Devastating: Michael Behenna's Conviction Upheld

by: Diana West Friday, July 06, 2012 from joseffy

By a 3-2 majority, the highest military appeals court has upheld Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna's conviction for the unpremediated murder of a detainee and al-Qaeda-operative in Iraq named Ali Mansur. While Michael still could receive clemency, his legal appeals are now officially exhausted. Barring clemency, Michael will remain at Leavenworth military prison until 2024.

What a blow. What a disgrace.

I just finished reading the majority opinion. It is a chilling document. It contains analysis of whether Michael had "the right to act in self-defense" when the detainee he was questioning about IED attacks that had recently killed two men in his platoon, suddenly lunged for Michael's gun, and Michael shot and killed him.

This was one of several issues before the court. As the "initial aggressor" for engaging in an unauthorized interrogation of a naked detainee, Michael, the court upheld,had lost his right to self-defense. Under consideration was whether at any point in the split seconds during which the detainee hurled a piece of concrete at Michael and rushed for his gun, and Michael fired in return at the detainee, Michael ever regained it. 

Three judges in the calm of their chambers in Washington, D.C., determined that he did not.

Or, as they wrote: "Even assuming for a moment that Mansur could have escalated the level of force, we conclude that a naked and unarmed individual in the desert does not escalate the level of force when he throws a piece of concrete at the initial aggressor in full battle attire, armed with a loaded pistol, and lunges for his pistol."

Oh yeah? Maybe it's simplistic of me, but I'd like to see them step into Michael's combat boots and see how it felt out there in the night, after a hard day's "catch-and-release," after military intelligence shockingly set Mansur free and ordered Michael to drive him home -- the very man Michael suspected of knowing all about the attacks that had recently killed two of his men. Michael thought he could get the necessary evidence in one more interrogation, just him and Mansur. But it didn't work out as Michael hoped.

The majority:

Ultimately, even if we assume that Mansur lunged for Appellant's pistol and Appellant feared that Mansur would use the pistol if he was able to seize it, because Appellant was the initial aggressor, and because there was no evidence to support a finding of escalation or withdrawal, a rational member [juror] could have come to no other conclusion than that Appellant lost the right to act in self-defense and did not regain it.

I'm afraid that this court's idea of a "rational member" also could have come to no other conclusion than that Michael, "initial aggressor," bereft of the "right" to self-defense, should have permitted Mansur to snatch his gun from him and then shoot him dead.

Maybe then the three judges would have sighed with a satisfied kind of regret over the poor lieutenant who had given his all for their, frankly, demonic reading of the law. Instead, for having defended himself, for not having sacrificed himself to a charging terrorist, Michael and his family pay the price of Michael's freedom.

America: Is that justice?

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I asked my husband tonight (retired USMC Capt - 24 years) why things like this can happen.  His comment to me was that the higher ups got to the judges (also military) who were probably told either do it or not expect any further increase in rank.  The military officers have become pawns in the hands of this administration.  I am literally in tears,  isn't there any decent, honorable men left in this country????  When Romney takes over the presidency, we must make sure he pardons this young man and starts firing all the politically correct folks.

romney is only in the race to lose it, like mccain did. The arabs are running this country and more good soldiers like this will get the same insane convictions from our commie military leaders and this freaky administration.

Almost when my 4 years were up, was asked to ship over (Navy),

told them what duty I wanted. Said they would try. Had a "gut feeling",

had seen and heard too much. Got out overseas,

flew back. Had a job in Electronics in 3 weeks. Back then the GI Bill

was great, a house, education. Later got out of the Gov't after 32 yrs.

Another world. 

This type of thing makes me fear what is becoming of our military. I truly feel for the folks serving now. I could see this coming back in the early 90s and late 80's when I was still in. The political correctness, even then, was destroying what was the best thing about this country.

No but it is politics. It is how our Military responds to the President and his policies.As sad as this story is it is different

only in the name of the sacrificial lamb.Those who serve in harms way  volunteer and this but one extreme of the meaning

of the terms used in the Oath administered.The prayers of this house are the political prisoner -and his family.

This is terrible. And Obama just tells every one how sorry he is - we are in trouble.

The chain of command are the real losers.  They failed to have the back of a warrior in battle with a barbaric enemy. I suspect an embedded reporter saw an opportunity to make a big story and concocted (read drone following a civilian car in training) his/her own version and the chain of command buckled.  Michael became a sacrificial lamb rather than a chain of command displaying courage and taking care of a soldier.  It could have been handled at the battalion level during a discussion with Michael, justifying "war is hell".


I retired from the US Army back in 78 after 23 years. I am a Ranger combat veteran of the Vietnam War. I made it clear while I was in Vietnam that anybody in front of me was the enemy and be damned the rules of engagement. When the lives of my men were at stake, anything goes to bring them home safely. I guess that is why I only did one tour in Nam, primarily because, if the enemy has no rules of engagement, then I don't either. My heart goes out to this Army Ranger who took it in the dark side from judges who never were in his situation. 

Ronald,  I  salute  You,  that  chain  of  command  in  all;;  almost  killed  me  in  the  Navy  in  `66,  CO  was  relieved  of  command, young  then,  retired  `88  safely..  turned  at  looked  at  my  unit, they  saluted  Me. I  wish  I  could  salute  Michael.  His  chain  of  command  buckled..  No  boots  on  the  ground  there.!!!  

I am sorry, but Michael should NOT be in prison, he should be given a medal for what he did. He did the right response and it is sad that these officers can't see the TRUTH for the forest. Another Travesty of Justice...

It is time to try the judges for treason!  Remember who they are when it comes to their trials for treason.



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