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Seals Prosecuted for Capturing Terrorist

… at least according to the Fox News headline: Navy SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist.

But there’s a problem with the headline. There are, of course, no charges for capturing the terrorists, but rather for his treatment after the capture. Now I don’t know the facts of the case beyond what is in the article, but if the contents (as opposed to the headline) are correct, the charges have to do with the way the detainee was treated after capture.

There would be two considerations there. The first is simply military discipline. Civilians may not understand this as well, but “punching in the gut” is not something you get to do because you’re a tough guy. There are times and places. The second is, of course, the treatment of someone that is under your control. I find it quite easy to justify violence before someone is captured. But once the defendant is under your control, that person should be treated properly according to military regulations. Your status as a hero, and Seals are heroes in my book just by virtue of their job, doesn’t exempt you from the rules.

What actually happened in this case? That is something to be determined by the military court. In this case, were I one of these men, that would be precisely the court in which I would wish to be tried. The members of the court will also be members of the military who should be capable of understanding the situation and rendering a verdict.

That there is a court martial as such, however, should not cause outrage. The military services are, as they should, investigating the behavior of their own.

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