One striking thing about the trial was the witnesses’ attiudes toward detainee abuse.  Much of the public commentary about the SEALs cases — including by at least one member of Congress — suggested that if the charges had been true, it was no big deal.  No one expressed that view at the court-martial.  The SEAL Team commander and the Det OIC both emphasized that abuse of detainees was unacceptable.  Both said that message was part of the command climate.  The defense wasn’t that it was okay to abuse detainees, but rather that the SEALs didn’t abuse the detainee.

6 Responses to “A final (?) thought about the McCabe case”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I would like remind everyone why this individual is in detainee status – He KILLED Americans! I feel that I am backed in to a corner when I try do defend the cause of our occupation of the cess pools of terrorism. Times Square, another example. So I dissent to the “unit climate,” off with their heads.

  2. Anon says:

    Somehow you see the righteousness of our cause in the GWOT as justifying detainee abuse. One doesn’t equal the other. This war won’t be won by brute force alone – it requires presenting a better alternative than Islamic fundamentalism. The abuse of Abu Ghraib inflamed the population and created more bad guys who killed Americans. Compare that to the Sunni awakening in Al Anbar where Al Q overplayed their hand through violent and sadistic terror against the populace and the population realized we represented a better alternative. Even if you think detainee abuse is OK, it won’t help win the war.

  3. Initial poster says:

    You are a well informed and, from the sounds of it, my attorney (but that’s neither here nor there). Hope. Its the stuff that makes people stand up for something and elicits change (I sound like an Obama supporter right now, I assure you I’m not…however he does put on a good speech). Hope is what we offer the law abiding citizens, in this case Iraq, of a country in which we occupy. You are oh so correct when you stated ” Even if you think detainee abuse is OK, it won’t help win the war,” however there must be a clear and unwavering message sent to anyone (including domestic terrorists, Times Square Bomber, that threaten our way of life) that if you are not with us, you are against us, and we will not tolerate any incursion on the freedoms of life and liberty of our fellow countrymen. My previous post is merely intended to make a sound and firm statement regarding the need to advertise this resolute message.

  4. Response to Anon says:

    I listen to people with Anon’s POV before. My thoughts is that it does not matter. We are dealing with a culture with a set of beliefs totally at odds with our own. Their interpretation of the Koran (quite an accurate one at that) is that they can treat everyone who isn’t a Muslim as second class-citizens.

    But for us few who are enlightened we know it really has little to do with their beliefs. They are using religion as a shield to justify their behavior – and people like Anon 2251 swallow it up whole with a boring reply that we must be kind while we are at war with them. Baloney. They will always perceive us as the enemy and there will never be a day of war which will look like it isn’t an assault on their religion.

    They are playing the religion card the way the race card is played here.

    The answer on how we deal with these people is a simple one, one that has worked in the past, yet cannot be redeployed due to the lawyers and MBAs that run the Pentagon.

    Read General Pershing’s answer to Muslim terrorism – he would have been Court-Martialed for murder & detainee abuse in today’s military.


    In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to negotiate with Tripoli’s envoy to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman (or Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja). Upon inquiring “concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury”, the ambassador replied:

    “…It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.” – Jefferson & Adams

    “In conflict resistless each toil they endur’d,
    Till their foes shrunk dismay’d from the war’s desolation:

    And pale beamed the Crescent, its splendor obscur’d
    By the light of the star-bangled flag of our nation.
    Where each flaming star gleamed a meteor of war,
    And the turban’d head bowed to the terrible glare.
    Then mixt with the olive the laurel shall wave
    And form a bright wreath for the brow of the brave.”

    – Joshua London

  5. Rob M says:

    Yes, and as you say that’s why he’s detained. Had McCabe et al. been convicted, he still would remain detained. The oucome of their courts-martial never had the possibility of affecting whether he still would be detained, punished, etc. By “off with their heads” do you mean that we should kill those whom we have taken prisoner, which would violate multiple domestic and international laws (to say nothing of being just plain wrong)?

  6. Rob M says:

    You’re right insofar as the enemy using religion as a “shield” (I’d say more like a cloak, but to each his own metaphor) to justify their actions. But not every arab or muslim is the enemy.

    We do not treat our detainees or our enemies humanely for their benefit. You are right; we can be as nice as possible to the enemy and they will still want to kill us. We treat our detainees humanely for our own benefit. If we show that we are more humane, more just, more righteous than the other side, the 85+ percent of the population that like us (or at least not wanting to kill us) will stay that way. And I hope you would agree that the fewer people trying to kill us, and the more people trying to help us, the better.