Imprisoned for Saving American Lives

Former U.S. Army Master Sergeant John Hatley is now serving a forty year sentence in Leavenworth prison. He was convicted by a 2009 Court Martial of murdering four Iraqi insurgent arrestees in Baghdad following a 2007 ambush and firefight, and dumping the bodies into a Baghdad canal.  Two other Sergeants with the Alpha Company 1-18 1st Infantry were also convicted and sent to prison.

Hatley’s wife, Kim Hatley, is leading a crusade to win clemency for her husband. I recently spoke with her by telephone. A veteran of six years as an Intel-analyst and Crypto-analyst with the U.S. Army 18th Airborne Corps, Mrs. Hatley has a nineteen-year-old son in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan.  She related some details of events that led up to the firefight, the shootings and the investigation that sent her husband to prison:

John Hatley was a highly decorated combat veteran of nineteen years and six months military service. He was deployed in Bosnia, Kosovo, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Operation Desert Storm and three tours of duty in Iraq.  The soldiers of Alpha Company 1-18 1st Army Infantry knew him to be the first into a hot spot and the last to come out.  Mrs. Hatley says that her husband was a legend in Alpha Company and treated the soldiers under his command as though they were family.

During daily 2007 patrol operations in the West Rasheed area of Baghdad, Hatley’s soldiers often found themselves under enemy fire.  The post-Hussein sectarian “insurgency” was well under way.  Hatley’s soldiers killed some of the attackers and captured many others.  Over the length of the insurgency, snipers and roadside bombs (IEDs) killed or crippled thousands of Americans.

As the war dragged on, tens of thousands of jihadists who were taken prisoner during or after fire-fights in Baghdad went to the Detention Holding Area Annex (DHAA), which is military terminology for a jail.  Astonishingly, the DHAA personnel released nearly all of them shortly after their arrests, for “lack of sufficient evidence to detain.”  Most of the prisoners were released.  The newly-freed insurgents immediately returned to the streets to resume killing and maiming American soldiers.  This insanity became known as the Catch and Release Program.

Adding to the stress of war, Hatley and his soldiers collected the scores of dead bodies that were regularly dumped onto Baghdad streets by terrorists.  Most of the dead were non-combatant civilians who had been tortured and mutilated prior to their executions.

Then, on February 27, 2007, an insurgent sniper killed Staff Sergeant Karl Soto-Pinedo, who was like a beloved son to Hatley.  Mrs. Hatley told me that her husband was grief-stricken to the point of dysfunction by Soto-Pinedo’s death.  On March 17, Spc. Mario Guerrero was killed by a road-side bomb explosion.  All the same, the patrols went on ceaselessly, from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. – every day.  For months on end Hatley and his soldiers fought the war on three or four hours of sleep per night.

On a particular April day in 2007, Hatley’s unit once again came under fire. Four insurgents ran from a house where they hid during the fire-fight and the Americans soon captured them.  U.S. troops found small arms, sniper rifles and ammunition within that house. All of the captured insurgents field-tested “positive” for gunshot residue on their hands.

Hatley radioed the DHAA that he was en-route with the four detainees.  The DHAA refused to receive them, citing a “lack of sufficient evidence to hold.”  Hatley was ordered to release these terrorists who had tried to kill American soldiers.  Now, as the alleged story that came out in court goes, he discussed the DHAA release order with two of his subordinates, Sgt. Michael Leahy and Sgt. Joseph Mayo.  The Sergeants decided they had just about had their fill of Catch and Release, and that these four insurgents were not going free to return to kill and maim Americans. They subsequently drove the four terrorists to a nearby canal, fired one shot each into the backs of their heads, and dumped the dead bodies into the water.  Sgt. Jesse Cunningham, seated inside their parked vehicle, apparently watched all of it in the rear-view mirror. The bodies, however, were never found.  No local residents reported anyone missing.

By 2009, the Hatleys were stationed in Germany.  Sgt. Jesse Cunningham got himself into a jam with the Army for assaulting another non-commissioned officer and for falling asleep at his post – both serious offenses if proven.  Under investigation, Cunningham talked to a JAG lawyer and decided to trade what he knew about the 2007 Baghdad shootings to get himself off the hook.  He became “the snitch.”

Using Cunningham’s statement, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) extracted confessions from both Leahy and Mayo.  Hatley refused to admit having done anything wrong.  The military trial was in Vilseck, Germany, from April 13 through 16, 2009.

Cunningham, Leahy and Mayo all took the witness stand against their former First Sergeant.  Mrs. Hatley, who was present for the entire trial, told me that Leahy and Mayo, who had already been convicted, looked to be in great distress on the stand during testimony and appeared to everyone that they did not want to testify against their First Sergeant. Both received bad conduct discharges and prison time.  Hatley received a dishonorable discharge to go along with his life sentence.  Members of the press openly wept when the sentence was handed down.

Mrs. Hatley now spends endless hours on the internet and the phone, mustering support for her husband’s release.  She sounds optimistic, despite the terrible situation.  She says that even in prison her husband has received meritorious staff reports, once for saving a choking prisoner’s life by administering the Heimlich maneuver.

The endless conflict goes on.  Soldiers and Marines deal with Rules of Engagement (ROE) that tie their hands and prolong the national agony of our overseas involvement in the eternal war that Islam declared against infidels nearly fourteen-hundred years ago.

Many officers in the military’s upper echelons remain willfully ignorant of Islamic doctrine and oblivious to its dynamics in the war.  They write the crippling ROE and the Catch-and-Release policies that have caused the deaths of innumerable American soldiers and Marines — and they sit comfortably behind their desks at the Pentagon.  In the meantime, men like John Hatley sit in prison.

[For those wishing to help Kim Hatley win clemency for her husband, visit]

John L. Work is a contributor to NewsReal Blog.  He is a retired Colorado Law Enforcement Officer and a free-lance writer.

  • Jatras

    This is fucking beyond belief.

    • Seaberry

      I second that!!!

    • http://Yahoo pat

      Where is all the press on this one???????

    • eerie Steve

      I support this man!

      What is his prison address. The best thing you can do for a convict is send them stuff. How about a carton of smokes?

  • DogWithoutSlippers

    Chev shove your realty! Do you really think that your scrounging has any bearing on this discussion? Jerk!

  • Ken Huffaker

    We need an entire military saturation of soldiers like Hatley! The heathens that cause these wars, on both sides, send young people into harms way and ask them to resolve the conflict. When the soldiers do step up to the plate, the pentagon suddenly gets religion and crucifies some of them to build their own self esteem. __There should be a five year limit on punishments for people who cracked under the huge stress of war. Even then, most of them should only be subject to psychiatric care and an honorable, early, discharge to help them overcome the trauma they have had to endure for the sake of our freedom.__ Let's get real and make every person in our government spend one month inside the war zone to qualify for all the top government positions, this includes the president.__ I mean: on the ground with basic training, full backpacks and weapons. Sitting behind a desk and only dealing with rush hour traffic, on the way home at the end of the day, is not my idea of someone I want to risk my life, and my fellow soldiers, for…! __The only way an American soldier should ever have to spent more time in a brig would be for treason, such as what is happening all over Washington right now…! __

    • Karim

      Oh really??What about raping little children,or torturing gay comrades?What about mass shooting of civilians?Are you absolving the SS of guilt for mass killings in Eastern Europe?
      Oh I am sorry, you are Americans,you are different.My mistake.

      • xman

        And you are an evil Jihadi-loving parasite who sponges off Americans and other infidels and celebrated the 9/11 atrocity. What a pity you didn't suffer the same fate as those terrorists, eh scumbag.

      • xman

        Raping little children and torturing gays. Isn't that what your prophet Mohammed do. Of course the 51 years old dirty old man had a six years old wife. And that is who Muslims regard as the perfect man. Still, there's that 80 year old Saudi sod with the 11 years old wife.

        • Karim

          Did you just try to insult me?

    • Kim Hatley

      Thank you sir. I am the wife of John Hatley. Please see my additional comments below….

      Please google: The Leavenworth 10
      Mrs. Behenna has coined the phrase, which encompasses the 10 soldiers currently sitting in prison for so-called war crimes. Please see the comments I left below as you scroll downward. Thank you Mr. Huffaker.

      • Karim

        Hey Bitch,the men your cowardly thug of a husband murdered also had wifes and children.

      • Karim

        Your hubby is sobbing into his cockroach infested pritch right now.I sure hope he doesnt have to share a toilett with a cellmate.That would be terrible!

        • Karim

          That music and scene you stole from the film Gladiator really fit perfectly with the hillbilly expression on your face.A prefect way to spice a pointless existence!

          • Dave

            Karim, GO FUCK YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILD RAPPING PROPHET!!!!! Please post a address so I can personally hunt you down you worthless armchair comando.

          • Karim

            Oh no,why dont you fuck the hillbilly cunt above?She is already itching for a good fuck.Her husband was a real failure in bed.Thats probably why he vented his rage on defenceless men.He wont have that problem anymore.He will get it up the ass for the rest of his life.They love good manly soldiers in prison.

          • Dave

            Not a response I sought. Contact me, face me like a MAN. Oh wait, you cant, cause your not. Me, I spent 5 years on a line Infantry unit. Probably more than you have or ever will accomplish in your entire life. Again, contact me, like a man. And you had better leave that woman alone!

          • Karim

            What are you going to do?Execute me witthout a trial?Occupy my house?Use shock and awe tactics on my dog?What a loser.

          • xman

            Off you go devil-worshipping barbaric scum. If I were President you'd be sent packing to Pakistan along with the rest of the worthless and wicked trash that passes for your family.

    • Alex Capone

      don't just go blaming the pentagon. my father in law works for the pentagon and my husband is a ranger currently serving. my father in law spent 20 years as a ranger and just got back from a year long deployment in afghanistan working on biometrics(finger printing, eye scans, id cards for every afghani working with our guys) to try to identify every man captured so the "catch and release" doesn't keep happening. lots of people at the pentagon are former combat vets.

      and mrs. hatley, i know how hard being a ranger wife is. i'm about to go thru my 4th deployment in 3 years and when they get back my husband is re-upping for 6 more years. stay strong and just remember RWLTW!

  • old white guy

    we will soon have to kill those who command us in order to kill those who attack us.

    • Thomas

      You be better be kidding, because I am going to report you.

      • TopBaxterUSMC

        So much for Free Speech!

      • Dave


  • JosephWiess

    Why is our Military on Trial for killing terrorists? We should be rewarding this Sergeant, not locking him away for just doing his job. In any normal civilian court, the evidence of gunshot residue on someone's hands would be enough to land them in jail and in prison.

    If REMF's are writing such stupid ROE's, then it's time we pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our brave men and women home. President Obama should be ashamed of himself for not giving these soldiers clemency and releasing them. However, since Obama loves to apologize to the Islamic murderers, and still considers them to be the "Religion of Peace," then maybe he should also be put on trial for High Crimes and misdemeanors.

    • Kim Hatley

      Thank you sir, for your comment in regards to John, my husband. Please help us, the families who stand staunchly behind our husbands and sons, who are currently serving long sentences at Fort Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. The "flawed" detainee catch & release policy does not seem to have any OVERSIGHT. God bless our soldiers and their families. ~Mrs. Kim Hatley

    • Peachey

      Obama made it very clear prior to his election on whose side he will stand when the going it's tough and it was not the American or Christian. He clearly stated that he would stand with the Muslims and this is a prime example of the decision to back-door his support of Islam. If our men and women are not permitted to conduct a war to win, then all should come home, now. Placing Sgt. Hatley and others in the place of having to follow insane regulations of a politically-driven catch and release program demonstrates a fundamental disconnect at the Pentagon and white house and lack of committment to our souldiers. When the Pentagon morphs into a politically correct "institution" everyone loses.

      • Karim

        Please give me the exact quotation where Obama said that he will stand with Muslim and not with Americans or Christians.

        • that guy

          karim, just go jump off a cliff or something. save us all the grief and stop wasting our oxygen

    • SGT.P

      I agree no soldiers should be punished for killing a Terrorist, can;t trust any of those Islamic fanatics running lose. Crying foul of our action against Islamic mutts is big freaking joke. Obama is a joke too, and should be impeached out of office.
      No soldiers should bear any sympathy for any Islamic fanitics who wishes to ruin our lives.
      More about Islam in US –

    • betty boop

      Yes sir, I totally agree. The current ROE's are so wrong. It is simply cruel and unusual to send our best and brightest into combat to fight such flagrant evil while simultaneously tying their hands behind them. They should be allowed a fair fight or brought home immediately. I believe this is a concerted effort by the current administration to ruin morale and dishearten our troops. I only pray enough people wake up in time to turn this around before it's too late. The mainstream press that supports this atrocity should be held responsible for their treasonous behavior.

    • jackbelias

      I cant agree more. I would however say that all of the REMF leadership should replace all who are deployed in Afghanistan. This includes every elected democrat. They should be forced to abide by their own ROE too. Within a month or two they would all be dead and we would have a better nation with fewer retard liberals.

      CNN should be forced to video tape the bloody slaughter fest and promote it as a pay per view event. All funds should go toward paying our massive debt. We could all shell out 29.99 to watch Nancy Pelosi scream her little head off while being shelled, the look on her face would be priceless unpon her discovery that high tech air support is banned just because it makes war unfair for the enemy. War is a game and its supposed to be fair after all.

    • Dave

      My biggest problem is this all happened under Bush. I am a liflong Reagan Repub, and both Bush's did as much if not more damage to this country than Clinton. This war was SOOOOOOOO mis managed its a joke.

    • xman

      Your military is on trial for killing terrorists because dope-addled sixties flower children make up the rules of engagenment.

  • MGySgt

    Are you shitting me?

  • Vernon

    Sorry, but the title is a misnomer at best, and very misleading.

  • Karim

    He didnt kill terrorists,he didnt kill criminals,he killed defenceless detainees.All those who defend such atrocities are Nazis in anything but name.

    • Guest

      Perhaps reading the history of the Islamist Grand Mufti of Egypt working along side Nazi Adolph Hitler will help you understand why your insane comment is ignorant.

      Nazism and Islamism aside; when Muslims stop killing and terrorizing Muslim in the name of Allah then the world can live in Peace.

    • Linda


    • random

      Perhaps you should go there and witness this for yourself… I myself was a soldier under this great leader, so grow some and go do it yourself if you think it's wrong!!

    • noneya

      he did kill terrorist. He also killed men that tried to kill American soldiers..So if you think that things should be done differently then put on a uniform and get your butt out there and do it…other wise keep you mouth shut..Nazi's you say so what do you call our government..they are setting these rules so that our men and women cant do their jobs the right way to keep themselves safe or their battle buddies…so if you want to talk about nazi's then look in the white house…on another note in war their are casualties and if you think this should not happen then tell our congress to stop sending our American hero's over to places where they have to protect themselves and kill terrorist. the last thing i have to say is this YOU ARE AN IDIOT

  • Karim

    If you think your soldiers have the right to shoot prisoners,then you have to agree that Iraqi insurgents have even more rights to do so since it is their country that has been invaded and occupied for almost a decade now.Do you like the idea of your soldiers being shot wihtout eve a trial?Or do you think different laws apply because they are Christian and American?

    • USMCSniper

      Even gutless cowards like you Karim get to sleep peacefully in your beds at night only because brave rough men like U .S. Army Master Sergeant John Hatley do unspeakable violence on your behalf?

      • xman

        Its a pity Karim gets to sleep in his bed at night and even worse that he wakes up in the morning. Worthless trash like him want kicking out of the US. They're no good to us. The only good Karim isd a dead Karim.

      • Karim

        You really are the perfect argument for abortion,The things you people say are simply brilliant,simply brilliant because they are obviously to inherently utterly stupid that they allready carry their own refutation.WOW!

    • Michael

      What you do not acknowledge is the Natural Law that Retaliatory force is only right reason against the Initiation of force. ____The "insurgents" are cowards who Initiate violence on the innocent. Once done, that action makes them responsible or Retaliatory violence. That is what Harly did. ____Only a backward command structure who has lost their way of Natural law and reason could convict this officer using Positive law as a basis for punishment, a Positive law that puts the Retaliators at risk for more violence against the Initiators of hate and violence. ____Hartly is a hero.____Michael

    • pax

      If we left Iraq tommorrow, how many peace loving Iraqis would kill each other all in the name of religion? If you were in Iraq would you be reasonably safe? You folks are killing each other.

    • Linda


  • Karim

    How many people of you think democrats and liberals are traitors to America and should therefore be shot?How many of you think the only way to save America is to cleanse it of its subversive elements?Dont be afraight,go ahead and say what you are thinking.

    • TopBaxterUSMC

      I'm thinking INS needs to check your green card. You do have one don't you? Or are you one of those home grown nutjobs?

      • Karim

        I am not the nutjob.That wasnt my opinion.

  • Karim

    What you people are totaly missing is the idea of human equality.If you have the right to shoot detainess,they have,in this case,even more rights to do so.If you think you have the right to invade,occupy and torture they also have that right.Inequality always breeds rascism which always leads to atrocities and murder.

    • poetcomic1

      Did you read the CIRCUMSTANCES here??? You are also probably one of those who believed the Fort Hood Jihadist suffered from pre-post-traumatic stress syndrome. You are good and pure and noble and kind and all your 'wise' sentiments are worth NOTHING having never been really and truly tested in the real world of EVIL.

      • Karim

        Ofcourse the circumstances also justified lynching and castrating black men because in your manly common sense you couldnt trust the justice of a liberal egghead judge.Sure,take it in your hands.Circumstances my ass.That sergeant is a fucking low life criminal and should spend the rest of his miserable life on a pritch.I hope he enjoys it.

        • William Smart

          The disturbing part is that Hatley is probably just a guy who got unlucky. He killed 4 blindfolded and shackled Iraqis but he's not the first and he won't be the last.

          There's a lot more of that stuff and some of it been caught on video, wih no prosecutions.

          • Jim Darlington

            Read Hatley's history.
            You either think there's nothing to fight for or you realize there is and then you have to acknowledge his extraordinary service and the constancy of his demonstrated courage in the course of waging war and protecting his comrades in arms.
            The only criminality here is the catch and release policy, that left him no sane choice. He did his job, saved his men today, and then was asked to conspire in their death, tomorrow. He declined the invitation.
            Bless his heart and SET HIM FREE!
            You send a brave man into hell to fight and risk it all and then toy with him?
            Some bureaucrat somewhere decides, "Well, it's economically imprudent to keep too many of them, so we've devised this clever new policy. We think it's really daring and unprecedented!"
            Oh yeah, we really need sooooo many more Gay guys in the military!

    • Brett

      Hey Jerk, what do you think happens to our guys when they get taken prisoner over there? Have any ever been released alive? A shot to the back of the head would be considered merciful compared to the hours of torture they probably go through before they are killed. You havent a clue what is going on you Moron.

    • xman

      Youi don't believe in equality. You believe infidels should be forced to convert to your filthy death cult and if they refuse, they should be murdered in cold blood. We've had enough of your satanophiles in the West who celebrate when infidels get killed. Its time you were kicked out along with your fellow murderous parasites.

    • Linda


  • Michael

    F*ck muslims, thats all i have to say. Im sick and tired of it already. The government needs to untie the hands of the military and let them operate to the best of their ability. That would mean killing any and every muslim who puts a gun in their hand and aims it at an American. America,………get your head out of your God d*mn as*

    • Karim

      You love the smell of genocide in the morning.Its lovely isnt it?

      • Dave

        I love the smell of genocide of fanatical child molesting woman oppressing nut jobs! ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!!!!!

        • Karim

          Sieg Heil!

  • Karim

    sorry racism.

  • Karim

    The only evil I see here is the evil you justify.

    • Linda

      I agree-Evil just brings more evil.

  • Karim

    You realize what you are doing,you are bringing lynching back into American culture

    • TopBaxterUSMC

      Hey Karim, Cut any heads off, lately?

  • Jim Smith

    It is a war zone! Evidence was on the hands of the "detainees" and only a fool would say they were shooting firecrackers instead of guns. I see Karim sees no problems with the insurgents shooting at coalition soldiers. Personally, I think Karim should go over there and help his fellow terrorists, then he would get what he deserves.

    Either take the gloves off our soldiers and let them do their job or bring them home. I agree this soldier should be granted clemency.

    • Karim

      These coalition soldiers, are they occupiers and do they include worthless thugs who shoot defenceless detainees on the suspicion of them being insurgents?

      • TopBaxterUSMC

        Ever fly an airliner full of innocent, defenseless passengers into a building full of innocent defenseless office workers, Karim? How about cutting the throats of innocent, defenseless airline attendants, pilots, and passengers, Karim.? Whats your UnHoly Koran say about that?

        • Karim

          Ever realized that there wasnt a single Iraqi on those planes you unbelievable moron?

          • LibertyLover

            No, but they were members of the Umma.

          • Karim

            Why dont you invade Indonesia then?

        • xman

          That piece of inhuman effluent celebrated the flying of an airliner full of defenceless passengers into skyscrapers fuill of defenceless office workers. Its time trash like him faced what they should face. We want Western civilization to survive, and that can only be achieved in a Muslim-free West.

      • Jim Smith

        How do you think these 'defenceless detainees' got the gunpowder residue on their hands?? The tests were done, weapons were found. That is more detective work than any of your so-called insurgents do before they kill others.

        An occupying force would subject the people to their own laws. As far as I've read, there is a government of Afghan citizens running the country. The coalition soldiers there are trying to secure the country until the government there is strong enough to maintain the peace. What part of this don't you get??

        • Karim

          Secure the country you ruined,by killing its citizens?No, 130 000 soldiers are not an occupying force,why would I think that?

  • grog

    While the "man" at the top looks the other way.

  • grog

    and gives "shout outs" to his friends

  • Suzanne

    How do maintain Freedom if our strength is is guilty of doing what it takes in order to do that very thing? For the Founding Fathers sake – learn history. God Save the Republic, God Bless our Military.

  • A Grateful Citizen

    How we civilians are blessed with people like Sergeant Hatley who continue to volunteer to protect us is astonishing. And the Ft. Hood terrorist major is defended by the media for pre-traumatic stress disorder. Sgt. Hatley and others like him are treated as though they were civilians who reacted with excessive force when they were mugged on the street at home. If JAG, the military bureaucrats, and the Quislings in our government wish to assuage their consciences with the imposition of letter of the law ethics, then it up to us to impose a countervailing code that grants understanding and mercy for the intense pressures of combat. "Earthly power doth show most like God's when mercy seasons justice." Who do we want to stand on that wall–Sgt. Hatley or the sanctimonious military and civilian desk jockeys who judge him and his fellow heroes?
    Mrs. Hatley, is their a legal organization that will appeal your husband's conviction? Please tell me its name. I am retired and just getting by, but I will send a donation to help your husband's defense. I hope Front Page can help by publishing your continuing efforts to free your husband so that I, and I hope all who read this story, can help you and your husband.

  • A Grateful Citizen

    Mrs. Hatley, please tell us the name of a legal organization that is or will appeal your husband's conviction. I hope many will help him and you.

    • Kim Hatley

      Dear sir, please visit my website. It is currently being revamped, as far as the home page… ina day or so, the changes will be evident.

      I can be contacted by clicking on "CONTACT" in the header of the website. FYI

      Thank you sir. ~Mrs. Kim Hatley (Proud Army Veteran) also (Proud Mom to a Marine son) and (Proud wife to John Hatley who served his country for 6 months shy of 20 years.)

  • Stonefellow

    Our troops should mutiny. We have been in this quandry since Korea and Viet-Nam. Either let our troops fight the war to which we send them or we should get out. Killing those who attempt to kill us is no crime. The criminals are the brass that puts the troops in this impossible situation. These sacrificies of our troops to an impossible
    standard in war illustrates the depths of decay to which this country has fallen. The sergeants are victims. Of course the gutless beaurocrats in the military and our politicians will not free these sacrificial victims. Maybe it is time for all righteous Americans to revolt, including the troops.

  • Kim Hatley

    I am Mrs. Kim Hatley, the wife of (former) Infantry First Sergeant John Hatley in the article above. Please note that "all 3 of our soldiers"; Hatley, Mayo and Leahy are heroes. While I would like to share their websites with readers here, please know that there are a total of 10 soldiers currently incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth, for so-called war crimes. Google: Leavenworth 10

  • Kim Hatley

    Please visit our websites: (My home page is currently under reconstruction, so please check back in a day or so for the changes being made)

    (My website) MSG John E. Hatley

    SFC Joseph P. Mayo

    SGT Michael P. Leahy Jr.

    1LT Michael Behenna – A different case, but also needs your support for the injustice he was served.

  • political hack

    Hatley did what he was charged with doing.

    The JAG should have shown better judgement and on review should get marks in their files.

    In addition, there is a problem with command. The order to catch and release that preceded the murders should be reviewed. The officer responsible for issuing these orders deserves a court marshal. The officers higher in the chain of command quite simply DID NOT LOOK OUT FOR THEIR MEN.

    The fact that JAG let a War Hero's case proceed this far cannot be changed. It was terrible judgement on the part of JAG that they could not have worked out a more just solution.

    Sgt. Hatley should have his sentence reduced to two years with loss of pension.
    The officers involved should receive justice based on the merits of their individual cases.

  • Not Chicken Little

    This is completely insane. Non-uniformed combatants/terrorists and spies are traditionally (and rightfully) subject to summary execution. The Rules of Engagement are killing our soldiers and have no basis in common sense and no place in a war fought against enemies who have no rules and no scruples whatsoever. War is not a picnic in the park, war is hell. The object for us is to WIN IT and get it over with as quickly as possible so as to spare lives on both sides but ESPECIALLY our side – you do this by applying overwhelming, crushing deadly force, as needed, targeted or indiscriminately as necessary – and the decisions should be made by those on the battlefield and not by JAG lawyers and politicians who can sit back comfortably and order whatever stupid things that happen to cross their little minds.

    • Dave

      AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!!!!!!

  • liveaboard

    Hartley and other good soldiers are having to deal with same shite that was happening in the Vietnam war. A gaggle of bozo chairwarmers in the Pentagon putting a dysfunctional political spin on difficult and dangerous job. Any panty waist military leader that tells his soldiers not to fight back should be relieved of command, and that includes the Commander in Chief. How do you kill a professional, volunteer military? Stick 'em in the line of fire and tell them to eat M&Ms when the shooting starts.

    • Karim

      70 years ago you would have agreed with Hitler that the German army was defeated because it was stabbed in the back by bureaucrats and Jews.Some things never change.

      • liveaboard

        What doesn't apparently change is your inability to correctly second guess someone else's thoughts. What is very apparent, and is reflective on your thought process, is your decision to pull the Hitler card.

  • tramky

    I don't know how military officers & prosecutors even can have the guts to bring charges like this against people like Hatley. How do they sleep at night?

    Who are the officers in charge of the DHAA? We demand that they be identified, brought up on charges, convicted in courts martial, and sent to prison for LIFE! THEY are the ones murdering, not Islamist scumbag insurgents, but volunteer American soldiers.

    And I want the names of the military prosecutors so we can besmirch their names & reputations, which fully deserve to be besmirched.

  • jtbaumgart

    Having served on active duty for 16 years, it is one thing you learn day one. Obey orders. I really feel for this man's wife. But Master Sergeant John Hatley knew better. I understand the stress infantry soldiers sustain. But when we put on the uniform, we must answer to a higher standard. The same would be true of a police officer. The police are to observe, report, enforce. They are not judge and jury. I am surprised that the Military Court of appeals has not heard the appeal on this case. With only one witness who "only heard" the shots, I am really finding this verdict may be more of a "political" conviction rather than a conviction based upon forensics and corroborated testimony.

    Mrs Hatley, if there is any thing you need, please let us know.

  • glpage

    If these men had been tried stateside in a civilian court and 'lawyered up' the outcome would have been completely different.

  • Kim Hatley

    For CNN Anderson Cooper's 4-part story coverage of our story, you can google:
    abbie boudrea blog at cnn

    CNN did an outstanding job of presenting the facts and arguments. General Quantock was called out by Abbie Boudreau and well, he tapped danced with his response. ~Thank you for your candid comments, but please remember that Hatley, Mayo and Leahy are all HEROES. They are all, remain a tight BAND OF BROTHERS, as ever before. ~Respectfully, Mrs. Kim Hatley

  • Kim Hatley

    CNN revealed through their investigative reporting that 87,000 Iraqi's were detained, but 77,000 were released in the Iraq war…… Anderson Cooper announced "on air" that the public response to their coverage of our story was OVERWHELMING and while some of the public may not have agreed with parts of the alleged incident, they stand behind our soldiers, 100%. just search for: killings at the canal – murder or battlefield justice (that was the title)

  • m p b

    Assuming Sgt. Cunningham’s testimony didn’t contradict the rest of the story
    as presented, it would appear that the act in question would constitute the
    summary execution of illegal combatants which, under the Third Geneva Convention, would be permissible.

  • Crossbow87

    There's a lot to say about this situation. First, to the Muslim who keeps posting insults to the Sergeant's wife…just like a Muslim to try and bully a woman. He don't have the sack to stand up to a man because of the fractured pysche that Islam, may the Prophet continue to rot in Hell, forces him to accept. Reject the lie that is Islam and believe in the Truth. Secondly, I understand the comments by the veteran military here saying that the Sergeant knew what he was doing was wrong. Allowing our individual soldiers to extemporaneously apply their understanding of justice is contrary to the structure of our society and military.

    • Dave

      A key poiont being missed, There is NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. Just heresay from other soldiers under duress. Sorry, dont buy it.

    • Karim

      Oh I am not a man.Real men shoot blindfolded,handcuffed detainees in the back off the head and get a medal for it.Shall I apologize to that hillbilly bitch posting here,trying to get her 15 minutes of fame?What makes you think I am religious you prick?Because of my Name?Picking on a person because of his religion are we?See,that is the difference.I dont give a flying fuck about her gender but you immediately discriminate against me because of something I didnt choose.What is obvious is that she has chickenshit for brains,confusing reality with a stupid hollywood movie and her criminal of a husband with a hero.She will get over it.These things dont last.There are plenty of murderers pretending to be innocent and their stupid wifes who believe them,for a while at least.

      • Crossbow87

        Wow, what a demonstration of Muslim intellect! You're pretty when you're angry. Would you be more approving if our heroic soldiers had untied them? Or if they gave them the chance to hide behind women and children? Would that make it fair? You can't be consistent with your own logic…it's war. We have better guns, planes, ships, medical care, more money and more bullets than jihadis. Muslims have…human bombs. We have the ability to turn Iraq, Iran and the House of Saud into glass. You have…lots of nasty words and stuff.

        • Karim

          Well,if that is what you think then hurray to the 11 September terrorists.They used everything in their arsenal and succeeded.Thats not my opinion though.I am not a selfrighteous son of a bitch as you are.I dont make a difference between American and Iraqi lives.And dont start with that we are great bullshit, they already had a civilization when you were still monkeys scratching each others backs.

          • Crossbow87

            I've found over the years one of the biggest obstacles to arguing with a Muslim is all the time I spend correcting them in their English and in their thinking. So, are you saying Mesopotamian culture pre-dates European culture….uh, okay, right. It also pre-dates Islam. By the way did you see how Mossad assassinated that Hamas turd in Dubai? Now that's how to deal with Muslims. Go Mossad!

        • Karim

          I would be more approving if your soldiers tied their bags and got the hell out of countries where they didnt belong.

          • Karim

            Oh yes,and the only heroes are those standing up against the mightiest army in the world,defending their country and honor.Your soldiers heroic?Attacking a third world country?Is that heroic you moron?

  • Crossbow87

    But there is definitely a qualifier to all this…kind of a natural law sort of qualifier. The Sergeant's ad hoc assessment of the threat to him and his men by these four terrorists was spot on and if the infrastructure to deal with the terrorists was inadequate, he probably saved American lives doing what he did. Because of this and the courage it took to do the right thing in the face of what the rules told him to do is enough to get his sentence communed. He has my admiration and wish our military leadership, civilian and uniformed, had his exact mindset. Pacification of Iraq in a lot less time with many fewer American losses.

  • Jim Darlington

    Read Hatley's history.
    You either think there's nothing to fight for or you realize there is and then you have to acknowledge his extraordinary service and the constancy of his demonstrated courage in the course of waging war and protecting his comrades in arms.
    The only criminality here is the catch and release policy, that left him no sane choice. He did his job, saved his men today, and then was asked to conspire in their death, tomorrow. He declined the invitation.
    Bless his heart and SET HIM FREE!
    You send a brave man into hell to fight and risk it all and then toy with him?
    Some bureaucrat somewhere decides, "Well, it's economically imprudent to keep too many of them, so we've devised this clever new policy. We think it's really daring and unprecedented!"
    Oh yeah, we really need sooooo many more Gay guys in the military!

  • crusader

    we are fighting the same fight as El Cid, as Louis the IXth, as the GLORIOUS CRUSADERS, and everyone who opposed MILITANT Islam. Nobody is condemning Islam here at large, only its MILITANT element.

    Hatley is a hero and a martyr. It is the liberal politicians who should be in jail. Down with communism ! America, wake up before it is too late !

    • xman

      Yep, all the way back to Pelayo and Charles Martel almost 1,300 years ago. People like them secured our freedoms. Had Martel lost at Tours, not only France, but the UK, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, indeed all of Europe would be living in an Islamic nightmare (It might yet do that, sadly in the next 100 or 150 years). There would be no Western civilization. There'd be no computers, no scientific breakthroughs, just a primeval existence for as long as the mad mullahs let you live.

  • m p b

    The incomprehendable truth is that it is politically safer to kill your own people
    than the enemy.


    Stories like this make great recruiting PR.

  • Mrs. Kim Hatley

    Thank you everyone for your comments, but especially the ones who are quite rude in their use of words toward our soldiers and myself. Not a problem. I look upon you with a kind, gentle eye regardless, because soldiers like ours fight for your rights to be as open as as rude as you would like to be. You have that right and I do not and will not harbor any negative feelings toward any of you that have done this in this forum today. That’s what open forums are for. In America, you can do that, at least…..for now….. ~Respectfully, Mrs. Kim Hatley

    • Karim

      Yes, in America we are proud of our husbands who go to different countries whose name we cant spell, to kill people who never harmed us in order that we might have the freedom to make silly films with stolen music,eat cheese burgers and appear on fox news.Are you enjoying your fifteen minutes of fame you stupid hillbilly cunt?Its a pity your husband didnt get the electric chair,but being told when to take a piss for the rest of his wasted pointless life is good enough for me.

      • Crossbow87

        Karim, Islam respects women…right?

      • Stacy

        if you hate america so much then why do you stay here? …could it be you enjoy the freedom that isn't offered in your home land?

        • xman

          He's just a hateful trolling parasite who leeches of those same Westerners he would love to enslave and kill. After all he worships a mass murdering raping misogynistic paedophile of a prophet so what else can we expect from him? Its time he was thrown out of your country and sent back to Pakistan.

          • Karim

            I am here to stay and controll people like you,to give you medicine and provide a nice warm padded jacket when you need it.I honestly fucking despise you and your ilk and I think I am a thousandth time better then you will ever be. Its not because I am a Muslim, its because your miserable dysfunctional lack of a consciense.

    • Karim

      Please dont play the Jesus card with me.You are the wife of a cowardly serial killer.You have nothing to teach me.In fact you are worse then dirt.I had never had something like under my shoe.

      • Karim

        I have never had anything like you under my shoe.Just to repeat.Correctly
        this time.

        • xman

          Still, you are lower than anything that gets flushed down our toilet. A turd is superior to a Muslim.

      • Crossbow87

        You play cards with Jesus? Lucky you…

  • trickyblain

    Rules of Engagement have nothing to do with this case. "Engaged" does not mean handcuffed and blindfolded – which was the state of the insurgents when they were shot. And there's no evidence that the detainees were ever taken to a control center, where the soldiers were told to release the men who just tried to kill them. On the contrary, they were taken from the house where the skirmish occured straight to the canal where they were killed.

    Hatley was undoubtedly a good soldier for the most part. He undoubtedly had the best interests of his men in mind. But he made a terrible mistake in ordaining himself judge, jury and executioner. He had his role, and it was that of Sgt. Major. To excuse him is to betray the entire, essential, concept of military hierarchy.

    • Dave

      Where are the bodies?

    • xman

      You'd have been a fat lot of use 70 years ago. If everybody back then had been like you, we'd have been watching the Waffen SS parades down Whitehall for the last 70 years, and the Aussies would have been bowing and scraping before the Kempetai.

      • Karim

        Why is it that whenever you imagine a world war scenario you are always the heroes?
        You want to be a militaristic chauvinist,who enjoys torture and executions, why not be a Nazi?

  • Remo

    Muck fuslims!

  • Raymond Barry

    I'm beginning to understand why the French revolutionaries started to cut off the heads of their aristocracy.

  • USMCSniper

    US Army Pte Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Pte Thomas Tucker, 25, were snatched from a checkpoint near the town of Yusufiyah on June 16 , 2006 and they were tortured ( eyes, poked out, arms and legs ripped off, gentials cut off, and beheaded and a video made. __On July 10, 2006, a video showing the bodies of Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker was posted on an extremist website showing the two mutilated corpses laid out on a road and being taunted by the alleged captors, who present the head of Thomas Tucker to the camera like a trophy, and stomp on the head of Kristian Menchaca. On September 23, 2006, a second mutilation video of the two soldiers was broadcasted on the internet. It shows the two soldiers being dragged on the streets and their bodies being set on fire. Thomas's head is being kicked by an insurgent down the street. Had this happened in Vietnam, not even a single chicken or stray dog would have gotten out of that village alive and nobody would dare have said a thing.

  • chuckie 2u

    One has to be aware we are lead by Ideological Fools and good men and women die so the Fools can maintain their status quo. War is hell for those in it and even worse for those who have to fight under Political Correctness doctrine.

    • True American

      Like Karim Political Correctness too can find it's proper resting place on the bottom of any lake

  • Len Powder

    I would have done exactly the same thing in the situation John Hately found himself. It is not he who should have been tried but the "Catch and Release Program". What are we doing in this country to our heroes? The ROE soldiers are directed to fight under in Afghanistan are a form of suicide. CIA interrogators are threatened with prosecution. The FBI cannot investigate and infiltrate Muslim Mafia organizations or mosques which are the nucleus of their revolution against America. Soldiers who risk their lives 24/7 against neanderthals who want to destroy us are locked up for 40 years? THERE IS SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!

  • proxywar

    Personally I agree with what hatley did but legally I do not.

  • bubba4

    "Most of the prisoners were released. The newly-freed insurgents immediately returned to the streets to resume killing and maiming American soldiers. This insanity became known as the Catch and Release Program."

    This is horribly irresponsible to just casually put out there without evidence or citing anything. If it's what the wife told you, then you shouldn't state it as fact like this.

    What is odd, is you feel the need to both set up the emotional stress excuse for his behavior…but then imply it probably never happened anyway.

    Obviously this story is a setup to make people feel the PC injustice in all its bizarro world glory, but I'm afraid that when you are in the military, you can't just execute prisoners and dump them in a ditch. If that's what he did, then he deserves justice.

    John Work is just kicking up dust.

    John Hatley was convicted of this crime…so are you saying he didn't do it? If he did do it, are you saying it was a justified act?

    If you are trying to critique a military policy, then you do a terrible job of it. You cite nothing, give no real facts, and just imply whatever you want. Very irresponsible…

  • bardefa

    jihadists cut heads of Americans ALIVE – and killing them is a no-no?
    Maybe people who've sentenced AMS Hatley should go to Iraq and talk to them?
    They may come back headless……………..

  • USMCSniper

    All of us sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men like U .S. Army Master Sergeant John Hatley do unspeakable violence on their behalf?

  • Spc By***

    I served with 1sgt hatley in OIF II
    He is an honorable man and would never kill an "innocent" person the dead are dead for a reason ……

    I believe it was sherman who said "war is hell"

    I had a saying in iraq that I live to this day ….." I would rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6"
    I dont care if you are muslim , buddist , catholic , LDS or any other of the mulititude of them out there….. I will defend my family ,my country, and my comrads with my life …hopefully taking more of yours before you take mine

  • MSGT


  • MSGT


  • Dave

    Karim can go jump in the lake

  • Mark Smith

    as one who has been a victim of the UCMJ i think you have reached the last posiable step in having your husband released. That is the Presdent of the US has to grant a pardon. How ever i don't know if he will get he retirement pay or VA benifits. What he did i can't say was right or wrong. What i do think is now there is going to be alot more shootings rather then taking personer to jail and trial. This is not a good thing to happen. I think the military needs to look at proble cause for detention. And have the facitliys to hold and trial them.

  • ali mack

    one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. our countries invaded another soveriegn state without any provocation and against international law. any iraqui in iraq who shoots are or bombs any foreign military personnel or installations is as within their rights as any other citizen of any other country invaded by foreign forces.

  • K dub

    Sry but i don't think Hatley should have killed them. I agree that the catch and release policy sounds screwed up, but he should be trying to change the policy, not just killing people. I kinda understand where he is coming from, but still. Anyways, regardless of how ethical his decision was, it might end up doing more good towards policy change than nonviolent means would since this will probably bring attention to the issue.