damnum absque injuria

April 30, 2004

‘Hat of the Day: Chip Frederick

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:33 pm

By now you’ve probably heard or read about the criminal behavior of at least six members of the 800th Military Police Brigade. All are allegedly guilty of misconduct which, if proven, would qualify them for a long, long period in prison, preferably under conditions comparable to the ones they inflicted on their prisoners in Abu Ghraib. Such criminality, in and of itself, does not a warrant a ‘Hat, as this conduct proves the person is evil, not stupid. However, one of these alleged criminals, Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Chip Frederick, has told 60 Minutes something so asstastically stupid as to earn himself a ‘Hat whether he is guilty of any crimes or not. Per the BBC:

The station spoke to one of the six soldiers charged, Sergeant Chip Frederick – a reservist whose full-time job is as a prison officer in the US state of Virginia.

Sgt Frederick said he and his fellow reservists had never been told how to deal with prisoners, or what lines should not be crossed. “We had no training whatsoever,” he said. “I kept asking my chain of command for certain things… like rules and regulations. And it just wasn’t happening,” he said. He said he never saw a copy of the Geneva Conventions – which govern the treatment of prisoners – until after he was charged.
[Paragraphs reformatted, emphasis added.]

Time for an informal reader poll.

  1. Have you read the Geneva Conventions and/or any Army regulations that supplement them aso POWs or other detainees held by the U.S. military?
  2. If your asnwer to #1 was “yes,” skip this question. If it was no, do you believe that Army regulations and/or the Geneva Conventions permit a POW’s captors to:
    • Attach wires to his genitals and tell him he’ll be electrocuted if he steps down?
    • Force him to simulate with other inmates?
    • Sic a dog on him?
    • Strike him, or order another inmate to do so?
    • Write something obscene (or, for that matter, anything at all) on his skin?
    • Take photos of him naked, with a snickering soldier of the opposite sex pointing at his privates?/li>
  3. of how you answerd #1 and/or #2, fill in the blank. Ignorance of the law is _______________________.

If convicted, these soldiers should imprisoned by the U.S. military for a long time, and should then be handed over to the Iraqis for any further punishments the Iraqi government may find appropriate. If the eventual Iraqi state happens to be a stable democracy that will treat them with any modicum of decency, great. If not, too bad; perhaps their own outrageous conduct is part of the reason. Either way, and regardless of whether he is convicted at all, Chip Frederick’s incredible stupidity should cost him both of his jobs, and should be permanently enjoined to eschew the handling of any sharp objects without adult supervision.

UPDATE: Roger Stanson, a commenter to Citizen Smash’s entry thinks there has been a “noticable [sic] silence” on this topic in the Blogosphere. I don’t know which blogs Roger read this morning, but I think it is safe to assume that he did not read any of these.

25 Responses to “‘Hat of the Day: Chip Frederick”

  1. Steverino Says:

    1. No
    2. No, no, no, no, no, and no
    3. No excuse for any behavior

  2. King of Fools Says:

    I can understand why some would not want to post on it. It is a very nasty business.

    But seriously, there are also times where I read about a certain event or news item everywhere and what I wanted to say has already been said…so why post if you aren’t adding anything to the discussion?

    And there are also times when I’m so head-down with real life that I don’t notice a breaking story until the next day and am less inclined to post on something which was reported three blog-news-cycles back.

    A lack of blogosphere attention can be attributed to many different reasons. (Not to mention that today is Friday which is my lowest hit day. Often my lowest posting weekday, also.)

    Oh, and the quiz:

    1. No
    2. No, No, No, No, No, No
    3. Not a Valid Defense Strategy.

  3. Juliette Says:

    1. Yes
    2. n/a
    3. no excuse

    As I said on Steve H’s blog, that the cretins exhibited a lack of training is a very accurate statement. The sergeants and officers aren’t supposed to *assume* that your parents taught you better than to act like a sub human; they’re supposed to *train* you not to act that way. Lack-of-training while not a legit excuse, basically fries the chain of command above them (as if they weren’t fried already). Had these…er…people been *trained properly* it might have come up that they were temperamentally ill-suited for this task.

    Oh, heads are going to roll in that chain.

  4. The Angry Clam Says:

    I guess I’m about the only one who doesn’t really mind, and is simply more upset that this got out with photos, so there’s propaganda opportunities for the enemy.

    Then again, I’d love to use our current domestic prison population for bloodsports, so I’m probably not the person to ask.

  5. Justene Says:

    What I don’t understand is who thought it was a bright idea to take photos. Lots of them. Apparently at different times and places.

  6. Clark Says:

    If convicted, these soldiers should imprisoned by the U.S. military for a long time, and should then be handed over to the Iraqis for any further punishments the Iraqi government may find appropriate.

    Why waste money on feeding and housing them long term in a U.S. prison? Simply present them to the Iraqi Governing Counsel, and say “Do with them as you will.”

  7. Clark Says:

    I tried using blockquotes in the first paragraph of my previous post. :-(

  8. The Angry Clam Says:


    I’m always amazed at people who document their own criminal behavior.

  9. Xrlq Says:

    “Why waste money on feeding and housing them long term in a U.S. prison?”

    Because they’ve committed a crime against us, as well as against Iraq. I want them to face double-jeopardy. Maybe the Iraqis will tear them from limb to limb, or maybe the Iraqis won’t care since the victims were probably bastards anyway. That’s their prerogative. We should care, though, because these atrocities will have repercussions for us, regardless.

  10. Juliette Says:

    Why pictures: “evil geniuses” only exist in comic books. “Evil morons” are more in line with reality.

  11. Patterico Says:

    I think I may be with Clark on this one.

    F**k these guys. Give them to the Iraqis.

  12. Charles Hammond Jr. Says:
    1. Once in the past, but now I’ll say no because I didn’t read the parts concerning prisoners of war.
    2. No to all of the above: heck we have something in our OWN Constitution about ‘Cruel and Unusual Punishment’
    3. Completely Unacceptable at his age. Everyone at his point in life should at least know the fundamentals of law.
  13. Eric Scheie Says:

    As long as people countenance the use our current domestic prison population for bloodsports, and as long as prison guards are allowed to serve in the military, I expect we can see more of this sadistic behavior.

  14. Justene Says:

    I’m sure I’ll regret this question. We use current domestic prison population for bloodsports?

  15. maura Says:

    Lustene: I guess.

    What’s with the excuse that the Army didn’t providing sufficient training? Do people actually need to be trained not to do this?

  16. Justene Says:

    Maybe that’s the problem — the Army assumed that people didn’t need to be trained not to do this. Maybe the training is really checking to make sure they’re not the kind of people who do this. Maybe I’m not as opposed to “weed ’em out” training as I used to be.

  17. McGehee Says:

    Clam was being snarky. But taking that into account I can think of certain individual cases where I’m more in agreement with his view than not.

  18. McGehee Says:


    1. No
    2. No to all
    3. Increasing, unfortunately.

  19. Paul Couture Says:

    1. Yes
    2. See 1
    3. never a valid defense.

    As a former member of the US Military, and one that taught the Law of Armed Conflict training, let me point out that these soldiers that claim they were not trained are lying. The LOAC traing covers the treatment of POWs and what defines a combatant and a non-combatant (POWs are non-combatants.) This is required annual training for all members of the US Military, regardless of their role, specialty, or duty station.

  20. Richard Lee Says:

    Having acted on order, followed orders is not an excuse for having comitted a crime. This was firmly established at the trial in Nuernberg (if you perverted Yanks still remember where that is) at the end of the 2nd World War. With your superior firepower financed by your large and wealthy economy you are able to stand over anything, ignore UN resolutions, drop Red Cross reports and forget about human rights. The only human rights that you observe and honor are those to your own people, the “Americans”. That is also where your democracy ends. More and more of the rest of the worlds population is beginning to resent, even hate you. You are still asking the question why. Look at your Government, take a look at your man at the top, this Bush as President of the USA. It’s so pathetic and if not so serious, almost a funny. This time the pictures of abuse and torture tell the truth with even your special breed of females having a good time with your prisoners. Well done folks, Richard

  21. Xrlq Says:


    1. You are an idiot.

    2. The overwhelming majority of Americans – and everyone in the military – is fully aware that it is illegal to follow illegal orders.

    3. You are an idiot.

    4. Sorry if we offended an organization that elects the Sudan to its “human rights” committee but not us. I’ll match our human rights against any other country’s, including Australia’s, any day of the week.

    5. You are an idiot.

    6. The military was busy throwing the book at these people long before you’d even heard the name “Abu Ghraib,” so fuck you.

    7. Did I mention that you are an idiot?

    In sum, you’ve provdied the perfect answer to those losers who ask “why do they hate us?” The answer, in your case, is because they (i.e., you) are a bunch of hotheaded pricks whose opinions aren’t worth listening to anyway.

    Have a nice day.

  22. Murple Says:

    Let this bastard’s lawyers, friends and family know what kind of ass-rape prison he belongs in…


  23. Craig A. Mason Says:

    I have known Chip Frederick for my entire life you have no clue about anything about him so please dont comment on what kind of person he really is till you meet him. He is innocent.

  24. Craig A. Mason Says:

    to Murple –
    you wanna no something Chip has been family friends since I was 5 so maybe you should go fight for our country since you have such interesting views the only bastard is you.. he has been fighting for over a year for your freedom and this is his thanks and when you comment to his friends your commenting to me so maybe you should think because I as well as the rest of there family is really upset right know! I am just Glad he was able to come to Maryland 2 weeks ago to say hello and visit with us.

  25. Xrlq Says:

    Innocent, my ass. Frederick is a war criminal and a disgrace to the military. He deserves what he got.

    While I do not condone Murple’s comments regarding prison rape, I would encourage readers to follow his link to the “Free Hat Chip Frederick” page. Then scroll down to the read the names of the individual contacts, and see if you notice a pattern.


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