Court Crusader

In the latest chapter of a true tale of woe, certain findings of the Inspector General (IG) for DoD are under fire — and there appears to be some compelling evidence to bolster this challenge.

An interested party has matched up the 2008 Marine Corps Court of Inquiry (COI) report into events surrounding actions taken against a Marine combat unit to the DoD IG’s findings in a related matter and is calling, “Foul.”

Some background: During March 2007, a Marine special operations company was kicked out of Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the March 4 incident that left roughly 19 Afghans dead and many more wounded, coupled with allegations that MSOC-F had been operating without appropriate authority, then-Army Maj. Gen. Francis H. Kearney III, head of Special Operations Command Central, sent the 120 Marines packin’.

Controversy continued. The commander Marine Forces Central Command, then-Lt. Gen. Jim “I like Brawlin’” Mattis convened the Corps’ first court of inquiry in more than 50 years to get at the truth.

This most recent COI met at Camp Lejeune, N.C., home to the Marine unit in question and presented its report in 2008. Unrelated to the Corps’ inquiry, U.S. Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.), who represents Camp Lejeune and the surrounding area, called for an investigation into the man who banished the Marines, Kearney, now a lieutenant general and deputy commander for U.S. Special Operations Command.

Our court crusader has found troubling discrepancies between the DoD’s Inspector General’s findings and the COI’s report.He has written to the IG highlighting the inconsistencies. He believes events are shrouded by injustice: careers ended, lives tainted.

He states his primary concern: “The report of the COI is in direct contradiction with several areas of your report (No. H07L105376221 dated 10 July 2008) regarding the alleged misconduct of Lieutenant General Francis H. Kearney III, U.S. Army, Deputy Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command.”

He is specific in his criticism: “Page 3 of your report states, “In the course of these activities, MSOC-F was conducting operations outside their assigned geographic area of responsibility and without the knowledge of, and required prior coordination with, the commander in charge of the geographic area where those incidents occurred. Moreover, during their approximately 3-month assignment in Afghanistan, MSOC-F had reportedly conducted 80 percent of their missions without the knowledge of and proper coordination with the responsible geographic area commander.”

According to our crusader: “The COI found that 100 percent of the missions conducted by MSOC-F had a Concept of Operation (CONOP) submitted for approval which was done in accordance with the procedures in place at the time. Specifically regarding the 9 March 2007 mission, the COI determined the CONOP in question was approved by Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force–Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) as well as Commander, Task Force (TF) Spartan, Combined Joint Task Force-82 (CJTF-82).”

This is just one example. There is much more, including concerns the investigating officer of the March 4 incident was influenced by the command and later suppressed evidence. Crusader questions the veracity of the testimony of those in charge.

It is a sad and sordid and complex tale. Our court crusader might be tilting at the privilege of windmills, mounted on his tired steed. But who else will fight for those that can’t?

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