I received a comment from one Sgt. F. Emall, apparently an anonymous American university professor, who didn't at all take kindly to my remarks. Here's what he said:
So what did Dustin Berg do? What is it that Mr. Hendrix thinks people are unduly criticizing about?The soldier, Cpl. Dustin M. Berg, fired three times at his Iraqi partner, Hussein Kamel Hadi Dawood al-Zubeidi, and killed him. As Corporal Berg ran away, he picked up Mr. Zubeidi's AK-47 and shot himself in the side. In the days that followed, Corporal Berg lied about what happened, saying Mr. Zubeidi was the one who had shot him. And for months he went right on lying, after he recovered from his wound, after he left Iraq, even after he received a Purple Heart he did not deserve with his parents watching at a solemn ceremony back home in Indiana.I can't believe there's a controversy over criticism of this guy. But there is."In earlier wars, I don't think some of these homicide cases would be prosecuted at all," said Guy L. Womack, a Houston lawyer and retired Marine lieutenant colonel who prosecuted marines and has represented the Army reservist accused of being the ringleader of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. "We're second-guessing things we don't need to second-guess."I wonder what sort of action would be worthy of second-guessing.
Read the entire article from today's TImes and you will see what the controversy is about. The Iraqi officer, according to Berg, attempted to prevent Berg at gunpoint from reporting a suspected insurgent they had seen on the street. I.e., according to Berg, the dead Iraqi was an insurgent collaborator, minimally. But of course, to some Americans, it's easier to suspect fellow Americans than it is to suspect foreign nationals, especially when the former are in the military. Brown University in philosophy, eh? Why do I feel like I can predict most of what you think without having even read anything beyond your note on Dustin Berg? Some of us, and even some who've been through grad school ourselves, trust guys like Mr. Berg A LOT MORE than we trust philosophy grad students at Brown University. Go figure.And here's my response:
Thank you, I have read the article, which is here. You suggest that this will explain to me what the controversy is about, but on the contrary, the article confirms that Cpl. Berg shot and killed his Iraqi colleague, then shot himself to cover the crime, repeatedly lying about the incident to his superiors. Furthermore, the article expresses Cpl. Berg's full admission of guilt and remorse: "I should have considered the Iraqi police officer to be an ally and not a threat," Corporal Berg said in court. "I believe I am negligent for the shooting. I should have used reasonable care. I should not have killed Mr. Zubeidi. I acted too quickly." Today's article shows that I was rigt when I wrote this post two months ago: Cpl. Berg's actions were deplorable, and it's absurd to complain about the fact that he's being criticized. Some of us, and even some who've been through grad school ourselves, trust guys like Mr. Berg A LOT MORE than we trust philosophy grad students at Brown University. My credibility is not at issue. I've made no factual claims; I'm interpreting the news as I read it. So whether you trust me has nothing to do with anything at all. But of course, to some Americans, it's easier to suspect fellow Americans than it is to suspect foreign nationals, especially when the former are in the military. Yes, it's quite easy for some of us to suspect fellow Americans who admit to having committed every element of the alleged crime. But yes, there are also Americans for whom it's difficult to suspect even dishonorably discharged American former soldiers who are serving prison sentences after admitting to grave misconduct. I'm comfortable in the camp I'm in. Brown University in philosophy, eh? Why do I feel like I can predict most of what you think without having even read anything beyond your note on Dustin Berg? Tempting as it is, I won't speculate as to the inner workings of your psychology, Sergeant.Usually I let heavily-worded responses sit for an hour or two, to allow myself more time to carefully choose my words; this time I did not. I don't regret it yet, anyway.