Friday, May 7, 2010

Military Justice - Third Seal Acquitted

Military justice is sometimes referred to as an oxymoron. However, I can tell you from personal experience that this not so. For the most part, commanders take seriously the need for impartiality and fairness in their proceedings, even during Captain's mast or Article 15, where the rules of evidence are considerably looser than in a Courts Martial. Further, there are many circumstances under which an accused sailor, soldier or Marine can decline Article 15 proceedings and ask for a court martial. This further protects the military member from a biased outcome.

This week the strength of this system was again confirmed when Petty Officer Second Class Matthew McCabe was acquitted for allegedly roughing up a prisoner, the notorious Ahmed Hashim Abed, who had masterminded assassinations of American private security guards in Iraq. P.O. McCabe made the good decision in this case to accept court martial in lieu of Captain's Mast (Article 15), because the convening authority, Lt Gen Charles Cleveland appeared to hold some biases. Now, all three seals that were charged have been acquitted.

Video from McCabe here. Embed fixed, video folows:

I would also add that even though he was acquitted, P.O. McCabe has suffered through an ordeal. He had the real chance of going to jail; his career was definitely interrupted, and his reputation was damaged by the comments of his commanding general, who presumed him guilty. I hope that he is able to resume his career.

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