Our bloated, gaseous military

My brother has the worst luck in the world. To recap, he got into a fight in the barracks at the Marine base at Cherry Point, NC with someone who is a foot and a half taller and fifty pounds heavier than he is. The guy is choking him, and here's where my brother does something stupid. He pulls out a knife.

Now many people would have just run away after that, or just calmed down. Not my brother. Since he's in the Marines, and the Marines churn out brainless automatons who just react in the stupidest, most violent ways possible without thinking for themselves. Certainly the Marines aren't completely to blame for this, but I do think their poor training and mentoring assisted in creating a lightning-fast temper with no moderation, thought, or maturity.

So, my brother advances on the guy, they scuffle, and the guy gets a small cut on the palm of his hand. Requires like 6 stitches or something like that.

So what do they do? They throw my brother in the brig. He's a nice kid, very immature and naive, and he's scared to death. The military-assigned defender they give him is a complete fucking moron - Pappas is his name - and he gets my brother to give away his right to an initial hearing. What a dumb-witted moron. Must have joined the military after McDonald's rejected him for burger-flipper.

So we hire an attorney. The guy knows what he's doing, and I talk to him for quite a while. We come to find out that my brother's commanding officer has a hard-on for punishing kids for first offenses and wants my brother to go to a general court martial. Now, the court-martial system has three separate processes, all defined by the level of punishment. The summary court-martial, which is normally 30 days in the brig or less, the special court-martial, which is less than a year in the brig, a drop in rank, and maybe a bad-conduct discharge, and a general court-martial, which is more than a year in the brig, up to the death penalty, and a dishonorable discharge.

So one of the guys involved with torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners just got his sentence, and it was a guilty plea through a special court-martial, and all of the relevant punishments. This is a guy who was part of a huge media frenzy and public uproar (well, at least the hippies), and that is the extent of his punishment.

And they want to bring my brother in for general court martial on an assault charge that resulted in no serious harm whatsoever. Our attorney manages to convince the prosecuting attorney that he'll plead guilty to a special court-martial hearing, and a judge will decide exactly the severity of the sentence, but it will be along special court-martial guidelines. The prosecuting attorney says ok. Seems like everything will work out okay. My parents will have to pay $12K to the attorney, but at least my brother can get on with his life (and believe me, he doesn't want to put up with the military any more).

But . . . the commanding officer says no! This guy has the final say, and he decides to be a hard-ass. He wants my brother to go to a general court martial for a charge that would have resulted in probation in any normal, civilian court.

Now the attorney has to go to the judge and try to get him to still hold the special court-martial hearing so that my brother has a chance at getting out of the brig sometime soon.

He's a good kid, and he's so utterly depressed by this whole situation. He was so excited about the Marines and being in the military, and after his boot camp and marine combat training, it all went downhill. They gave him a shitty job, not enough money, and didn't really counsel or mentor him in any way what to expect. He was 19 - only been out of high school for one year - and had never been on his own before. At least in college, you have a dean, a resident assistant, professors, etc., who are all there. He had friends in his barracks, but no one to offer any guidance, and then the military justice system shits on him like this.

I can't say enough about this piece of shit commanding officer. What a fucking asshole! He's never met nor seen my brother, but that's all he needs to teach a lesson. Comes back to my brother being the unluckiest kid in the world. If it was me in that situation, I would have somehow gotten away with it, or maybe gotten a slap on the wrist. I've always been the lucky one, and he got saddled with the overwhelming bad luck.

After this ordeal is over and he gets out of the brig and out of the fucking military, I'm going to suggest that he get a job - I'll give him one if I can - and just take it easy. Mentor him and try to get him to start thinking for himself again, after the bullshit conditioning of the Marines.

I hate the military. Sure, they defend our country, but they do a shitty job of taking care of the people that make up the military.

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