Photo: Army Ranger 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna and his family
Today is Michael Behenna's 27th birthday, which he is marking in military prison. He is there, wrongfully, unjustly, serving a 25 year prison sentence for, in essence, fighting the war in Iraq. Details at Defend Michael, the website his parents have set up on his behalf.
Today, the Behennas sent out the following birthday message to Michael's supporters:
Today is Michael’s 27th birthday. While he won’t be ‘celebrating’ it in any real sense (no cake and candles in prison), his spirits have been incredibly lifted by the hundreds and hundreds of cards of letters he’s received in the just the past week alone. He is overwhelmed by your support and personally wanted us to tell you how much it means to him.
As mentioned in the last newsletter, we are still eagerly awaiting the Military response to Michael’s appeal, which will allow Michael’s appeal to be docketed and hopefully, by this summer, be argued before the Army Court of Appeals. In the meantime, we continue to encourage Michael’s supporters to contact their Senators and Congressmen. These Congressional Delegations will be vital to ensure the Army handles Michael’s case properly moving forward. Your assistance thus far has produced many important connections and unleashed scrutiny of Michael’s case we would not have thought possible.
It is estimated that more American soldiers have been charged with war crimes related to the war in Iraq than in previous wars combined! Many believe that this is the result of the current Washington policy to prosecute members of the military for a political purpose—pandering to the Iraqi government.
In an effort to build awareness to this perversion, we are considering organizing a motorcycle/vehicle Rally to Ft. Leavenworth in early fall, 2010. Michael is among ten decorated soldiers (coined the Leavenworth 10) in Leavenworth prison who have been wrongfully charged and convicted for murdering Al-Qaeda or insurgents. Their convictions are not publicized but we have come to know each of their stories and they all answered the call of their country to defend our values and way of life against an enemy who wishes to destroy us.
See, for example, here and here for the story of Sgt. Evan Vela and here and here for the story of Sgt. John Hatley. More here.
After defending themselves or their fellow soldiers/Marines in a combat zone, they have fallen victim to untenable Rules of Engagement, demoralizing “Catch and Release” policies, and political correctness that left them abandoned by the country they fought for.
I don't know how America ever atones for this.
Many of Michael’s supporters have contacted us for additional ways to help. This rally will aid Michael and the other Leavenworth 10 in creating awareness for those who have not heard their stories. We envision this Rally to begin in at least the following 12 states; Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee, and culminate in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Due to the significance of 9/11 to these soldiers call to duty, we are considering holding the event the weekend before, on Labor Day 9/4/2010. Before we finalize our plans, we would like to know if you would assist in the following areas:
Help put together the event in Leavenworth
Help coordinate a state leg of this journey to Leavenworth
Design and maintenance of a web site
Help sponsor the event (not necessary to attend)
Graphic Design (t-shirts, signs, flyers)
Most importantly - make the ride to Leavenworth (motorcycles and vehicles would be welcome)
Please reply (firstname.lastname@example.org) about your interests and we will build a database of who can help us on this event. We are also very interested in your thoughts and ideas about this event! The size of this event is dependent upon those involved and our ability to attract other concerned Patriots. This rally is a way to show these soldiers that we appreciate their unselfish service to our country and they are not forgotten. Please consider being a part of the show of support these men never received from our country when they returned home from war.
The proud parents of an American hero. Happy Birthday Michael!!!
Scott and Vicki Behenna