a war that may never end.

Trial #2: David Passaro, CIA "contractor", has been charged with abusing prisoners in Afghanistan. In particular, he is charged with beating (using hands, feet, and a large flashlight) one Abdul Wali on June 19 and 20 of 2003. Wali died in his prison cell at the Asadabad Base, quite possibly of injuries inflicted by Passaro, on June 21.

Interesting twist, as John Ashcroft pointed out in his statement on the indictment:
I also note that this case would have been more difficult to investigate and prosecute were it not for the USA PATRIOT Act. The Act expanded U.S. law enforcement jurisdiction over crimes committed by or against U.S. nationals on land or facilities designated for use by the United States government.
Trial # 3: Kobe Bryant. Now a non-trial. Not clear that Mr. Bryant really won, but the criminal part is over. Here is part of his statement, elicited as a term of the agreement to drop charges:
I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year.
Rape is so ungentlemanly. Sorry, sweetie, my bad. Don't know what I was thinking. You want to get some dinner, later?

At least we all got to hear the claim, by Bryant mouthpiece Pamela Mackey, that this was really all about race. She said:
There is lots of history about black men being falsely accused of this crime by white women.
Sure, that's true. There is also lots of history of rich men using power and influence to escape prosecution after abusing and raping women. The relevant comparison here is not to OJ Simpson; Kobe Bryant is simply another William Kennedy Smith. I don't often go for overblown accusations about "the patriarchy," but...

Another great day for American justice.