When former President Obama left office, he pardoned traitors, terrorists, and drug offenders. But there are good men imprisoned by a government that failed them …men who did what they had to do in the heat of battle. They are men for whom justice has been denied.
We have written about each of these men previously. But each man in this article, and the others like them, who have borne arms in defense of America, whether for the Military or a Military Contractor, have paid an exorbitant price. They have lost everything…their lives, their reputations, their hopes and dreams.
As we go through these instances, ask yourself- what would you have done, given the circumstances of war?
Sgt Derrick Miller
In 2010, while deployed to Afghanistan, Sgt Miller encountered a suspicious male that had breached the perimeter of the base. The man lied to Sgt. Miller, first saying he was there to fix water pipes, then an electrician. He had no tools with him.
Two men that were with the male dispersed in different directions. The soldiers believed that they carried information back to insurgents as a prelude to attack. As Sgt. Miller questioned the man, it appeared to Miller that he was trying to take his gun. The Sgt shot and killed him.
Less than 45 minutes later the unit was attacked from two sides. Because the base had gone to full alert after the incident with Miller, there was no American loss of life.
Sgt Miller was convicted of murdering the Afghani because one member of another unit testified that the Sgt shot him in cold blood as the man “tried to create distance” from the Sgt when he pointed his gun at the man’s head.
Two different interpretations of the same incident, with a tragic outcome. Other members of Sgt Miller’s unit testified that Derrick Miller had excellent, sound judgment.
The Miller family has spent thousands upon thousands of dollars in the legal defense of their loved one.
“Sgt. Miller believes, despite his conviction and sentence of life in prison for the murder of this Afghan insurgent, that he was acting solely in self-defense and with sound judgment.” Free Derrick Miller Facebook Page
1st Lt Clint Lorance was in charge of a Platoon that was patrolling in Taliban territory when they were approached by 3 men on a motorcycle coming in fast and not stopping. When a soldier asked permission to neutralize the threat, Lorance gave the order to fire. The soldier who fired missed.
When the Taliban dismounted their bike and began coming toward the patrol, the Afghanis in the unit raised their weapons and ordered the men to halt. They did not do so. Lorance gave the order to fire. Two were killed, one ran away.
The soldiers captured the man who ran away, along with another. Both men tested positive for explosives. The motorcycle was stolen from the scene by someone, likely a Taliban, shortly after the incident.
1st Lt Clint Lorance took full responsibility, and was the only one who faced any charges.
According to the Free Clint Lorance website, “In November 2014, Clint’s defense team uncovered information that proves these men were both biometrically connected to IED attacks on U.S.soldiers. The army had this information, and did not think it was important enough to divulge to Clint’s lawyers.”
Nine men of his unit were granted immunity and chose to testify against him. Yet Clint Lorance maintains that if anyone should be in prison it’s him, just because he was the “officer on the ground.”
Raven 23- The Blackwater Trial
Charges against Paul Slough, Nick Slatten, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard were initially dropped by a judge who stated that the government didn’t have enough evidence to charge them. But the government dragged a judge out of retirement and pursued charges anyway. Vindictive prosecution?
The narrative created by the media and the government over the men of Raven 23 was a horrendous hit job. The prosecution painted a picture of half-crazed men with machine guns who targeted innocent civilians in a shooting rampage in Nisur Square, Baghdad, September 16, 2007.
Eventually, the government admitted that the men of Raven 23 were under enemy fire that day, and they knew it all along throughout the trial. But making the Iraqis happy was the game, even when the so-called “eyewitness” testimony was not credible. The litany of Constitutional issues followed:
One of the main Iraqi witnesses perjured himself. The Iraqi witnesses were coached prior to testifying. The FBI processed “evidence” that had passed through many hands in the 3 weeks before they even arrived at Nisur Square. Some of the “victims” were not even present the day of the incident.
Paul Slough, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty – were convicted and sentenced to 30 years plus one day for having machine guns under a law designed for drug cartels, not State Department employees that were assigned the weapons. All were prosecuted under MEJA, which did not apply to them since they were State Department employees at the time, not Military.
The murder charge against Nick Slatten was woefully lacking in evidence. Not only did another man confess to the shooting, the indictment in 2014 did not state that the government actually had enough evidence to bring charges against him, in fact the govt admitted they had no new evidence. Yet there he sits in prison, along with his team, waiting and hoping for justice to prevail.
Oral Arguments were held before the appellate court on January 17, 2017. Of the three judge panel, one seemed like she understood that the defense had solid arguments. One was antagonistic. The other? The families, wives, children, fathers, mothers, and friends eagerly await their decision, which will not be for a few months.
What would you have done?
In the heat of battle, with intelligence information revealing the dangers surrounding them, these men – from Sgt Miller, to 1st Lt Lorance to the men of Raven 23 – did what was expected of them. These men are not new to battles, they are seasoned Soldiers and Marines.
The battlefields of the Middle East have no visual divisions between enemy combatants and ordinary people. No one wears a sign or uniform that declares “I am an enemy.” When a person or vehicle fails to stop, it can mean the difference between life and death for soldiers and contractors if they do not neutralize the danger.
Again, what would you have done?
Featured picture is by artist George Pedro specifically for Free Derrick Miller. Used by permission.
H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children