In our blog, I’d like to keep our readers up to date on issues that are near and dear to us. As many of you may know, I was a US Navy Seal from 1988 through 1992. I served at Seal Team 5, and in that capacity served as a combatant in the Persian Gulf in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The Seals, also known as Naval Special Warfare, are called upon to perform missions that others can’t accomplish… the dirty, challenging, unglamorous work of warfare. Last Easter, a Seal platoon successfully and decisively ended the Somali Pirate stand-off, but more recently, three Seals are being court-martialed for ridiculous charges.
A group of Navy Seals captured alive an Al-Qaeda operative named Abed, code named “Objective Amber.” He was a high value target and there was considerable risk in capturing him alive. The prisoner subsequently made the allegation of prisoner abuse when he was in Iraqi custody following his capture in September, leading to a US military investigation. Fear of detainee-abuse allegations may have led to charges against the SEALs that are not warranted. Originally offered non-judicial punishment–a captain’s mast–the three SEALs, Petty Officers Matthew McCabe, Jonathan Keefe and Julio Huertas, said they had done nothing wrong and requested courts-martial to clear themselves.
A captain’s mast on their records would negatively impact their careers, denying them advancement and the best assignments. If they clear themselves in courts-martial, their records will be clean. But they’re taking a big risk. If they fail, they face dishonorable discharge from the Navy and time in the brig. This in itself is a strong testimony to their innocence.
I don’t know if Abed is lying, but al-Qaeda terrorists are trained to claim they’ve been mistreated and tortured when they are captured. Perhaps he stumbled and fell. Maybe the SEALs did handle him roughly. Even if the later is true, did the actions of these brave men truly warrant punishment that would leave an indelible stain on their records – or even end their career?
While there are a number of petitions floating around the internet, I think this one is the most appropriate. If you’ve got a moment, consider helping these men who put their lives on the line for you.
As the story proceeds, I will update our readers.