Former Green Beret charged with murder for killing suspected terrorist

A former American commando has been charged with the murder of an Afghan terrorist who was suspected of killing two Marines when a bomb went off in a market.

Maj. Mathew Golsteyn has admitted to tracking down and killing the suspected bomb-maker and destroying his remains.

Golsteyn was charged after an investigation that began following an interview about the incident with Fox News.  He had his silver star stripped when, during a lie-detector test for CIA employment, he admitted to killing the suspect.

New York Post:

An Army Special Operations Command spokesman told Fox News on Friday that "sufficient evidence exists" to warrant charges against Golsteyn.

But the former commando's lawyer said Golsteyn had been "betrayed" by the Army.

Golsteyn explained in a 2016 interview that he killed the suspect, who had been turned over by Afghans cooperating with the US, because the man was likely to cause more violence.

"There's limits on how long you can hold guys," he told Fox News for a special report titled "How We Fight."

"You realize quickly that you make things worse.  It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with coalition forces, when identified, will suffer some terrible torture or be killed."

Asked if he killed the man, Golsteyn said, "Yes." ...

The chain of events began in 2010 when an explosion took place at a bazaar. Two US ­Marines – Sgt. Jeremy R. McQueary, 27, and Lance Cpl. Larry M. Johnson, 19 – were killed.

The next day, two Afghan men walked up to the US military compound with the suspect bound. They said he was responsible for the attack.

The man, however, was released when no bomb-making material was found.  But not long after, he was shot while walking along a path in Marjah.

Technically, Golsteyn is probably guilty in that the rules of war grant some protection to the bomb-making suspect.  But in hostile territory, with invisible hands raised against you, the "rules of war" mean little.  Sure, the two Afghans who brought the suspect to the U.S. military might have just picked someone off the street or turned in someone they had a grudge against.  But what if they had the right guy? 

Does intent matter in this case?  Golsteyn obviously believed that the man was guilty of murdering two U.S. Marines and was capable of going on killing.  Unfortunately, it doesn't matter what Golsteyn believed at the time.  There was no "just cause" in killing the suspect.  As far as the Army and the U.S. government are concerned, Golsteyn murdered an innocent civilian.

You would hope that the prosecutor in the case takes everything into account and won't recommend jail time for Golsteyn. 

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