Thanks to what many believe to be a foolish decision by AOL, to engage Arianna Huffington to oversee what they hope will be a significant online national news content network, this editorial would appear to be an AOL approved view of both former Marine Ilario Pantano and the thinking we should embrace in dealing with radical Islam
One of America's most prominent self-proclaimed Islamophobes, Ilario Pantano, enthusiastically joined Brown to excoriate Imam Rauf. Pantano is a failed Republican politician who got the backing of the Tea Party. However, the voters of North Carolina rejected Pantano's candidacy when they learned about his troubling military record and his extremist Islamophobic ideology. Pantano gained his notoriety as an ex-Marine discharged from the USMC after he was accused of the premeditated murder of two unarmed Iraqi Muslims in his custody. The charges were eventually dropped, but Pantano soon thereafter resigned from the military, claiming terrorist threats to his family.
In fact, Pantano was cleared of all charges at a hearing and subsequent forensic evidence fully supported that conclusion
. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be enough to prevent AOL from running a false, malicious editorial to tear down Pantano's reputation, while elevating a Muslim Cleric who blames America for starting the War on Terror due to war-time actions in Dresden and Hiroshima during World War II.
He came to national attention when he was accused of premeditated murder in the killing of two unarmed detainees, firing 60 rounds into them, during a unit mission near Fallujah, Iraq on April 15, 2004. An article 32 hearing found no credible evidence or testimony for the accusation and declined to prosecute Pantano, dropping all charges. The day after the charges were dropped, forensic evidence from the autopsies of the two Iraqis corroborated Pantano's testimony - that he shot the unarmed men as they moved toward him. Shortly thereafter, Pantano was offered another platoon command back in Iraq. Claiming terrorist threats against his family, he resigned his officer's commission and was honorably discharged.
Here's a sampling of Imam Rauf's stated views
. Welcome to the new America OnLine thanks to Arianna Huffington.
In a move likely to cause controversy with church leaders, Imam Feisal said it was Christians who started mass attacks on civilians.
"The Islamic method of waging war is not to kill innocent civilians. But it was Christians in World War II who bombed civilians in Dresden and Hiroshima, neither of which were military targets."