Skip to comments.Devastating: Michael Behenna's Conviction Upheld
Posted on 07/07/2012 4:03:21 PM PDT by Ooh-Ah
By a 3-2 majority, the highest military appeals court has upheld Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna's conviction for the unpremediated murder of a detainee and al-Qaeda-operative in Iraq named Ali Mansur. While Michael still could receive clemency, his legal appeals are now officially exhausted. Barring clemency, Michael will remain at Leavenworth military prison until 2024.
What a blow. What a disgrace.
I just finished reading the majority opinion. It is a chilling document. It contains analysis of whether Michael had "the right to act in self-defense" when the detainee he was questioning about IED attacks that had recently killed two men in his platoon, suddenly lunged for Michael's gun, and Michael shot and killed him.
This was one of several issues before the court. As the "initial aggressor" for engaging in an unauthorized interrogation of a naked detainee, Michael, the court upheld, had lost his right to self-defense. Under consideration was whether at any point in the split seconds during which the detainee hurled a piece of concrete at Michael and rushed for his gun, and Michael fired in return at the detainee, Michael ever regained it. Three judges in the calm of their chambers in Washington, D.C., determined that he did not.
Or, as they wrote: "Even assuming for a moment that Mansur could have escalated the level of force, we conclude that a naked and unarmed individual in the desert does not escalate the level of force when he throws a piece of concrete at the initial aggressor in full battle attire, armed with a loaded pistol, and lunges for his pistol."
Oh yeah? Maybe it's simplistic of me, but I'd like to see them step into Michael's combat boots and see how it felt out there in the night, after a hard day's "catch-and-release," after military intelligence shockingly set Mansur free and ordered Michael to drive him home -- the very man Michael suspected of knowing all about the attacks that had recently killed two of his men. Michael thought he could get the necessary evidence in one more interrogation, just him and Mansur. But it didn't work out as Michael hoped.
Ultimately, even if we assume that Mansur lunged for Appellant's pistol and Appellant feared that Mansur would use the pistol if he was able to seize it, because Appellant was the initial aggressor, and because there was no evidence to support a finding of escalation or withdrawal, a rational member [juror] could have come to no other conclusion than that Appellant lost the right to act in self-defense and did not regain it.
I'm afraid that this court's idea of a "rational member" also could have come to no other conclusion than that Michael, "initial aggressor," bereft of the "right" to self-defense, should have permitted Mansur to snatch his gun from him and then shoot him dead.
Maybe then the three judges would have sighed with a satisfied kind of regret over the poor lieutenant who had given his all for their, frankly, demonic reading of the law. Instead, for having defended himself, for not having sacrificed himself to a charging terrorist, Michael and his family pay the price of Michael's freedom.
America: Is that justice?
I did not assert that it was from the trial record. But that it is not is even more damning, as that court martial board found against him even in the absence of that information.
Court martial boards are very objective, as they are composed of officers selected at random. With permission from the president of the board, individual board members may ask questions of *anyone* involved, including the prosecutor and the defense counsel, and any witnesses. As such, the most hazardous thing to do is to try and b.s. them.
In this case, my first serious heartburn is not with the former Lieutenant. It is with the G-2, who stupidly turned a detainee over to the unit that had arrested him, with orders to drive him home. Whoever ordered that should be relieved.
The former Lieutenant ended his career immediately when he did not take the Iraqi home. Had anything at all happened to that Iraqi, he would have been held responsible, both under the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions as to rules governing the treatment of detainees.
Under such circumstances there is no self-defense exception. If the detainee attacked him with a rock, it proves that his restraints had been indeed cut, something that should not have been the case until they arrived at the required destination.
Just with bare bones evidence the conviction stands.
I couldn’t care less what actions were taken by this soldier in the course of war. My maternal grandfather served in WWII. My paternal grandfather served in Korea. I have 4 uncles who served in Vietnam. I have three cousins and six friends, 5 of whom lost their lives, who served in Iraq/Afghanistan. I have heard stories from every last one of them that would make the hair on your neck stand on end. I have heard stories of bravery, stories of sacrifice, stories of valor, and stories of pride. I’ve heard stories of shame.
War destroys the man and leaves behind a husk. It turns on its ear the very notion of morality and ethics. It makes men out of boys. It turns cowards into heroes. It kills those who would sacrifice everything. War, put simply and succinctly, is HELL.
Put yourself in Behenna’s shoes. Imagine you’re out with a bunch of friends doing a job. You’re a lineman for a phone company or a cable rat for a satellite installer. You’re an electrician or a plumber. You hook up your phone, your line tester, your ammeter, or your a flow meter, and BOOM! Just like that, every man in your crew is dead or injured. You’re alive but barely, and you see a bunch of slimy assholes running from you laughing. I don’t know about you, if I lived to see it, I would hunt down every last one of them and ensure they died the most horrific deaths they could possibly ever imagine.
My best friend Alan killed himself just 8 days after returning from Iraq. In those 8 days, he told me things that made me cry. He told me things that gave me pride being an American. He told me things that made me question who I was and what it meant to be alive. The last thing he ever told me was over a beer at a local Winghouse. He said, “Never let war come to these shores. Never let it infect you. Never let it turn you into what I’ve become.”
It destroys the humanity in a person. I don’t blame Behenna for what he did, regardless of the actual events. He was fighting in a war and did what war makes a man do: react. God bless him and may he be pardoned at some point before his release. I’d be there to shake his hand.
Please go to the link below and listen to the interview with Michael Behenna’s girlfriend, Shannon, that took place this evening. The show archive should be posted soon.
We all know our heroes in Leavenworth will not get to vote since they lost that right with their convictions. It is important that we make sure all our veterans get to vote and those who are deployed receive their ballots on time in order to cast their votes in our upcoming elections.
Look at the first link below and see the states that are on the All Star List. The states in dark blue are those who have made great gains in making sure our military members are receiving their absentee ballots on time and able to cast their vote in elections. If you know folks who are living in states that are not on the list, let them know that they need to get active with their County Supervisor of elections to make sure all military members from your county receive information on time so they can cast their votes in our upcoming elections.
Happy to say, our Sunshine State is on the All Star List!
“God bless him and may he be pardoned at some point before his release.”
Since what he did was almost certainly due to brain injury, he cannot be pardoned, for the sole reason that he is not guilty. However, he can no more be released than can a man with severe bleeding be turned out from a hospital.
Thus what he needs is not pardon, but commutation; not release, but what amounts to confinement for medical care.
This means recognition that his is a medical case, not a criminal one; but a medical case so severe that he might not ever be allowed to walk free. That, for as yet undetermined reasons, he still represents a severe threat to himself and others.
Mental illness can be a truly horrifying thing, because a victim is no longer in the realm of reason. It is frightening to a person of reason that a person with mental illness make look fine, or even appear rational, but there is no real communication. It creates apprehension difficult to describe.
Few people can stand being around such people for any length of time. Society shuns them, because they are seen as an existential threat to reality itself. Even discussing their care in uncomfortable for most people.
But they cannot be ignored. And they cannot be free, for they can no longer function within society. And it is not their fault. They are tragedy personified.
And this is his fate.
If there is injustice, he will be put in confinement in a military prison. But in turn this may exacerbate his condition until even they realize that he does not belong there.
The news last week that lst Lt Michael Behenna’s conviction was upheld was devastating to Michael, his devoted girlfriend Shannon, his family, and all of you folks who have stood by Michael and supported him. I was heartbroken for Michael and Shannon and his family, but frankly, I was not surprised. I have made it known that a Chief of Staff on the hill had told me last year that I would not like the eventual outcome for the guys in Leavenworth. As much as I hated his remark and fought in every way I knew how to prove him wrong, in the back of my mind I feared he knew something I didn't. Turns out, he knew what he was talking about.
Now we can rant and rave about the injustice of this decision, but I am laser focused on what we can do now to help secure Mike's release and those of the Leavenworth 10.
So...I called the Chief of Staff who knew the outcome for Mike and asked him, what is the best way to help Michael and the guys in Leavenworth now? His answer did not surprise me and I had already begun to work in this direction 6 months ago. His answer was simple and sensible, appeal to Mitt Romney. If he wins the election in November he is the man who holds the key to the doors of Leavenworth. Write him, get close to him if you can, and speak about the injustice our Soldiers have endured under this administration's current Roe's and catch and release policies.
So...I have written a letter to Anne and Mitt Romney. They are both parents who love their children and love this country. I write to them as a mother whose son served 4 deployments in this war. My letter is below. I ask you to use the info in my letter to write your own, or just use my letter. You can post your letter at Romney's website under Issues: http://www.mittromney.com/forms/site-issues
I do not have an address on the Romneys yet so if any of you out there do, please email it to me. Send your letter to the Romney campaign manger in your state and send it to Congressmen/Senators you might know who will pass this to the Romneys. Send anywhere you think it will do some good. AND most important, whether you print my letter or write your own, carry it with you. If you are at a fundraiser for Romney, pass it to the most senior person you can. I passed a letter to Paul Ryan a couple of months ago regarding Michael Behenna and the insane policies of this war. He listened in earnest and he took my information.
Please engage in this campaign to help these Warriors. We need your help desperately now. All of us together all across this nation can make a tremendous difference for Michael and all our Troops! Please remember, these young men in Leavenworth were living a happy wonderful life until one day they decided they would risk their life for you, to keep you and your family safe. Michael Behenna did just that until the day he was charged for killing a terrorist. I heard Michael's mother say recently that when Michael heard the news that his conviction was upheld, he said he was okay; he was in a “good place” within himself. I believe Michael endures with his soul intact because he knows if Ali Mansur had made it back to his village, he would have killed more of Michael's men, more of our American Sons. He knows he saved the lives of his Soldiers and he helped send them home to their families. Now we need to do everything we can to send Michael home too.
In the meantime, please pray for Mike and the Leavenworth 10. Please pray for Green Beret Kelly Stewart, awaiting his decision any day now, and lst Sgt Walter Taylor, (Purple Heart Recipient and the worst victim of military injustice yet) who is waiting to see if he is on his way to Leavenworth. AND Derrick Miller, who received a life sentence for protecting his unit from an attack. And his unit was attacked that night!!
I believe we are on the precipice of justice for these Soldiers and I believe it is only possible with the election of Mitt Romney. Thanks to all of you for your devoted support of our Soldiers. It means the world to them! And please be sure to vote to elect Mitt Romney on November 6th!
My letter is below.
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Romney,
It is my belief that you will be the next President and First Lady of these great United States! I hope this is the case as I do not believe our country nor her brave defenders can endure another four years under this administration. I write this letter to be certain you are aware of the grave difficulties our military and their families are enduring under the war policies of the Obama administration. My heartfelt request for your consideration is at the end of this letter.
As the daughter of a WWII Navy Veteran, the sister of a Marine, Vietnam, and the mother of a Son who served 4 deployments with the 82nd Airborne, Bronze Star recipient in this WAR ON TERROR, I write to you with much anger, disappointment and a very heavy heart. We currently have Soldiers incarcerated at Leavenworth for serving their country and protecting their Brothers. Meanwhile, captured terrorists are released to their families by this administration on a “Pledge” promising they won't return to the battlefield. I refer you to the article, dated May 23rd, 2010 in the New York Times entitled “US Tries to Reintegrate Taliban Soldiers.”
So the terrorists go home while our Soldiers continue to sit in Leavenworth! Our mothers, American mothers, cry themselves to sleep at night while Iraq and Afghan mothers rejoice! What is even worse is that the entire trial for the terrorist takes 30 minutes while our Soldiers and their families accrue enormous legal fees and travel expenses trying to defend their Hero! This is an outrage! Our Brave Warriors in Leavenworth should be given the same Pledge and released to their families!! What is good enough for the terrorists should certainly be good enough for American Sons! This double standard and cruel injustice needs to stop!
But the practice continues and when questioned in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee just last year , Admiral McRaven testified that we continue to release terrorists: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/obamas-terrorist-catch-and-release-policy/2011/07/06/gIQALpxb0H_blog.html
Time and time again we see the devastating effects on our Troops as a result of this administration's dangerous and reckless catch and release policy. Just recently Col West sent a letter to President Obama regarding the release of a most dangerous terrorist, Daqduq, who killed five of our Soldiers and tortured four of them before he murdered them:
The case of lst Lt Michael Behenna is just one tragic example of the fallout of the dangerous catch and release policy:
lst Lt Michael Behenna is currently serving a 15 year sentence for killing a known Al Qaeda terrorist, Ali Mansur. Last week, we received word from the CAAF court that Michael's conviction was upheld and he will now serve 15 years in Leavenworth. This is his last appeal. Ali Mansur was suspected of planting roadside bombs that killed two of Mike's men and when picked up and interrogated, Mansur was referred to Bucca for further interrogation. However, someone in the chain of command ordered Mansur released and unbelievably, Mike was ordered to take him home. Michael had caught the terrorist, brought him in for questioning, and then he was ordered to release him! Although Ali Mansur wore an Iraqi police uniform, Mike had gathered intelligence that Ali was planting IEDs along the routes our forces took. In the end, Mansur never made it home and I will always believe Michael held the welfare and safety of his men in his heart that fateful day. I heard Michael's mother say recently that when Michael heard the news that his conviction was upheld, he said he was okay; he was in a “good place” within himself. I believe Michael endures with his soul intact because he knows if Ali Mansur had made it back to his village, he would have killed more of Michael's men, more of our American Sons. He knows he saved the lives of his Soldiers and he helped send them home to their families
Recently, a Purple heart recipient was charged for his actions on the battlefield. We currently wait to hear whether Sgt Walter Taylor will be the next Soldier heading to Leavenworth. Sgt Taylor's attorney, James Culp, described a morbid and life threatening reality that is occurring among our brave Warriors on the battlefield: “forced hesitation through intimidation.” This administration's prosecution of brave Soldiers for their actions on the battlefield is intimidating them and the end result is their hesitation to defend themselves and their brothers for fear of prosecution and incarceration! I have no doubt this has caused the escalation in the deaths and loss of limbs of our brave Warriors! This is no way to treat our noble defenders and this is no way to fight a war!
Marcus Luttrell is the Brave and Noble Lone Survivor of Seal Team 10, Operation RedWing, who lost his beloved Brothers because they all feared murder charges and convictions from their actions during their mission. His words sum up best the tragic results of “forced hesitation through intimidation”:
“Look at me, right now in my story. Helpless, tortured, shot, blown up, my best buddies all dead, and all because we were afraid of the liberals back home, afraid to do what was necessary to save our own lives. Afraid of American civilian lawyers. I have only one piece of advice for what it's worth: if you don't want to get into a war where things go wrong, where the wrong people sometimes get killed, where innocent people sometimes have to die, then stay the hell out of it in the first place.”
I believe that most Americans would be shocked to know that this administration has released terrorists ever since they took office and yet they prosecute our Soldiers and send them to prison for doing their job. I ask you please, Mr. Romney, to call upon the Obama administration to stop releasing terrorists immediately. Further, when you take office, I ask that you please review and reverse the policies of this war so that our Soldiers can actually fight, defend themselves and their brothers, and win this war, once and for all!
Lastly and most important, please do not forget our brave Soldiers in Leavenworth. When you take office I implore you to take each Leavenworth case under review and grant pardons to those who are deserving. Michael Behenna is certainly deserving of a pardon.
God Bless You and Your Family and God Bless The United States Military!
With A Mother's Heart,
Please Help Support Our Heroes! Send the following note to EVERY talk radio host and music radio host you know of in your particular state. Thank you so very much!
Dear Radio Host,
Please listen to the song at the link. It is “The Ballad Of Michael Behenna”. If you wish to learn more about Michael's story, AND the stories of other heroes unjustly charged, please contact Beverly Perlson and Bob McCarty, who are leaders in support of our Military. Thanks!
Thanks for the ping!
Freepers I ping here, Please read the following posts on this thread. Please help any way you can to spread the information far and wide in support of our heroes! Thanks!
To expect the present day brass to accept that rough measures are a part of war is futile. These guys are polishing their own resumes, hoping to make ran by proving themselves politically correct. This became perfectly clear when Casey came down to Hood and showed his yellow stripe.
But, but Islamists are just misunderstood!!! If Benhenna had given him a hug, this could have all been prevented.
I would like to hear Romney’s take on this. That was a good letter.
The military has been politicized beyond anything even imagined just 50 years ago. This is really FUBAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Freeper ping here to post #49
What seven kinds of insanity is this? Did I read that correctly? Three mortal, fallible men stripped this Marine of his right to life, that comes from God, and is specifically noted in the Constitution?
The self-defense laws are based on our right to life, and what these horribly combat-ignorant judges did was unconstitutional.
And can we please get back to waging war properly? We’re supposed to kill people and break things until the enemy can fight no more and must sue for peace.
Why are we “fighting” under rules of engagement? They should be called “rules for the enemy to kill our guys or have them thrown in prison.”
I haven’t been this disgusted in a long time, and I’ve been listening to Obama blather on for weeks.
All I can say, is Wow...what a letter...our men over there need our support...what kind of a war are we fighting? Catch the enemy, release them, and send our own men to Leavenworth...FOR DOING THEIR JOB. Why the ‘Catch and Release’ policy? it is because they are of the same cloth as the usurper.
Why cannot this obscene excuse for a President usurping the office and the residence at 1600 PA Ave do his job? Oh, I keep forgetting, he has to play golf, he has to vacation, he has to have fund raisers for his reelection campaign...
...it is time to get him the hell out of the office that he holds unConstitutionally.