JAG HUNTER here (posting from the Sweetwater, Tennessee Library):
I wish to disabuse readers there was anything lawyerly, lawful, or moral regarding the IRON TRIANGLE series of courts-martial.
To understand why, one must comprehend and appreciate the mind of Army General Courtney or "Court" Massengale.
Massengale is Anton Myrer's antagonist in the novel Once An Eagle.
Court Massengail is a very dark appellation spoken in low whispers in code throughout Pentagon corridors. The disparagement laconically and instantly identifies flag officers known to embrace Massengail's evil nature.
Massengail's is a severely practical and vicious mind. The power, design, dim and vague patterns found in all courts-martial are its sinister products.
To Massengail, Soldiers and Marines like Ray and Larry are no more than firewood--to be cut down, chopped up, stacked, then burned in sacrifice to flag officer careers and myriad Defense Department interests.
Michael Steele, Ray's commanding officer, entered Iraq with gloves off. Steele's command climate and battlefield antics in early 2006 renewed and darkly redefined the one-time motto: "An Army of ONE." As Steele's combat antics drew closer to public attention he became a frightening threat to the Massengails then officed in the Pentagon who perceived the potential of serious harm to BIG ARMY's image. Pete Chiarelli was particularly stressed.
Michael Steele was an overreaching, careless, and incompetent infantry combat commander. Movie star Steele will appreciate more than most the movie metaphor comparing Steele to the Nick Nolte character in The Thin Red Line.
Author Anton Myrer used Massengail to symbolize the abuses of the military discipline system whereupon men like Massengail are the predators, and soldiers like Ray Girouard become the prey. In the novel Massengail day-dreams--after promoting to four-star flag rank-- that his last name had been Marshall.
General Courtney Marshall.
General "Court" Marshall.
Coming to an understating regarding the personality and motives of emperors like Court Massengail is to completely appreciate why Ray Girouard is locked up at Fort Leavenworth this Christmas time.
When Michael Steele became a threat to the Army's public image he had to go!
BIG ARMY's "Steele dilemma" accelerated to warp-speed damage control status when Steele's standing order to "KILL ALL MILITARY AGE MALES" found its way to print journalists.
Brigade commander, movie star Steele was too high profile a personality to court-martial, so Ray's court-martial was used as the vehicle to obstruct and divert public attention. Ray and his men were courts-martialed in a subterfuge combat action, while behind the scenes, Steele was quietly stripped of his infantry brigade combat command, removed from the battlefield, removed from Iraq, now to be quietly ushered out of the Army.
Any number of combat actions could have been singled out, used as a cover-story to shield Mike Steele and Pete Chiarelli. But Ray and his men--unfortunately--won the Massengail lottery. Ray's name, like Hutchins in the Camp Pendleton Eight circumstance, was plucked from the hat with the pleasure, amusement, and relief men like Massengail experience with the infliction of wrongful suffering upon innocent subordinates.
Massengail's crimes against Ray and his men are crimes of passion ever after on display.
Massengail's guilty memory is recorded in the preliminary records leading up to Ray's bogus disciplinary hearing. We'll begin profiling "Massengail's memories" in Part III of this series.
HERE ENDTH THE LESSON!
Copyright © THE JAG HUNTER 2008
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