I'm not an expert on the military, but a lot seems to be going sideways in the armed forces these days, and much of it is allegedly criminal. From The New York Times:
But a senior Navy official with knowledge of the matter said the Navy is investigating reports that the unit, Foxtrot Platoon of SEAL Team 7, held a Fourth of July party where some members consumed alcohol against regulations, and that a senior enlisted member of the platoon had raped a female service member attached to the platoon. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about a continuing investigation.
Jeremiah Sullivan, a civilian attorney representing one of the SEALs in the platoon, confirmed that there was an investigation into reports of sexual assault and unauthorized drinking. When commanders began investigating the allegations, the entire platoon invoked their right to remain silent, according to a United States official briefed on the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. At that point, the official said, commanders decided to send the whole platoon home, including the lieutenant in command.
You don't pull the only SEAL team in Iraq out of the country unless the charges have some serious weight to them. And then there's the entrepreneurial spirit that allegedly overcame a bunch of Marines. From the AP:
In a dramatic move aimed at sending a message, authorities made the arrests as the Marines gathered in formation with their battalion. None of the 16 Marines were involved in helping enforce border security, the Marine Corps said in a news release. They are accused of crimes ranging from migrant smuggling to drug-related offenses. Officials could not immediately be reached for additional details. The arrests came weeks after two Marines were arrested by a Border Patrol agent on suspicion of transporting three Mexicans on the promise of money after they crossed illegally into the United States.
Marines and other U.S. troops were brought in last year to help reinforce the border by installing razor wire on top of existing barriers, among other things. Troops are barred from arresting migrants. All 16 were junior enlisted Marines. Barthel said smugglers may have targeted young troops who could be vulnerable to being enticed by fast money.
This is why we have an actual law prohibiting the U.S. military from performing the job of domestic law enforcement. It is precisely why the posse comitatus statute exists—not only to protect citizens from soldiers functioning as cops, but also to keep the soldiers away from the temptation of easy money, so we don't wind up with the South Vietnamese Army.
Of course, apparently, this is yet another pesky legal and constitutional barrier to be hand-waved away in the interest of avoiding a presidential* tantrum if he doesn't get what he wants. From NBC News:
Despite past assurances from federal officials that the active-duty U.S. troops deployed to the border would not be in direct contact with migrants or be used for law enforcement, the service members stand watch over the migrants. The troops are perched on raised platforms throughout a large room where the migrants are held, according to the four officials. The troops were assigned to the facility to provide welfare checks on the migrants, but the officials say that has evolved into a continual presence watching over them.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., who chairs the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Readiness, says having active-duty troops monitor migrants is "teetering on the edge of the Posse Comitatus law." "It's not the role of the U.S. military to be a prison guard," he said. "This is certainly mission creep" and could put U.S. military service members "in a precarious legal situation."
Of course, the whole administration* is a precarious legal situation. All the institutions of the government are under maximum stress, and that now includes the one where all the really cool weapons are. I am not assured by the assurances of any federal officials working for the current troop of corrupt operators.
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