The U.S. military has succumbed to political correctness, and we’re all less safe because of it. Our fighting men and women are over in Afghanistan spending their time building roads and schools and hospitals, vainly hoping that by doing so they will win over the jihadis who hate us and fight against us because they’re told to by the Koran.
And again and again, the military wastes time and money prosecuting Americans for doing their job on the battlefield. Army Ranger First Lieutenant Michael Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder for killing al-Qaeda operative Ali Mansur in Iraq. Marine commander Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani and seven Marines in his unit were convicted of killing 24 Iraqi civilians “in cold blood” after a fierce battle following the killing of a Marine by Iraqis who planted a bomb on a road and then fired on Marines from nearby houses.
Cases like these – and there are many others like them – are gross miscarriages of justice and outrageous persecutions of our fighting men and women. There were many irregularities in Lt. Behenna’s trial, but even when new evidence came to light he was denied a new trial. I thought he would at least get a fair trial with the new evidence. This wonderful soldier killed a known terrorist, a bloody savage who had dedicated his life to waging the war against the West by jihad.
We should be giving Behenna, Chessani and others like them a parade down Fifth Avenue. The criminalization of our heroes is the liberal wet dream and the goal of the enemy, Islamic supremacists. Indeed, they make common cause of their hatred of the good. This cannot stand.
U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant First Class Kelly A. Stewart is another kind of case altogether, but it is similar in telling ways. Sgt. Stewart spent fourteen years in the military, serving his country in Kosovo, Iraq, and elsewhere. In 2008 he engaged in behavior that can in no way be seen as exemplary or heroic: he had a one-night stand with a German woman he met at a club near Stuttgart. He was then charged with rape and kidnapping – and convicted, despite a complete lack of forensic evidence and eyewitnesses.
Stewart got eight years in prison for crimes he always insisted that he never committed. The conviction and sentence were based almost exclusively on the word of the accuser, a former mental patient who – according to witnesses who emerged later – lied on the stand more than once. Finally, in August 2010, the weight of evidence was so much in Stewart’s favor that the military reduced his sentence by five years and released him on parole.
Now, in Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, investigative journalist Bob McCarty tells Stewart’s story. McCarty includes never-before-published information that he took straight from the actual trial records, and interviewed numerous key players in the case.
What emerges is a picture of a military establishment that is cowed by political correctness to the extent that it is even willing to throw our fighting men and women to the wolves to appease the left. What Stewart actually did was wrong, and he freely admits that and declares that he stands ready to accept the just penalties that he has coming to him. But until he gets a new trial, even though his sentence was reduced and he was released from prison, he still remains classified as a sex offender.
Three Days In August shows how much Stewart deserves to have that new trial. And it shows more beyond that: it shows that the U.S. military is in drastic need of reform from top to bottom. The military culture that allowed jihadist Nidal Malik Hasan to rise to the rank of major, and that persecutes fighting men like Michael Behenna and Jeffrey Chessani, and that convicts Kelly Stewart on the flimsiest of evidence, needs to undergo a complete reevaluation of its priorities, its mission, its goals, and more.
We can only hope that the next president undertakes that reform. Barack Obama sure isn’t going to do it.