Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Poem To Honor Cape Wind

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On Hiatus

RWE is on a temporary hiatus due to all my time being taking up with my taxes and my project at work. Stay tuned for my return in a week or so.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Joke of the Week

Dear Lord,

This past year you have taken my favorite actor Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress Farrah Fawcett, my favorite musician Les Paul, and my favorite salesman Billy Mays.
I just want you to know that The Chosen One is my favorite President, Nancy Pelosi is my favorite speaker of the House, and Harry Reid is my all time favorite Senator from Nevada.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

American Patrot/Hero of the Week

Typically the American Patriot/Hero of the Week posts are as apolitical as I can make them. Not so this week. This week I am dedicating this post to aid one of our brave boys in uniform who has, I believe, been wrongly imprisoned. I will tell you the story of Michael Behenna, and why he needs, and deserves, your help and support.

Michael Behanna was inspired to join the military after witnessing the September 11th attacks. After college, he joined the Army as an Infantry officer in the 101st Airborne Division. Lieutenant Behenna deployed to Iraq in 2007.

(The rest is courtesy of Wikipedia)
During his tour of duty in Iraq, Behenna's platoon conducted counter-insurgency operations in the Salahuddin province with a focus on the towns of Mezra, Hajaj and Butoma. Behenna made efforts to develop ties with local Iraqis as part of his counter insurgency mission and, already fluent in Spanish, began to teach himself Arabic. He was known to host cookouts with his platoon for local interpreters, engage with civilians on the street and encouraged his soldiers to learn about Iraqi culture and to eat their food. This desire to interact with locals caused some friction within his platoon with one soldier commenting: "He would talk to random civilians, anyone. He was the type of guy that liked Iraqis. That was the only annoying thing about him. He was always about saving the country."
On the 21st of April, 2008, Behenna's platoon was returning to their base with two detainees when their convoy was hit by an IED. One of the platoon's MRAPs was destroyed and two soldiers, Specialists Adam Kohlhaas and Steven Christofferson, were killed and several others grievously wounded. The loss of his men weighed heavily on Behenna who at one point broke down in tears over the incident during a group therapy session.
On May 5, Behenna received information on a man suspected by military intelligence to be working for Al Qaeda in Iraq they believed responsible for the attack on April 21. Acting on this intelligence Behenna's platoon raided a house in Butoma where they found the man identified by military intelligence, Ali Mansur Mohamed, along with a cache of ammunition, a RPK light machine gun and a passport with Syrian visas. After securing Mansur and collecting the arms cache Behenna's platoon returned to base with Mansur and turned him over to military intelligence agents for questioning.
Less than two weeks later Mansur was order released due to military intelligence having insufficient evidence to hold him any longer. Behenna's platoon was tasked with the return of Mansur to town as soon as possible. On May 16, while waiting for a dust storm to clear, Behenna took Mansur aside and, with the help of his Iraqi interpreter nicknamed "Harry", tried to question Mansur on the April 21st attacks. Mansur, zip tied and blindfolded, proved uncooperative so Behenna threatened Mansur with death if he refused to talk to Behenna by the end of the day.
After the dust storm cleared Behenna's platoon dropped off another detainee. Before Mansur could be released Behenna ordered his platoon to begin taking an alternate route back to base. Along the way Behenna ordered his unit to stop and then removed Mansur from the MRAP carrying them. From that point Behenna, "Harry", the platoon sergeant, Hal M. Warner and Mansur disappeared from the platoon's line of sight into a roadside culvert. After some time two shots were heard and then a bright flash was seen from the culvert. During another attempt by Behenna and Harry to interrogate Mansur about the attack on his platoon Behenna shot and killed Mansur, striking him once in the chest and once in the head. Staff Sergeant Warner then placed a incendiary grenade under Mansur's head. The two soldiers and Harry were observed by the rest of the platoon returning without Mansur. Behenna ordered the platoon back to the base and the next day local villagers found Mansur's burned body in the culvert. On July 31 of 2008 Behenna was relieved of his command and charged with the premeditated murder of Ali Mansur Mohamed. In November of that year Behenna was returned to Fort Campbell and assigned to security duties pending his court martial.
Court Martial
After Lieutenant Behenna's Article 32 hearing the Behenna family hired defense attorney Jack Zimmerman, a former United States Marine, military trial judge and Vietnam veteran. The prosecution, led by Captain Erwin Roberts, made its opening statements on February 23, 2009. The prosecution's two principal witnesses were Harry and Staff Sergeant Warner. Warner struck a plea bargain with the prosecution where he agreed to plead guilty to assault, maltreatment of a subordinate and making a false statement in exchange for not being charged with premeditated murder and for his future testimony against Lt Behenna. The defense contended that Behenna was under an acute stress disorder as a result of the attacks on his platoon and that during the shooting he had acted in self defense after Mansur lunged at him. After less than three and a half hours of deliberation the jury came back finding Behenna not guilty of making a false declaration and premeditated murder but guilty of UCMJ Article 118, unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years confinement.

Michael Behenna is currently appealing his verdict based on the contention that the prosecution withheld Brady material in the form of the prosecution's forensic analyst Herbert MacDonell's statements to them that his analysis of the wounds corroborated Behenna's accounting of the shooting as being self-defense. The defense contends that Dr. MacDonnell had told the prosecution that Behenna's story was consistent with the forensic evidence and that they needed to alert the defense of that fact under the ruling of the Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland. MacDonnell also told defense attorney Zimmerman that he would have "made a great witness for him." Zimmerman confronted the prosecution about any potential information they might possess about Behenna but the prosecution denied being aware of any. Upon post-trial evidence of these series of events, a former senator, several former US Attorneys and States Attorneys General, law professors, and lawyers wrote to the Secretary of the United States Army, Pete Geren, asking for a retrial. After learning that the prosecution had not passed on his information, Dr. MacDonnell also signed several motions for mistrial. After reviewing the defense's initial motion, a military judge declined to declare a mistrial but a military panel reviewed the case and decided to reduce Behenna's sentence to 20 years. After the Behenna family appealed to the Army's Clemency and Parole Board Michael Behenna's sentence was again reduced, this time to 15 years. The case remains on appeal.
This case came before the Court Martial during a particularly unpopular period of the Iraq War. Due to the timing, and with the help of Democrat Congressmen appealing to their rabid, and quite frankly mad, supporters, Lt. Behenna was offered little more than a drum-head trial. Granted that it is illegal to threaten someone with death during an interrogation, though god only knows why not, and they did desecrate a body, but this is in no way worth stealing 15 years from a young man's life just to placate a bunch of idiot leftists. Please write to your congressmen and/or go to the website to find out how you can help. They take donations for the legal defense fund, and tell how you can contact Lt. Behenna as he is in need of your direct support if you find yourself unable to give monetary support. Help Lt. Behenna and his family find justice, and set things aright.