In the Obama military, you can celebrate immorality — but you can’t confront it. That’s the lesson the Army is trying to teach the Green Beret’s Charles Martland. A hero by both record and reputation, Sergeant First Class Martland is about to lose his career over something that any parent or decent American would have done: intervene in the violent rape of an innocent boy. When Martland confronted the attacker (a member of the Afghan police), the rapist laughed off the soldier’s horror, insisting it was “just a boy.”
Shocked and outraged, the Sergeant and a fellow Green Beret said they felt a “moral obligation to act.” With a few shoves and kicks, they made it clear that tying up little children to posts and raping them for up to two weeks at a time would no longer be tolerated by the American force. Like most soldiers, they were sick and tired of standing by while Afghans tortured local children and undermined everything the U.S. was trying to accomplish through the police presence. But, in the Obama military where everything is upside down, no good deed goes unpunished — and Martland has been kicked out of the Army, effective November 1.
After several attempts to fight the ruling, the two time Bronze Star winner enlisted the help of Representative (and Marine) Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) — who’s helped ignite a national firestorm over Martland’s ouster. Now, several weeks into the controversy, everyone from veterans groups to conservative congressmen are protesting the discharge — insisting that Martland doesn’t deserve punishment, but promotion.
They’re right. When the Army is unable to meet recruitment goals and retention rates slip, combined with high suicide rates and near historically low morale, not to mention its own sexual assault problems, we need more good soldiers — not less! Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) agrees, and he’s doing everything in his power to ensure Martland gets a fair shake. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, he sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh urging him to reconsider Martland’s case. “Congress cannot substitute our judgment for that of the military chain of command,” Thornberry wrote. “We are, however, responsible for ensuring that the processes in place are fair and adequate to the demands of an Army at war. In my review of SFC Martland’s case, I noted potential procedural errors in due process. I believe the best recourse now would be to allow SFC Martland to remain in the Army long enough for him to prepare an appeal with the adequate military counsel, and for the Army to act on such appeal.”
Out of respect for Thornberry and the good working relationship the two have, McHugh responded that he would postpone Martland’s discharge for two months so that he could find adequate counsel and appeal. In the meantime, Thornberry won’t be satisfied until the Defense Department finds a better solution to the real problem: rampant human rights abuses. “I am not satisfied that the policies in place [to combat these incidents] are robust enough, or that our men and women in uniform find them reliable. We expect a lot of our forces while deployed in harm’s way, but we cannot expect them to stop being Americans.”
Lately, however, you can’t blame soldiers for questioning what, exactly, that means. They serve a commander-in-chief whose military tolerates rapists but not prayer. Whose administration protects defectors like Bowe Bergdahl and punishes heroes like Charles Martland. Unfortunately, what the Army stands for — and what the President does — are two radically different things. That’s why reinstating Sergeant Martland is so important. It shows that some American values — like honor, integrity, and sacrifice — are not up for debate.
Help us send that message. Join the 66,000 people who have signed FRC’s petition in defense of Sergeant Martland — and every brave man and woman in uniform who refuses to back down in the face of evil.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.