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Military justice

August 22, 2008

Re "Ex-Marine to face civilian trial," Aug. 18

Trying a combat veteran in a civilian court for his or her actions on the battlefield is a violation of the defendant's right to a "trial by a jury of his peers." Those who have not been under fire have no idea of the thought processes and emotional responses it engenders or the rules that are in place.

When I returned from my war, Vietnam, and was asked by friends who had not served to explain what it was like, I quickly learned that trying to do so was akin to a bird explaining flight to a snail. We had no common frame of reference -- and I served in the Air Force on cargo aircraft, not with the ground forces involved in firefights.

Jose Nazario should be tried, but it must be by the military if he is to have any chance of receiving a fair hearing.

In the past, discharged service members were liable for recall "at the convenience of the service," in some cases well into their 50s. Why is that not the case here? Have the rules changed? Or is this a case of some prosecutor or politician trying to make a name for himself on the backs of those who served?

Chris Daly

Yucaipa

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