S.O.S. — Save Our (Navy) Seals

March 6, 2010 01:10

via IBD Editorials

Military: Two U.S. congressmen take the lead in proclaiming the obvious — that those who attack this country should be punished and not those who risk their lives to defend it.

The Navy SEALs are a special breed of patriot and warrior. This highly trained and select group — the best of the best — is a daily participant in the long twilight struggle against the enemies of freedom that President Kennedy warned us about.

Kennedy formally created the SEAL (sea, air, land) outfit as an elite force capable of combat operations in any environment. It was a team of Navy SEAL sharpshooters that killed three pirates who commandeered the American-flagged Maersk Alabama and held its captain hostage.

Last Sept. 3, Special Warfare Operators 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, from Perrysburg, Ohio, and Jonathan Keefe of Yorktown, Va., as well as Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Julio Huertas of Blue Island, Ill., were members of Navy SEAL Team 10 who were dropped into harm’s way to capture a high-value target known as Objective Amber.

The mission to capture Ahmed Hashim Abed, the mastermind behind the killing, burning and mutilation of four American contractors working for Blackwater USA in Fallujah, Iraq, in March 2004 was a success.

But so skewed are our priorities these days, the three SEALs are facing court-martial because Abed claims McCabe punched him in the stomach while in custody.

Trials for Huertas and Keefe, accused of trying to cover up the alleged slug and failing to safeguard a detainee, are set to begin in Iraq in April.

McCabe will be tried in Norfolk, Va., in May for striking a detainee and lying to investigators about it. The trio could have accepted what is called administrative discipline, but opted for a court-martial as the only way to clear their names.

If anyone is lying, it is Abed.

We have reported how captured al-Qaida training manuals advise captured enemy combatants to lie about their treatment.

“If you claim that you are tortured or mistreated, that will usually resonate with the hard left in America and around the world and they know it will have an impact,” Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., said at a Thursday press conference with McCabe.

Appearing with Burton and McCabe was Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., one of 40 congressman who have signed a letter asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Army Maj. Gen. Charles Cleveland, commander of Special Operations Command Central; and Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, to drop all charges against the three.

“We join with our fellow citizens today in demanding that this prosecution, this court-martial, be canceled,” Rohrabacher said Thursday. “These men should be given medals — not be prosecuted.”

We think so, too.

Burton, along with the conservative publication Human Events, has circulated a petition for the SEALs’ freedom that has garnered more than 150,000 signatures.

So far this affair has been largely ignored by the liberal media. We suspect that most Americans are as outraged as we are that such patriots and soldiers face incarceration for defending their country while an avowed killer is given the benefit of the doubt.

Gen. Cleveland defended the prosecution of the SEALs in a response to Burton, writing, “The abuse of a detainee, no matter how minor, creates strategic repercussions that harm our nation’s security and ultimately costs the lives of U.S. citizens.”

To which we say bullfeathers. Can we get you anything to drink, Mr. Abed? A pillow or magazine, perhaps?

If the court-martial proceeds, the only thing impressed upon foreign terrorists will be American weakness.

It will invite more terrorism as surely as our shameful withdrawal from Somalia after Americans were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu inspires Osama bin Laden.

The likes of Abed would kill us all if they could. We should honor, not prosecute, those who are trying to stop them.

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