In a post we did a week or so ago I mentioned the injustice of court martialing three navy SEALs who were accused of punching a terrorist and then trying to cover it up. In my opinion the people who ought to be court martialed are the Navy poobahs who are charging these men. Surely fatheadedness among the brass is a court-martial-worthy offense, and if it's not it should be.
Clifford May has a piece on this at National Review Online that's worth reading if you want to see how wimpish the higher echelons of our military have become. May writes:
Surely, these SEALs - like all American citizens - deserve the presumption of innocence. It's also worth recalling that the al-Qaeda manual recommends that all detainees complain of torture and abuse.
But what if it turns out that one of the SEALs did give the guy a shot? What if Abed was uncooperative, or spit at them, or bragged about how he slaughtered the Americans (one of whom was a retired SEAL) and how they begged for their lives and squealed like pigs as they died? I can imagine how a normal guy - even one as disciplined as a SEAL - might lose his temper for a moment.
In that case, I wouldn't expect a senior officer to turn a blind eye. I'd expect him to take the SEALs aside and say, "Let me be clear: You guys cut the John Wayne stuff or you're going to be peeling potatoes on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf for the next six months. Understood?" The reply would be: "Yes, sir! Understood, sir!" And that would be the end of that.
But a court martial? Maybe there's more to it than we know. But how much more could there be? Abed is alive. He has two eyes, two ears, ten fingers, and ten toes. This much is clear: If a single alleged knuckle sandwich is all it takes to remove three special operators from the battlefield, Abed won this battle.
A terrorist in American custody should be aware that he is in the presence of principled professionals. But he should not believe that he is untouchable or that he is entitled to the rights enjoyed by an American citizen under the U.S. Constitution - a document he'd gladly trample underfoot.
He should know that the troops who detain him are not like him: They won't chop off his head on video tape while chanting praise for a divinity pleased by the carnage. But he also should know that if he asks for a fat lip, he might just get a fat lip.
Read the whole article. The more I read about political correctness in the military the more convinced I am that our troops are made of far sterner stuff than are those who command them.RLC