Right now, we have U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi unlawfully locked up in Mexico. We are dancing around the idea of granting POW status to Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl — a deserter — and we’re handing out “pink slips” to our young combat leaders in Afghanistan. You may just wonder, what more disrespect could the Obama administration show to our men and women in uniform?
Well, here you go.
You might remember the story we brought you about Marine Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley, 21, who, along with fellow Marines Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, 29, Cpl. Richard Rivera Jr.,20, was gunned down in their Forward Operating Base (FOB) Delhi, Helmand province, gym while working out. A fourth Marine, Staff Sgt Cody Rhode, survived his gunshot wounds.
As well, the collateral damage of this incident involved the administrative punishment of Marine Major Jason Brezler, who sent a warning to deployed Marines in 2012 that the police chief, Sarwar Jan, for whom the shooter worked, was closely aligned with the Taliban. Brezler sent classified information over an unclassified network, and was subsequently fired because he handled classified information inappropriately.
As the Washington Post reports, the teenager who gunned down the Marines was originally to be tried as an adult and likely executed by the Afghan government.
“The teen, identified by the Marine Corps as Ainuddin Khudairaham, was accused of stealing a Kalashnikov assault rifle and opening fire on the unarmed Marines until he ran out of ammunition. He is said to have bragged about it afterward to Afghan police, saying “I just did jihad.””
“However, to the surprise of the Buckley family, Ainuddin was tried as a juvenile last week, convicted on Wednesday and sentenced to 7 1/2 years in confinement, the maximum under Afghan law for a minor, the Marine Corps confirmed last Friday. The family says they were not told about the trial date until Thursday, and only after they inquired about it with sources they knew who were following the case. There were two tests done to assess the age of the assailant, the first of those tests occurred a couple of weeks after the shooting, on Aug. 29, 2012, Gibson said. The second occurred a few months ago on May 10, 2014. Both tests showed Ainuddin was about 17 at the time of the attack, the Marine Corps said, but the Buckley family maintains they were told the first test showed he was an adult.”
We have ruined the lives of warriors sent into harm’s way to battle the enemy while they watch the enemy kill their brothers and get way with it. Consider Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance who sits imprisoned in Ft. Leavenworth for simply doing what a trained combat leader should, direct fire against the enemy and their recognized tactics. Earlier this year, former Army First Lieutenant Michael Behenna was finally granted parole after five years imprisonment for shooting a known al-Qaida operative, Ali Mansur.
And yet the Obama administration released Ali Musa Daqduq, a Lebanese Hezbollah operative who had the blood of five American Soldiers on his hands. And of course there’s the recent release of five senior Taliban leaders. What message is being sent to our warriors but even worse, to their parents who grieve their loss?
According to the Washington Post, Mary Liz Grosseto, Lance Corporal Buckley’s aunt, said in a phone interview Thursday night that the family is devastated both by the way the case was handled, and the fact that the shooter will get a relatively light sentence as a juvenile.”
“This is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Grosseto said. “If one of our boys had killed an Afghan, they would have got 25 years to life in [the brig at] Fort Leavenworth.” Bowe, the family’s lawyer, said that Marine officials in Afghanistan responded to questions “only in response to continued pressure from the Buckley family and its lawyers” and “punted” their additional questions to enlisted casualty assistance officers who could not get the information to them in a timely fashion.”
And of course the Afghan police chief, Sarwan Jan, who reportedly had ties to the Taliban, and whose AK-47 was used by the Afghan killer, goes unscathed.
Three Marines dead, one severely wounded, another Marine officer forced out of service — and the shooter is sentenced to seven and a half years. Anyone believe he will serve those years? Regardless, he will be out by the age of 25. Is this how a “grateful nation” exhibits its gratitude to those willing to give the last full measure of devotion? Even worse, what comfort do their loved ones have as they try to live on?
And where is the media outrage? As Aunt MaryLiz stated, if this were an Afghan killed, there would be a mad rush to denigrate and incarcerate an American for the rest of his life.
It seems every day I have to ask, whose side are these folks on? Have we so reduced the meaning of honor and service to our nation and the lives of our own?