The military is throwing the book at three terrorist-hunting Navy SEALs who captured one of the most wanted in Iraq.
It seems one of the commandos may have punched Ahmed Hashim Abed, who intelligence reports said planned the bloody ambush of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah, Iraq, five years ago.
Instead of plaudits, three SEALs face court-martial in January. And conservatives are expressing outrage to HUMAN EVENTS.
Abed, whom the U.S. command designated "Objective Amber," was nabbed in darkness Sept. 3 by a platoon of commandos from SEAL Team 10, based in Norfolk.
The next few hours proved a bit comical. The SEALS took him to an Iraqi police station to enter the country’s judicial system. But when the higher-ups were notified, they told the sailors to get him back. He was too valuable. After hours of negotiations, the Iraqis gave him back and Abed ended up in a cell inside the U.S.-secured Green Zone.
Sometime along the way Abed alleged he was punched and showed a bloody lip to prove it.
The military is hypersensitive to any charge of prisoner abuse or any hint of a coverup. A SEAL officer immediately notified the chain of command. Next thing the SEAL platoon knew, they were writing out statements and being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
The SEALs were sent packing back to Norfolk. They will be arraigned next Monday and face separate special courts-martial. The case was first reported Tuesday by FoxNews.com.
Three other SEALs — two officers and an enlisted man — in the unit have given statements as witnesses. According to one statement obtained by Fox, the SEAL told investigators he looked in on the detainee and did not see any injuries.
The charges were brought by the commander of the special operations component of U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla.
The three SEALs charged:
Matthew McCabe, special operations petty officer second class (SO-2). Offenses: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee; making false official statement; and assault.
Jonathan Keefe, SO-2. Dereliction of performance of duty and making false official statement.
Julio Huertas, SO-1. Dereliction of duty; making false statement and impediment of an investigation.
The March 2004 Fallujah atrocity was a turning point in the war. Insurgents ambushed four Blackwater agents, all former commandoes. They died in a hale of gunfire and grenades. Insurgents then burned the bodies and dragged them through town. Two were hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River, for the world media to see.
The gruesome picture was a wake up call to the U.S. military. It now knew it faced a vicious enemy able to spring attacks throughout the country.
Conservative bloggers are ridiculing the military for filing criminal charges against three brave warriors.
"Navy SEALs betrayed by our own government! Who will be next," one blared.
Another website said, "PC rubbish at its worst."
Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness and fights against a political corrected armed forces, said she is appalled.
“This prosecution is a disturbing vision of the demoralizing legal entanglements that our soldiers will face in the future if they capture murderous enemies in a war zone," she told HUMAN EVENTS. "Now that the Obama Administration has decided to play along with terrorists who demand an undeserved show-trial in New York City, terrorists know exactly how to exploit for their own benefit military regulations as well as civilian law. The prosecuting authorities’ thoughtless lack of judgment in this case reminds me of the canary in the coal mine, an unmistakable sign of dangers to come."