President Donald Trump on Monday pardoned former Army Lt. Michael Behenna, who was convicted of killing an Iraqi man. Some military and legal voices on Twitter are in an uproar.
Behenna was convicted in 2009 for killing an Iraqi prisoner after allegedly stripping him naked and torturing him. Behenna maintains that he acted out of self defense.
He was initially sentenced to 25 years in jail, but was released on parole in 2014.
From an Army officer:
Went through 4 yrs of ethics classes at West Point. Had a whole semester-long discussion on My Lai/Black Hearts in MX 400. I was taught that atrocities and murder in the name of America make us weak, make us the bad guys. So, I’m pretty damned confused about the Behenna pardon.
— Victoria Oropeza-Kositz (@evo_kositz) May 7, 2019
From a Harvard Law professor:
No president has wielded the pardon power more horribly — not to temper justice with mercy but to reward ghouls like Arpaio and Behenna and to tamper with witnesses like Manafort and Stone.@jorie_graham @Lawrence @RicPatterson @MaxBoot @BretStephensNYT @Kasparov63 @anneapplebaum https://t.co/H0kTGDeVz8
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 7, 2019
From the director of the ACLU:
Trump just pardoned convicted murderer and war criminal! Here is the opening statement of the military prosecutor in the court-martial of Michael Behenna who was convicted of killing Iraqi citizen Ali Mansur Mohamed: https://t.co/07AbPdF1tX pic.twitter.com/1lcqjEaLAq
— Jamil Dakwar (@jdakwar) May 7, 2019
From a former GTMO prosecutor and national security specialist:
Trump pardons ex-soldier convicted of killing Iraqi prisoner … War crimes? No problem with @realDonaldTrump at the helm.
— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) May 7, 2019
From a DOD reporter and Marine veteran:
#BREAKING President @realDonaldTrump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for former Army First Lieutenant Michael Behenna of Oklahoma. Behenna was convicted in 2009 of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected al-Qaida terrorist. pic.twitter.com/hA0tJlIWMx
— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) May 7, 2019
Trump is no stranger to controversial pardons. Among those he’s issued so far is one for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who refused to obey a court order telling him to stop profiling Latinos and Dinesh D’Souza, an ardent Trump fan who broke campaign finance laws. Incidentally, a group of Democrats just asked a federal appeals court Monday to overturn Trump’s pardon of Arpaio.