Three Navy SEALs worked as part of a team that captured alleged terrorist mastermind Ahmed Hashim Abed. A U.S. service member reported that one of the SEALs punched Abed in the stomach after Abed was secured in U.S. custody. The SEALs allegedly attempted to cover up the alleged abuse and intimidate a witness. Those three SEALs -- Julio Huertas, Jonathan Keefe, and Matthew McCabe -- are now facing court martial.[*]
SEALs are assigned the most dangerous, difficult jobs imaginable. They are as close to superhuman as humans get. If a SEAL makes a mistake, he may be killed, his unit mates may be killed, or innocent persons may be killed. Mistakes, unfortunately, happen. If a SEAL punched a captive, that was a minor mistake. If SEALs fear serious punishment for such a mistake, that's a major organizational problem. Putting individual SEALs on trial for a minor mistake and a major organizational problem is a gross injustice to those SEALs.
The Ode Street Tribune encourages everyone to mount a special operation to support those SEALs. I've written to all three of my Congressional representatives -- Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Jim Webb, and Rep. Jim Moran. While waiting for responses from these political leaders, the Ode Street Tribune's Command Central is reviewing other tactical possibilities. Democracy depends on special forces. Be your own special force of one.
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[*] Understanding the facts of the case isn't easy. News reports don't even link to primary-source documents. One such document is a letter from forty Congressmen to Major General Charles Cleveland, Commander of Special Operations Command Central. The Congressmen requested that all charges against the SEALs be dropped. Maj. Gen. Cleveland responded with a letter providing some details about the situation and assuring the Congressmen that the SEALs rights would be respected. He did not agree to seek to have the charges against the SEALs dropped. House Rep. Dan Burton responded to Maj. Gen. Cleveland's letter by again urging Maj. Gen. Cleveland to drop the charges against the SEALs.