On Veterans Day, Ray Hartwell, himself a Navy veteran, pays tribute to three Navy SEALs: Julio (“Tony”) Huertas, Jonathan Keefe, and Matthew McCabe. Last year, the three helped capture Ahmed Hashim Abed, a terrorist and murderer responsible for many atrocities, including the killing and public mutilation of American civilians in Fallujah:
When intelligence pinpointed Abed’s location, the SEAL team infiltrated his compound at night, on foot, through miles of hostile territory to avoid having their quarry warned by the sound of approaching helicopters. The SEALs could have easily killed Abed and many of the not-so-innocent folks who harbored him. Instead, Abed was seized, handcuffed and hooded, and carried back to a helicopter that delivered him to confinement. There were no casualties; not a shot was fired.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there:
After his capture, the killer Abed claimed he had received a bloody lip from the Americans. This was an expected terrorist tactic, a move prescribed in a captured al-Qaida manual, where one can also find helpful guidance on plucking the eyeballs of infidels and using power drills on their skulls. So, Abed played the abuse card, and it had exactly the “lawfare” effect intended by its authors: causing our military and civilian leaders to turn against our own troops.
An investigation followed. A sailor assigned to guard Abed admitted leaving the prisoner unattended in violation of orders. This guard eventually claimed he saw McCabe punch Abed in the gut, and that Huertas and Keefe saw what happened. But his version of events conflicted with Abed’s, and the two of them were contradicted by all of the numerous other witness accounts of what happened.
Nevertheless, McCabe was charged with assaulting Abed. Huertas and Keefe were charged with failing to prevent the assault and with lying to cover it up. All three denied any attack occurred . . . . Confident they had done no wrong, the three exercised their right to demand trials by court martial.
All three trials resulted in swift acquittals. This is not surprising given the glaring weaknesses in the prosecution’s cases.
As Ray points out, the three SEALS showed their moral courage and personal honor by choosing the risk of a prison sentence in order to clear their names. And the military judges and jurors involved showed similar fortitude.
So, on Veterans Day, let’s join Ray in wishing these three SEALS every success on their future missions, and in hoping that our top military and political leaders give them the support they deserve.