Right Wing nuttery: murder on your resume a "plus"

Just when you think you've heard it all:

Pantano was charged with a capital crime for slaying two Iraqis during a raid in 2004 and hanging a sign over their bodies with a Marine slogan, "No better friend, no worse enemy." Ultimately cleared of the charges, Pantano went on to write a book about the experience. He hopes the notoriety will help him win the Republican nomination.

"This is my effort to turn a negative into a positive," Pantano told The Associated Press during a recent interview at his Wilmington home. "I think that the voters in this district will see a life story ... of a guy who has chosen to serve over personal gain."

Here's what he did:

Pantano, who earlier had the Iraqis put in plastic handcuffs, now had Doc Gobles cut the cuffs off, which he did with his trauma shears. Then Gobles marched the two prisoners to their vehicle, placed one in the open door of the front seat, the other in the open door of the rear seat. Pantano motioned to the prisoners to search the car. He ordered Gobles to post security at the front of the car; Sergeant Coburn at the rear. Both men turned their backs on Pantano and the Iraqis.

A short time later, the shots started. Gobles and Coburn spun around. Pantano, ten feet from the Iraqis, emptied his M-16’s magazine, reloaded, emptied another. Later, Coburn recalled wondering “when the lieutenant was going to stop, because it was obvious that they were dead.” Photos, souvenirs taken by a Marine, would show one Iraqi nearly embracing the backseat of the car. The other lolled on his side, his head on the floorboard.

Coburn seemed distraught. He grabbed Gobles. “What the hell just happened?”

“Don’t worry,” Gobles said to settle him. “The blood is not on your hands.”


Wow. Just wow.

First - I have a question (or two, maybe) for the veterans here. I've never been in the Armed Forces of any kind. Is there any scenario where this would be an acceptable way of handling things? I accept that in a combat situation, you've got to shoot people. But this doesn't sound like combat to me. Secondly, is it common for Marines, or Soldiers, on the scene of something like this to take photos for "souvenirs"?

I know that war isn't pretty. It never will be. Combatants are put under horrendously stressful situations, especially when often times the "other side" isn't wearing uniforms and marching in a straight line.

But, holy crap! This guy is running for Congress, and he makes me want to apologize for being American.

Better yet

Demand that the asshole himself apologize - for being an America, and for disgracing our country by declaring himself a candidate for anything beyond dried scum.


Gotta love today's right wing leadership:

What makes him an attractive candidate for some in the GOP, however, is not policy but his personal story.

"We believe Ilario Pantano is a very unique candidate. He has an incredibly compelling story and a work ethic that is one of the kind," said Andy Sere, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has not endorsed a candidate in the race.

Dear Andy. There is no such thing as "very unique," you dumb shit. And as to one of a kind? You might be right about that. How many other cold-blooded murderers are running for Congress in America?

I've never been in combat,

at least in the classic sense. But I've been in a few extremely "hairy" situations, for want of a better term. On one occasion I was flying in a military transport when we got a little too close to a firefight on the ground, and both sides tried to shoot us down. Almost succeeded, too. In addition to the 250 rounds or so that actually hit the aircraft, I watched a SAM fly right past the window I was peering out of. Not an "encouraging" sight, I must say. :o

In answer to your questions: a) No, I can't think of an acceptable scenario that involved executing someone already in custody. I guess if you wanted to scare other prisoners into giving up useable intel, an execution like that might cause them to squeal. But it looks like Pantano just wanted to kill these guys and make it look like they were trying to escape. Ergo, premeditated murder.

b) Yes, taking souvenirs, including morbid photographs, is pretty common in combat situations. I had a friend who was a Vietnam veteran (173rd) who had a whole album of gross pictures he'd taken from his days there. But he would only bring it out when some young gung-ho kid talked about wanting to go to war, and my buddy would say, "Is this what you want?".

You (and Linda) might want to read "With the Old Breed"

and "Break Out" to get an idea of what combat does to make people do things that would otherwise seem totally unacceptable. There are reasons. That said, Patano's conduct seems out of bounds by any reasonable measure.

Stan Bozarth

I can't speak to photos.

Most combat troops don't want to lug anything but what they need...like a change of socks, ammo, water and rations. A camera would be excess baggage. You will probably be unhappily surprised to learn that "souvenirs" of one form or another are not terribly unusual...but the great majority don't do such things. I had an acquaintance who collected something from those he personally killed. He was an unusual fellow worth his weight in gold in ways ...meaningful at the time.

Stan Bozarth

It was not about "others", Stan

I grew up in the Vietnam War generation and when my buds from high school came back from Nam (those that survived), they carried back with them momentos of all sorts. They carried back memories in their minds also that can now only be seen in movies and documentaries. Their "momentos" they brought back were their lifeline to reality. Kill a dozen human individuals and think you do not have to deal with it in ways no one knows other than those that killed those individuals? C'mon. No amount of judgement...no amount of "what I'd do"...no amount of "how I would deal with it" will suffice.

Nam was horrible..war is unnecessary, and in the words of one of my favorite songwriters: "what is it good for?"

Hopefully after our Iraq and Afghanistan idiocy, we, as a country, will not put our young guys and gals in the position to have to deal with these kinds of memories.

We, as humans, deal with what we're forced to do in ways that only those that have gone through it understand.

Dear Foxy,

I'm not certain why you decided I was worthy of your little broadside. Based on what I know...which isn't too much....I said I thought Pantano was out of bounds. I'll stick by that. Just a judgement thing.

Thank you for explaining Vietnam to me. Thank you for telling me how it was there and all. Without you I never would have understood.

2LT-!LT, AD Artillery...Military Advisory Command Vietnam (MACV) and US Army- Republic of Vietnam (USARV). 65-66. III Corp.

Stan Bozarth

My humble apologies

I stepped in it again...sorry, Stan.

Thank you for your service...and I mean that.


For atonement, Foxy

read this Prayer and I'll forgive you. You went in over your boot tops. Check for leeches.

Stan Bozarth


I like this one:

Marine Wife's Prayer

Dear Lord, walk with this Marine of mine -each and every day

Never let him lose his faith -Or yearn to go astray.

Keep him, Lord and give him strength -Whenever the need maybe,

For it's quite a task these men have- To keep our country free.

Grant them, Lord the best in life- Keep them always fair;

'Tis the best of them that they will give- On land, on sea and air.

And so, dear,Lord when duty calls- And the future can't be seen,

Walk with and protect -Lord, My husband the Marine.

Thanks, Stan

wow! you guys are tough!

I mean, he was cleared, correct?

"An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury session, was held in April. In a report dated May 12, the hearing officer, Lt. Col. Mark Winn, had recommended that the murder charges be dropped. While finding some problems with Pantano’s behavior, Winn concluded that one witness’ accusation that Pantano shot the detainees while they were kneeling with their backs to him was not supported by other testimony or evidence. Witnesses testified the sergeant who was Pantano’s main accuser was a weak Marine who was bitter about Pantano removing him from a leadership role within the platoon." Murder Charges Dropped Against Marine (AP)

I was in the service, and if my commander had protected me, the last thing I would do is falsely accuse him of acts he did not commit.

Don't blame the service men and women. Look at your congress that sends them to the middle east.


Wendy - Independant, disabled vet

Facts he doesn't deny:

The two prisoners had their handcuffs removed, Pantano then fired one clip into them, reloaded, and emptied another one into their bodies. Then he hung a sign over them.

I was in the service too, Wendy, and so were several other folks who blog here.

Yes, I know that part, too.

I'm just saying that if they did not prosecute him as a "murderer," it's not fair to call him that, is it? I didn't think I was living in a country where you're "innocent until proven guilty" and then if you're not found guilty, we'll still call you guilty.

Just seems rather cruel to me that the tag would be thrown so carelessly around. The man has a family. He went through the system and followed the process.

I do believe that if they had found this to be worth prosecuting, they would have. Don't you? Or do you think this whole country is that corrupt at this point?

Wendy - Independant, disabled vet

Read the initial article

I linked to above, Wendy. Pantano is trying to use the incident to his advantage, at least in his efforts to secure a primary victory over other Republicans.

He's hoping people will perceive him as someone who is willing to "get the job done", and I'm trying to show that his judgment and ethics are irredeemably flawed.

If he (somehow) does get elected, he could end up influencing our military through legislation or committee work, and that possibility is something I cannot abide.

HeaI!!!!!!! Yourself Thy Solider?

Pantano says he had a spiritual experience and was born again last summer. Since then, he said, he has been humbled and rededicated to serving others and God.* Story

It always amazes me how a Kick Ass Jesus steps in and converts a Murderer to the Republican Party?

Ok, so now it's also about his personal life?

Are we really that cynical in this country that we think we know better what goes on in a man's mind then he does?

And that's the last I'll say on these posts. I'm getting very depressed knowing that there's so much irrational judgements going on here. It's all pure emotion without any empathy for others. And, please, don't write me and tell me your empathy lies with the people we are fighting over there because the congress has still not gotten us out. I don't have any empathy, having lost a friend in the 9/11 attacks.

Wendy - Independant, disabled vet