Hon. Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
Dear Secretary Gates:
We, the editors and staff of HUMAN EVENTS, and the many Americans who have attached their signatures to this petition, hereby request your personal intervention to dismiss the charges against Navy SEAL operators SO2 Jonathan Keefe, SO1 Julio Huertas and SO2 Matthew McCabe.
These three men are charged with abusing a terrorist they captured in a daring nighttime raid on or about 1 September 2009. On that night, they — as part of a platoon from SEAL Team 10 — captured and detained Ahmed Hashim Abed, one of the most barbaric and dangerous terrorists in Iraq. The terrorist — in a move that is literally right out of the al-Queda training manual — complained of abuse, apparently alleging he was struck in the stomach.
We had hoped that the SEALs’ commanders would dispose of this matter at the lowest level — with a scolding and perhaps a few hundred pushups — for anyone actually guilty of inflicting an inconvenience on this bloody-handed barbarian. But on 29 September 2009, Gen. David H. Petraeus signed a letter authorizing MGen. Charles T. Cleveland to dispose of the allegations of misconduct. In that letter, Gen. Petraeus said that MGen. Cleveland could, “…dispose of these matters in any manner you deem appropriate. This includes the authority to convene courts-martial at any level up to and including General Courts-Martial and to refer charges concerning these individuals to any court-martial.”
The three now face special courts-martial next month. We believe their commanders — including General Petraeus — have failed you, the SEALs and the American people by not preventing the matter from going this far.
You are the person next in line above General Petraeus in the chain of command. You can, legally under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, intervene to dismiss the charges against the three SEALs and direct that they be restored to duty.
We respectfully request that you do so forthwith. For this matter to continue — and to place the honor and fighting future of these three men at stake — is manifestly a gross injustice.