New Army Lawyer

The August Army Lawyer is online.  My initial look found this one article of potential interest to MJWonks.

Warrior King:  The Triumph and Betrayal of an American Commander in Iraq, by LTC Nathan Sassaman.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Sassaman believes in winning.3 He won as West Point’s quarterback, and he preached the virtue of rising after a fall as an Army officer.  In Warrior King, Sassaman attempts to win back his public image after involvement in a notorious incident of detainee abuse early in the Iraq War.

In early 2004, while commanding 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment (1-8 Inf.) in Iraq, Sassaman learned that his subordinates had thrown two detainees into the Tigris River and that one of the men allegedly drowned.  Sassaman coached his subordinates, “Don’t say anything about the water.”  When word of the incident became public, Sassaman was roundly criticized for his deceitful and discreditable response.  Sassaman has subsequently argued that he made the right decision and that an unfair Army system punished him for it, but he fails to argue convincingly that withholding information was justifiable.  He sets out to counter the damning 2005 article “The Fall of the Warrior King,” which harshly judged him for his response to the detainee incident, but Warrior King is most compelling when he veers from his thesis to critique senior military leaders in Iraq. This review analyzes Sassaman’s thesis that his decision to withhold information was correct but that the Army system betrayed him. This review also suggests how judge advocates can use the book to become better advisors to commanders. Ultimately, I recommend Warrior King to readers interested in the ethical complexities of the tactical counterinsurgency battlefield.