Saturday, December 05, 2009

Putting The Cart Before The Horse

OK, there is a certain order to things. You know - horse.....cart.
In the matter of the Navy SEALs should be ...accusation....investigation.....Courts Martial....verdict.
Then presuming that they are found guilty (and that's a mighty big "if" in my book), prior to make the case for leniency.
That's the point where you roll out your character witnesses....your records of achievement....your extenuating circumstances.

This is an open question for all those who are falling over themselves to excuse why the SEALs in question might have *abused* Ahmed Hashim Abed - What if they didn't?

What if Abed was following the "Terrorism for Dummies" manual and injured himself for show? What if these SEALs never touched him? What if their conflicting answers during the investigation were nothing more than a difference of opinion - abuse can be defined in shades of gray. Imagine they are completely innocent and no one hears that above the roar of paternalistic excuses people are throwing about?

Imagine for a moment you are arrested for drunk driving. You are offered a plea deal but you turn that down to get your day in court. There you sit at the defense table, ready for your day in court. There are all your friends and neighbors to support you. The judge asks how you plead and half your "support group" leaps to their feet and begins shouting "He hardly ever drinks!" "He's been under a lot of stress at work." "He was really just completely over-tired and a few drinks overpowered him" "That cop is racist/sexist/agist!" "This was just a one time thing!" "Alcoholism is a disease!"

For pity's sake! How is the judge supposed to hear you say "Not guilty!"? How is the judge supposed to hear the actual evidence?

What happened to Jerry Zovko, Scott Helvenston, Michael Teague and Wesley Batalona was horrific beyond words. But before you use the trauma of that incident as an excuse for anyone abusing a detainee, shouldn't we see if said detainee was abused in the first place?

The Charge Sheets in the case against Navy SEALs SO2 McCabe SO2 Keefe & SO1 Huertas have been released to the public.

Charge Sheets Released for Three Accused Sailors

Embedded in the story linked above are the actual documents. If the link in the story fails, please go to NavyCS by clicking on this link.

Before you spout off about these SEALs being charged with giving a scumbag a "fat lip", try reading these charges. Before proffering an opinion, educate yourself to the point where you can form one.

If you want to show support say that you believe the SEALs are innocent until proven guilty; that you are happy they will have their day in court; and make a donation to their legal defense fund.
Navy SEALs Legal Defense Fund
Acct. #435020290711
c/o Bank of America
Ft Eustis VA 23604

The first question I would like answered in these proceedings -
How does "unlawfully striking XXXX in the midsection with his fist" make XXXX's lip bleed & swell? I certainly hope Major General C. T. Cleveland, US Army, has a very good answer.


Benjamin Walthrop said...

+1 Boston Maggie.

wolfwalker said...


I ENORMOUSLY appreciate the links to the charge sheets, Maggie. Reliable facts have been all-too-rare til now in this case.

I have another thought to offer along the same lines: What if the initial outcry was based on rumor and hearsay that were all wrong? All the early articles said "bloody lip," but the charge sheets say McCabe punched the prisoner in the gut. They also say that all three men are charged with lying to investigators. All three? Wait a minute, I thought SEAL operational teams were four men. What happened to No. 4? Is it conceivable that No. 4 made the initial complaint, which would mean that the conduct he saw was so reprehensible it made him break team loyalty? Is it possible that No. 4 is also the "witness" that Huertas tried to influence?

BostonMaggie said...

BW - Thanks!

WW - You are entirely welcome!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. No clue what did or didnt' happen.

Tell you ONE thing though: Many a time I have seen a Command try and intimidate a Sailor into UCMJ. SEAL's don't intimidate well. Personally, I wonder if somewhere there is a junior officer that miscalculated greatly in threatening them with Mast. Oops.

In light of THIS climate and the things that happened at GTMO, I would be surprised that anyone would offer Article 15, unless they were unsure of the verasity of the charges.

I have worked with SEAL's on more than one occasion and they don't impress me as hyper-aggressive prisoner slappers.

If I were to have stomach-punched a prisoner, got caught, and offered Captains Mast, I would GRATEFULLY accept it. And I am not even very smart!

However, if I DIDN'T do it, I would be howling for Court Martial.

I would like to submit that the fact that we will even LOOK at accusations against Sailors like the SEAL's is the very thing that makes us better than them.

BostonMaggie said...

"I would like to submit that the fact that we will even LOOK at accusations against Sailors like the SEAL's is the very thing that makes us better than them."
Too true!
As painful as this current episode is, that is the silver lining. In America, justice is everything.