Screengrab from https://twitter.com/ABC/status/1125693591056277506
Yesterday, President Trump did the right thing. He granted a pardon to former Army lieutenant Michael Behenna. Behenna was convicted by a court-martial in 2009 on the charge that he’d summarily executed an Iraqi bombmaker who had killed two soldiers in Behenna’s platoon.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 7, 2019
Behenna was caught up in a spate of prosecutions of US soldiers for alleged war crimes and there is more than ample evidence that a decision had been made at some level–and not necessarily within command channels–that Behenna was going down. His appeals, dismissed by a military appeals court, included evidence that the government’s own experts had provided testimony that Behenna acted in self-defense but that this had not been disclosed to his defense team.
Behenna was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. That sentence was eventually reduced to 15 and Behenna was released on parole in 2014.
The left is not happy:
The point of his though, like the Arpaio pardon, is to send the message that certain groups of people simply have no rights that the US government is bound to respect.
— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) May 7, 2019
A gross act of Islamophobia from Trump today.
He just pardoned a soldier who was convicted of murder after he disobeyed an order to transport a prisoner in Iraq.
He drove the man deep into the desert. Stripped him naked. Shot & killed him. https://t.co/7ouCJlfkx6
— Shaun King (@shaunking) May 7, 2019
This pardon is a presidential endorsement of a murder that violated the military's own code of justice.
Military leaders, including Trump as commander-in-chief, should prevent war crimes — not endorse or excuse them. https://t.co/MBTHzAO9Ui
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 7, 2019
Trump is encouraging US troops to commit war crimes with the expectation that they will be pardoned in the unlikely event they are convicted. https://t.co/YBU7R2NKKc
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) May 7, 2019
The actual facts in the case are much different than those being presented by the above bunch of losers:
Since his conviction, Behenna, an Oklahoma native, has won the support of former governor Mary Fallin (R), state Attorney General Mike Hunter (R), and more than 30 retired generals and admirals — among them Trump’s former special envoy for the Persian Gulf, retired Gen. Anthony Zinni.
Late Monday, Sens. James Lankford and James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, both Republicans, praised Trump’s decision.
“I’m grateful that the long road for Michael Behenna and his family has finally come to a joyous end,” Lankford said in the joint statement. “Michael now gets a clean slate and a second chance at life.”
This is not a case of President Trump encouraging lawlessness. While Behenna was obviously deserving of some punishment for the events, a 25-year prison sentence and dismissal from the Army was a horrible miscarriage of justice brought on by the Army insisting on treating the Iraq war as though it was Officer O’Malley rousting some truants rather the brutal counterinsurgency that it was. This is a case of President Trump acting to overturn a political decision to make an example of a young man doing his best under difficult circumstances, and that was recognized as such by a large number of retired flag officers as well as numerous politicians who stood to gain nothing from getting involved in a case of cold-blooded murder.