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WHAT MESSAGE IS THE MILITARY SENDING TO ITS YOUNG RECRUITS?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 10, 2014) — The following emails were sent to Gen. Richard D. Clarke in regard to a clemency request for Lt. Clint Lorance, who was sentenced last year to two decades in Ft. Leavenworth prison for a split-second command decision in Afghanistan which killed two Afghani men.
Lorance had believed the two men were scouts for the Taliban, who U.S. forces are expected to fight in the “War on Terror.” Lorance earned numerous commendations for his service in the Army prior to the incident which concluded in a court-martial conviction.
Numerous members of the U.S. military have been court-martialed and imprisoned for decisions they made on the battlefield in an attempt to keep their battalions safe since the official beginning of the War on Terror in October 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the American mainland.
After Obama entered the White House in January 2009, the Rules of Engagement have changed such that soldiers cannot fire on anyone unless the other person fires first.
The vast majority of Marines killed in Afghanistan has occurred under Obama.
Lorance joined the Army on his 18th birthday and trained as a military police officer, serving first in South Korea. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant after only two years. He deployed to Iraq for 15 months before being assigned to southern Afghanistan in March 2012.
Others given lengthy prison sentences about whom The Post & Email has previously reported have received parole, including Lt. Michael Behenna, who served five years of his 15-year sentence for killing an Al Qaeda member who reportedly threw an object at him during an interrogation. A platoon leader like Lorance, Behenna had lost two of his men several weeks previous when an IED exploded.
The Behennas claimed that exculpatory evidence was not allowed to be presented at the court-martial.
Behenna was paroled in March. He and Lorance are considered members of the “Leavenworth Ten” whose cases have been publicized by various alternative media as unjust. A supportive website states, “These decorated and committed soldiers/Marines who honorably served their country—achieving a significant number of combat medals over multiple deployments—are now serving sentences ranging between 10 years and life in prison . hey and their families have fallen victim to the untenable Rules of Engagement, demoralizing “Catch and Release” policies, and climate of political correctness that govern our troops’ actions while trying to survive a combat zone.”
Another “member” of the Leavenworth 10 is Sgt. Lawrence Gordon Hutchins, III, whose conviction was overturned in June of last year but who the military plans to re-prosecute early next year.
Gen. Clarke can be reached at email@example.com.
One reader sent Clarke the following message:
I am an old lady who is disturbed at what I see happening in our military these days. My grandfather served as a captain during WWII and 2 of my boys served in the Navy. One worked in Iraq for 4 years working with the military in logistics with written commendations. Not one of these would like to be part of what is happening when they see the type of treatment a soldier gets for doing his job to the best of his ability. Mistakes are often made when you have split seconds to make a decision….have you ever wished you had more time to decide on your actions? We need men who are willing and capable of making those decisions and not having every little thing second guessed. Does this example set well with your troops?
Please show the up and coming men of today that justice can prevail, even if a little later than it should have. A reversal of this conviction would give some incentive and encouragement to those who are serving now and to those who are considering serving. At the least, clemency is the order of the day…is it not? Free Lt. Clint Lorance immediately and show us that the military can correct the mistakes that have been made. We depend on men like yourself to make things right when they have gone awry.
Have a good day general
A second reader sent the following:
Dear General Clarke,
Please consider taking any course of action that would free Lt. Clint Lorance from his conviction and sentence of 20 years stemming from combat in Afghanistan.
Our nation is in sore need of men who stand for right in her defense.