A key concern is the severity of the punishment and its political connection to a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq that was then being negotiated. The U.S. needed to show that wayward behavior by its troops would be dealt with seriously. But the bad actor in the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam served just 3 ½ years of house arrest in a case that involved the premeditated murder of 22 civilians. Behenna? He originally was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the unpremeditated murder of a terrorist.
We believe Behenna was convicted on insufficient evidence. His prosecution appears politically motivated. His sentence is disproportionately long. He's spent the past four years in prison. Whatever message that needed to be sent about what Behenna did has been received.
We won't make the case that he's a hero, but his case deserves a high court hearing. Behenna deserves mercy, for the sake of all soldiers faced with life-threatening situations — even when their own misjudgments get them into trouble.
1st Lt. Michael Behenna should be at home in Oklahoma. Instead, he just passed another day in a Kansas military prison.