Steven D. Green

Steven D. Green
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Iraq: "it's like shootin' at ghosts, blindfolded."

Day 7

The guilty/not guilty phase of USA V Green is complete. The defense finished it's case today with three witnesses: Christopher Barnes, a video deposition of James Gregory, and Justin Watt.

No surprise, Barnes spoke of the area he shared with the defendant in Iraq. "It was rough, like hell, constant sweat and no sleep."
When attorney Pat Bouldin asked what the general thought from soldiers was on Iraqis, again, he paraphrased what had already been said: "they were all in on it... they don't want us here anyway." He talked about the average four hours of sleep soldiers achieved. He spoke of the deaths of superior officers Munger and McKenzie. He said that the deaths of Casica and Nelson and the effects they had on the morale of the troops was by far "the worst, the roughest I've ever seen." He talked about assisting in the search for, and finding pieces of Britt's body. Marisa Ford crossed Barnes, asking his personal thoughts on Green pre-war. "He was really innocent, a really big kid." When questioned about his PTSD, "PTSD ruined my life," Barnes grievously stated.

Waiting on the sidelines, James Gregory "took the stand" next. A video deposition that was filmed on April 25th was shown to the courtroom. Gregory would seem to be the typical just-out-of-the army dude. A big, burly man, with a deep voice and the tattoos to boot. You can't forget the Led Zeppelin shirt either. He, like the rest of the former soldiers, enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Iraq in September of 2005. The effects of PTSD were extremely obvious in Gregory; he looked down and spoke somberly but matter-of-factly, as if being forced to remember something he'd rather forget. He spoke of witnessing Britt and Lopez, among others, walk over and trip an IED, and of how the IED appeared to be designed for a vehicle, not dismounted troops. He appeared upset(as upset as a man like him could be) as he talked about trying to extract Britt's body from the canal it was thrown into. Bouldin asked him what it was like to be in a firefight, to which he replied "well i mean, it's a firefight. You got all this shit flying at you..around you, but you can't see the source." He would later add that "it ain't like you see the Germans and know what they look like and where they's like shootin' at ghosts, blindfolded." He also talked about seeing the company FOB(Forward Operating Base) from TCP1. He talked about not having near enough manpower at the TCPs and his aformentioned PTSD diagnosis. For the cross, Jim Lesousky simply addended that "You knew your limits while you were over there didn't you? You knew not to kill innocent civilians or innocent Iraqis?" "Yes," Gregory replied, before adding "It's something I think about every day."

Next, Justin Watt was called in. Justin was the RTO(radio operator) for 1st platoon. Chris Cooper...errr Darren Wolff, brought in the radio log book which contained all of the events that occurred(or were logged) between February 25th, 2006 to March 28th, 2006. Prior to trial, Watt also prepared a list of abbreviations for the jury to use during deliberation. Wolff and Lesousky(P) both went through a page or two in the log book, having Watt explain various abbreviations and commands and directions.
Lastly, the defense showed a clip from a September 28th, 2008 airing CBS' 60 Minutes, the main point being that before "General O" took command, there were upwards of 100 attacks per week in Iraq, whereas now there are around two per week. In the clip, Barbara Walters asked the incumbent General O if the Triangle of Death was one of the worst parts in Iraq, he said "the worst."

The guilty/not guilty phase is complete. Chief District Judge Thomas B Russell adjourned shortly before noon today, admonishing the jurors of their duties, and announcing that court will reconvene tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6th 2009, to hear closing statements. Expect a guilty/not guilty verdict by Wednesday's end, Thursday at the latest.

Notes: -The fatigue was visible today in the courtroom. The judge, lawyers, jurors, even members of the press(mostly me) were seen yawning at various times.
-The Huffington Post sent Gail Mellor to report on the trial. You may very well find a byline on her story about this trial... we shall see!

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