The Spirit of George Bush’s America

Brian Zick

AP reports: CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A Marine corporal testifying in a court-martial said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to "crank up the violence level." Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo testified Saturday at the murder trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas. "We were told to crank up the violence level," said Lopezromo, testifying for the defense. When a juror asked for further explanation, Lopezromo said: "We beat people, sir." The case specifics are monumentally appalling. Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamandiya near the Abu Ghraib prison. (…) Unable to find him, the Marines and corpsman dragged another man from his house, fatally shot him, and then planted an AK-47 assault rifle near the body to make it appear he had been killed in a shootout, according to court testimony. (…) Lopezromo, who was not part of the squad on its late-night mission, said he saw nothing wrong with what Thomas did. "I don't see it as an execution, sir," he told the judge. "I see it as killing the enemy." He said Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency. All Iraqi men. (Not exactly "liberation.") Lopezromo said a procedure called "dead-checking" was routine. If Marines entered a house where a man was wounded, instead of checking to see whether he needed medical aid, they shot him to make sure he was dead, he testified. "If somebody is worth shooting once, they're worth shooting twice," he said. Even if they're totally innocent in the first place, and a weapon needs to be planted to cover up what really happened.

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Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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