Many of you have written asking me what you can do to help the three Navy SEALs who are facing charges for allegedly splitting the lip and punching in the stomach of one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists after they captured him in Iraq in September.
But before I get to that, here’s an update on their case.
SEALs Matthew McCabe and Julio Huertas were arraigned Monday – Pearl Harbor Day, if you can believe that. They’re now scheduled to be court-martialed in January. The third SEAL in the case, Jonathan Keefe, will be arraigned later. The judge in the case is Capt. Moira Modzelewski.
“If convicted in the special court martial,” reports the Washington Times, “the SEALs face a maximum penalty of one year in military confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds of their pay for one year, and a discharge for bad conduct.”
Condemn the Terrorists, Not Our SEALs!
McCabe is accused of assaulting Ahmed Hashim Abed – the terrorist who masterminded the murder of four Blackwater USA civilian contractors, setting their bodies on fire with gasoline, dragging them through the streets of Iraq and hanging two of them from a bridge in Fallujah.
I recognize that many bloggers have refrained from linking to any kind of graphic pictures of what Abed and his barbarians did to those four security guards. But hiding the level of brutality exhibited by our enemies in this “war” does nothing to help an often disengaged public understand exactly what these SEALs and all of our military personnel are facing.
So here’s a link to a VERY graphic picture (you’ve been warned!) of what Ahmed Hashim Abed and his goon squad did to a fellow American citizen.
Now compare that to a lousy punch in the stomach and a fat lip!
Anyway, Larry O’Dell of the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that “The SEALs have received an outpouring of public support on the Internet, and a California congressman (Rep. Duncan Hunter) has led a campaign urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to intervene.”
From the outrageous prosecutions of our friend (and congressional candidate in Florida) Lt. Col. Allen West..to Lt. Illario Pantano..to Capt. Dave Staffel..to the Haditha Marines..the Pentagon brass seems perfectly willing to let military lawyers trump military warriors.
Coming out of the arraignment at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia yesterday, Petty Officer 2nd Class McCabe said he was confident that he’ll be exonerated and appreciated the public efforts on his and his colleagues’ behalf. “The support is phenomenal,” McCabe said. “It makes us feel better, all these people behind us.”
But our obligation, as the American citizens these SEALs put their lives on the line to defend, isn’t to simply make them “feel better.” We owe these men far more than that.
They Fought for Us; Now Let’s Fight for Them!
First and foremost we need to take actions to persuade the Defense Department to stop this insane practice of prosecuting highly-trained soldiers for doing the job they were trained to do and sent to do.
As Charlie Gittins, the attorney who successfully represented Lt. Pantano in his court-martial for actions in Iraq a few years ago (read “Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy”), put it during Pantano’s trial:
“I think it sends a bad message to the young heroes who are fighting in Iraq right now that they have to worry about armchair quarterbacks second-guessing their decisions made in a very dangerous place.”
File a Citizen’s Complaint
So please take a moment to file a citizen’s complaint with Navy spokeswoman Lt. Col. Holly Silkman of Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) – with the full understanding that she is just the public contact person for this case and is NOT actually involved in the decision to prosecute our SEALs. So cut her some slack.
Lt. Col. Silkman’s phone number is 813-828-4976. Or send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, if you’re not one for words here’s an excerpt from blogger Chuck Hustmyre’s letter to Lt. Col. Silkman which you can copy-and-paste and simply add “Ditto” in the subject line.
“I realize you are not responsible for charging these three brave special operators (SEALs) with crimes in the capture of a high-value terrorist target; however, you are the spokesperson of record. Thus, I want to register my complaint with you.
“I want to say what an outrage this persecution is. Our fighting men and woman (and I’m not counting chair warmers at the Pentagon or JAG) have enough to deal with trying to capture or kill terrorists without having to worry about being hauled into court for something they should get a medal for.
“Can you imagine if our soldiers had operated under these ridiculous rules during World War II? Can you imagine hauling soldiers into court for giving a captured German or Japanese soldier a fat lip? A kid on a schoolyard playground wouldn’t get hauled into court for giving another kid a fat lip. Boxers get paid for it.
“This prosecution has likely crushed the morale of our war fighters. It is an outrage.”
Put Your Money Where Abed’s Bloody Mouth Is!
The second thing you can do is help these SEALs with their legal defense bills.
You see, as Defend the Defenders explains, in cases such as these “the basic legal coverage provided by the military is not nearly enough for a fair and adequate defense in both the court of law and the court of public opinion. Outside civilian counsel is an important component of a successful legal defense.”
But outside civilian counsel means money out of the personal pockets of the SEALs and their families. The military doesn’t pay for this, and the cost can easily bankrupt heroes serving our nation on a military salary.
Fortunately for Matthew McCabe – the SEAL accused of actually “assaulting” Abed and facing the most serious charge – he’s been able to retain Neal Puckett as his attorney.
Puckett has a long history of successfully defending and protecting military personnel facing such charges, including one of the Haditha Marines and Lt. Col. Allen West. Indeed, as longtime News & Views readers may recall, we did an extensive radio interview with Mr. Puckett back in 2004 about the West case.
Unfortunately, such a defense ain’t cheap. So…
If you’d like to make a donation toward Matthew McCabe’s legal fees, and you should, please send a generous check or money order in any amount made out t
The Law Firm of Puckett & Faraj, PC
2181 Jamieson Ave, Suite 1505
Alexandria, VA 22314
And indicate on the check that it is “For SO2 McCabe.”
(For the record, donations to SO2 McCabe’s legal defense are NOT tax deductible..but I can’t imagine any American making such a donation to this American hero just for a tax write-off.)
There appears to be some question as to whether or not George Orwell ever actually wrote or said, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
But it’s true regardless of who said it.
As we go about our daily lives – Christmas shopping in malls with never a thought of being blown to smithereens by a suicide bomber – three brave Navy SEALs are being prosecuted for capturing a man responsible for burning fellow Americans alive and dragging their charred bodies through the streets of Iraq.
These men aren’t thinking about stockings and candy canes.
They’re thinking about saving their military careers.
They’re thinking about clearing their names.
They’re thinking about staying out of jail.
And they’re thinking about how they’re ever going to pay for their legal defense in this outrageous prosecution.
Think about that.
And then please think about doing something about it.
Your friend in freedom,
P.S. To this day, a lot of Americans know nothing about the Navy SEALs. If you fall into that category, I can’t recommend highly enough that you pick up a copy of “Lone Survivor” by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. It not only chronicles the unbelievable training these men go through, but how the current military “rules of engagement” in our war on terror led to the unnecessary deaths of Luttrell’s SEAL team on a mission in Afghanistan.
That said, here’s an excerpt of the official philosophy of the U.S. Navy SEAL I culled from Marcus’ book:
“We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required, yet guided by the very principles I serve to defend.
“Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.
“I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of my strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of a fight.”
Now it’s time for US to protect them. That is OUR mission. WE must fight on their behalf. We cannot fail. We must not quit. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.