1st Lt. Michael Behenna
The Politically Correct Imprisonment of U.S. Soldiers
Last Thursday, guest host Lt. Col Allen West discussed the disgraceful treatment of our soldiers under the U.S. military justice system. Joining him for the segment was 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, his father Scott Behenna, and military criminal defense attorney Neal Puckett. Lt. Behenna’s battle with the military justice system is something no American hero should have to endure, but sadly, his case is just one of many examples of how our soldiers and Marines are imprisoned in the name of political correctness.
Background: Behenna’s Case
Lt. Behenna was tried and convicted of murder after killing Al Qaeda operative, Ali Mansur, in Iraq in 2008. Army intelligence believed Mansur helped organize an attack on Behenna’s platoon (which killed two of his men) and on May 5th, the soldiers detained Mansur. According the lieutenant’s website, “without explanation, Army intelligence ordered the release of Mansur” on May 16, 2008 and Behenna was told to transport Mansur back to his home. While conducting a final “field interview” of Mansur, the terrorist attacked the lieutenant, who acted in self-defense and shot the Al Qaeda operative. Behenna is now out on parole after spending 5 of his 15 year sentence at Leavenworth prison in Kansas.
Perhaps most damning about Behenna’s case is the exculpatory evidence withheld by the prosecution--a grave violation of the Brady Rule--which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence that could be helpful to the defense’s case. Scott Behenna told Allen West, “All of the physical evidence showed that Ali Mansur had to be standing with his arm outstretched when Michael fired the shots.... Even the government expert, Dr. Herbert MacDonell,…the grandfather of blood spatter evidence was hired by the prosecution and it was later made known to us that he told the prosecutors what Michael testified to had to have happened, but instead they sent him (MacDonell) home and ultimately Michael was convicted without Dr. MacDonell’s testimony.”
The Leavenworth 10
Behenna is one of twelve men who now make up the “Leavenworth 10,” – a group of soldiers and Marines who were sentenced between 10 years to life in prison for killing the enemy overseas (some have been paroled). Of these servicemen, the Leavenworth 10 website says, “They and their families have fallen victim to the untenable Rules of Engagement, demoralizing ‘Catch and Release’ policies, and a climate of political correctness that govern our troops’ actions while trying to survive in a combat zone.” The other members of the Leavenworth 10 include 1st. Lt. Clint Lorance (whose story is detailed on Hannity.com), Sgt. Evan Carnahan, PFC Corey Calgett, SSG Raymond Girouard, MSG John Hatley, SPC William Hunsaker, SGT Larry Hutchins, SGT Michael Leahy, SFC Joseph Mayo, SGT Derrick Miller, and SGT Michael Williams.
1st Lt. Clint Lorance
Bowing to the Enemy
One theme throughout the segment was clear: America is imprisoning its heroes in order to appease foreign governments and charging our men with violating the politically correct rules of engagement. Col. West compared Behenna’s punishment to “giving out traffic tickets at the Daytona 500.” Attorney Neal Puckett said he sees a “presumption in favor of trying to demonstrate that our soldiers and Marines act unlawfully.” He argued that commanders need to be more protective of their soldiers when it comes to combat related killing or death. He says instead of having a presumption of innocence, today’s commanders prefer to quickly “prosecute and convict them [the soldiers] to calm the furor in the host nation than to err on the side of protecting our soldiers and Marine’s rights.”
Lt. Behenna urged listeners to visit the Leavenworth10 website and learn about their stories, and said “I was released on parole in March 2014 and it was a great day. Now I want other people to know that there are still other guys in there…. those guys are considered criminals and have sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison.”
The men who fought so bravely for our freedoms abroad are now forced to fight for their own freedom at home. They dedicated years of service to the United States and now waste away in prison in order to appease leaders of countries that will never be satisfied with the U.S.
How is it that America’s finest are subjected to such severe miscarriages of justice, while others get away with far worse? In 2013, 36,000 illegal aliens with criminal convictions (193 of which were convicted of homicide) were released by U.S. officials back onto our streets. How is it that leftist domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, who was responsible for multiple bombings across the U.S. (and went on to become a distinguished professor and fundraise for then-candidate Obama), never spent a day in jail for his violent crimes, while some from the Leavenworth 10 may never spend another day outside of prison? Don’t forget Senator Ted Kennedy. Even though he left a woman to drown in his car and didn’t report the incident until 9 hours later, he never even served the measly 2 month jail sentence for leaving the scene of an accident and continued to serve in the United States Senate for nearly five decades.
We must educate ourselves on the stories of 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, 1st. Lt. Clint Lorance, Sgt. Evan Carnahan, PFC Corey Calgett, SSG Raymond Girouard, MSG John Hatley, SPC William Hunsaker, SGT Larry Hutchins, SGT Michael Leahy, SFC Joseph Mayo, SGT Derrick Miller, and SGT Michael Williams and fight for them like they fought for us.