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War crimes accusations drawing scrutiny to JBLM

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on Sep. 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
September 22, 2010 6:05 pm

Charges that five Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers  intentionally killed civilians on a recent deployment to southern Afghanistan gained national attention this week with stories in The Washington Post, The New York Times and USA Today.

That scrutiny also drew discussions on military blogs, including one maintained by Thomas Ricks, one of the premier chroniclers of the Iraq war. Publications with military audiences are weighing in, too, such as Army Times and Stars and Stripes.

The stories guarantee that many eyes will be watching when hearings begin in the weeks ahead to determine whether the soldiers accused of the crimes will stand trial.

Meanwhile, some of the families of accused soldiers are reaching out to the public to tell a different kind of story. Former comrades of Spc. Michael Wagnon have posted more letters testifying to his abilities as a soldier at Spc. Adam Winfield’s supporters are posting to a Facebook page. Web sites for Cpl. Jeremy Morlock and Pfc. Andrew Holmes have been updated less frequently. Holmes and Wagnon also have support groups on Facebook where family members have been responding to this week’s media coverage.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs’ attorney has been overseas working on a case, and Gibbs’ family has declined interview requests.

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