From Beverly Perlson of A band of Mothers:
The news last week that lst Lt Michael Behenna’s conviction was upheld was devastating to Michael, his devoted girlfriend Shannon, his family, and all of you folks who have stood by Michael and supported him. I was heartbroken for Michael and Shannon and his family, but frankly, I was not surprised. I have made it known that a Chief of Staff on the hill had told me last year that I would not like the eventual outcome for the guys in Leavenworth. As much as I hated his remark and fought in every way I knew how to prove him wrong, in the back of my mind I feared he knew something I didn’t. Turns out, he knew what he was talking about.
Now we can rant and rave about the injustice of this decision, but I am laser focused on what we can do now to help secure Mike’s release and those of the Leavenworth 10.
So… I called the Chief of Staff who knew the outcome for Mike and asked him, what is the best way to help Michael and the guys in Leavenworth now? His answer did not surprise me and I had already begun to work in this direction 6 months ago. His answer was simple and sensible, appeal to Mitt Romney. If he wins the election in November he is the man who holds the key to the doors of Leavenworth. Write him, get close to him if you can, and speak about the injustice our Soldiers have endured under this administration’s current Roe’s and catch and release policies.
So… I have written a letter to Anne and Mitt Romney. They are both parents who love their children and love this country. I write to them as a mother whose son served 4 deployments in this war. My letter is below. I ask you to use the info in my letter to write your own, or just use my letter. You can post your letter at Romney’s website under Issues: http://www.mittromney.com/forms/site-issues
I do not have an address on the Romneys yet so if any of you out there do, please email it to me. Send your letter to the Romney campaign manager in your state and send it to Congressmen/Senators you might know who will pass this to the Romneys. Send anywhere you think it will do some good. AND most important, whether you print my letter or write your own, carry it with you. If you are at a fundraiser for Romney, pass it to the most senior person you can. I passed a letter to Paul Ryan a couple of months ago regarding Michael Behenna and the insane policies of this war. He listened in earnest and he took my information.
Please engage in this campaign to help these Warriors. We need your help desperately now. All of us together all across this nation can make a tremendous difference for Michael and all our Troops! Please remember, these young men in Leavenworth were living a happy wonderful life until one day they decided they would risk their life for you, to keep you and your family safe. Michael Behenna did just that until the day he was charged for killing a terrorist. I heard Michael’s mother say recently that when Michael heard the news that his conviction was upheld, he said he was okay; he was in a “good place” within himself. I believe Michael endures with his soul intact because he knows if Ali Mansur had made it back to his village, he would have killed more of Michael’s men, more of our American Sons. He knows he saved the lives of his Soldiers and he helped send them home to their families. Now we need to do everything we can to send Michael home too.
In the meantime, please pray for Mike and the Leavenworth 10. Please pray for Green Beret Kelly Stewart, awaiting his decision any day now, and lst Sgt Walter Taylor, (Purple Heart Recipient and the worst victim of military injustice yet) who is waiting to see if he is on his way to Leavenworth. AND Derrick Miller, who received a life sentence for protecting his unit from an attack. And his unit was attacked that night!!
I believe we are on the precipice of justice for these Soldiers and I believe it is only possible with the election of Mitt Romney. Thanks to all of you for your devoted support of our Soldiers. It means the world to them! And please be sure to vote to elect Mitt Romney on November 6th!
My letter is below.
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Romney,
It is my belief that you will be the next President and First Lady of these great United States! I hope this is the case as I do not believe our country nor her brave defenders can endure another four years under this administration. I write this letter to be certain you are aware of the grave difficulties our military and their families are enduring under the war policies of the Obama administration. My heartfelt request for your consideration is at the end of this letter.
As the daughter of a WWII Navy Veteran, the sister of a Marine, Vietnam, and the mother of a Son who served 4 deployments with the 82nd Airborne, Bronze Star recipient in this WAR ON TERROR, I write to you with much anger, disappointment and a very heavy heart. We currently have Soldiers incarcerated at Leavenworth for serving their country and protecting their Brothers. Meanwhile, captured terrorists are released to their families by this administration on a “Pledge” promising they won’t return to the battlefield. I refer you to the article, dated May 23rd, 2010 in the New York Times entitled “US Tries to Reintegrate Taliban Soldiers.”
So the terrorists go home while our Soldiers continue to sit in Leavenworth! Our mothers, American mothers, cry themselves to sleep at night while Iraq and Afghan mothers rejoice! What is even worse is that the entire trial for the terrorist takes 30 minutes while our Soldiers and their families accrue enormous legal fees and travel expenses trying to defend their Hero! This is an outrage! Our Brave Warriors in Leavenworth should be given the same Pledge and released to their families!! What is good enough for the terrorists should certainly be good enough for American Sons! This double standard and cruel injustice needs to stop!
But the practice continues and when questioned in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee just last year , Admiral McRaven testified that we continue to release terrorists:
Time and time again we see the devastating effects on our Troops as a result of this administration’s dangerous and reckless catch and release policy. Just recently Col West sent a letter to President Obama regarding the release of a most dangerous terrorist, Daqduq, who killed five of our Soldiers and tortured four of them before he murdered them:
The case of lst Lt Michael Behenna is just one tragic example of the fallout of the dangerous catch and release policy:
lst Lt Michael Behenna is currently serving a 15 year sentence for killing a known Al Qaeda terrorist, Ali Mansur. Last week, we received word from the CAAF court that Michael’s conviction was upheld and he will now serve 15 years in Leavenworth. This is his last appeal. Ali Mansur was suspected of planting roadside bombs that killed two of Mike’s men and when picked up and interrogated, Mansur was referred to Bucca for further interrogation. However, someone in the chain of command ordered Mansur released and unbelievably, Mike was ordered to take him home. Michael had caught the terrorist, brought him in for questioning, and then he was ordered to release him! Although Ali Mansur wore an Iraqi police uniform, Mike had gathered intelligence that Ali was planting IEDs along the routes our forces took. In the end, Mansur never made it home and I will always believe Michael held the welfare and safety of his men in his heart that fateful day.
I heard Michael’s mother say recently that when Michael heard the news that his conviction was upheld, he said he was okay; he was in a “good place” within himself. I believe Michael endures with his soul intact because he knows if Ali Mansur had made it back to his village, he would have killed more of Michael’s men, more of our American Sons. He knows he saved the lives of his Soldiers and he helped send them home to their families.
Recently, a Purple heart recipient was charged for his actions on the battlefield. We currently wait to hear whether Sgt Walter Taylor will be the next Soldier heading to Leavenworth. Sgt Taylor’s attorney, James Culp, described a morbid and life threatening reality that is occurring among our brave Warriors on the battlefield: “forced hesitation through intimidation.” This administration’s prosecution of brave Soldiers for their actions on the battlefield is intimidating them and the end result is their hesitation to defend themselves and their brothers for fear of prosecution and incarceration! I have no doubt this has caused the escalation in the deaths and loss of limbs of our brave Warriors! This is no way to treat our noble defenders and this is no way to fight a war!
“Look at me, right now in my story. Helpless, tortured, shot, blown up, my best buddies all dead, and all because we were afraid of the liberals back home, afraid to do what was necessary to save our own lives. Afraid of American civilian lawyers. I have only one piece of advice for what it’s worth: if you don’t want to get into a war where things go wrong, where the wrong people sometimes get killed, where innocent people sometimes have to die, then stay the hell out of it in the first place.”
I believe that most Americans would be shocked to know that this administration has released terrorists ever since they took office and yet they prosecute our Soldiers and send them to prison for doing their job. I ask you please, Mr. Romney, to call upon the Obama administration to stop releasing terrorists immediately. Further, when you take office, I ask that you please review and reverse the policies of this war so that our Soldiers can actually fight, defend themselves and their brothers, and win this war, once and for all!
Lastly and most important, please do not forget our brave Soldiers in Leavenworth. When you take office I implore you to take each Leavenworth case under review and grant pardons to those who are deserving. Michael Behenna is certainly deserving of a pardon.
God Bless You and Your Family and God Bless The United States Military!
With A Mother’s Heart,
The Band of Mothers