Army punishes hero after investigation clears him

golsteyn

It appears that the effort by the Obama administration to reduce the Army to a combat ineffective social welfare organization focused on transgender rights and never giving anyone a sad is near completion. Via the Washington Post:

Capt. Mathew L. Golsteyn was leading a Special Forces team in Afghanistan in 2010 when an 80-man mission he assembled to hunt insurgent snipers went awry. One of the unit’s five vehicles sank in mud, a gunshot incapacitated an Afghan soldier fighting alongside the Americans, and insurgents maneuvered on them to rake the soggy fields with machine-gun fire.

Golsteyn, already a decorated Green Beret officer, responded with calm resolve and braved enemy fire repeatedly that day, according to an Army summary of his actions. He received the Silver Star for valor for his actions during a 2011 ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C. Top Army officials later approved him for an upgrade to the prestigious Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor in recognizing combat heroism by U.S. soldiers.

In a rare reversal, however, Golsteyn, now a major, no longer has either award. The Special Forces officer and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., was later investigated for an undisclosed violation of the military’s rules of engagement in combat for killing a known enemy fighter and bomb maker, according to officials familiar with the case. The investigation closed last year without Golsteyn’s being charged with a crime, but Army Secretary John M. McHugh decided not only to deny Golsteyn the Distinguished Service Cross, but also to revoke his Silver Star.

So what is Major (and soon to be Mister) Golsteyn do? We don’t really know. What we do know is that whatever he did was not a crime.From [mc_name name=’Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000615′ ] Hunter writing in The Daily Beast:

The allegation was presented through informal channels to the Army, which went to extraordinary lengths to investigate Golsteyn. The Army tried to turn up anything it could, but was unable to find one piece of evidence to corroborate the allegation.

Today, Golsteyn is still waiting for the Army to make a determination about his future. He’s been sidelined, his Special Forces recognition stripped, all while a guessing-game has ensued about what will happen to this decorated warfighter. Even the men who served under Golsteyn have been threatened at times, with the Army going as far to promise them full immunity several times over. None of them had anything to say.

If that wasn’t enough, the combat valor awards that Golsteyn received for heroism— including a Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross—were recently revoked by the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh. It’s McHugh’s belief that if the nominating and approving authorities were aware of allegation, Golsteyn would never have been awarded two of the Army’s highest awards for valor.

How unfortunate. The career of a decorated soldier and everything he has accomplished over a nearly fifteen-year service career has been taken away. The reason: an allegation that the Army was never able to substantiate.

This is a cross between a novel by Franz Kafka and the philosophy of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland: “Sentence first – verdict afterwards.” The feckless Army hierarchy under Obama has made a fetish of hounding from the service anyone who runs afoul of criminally restrictive rules of engagement — rules that are much more strict than those under which police in the United States operate. And they haven’t been averse to sending men to jail for it.

Shortly after he and his men rolled out of their small outpost in Kandahar province early July 2, 2012, Army pilots warned Lorance over the radio about suspected insurgents loitering north, east and west of the platoon, according to the account posted on the Web site. As the troops, most of whom were on foot, approached a village, they spotted the men on motorcycles. Suspecting that they were insurgents, Lorance asked one of his soldiers to shoot them.

Lorance’s site contends that intelligence reports he had reviewed suggested that every man on a motorcycle in that vicinity was presumed to be a member of the Taliban because the insurgent group was in control of the area. The order to fire the two long-range shots was rightful, his account says, “eliminating the threat.”

Prosecutors say Lorance knew that to be false — and they elicited testimony from service members that bolstered their case. U.S. troops in Afghanistan may open fire only if they detect hostile intent or actions in the battlefield.

After some of his men reported the incident up the chain of command, Lorance was reassigned to a desk job and stripped of his weapon as an investigation was launched. In January, a few months after returning home with the rest of the brigade, he was charged with murder, attempted murder and misconduct.

In an unprecedented act, Secretary of the Army John McHugh (part of the Quisling Republican caucus) has boasted about the number of officers he has had relieved. Some, indeed many, of them might have deserved being relieved but is bespeaks a very tiny man who brags about the scalps he’s collected.

“We have a standard by which every allegation brought against an officer is investigated,” McHugh said. “But we do have to be reasonable and make appropriate judgments based on the evidence that’s placed before us, and that’s a human endeavor and there’s no formula by which you can perfectly construct it.”

The Army must strike a balance between holding leaders accountable and being careful that it is not creating a “zero tolerance Army,” McHugh said.

“Leading soldiers is a science, but it’s also art, and even a good leader can make a mistake,” he said. “The best way to go about that is just use common sense in how we judge leaders who may have strayed.”

The case of Major Golsteyn gives the lie to McHugh’s statement. In this case, where a demonstrably brave and competent officer is stripped of decorations for valor based on a baseless allegation,  it is clear that Golsteyn’s fate was sealed from the moment the allegation was made.

This is not leadership.

This is not management.

This is simply bullying of the worst sort.

When Lieutenant Harry H. “Breaker” Morant was awaiting execution after his conviction of having murdered Boer prisoners of war he penned a poem titled “Butchered To Make A Dutchman’s Holiday.” One of the verses is:

If you encounter any Boers
You really must not loot ’em!
And if you wish to leave these shores,
For pity’s sake, DON’T SHOOT ‘EM!

Anyone serving in the Army today would do well to memorize it. It will come in handy.