Diana West

I urge readers to visit defendmichael.com for details (and Unitedpatriots.org and L10freedomride.com for more general information), but the crux is this: While the prosecution originally argued that Michael shot an unarmed, naked and seated victim, Michael Behenna's defense was and is that he shot and killed in self-defense an enemy who had sprung to his feet, chucking concrete and coming at him. That's what Michael said in his trial. And, of crucial importance to Michael's appeals case, that's what the prosecution's own forensics witness, Dr. Herbert MacDonnell, said the forensics evidence supported. But MacDonnell's key evidence was never disclosed to the jury. And, in seemingly glaring violation of due process, this crucial evidence was never disclosed to the defense until after the guilty verdict came in.

No reason to undermine the guilty verdict, the prosecution insisted. Indeed -- and here, an observer of both proceedings told me, came the shift in prosecutorial strategy -- whether standing or sitting, the enemy fighter was fully justified in attacking the fully armed American lieutenant, threatening his life. Further, the military prosecutor claimed the situation was such that the American lieutenant had ... no ... right ... to ... self-defense.

This is twisted beyond twisted. So, too, is the apparent fact that had the terrorist seized the lieutenant's weapon in a scuffle, Lt. Michael Behenna would be innocent in the military's eyes. He would also be dead.

It's time for our appalling military justice system to go on trial.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).