Pt. 10 in a series
Fox News’ Peter Doocy conducted interviews with the Navy SEAL who claimed he shot Osama bin Laden, and it was unintentional, but some remarks addressed a significant issue in the trial of former 1LT Clint Lorance.
SEAL Rob O’Neill described his team entering the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was living. One team member confronted a man and a woman. The team member said the woman jumped in front of the man and she was shot. The SEAL, obviously in the middle of a historic operation, asked, “Am I in trouble?”
That this operative was concerned about legal implications at a time when his own life was in danger warrants a serious discussion.
How many soldiers died because they second-guessed an enemy who wears no uniform and bears no country’s flag?
Lorance, who was on patrol in a war zone in Afghanistan in July, 2012, permitted his men to fire on three males who had first approached on a motorcycle going, according to trial testimony from a soldier who fired at the men, at a speed of “30,35,40 miles an hour.” Testimony revealed the soldier who fired perceived the men as a threat.
The males on the motorcycle first ignored commands to stop. When they did stop, they got off the motorcycle and that was the moment when Lorance’s men had to decide whether the males described at trial as being of “apparent Afghan decent [sic]” were a threat. Note the word “apparent” is loaded with possibilities.
The SEAL’s dilemma was not so different from Lorance’s, illustrating the challenge for a soldier in a war zone who is placed in a position to second guess whether defending himself and his fellow soldiers might land him in prison.
Pundits have often debated whether the Obama administration’s rules of engagement led to increases in troop deaths.
The Washington Times reported on the increase many major media ignored:
“The number of U.S. battlefield fatalities exceeded the rate at which troop strength surged in 2009 and 2010, prompting national security analysts to assert that coinciding stricter rules of engagement led to more deaths.”
Featured Photo: The team seeking Osama bin Laden may have benefited from training like this. Soldiers from 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion trained in close quarters at the US Army Garrison’s paintball facility in Darmstadt, Germany, Feb. 27, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Martin Greeson; www.army.mil; license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Nov. 13, 2014)
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Previous stories in series on Clint Lorance
On Veterans Day, Lorance waits for justice… (Pt. 8)
After error-plagued court martial, soldier needs support (Pt. 7)
Criminal justice advocacy needed for veterans (Pt. 6)
After controversial trial, soldier’s fate rests… (Pt. 5)
Confusion at heart of Lorance case… (Pt. 4)
Government secret: Witnesses had immunity (Pt. 3)
Political prisoner Clint Lorance… (Pt. 2)
Dilemma facing boots on the ground (Pt. 1)