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Lt. Michael Behenna disregarded orders

Published: May 12, 2012

In response to Ann Merritt (Your Views, May 6): It isn't a soldier's right to kill an unarmed person. 1st Lt. Michael Behenna is not a hero, as Merritt referred to him. Behenna disregarded his superior's orders to take Ali Mansur Mohamed back to his home after military intelligence had ordered his release due to insufficient evidence. Before the ride home Behenna told Mansur, "I will kill you" — according to the Iraqi interpreter who witnessed the killing and also testified that Behenna and a fellow soldier stopped their platoon and cut off Mansur's clothing and handcuffs with knives. Mansur said he would talk to Behenna but Behenna shot him. He and Staff Sgt. Hal Warner then hid Mansur's clothes and returned with the platoon to their base.

It wasn't Behenna's job to interrogate Mansur. Military intelligence did that from May 5-16, 2008. Disregarding eyewitness testimony and seeking Behenna's release on a technicality due to speculative opinion by a prosecution witness who didn't testify doesn't change the facts of the case. Behenna's parents are well connected to the FBI, OSBI and the federal prosecutor's office and were successful in getting the original premeditated murder charge reduced to unpremeditated and had 10 years reduced from his sentence.

Many soldiers witness unspeakably violent and disturbing acts in combat and don't take it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner. They're the true heroes. It diminishes their bravery and restraint by calling Behenna a hero.

Shannon Assid, Bethany


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