Stop Prosecuting Our American Heroes

In what must be one of the most outrageous criminal prosecutions in American history, the U.S. military is dragging three Navy SEALs into court to face criminal charges. Their crime: punching a terrorist in the mouth and giving him a bloody lip.

The alleged "victim" of this so-called assault is not just any old anti-American, murderous barbarian Muslim terrorist. No, the man who got the schoolyard fat lip was Ahmed Hashim Abed, the same man the U.S. government suspects planned the ambush, murder, and mutilation of four U.S. civilian contractors in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. After the ambush, terrorists hung the charred bodies of two of the American contractors from a bridge.

Two of the SEALs -- Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Matthew McCabe and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Julio Huertas -- were arraigned Monday. The third SEAL, Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe, will be arraigned later, according to the Navy. McCabe and Huertas will be tried next month.

According to a military official, Petty Officer McCabe is charged with assaulting a detainee, dereliction of duty, and making a false official statement.Petty Officer Keefe is charged with dereliction of duty and making a false official statement. Petty Officer Huertas is accused of dereliction of duty, making a false official statement, and impeding an investigation.

The U.S. military spent five years tracking this barbarian murderer, a "high-value target" whose code name was OBJECTIVE AMBER, and these three SEALs were part of the team that captured him. Now, because one of them may have given this terrorist a fat lip, they face a year in prison and the wrecking of their military careers.

It may not have even been one of the SEALs who slugged this terrorist detainee. For a while after his capture, Abed was in Iraqi custody, where it's apparently still legal to smack around a guy who has been murdering people and trying to destroy the country.

There is also the possibility that no one hit this terrorist. In an al-Qaeda training manual recovered in Manchester, England and later translated by the FBI, captured terrorists are instructed to claim they were "mistreated or tortured during detention."

As a twenty-year law enforcement veteran, I understand that in theory, trials are the vehicle for determining the truth of a criminal charge, and that defendants are presumed innocent.

However, in the real world of criminal justice, I know that prosecutors don't file charges unless two conditions exist:

1. They believe the defendants committed the crimes charged.

2. They are confident they have enough evidence to convict the defendants.

It would be unethical for a prosecutor to charge someone with a crime that the prosecutor did not believe the person had committed. (Remember the Duke University rape case?)

By filing criminal charges, military prosecutors have demonstrated their conviction that at least one of the Navy SEALs committed a crime by smacking this murderous thug in the face. Prosecutors also believe the other two SEALs committed a crime by failing to report it.

These charges are a disgrace.

We would not have won World War II had we hamstrung our fighting men with these absurd rules.

Fortunately, not everyone in the U.S. government has drunk from the same P.C.-flavored Kool-Aid. A few -- far too few -- Republican lawmakers are rising to the defense of these heroes.

U.S. Congressman Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, stated:

We should be celebrating this achievement, and these Navy SEALs should be getting medals for their work doing what we've asked them to do. But that's not what is happening. ... They are going to be court-martialed because some terrorist supposedly got a bruised mouth.

Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter from California said:

It's just so absurd. I mean, they split his lip. In a boxing situation, that's legal. They punched a terrorist in the face and, boom, we're going to launch these guys out of the Navy.

Dan Burton, a Republican congressman from Indiana, called the charges crazy:

I think that is insane. What kind of a message are we sending to our troops in the field when they do their duty, risk their lives, capture a terrorist that's wanted, one of the top ten terrorists, and we're going to court-martial them? I don't care if they broke the guy's nose or broke both his arms and his legs. This is insane.

It's disgusting that these charges were ever filed, and I wouldn't be surprised if these men leave the Navy even if they are acquitted.

But as bad as this prosecution is for these three SEALs, imagine the morale-killing message it sends to every member of our military, and particularly to our special operators, who hunt these murderous terrorist bastards in the dark, far from friendly forces, out in the lands the bad guys call home.

Let's send a message to the government: Stop prosecuting our American heroes.

Chuck Hustmyre is an award-winning journalist and a retired federal agent. He is the author of three books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. For more information, visit chuckhustmyre.com.
In what must be one of the most outrageous criminal prosecutions in American history, the U.S. military is dragging three Navy SEALs into court to face criminal charges. Their crime: punching a terrorist in the mouth and giving him a bloody lip.

The alleged "victim" of this so-called assault is not just any old anti-American, murderous barbarian Muslim terrorist. No, the man who got the schoolyard fat lip was Ahmed Hashim Abed, the same man the U.S. government suspects planned the ambush, murder, and mutilation of four U.S. civilian contractors in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. After the ambush, terrorists hung the charred bodies of two of the American contractors from a bridge.

Two of the SEALs -- Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Matthew McCabe and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Julio Huertas -- were arraigned Monday. The third SEAL, Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe, will be arraigned later, according to the Navy. McCabe and Huertas will be tried next month.

According to a military official, Petty Officer McCabe is charged with assaulting a detainee, dereliction of duty, and making a false official statement.Petty Officer Keefe is charged with dereliction of duty and making a false official statement. Petty Officer Huertas is accused of dereliction of duty, making a false official statement, and impeding an investigation.

The U.S. military spent five years tracking this barbarian murderer, a "high-value target" whose code name was OBJECTIVE AMBER, and these three SEALs were part of the team that captured him. Now, because one of them may have given this terrorist a fat lip, they face a year in prison and the wrecking of their military careers.

It may not have even been one of the SEALs who slugged this terrorist detainee. For a while after his capture, Abed was in Iraqi custody, where it's apparently still legal to smack around a guy who has been murdering people and trying to destroy the country.

There is also the possibility that no one hit this terrorist. In an al-Qaeda training manual recovered in Manchester, England and later translated by the FBI, captured terrorists are instructed to claim they were "mistreated or tortured during detention."

As a twenty-year law enforcement veteran, I understand that in theory, trials are the vehicle for determining the truth of a criminal charge, and that defendants are presumed innocent.

However, in the real world of criminal justice, I know that prosecutors don't file charges unless two conditions exist:

1. They believe the defendants committed the crimes charged.

2. They are confident they have enough evidence to convict the defendants.

It would be unethical for a prosecutor to charge someone with a crime that the prosecutor did not believe the person had committed. (Remember the Duke University rape case?)

By filing criminal charges, military prosecutors have demonstrated their conviction that at least one of the Navy SEALs committed a crime by smacking this murderous thug in the face. Prosecutors also believe the other two SEALs committed a crime by failing to report it.

These charges are a disgrace.

We would not have won World War II had we hamstrung our fighting men with these absurd rules.

Fortunately, not everyone in the U.S. government has drunk from the same P.C.-flavored Kool-Aid. A few -- far too few -- Republican lawmakers are rising to the defense of these heroes.

U.S. Congressman Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, stated:

We should be celebrating this achievement, and these Navy SEALs should be getting medals for their work doing what we've asked them to do. But that's not what is happening. ... They are going to be court-martialed because some terrorist supposedly got a bruised mouth.

Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter from California said:

It's just so absurd. I mean, they split his lip. In a boxing situation, that's legal. They punched a terrorist in the face and, boom, we're going to launch these guys out of the Navy.

Dan Burton, a Republican congressman from Indiana, called the charges crazy:

I think that is insane. What kind of a message are we sending to our troops in the field when they do their duty, risk their lives, capture a terrorist that's wanted, one of the top ten terrorists, and we're going to court-martial them? I don't care if they broke the guy's nose or broke both his arms and his legs. This is insane.

It's disgusting that these charges were ever filed, and I wouldn't be surprised if these men leave the Navy even if they are acquitted.

But as bad as this prosecution is for these three SEALs, imagine the morale-killing message it sends to every member of our military, and particularly to our special operators, who hunt these murderous terrorist bastards in the dark, far from friendly forces, out in the lands the bad guys call home.

Let's send a message to the government: Stop prosecuting our American heroes.

Chuck Hustmyre is an award-winning journalist and a retired federal agent. He is the author of three books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. For more information, visit chuckhustmyre.com.

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